Thursday, February 28, 2008

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Know what?

Our patio will be started MONDAY!

That means that well before summer, we will have a very useable outdoor space. The guy I'd previously mentioned bailed on us again and we decided to call a few more. Because of the rough night we had last night (go back to... oh last week or so and find that post about how Ethan was coughing constantly and had a fever, then change Ethan for Gwen and that was our night again), Jason stayed home and called some folks.

One company, whom I had a good feeling about from the second I saw their ad and website came out same day, gave us lots of good information, a very decent quote and bam, its done!

We are getting a basic brushed finish for the main part (look at the picture I posted yesterday) with a "Roman stone" 12 inch border that looks like this:

The brushed portion will be natural concrete color (similar to the color in yesterdays pic), while the border will be darker, similar to the color above. It should be a good contrast and as the border will be the dirtiest part of the patio, due to proximity to the grass, the darker color will help hide smudges and such.

Anyway, I'm thrilled. I cannot wait! I've invited some people over to demolish the deck on Saturday, which should be fun too :)

We've been running non-stop since this morning and I need to take a break. School, post office, grocery shopping, Grammy's house (thanks for lunch by the way!) and then meeting with this guy. I'm worn out, and so are the kids. I'm hoping that they get over the junk they've had since last night because we have a very busy day tomorrow too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We've been pretty busy since the weekend and am just today catching up with blogging.

Saturday I met an assortment of cousins and aunts in Marysville to hit some secondhand stores for maternity clothes. Let me tell you, there isn't a great selection, especially if you wear anything over a small! I did however pick up a couple of things for Ethan and Gwen that they really needed. Gwen came with me, while Ethan stayed home with Jason and got his hair cut and ran errands.

After we finished shopping, Gwen and I raced home, I glazed some pound cakes I'd made the night before, ate some lunch and then we were all off to my Mom's house for the party for my cousin Holly's return to Washington. There was other good news to be had... my cousin Brynne got engaged. Yay!

There were lots of people there... like maybe 23 or so. My Uncle (really cousin) Shawn was there. He'd just returned from Turkey where he was doing research into authentic gyros so he can open a shop in Alaska (I think this is what he was doing... according to my Mom) and he brought us back some baklava that was really good. I love seeing Uncle Shawn (and Aunt Jenni too). They are world travelers and always have stories to share. We heard all sorts of things about his recent trip to Vietnam, of which I'm insanely jealous.

Holly (a Washingtonian once more) and the freshly engaged Brynne.

Gwen being... herself.

My Mom and the hard to photograph Aunt Deanne. Gotcha!

Becki trying to ignore me and not look at the camera.

My brothers girlfriend Melissa, my Uncle Shawn and my brother Michael checking out the pictures from Turkey (which I never got to see).

Aunt Daralyn tracing Gwen's foot on paper

Gwen wanted her face traced next and Aunt Daralyn gave it her best shot :)

Ethan and the other kids (Ben - 7yrs and Kadin - 5yrs) getting restless

My Dad was a good sport and let the kids wrestle and beat him up for good clean fun :)

Sunday, we did something, but I can't remember what. Maybe we just hung around the house. Really, I can't recall at all. Pregnancy brain.

Monday the kids and I worked hard. We put away all the clothes in our bedroom (I do this like every 3 months so it takes hours), cleaned, carpet cleaned, changed sheets and basically did a bit of spring cleaning to the upstairs. I'm just now finishing up all the laundry that resulted from that.

Tuesday we did pre-school for Ethan and gymnastics for Gwen. I re-signed Gwen up for another session of this class. I'd wanted to move her up, but her teacher recommended waiting another session because she is somewhat of a perfectionist and putting her in a class with older kids could discourage her because she wouldn't be able to do what the others are doing. And although I think Gwen could do more than she's doing in this class, I can't deny that its the absolute best time for us because it fits so neatly into the time that Ethan is in pre-school. So another 8 classes and we'll see what happens.

Tuesday afternoon, a guy was supposed to come by and give us an estimate on pouring a patio for us. I'm excited about it and am determined to make it happen this year. Those who've been our deck know what a danger it is, and its irritating design prohibits us from putting a table or anything useful on it. A single level patio (which we'll extend to be larger than the deck was) will give us lots of usable space and open up the tiny backyard. There is so much that can be done with concrete these days... innumerable patterns and designs and colors that can be applied. My preference will probably be for some sort of smooth, maybe brushed, design with a decorative border. Something like this, though as our house is rather bland colored, I'd probably prefer it to be tinted differently. Nothing too fancy, primarily something useful but more exciting than a plain old slab.:

Unfortunately, the guy didn't show up as he got held up at another job. He's supposed to come by today though. We've heard through a couple people that concrete can be far more affordable than decking and requires much less maintenance. We hope this is true :) I have a number in my head based off what people have told me their jobs cost and that number is doable for us. Hopefully, keeping the design simple and basic will help us come in around that number.

