Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

One December 27, 2013

Filed under: Family,Kids — bonniep @ 12:11 pm


This littlest baby turned 1 on Christmas Eve! It has been a whirlwind week, with her birthday party on Sunday and then Christmas preparations afterwards. In fact, we only opened one present on her actual birthday since the day was packed with last minute shopping, wrapping, and dinner out with friends. And I stayed up until 2 am the night before making her a birthday dress. Of which I have no pictures. We opened more birthday presents on Christmas, but she still has some Christmas presents that aren’t opened. Probably not too many more years where that will happen!

The day before her birthday baby C surprised us with a new tooth—making a total of 6. I think several more are just biding their time. She scoots quite fast, does a slower, more awkward crawl, and pulls up to her knees—hasn’t figure out standing yet. She squeals for music and does some spastic dancing—need video of that!—especially a song from music class called “Little Red Caboose”. Babbling is pretty much constant during waking hours now and she seems to think we are all having great conversations with her.

Still a fantastic sleeper taking two naps a day and a long nights sleep. I can actually put her awake into her crib and she falls asleep. This is a like a miracle…I always thought people were lying when they said their babies did this! She loves snuggling with her blanket and will sometimes crawl/scoot over to someone and just flopple on them for hugs. She is a very huggy baby. Hasn’t quite figured out giving kisses yet, but loves to be read a hugging and kissing book and getting kisses.

Baby C is playing with her toys with a lot more intentionality now—putting things in and out and trying to figure out how things work. She has taken a noticeable leap in her understanding in the past few weeks which has been neat to observe.

Although she clearly prefers to be held by G and I (often leaning for the other when one is holding her and then getting transferred back and forth) she will smile at strangers until she wins them over. During a recent dinner at Panera she smiled at one family until they were smitten, waving at her and complimenting her as they walked out. As soon as they were out of sight, she set her eyes on a new family and started smiling at them. I think she made her way through 3 or 4 families before we left.

We are completely off of purees for meals and she will happily eat just about anything—fish, chicken, cheese, eggs, vegetables of all sorts… She squeals for hummus, even spicy hummus. Loves raspberries and eating whatever everyone else is eating. Has tried Indian and Thai food and sushi (not raw). She also one hands her sippy cup to swill water during meals. Haven’t tried milk with her yet. Still figuring out spoon handling skills but we will get there.

In addition to the Hugging book mentioned, her favorites are Brown Bear Brown Bear, a series that has a little finger puppet in the middle, and the Usborne “That’s not my…” touchy feely series. And of course the classic Moo Baa La La La. She will happily page through books on her own but also loves settling in for a cozy book reading snuggle.

She is adored by her sisters but not necessarily coddled by them. It has been a struggle keeping M away from her toys (er, that ride on isn’t for 5 year olds!) and neither of them is very good about keeping track of tiny items and making sure they don’t stay on the floor.

Size wise…this is a substantial baby. Still nicely rounded with a baby gut and man boobs. The scale at home suggests she is around 23 lbs. which I believe is a good 4 lbs. over either of her sisters at this age. We don’t see the doctor until after the new year for her checkup and shots (another side effect to the holiday birthdate) so we’ll have final info then.

Closing with a few shots from Christmas Day…including what happens when you do mostly online shopping and have all out of town relatives mailing gifts to you (and recycling day the day after Christmas) and older sisters on their new roller skates.



Birthday Party December 22, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Kids — bonniep @ 11:07 pm

Baby C will turn 1 on Christmas Eve, but in an effort to have actual guests at the party we celebrated today. “Catered” by Subway for sandwiches (and then I also made some PB+Js) with some chips, mini oranges, and grapes things were going to be pretty laid back, until I started planning the dessert menu. There were a few things I wanted to bake that wouldn’t have worked on a cookie platter for neighbors…then we decided to have Christmas Eve dinner out with friends so there was that dessert that didn’t have a place and time anymore…then there were cranberries and extra salted caramel buttercream frosting in the fridge…

So here we have, Hazelnut Chocolate crepe cake, pumpkin cheesecake swirl tart, cranberry crumb bars, grasshopper squares, vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, and chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream frosting.


