Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another year older

Today was my birthday, and it was a wonderful day. I'm not going to dwell too much on it since we didn't take any pictures and since I'm getting older, it's really not as exciting as the younger years (hehe.. that evens sounds old!). I will tell you that my boys let me sleep in until 8:30 (when I woke up on my own!). Steve made me chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Jack pushed up into a sit (supported with his hands) for the first time today too! (Dad helped him practice before I woke up). My family came over for bbq and dessert in the afternoon. We actually got to enjoy the yard, which was awesome! The yard fogger works pretty well.

Now, on to some other fun news. First up, Jack. So last week I was holding him and drinking water at the same time. He started grabbing for the glass. So, I thought I would let him try to drink from it to show him what he was grabbing for. Much to my surprise, he drank from the glass! He actually drank a few sips from the glass; he also dribbled water down his front, but that's all I expected to happen! So tomorrow, when we go on our Target trip, we're picking up a sippy cup for fun. Since that first time, he's taken sips from cups at least three other times, so I don't think it's a fluke.

In the meantime, Steve and I, along with our friends Kurt and Amanda, are really getting started on The Summer of Jeff. I haven't written about this before, and I probably won't go into all of the details in this post, but this is something we've been trying to get started since May. The Summer of Jeff is a list of activities we are trying to accomplish this summer in honor of our friend Jeff Lollar. Jeff passed away unexpectedly in May. Steve, Kurt and Amanda made a list of things Jeff did, liked to do, etc. There are about 30 things on the list. These things include playing Crazy Taxi (a video game), taking a road trip based on a coin toss, going to a Cub's game, and brewing beer. Last weekend, we started the beer brewing. Oh, and I should mention that we are doing all of the Summer of Jeff activities dressed in our Lollar shirts. You'll see what I mean when you see the pictures. Jeff liked these shirts, along with jean jackets, but we all have our limits.

Too many cooks

Making beer tea

Getting darker

early stage of beer

Beer brewing materials

Tonight, Steve and I (mostly Steve) siphoned the beer from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter. We're brewing and IPA, and the liquid we siphoned actually smelled like beer, so I think we're on the right track. Our beer will be ready to drink in about 2 more weeks, so look for the update on taste then. Now when Jeff did this, he had about 50/50 success. The guys describe it as Russian Roulette; you opened the bottle and hoped it was a good one. You knew pretty quick if you got lucky or not. I'm hoping we have better luck with this batch. I think not using a bathtub and not brewing in a basement in DeKalb might bode well for us.

In an attempt to practice what I teach, I'm going to end this post back where I began - my birthday. On Friday night, the Unger women descended on Ravinia Festival to celebrate my birthday and Vita's birthday. Hootie and the Blowfish was playing. It was such a fabulous time. There was plenty of wine, food, and foolishness to keep us the hit of the lawn all night long. I have plenty of photos, some appropriate for the net, some not (Auntie Smegma?). Look for the appropriate ones in the next post!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Almost Past my bedtime

Okay, it's almost my bedtime, but I haven't posted pictures in a while and I wanted to get these 6 month photos up before he's seven months old! Enjoy! I tried this last night and failed. So tonight, here they are!

Seriously... this is my favorite!
The Best Face ever

Look at how big he is getting!

Just a happy guy

Yum, Carrots!

I'm ready for my close-up!

My favorite Mommy/Son photo
Karen and Jack Boat portrait

Monday, July 14, 2008


I feel like I am caught in a whirlwind. This past Friday morning, I flew to Kansas to take part in a 3-day planning session for a journalism teaching group I'm going to be part of this school year. We worked all day, and well into the evening, Friday and Saturday. Then we worked Sunday until we had to leave to catch our flights home. It was very invigorating, but also very fast.

Then, today was the start of my journalism teacher workshop for D214. That goes on pretty much all week. So I woke up bright and early to get myself and Jack ready and out the door by 8 a.m. (I did not wear the green shirt, so we did make it).

We got home around 4 this afternoon and I was exhausted. Jack wanted to play. So we played.

I think this must be how Steve felt this weekend while I was gone. He was helping a friend move, taking care of the house, taking care of the dog and Jack, and trying to work on grad school. He's pretty amazing.

Anyway, our whirlwind is not letting up. Tomorrow after the workshop we are heading to the pediatrician for Jack's 6-month appointment. I'm excited to see how much he weighs and how long he is. I swear he grew a ton while I was gone this weekend.

