Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Today my heart feels shattered.

Tilli has been adopted and I took her to the new owners today. They live in Port Angeles and I met them in Port Townsend. They cannot have children and have been looking for the perfect Weim for awhile. The husband grew up with and bred Weims, so he knows the breed well. The wife stays at home and treats her pets like children. She'll be on a farm with another dog and a horse and have lots of room to play and they hope to train her to hunt.

I'm going through cycles of being ok with it and sobbing. It was by far the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

Can't talk anymore about it tonight. I'm so weary physically from being on the road for 6+ hours and emotionally sapped.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Our menu this week.

Before I post it, I need to say (just to remind myself if nothing else) that it is not a good idea to wait until there is 1 hour before your babysitter arrives to plan out your menu and write your list! Too much stress!

  • Homemade pizza

  • Sesame Noodles (leave a comment or email for recipe)



  • Spaghetti

  • Super Bowl random nibblets and such

After therapy today I went and got my hair cut. The lady took off 4 inches and its still just below my shoulders! My head feels so light now, and it has some curl back from that wave I had done many months ago.

No pictures of it today, but I expect some will be here tomorrow after our foray to the Children's Museum with April, Gibson, Mom, Jenni and Ben. Should be fun!
Purely gratuitous shots of the kids.

I love this shot because you can see her little braids!

Nearly identical to the one above, but I had to include both because Gwen showed great disdain in the first, and reluctant acceptance in the second.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Friday we went to MOPS. This was the first time that Gwen was able to come with us and I was nervous because I haven't really left her with anyone other than family for any length of time.

After dropping Ethan off (he didn't even give me a second glance!) we headed down to Gwen's class. I put her down and she was torn between her Mommy on the other side of the gate and all the toys and videos and other kids. She became distracted and I walked quickly down the hall. Right as I turned the corner I heard a little voice, "Momma?" but I kept going.

The meeting was good. Two ladies at our table had newborn babies and we worked on a really cool project. This group does projects that are much higher quality than I would have imagined. Half an hour before it was over, Gwen's number popped up on the board (meaning that I needed to go see her) and I could hear her crying all the way down the hall. The ladies said they didn't know what was wrong... fine one moment, sobbing the next. She came back into the meeting and helped me paint.

When I went to get Ethan out of his class, the girl said, "Are you Ethan's Mom? Oh he is the BEST! He's the perfect gentleman and was so helpful and kind. We love him!". Well, it goes without saying that I couldn't have been prouder!

As we walked out, Ethan said, "Mom, I had so much fun!". It was really sweet.

Last night Becki came over and babysat while Jason and I went to his work's anniversary party at Willows Lodge. I saw the Herbfarm and it was like seeing a celebrity. I kept trying to peek in the windows and view the food. This has been mentioned as one of the best restaurants in the nation, if not the world, and I was right there!

I was oddly NOT nervous (usually this type of situation would have made me a wreck) but there were plenty of awkward moments. We got a drink immediately when we came in (Cosmo for me) and mine was way strong and I downed it pretty fast. So for the next hour I was rather light on my feet. There was an hour of mingling (i.e. torturous conversation) and then the meal started.

The first course was delicious. It was a chicken and pumpkin ravioli. The first bite takes you back because its unexpectedly sweet, but wow. Jason's friend, Rex, liked them so much that he was taking leftovers from other tables!

Second course came a long time after (there was way too much time between courses), but was also delicious. A salad of "weeds" (that's what Jason calls mesclun) topped with a vinaigrette, cubes of a mild, creamy cheese, and julienned apples.

Finally third course came and Jason had a steak with a corn fritter thingy and I had salmon with wild rice. My salmon was overcooked, but still tasty. Jason's steak was good. The starter courses were much better than the main dish.

Dessert was a brownie type thing, with a ganache on top. There was a swish of pomegranate flavored whipped cream on the side. 'Twas ok. Nothing fantastic to me, but I'm not a huge fan of chocolate desserts to begin with, and never of chocolate and fruit together.

Right as the dancing started we left. It had already been 4 hours since our arrival and we weren't really interested in dancing ourselves. We had a good time!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

This morning we met a lady from the message board I visit. We went to a gym in Shoreline that was filled with kids toys. For $2 a kid you get to play for two hours and it was tons of fun. Everyone had a blast!

