Sunday, September 30, 2007

A few more details on the car.

It has only 78,000 miles, which is great for a 2001. The interior is gray leather and everything is in pristine, outstanding condition. I've never, ever seen a used car this clean. It had one owner previously and he never let his kids eat or drink in the car and you can tell! Instead of a bench seat in the second row, it is another row of captains chairs, which was kind of what tipped us towards this car over the Odyssey mini-van we tried earlier in the day. Strapping in 3+ kids with the bench seat would have been a nightmare, but with the captains chairs, while we do lose a seat, makes it much more Mommy and Daddy friendly. Total seating is 7. Supposedly it has some fancy wheels which look no different than any other wheels to J and I. Um... what else... it has heated seats, all the normal power stuff, sunroof. Now we can tow whatever we want too. Yay!

We did try a mini-van earlier that day and I liked the Honda Odyssey quite a bit. It was different than I had imagined it. Our big concern was towing and cargo space. When we saw this SUV that Jason had test drove earlier in the week, I told him that if we could get the price we needed we should do it because it had the easier loading plus the cargo and towing capacity we really wanted. If we couldn't get the price, we should go and negotiate for the Odyssey. We really liked both equally, but the SUV had a smidge more with the towing stuff (the Odyssey we looked at didn't have a towing package).

Gas mileage, of course, will be crap but it doesn't matter all that much for me. My trips are usually 2 mile jaunts to preschool or MOPS, or a little bit farther to my Mom's. I could go 2+ weeks without filling my Explorer tank and I suspect with the larger tank now that I may be able to go a month between fill ups. It'll be a painful fill-up ($100 about), but at least it won't be very often.

I cannot tell you how much Jason was obsessing and researching our options. Basically since the day we found out I was pregnant he spent all his free time examining different sites, reports, safety tests, etc. as well as working out all the financial details. If this man does something, he has it fully researched before jumping in! Going in we knew we wanted either an 01-04 Odyssey or a 00-02 Suburban or Yukon Denali XL. These cars were in our price range and the safest in their class for their years.

My Mom watched the kids all day while we were car shopping and they rewarded her by being sick! My Mom is such a good sport though and she had them all bathed and clean when we got back to her house at about 8.

I'm still having a rough time with the morning sickness. I'm pretty much over the Zoloft withdrawals I think. No brain twitches. But that constant state of nausea still hangs around and I'm very very sensitive if I miss a meal. I used to skip lunches pretty consistently with no side effects, but not now. An empty stomach is a sick stomach. I hope that the morning sickness leaves in the next couple weeks. It stinks.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

This is just a quick note to say that after exaustive research and shopping, we purchased a new (used) vehicle today!

Jason talked them down $4000 on the vehicle, then talked them up $4000 on our trade in. I was so proud of him that I almost cried when we sealed the deal after nearly 3 hours of negotiations. Twice they "accidentally" misunderstood what we agreed to, once we were signing papers and noticed the car price was wrong and had to re-negotiate for another 45 minutes but we walked out with what we feel is a quality vehicle at a good price.

So here she is. Our 2001 Chevy Suburban XLT, fully loaded. It rides and drives like a dream.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Today was our first MOPS. I ended up being placed with one lady that I knew, so that was nice. The kids did spectacular. Ethan hung up his backpack, gave Gwen and I a hug and said, "See you later". Gwen did the same. No crying, no fussing. Seriously I almost cried at how easy it went!

During the MOPS meeting they had a "who's expecting" segment where people who are pregnant would say how far along and when they are due. I sat there and didn't stand up, until I realized that I was indeed pregnant! I felt stupid standing up after everybody else had been standing for a few minutes already but I did it anyway.

I got up pretty early today and before doing anything I ate some yogurt and toast which seemed to help with the dizziness though I still have this underlying queasiness that never goes away. I really hate feeling this way.

My first midwife appointment is Wednesday. I'm going to try the Providence Midwifery Group and see if I like them. I don't know if they do preliminary ultrasounds (though its still too early for a first ultrasound) but if they don't, I'm so going to beg one off of Becki. I have this premonition of the number of babies and I just need to clear my mind of it, one way or the other.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I feel SO sick today.