I'm also going to try something new this week. I'm going to try to take Jack to get his 6-month picture taken at Sears or Babies R Us. I think it might be fun to see what someone else does to photograph him. Don't worry, I'll be taking my own too!

On that note, I'm going to go finish my bedtime routine and hit the hay. 6 a.m. comes awfully quickly!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

No pictures, just some ramblings

So Jack is down for his afternoon nap and I have a few minutes. I seem to be forgetting my camera a lot lately, so I don't have any new pictures for you. This might be a good thing though. Forgetting my camera means that I am spending more time focused on the things we are doing instead of looking for the best angle to shoot from.

Anyway, Jack is a rolling maniac now. It's very fun to watch him roll over to try to reach his toys. I think he really wants to crawl too. He just has to figure out those arms first. The legs are ready.

One of my two favorite things of late are how he smiles at me or Steve when we go to pick him up from his crib after he's been sleeping (nap or night). The look in his eyes is that look you give someone when you haven't seen them for a long time. It makes me feel pretty special. My second favorite thing is the way he looks at Breyer now. He thinks she is just the coolest toy. When she walks into the room, he looks at her and smiles this huge grin. Then he'll just watch her as she walks around the room. If she comes by us, he'll reach out his hands to grab her. I'm trying to teach him how to pet her, but so far we're really only grasping at her hair. All in due time I guess.

So we're having a pretty good week here at the Barrett compound. I hope I'm not jinxing it by saying that! Steve's settling into a routine for grad school. I'm settling into my flylady routines. Jack is adjusting his sleeping routines to keep me on my toes. Breyer is getting to go outside without it being too hot.

Today, Jack and I met Auntie K, Katie and Kelly for brunch at Burnt Toast. We did this once before while I was on maternity leave and it was so much fun. My aunt and cousins are always a hoot, and today was no exception. Jack was a little standoffish at first (I think we might be developing stranger anxiety), but he warmed up pretty quickly. He was smiling and giggling at everyone. We also tried out our booster seat for the first time today. It was pretty nice to be able to have him sit at the table with us and play with his toys. The booster doesn't support him as well as the high chair does, so he was leaning every now and then. But I figure that's a good way to build up the sitting muscles.

Oh, so I'm really liking Flylady. The hardest part so far is trying to not do too much. I'm working on my morning and night routines, which I am finding to be comforting and a struggle at the same time. The night time routine is a little easier since Jack is already asleep. The morning routine is tough since I get up when Jack gets up. I'm thinking I'll just wait until his morning nap and do it then. When I go back to work it will probably be easier because I will be getting up before him. However, the one thing I love about summer is not having to wake up at the crack of dawn, and I'm not willing to give that up for a routine.

Update on the dinners
So the calzones were a hit, although I think Steve would have liked them better with pepperoni instead of so much ricotta and spinach. The Gnocchi with cinnamon butter was also delicious, however I think it is a serious risk to my heart since the sauce is just butter with cinnamon. I melted a stick and half of butter and then drowned the gnocchi in it. How could it not be delicious? I think this recipe is definitely worth making again, just not very often... like once or twice a year.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Garden Update

I know these are a lot of posts for one day. But I have a lot to say.

So it's been a few weeks since we ventured into the yard and started cleaning it up. Good news... the flowers are growing! I almost killed the ones in the window boxes, but they are coming back. The porch flowers are looking pretty good if I do say so myself. My only issue with those is that it appears that some sort of bug is eating at the leaves.

Steve also got out there this week and cleaned up the ridiculous weeds in the front flower bed. To be honest, that was the last thing I wanted to do. I was pretty happy when I got home and saw all of his hard work.

Here are some update photos:

Porch flowers


Steve's hard work

My newest "revolutionary" ideas

Okay, so in my constant attempt to better myself and make my life better, here are the newest things I'm trying.

First up.. to clean my house. My mother has raved about FlyLady forever, and I've even tried it a few times. Now, however, I am getting serious. is a system for those of us who are neat impaired. It helps you set up a series of habits to help you keep your house in order. I'm on day two, and so far, things are going swimmingly. I have a clean sink and I got dressed today. That's how easy it is to get started. Anyway, I'm always up; for starting new good habits, so I figure this could be fun, in a limited definition of the word.