The kids are very snotty today (literally) and therefore mostly miserable. They've pretty much trashed the house and gotten into three fistfights just while I've been blogging, so I guess its time for me to stop.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

First the good news. Last night we managed to get Ethan to swallow a whole spoonful of honey straight (this was recently shown to be more effective than cough medicine) and, while it might have been chance, he only coughed twice the entire night. Before bed and the night before, he was constantly coughing... so much that he was getting bloodshot eyes from the severity. We got the best night of sleep we've had in close to a week. I was up twice, but for minor stuff. The kids woke up, as they've been doing lately, as soon as Jason left. In fact, Ethan seems to wake up while J is downstairs moving around and then watches for his car to leave the driveway, then starts crying about him leaving. Oy! Luckily, Jason left late this morning, so it was after 6 when this started. It wasn't too bothersome though, as we'd all had a good nights sleep. Ethan ended up going to school which was good for him too.

The bad part was that both the kids were extremely touchy and demanding and I spent most my day yelling and uttering threats of impending punishment. Great fun. When I wasn't yelling, I was in tears. I'm feeling so very low right now. Low about my parenting skills, about my judgment (why are we having another child) and the constant wall of frustrations that I keep running into. My spirit is weary.

For dinner, we had a really good salad that Jason's co-worker, Rex, made for him earlier this week. Its from the You On A Diet book. You have to understand something first. Jason does NOT like salad greens that are "leafy" or have taste. He likes iceberg and romaine, and none of that high-falutin' fancy romaine, thank you very much. He's never been partial to nuts or fruit on his salads. Yet his co-worker (note: not his wife) makes this salad for him and he can't stop talking about how good it was. So obviously I had to make it, and make it better than Rex. I shan't be upstaged.

Cranberries, Walnuts, and Crumbled Cheese Over Greens
Serves 2

Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 TBL balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad Ingredients:
  • 3 cups packed mixed mesclun or spring greens
  • 1/4 dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup walnut halves, raw or pan roasted
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled farmers cheese (his co-worker used Feta and so did we)

Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic and soy sauce; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired. Toss greens with dressing, cranberries, and walnuts. Arrange on plates; top with cheese. Nutritional info.

Rex had served it with chicken breasts cooked on George Foreman grill (yeah, they have one at work, which I find kinda funny), sprinkled with Montreal Steak seasoning. Not to be outdone, I made my own steak seasoning, recipe follows.

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon crushed coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flake
I generously seasoned the chicken breasts, then grilled them outside for just a few minutes. Dinner came together in no time and was SO good. Gwen ate the salad (no surprise, she takes after me) and Ethan liked eating chicken and Feta on the same fork!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oh, I forgot to add that there is good stuff going on too.

This weekend, my long distant (and can we say long-suffering as well?) cousin Holly is returning to her home state of Washington! How we've missed her, though we've been lucky to see her as often as we have given how far away she was living (Georgia). Her husband Tim is driving back with all their stuff and I look forward to seeing that great guy too.

And also, my sister Michelle is returning home from Boston on Wednesday, to be followed in a month or two by her affianced, Peter. I'm thrilled to see her and give her a hug. Her experience out East, although not without some upsides, was rough and our hearts have hurt for all she's been dealing with.

I'll just say it. I like my family close! When they go farther than a state away, I miss 'em a lot. This next week will hold two very special reunions for us!

Ok, now that I've gotten that out of my system...

Ethan (and Gwen is showing signs of weakening) is sick AGAIN. He's had a cough for about a week, but the last couple days its been more and more often and started waking him (and therefore us) at night. In the wee hours of Monday morning, we realized that he had a fever. He skipped school on Tuesday, slept on my lap during Gwen's gymnastics (never does that) and basically barely roused himself the entire day. You'd think that he'd nap real good since he was so tired. No. Then you might think, surely he'll sleep good at night because he's so tired and had a bad nap. No, wrong again.

Last night I was up 5(?) times between 10 and 12 with either him or Gwen (who has a very runny nose now and kept being bothered by it). Then I was up at least 3 times, and I think J was up a few times, after that. Jason left for work at 5:45 and both kids woke up and started crying. Attempts to re-settle them in my bed didn't work, so we got up.

I woke up with a bad headache and blood pressure issues (I could feel it... temples throbbing, the shortness of breath, heart beating excessively hard, etc) and feel crummy. Ethan has a low grade fever this morning, Gwen is perky, but it will fall apart around 11am when they both are too tired to stay awake. Then I'll force them awake until we eat lunch, then put them to bed early because they can't stay awake and they will sleep for exactly 1 hour and then will refuse to sleep more and then we have the long drag until bedtime, which will be early because they are so tired and then they will wake up at 5:30 again and we'll repeat endlessly.

