Thursday, November 30, 2006

Haven't blogged lately as I'm still fighting off this dreadful cold. It eases during the day, but wipes me out in the evenings. Adding to that is Ethan's dreadful behavior of late. Jason are rather baffled what to do with him. He's mean, purposely destructive, challenging our every word and demanding. These last 2-3 weeks have been so tough, perhaps even more tough than when we brought Gwen home and dealt with all that.

Here are some pics we took on Monday when we braved the incredibly icy roads to go to my parents house. We were suffering extreme cabin fever and had to do something. A little adventure is the perfect remedy.

On the Newburg (road my parents live off of). It might look safe, but it was a solid and thick sheet of ice.

We slid a long way before being able to turn into their driveway (where the mailboxes are)

Going down the long driveway. The snow was very deep through here, and it was very "magical" with everything still so white and fresh.

Ethan and Mommy, ready to sled.

Down we go... there was so much snow blowing at us that I was perpetually squinting!

Yes, that's Tilli. Yes, she did ride on the sled with me for a good distance. Yes, she did enjoy it! After she jumped off, I grabbed her collar and she pulled me further!

Gwen's turn. She did not enjoy it as much as Ethan or the dog :)

Warming up and waiting for our clothes to dry in the house. Note the hot chocolate beard Ethan wears with style.

Just a few minutes after we'd left... tired babies.

A serious accident closed off our regular way home, so we had to take a back route

Thought this was kinda pretty with the sun, snow and clouds...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

You know what I love the most about snow?

How it insulates things.

How the world becomes eerily quiet.

No cars, no distant sounds of freeways, construction or kids waiting for buses.

Blissfully, perfectly, quiet.
Pics from our snow outings, yep, we had two this evening. One before dinner, waiting for our pizza guy to come... we had to help push him out of the snow to get going again and we are not hopeful that he made it back to his work! Ethan and Gwen insisted on round two after dinner.
They LOVE snow!

A tree by our front door, it was standing fully upright just a few hours ago.

Their first snow experience. They were wary.

Mommy building...

and building more, with help


Round two, more confident and ready to roll!

We waited for a serious good laugh to come from this, but she lucked out and didn't get flushed with snow :)

Mmm... snow yummy

It came up to his mid-calf

"Mommy, I'm a dog! I dig!"

I added a dog/cat/rabbit friend to our snow lady.
Ugh. So much to blog about!

Ok, the week started off well, with the new rug and all. Tuesday I took the kids out to my Mom's while I went to therapy and did the last of my Thanksgiving shopping. J and I went out to dinner (eeew, Ixtapa in Snohomish) and then headed out to my Mom's to get the kids. We had a rather nerve racking time there, due to some family stuff going on. I can't really go into detail, but please keep my Aunt and cousins in your prayers for continued strength, healing and peace in this time of change.

Thursday was the big day and we had a good time. My grandparents were able to come which was a huge blessing. We wore Grandpa out quick (no surprise, the kids do that to a person!), but we were so honored that he would come when he was feeling so weary. Grammy came bearing her lovely smile and snacks. We love ya Grandpa and Grammy!

After dinner, something happened that I haven't seen in a long time. My Mom played a game. And not even a board game, but Texas Hold'em! Yes, she played Texas Hold'em and pretty decently at that.

I kicked everyone out at about 8 and zonked out. The next morning I woke with a sore throat, achy head and sinus pain. Ugh.

Despite not feeling well, I worked the entire day on finishing up Jenni's birthday present... Wanna see it? I'm pretty proud, as I'm not crafty in the slightest. I was inspired by my friend Laurie who sent two lovely fleece tied blankets for the kids. Jason didn't tell me I was holding it upside down, so if you can't make it out, its a horse pattern. Its backed with a cream fleece. Oh, and for perspective, I'm standing on the table and its touching the ground... its a huge blanket. I'd say over 100 inches long and about 50 some wide.