Its not been something I've been talking about with anyone because I didn't want anyone to pressure me beyond what I wanted to do, but I'm on day 4 of total Zoloft withdrawal. Since mid-July I'd been weaning myself down, halving my dose every couple of weeks. I was at 25mg every other day for a couple weeks and since I couldn't split my pills any smaller, I figured it was time to just quit.

Unlike the last time I quit (which was cold turkey) I don't feel mentally frazzled. I feel slightly off, but nothing like before. I still have the brain twitchiness and feel dizzy quite often, but that will pass in time.

I'm not sure if I'm feeling so ill today because of the withdrawal or morning sickness. I was so dizzy driving home from pre-school I had a hard time concentrating. Benadryl is a good medication to take to help with the side effects of quitting Zoloft, so I may take one and see if that helps. If it doesn't, I guess I'll know its morning sickness!

Yesterday the kids and I met April, Grady and Gibson at the park. We had a really good time! I didn't take any pictures, but you can see the many that April took by going to her blog:

Last night my cousin Caitlyn and her boyfriend Matt stopped by so that Jason could work his magic on Cait's computer. The kids took to Matt immediately and he was a wonderful sport and entertained them the entire time. Good man!

After we pick up Ethan from pre-school today, Mom will be meeting us here and we'll visit until she has to take Jenni to band. Off to clean and hope I don't pass out while doing it! :)

You know what? I just realized something.

Ethan's b-day is 3/22
Jason's b-day is 4/5
Gwen's b-day is 4/25
This baby is due 5/28

When will we learn to spread out birthdays more than a month apart? Sheesh!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

If you didn't get enough pictures from my last post, I have two more for you!

Yesterday I was feeling restless and decided to make a cake. I'm not a big cake fan and a horrible icer so my cakes usually end up half uneaten and poorly frosted. Not this time!

Firstly, did you know one of the greatest and easiest chocolate cakes to make comes from the back of your cocoa powder box? Hershey's "Especially Dark" Chocolate Cake (you can also use regular cocoa powder if you don't have the dark version). Then I chose a Seven Minute Frosting that I'd never used before. It did take only about 7 minutes and it tastes so much better than the powdered sugar ones. Light, not overly sweet.

So my finished product. It came out so pretty and so tasty. I'm bursting with pride.

For dinner we had one of my all-time favorite recipes, Chicken Enchiladas from Cooks Illustrated. I highly, highly recommend! Well worth the effort.
Firstly, thank you all for your kind congratulations! We are hopeful that this one will stick. I'm still very early (look over to your right and you'll see a progress report) and I doubt I will feel comfortable with it until I'm at about 8 weeks.

Oh, and that church sign is NOT real! It came from which is a fun site. I thought it was a funny way to announce news!

On Sunday, after church, we headed over to my Mom's for a visit. I took scads of pics, so dial-up users, prepare to wait ;)

Ethan and Dad... Ethan loves to "help" Grandpa however he can. That day, it was washing the flatbed tires.

Gwen being silly

Mom was not yet home from church and we were all getting restless. Jason (who you cannot see, but is to the right of my Dad) and Dad decide to hit Ethan with pillows. This one came from Dad.

This one came from Jason.

The aftermath (he was not hurt, just putting on a show because he'd thrown the pillows back at Daddy and Grandpa and now had none)

Starting to calm down a bit

Dad and Jason, who had been snickering in the background just couldn't resist. Another pillow to the head! I cannot help but laugh hysterically at this picture.

So to calm Ethan down, we took a walk outside and I snapped some pics of my Mom's lovely flowers.

One of Ethan's favorite spots... He loves stacking wood!

Finally, Nanny arrived home and the kids were happier (well, not Gwen, but she was pouty for some reason).

Eventually Nanny was able to work a smile and conversation from her.

Grammy arrived soon after with her dog Kip. Ethan loves Kip and Kip loves Ethan!

