You couldn't be here when Charlie first received his Thomas the Train magazine subscription, so here's a little play by play... (sorry the pictures are a little crazy)
First he got really excited and jumped around. Then he stood by the couch to look at it, until he got too tired and had to sit down. With great concentration he studied many pages, until he wanted Mommy to read to him ("Mama, please, Mama, please, Mama, please"). We found a physical activity page with a few train yoga poses on and decided to get busy. One involved dragging himself under my legs pretending he was a train going under a bridge, while another involved chuffing along, and still another was hopping on one foot, pretending to be Thomas going around a corner too fast (if you've watched Thomas the train, then you know what I mean, "Slow down Thomas!"). Then Charlie decided to paint (as the book suggested coloring in a paint job, and he wanted to do the real thing). And finally we called Papa Steve (from the dryer) to say Thank you for a busy day.
Oh, and we had Salmon Creole for lunch (recipe from Bringing up Bebe). It was pretty tasty and a great way to use stewed tomatoes. I'm really enjoying the food philosophy for toddlers, and also really enjoying food lately (so hang on Lizzie, you'll feel like this soon). Also, Charlie has been eating meals like a champ since he hasn't been allowed to snack as frequently; it makes meal time much more enjoyable.
Now that I know Katie has seen Liz's big announcement post, I can put up pictures of Charlie's new bed. His Grandpa and YaYa delivered it today. Grandpa Steve made it to match the toy box he made for Charlie about a year and a half ago, and it has storage galore. Charlie is so far in love with it. I'm only a little worried because its kind of tall, but he's probably big enough to handle it at this point. It was funny to tuck him in with a top sheet tonight and blankets tucked in the the mattress; and in that way he had outgrown his crib-sized bed. I feel like he is as snug as a little bug in there tonight (tucked in with Pooh, Pooh #2, the frog, Geoffrey the Giraffe and Shake-A-Bear, and with room to spare; but no more friends in bed, that's the limit).
And of course I had to put up a new picture of Charlie and his Kali. She delivered Charlie's Ikea mattress on Saturday, and we loved having her stay with us. Charlie wouldn't even let me enter the room sometimes, he thought maybe I would ruin his fun (and I didn't even mind).
Sorry, Becky & Katie, I couldn't wait to tell you in person! We've been laying in the weeds for 3 months now. Baby Tostenson #2 is due to make his/her arrival August 24. Wheew! (For those of you who know me best - this must be the L..O..N..G..E..S..T secret I've ever kept.)
Interesting fact: there is a baby due every month from a member of our congregation starting in March and ending in August. We may meet or beat last year's record-setting number of baptisms! There were 8, but we've already had at least one this year, so it's going to be close. If boisterous toddlers and babbling babies is something you enjoy about attending church, Black Hammer is the place for you.
Good luck and take care all my glowing & growing sister-members, especially Becky;)
Before Liz and Clarence arrived, Charlie and I made Gnocchi di Semola (Semolina Flour Gnocchi) to go along with our Italian inspired spring beet greens (previously blanched and frozen from the garden when we thinned out our beets last year; I was saving them for a special occasion) with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and chopped walnuts. We are using Katie's cookbook Cooking with Italian Grandmothers by Jessica Theroux. We were in northwest Italy (Bra, Piemonte) with Grandmother Irene. They were pretty good (I was the only one that thought they were a little bland), and as they are baked with only 1 tbs. of butter in the whole batch, pretty low-fat I would think. We used the Semolina flour, which we purchased at our co-op. The sprinkles on top are good Parmesan and breadcrumbs made from homemade hearth bread. (And then I completely forgot to take After pictures of our meal.)
And then we played, and the boys had fun. Most of my pictures were turning out so blurry I decided to stop trying and just enjoy their beautiful relationship; but here are a few of the better ones. ~Becky
"A deep rich and nutty flavor, perfect for pizza or with some sangiovese. There is a small waxy rind so be careful when grating."
Charlie and I love shopping at our co-op, and picked this cheese up to try (now that Katie is in Italy, we're trying Italian). I think they must purchase it in bulk because a hunk was cut off and repackaged.
This was not my favorite cheese until we started eating it with apple slices for our after nap snack; but everyone enjoyed it well enough to eat it (though we still have a little dab left). We also tried some melted with cauliflower that we had frozen from our garden last year. That was pretty good- but Charlie just loves to eat his broccoli and cauliflower like a champ.