Had a hard time getting my kids to look at me, but other kids were happy to pose for the camera!

Gwen pushing Gibson. He was so upset!

Gwen's method of getting down stairs


I knew that April and I would be kindred spirits when this happened. Gibson fell off and we both started laughing and taking pictures of him throwing a fit about it :)

April and Gibson playing hoops.

Can you make Ethan out in that crowd? He was in the brown shirt, right in frontof the fridge. As you might imagine, he was facinated by the kitchenette sets.

Gwen in a car, pretending to drive

Ethan making me some dinner. He was here for a good portion of the playtime.

Ethan "fimming" (swimming) down the slide.

Impatiently waiting for sister

Ethan on the other end of the teeter totter.

April and Gibson again. Great pic!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Whew, what a day. After doing some shopping at Target and the grocery store, I went to therapy and had a draining session. I'm in the midst of a depressive stage right now that has completely drained my motivation and energy. I've been SO tired. I'm sleeping at least 10 hours a night and yet have to fight to stay awake during the day.

Right after leaving therapy, I got a message from Jason saying that his Mom was in the hospital :( She is doing ok, but any and all prayers for her would be appreciated. Wish we were closer! The kids said a sweet little prayer for her tonight.

We had french dip for dinner and it was ok. Nothing exciting. Ethan seemed confused about dipping a sandwich into broth and all Gwen wanted to do was to dip it and then suck out the broth from the bread. Such are mealtimes with toddlers I suppose.

Oh, the cute thing that Ethan is doing... Yesterday all he wanted to do was play with pots and pans. At one point he pulled out about 10, spread them out on the kitchen floor then added different ingredients (imaginary) into them. He had Gwen run and get him salt or pepper or whatever he needed. Then he would pretend to put them in the oven, or put them on the stove and cook in them. It was so cute! They both love the salad spinner, so one would be working on that, then bringing it to their pans to cook. They'd even pretend that the pans were hot, or sometimes they burned the food, or saw steam. Regular little chefs, I tell ya!

Ethan did this at bedtime too. He actually slept (and tonight is still sleeping) with two loaf pans. He pretends to put in various ingredients, cooks it in another part of his crib, then serves us whatever he made. Its really cute, though somewhat annoying too because anytime he turns in the crib the pans rattle together and can be heard all through the house!
Menu for this week:

  • French Dip with Fries
  • Homemade Pizza with assorted toppings
  • Macaroni & Cheese (from a box, just for Jason!)
Today Mom is coming to watch the kids while I do my grocery shopping and therapy.

Later tonight I want to post about how Ethan has been doing the cutest thing, but no time at present.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

This week's menu hit was easy to choose.

The Thai-Style Chicken Soup. Fantastic! There isn't much in the soup... some mushrooms, chicken, cilantro and scallions but you feel like is so much more because the broth is amazingly flavorful. The lemon grass and shallots imbue the liquid with an almost indescribable depth, and the finish with the chile paste adds heat. Coconut milk is the star though. It turns a watery but flavorful broth into a rich, glistening, filling liquid that one could drink straight from a cup with no accompaniments and still be satisfied. We had our soup with rice on the side and we just loved it. I could see this being in fairly heavy rotation from now on.

Yesterday we went to Mom's for the afternoon and had dinner there. We were incredibly blessed to be joined by Grandpa and Grammy. I don't think I've seen them outside of their own home since before Christmas. Oh how we have missed them at our gatherings! Despite not feeling his best, Grandpa was able to interact and laugh and tease. Grammy's presence was, as always, uplifting and comforting. What a lucky family we are to have them in our lives. I know that everyone felt so thrilled to have them there with us.

Last night we watched the movie, "Click". I wouldn't recommend it. They bollixed a good story line and made it so predictable.

Today Jason had to go to work. The kids did me a huge favor and didn't start fussing to get up till 8:30, although they'd been awake since about 7:30. Friday night I only got about 4 hours sleep so I really needed to catch up. Jason returned at about 11:30 and we went on a walk. While we were out walking he got a phone call saying that our car was FINALLY fixed. Since, what, October or November we've been using my Dad's commuter car while we worked out the best way to handle our broken car. We are so happy to have it done and I'm sure my Dad will be glad to get his commuter car back too! Jason is out getting it now.