Then Uncle Mike arrived and was immediately recruited for picking berries

After awhile, we headed over the Guthries house to try out their new quad course they built. Its AWESOME. Words can't really explain it... so much different than I expected and so much cooler!

Mom was acting out of character and really really wanted to ride the track (midlife crisis perhaps?). She consulted with Aaron and Brynne about details

Then they were off!
The kids were surprisingly amenable to riding

Its hard to tell who is having the better time here!

I also took a spin. It was scary!
and dirty...

very, very dirty....

One of the things we saw at the Guthries was the transformation of their barn into a small cottage. Kwinton (Brynne's boyfriend) is doing most the work himself. Aaron showed us some of his moves. He went really high, and we know he was taking it easy because there were little kids around and he didn't have a helmet on.

I think this is one of the sweetest pictures I've ever taken :) Brynne and Kwinton.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I whipped (and I say that figuratively, there was nothing quick about it) this out over the last few days. It came out ok. One sleeve is a bit higher than the other. I like the Robert Kaufman fabrics, and the addition of the ruffle and hem binding was my own creation. I won't be using the pattern again though. Far too complex and irritating to work with. When you're making something that will likely only fit for a few months, it shouldn't make you want to tear out your hair and rend your clothes in frustration.

I also completed a skirt today that is ugly. Well, it seemed ugly to me when I finally got done with it, but perhaps tomorrow, in the light of a new day, it won't seem so hideous.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Given the enormous number of coffee lovers amongst my friends and family, I thought you would enjoy this. Yes, its Folgers, but the "Gourmet" brand got a pretty good review from a couple cooking magazines so its worth a try. And its free, so what do you have to lose? :)

Folgers Gourmet Selections. Get A Free Sample
To satisfy the blog stalkers, I really must post... something.

Problem is, nothing has really been happening. Ethan had pre-school on Tuesday and Thursday and both times were traumatic, though there was a sign of things getting better on Thursday. The teacher pulled me aside and said that as soon as I'm out of sight Ethan is great. It seems to be just for me. Then when class let out, he actually greeted me with a smile and held my hand out of the building. No, "Get out of here, I don't want to leave!" stuff. Yay.

Gwen and I have been trying to make good use of our two Ethan-free hours on those days. We went for a bike ride on Tuesday, then for a walk on Thursday. Its very interesting to have one on one time with her because much of her personality is overwhelmed by Ethan. She's a hoot!

I came down with a nasty cold on Tuesday and am fighting off the tail end of it. Jason has been riding the line between healthy and sick and seems to be holding onto the healthy side. The kids, thank goodness, are mostly untouched, except for a runny nose here or there. There was a re-occurance of my skin problems and so I'm back to flaky, dry skin. Its so utterly depressing. I'm going to look for a dermatologist and make an appointment. I don't want my skin to be ruined.

Last night we had a really good meal, "Skillet-Barbecued Pork Chops". They were deeeee-licious. We had it with couscous and peas.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I want to sew, I don't wanna sew. I want to read, I don't want to bother. I want to cook, I don't want to make a mess. Blah.

So instead of doing all things I want(and do not want) to do, I shall tell you a secret.

I broke into the pickles. I was hungry and restless and sometimes only a pickle will do (get your minds out of the gutter, you wretches). Even though they've only been curing for two weeks they were GREAT! And they leave a spicy aftertaste as well. I had like 3 and Jason had a few too. Now that I've broken the seal, figuratively and literally speaking, the jars in the fridge will soon be gone :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Would you want to nurse a child that was looking at you like this and saying, "I'm a doggie with big teeth! I want to nurse!"

The answer is NO!

But then she looks so sad, promises not to be a dog with big teeth and you have to relent.

Friday, September 14, 2007

We had a lovely dinner tonight.

Our main course was Ham in Coca-Cola, created by the very lovely Nigella Lawson (one of my favorite cooks). This is so easy. Everyone should try it! Due to me trying to be frugal, we used a pork blade roast instead of the ham. It was ok, but the ham version (which we've had in the past) is 100x better.

