Friday, September 27, 2013

Video Friday: Sicki-poo

Emily had her first cold this week.  I forgot how gross a runny nose can be on a baby.  The worst part: she lost her voice.  Yes, my 5 month old lost her voice and squeeked for a few days.  Doctors say it was just a virus.  She is still sick but her voice is coming back and she seems to be feeling better.  On the up-side this illness seemed to help us establish a routine since she slept like a champ this week!  Well, truly she has two routines depending on whether she sleeps for 45 minutes or 2 hours at her first nap.  She is also having a bottle between 1-2 pm.  We've been able to use pumped milk but sooner or later we'll have to switch over to formula.  She's doing great, eating food and playing really well.  She seems to play more independently than Nolan does already!  She is SO different from him, it's kind of amazing.  I consider her a lot easier than him.  She's calm, will sit in my lap and just chill.  Nolan always wanted to be bouncing and moving.  Nolan was also a very early sitter (before 5 months) and crawler so watching Emily sit in a bumbo seat or play on her belly is fun!  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Knight in Shiming Armor

Here is our knight in Shiming Armor.  No, that's not a typo.  That's what Nolan calls them.  And we love it.
He had a dress up birthday party to go to last weekend.  And hopefully this will be what he ends up being for Halloween. 
 In my opinion, the best part of the part was the fact that randomly a neighbor had a dinosaur costume and all the kids kept whacking him with their swords trying to get the dragon.  Awesome.
Seriously, how awesome is this kid?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chillin with some pals

A few weeks ago we had a play date with a friend who has children both Nolan and Emily's age.  It was fun.  It was really easy too.  Nolan and Margeaux played so nicely together, in a separate room and Emily and Simone sat nicely so her mom and I could chat.  It was kind of awesome.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

OnTwenty Restaurant Review (or is it Polytechnic Club on 20)- a restaurant review

It's been a while since I've done a restaurant review but I feel like this place needed my review.  So here goes.

To get to OnTwenty, a fine dining restaurant on the 20th floor of the Hartford Steam Boiler, you go to the One State Street parking garage where, to get the ticket to park you need to buzz the attendant and tell him you're going to the restaurant.  He pointed us to the left in the parking garage.  Once on the 2nd floor we wondered where we should enter, there were no cars parked anywhere.  There was a small sign pointing to the lobby but we expected a sign for the restaurant.  So we went up to the third floor and found a few cars so we decided to park there and enter the lobby through two beige/yellow fire doors. The lobby of the office building is lovely.  The two guards at the desk looked at us and asked if we were there for the restaurant and pointed us to an elevator bank.  The elevator did not have an up or down arrow, just numbers, so we blankly stared at it, then at the guards who told us how to work the elevator.  We looked at each other thinking how bizarre this night is starting out.

On the 20th floor the elevators open into a small table acting as a hostess stand and behind it is a swanky looking bar overlooking the Connecticut River and some Hartford buildings.  It felt strange to be in such a 'fine dining' restaurant and have the televisions playing in the bar.  If I worked downtown I'd definitely try to get some colleagues to hit that bar some afternoon.  We were seated and handed a wine list.  It seems like there were more waitstaff and employees than patrons.  The restaurant is small, maybe 20 tables.  The decor is outdated and feels very much like a hotel restaurant- flower curtains and strange artwork, elevator-ish music playing.  The tables are set with true silver which reminded me of my grandfather's flatware which made it feel very old-school fine dining however the bread plates were clear bubbly glass which made it seem like it was trying to be trendy.  The atmosphere seemed confused.  And shockingly some tables has mismatching chairs (one with arms and one without), not in a trendy way but rather in a college library way.  It just seemed bizarre.  Our table had nice matching chairs with lovely fabric on them.

We were handed a wine list and our drink order was placed.  Only after our drink order was placed we were given our food menu.  I'm not exactly sure if this is 'correct'.  Personally I prefer to choose my drink based on what food I'm ordering but what the heck, I wasn't going to make a stink.  This was on20, afterall.  And it's been a while since I've been in a very fine dining restaurant.   Our waiter was prompt and attentive but rather hard to understand.  He asked Dave for his order first which I was strangely offended by.  Is chivalry dead?  Aren't you supposed to take the lady's order first?