Tonight we're having rib roast, but to be honest I'm not really looking forward to it since we had rib roast at my Mom's last night! It can't wait any longer though, it has to be cooked. So, as strange as it sounds, we'll force ourselves to eat this very fine and expensive cut of meat :)

Friday, January 19, 2007

What we do for fun around here...

We wrap up our youngest in a blanket, call her an enchilada and watch her squirm :)

"Mama, I'm cha-na-na!"

"How am I going to get that binky..."

"Thats the ticket. Kinda"

After this picture she did manage to unroll herself!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A quick review of last nights Cod dinner.

The kids and I liked it, Jason did not. Then again, the only fish that man likes is fried!

Tonight I made the White Chicken Chili which was really good. It didn't seem spicy enough, and after reviewing the recipe, I see that I added only two poblano and Anaheim chiles instead of 3 each. Oops :) In any case, the flavors were spot on and it was enjoyed by everyone (even Gwen who insisted on picking out all the beans first!).

Jason is out tonight at a local casino to try a Texas Hold 'Em tournament. He was so nervous, since he's never played poker in person before. I think he'll do really good and I'm going to try and stay awake to hear how he does.

Today I was miserable for the first half since Jason took my car and we couldn't go anywhere, again. So I loaded the kids into the stroller, padded them thickly with blankets and walked. Walked a pretty long ways, when you consider I'm pushing 70lbs of kids and stroller! I would guess it was about 2 miles. It sleeted for the first 15 min and I was freezing, but after that I warmed up and didn't have any trouble, even though I was pushing that stroller through 2-3 inches of wet slush at times.

Tomorrow we'll be bringing dinner to Poppa and Grammy and saying a quick hello. We do miss seeing them on a regular basis. We may also hit the library in the morning. They have a good little area for the kids to play.

Well, off to watch a movie.
It was requested that I share three of my recipes that I listed on the menu, so here they are:

Thai-Style Chicken Soup (from Cooks Illustrated)
For a more substantial meal, serve the soup over jasmine rice.
Serves 6-8 as appetizer, 4 as main course

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 lemon grass talks, tough outer leaves removed, bottom 5 inches halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
3 large shallots, chopped
8 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped coarse
3 tablespoons fish sauce
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14-oz) cans coconut milk, well shaken
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 lb white mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and sliced on bias into 1/8 inch thick pieces (place in freezer for 30 min for easier slicing)
3 tablespoons juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 Serrano chilies, sliced thin (we leave these out because of the kids)
2 scallions, sliced thin on bias
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until just shimmering. Add lemon grass, shallots, cilantro, and 1 tablespoon fish sauce; cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, 2 to 5 minutes (vegetables should not brown). Stir in chicken broth and 1 can coconut mil; bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until flavors have blended, 10 min. Pour broth through fine-mesh strainer and discard solids in strainer. Rinse saucepan and return broth mixture to pan.

2. Return pan to medium-high heat. Stir remaining can of coconut milk and sugar into broth mixture and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms, and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove soup from heat.

3. Combine lime juice, curry paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce in small bowl; stir into soup. Ladle soup into bowl and garnish with cilantro, chiles, and scallions. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Herb-Crusted Pork Roast (from Cooks Illustrated)
If only "enhanced" pork is available (the label will state that the pork was injected with a water-salt solution), do not brine the roast. Instead, simply season the stuffed and tied roast with salt before browning. Note that you should not trim the pork of its layer of fat. While it is possible to substitute dried rosemary for fresh, do not substitute dried thyme for fresh or the herb crust will be dry and dusty tasting. The roasting time will vary widely depending on the thickness of the meat. The roast can be brined, stuffed, and tied a day ahead, but don't prepare the bread crumb topping until you are ready to cook.
Serves 4 - 6

2 1/2 - 3 pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast (see note above)

Table salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 large slice hearty white sandwich bread , torn into pieces
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese , or pecorino cheese, (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium shallot , minced (about 3 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons olive oil , plus an additional 2 teaspoons

Ground black pepper
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley or basil leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 large clove garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)

1. Following illustration 1 below, lightly score fat cap on pork, making 1/4-inch crosshatch pattern. Following illustrations 2 and 3, cut pocket in roast. Dissolve 1/2 cup salt and sugar in 2 quarts water in large container; submerge roast, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Rinse roast under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about sixteen 1-second pulses (you should have 1 cup crumbs). Transfer crumbs to medium bowl (do not wash food processor workbowl) and add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, shallot, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Using fork, toss mixture until crumbs are evenly coated with oil.