Saturday I made some soup for the family get together. It was a potato, leek and fennel soup. Well, I used some homemade turkey stock which was very... turkey-ish. It resulted in a soup tasting like mashed potatoes and turkey gravy, with a hit of fennel. Or that's what I heard anyway, I couldn't taste a thing with being all stuffed up. It was really good to see the Hollenbecks, and our Brynne who had moved so far away was there too.

Today I worked on getting the house picked up, putting out our Christmas stuff and getting laundry done. I've come to an understanding with myself about laundry. I don't mind fetching it out of a basket. I do mind fetching children's clothes though, so I work on putting those away. Otherwise, I don't stress it. I feel somewhat freed by this understanding.

Speaking of Christmas stuff, Ethan and Gwen are utterly fascinated with our nativity set (inherited from my great-grandma Hazel). I'm thinking I'll get them a play nativity because this one is too special to allow much handling.

It was snowing on and off all day, but this afternoon it really started coming down and sticking. The only way we were able to get the kids to nap was to promise that they could go out after they got up.

I'd say we have 2+ inches of snow, easy.

This pic was taken when it first started sticking, around 2:30.

3 hours later...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Guess what? I got a new rug. Woo hoo!

Its wool and burgandy and the pattern on it perfectly matches my curtains. I love it!

The kids love it and were rolling around on it after bath, hence the nakedness :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Ta-da! Here's the new stuff!

Our new dining chairs. Plain, simple, stainproof. Its all we can really expect at this time of our lives :)

The new sofa

New chair. Please excuse the mess. Things have been a little loose the last couple days.

Love seat

I forgot to blog about it yesterday, but we took Marsh Road out through Snohomish and up to Everett. The devastation from flooding was shocking. Really, the worst I've seen since that one time years ago when homes were floating down and hitting the trestle.

All the new nurseries that had gone in, the corn maze, the fruit and veg stands, the espresso stand, everything trashed. The one place that sold flowers had been pushed down to the very far end of the field and was half sunk. The water was, I'd say, at least knee deep in most of the fields and there were hundreds of geese! People were stopping and taking picture because there were so many. Water was still over the road in places. It was quite sad. We drove that road nearly every day when we lived in our old house. That espresso stand had just been bought and struggling to stay in business. So all this destruction and the worst of the flooding had been done for about a week now :( I can't imagine what it looked like at its worst.

Oh, going back to today's activities, I cleaned all the carpet upstairs and it looks so good. Once again I can enjoy putting my piggy toes into it and not thinking about all the ick. I worked pretty much from when the kids left (10am) to about 5pm. Moving, cleaning, building. I was so ravenous I broke my pizza plateau and ate an appalling 5 pieces (in all fairness, 3 were kinda small). Ah well, with all the activity, I'm sure I've just broke even, right?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

We spent most of today out shopping.

You know how I said we were shopping for new dining chairs. Well, um, it grew into more than that. We ended up with a 3 piece living room set (love seat, sofa, chair) and 6 dining chairs. WAY more than we'd planned on.

However, I can't regret it... our sofa (as many of our visitors know) has been through hard times. Its been peed on, many a coffee has been spilled on it, spots have been worn through the fabric. Honestly, we didn't expect any better of it because it only cost us $300 in the first place. Its purpose was to only last a few years, and it did that well. I've listed it on Craigslist, along with the huge recliner and hopefully they'll go quick so we don't have to store them too long. If anyone is interested, especially after I gave that GREAT sales pitch a few sentences back, let me know. A friend will get 'em for free, we just want them gone.

Our new set is leather like material (its not leather, but it looks and feels just like leather) in a warm latte color. We have come to the conclusion that anything but leather or wood or other wipeable material isn't worth it at this point in our lives. We have dogs and kids. There was a fabric replacement warranty that we purchased. For $60 they will replace any rips, tears, etc for 5 years. We figured that we will need this at least once and only one time would pay for itself. We really didn't spend a ton either. We plan on this set lasting us another 5 years or so and upgrade then, when the kids are mostly past their destructive phase.