The website mentioned that the week we were there was a Farm to Chef week (assuming it meant  September 20th- it's cut off on the website too) with special menu items but we didn't see anything particularly different or specifically mentioning where/what farm items were harvested from.  At any rate, the menu looked very exciting.   I peeked at it a few days earlier online and was thrilled with the choices.  We decided on the Grilled Octopus (Dave) and the Crab en croute (me) for appetizers and I ordered the lamb and Dave ordered the marrow crusted beef.  After our order was taken we were offered an amuse bouche.  I personally LOVE these.  It's so fun- a little teaser of what's to come.  It was a ginger goat cheese tartlet which once we decided to use our forks and not pick it up with our fingers tasted fun and delicious.  Very fresh and a nice way to amuse my bouche.

The plating was beautiful, both plates came out quickly.  Mine was very good but would have tasted better if it were warm, sadly it was tepid, at best.  It was a nice starter reminiscent of a crabcake.  The crab pieces were very small, thin and had a gorgeous, almost faux red color.  It was rolled in something and panko (?) and fried.  Every time I took a bite I was impressed by the crunch to it but wondered how it could be so crunchy but so cool at the same time.  Dave's octopus was really delicious.  The texture was beautiful and the presentation was impressive.  Though it seems a little '90s with the buffalo-type sauce that accompanied it, the tasso ham remoulade  (tasted a bit like bacony house-made mayo) was beautiful and played very nicely with the octopus.

Our waiter took our plates and asked if we wanted another drink.  Our silverware was changed to sharper knives to accompany our meals.  I changed my drink to wine and so did Dave.  Quickly our food was marched out (that's what it seemed like- a very formal presentation) and our wine was immediately served.  It was well organized and lovely to not have to wait for our drinks to begin our main course.  The plating was gorgeous.  I picked up my steak knife and was embarrassed I couldn't cut through my meal.  I ordered the lamb (shoulder) and imagined not even needing a sharp knife.  This knife wouldn't cut through the outer sear.  It was really strange.  The meat had a nice smokiness to it but it didn't taste like the lamb I really love.  I looked over at Dave's and he had a strange expression on his face.  He didn't like his meal.  I asked for a bite and seriously thought for a moment that they switched our meats.  His (supposed) NY Strip was soft and mushy/mealy.  It tasted a little bit more like lamb than beef.  And NEITHER of our meals were warm.  They were cool/tepid.  It tasted like both the meats might have been pre-cooked, not cooked to order.  They were not great.  Certainly not what I was expecting.  I muscled my way through cutting the thumb-sized portion and ate my accompaniments.  The couscous was good, a bit salty but nice to have a punch of flavor.  The beets were delicious and the falafal was flavorful, very crunchy and slightly warm (the only thing warm I was served all night).

We did order dessert.  I would have ordered a coffee but I didn't think of it and the waiter didn't suggest it.  Dave ordered the pineapple upside down cake with pina colada ice cream and I ordered the chocolate dish that seemed very different from how the waiter explained but it was difficult to hear/understand him.  Mine was very good and quite small and I needed two utensils to eat it, a knife would have been great but a spoon and fork worked.  It was three layers of mousse separated with a crispy wafer served with coffee ice cream.  The chocolate thing was quite good.  The coffee ice cream tasted like someone made vanilla ice cream and tossed in a pot of coffee.  I didn't love the ice cream but Dave did.  Dave's dish was fair.  The cake was quite dry (upside down cake should be dripping with ooey gooey sugary crust) and the ice cream was good, though I thought it could have been described in a less '1990's/pina colada' description- and more modern description like 'coconut pineapple ice cream'.

