My Time in Granny Class

When Tony signed up for classes, I felt a twinge of jealousy.  I was excited for him to go back to school because I loved school.  I loved learning and going to class.  The tests I could do without, but I just love learning new things.  I'm a nerd.

When I had to drive Tony to his first day of classes, my jealousy was embarrassingly apparent.  I was squealing with excitement for Tony, telling him how fun it was that he was going to school.  I kept talking about how I wish I could have a "first day" of school again.  I was like seriously way too excited about my husband going to his class.

Tony somehow picked up on this.  On our family walks we usually grab the mail and I try to browse through it while we walk (sometimes this is not good.  I'm not good at walking and doing things).  One particular afternoon we got a pamphlet for the UVU community education classes.  Tony suggested I sign up for a class, recommending a class in HTML.  I do a lot of graphic design work for his freelance clients, and HTML would be something helpful to learn.  I signed up one night and did a happy dance (really, I did) because I WAS GOING TO SCHOOL! (Sorta.) The class I am taking is considered Basic and I knew going into it that the majority of it would probably be a refresher for me, but I was still excited and thought it would be good to learn.

Last week was my first class.  After a horribly stressful day that resulted in cancelling the babysitter and making Tony come home early from work so I could go, I headed to my two-hour long class.  I sat down in my seat in front of computer and relaxed for a few minutes.  As I began looking around, I realized that I was a good 20-25 years younger than the majority of the class.  That's cool, I'm down with the old ladies.  They're awesome.  I did feel a bit silly, but I was still eager to learn. 

We got the formalities out of the way, introductions and parking passes and such.  Then we got the "intro to HTML" lecture from the teacher.  Like I expected, it was all stuff I knew, but it went PAINFULLY slow. 
My only entertainment was giggling at comments being made in the class.  "Does this work on The Google?" is one that sticks out in my mind.  I was SO bored.  I think I underestimated myself when I signed up or Basic instead of Intermediate, haha.  It may be a long 6 weeks. :)

I'm so grateful that Tony let me take a class.  If anything its good to get out of the house and feel like I'm doing something that doesn't involved Teddy Grahams, poopy diapers, and cleaning. It's also a nice feeling knowing I'm totally the smartest one in class.  That NEVER happened in real school, hahaha.


To the Zoo

We decided to go the zoo this weekend.  The weather was perfect and we thought Audrey would appreciate it since she's been really into animal books lately.  We were also excited to see the new Rocky Shores exhibit there and see the new polar bear!

We started out with the monkeys.  Audrey thought they were cats, haha.  She LOVED being able to walk around this time.  She was squealing the entire time, running around.

Playing in the hollow log...

 Right by the seal/sea Lion exhibit was this friendly little seal statue.  Audrey was pretty fascinated by it.

Okay, this next picture is kind of a funny story.  Near the new Rocky Shores exhibit there was a little gift shop.  I wandered over to look at it because I spotted some small stuffed otters.  We call Audrey "Otter" as a nickname so I thought it would be cute to get her one.  Audrey followed me over to the shop and ran straight for this bald eagle toy.  We showed her bears, seals, and the otter and she wanted nothing to do with them.  She snuggled this eagle and just like that, the otter was out.  You can see her clinging to it in the rest of the pictures.  It's funny how kids just make up their minds about stuff.  We keep wondering what it was about that little eagle that made her love it so much.  I totally would have chosen the bear or the otter.  They were WAY cuter, haha.

The polar bear walking around.  I was sad that we didn't get to see her swim. :(

Checking out some porcupines...

I thought this was a cool picture I snagged of the snow leopard.

After our zoo trip we ate dinner at a place called the Blue Plate Diner.  I had heard lots of good things about it and it was pretty cheap.  It was a typical greasy-spoon diner type place but we all liked it.  Audrey ate nearly half a hamburger, I had a Reuben, and Tony got a meatloaf sandwich.  Like I said, greasy, but YUMMY!  I would go back again.  It's a total dive but I liked it a lot.

Hooray for fun weekends!  Now Tony says we can't complain when he goes to work tomorrow. :)


Troubles in Toddler Discipline

I've been struggling lately with the whole concept of "disciplining" Audrey.  I realize that she is only 15 months old, and discipline isn't entirely necessary, except that it is.  Audrey understands the word "no" and she understands "I don't think so!" She knows when she is doing something naughty.  I know this because she will look at me say "no no no!" grin, and do it anyway.  If I give a firm "no" she giggles.  If I move her hands, she giggles.  I try to explain to her why things are dangerous and can hurt her.  She knows the word "ouch" and uses it quite a bit during the day because she's constantly falling.  I hate using "no" so much, and plane to tone the usage of that word WAY down in the future, but for now it is a simple way to communicate to her and something she understands.