Provolone is an Italian cheese, with the most important production region in Northern Italy. This modern provolone cheese was made with cow's milk and is semi-hard. Dolce means sweet (Provolone Piccante is sharp after being aged a minimum of 4 months).
It was the big ultrasound day today- 19 weeks and 4 days. Pretty crazy, huh? With the 3D/4D ultrasound, you can see what the baby looks like (and interesting bits of my insides)- and to me, so far I think the baby looks like Charlie, especially in the first picture.
Everything with the baby looked good, so that's a lovely feeling. Now I can put all of my anxiety and worry into things like organizing and getting ready (yeah, I like to nest).
Oh, and if you talk to Charlie, don't believe him- there is only one baby in there, not two. And for clarificatoin, that is the baby's hand on its face in the first picture, actually both of its hands are by its face, and stayed that way most of the time. The baby did not ever stop moving and was mostly all streched out, just kicking away. I could feel it and see it at the same time.
As I am writing on a borrowed computer, this will be brief, but I wanted to let you all know that I have arrived in Italy, in Milan. I have seen the Duomo, il Castello Sforzesco, etc. They are very beautiful. But I feel very mundane, and fuori la moda (out of style) when window shopping (which one cannot help but do all of the time). Speaking italian is returning to me quite quickly and I have already made a some italian, french, turkish, swiss, and american friends here at the hostel (which is a super nice one). Allora, I must go as I have only what remains of today to see all the rest of Milan.
Okay, Irish Cheese. This is a smooth and mild gouda style cheese made from grass-fed cow's milk and imported from Ireland. Not a speck of artificial flavors or additives. Listen to this, from the label, "In Ireland, cows graze on the green pastures of small family farms. This milk is churned to make Kerrygold butter & cheeses." Their website advises pairing this cheese with fresh fruit and crisp wine, but we ate it plain, as dessert. And again with tomato soup. (Kerrygold also has recipes and party tips).
A little more about Gouda cheese- wikipedia describes it as an iconic Dutch yellow cheese made from cow's milk. It is one of the most popular varieties of cheese worldwide, and the name is used today as a general term for a variety of similar cheese produced in the traditional Dutch manner as well as the Dutch original. Age determines flavor, and Blarney Castle is thought of as similar to a young gouda.
Travis thought this cheese was "sharp" and "creamy", I thought "tangy", with a good after taste and Charlie said "more". I did find it to be somewhat crumbly, but this makes sense after realizing it is semi-soft. And who knew, after 6 1/2 years of marriage, I never realized until now that Travis likes cheese. We've just never really gotten into variety before, although I've been getting quality paremesan for a couple of years now. So that's kind of exciting, and makes this a little more fun.
On another cheese note, a blog we follow here at the Wistes- Cheese Underground, has compared cheeses from Wisconsin and Italy- pertinent as Katie is currently in Italy (I think) and as such we shall next be sampling their cheese (as I am sure she is also doing! along with probably some great local wine). There are SO many choices when it comes to Italian cheese- join us next time on CHEESE to see what we have decided to taste.
Greetings from across the pond. My train made it all the way across the Atlantic, although the passengers did get a bit wet. Ha Ha - can't help but make a joke on Grandpa, even if he isn't here to defend himself. Anyways . . . My planes did all land safely and despite practically living in the O'Hare and Heathrow airports (between the two, I was in airports for 13+ hours) I am feeling well and am ready to hit the road. My first meal I picked up at the nearby Centra (Liz, did you shop at these?); it consists of a chicken breast sandwich, a big can of Carlsberg beer, and a pack of these delicious Fox's chocolates. They are akin to Kit-Kats with the wafers and chocolate, but they manage to be quite a bit crunchier and the chocolate is of a better quality.
I wish I could post some pictures, but I don't think I can hook up my camera to this computer. I think this may be a continuing problem throughout the trip. My apologizes in advance. But I'll do my best. I can tell you, however, that I saw a lot of green fields and a lot of water from the airplane. Upon landing, I saw a small flock of sheep and a cloudy, rainy sky. So far I have seen very little of downtown, but I did drive past Temple Bar on my way to this hostel, which has proven to be warm, dry and clean - the three most important things to a weary traveler.
With that I shall retire for the evening. I have slept very little in the past 2 days (about 4 or 5 hours on the flight over, but I was continually awoken by turbulence and uneasiness), so my plan for the night includes mostly sleep.