Friday, February 24, 2012

Tuesday Playdate...just late!

Not only is this post late, but we were incredibly late to Ez's playmate this week.  The night before was the 3rd of a 4-night stretch of seriously restless sleep.  He would be up, down, and literally all around, from the hours of 2-6am.  It was pretty brutal and reminded me of the newborn days, except not quite as bad.

So, we finally made it to the park...about 30 minutes before his buddy had to leave.  The kids did have a good time though.

First, they played in the flowers.  It's not really a place we were necessarily supposed to be (it's a pseudo traffic circle, of sorts), but the kids were enjoying smelling the flowers so we went with it :)

The Japanese Friendship Garden was part of the Free Tuesdays, so we went in -- and Ez lead us straight to the koi pond.  Some veterans volunteer in the garden and had some food for the kids to feed to the fish.  They LOVED it.  And so did the fish.

After his buddy left, we went to the Museum of Man.  Ez was really just interested in running around, banging on stuff, and waving hello to all of his adoring fans ;)

Jordan thinks Ezra looks just like he did as a kid in this picture.

Since he was so rambunctious, we spent a little time walking around the sculpture garden.
This sign says not to touch or climb on the sculptures.  We were apparently in the clear on that one, because Ez was only interested in trying to rip the sign out of the ground by violently shaking it...

When I tell people that I have to constantly shove food in Ez's face just to get him to eat, I'm really not joking.  This is proof.  He'd squatted down to play with something, so we jumped at the opportunity to force a little mango puree at him.

And finally, here's Jordan trying to teach Easy to log-roll down the hill.  He does it on the floor at home all the time but seemed skeptical when we added the downhill aspect :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beans and the Beach

Since we're on the go a lot more lately, I'm trying to use the crockpot more for easy dinners.  So, I tossed in a whole carton of veggie broth, about 15oz of canned, diced tomatoes, some salt, black pepper, a good amount of smoked paprika, cumin, and a mixture of presoaked (overnight) beans (cannellini, black, red kidney, and pinto), and about half a red onion into the crockpot.  Cooked it on high for, like, the whole day...because I'm a genius and didn't think to start it the night before on low, instead.  That's it - and it was SO freaking good.  Like, way better than I expected plain 'ol beans to taste :)  I did blend up about a cup or so in the VitaMix, then poured it back into the crockpot, just to make it thicker.  Served it with some brown rice & even Ezra ate all of his - for dinner and lunch the next day.  That's got to be a record.

We went down to Crown Point for a little running-and-playing time a couple days ago.  Ez had a really good time and especially enjoyed throwing wads of wet sand into the water.  Of course, he wouldn't reach down to get the sand himself -- that was Jordan's job.  He simply grunted impatiently for more the second he threw his last fistful into the water ;-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

17 Months!

I can't believe we are so close to that 1 1/2 year mark!  Time is flying by and Ezra is growing up so fast.  Care too hear what he's up to these days?

-He loves to eat fish!  Salmon is his favorite so far.
-Playgrounds are getting to be easier to get around & he loves to go down the slide by himself!
-Ez will only take 'stand-up-baths' sitting down for this kid.  Oh, no.  You can't pour and splash water all over the bathroom when you're sitting down ;-)
-He has been loving his Dad a lot lately - clinging to him when he walks in the door, fussing if he sees him's really cute.
-Ezra loves to walk around on his own, going up to strangers, waving hello at them.  It's really great to see him want to be so independent.
-He's got a few women on TV that he just loves.  One is Regina M. Benjamin, our 18th Surgeon General, who has a commercial that gets played all the time.  As soon as he even just hears her voice, he gets really bashful and buries his face.  So stinkin cute :)
-He's got a billion teeth.
-He loves to flirt with checkout girls.  Like, he really takes it seriously.
-He's getting really good at sorting shapes.
-Ez loves to dunk.  The kid is a natural.
-He's gotten into the habit of bringing us the books that he wants to read.  This means we read, and reread the same books  Good thing he's cute!
-Stacking, sorting, banging things...all activities he's very adept at ;-)
-He's so sweet and smart and amazing.  And I tell him every single day.

Here's some pictures of the boy.

He was not having the best day.  Quick naps, got up too early after a restless night, not eating much...all blended together to make taking pictures a very tough thing :)

 He just refused to look at the camera for about 99% of the pictures.

I had to make all the funny noises I've got in my repertoire to get a smile AND a look in my general direction.

This was .003 seconds before he alligator-rolled and slid himself down the couch to run and play like a manic.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A couple videos

These were clearly taken prior to his latest haircut, but cute nonetheless.

He's got a cute laugh...

Not too keen on kicking-only, I'm thinking rugby is in his future?!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday Playdate at the Science Center

It was the first Tuesday of the month, which means the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center was on the list of free museums!  The kids LOVE this place.  There's always a line to get into the kid's play area, so once inside, it's literally filled to capacity with running, jumping, playing, crazy kiddos :)

We had 4 kids meet up this week, and it's so great to see them interact and get more accustom to being around each other.  I mean, they've been getting together since before birth, but these definite, weekly meet ups are a newer thing.  

Ez loves peekaboo...what kid doesn't?

What's this fake food crap?

Just doing a little grocery shopping...

I tried to get all 3 kids in the shot, but my arm wasn't long enough :(  They all really liked the lightening globe, though.

Ezra & Claire, making some watts.
(It makes me chuckle a little every time I type or say Ezra & Claire in the same sentence -- our hypothetical girl's name for Ezra, if he had been a girl, was Claire!)

Trying to get all 3 kids to look at the camera at the same time is like trying to keep a cat in a bathtub.
Just not going to happen.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


We've got a little faker on our hands, folks.