We really liked the furniture place we bought from. Huge selection, good quality and decent prices. Even better, both their enormous warehouses are 10 min from our house.

Anyway, we go and get the stuff tomorrow. Mom is graciously coming here in the morning, dropping off the flatbed, taking our car and the kids to church so we can get everything moved out and later that afternoon, everything moved in. I'm also going to try and get the playroom and kids bedroom carpet cleaned.

No trial run on the turkey this year. Just don't have the time! I'll be doing a salt-roasted bird which should be fabu. Since our Thanksgiving group will be small, I can do a regular sized, 14lb turkey. I don't think I've cooked one under 20 lbs in years!

Friday, November 17, 2006

So we've been hitting a lot of parks lately. Most in Snohomish are either completely water logged or closed (our beloved Pilchuck Park has been closed for at least a week now). Yesterday we did Ferguson Park, which was ok. When its dried out and the lake has gone down, I could see it being fun, as its right on Blackmans Lake with lots of ducks.

It was rather funny because Ethan had to go potty RIGHT now, but the bathrooms were closed for the season which makes no sense because a playground is pretty much a year round activity. Anyway, beings as we were the only ones there, I found the most remote tree possible (which wasn't easy given the location and sparse treeage) and had him pee on it. Oh, that really did thrill him. Gwen wanted to take off her diaper and try too, but I had to stop that right there. I can't have the kids thinking that its ok to just drop trou and pee on trees whenever they like!

Today we tried Pilchuck Park again, but still closed. So, using this very un-detailed map I'd printed off online, we tried to find Morgantown. Well I drove all over with no luck, but then I saw it from a very long distance and managed to find it. Its really tucked in a very unlikely place. The kids really liked this one because they could see the river and throw leaves into it, from a distance of course. The wind was pretty lively and Ethan was getting a kick out of throwing leaves and having them come right back at him.

For dinner we had a recipe recommended to me by a message board friend (with my substitutions). Tilapia with creamed spinach. I liked it alot, as did Gwen. Daddy and Ethan were "eh". Its quite simple.

Set oven to 450.

Spray baking dish with cooking spray

Season tilapia with salt and pepper and place in dish

Combine defrosted creamed spinach (I made my own) with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup parm

Place mixture over tilapia, sprinkle with more parm

Bake for about 20 min, or until done

We had ours with mixed fingerling potatoes, which included those cool purple ones. I love purple potatoes just because they look pretty.

Tomorrow Becki will be coming to babysit while J and I shop for dining chairs. Once they were doused with milk, it was quite apparent they needed to be replaced.

Off to read and eat my Blizzard that J picked up for me :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tonight we had soft tacos for dinner. Incredibly messy and called for a bubble bath, with a good rub down of soap AND shampoo. Generally we only shampoo them once a week and soap even less frequently, but this needed serious intervention.

The wind and rain has been crazy here since about 2pm, but still the power remains on. So nice.

We got some excellent news about my Grandpa. The tumors in his chest have shrunk 40%! He's also lost 12 more lbs of water weight. They won't know about the brain stuff for another week or two, but chances are that if the chest tumors have shrunk the brain ones have too. This is such an answer to the many many prayers that have been surrounding my Grandpa and Grammy over the last weeks.

My new favorite (but its actually kinda old) song:

Reasons not to walk in the driving wind and rain:

  1. You will become soaked. Soaked down to your underwear, despite a hardy rain coat.
  2. The children, while finding it amusing at first (with the rain at their back), don't take to it very well when the rain is now blowing in their faces on the return. This is complicated by the fact that they are strapped tight into a stroller and unable to move.
  3. People will drive by you very slowly and ask if you are need of a drive home.
  4. The wind may kick up strong enough to blow the stroller away from you while you stop to tie your shoe. That's 35lbs stroller weight, 35lbs boy weight and 20lbs girl weight, all moved by the howling wind that is also pushing rain into your face, as previously mentioned.
  5. Your son may keep kicking off his shoes because he finds it humorous that Mommy has to fish the shoe out of puddles to put it back on.
  6. Eventually Mommy stops putting the shoes on and now appears to be a doubly irresponsible parent for taking her children out in the rain and also for taking them out shoeless.
  7. Your daughter may chant, repeatedly, "Wet Mommy! Bath! Wet Mommy! Bath!" If she doesn't receive acknowledgement, she chants louder and with more gusto.
  8. You may become breathless and unable to respond to your children, which can make you appear to be a thrice bad parent (out in rain, shoeless and now ignoring the darling little babes).
  9. When you arrive home, you remove the children, drain, set them down and they immediately want more rain. NOW.
  10. Its ever so exhausting (which I suppose is good from a working out perspective)

Monday, November 13, 2006

After recovering from the milk incident (which was one of the worst messes I've had to clean up from either dog or child), I brought the kids to Mom's house so that she could watch them while I went to therapy. Afterwards, Jason and I went to a nifty little restaurant called Alligator Soul in Everett. We would highly recommend it. The cuisine is Cajun and very unique. There was nothing on the menu familiar to us. The place itself was small, but they had worked in a stage and a guy was there playing and singing the blues. It was just a really awesome place, and the prices were quite affordable. Definitely the best place we've been to in Everett, and the ambiance was fun.

Saturday we tried to go to Pilchuck Park in Snohomish (our favorite local park) but it was closed due to flooding. The soccer fields were completely under water :( So we hit that small park by the library and the kids had a good time, though they were super tired and rather cranky by the time we left.

Sunday was the football game of course, so we didn't go far from the house. We took the kids on a short puddle splashing walk, then lazed around watching the game, reading and playing a new game on the XBox.

Today we went out early to Grammy and Grandpas house to try and fix their printer. Grammy kindly played interference with the kids so I could talk with Grandpa and do my work. After about an hour we were able to narrow it down to a faulty ink cartridge. Generally I would have tested that first, but it was new cartridge so it wasn't high on my suspect list. We brought them some beef stew from Sunday along with some brown rolls. I hope they enjoy it!

I did go back on my Zoloft a few days ago. My therapist really gave me some strong words about going off cold turkey and I won't try that again. I will be cutting the dose in half, then in half again over time with the aim of being off completely maybe by the first of the year. We'll see.

Ethan and Gwen have been growing and learning. Ethan talks incredibly well now (though with a lisp at times) and has quite an attitude. He is *very* terrible two! But he's also very loving and gentle and caring. During the bad times last week, he went out of his way to comfort me and ask me what was wrong and hug me. He's a really good boy. He wears diapers only during nap and bedtime and although he does have an accident here and there, he's done really well with the potty training thing.

Gwen is sassy. She has more personality in her little finger than any other child I know! She has these little "poses" that she does just for the drama, and she is always into something. She loves shoes and wears any pair she can find, including Mommy and Daddy's! Her hair is touching her back now and finally she lets me put "pretties" in her hair and most of the time she won't pull them out. Her talking is far advanced, much farther than Ethan was at this age. Its still strange to see this tiny little thing flying around the house at top speed, fearless and free. Oh, she has gone on the potty a few times. I wouldn't call it potty training per se, but she knows what it is and how to do it. I think in a few months we'll be ready to start officially.

Friday, November 10, 2006


1 full gallon of milk
Your dining room table
Your dining room chairs, which yesterday had their protective covers removed so they could be washed, leaving your chairs vunerable to spills.

Just imagine how bad it could be, then x10.

I'm beginning to feel like the stay at home Mom version of Job.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Last night we had something out of the ordinary (for us).

I had picked up some Tilapia fillets, frozen, at Costco and we cooked them in foil packets for dinner.