3. Add parsley or basil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to now-empty food processor workbowl and process until smooth, about twelve 1-second pulses. Transfer herb paste to small bowl.

4. Following illustrations 4 and 5, spread 1/4 cup herb paste inside roast and tie. Season roast with pepper (and salt, if using enhanced pork).

5. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add roast, fat side down, and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes, lowering heat if fat begins to smoke. Transfer roast to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

6. Using scissors, snip and remove twine from roast; discard twine. Following photos below, spread remaining herb paste over roast and top with bread crumb mixture. Transfer baking sheet with roast to oven and cook until thickest part of roast registers 145 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 75 minutes. Remove roast from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to 150 degrees. Using spatula and meat fork, transfer roast to carving board, taking care not to squeeze juices out of pocket in roast. Cut roast into 1/2-inch slices and serve immediately.

STEP BY STEP: Preparing Herb-Crusted Pork Roast

1. Score the Fat: Using sharp boning knife, lightly score fat cap on roast to make 1/4-inch crosshatch pattern.

2. Make First Incision: Starting 1/2 inch from end of roast, insert knife into middle of roast, with blade parallel to work surface.

3. Make the Pocket: Cut along side of pork, stopping 1/2 inch short of other end. Pull open roast and use gentle strokes to cut deeper pocket.

4. Stuff the Roast: Spread 1/4 cup herb paste evenly into pocket, using spatula and fingers to make sure paste reaches corners of pocket.

5. Tie the Roast: Fold roast over to original shape and tie at even intervals along its length with 3 pieces of kitchen twine.
STEP BY STEP: Building a Better Crust

Apply the Paste: After browning roast in skillet and removing kitchen twine, use rubber spatula to spread remaining herb paste evenly over top of roast.

Affix the Crumbs: Sprinkle Parmesan-laced bread crumbs on top of roast and then gently press them in with hands. Finish cooking roast in oven.

and finally,

White Chicken Chili (from Cooks Illustrated)
Adjust the heat in this dish by adding the minced ribs and seeds from the jalapeno as directed in step 6. If Anaheim chiles cannot be found, add an additional poblano and and jalapeno to the chili. This dish can also be successfully made by substituting chicken thighs for the breasts. If using thighs, increase the cooking time in step 4 to about 40 minutes. Serve chili with sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges.

Serves 6 to 8

3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, trimmed of excess fat and skin (we are using thighs)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 medium jalapeno chiles
3 medium poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded and cut into large pieces
3 medium Anaheim chiles, stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
2 medium onions, cut into large pieces (2 cups)
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons juice from 2-3 limes
1/4 minced fresh cilantro leaves
4 scallions, white and light green parts sliced thin

1. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until skin is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and lightly brown on other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; remove and discard skin.

2. While chicken is browning, remove and discard ribs and seeds from 2 jalapenos; mince flesh. In food processor, process half of poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions until consistency of chunky salsa, ten to twelve 1-second pulses, scraping down sides of workbowl halfway through. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Repeat with remaining poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions; combine with first batch (do not wash food processor blade or workbowl).

3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from Dutch oven (adding additional vegetable oil if necessary) and reduce heat to medium. Add minced jalapenos, chile-onion mixture, garlic, cumin, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat.

4. Transfer 1 cup cooked vegetable mixture to now empty food processor bowl. Add 1 cup beans and 1 cup broth and process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add vegetable-bean mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, and chicken breasts to Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken registers 160 degrees (175 degrees if using thighs) on instant read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes (40 for thighs).

5. Using tongs, transfer chicken to large plat. Stir in remaining beans and continue to simmer, uncovered, until beans are heated through and chili has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

6. Mince remaining jalapeno, reserving and mincing ribs and seeds, (see note), and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite size pieces, discarding bones. Stir shredded chicken, lime juice, cilantro, scallions and remaining minced jalapeno (with seeds if desired) into chili and return to simmer. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Some of you might be interested in seeing our menu for the upcoming week.