Trashy Ham in Coca-Cola

4 1/4-4 1/2 pound bone-in fresh ham
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola

For the glaze:
Handful of cloves
1 heaping tablespoon of molasses
2 teaspoons of English mustard powder
2 tablespoons of granulated brown sugar

One thing before you start: Don't even consider using Diet Coke--it's full of sugar. If you know that you're dealing with a salty ham, put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil and then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here; otherwise, put the ham in a pan (skin-side down, if it fits like that), add the onion and then pour over the Coke. Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on (though not tightly) and cook for just under two-and-a-half hours. If your joint is larger or smaller, work out timing by reckoning on an hour for every two pounds, remembering that it's going to get a quick blast in the oven later. But do take into account that if the ham's been in the refrigerator right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra, so that the interior is properly cooked.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500° F. When the ham's had its time, take it out of the pan (but do not throw away the cooking liquid) and let cool a little for ease of handling. (Indeed, you can let it cool completely and then finish off the cooking at some later stage if you want.) Then remove the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes and stud each diamond with a clove. Then carefully spread the molasses over the bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves. Gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat. Cook in a foil-lined roasting pan for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly. Should you want to do the braising stage in advance and then let the ham cool, clove and glaze it and give it 30-40 minutes, from room temperature, at 350° F, turning up the heat towards the end if you think it needs it.

For our sides we had an ethereal potato gratin. Now normally I have problem with gratins. I never cook them long enough. But this recipe has you precook them in the milk/cream mixture which gives you a head start on the timing.

From one of my kitchen essentials, "The Best Recipe Cookbook" by Cooks Illustrated, I present...

Classic Potato Gratin

For a more pronounced crust, sprinkle three tablespoons of heavy cream or grated Gruyere cheese on top of the potatoes after forty-five minutes of baking.
Serves 4 to 6

1 large clove of garlic , peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , softened
2 1/4 cups half and half
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch fresh ground nutmeg
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 pounds all-purpose potatoes , peeled andsliced 1/8-inch thick or less

1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub bottom and sides of 5- to 6-cup gratin dish or shallow baking dish with garlic. Mince remaining garlic and set aside. Once garlic in dish has dried, about 2 minutes, spread dish with half the butter.

2. Bring half-and-half, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne (if desired), potatoes, and reserved garlic to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon (liquid will just barely cover potatoes). Reduce heat and simmer until liquid thickens, about 2 minutes.

3. Pour potato mixture into prepared dish; shake dish or use fork to distribute potatoes evenly. Gently press down potatoes until submerged in liquid; dot with remaining butter.

4. Bake until top is golden brown (basting once or twice during first 45 minutes) about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.

For our non-starchy veg, we had frozen snow peas, quickly defrosted under running water, drained, and tossed in a hot pan with butter.

All in all, a wonderful meal.

After Jason and I were done, we drifted off to do other things while the kids finished up. It ended up in arguements and screaming, but it was kinda funny.

Ethan: Oh no! Crocodiles are going to eat my dinner!
Gwen: (says the exact same thing as Ethan)
Ethan: NO! I said it first! Daaaaa-dy!

Gwen: (changing tactics) Ethan, my name is Abu (her name for Ethan)
Ethan: No, MY name is Abu
Gwen: (slyly) Nope. I'm Abu
Ethan: (appalled at such impertinence). NO GWENNIE, I AM ABU! YOU ARE GWEN, AND THAT IS DADDY AND THAT IS MOMMY AND I. AM. ABU!
Gwen: No, I Abu.
Ethan: Daaaaaaa-dy!

Gwen is so good at pushing his buttons, its scary.
I will start off this post with a brag about things I've been making lately. First up, an adorable (and oh so easy) circle skirt from Favorite Things "Little Hip Skirts" for Gwen.

Then, a messenger bag from Grand Revival "Flea Market Bag". It was my first bag ever.