Heh heh. Actually got it all done in the last 48 hours with not too much stressing. That crepe cake was the most work but it is deeeelicious. And, I didn’t burn my hand in three different places like I did cooking last weekend! The low point was probably hitting grocery stores around 10:30 Friday night in sweatpants buying a huge thing of Frangelico (of which I needed about 2 T, but the grocery store doesn’t have nips and I needed to get that stage of the crepe cake done that night) as well as a huge thing of Jim Beam for G’s Manhattan barrel. Keeping it classy.

The party was in between baby C’s naps today, so she was well-rested and her usual chipper self. And she gave some good photos with her birthday cupcake.


The vanilla cupcakes are all gone, but if you know of anyone needing some dessert items…send them my way! We have lots of leftovers!


Christmas is how many days away?? December 16, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Family,Kids,Sewing — bonniep @ 10:34 pm

Well, I did get the first round of Christmas baking—the annual neighborhood goodie exchange plate—done this weekend. This is a terrible picture (thanks darkness!) but all but two of the plates have found a home so not sure I will get a better picture.


Chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel frosting, peanut butter cups, sugar plum macarons, maple nutmeg sugar cookies (cut out to spell “joy” plus some other shapes for everyone), and chocolate coconut cheesecake squares (MSL). The lead up to the cookie plate is fairly lengthy—I pull out all my Christmas Cookie magazine special issues, troll blogs, look at cookbooks, etc. in an effort to make a plate that is balanced between colors, flavors, and looks. Recipes with high yields are my friends (OK, I made double batches of everything but the cheesecake squares) and something that I am interested in cooking helps. The kids were my assistants this year on the cutouts (er, they are terrible at making efficient use of the space!) and of course unwrapping and placing the peanut butter cups. I actually purchased a special Christmas apron to wear this year during the baking, and made about four extra grocery store trips in an effort to find plum jam (much rarer than you might think), Dutch processed cocoa (ditto) and a 9×9 baking pan (sadly, I had ordered the latter two from amazon but then had them delivered to the wrong house, along with a bunch of presents for the kids. grrr.) As the baking ramps up, I start to get a bit crazed (out of sour cream! plum jam not nearly as thick as expected! how do I only have 19 oz of powdered sugar!), and then attempting to store all the goodies and make up the plates leads to some tense moments. The wrapped plates do not look nearly as nice as the unwrapped plate, but with kids carrying the plates in the rain to deliver….ample plastic wrap it was. Sometimes I think maybe I have gone a bit overboard (…not all of the neighbors participate in the exchange, yet I make plates for all of them) but then the thanks start rolling in with descriptions of what different families liked best and it seems mostly worth it. So, until next year…

The next baking opportunity with be the first birthday party for this set of chubby cheeks attached to the cutest baby ever.


But before that, I need to do teacher gifts, some final shopping and mailing, Christmas cards (need photos first!) and enough wrapping that I can’t think about it right now. I may or may not sew some Christmas skirts for the girls (place your bets now!). G was supposed to be out of town this past weekend, but due to some medical issues with M he stayed home, allowing us to get the tree and house decorated and outdoor lights up. However, M’s issues have meant that she (and thus I) have been housebound for multiple days. Great for getting baking done, not so great for mental state. Hopefully she will be back to school tomorrow. But then who will squeeze the crud out of baby C?

At least the intense (for Seattle…) cold has left. Dry air plus carpeted house plus a baby that only scoots has the expected result…


There were some shocks hard enough to hurt! Worth it to see her in these pants I made though…


Baby C has been super fun lately—crawling every now and then, and will pull up to her knees (progress!), babbles quite a bit, and today when I asked if she wanted a hug she handed me the book Hug! Might have been a coincidence but I think she is pretty clever. Not a big fan of mittens though (another reason we are glad the cold is gone!) Well, I should probably be tackling that list from above….more later hopefully!