Some things I don't want Audrey to do, she just simply doesn't understand.  Let me give you an example:

Saturday Audrey had an ice cream scoop, one of her many favorite kitchen items.  It has a metal scoop and a soft, rubbery handle.  I realize this isn't an optimal toy for a toddler, but she sneaks it out of the babyproofed drawers on a daily basis.  I try to pick my battles wisely and so I sometimes allow her to play with said scoop.  Anyway, she was taking this scoop and banging our coffee table with it, making dings in the furniture.  I said to Audrey, "no no!  That hurts the table, ouch!" All she did was repeat what I said, and continue the behavior.  Tony suggested I remove the scoop from the situation and THEN explain.  Well that went over well...as soon as I took her scoop she was in full hysterics on the floor.  A beautiful example of your stereotypical toddler tantrum.  Yes, explaining that the scoop would hurt the table would be wonderfully effective at this point.  Once she stopped crying and said, "please?" to get her scoop back, I handed it to her.  She again started banging the table, and the whole ugly cycle repeats itself.

My concern here is that Audrey didn't understand that I didn't want her to bang the table.  For all she knows, I just didn't want her to have the scoop.  I don't know how to teach Audrey in these situations exactly which behavior I do not condone.  Audrey understands so much, and is so good at talking and using her words, but it is hard to communicate (and understand for that matter) this kind of stuff at her age. 

Audrey isn't a bad kid.  She's just a curious toddler who gets into things and explores.

So, here's where you all come in.  Tell me your methods.  Recommend your books.  Send me your YouTube videos.  I need some guidance here.  I have been very well trained in Love and Logic, and used it daily for my job as a preschool teacher.  I think it is wonderfully effective and helpful.  However, Love and Logic, in my opinion, is geared toward older children.  Once she turns 2 and 3, we will be all over Love and Logic.  I've read a bit of Dr. Harvy Karp's The Happiest Toddler on the Block and while I see some good things in methodologies, I'm not totally convinced.  I know that communication is key in scaling back tantrums and that miscommunication is the main reason tantrums erupt, but I just need to understand the most effective way to communicate with Audrey at this stage in life.

What are your favorite methods/techniques/books/etc. for effective toddler "discipline"?  (For the record, I am very much against corporal punishment, so spanking is simply not an option.)

Thanks for your input!


You Know What Grinds My Gears?

High-altitude baking.

I have struggled with this concept since the day I moved here.  Having come from nearly sea level Indiana, I never had to do anything but follow directions on recipes for baked goods.  Here, you have to search the box/recipe for the tiny fine print that tells you that if you don't add extra flour and omit some oil, you might as well throw your batter out the window.

I can't count the number of times I've had sad-looking, flat-as-pancake chocolate chip cookies.  Of course, I ate them anyway.  I'm no respecter of cookies.  They are still delicious, they just don't make you go "ooohhhhh" when you bite into them.  You kind of have to roll them up in a ball to even get anything to chew on.  I always forget to read the high-altitude instructions on things.  When we first got married, if I bought cake mix I would always highlight the high-altitude instructions, circle them, draw stars by them so that I wouldn't forget and have a floppy cake.  I got out of that habit somehow, and I always realize that I forgot to follow them after I put my pan in the oven.  It's really hard. (First-world problems, here.)

If you want to bake some fabulous cookies here, you can't just Google your way to chocolate chip perfection.  Martha Stewart's best-ever fabulous chocolate chunk walnut delights?  NOPE.  Recipe with over 1 million pins on Pinterest?  NOPE.  Unless you have memorized the amounts of flour you need to make cookies in the mountains, you can't rely on even the best internet recipes.  (Why do all of the good bakers live at sea level, anyway?)

Today I told Tony I would bake him some cookies for his big hike tomorrow.  He's doing his annual Lone Peak adventure with his sister and high-calorie treats are a necessity when you're hiking for 12 hours.  I looked on Pinterest before I realized it was pointless.  Finally I searched for high altitude chocolate chip cookies, experimented a little, and I made it happen.

Let me introduce you to the fluffiest, chewiest, sexiest chocolate chip cookies on this side of the Mississippi:

Poor photo quality brought to you by my iPad

They look like bakery cookies, don't they?!  I figured it out!  They are thick and chewy with the slightest bit of crunch on the edges.  Ahhh....

You wanna know the recipe, dontcha?  I'll post it for my fellow high-altitude bakers.

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chunks (I just chopped up a Ghiradelli bar)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  
  2.  In a skillet on the stove top roast whole walnuts over medium heat.  You know they're done when you start to smell them.  Remove from heat onto cutting board and let them cool.  Once cooled, chop. I like my walnut pieces kind of small, but chop them to whatever size you like.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter just until blended, then mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts so they are evenly distributed. 
  4. Drop cookies by spoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheets. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges begin to turn golden, 12 to 15 minutes (in my oven it's more like 10-13, so just go with whatever time your oven takes). Allow cookies to cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.  This allows them to firm up so you don't have any "cookie casualties."
There you have it.  We don't have to suffer any longer!  Now excuse me, I have to go eat my fourth cookie...