Next, cooking. Well, this isn't really new. Since Jack was born I have found a love for cooking (not just baking). In addition to finding my new favorite grocery store, Angelo Caputo's in South Elgin, I am having a lot of fun researching recipes from Food Network and Epicurious. This is the new part... I'm trying to be good about planning out meals for the week. This week's menu:
Tonight - Mahi Mahi lettuce wraps. They were pretty good overall. Althought next time we will not be using the jalepenos.
Monday - Spinach Calzones
Tuesday - Gnocchi with Cinnamon Butter Sauce - Steve has grad school, so I'm alone on this one.
Wednesday - Chicken Tacos
Thursday - Lasagna Rolls

I'll be traveling Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so the boys are on their own for food then. Although I can take a pretty good guess as to what they each will be eating: Burritos and Rice Cereal/Forumla.

My last new thing is related to the cooking. I'm trying to use coupons for at least one thing every time I shop, anywhere. It's been interesting trying to find coupons. I should just buy the paper. Formula coupons and diaper coupons are pretty easy to come by. It's the other stuff that's a little more difficult.

More pictures that I just like

There were so many photos from July 4th that I just really like. Here are a few more candids.

Sitting High
Sitting High

My newest nephew
Auntie Karen and Nicky

Mom and her boy
Susie and her son

Teaching Jack to Pogo
The first time on a pogo stick

Okay, that's it from the holiday!

I love July 4th

It's been a few days and there is so much to blog about!

First up... July 4th. I love July 4th. We have been going to parents' house now for several years, and each year it gets better and better (and it was pretty darn fun to start with). This year, there was a bona fide baby pool ready for the boys and Steve. Auntie Bubbles made sure there were plenty of glow sticks so we could keep track of Shane and Grandma Sue as the sun went down. The food was incredible. We even made it to the parade and didn't pass out from the heat. Of course, this year the weather was much more tolerable than last year.

I have tons of fun photos from the event. Check them out on the slideshow or on my Flickr photostream. I'll post a few here just for fun.

Pogo Champ
Pogo Champ

Bubbles and the boys
Auntie Bubbles and boys 2

Waiting for the parade
Along the parade route

Shane waiting for the candy

Enjoying Jack's 1st Parade
His firs parade

Pretty Fireworks
Fireworks 6

Snuggled in for the night

A comment on this last one. I am in love with the Baby Bjorn again. It was so nice to be able to snuggle Jack into this during the fireworks, and he didn't seem to mind it too much (and actually was pretty happy once he was tired). The only downside to it is trying to eat. After the fireworks, we go back to my parents' backyard and make s'mores. I love s'mores. Steve was kind enough to make them for me so that I didn't have to get so close to the fire. However, he couldn't help me get them into my mouth. Poor Jack ended up with marshmallow in his hair. Don't worry, he slept right through it. And marshmallow comes out the next day in the bath, no problem!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

It might be the green shirt

We had a great day yesterday. Jack went with me to the dentist, which wasn't that horrible of a visit. Then, the whole family went to dinner with our friends Cindy, Brian and Olivia. We tried out the new restaurant, Rookies, by our house. We sat outside and had a great time. We had so much fun, I didn't realize it was 8 p.m. when we left!

Then, we got home. We had decided earlier that I would put Jack to bed and take care of the night feeding so Steve could get his grad school homework done. So Steve grabbed his book and sat in the office to get reading. I took Jack into his room to get him ready for bed. He had already eaten, so I thought this was going to be easy.

I stripped him down and started changing his diaper. It turns out, he wasn't done with it yet. However, he didn't get me the first time, or the second time. Nope, as per our usual in this situation, he got himself and the changing table. The second spraying was pretty good though, and I needed Steve's help to get him cleaned up and the changing pad cleaned. Jack had gotten even the back of his head wet. So, I picked him up, still naked since I was confident that he was finished after two episodes. He was not finished. Before Steve could get across the hall, Jack had wetted me down.

Now, interestingly, I was wearing the same outfit that I had worn on the giant spit-up, can't get out of the house day. I'm thinking Jack doesn't like the green shirt with sparklies on it.

Anyway, my dear husband, who has been begging Jack to pee on me for months, came running when I called for help. He came running with the camera. I actually thought about posting the photo here. However, there are certain parts of my son's body that I would prefer never appear on the internet, and those parts are clear in this photograph. So, I am sorry, but you will have to use your imagination on this one.

We ended up giving Jack a bath, and he went soundly to sleep right after that, all snug in his jammies. A good ending to his good day.

Brian, this post is for you. I think Jack might have overheard our conversation about the wipes warmer and got the grand idea that this might be the way to get one.