I julienned carrots, fennel and onions (basically all the leftover veg in my fridge), sauteed them briefly in olive oil, then threw in some minced garlic at the end. A bed of veg went on the foil, then the seasoned fish, then more veg on top, a hit of wine and olive oil, seal 'em up and into the oven at 375 for 20 min. Served over rice. Even J liked it.

Today I'm feeling a bit better emotionally, but my head is "jolting" quite a bit. It feels like my brain is trying to make some connection and is missing, and then tries again and makes it. I realize that sounds bizarre. It gets worse when I'm stressed out or feeling overwhelmed. Its uncomfortable.

We're back to torrents of rain, which I don't mind so much. The kids love to splash outside. Jason said the Snohomish valley (right at Marsh road) was pretty much all under water. A few more days of rain and hwy 9 will be closed again through there. Tomorrow I'm going to drive over the trestle and I'm curious to see if the river has breached the levees yet.

Off to watch some TV with Ethan and drink my coffee.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Very tiring and draining day. Didn't seem to go more than 5 min without bursting into tears. Perhaps I'll try to write more tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I tried going off my Zoloft... this was my second day. I was having some frightening side effects, despite this, I was fairly set on braving it out.

However, I've decided to go back on it. Not because of the side effects of withdrawl, but because, well, I just am happier when I'm rather numbed out by the drugs. Thats an honest statement right there. Before quitting two days ago, things were pretty smooth, nothing ruffled my feathers too much. Things are already ruffling my feathers and I don't want that and so perhaps its best that I just stay on the meds. I'm ok with the fact that I may need to be on this for years and years longer. Its just what I need to manage right now.
Gwen flashing her new cheesy smile. She's got killer hair though ;)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Check out this enormous leaf I picked up at my Mom's.

The one on the far right is one that I got from the park the other day, thinking that it was pretty big. Ha! The leaf on the left totally pwns the leaf on the right :)

(excuse my man-hands)

I measured and its height (not counting the stem) was 13.5 inches. Its width at the widest spot was 18.5. Yes, I took the time to measure a leaf. Occassionally, nature deserves a geek out :)

Various park pics from yesterday. We were able to enjoy the small break in the weather.

Wind Mommy, Wind!

There were so many leaves at the park. Big, fluffy, enormous piles of leaves.

How far can I venture in before Dad says stop?

Splashing in puddles... a new favorite activity

Tree hugger!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Jason had to work today which was bad for him and bad for us.

The weather has been crazy. I can't believe that we haven't lost power, but I think all the lines around here are underground. We've had wild winds driving rain for the last two days and they say we have two more to go. Up to 6 inches of rain maybe. Wow!

Yesterday we went and visited Grammy and Grandpa. To all those who have been praying for him and my Grammy, thank you. Grandpa is doing well. He's lost a lot of water weight, his infections are healing up and his spirits seemed good. The kids were so glad to see them, and today they asked if we could go see "Gammy and Poppa" again.

You know, life is funny. Today I was going stir-crazy with the kids, so we bundled up in rain boots and coats, stomped around in puddles, then hopped in the car. We returned some books to the library, then, to avoid having to go home we did a drive-by of our old house.

As my long time readers know, we had some really awful neighbors there. They were petty, and mean and couldn't keep their noses out of everyone's business.

Imagine my joy then when I drove by the house and saw that the new residents had extended the fence and planted trees all the way to sidewalk, cutting off the neighbors view of the front yard. What was even better... oh, and I really got a good chuckle over this... There were like 5 cars parked all over the lawn, half built wood "things" (not sure what they were) and two boats wedged in there. Literally, every square inch of front yard had a vehicle touching it.

This must be driving the neighbors crazy.


Before I log off, I want to share my new favorite quick meal recipe.

Its for Bacon and Scallion Quesadillas. There is an actual recipe, but the amounts don't really matter.

In a nutshell, you cut bacon into 1 inch pieces and fry it up in a non-stick, 12 in saute pan. When its crisp, put it on a paper towel and drain the fat into a bowl. Don't discard, you'll need it. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.