I've linked to recipes when they are coming off the web, but most this week are from my Cook's Illustrated magazine and various cookbooks. If you want a recipe for something, leave a comment or email me and I'll type it up and send it to you :)

(Tuesday is my usual grocery day, so our menu runs Tue-Mon)

  • White Chicken Chili
  • Herb Roasted Pork Loin
  • Quesadillas
  • Thai Chicken Soup (I'm SO looking forward to this!)
  • French Dip w/ Fries
I think this is the first time I've ever blogged in the morning.

I'm up early because I was supposed to go out and do my grocery shopping today and had to shower before the kids woke up. Well, I woke up to find Jason still home and more snow. MORE SNOW. Egads, I hate the stuff now. Heck, our road hasn't even melted from the last snowfall.

Regardless though, I'm still leaving this afternoon to shop because we have no food in the house (well, we have very little and no milk) and because I need to get out! Even if I have to chain up, I will make it to the grocery store.

Yesterday the kids and I ventured out for a walk. I'd hoped to give them lots of play time and wear them out, but they complained right away about being too cold and wanted to go home. So we bounced around inside the house and put away laundry and cleaned which sounds all well and good but really was terribly dull and boring.

This snow has to stop. Its supposed to rain today, please Lord, let it rain. We need to be able to get out and do things, otherwise we're gonna self-destruct!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

So. Where to start...

Jason ended up taking Friday off. The kids and I were going to go to MOPS, but it was canceled due to weather which was a major bummer for both the kids and I. Ethan was really looking forward to it. Instead, we went to the bookstore, then Everett Mall and let the kids ride on lots of toys. They enjoyed it, though our departure was rather rough as Gwennie yelled and screamed the entire way out (she didn't want to leave).

The ice was bad in spots, but not too dreadful. Saturday, we were dying of cabin fever and just had to see other people. Preferably people who would want to entertain the children! So off to Nana and Grandpa's house we went. We expected an "adventure" to quote my Mother, but it was pretty easy to get in. Patches of ice here and there, nothing too challenging even for my driving (but boy, those new tires really have been a big help).

We spent the entire day there and had a yummy turkey dinner to boot. We left at 7:30 and Nana was feeling very certain that we might be back to stay the night because of earlier snowfall and a report from Aaron that the roads were bad. Actually, we made it home in our normal time and the roads were no worse than on our way in! A sanding truck or plow must have been through cuz it wasn't bad at all.

Today, we've just been hanging around the house... I did briefly get possessed the spirit of a housefrau and cleaned everything, which was good. Seahawks lost, which was not so good.

I think Jason will be happy to go to work tomorrow, and I don't blame him a bit. Its been hard being cooped up so long with very little to do and it being too cold to go out. Hopefully this upcoming week will provide more play opportunities.

Oh, I wanted to share a good recipe I made for dinner the other night. Balsamic Soy-Glazed Chicken Wings. Deeeelish. The kids loved them and it was really easy and fast. We had the wings with celery sticks and homemade ranch dressing (also very delicious).


More coffee was spilled on my laptop today, this time thanks to Ethan who moved my cup, placed it on the laptop, then tipped it over. You can probably imagine that this resulted in a very unhappy Mommy. The prognosis isn't good right now, though last week it seemed very bleak as well and it came through. I'll nurse that baby and see if we can't save it again. Otherwise, we'll have to ship it off to be repaired and, horror of horrors, Jason and I will have to share a computer for a long period. Neither one of us would like that too much.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Things I should know by now

1. Don't download files from disreputable sites and install those files. Infection will occur and one will have to scurry all day to remove and fix it in order to minimize damage. Why I thought this was a smart idea, I'm not sure. I blame the children.

2. If the children are silent for 2 minutes, seek them out as 100% of the time they will be doing something naughty. I blame the children for my forgetfulness of this rule.

3. Packing peanuts do not make good toys. Also, reference previous "I should". I think it goes without saying that the children are again to blame. Who else would think of playing with them?

Oh, and public service announcement. Packing peanuts are $^!!# hard to pick up because they are full of static and stick to everything.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I don't believe I've posted the recipe for one of our favorite chicken dishes. We had it tonight and its uber-fabulous.