Then some cute cloth baby shoes made from scrap fabric. It was just a test, but I really liked how they came out. I used the StardustShoes free pattern

This morning the kids and I were discussing babies. Ethan and Gwen both agreed that they wanted a baby like Grady (April's little guy) to live at our house. We left to get some coffee and on the way Ethan say, "Hey Mom, why don't we get coffee, then go buy a baby like Grady, then get a car wash. Sound good?". I explained that we can't just buy a baby like Grady at Target, we have to grow one in Mommy's tummy.

After pondering this concept for a few seconds he says, "Ok, how about this, we go get coffee, then we go to Target and buy a baby to put in Mommy's tummy, then we get car wash. Will that work?". After assuring him that it would not work, he got really mad that he could not have a "Grady baby" NOW. He had me really chuckling at the conversation.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sorry for the dearth of posting lately. Just been busy and SO not feeling like blogging.

So to start off, I include a picture of the kiddies. Doesn't Gwen look so grown up?

We've been at my Mom's for the last couple days while J is in San Fran. I really like staying with my Mom. For one, there are two people to help with the kids, and the kids have a lot more freedom and things to explore there. Its fun.

Yesterday Ethan started preschool! We got off to a rough start... E woke up at 5:30am and "slept" with me until 6:30. I put that word in quotes because it was more like we both laid in bed and Ethan would pop up or talk every 2 minutes about a noise, or a dream, or the bed or WHATEVER. Drove me bonkers. Then he decided to be naughty and he had to be in time out right before we left. When we were pulling out of my Mom's driveway, he was crying hard for his Nanny. About 10 min later he was calm, thank goodness.This was taken right as we were leaving.

When we got to the church, the first thing he did was get assigned his mat for the year. This is where they sit when they have story time and other activities away from the table. Ethan also had to choose a character that would be put on his mat so he'd be able to find which one was his in the future. Know what he picked? A mean-looking fish. I really hope this doesn't reflect on his behaviour :) Note: Some of these pics are blurry because I was being jostled by the other Mom's and Dad's and siblings that were there for the first day!

Miss Patty showing the kids where to hang their coats and backpacks.

He was very nervous about me leaving, though he did go play with the toys and sat down to color for a little bit.

Eventually I did have to leave and while he did fuss and hold onto Miss Paula with his arms while keeping his legs firmly around my waist, he did settle down once I left the room.

When I came back, he looked thrilled to see me, though, true to Ethan's nature, now he didn't want to leave!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Conversations with Ethan

We were outside... he was in glider singing and I was washing windows

Ethan: Rock a bye baby... Mom, what does rock a bye baby mean?

Me: It means rocking a baby to sleep

Ethan:Oh. Rock a bye baby, in a treetop. Hey Mom, what is a treetop?

Me: Its the top of the tree honey

Ethan. Ok. Rock a bye baby, in a treetop, when the wind blows... What is wind blows?

Me: Its when the wind blows, like this *make blowing sound*

Ethan. Huh. Rock a bye baby, in the treetop, when the wind blows, the cradle with rock. Mom, what does cradle rock mean?

Me: It means the cradle, which is like a crib, is rocking the baby to sleep

Ethan: Rock a bye baby, in the treetop, when the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks. Mom! What is bough and why does it break?

Me: Its like that branch there *points*. I don't know why it broke.

Ethan: When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. OH NO! Mommy, the cradle fall! Is the baby hurt?

Me: No, I think the baby has lots of padding in the cradle. The baby is ok.

Ethan: When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall and down will come baby, cradle and all. Mom, what does the song mean?

Me: Oy, I'm not sure Ethan, its just a song.

While I was making dinner, Ethan proudly came in, announcing that he went poopy outside (he did, but he forgot to pull down his pants. Ew). I called Jason in for backup.

Me: Ethan, we do NOT poopy outside

Jason: This is so gross

Ethan: But Toby goes potty and poopy outside!

Me: Toby is a dog, you are a boy. Does Daddy go poopy outside?

Jason: Oh geez

Ethan: *thinking* Noooo... he goes in toilet

Jason: And that is where you should go buddy!