I'm not sure if our parking was validated or just added to the bill.  The tip was already included at about 20% for just us two people which seemed strange.  All in all the meal was fine.  The experience was bizarre and a little disappointing.  I'm not sure who this restaurant is targeting but with all the excellent dining choices in the area this one felt like a let down.  Perhaps it was a bad night but we won't be returning.  There are far better restaurants serving warm food without a $10 parking charge.  Sorry Polytechnic on 20 or on20 or whatever your name is, your reputation is overrated.  Your name seems as confused as your restaurant.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

What a week

I'm struggling.  This week really blew the big one, to be honest, except for Sunday at the farm and a surprise visit from a friend in the afternoon, my trip the zoo and drinks with friends on Wednesday it wasn't great.  Let's sum it up:  
I fell down the basement stairs and am still sore and aching.  I got stung by a wasp.  Nolan pushed and kicked two separate children in the span of 10 minutes.  Emily napped about a total of 6 hours (total) and probably cried/screamed about the same amount.  Emily started eating food (cereal and fruits and veggies) in hopes of getting her to stop whining and crying between 545 and 7.  Sofar, unsuccessful but we're still trying.  Today we begin giving her bottles, maybe that will help?  We're even considering giving her back the pacifier.  She's got us completely stumped.
On the plus side, Nolan started school full days this week, last week it was only 1 hour class each day.  He goes Tu/Th from 8:45-11:15 and Wednesday from 9-12.  He is doing great at school and he already seems different, he tells me stories about school, about things that happened and toys he played with.  He seems to play differently- more imaginative and a little more independently.  I'm really pleasantly surprised by this and thrilled to find him working on a floor puzzle this morning, 25 pieces, completed all by himself.  
When Emily does nap, Nolan and I are having a lot more fun which is great- I am getting very good at showering and getting ready in about 15 minutes.  But when she doesn't nap I alternate between feeling helpless and annoyed because she's exhausted and needs to sleep and I can't get her to nap and she just screams.  I installed one (will try for the other today) blackout shade in her room.  Maybe that will help?  Along with the bottle and food, hopefully we'll start to see some changes soon.  If she were really happy most of the day I wouldn't care but she doesn't seem happy either, she seems tired and cranky so it seems she does need a nap.  She does sleep like a champ at nighttime- 7:30-6:30 most days.  I'm grateful for that but we really need her to nap between 10am and 7:30pm- that is TOO long for a baby to go without sleep.  This week she's gone most days without even a catnap between those times.  Needless to say she's miserable in the afternoon and evenings.  

We have a very hot date planned tonight.  I hope today is great!  The sitter is coming at 7:30 so that's  a long day and week for all of us.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Birthday Trip to the Zoo

I took the kids to the zoo for my birthday.  I did it last year too, it was a nice, special way to spend the day.  Despite the rain we headed down.  It sprinkled a teeny bit when we first arrived and then cleared up.  We practically had the place to ourselves.
I do think we were the first to get to the otters because they were VERY interested in Nolan. 
And Nolan was interested in them.  It was so funny to see the two of them perched staring at each other.   
 It was a nice way to spend the day.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Five Months Old!

Emily is five months old today.  She started eating food: cereal, green beans and apples (all mush).  She seems to enjoy eating at nighttime.  We are falling into a routine, some days.  Most days she has us scratching our heads wondering what she's doing or why she's doing it.  She tends to sleep in 45 minute intervals 3-4 times a day and she eats every 3 hours. 
She enjoys riding in the swing at the playground as well as playing with toys.  She also really enjoys chewing on her toes.  At bedtime she might be crying or whining and the minute we take her clothes off to give her a bath her mood changes and she is happy and even laughing.  She 'talks' a lot, most often when she's getting tired.  It's funny and can be surprisingly loud sometimes.
She has us on her toes!  We constantly compare her to Nolan.  The parts that were really hard with Nolan, she's breezing through.  The parts that were really easy with Nolan, Emily finds difficult.  She has a hard time when other people hold her, aside from Dave or me.  She has also, at times, rejected the bottle.  Her routine is all over the place, whereas with Nolan's routine was like clockwork.  She really enjoys being in a carrier and will nod off while in the carrier pretty easily.  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sleeping Position and Magic Sleeping Pants