A couple days ago, we were making dinner and Ezra, true to form ran to climb into the refrigerator when I opened it.  We give him a lot of warning before closing it and, though he's not always happy to move away, he usually does.

So, I gave my warning, he backed out and I closed the door.  I didn't see the tip of his finger still between the doors.  I'd also like to point out that I closed the door so slowly and gently, there was likely no actual pain experienced :)

Naturally, he was a little stunned and whined for a second.  All was fine.

Fast forward to the next day.

He only ran to the fridge after I'd shut it.  He then touched the fridge and made a fussy face to go along with the whine he was letting out.  All while holding out his hand for me to inspect.


This gets repeated several times a day now.

And because I know my mother will want to remind me of a time when I did something similar, I'll beat her to the punch....

I guess I was 3 or so at the time.  Too young for school, anyway.  My mom was in another room when she heard me scream.  She came running in and asked me what was wrong.

I said, "Josh hit me!"

In any other circumstance, this would have probably been true.  Josh was constantly beating up on me, his adorable, sweet, innocent little sister.

My mom's response?  "Jenny, Josh is at school."

Yep.  I guess faking runs in the family ;-)

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

Ezra has been keeping me pretty busy lately.  If we're home, he's usually tearing up the kitchen & living room while I cook or clean.  This means that 10 minutes of chopping veggies, etc, turns into an extra 10 minutes of picking up his latest mess ;-)  With that in mind, we've been spending a LOT of time outside of the house.  Playgrounds, the zoo, stores, just walking's all better than trying to contain the little tornado that is my kid.  

Speaking of stores - Home Depot is a great place for him to run around...seriously.  As long as we stay away from the sharp objects and the screws, nuts, bolts, nails, etc aisle, we're golden.  Lots of wide aisles, big things for him to touch (too big to pick up & move!), people everywhere for him to wave to - it's perfect :)  Who knew?!

Here's a couple pictures I snapped of him at the playground yesterday. 

I thought I'd shared this picture of the boy, but it looks like I missed it.  It was pre-haircut.  And clearly, he'd just spilled something all over his shirt.  Look at that glorious head of hair :)

This one is from last week/end, too.  Warm, sunny days are perfect for airplaning through Southpark :)

 I just thought this one was cute - mid stride & arm swing, he looks like he's marching down our walkway...

It's bubble-time!

 Upside-down Ezra!

 After pushing over his basketball hoop, Ezra began his victory dance.


I've been making some really yummy crispy garbanzo beans lately & wanted to share the recipe.  They are crispy, crunchy, very flavorful & full of protein.  SO good.  

Crispy Garbanzo Beans

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed & dried
A couple tablespoons each of cumin, garlic pepper & kosher/sea salt.
A teaspoon or two of chili powder & cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you want them.

Heat oven to 425F, drizzle sheet pan with olive oil.  Put beans (make sure they're dry!) on pan & give 'em a shake to get them covered in the oil.   
Bake 12 minutes.
Give them a shake, sprinkle salt, cumin, garlic pepper.  
Bake for 15 minutes.
Give them another shake, add more seasoning if needed.
Bake 5 minutes.  
Another shake.  Sprinkle on cayenne & chili powder.  Back in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until they are all a darker brown color, but before they burn.  If some are still soft, put them back in for a couple minutes.

I've tried a lot of different black bean burger recipes.  Some have been good, one was wretched, and a few were just okay.  I've taken all the things I liked about the good ones and added some other stuff...and finally settled on my go-to recipe.  In case you want to slap some together, here's my recipe...

Black Bean Burgers

2 cans black beans (make sure they're either organic or simply don't contain anything other than black beans -- trust me, you'd be surprised)
2-3 tablespoons homemade french onion seasoning mix (see below)
1-2 teaspoons cumin
1-2 teaspoons garlic pepper 
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Toppings - extra sharp cheddar, pepper jack, ketchup or chili sauce, mustard, tomato, lettuce

Heat olive oil in a skillet/frying pan over medium to medium-high heat.
Dump everything together in a mixing bowl, reserving half of the breadcrumbs.  Smash the beans with a potato masher or fork, making sire to mix everything well.  Add remaining breadcrumbs as needed to get to a consistency that can be handled without being excessively wet & sticky.  
Divide into 4, form each into a patty slightly smaller than your buns.  They squish & spread out as you eat them, so they need to start off smaller :)
Cook on the first side until brown & crisped, ~8 minutes.  Flip.  Add cheese on top after ~3 minutes, cover to melt the cheese, ~4 minutes.
Toast buns in same pan, add condiments, topping & burgers.  Voila!  Super-tasty black bean burgers.  I like to serve them with quinoa/veggie pilaf and crash potatoes.  Lots of flavor, very filling & a good, clean protein.

Homemade french onion seasoning

1/2 cup dried, minced onion
2 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp celery powder
1 tsp dried parsley
3/4 tsp black pepper

I make my own because the store-bought kind contains MSG.  Ugh.  Seriously?  It's freakin 2012 and MSG is still being used in SO MANY THINGS.  In fact, check your spices.  If you've got pre-mixed spices, like season-all/salt, it's got a variation of MSG.  Most bouillon, too.  Just toss it out.  No amount of extra flavor boost is worth the excitotoxins.  A pinch of (non-iodized) salt will generally bring out the flavor of anything just as well.

I usually set aside a couple big spoonfuls of plain beans for Ez.  I'll add the same seasoning to them (in smaller amounts, obviously) except I omit the cayenne and put a little less cumin.  Smash it together & he loves it :)