Grate some cheese and chop some green onions while you wait for the bacon to cook. We also added some finely chopped pickled jalepeno. Yum.

Put the wiped skillet on med-high heat. Now, take a tortilla (I used 6 in ones, but the recipe calls for 8 in) and place it in the pan to heat, 30 sec to 1 min. Flip it over and toast the second side. You aren't looking to cook it per se, just to heat it and make it flexible. Place the warmed tortilla on a clean counter or cutting board and start heating the second tortilla in the same manner as the first. While its heating, start filling the first tortilla.

You don't want to over fill here. A bit of cheese, scallion, bacon (and jalepeno if you like) on half of the tortilla. Fold it and press slightly to hold it together. Brush the top of the tortilla with the bacon fat.

Repeat with the now warm second tortilla. Once its filled and brushed with fat, place both tortillas, bacon fat side down, in the pan. Heat for 1 or 2 minutes, or until brown and crisp. Brush the top side with bacon fat, then flip. Once that side is done, move to a cutting board and let sit for a few minutes. Then cut into wedges or dig in as is. We like ours with sour cream.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Did you know you can get a chemical burn from Mr. Clean Magic Erasers?

Please read this scary story from a fellow blogger
While taking our daily constitutional, I was hit by a strong memory.

We were at the tennis court, which is backed by a heavily wooded area. Ethan was examining these woods and venturing in and out when he would find a trail. Seeing his jeans wet almost to the knee, smelling that specific scent of damp, half rotten leaves and the sound of raindrops hitting my jacket hood instantly brought me back to 20 years ago.

My Aunt Daralyn's house on Lost Lake in Monroe. All of us kids playing in her woods, building forts, catching frogs and getting completely and entirely wet and dirty. I recall that I loved her house and these times of play with my cousins. We'd come in from outside, exhausted. Say hi to our Mom and Aunts (usually with some complaint about a sibling or cousin for good measure), perhaps beg a cup of hot chocolate or cider and plop down in front of the fire or TV. If we still had energy left, we might go upstairs and play dress-up with Aunt Daralyn's well stocked chest of dress-up clothes.

Isn't it interesting how such simple stimulation of senses bring back complete and vivid memories? A single sensations alone might not have made me think of those play days long ago, but the combination was something special. I wonder what will trigger fond memories for my kids.

Anyway, when we got back I was freezing (why did I wear flip flops?) and although the kids had dry and toasty feet, their little hands and noses were red. So I heated them up some hot chocolate, put it in a sippy and you can bet those cups were emptied in no time :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween was fun this year. Both the kids seemed to get the idea and were very excited. Ethan, bless his heart, kept saying, "I happy" and "this is a happy day". He's never said that before, but he was really feeling it last night. Gwen carried her little basket around and after seeing someone dressed as Sylvester the cat, she wouldn't stop meowing. So cute!

We're glad that he enjoyed himself because he started off super crabby. He had us worried for about an hour.

Earlier in the day we took Gwen to her 18 month checkup. She passed 20lbs! Her weight is 20.5 lbs. She's also 32 1/2 inches long. Again, 10% in weight, but 75% in height. The appointment went really well and despite her getting 4 shots, she was a trooper.

Here are the pics from last night. I'm sorry we did not get a picture of Ben! He was wearing the cutest outfit. It was really hard to get pics of the kids as it was, and we never did get a full shot of Ethan.

Aunt Becki (in her offical, homemade Jedi costume), Aunt Jenni dressed as Boba Fett and little Princess Leia

Aunt Beck, Jedi. Little Gwennie, Princess Leia (with a sucker)

Mommy with her two Star Wars babies (Ethan was Annakin Skywalker)

Aunt Becki teaching Ethan how to use a lightsaber (p.s. it actually works and I accidently broke the on/off switch while we were ToT'ing)

I LOVE this picture. Ethan is out of control with the lightsaber, Aunt Becki is trying to avert disaster and Gwen is just running for her life.