Can you tell who is who?  
Yes, they sleep the same way.  It's hysterical.  Dave and I think this is so so funny.  Some days Emily tucks her hands in too.  Normally Nolan (above) would cross his feet but the closest to crossed feet is what I see below (Emily).  The magic seems to be gone with these pants, they WERE magic with Nolan. Emily... I think she might need more than magic pants to get her sleeping easier but we are hopeful! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Emily is really starting to play. She seems interested in things, does more than just puts stuff in her mouth and LOVES watching Nolan.
She is happy on her belly, playing and rolling.   
 And she's drooling a lot lately (love the dribble down her chin in picture below).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Only Sometimes

Yesterday was ROUGH.  Yikes.  Sometimes it feels like this kid does not listen unless we ask a million times (read: nag) or shout at him.  And then sometimes he does exactly what we say the very first time and Dave and I stare at each other dumbfounded.  So we got Emily some new toys to play with, of course Nolan has commandeered them as his own (she doesn't care).  So one day when he was running around naked, not getting dressed, and trying to get Emily to play with it (read: hitting her in the face with it) I told him to 'go play with that in his room, go sit in your bean bag chair'.  And he did!  I failed to include the 'get dressed' before that.  Oh well, he did a little bit of independent play, even if he was naked!  Great job, Buddy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nolan's First Day of Pre-School

The short story: today was Nolan's first day of Pre-School.  He did great.  I knew he would.  He's adaptable and easy going.  It's fun to see him getting 'ready' for school.  He will absolutely love school.  I am not at all worried about that.

Ok, so here's the truth/long story.  Today was one of those days I wish I could curl up in my pjs and go back to bed.  I don't often feel this way but I absolutely and totally give up for today.  Here's how it went down.  

I woke up early today to be on the ball for Nolan's first day of school.  Yesterday we picked out his clothes, made a chart of all the things he needed to do before school that he could check off.  We talked excitedly about his day and what he'd need to do. 
He woke up and took a bath, put on his clothes, but wanted to change his shirt so plaid shorts and a striped shirt, sure, whatever.  He loves this combo by the way.  On to breakfast... after 50 minutes of waiting for him to eat his breakfast, me telling him to eat and him saying no, then staring at me, I lost it and tossed it into the sink and yelled at him.  He started crying and asked if he could check off breakfast from his chart (um, no, he can not).  We hugged it out, I apologized for yelling and we did a mulligan.  He got new cereal, I calmed down.  He ate his cereal very quickly (record time) and at 8:20 we were back on track for his big day, took pictures, brushed his teeth and off we go.  
Drop off was fine, he was fine.  I had no worry or concern and after last night (don't even ask) and this morning I was ready to hand him off for some time, if for only one hour.  Pickup was great (he didn't beg to stay with the teachers) and home we went.  From the car refused to bring in his backpack, we come inside and he is begging me to play while I was feeding Emily.  Then he decides he wants to play with the most complicated toy to put together that we own.  Emily is crying and I finally figure out how all the parts go together so he can play with it.  Then he plays for 10 minutes while I try to get Emily asleep (unsuccessfully).  He threatens to walk into her room and I say 'no'.  Then I tell him to go downstairs to play so I can pat her back and try to get her to sleep and he says no.  I tell him to go to timeout, he says no again.  We walk to his room and he pulls the door so I can't close it.  I tell him he's now got timeout for 10 minutes.  Then he hits me (closed fist punch) so I grab him and shout at him that we don't hit people and that now timeout is 15 minutes.  He lays in his bed (I'm watching in the monitor) and then sits up, looking at his crotch and the bed... he had an accident in his bed.  SIGH.
Please note, I did not dress him.  This is what he chose to wear. 
So I get him into the bathroom and into new clothes and put him back in timeout.  He takes off his sheets while in timeout and I give up on Emily's nap.  I put her in the exersaucer and get him out of time out and call Dave for moral support.  He's giving it to me while Nolan is shoving Emily because she's playing with the exersaucer toy that he wants to play with.  He keeps taking her hands off the toy and shoving her.  So I say 'NO' at him and decide I need to go for a walk and these kids need to be strapped into something with cars speeding by so I can tune them out.  It's only 11:10 at this point.  I get my shoes on, tell Nolan to get his on (and he does quickly!) and then go to grab Emily and realiz
e she had a blow out, and of course she's wearing a white onesie.  
I try to take off the onesie without spreading more mess all over her but I can't.  She's a mess.  So we give her a bath and I scrub the onesie (second white one she's blown out in this week- and it is only Tuesday).  I start laundry and head upstairs, it's now 11:45 and raining so forget about my walk, let's have lunch early and let's try Emily for a nap.