Can you understand why I keep crying from the futility and exhaustion of it all? I do so incredibly poorly with lack of sleep.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Today I had my 26 week appointment. It went alright. I'm feeling blue about it, but for no apparent reason really. The baby is fine, I am fine.

There were some minor concerns though. I had another high blood pressure reading, so given my past history the midwife is having an OB review my file as a potential "high risk" client and will be doing some bloodwork to establish a baseline should they need to run tests later. I'm also going to start having my urine checked every visit, and she wants me on the every 2 week visit schedule now, instead of at 30 weeks. Nothing all that bad or worrisome in the slightest. It just got me down. Oh, and I had the first weight gain of the pregnancy. 6 lbs! That doesn't get me down per se, but I didn't expect so much in a measly 4 weeks.

On the way home, I had to grab a few shots of the mountains as we are having, for the second day in a row, a gloriously sunny and clear day. Its the kind of day that makes you so grateful to live here

About 2 miles from our house, as I was heading to the craft store (by Safeway, for those in the know about the area).

Down at the boat launch for Lake Stevens. One day I'm going to take our really good camera and get some shots off the dock, without the trees and power lines in the way. This launch often has the BEST views. I should have stopped a few weeks ago when we drove by...everything was frosty and glittery and the mountain was reflected in the lake. Perfect shot, but I was in a rush.

Speaking of the craft store, I got a crafty kids thing as a reward for them getting 5 stars (a star for every good nap/bedtime). It was one of those things where you put the plastic beads on and melt them. Know what I mean? In typical Kristi fashion, I didn't really consider the size of the beads (very small) or the dexterity of the children (low) or the time required to do a pattern (lots). In the end, we just put beads on there any which way and even that took a full hour. Next time, I'll keep to the stickers, thank you very much.

I've got this dreadful urge to SEW something. Yeah, I just packed up all my sewing stuff and now I want to do it. Isn't that the way it works. I especially want to do something with patchwork, which is even more time consuming and complicated, but so it goes with me. When taking on a project, make sure its as complicated and difficult as possible, and that you neither have the time nor energy to do it well! When will I learn? :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gwen calls a milk mustache a moo cow. As in, "Look Mommy, I have a moo cow from drinking my milk!".

That's all... I just think its so funny.

Monday, February 11, 2008

We had a cute kid moment this morning. Ethan woke up early and came into bed with me. The baby was kicking up a storm and so I put Ethan's hand on my tummy and for the first time he felt the baby kick. He was in awe! He asked so many questions, so fast. Why was the baby in there? Why was she turning around and kicking? How big was she? Should we call Daddy and tell him that the baby was kicking? How does he make her kick again? Do babies like car washes (Ethan hates them)?

The funniest one was "Where do babies come from?". I wasn't really ready to broach this at 6:30am, so I stayed very general and said that they come from eggs. You should have seen his face. He was totally thinking chicken eggs. I explained further that they come from human eggs which are really small and inside Mommy and we don't eat human eggs. This made more sense to him :)

When Gwennie joined us, he told her about the kick and they sat on either side of me, their hands on my tummy and tried to wait patiently for a kick. Of course the baby was now still! Ethan and Gwen discussed important details like what toys they'd share and what they would show the baby.

We ended up visiting April today. It was rather last minute and she was gracious enough to let us come by and even fed us! Gibson wasn't feeling well and so him and Ethan were butting heads a few times, but we really enjoyed our visit and Grady was full of smiles. It also wore the kids out good for naps. Score!

It also wore me out (yeah, I'm a wuss) so pizza is currently on its way to Casa Horn.

So most of you are probably familiar with Crocs, right? Those uber-comfy, mostly ugly shoes. Well a lady on my message board posted that she'd bought a cute pair and they were kinda cute so I ordered a pair for myself since I'm basically doing flats for this entire pregnancy (last two I wore heels the whole time. Not so now!). What do you think? Now I'm not saying they are the most adorable or fashionable shoes in the history of the world, but heavens, they are COMFY. I mean like, "I never want to remove these shoes from my feet. Ever" type comfy. The upper is canvas, but the footbed and straps are that Croc-y material.

I also got a pair of flip-flops that are really comfy too. They aren't ugly at all, they just look like flip-flops :)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ethan's favorite show now is NOT Bob The Builder, but one called Super Why! Its actually really helped both the kids identify letters and put clues together and one of the things I really like is that every episode is based off a fairy tale.

Ethan has been nuts about the Goldilocks and the Three Bears one for awhile now. He'll watch it over and over and over again. Last night he decided that we should act it out ourselves. First he wanted me to be all three bears, he would be Goldilocks and Gwennie would be the wolf (?). After clearing up the misconception about a wolf in that particular fairy tale, we decided to wait until Daddy got home and we'd have enough people to play the parts.