Mom's Baked Fried Chicken and Gravy

Its not for the faint of heart, or those with high cholesterol or on a diet. Really, no one should eat it but its too nummy not to.

Snow started falling this afternoon and we accumulated about 2 inches. It was first hail, then sleet, then snow, so its nice and icy. With the low temps tonight, J may not be able to make it into work. He did say though that he'd chain up and go, just to save us from another awkward day like today :)
Yesterday I took Gwen to the pediatrician because she had been saying owie and pointing to her "na-ni-na". I figured it was nothing really, but then she started having trouble making it to the potty chair... very unlike her.

They tested her for a UTI and it came up negative. No yeast infection either. So the doctor said we should just keep an eye on her.

I've also realized what a long way Lake Stevens is from Kirkland. I'm glad we don't have to see the pediatrician more than once or twice a year. Yikes. I can't believe Jason commutes so much longer than that, and without carpool options either!

Oh! I almost forgot to mention. I saw a barely famous person yesterday at the doctors. Itula Mili was there with his wife and daughter. I heard the name and I was like, "hmmm, I think he's a Seahawk" but I didn't want to say anything in case I was wrong. Later, I asked Jason and he confirmed that he had been a Seahawk but was cut from the team on Friday. Ouch. Good thing I didn't bring it up! His tiny daughter (couldn't have been more than a month or two) was adorable and was giving Gwen the biggest, full bodied smiles.

After I got home, (btw, thanks Mom and Jenni for babysitting all day!) I started our dinner, which was ham cooked in cherry Coke. Then I was off again to therapy.

Upon arriving home, I was totally wiped. Quite a bit of running around. Luckily, dinner was easy to finish up because I just took the ham out of the Coke, brushed on a glaze made of cherry jam, paprika and red wine vinegar and put it in the oven until we were ready to eat. Plain boiled potatoes and garlicky spinach finished the meal. The ham was fantastic and really couldn't have been easier.

Due to the snowfall today (it was significant, but not like the last time) Jason stayed home. We all find work at home days difficult. The kids see him and want to interact. I kinda feel like he should be out here with us more and he feels as if he should be left alone more :) Lots of competing wants there! Therefore, the day has been somewhat rough. I did manage to sweep and mop the floors, which is nice.

I put the kids down early and will be heading up for a shower. For me, there is nothing as relaxing as a shower, followed by time to blow dry my hair, apply lotion and read or play the Wii. Usually I can get in the shower part, but am not able to do everything else, so its a real treat when I can!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I want to commemorate this moment.

Briefly, last night, every washable item (well, minus what we were wearing) in this house was put away and clean. There was no dirty laundry. My laundry room was oddly quiet.

It ended about 5 minutes later, but it was a freeing and joyful 5 minutes.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saturday we were able to see Grandpa and Grammy. What a blessing to be healthy and to hug and spend time with them. The kids were thrilled to see their Poppa and Grammy. Grandpa is holding steady with his cancer battle. The tumors are shrinking, which is fabulous. Chemo has been very very rough on him though :( Hopefully a corner will be turned shortly and he'll regain his strength.

We watched the Seahawks come a hairsbreadth away from a quick playoff exit. How lucky were they? Oh my goodness.

Oh, there was a very near tragedy when Gwen knocked over an entire 16 oz vanilla latte onto my laptop. It was drenched. We let it dry out and last night we were able to resuscitate it. A number of the keys were sticky at first, but we've been able to work it off. Whew.

I'm still making bread every day. We are so pleased with it. I haven't used yeast in about 4 batches, but have been reserving a golf-ball sized piece of dough and adding it to the next batch. This is enough to raise the whole next loaf and has created a slight tang. In fact, the rising is even better than when I was using straight yeast. My current favorite shape is in a loaf, but tomorrow I think I'll try a round again.

Jason and Dad went to a Silvertips hockey game tonight at the new Everett arena. They said it was pretty nice. Their seats were only 3 rows from the ice. Hopefully when the kids are just a bit older we'll be able to go to a few games. The Silvertips are really good and you can't beat a 10 minute drive to see a sporting event!