SO Emily sleeps and Nolan has a quick lunch and we get to READ BOOKS together - so so nice to have some time with the boy!  Then off to nap for him and just as he's in bed, tucked in etc, she wakes up and wants to eat.  

So needless to say, I earned a cookie today.  And we don't have any!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Silly Head

Where's Nolan?
Don't you just love bubble baths?  What a silly goose! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Big Deal In Our House

Last weekend was the first Notre Dame football game.  The whole family, despite our moods and attitudes, got dressed in our gear.
Emily in the tutu and football onesie, Nolan in his jersey and Dave and I in our shirts. 
 Watching football is not like what it used to be.  While I love the family together time I do miss the drinking beer and eating bad-for-you food.  In a few years we can resume those traditions, for sure.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Little Bunny On The Move

I've heard about kids rolling across rooms but Nolan wasn't a roller.  He could roll but for some reason, perhaps the following moving steps came in fast succession, he didn't.
Emily however rolls across the floor at sometimes a rapid pace.  So here in the forefront of the photo is the mat she was playing on and by the sliding glass door is where she ends up.  She rolls in either direction and sometimes over toys.  
This all seems to be moving very quickly!  While looking back at Nolan's milestones we discovered he was sitting by himself just before 5 months old.  That seems crazy but he was an early sitter, for sure.  Wonder how Emily will compare.  We think she's getting a tooth, she makes some very silly sounds with her mouth and we both think we can feel something in there.  But it's not certain yet.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Second Guessing

Parenting is hard.  It's hard in ways people who aren't parents don't understand and people who are parents talk about incessantly.  You take what you've seen, what you've experienced, what people tell you, what the 'experts' say, what your pediatrician says, what the books say, what you overhear at playgrounds and mommy and me classes and then add a grain of salt to each.  Then you sort through those options trying to figure out what is best for you and your family.  And the slightest comment or criticism can wildly skew what you thought was the 'right' way.
I am very 'opinionated'.  I have lots of ideas of what the right way is to do things and while I can't always verbalize why I feel that way, I do and have opinions about people who do things differently.  It's a personality fault of mine, but it's true.  I even have opinions about myself when I find I'm doing something that I never dreamed of.  So when parenting 2.0 came along I figured this would be easy peasy and we'll just do it just like we did with Nolan.  He's a great,very active, a little nuts, a lot of fun, polite, smart, well-adjusted little boy.  
So why oh why do I feel like every decision I make I am second guessing?  Why have we started and stopped something more often with Emily than we did with Nolan?   Sleep training, eating, and her schedule!  Please don't even make me go into it but we have had no less than 20 variations of what we should be doing with her schedule.  I have consulted so many websites and blogs and asked so many people how they handle their two children, when do they nap, etc.  (seriously, google '4 month old schedule' and you get like millions of suggestions) But here's the thing, when it is actually working for us, why do I want to change it?  Because I think I/she should be doing something differently from what I/she is doing- even though it works for us.  AND because of a teeny passing comment that I agonized over.  
So we are back to our old schedule with Emily.  It works for us.  And she is different from Nolan.  She is different from every baby that ever existed.  So if it works, it works.  I need to be more confident and stop second guessing things.  I need to remember that Emily is different than Nolan.  And I need to take it easier on myself and trust my instincts.