Me: People go potty and poopy in toilets, dogs go in the grass.

Ethan: But Toby goes potty and poopy outside, a lot!

Me: I know honey, but you are not a dog. Toby can't fit on the toilet and you can.

Ethan: Toby goes all the time in the grass

Jason and I: We don't really care where he goes, but we care where you go!

Ethan: Ok. Do I get a candy corn (his code for a treat) for going poopy?

Me: No hon, you didn't go in the toilet!

Ethan: Ohhhhh *pout*

This kid. He cracks me up.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Yesterday was a weird day. It felt like it would never ever end!

I went to the doctor about my skin issues and was given a diagnosis of contact dermatitis and some cortisone cream. It seems to be helping.

Then we went to Target to get the prescription for the cream and pick up a few other things. THAT was a nightmare. One again reminded why we don't shop with kids :)

We grabbed some McD's, then home quickly so I could change, then off to Lundeen Park to check out the new playground. Ethan and Gwen attached themselves to a girl about 7 years old and spent the entire time picking blackberries! Oh well, at least they enjoyed it.

We came home, put the kids down for nap, and I got pulled into a message board drama, about ME of all things. Seriously, I'm so forgettable on the boards, I can't hardly believe that there was such a fuss. But it eventually died out and all was good.

We had a sausage/pasta thing for dinner, along with the beets I picked a few days ago. Yum.

The whole day just moved slowly. After I went to bed, I kept waking up and finding that I'd been asleep for only a few minutes. Weird. Then there was thunder and really hard rain at about midnight which woke J and I up.

Today we're heading to Alyssa's house (just 5 min away) to play for a bit. When we get back I'm going to clean the house a bit and start my next sewing project.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Before I forgot, I wanted to add this to my blog. This is my favorite group of the moment, Rodrigo y Gabriela. They play acoustic guitar and are amazing.

This is the song that I can't listen to enough. Its energizing and playful and just really really good

Rodrigo Y Gabriela - Diablo Rojo

Here's a pic of my face today. This is after a good amount of the swelling had gone down and moisturizer had been applied and Benadryl taken. I was peeling under the eyes, on the nose and my lips were cracking in the corner.

Above all that, I ITCH like mad. Its all I can do to not touch my eyes and face.

I love my doctor. They are open 7 days a week. Booked today, but they are open tomorrow (on Labor Day!) and I'm going in first thing.

Don't I look pathetic?
The bad news first.

My skin irritation, which was almost gone yesterday, is back with a vengeance. Painfully itchy skin under the eyes, a dry nose, and even my lips are cracking. I woke up a couple times in the night with such pain under the eyes... I'd been itching them in my sleep. I could just cry. We skipped church today because I feel so self conscious. A doctor visit is going to have to be in order unless it resolves today or tomorrow. Its been almost a week since this started. I broke my skin *cry*

I think that part of the reason this trouble re-started was our day yesterday, which is the fun news :) Becki and I spent two hours hand picking 50 lbs of pickling cucumbers out of a field in Snohomish. We also got some dill, and I picked up some corn and beets. Then we headed over to Mom's where we started the pickling work.

Our day's loot. From L to R, a big bag of dill ($2), a bag of corn we picked off the stalk and some beets ($6) and the last two bags are 50lbs of cucumbers ($40)

Look at this enormous beet. I have no idea what I'll do with it, but it was too strange to pass up.

Our 170 cloves needed for the pickles.

The pickles being washed in a washing machine. This removes the dirt, as well as the prickles that are on the skin. This is totally safe... washer was bleached before hand, and no soap is added.

Our pickling brine simmering on the stove.

Finished product... 52 quarts of refrigerator pickles. The end cost, after all our expenses were added up was a measly $1.80 a quart. You couldn't buy them that cheap... and they are much better than store bought!

Anyway, I think that handling those potent spices and the vinegar and maybe the sun too have contributed to the skin problems today.

I feel so ugly with this going on. I don't want to leave the house.