Due to the high winds on Friday, we lost a tree behind the house. Not one of the big cedars, but one a bit farther back. Its not all the way fallen, but is kinda tipped and leaning our neighbors trees. When it does fall it won't land on any houses or anything, so we're not too worried. I swear that some of the gusts we had were higher than the storm about a month ago. I was terrified. Toby was trembling and cuddled in my arms (imagine cuddling a trembling, 100lb, furry, immovable stone), Tilli at my feet. I told Jason, "This could only get more fun if the kids wake up". Well, not 10 min later, Ethan is up and won't sleep because the power was out and his music and light were off. So we wedged him in and slept as much as we could, which was not a lot. Lights came back on a few hours later and everyone but Gwen was tired the whole day!

Then this morning, we are scared out of bed by a tremendous crash. I thought that a tree had fallen on the house it was so loud. Jason leapt out of bed, the kids started crying and you know what I did? I stayed under the covers, paralyzed with fear. This made me feel really bad. It was like that Seinfeld episode when there is a fire and George runs out the door , knocking over the elderly and pushing the children in his way. I was such a wuss! Turns out it was a rack in the shower that collapsed, but holy smoke, it was loud.

Anyway, I've rambled long enough about nothing. Oh, here's a pic I took tonight in bath. The kids love having their picture taken with the timer (the beeping keeps them entertained I guess). Excuse my snarled hair.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A variation of my most favorite bread recipe (no-knead bread, see previous posts), split between two loaf pans. I used one metal, one glass, and topped them with a baking sheet. They are small... probably could have put all the dough into one, but this size would be perfect for gifts. Crust is good, and they're just so cute.

p.s. I realize its strange to take photos of ones bread. But I'm proud darn it!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Today didn't really go as I'd planned.

Firstly, the kids woke me up at 6am which isn't really like all that awful, but they've been teasing me with sleeping in till at least 7-7:30 and I was soooo tired.

We got up and had breakfast (at which Ethan ate a whopping 3 pancakes and 2 strips of bacon) and then got dressed. Ethan said something rather hilarious while I was washing up. "Momma, there no mess?". Meaning, "Hey Mom, I noticed that the bathroom counter is now clean and free of clutter". He was so astounded by the fact that it was clean he repeated himself 3 times. Gotta love kids and what they notice.

We headed out to the park later and fed some ducks, tromped through incredibly soggy fields and left soon after Gwen took a tumble right into a puddle. Yeah, as you can imagine, she didn't like that too much.

After arriving home, Jenni called to ask if I could come pick her up because my Mom had to go to the ER with Grammy and Grandpa. It sounds like everything is ok (or at least not serious), but Mom didn't want Jenni to be alone all day. So after lunch we headed out to pick her up. Kids were zonked when we got home, so we put them to bed. Jen played the Wii and did her lessons while I made my bread (I urge you, if you haven't tried the bread recipe I posted earlier, please do. Faaaaa-bu) and wasted time on the computer.

I'd planned on being productive, but it ended up in a pleasant afternoon spent surfing the web and making bread and later some yummy Leek, Potato and Herb soup for dinner.

Ummmm... seems like there is something I wanted to post but I can't recall so I guess that its for tonight.
Hey, look what I was able to eek out of Gwen's hair after bath

Its the teensiest braid ever, but its a braid. It will only get better from here!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Here are some pics from Christmas Eve, before we headed to church. I was hoping for better pics, but the camera (and to a smaller extent, the children) were really making me irate!

5 seconds later...

Everyone happy again.

Ethan on his own. He could not leave the gifts alone!

And a bonus picture of my little guy from the park the other day. I love these types of shots...

It reminds me of a gorgeous pic of Gwen in a similar pose... I think we took this early last summer.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

We have more than a threefold cord. We have a many-fold cord made up of our beloved friends and family.

I'd like to devote my first blog of the New Year to our loved ones.

To those who have encouraged and supported us, those who have given us their wisdom and knowledge and ideas, those who have shared with us the precious gift of their time and efforts and resources, those who we see rarely, yet love dearly, those who have put our unruly gang up in their homes and those who traveled far to see our unruly gang...

We love you and our life would be so much emptier without your presence. This upcoming year will bring ups and downs, bad times and good, great joys and great sorrows, but through it all, the bonds of family and friendship will hold steady.