So for the first round Daddy was papa bear, I was momma bear and Gwen was baby bear. Ethan was Goldilocks. He even got out bowls and "filled" them with porridge. Anyway, it was pretty funny. He loved that we would get more and more upset as we went through the porridge, the chairs and the beds. For the second round, I was papa bear, Ethan was momma bear and Gwen was baby bear. Daddy was Goldilocks! He kept wanting to play but we had to stop so I could make dinner. Beware any who visit, you may get roped into filling parts in this play.

Yesterday we had MOPS and due to a staffing shortage I worked in Gwen's class instead of being in the meeting. I was rather saddened because they asked for volunteers to help out (they do this VERY rarely) and absolutely no one offered. They were going to draw names for people to go and help when I volunteered. After me, another lady did as well and that took care of the problem, but it just irked me that not one person volunteered. I get that the whole point is to spend kid free time, but jeez, we pay a measly $5 a meeting for 2 hours of childcare plus food, plus activities and no one was willing to sacrifice one meeting? Heck, this is the second one in just a few months I've had to miss to help out.

It was interesting seeing Gwen in a large social group. She's quiet and easy going with other kids. Not an instigator at all. She kept calling me Mommy and by the end of the class, I kid you not, nearly every kid was calling me Mommy! All the age groups get together for 15 minutes of singing time and wow, was Ethan surprised to see me. He kept waving though he was very well behaved and stayed seated next to his teacher the whole time. My "Mommy" vibe must have been turned on high though because during singing no less than 5 kids of varying ages (from 2-6 years and total strangers to me) came and sat on my lap and cuddled. All the teachers were cracking up about it... maybe it was the pregnant tummy or something.

I'm feeling mopey and rather blue. It started late last night and wasn't helped by the really great movie I watched, "Little Miss Sunshine" or sleep. Tonight we have a Valentines dinner thing being put on by my Mom's church and while I was the one who originally wanted to go, the very thought right now is "ugh". Its typical for this to happen after a very busy week, so maybe thats it.

Oh, Jason is very fond of the name Elsa. What do you think? Its a derivative of Elizabeth (my middle name) and means (well, there are lots of meanings, but the general idea of them all is as follows), "My God is a vow" and "joyful". As a German name instead of Hebrew, is means "Noble". Anyway, I like that its easy to say and spell and similar to a very common name, but still unique.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oh, quick update on Becki.

We've been lucky enough to get TWO emails from her! This was more than we expected. She seems to be in good spirits and health, and has been greatly affected by what she is seeing there. Everything sounds to be going well and her safety has not been an issue. Thank you for your thoughts and prayer for her. They are working!

I was ignored and spit upon

How's that for a subject line!

We've been at my parents house all week. We really enjoy being here. Thanks guys!

Today Mom, Dad and Jenni watched the kids while I ran bunches of errands. Mostly my day was entirely unproductive and frustrating, made worse by a grinding headache that was with me off and on all day.

The long and short was this: I went to BabiesRUs, found a stroller/carseat combo I liked and wanted and had someone page an employee to help me get it down from the shelf. I waited 15 min, then had them paged again. 15 minutes later, still no one so I left. That was after I spent over an hour looking, trying out, reading, etc. What a waste of time and I will take my $$$ elsewhere. Hmph! (p.s. this actually turned out to be a good thing. I found the combo I wanted $20 cheaper online with free shipping. Take that BRU!)

Then I went to go get an oil change. I waited 30 minutes just to see my car pulled in and was hit on by two rather ucky looking men. This was not the bad part though. After my car was done, they brought me outside told me to wait just a second while they greased something or other. The owner of the place was there and he walked backward towards me, while talking to someone else. Then he turned his head and spit. On me. I kinda stood there in shock and the guy freaks out and apologizes. I don't think he realized he spit on me though because he was apologizing for nearly stepping on me. Because I'm loathe to embarrass anyone, I didn't point out that spit actually landed on me, but I was not pleased. I don't know one person who has ever been spit on and now its happened to me twice! Do I attract spit? Am I particularly spit-on-able?

To comfort myself I purchased a medium french fry and small fudge sundae that I ate on my way back to my Mom's. This completed my ever so healthy day of eating, which consisted of two bowls of Trix, a grande vanilla latte and some fruit. No wonder I had a headache.

Its snowing outrageously here right now, though the traffic cameras don't show snow anywhere else. Huge, fluffy white flakes. Maybe 1/2-1 inch already. We might not be able to make it to pre-school tomorrow, but probably will make it home tomorrow to see J (he flies in very late tonight, hopefully, if weather in Chicago allows).

Tomorrow is an important day for the baby. Its the start of the week that babies are considered viable and saveable outside the womb. While a 24 weeker preemie is enough to scare anyone, it does give one a sense of relief to know that their baby would have a chance to survive after this date.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Today was are totally being lazy. We're all in our jammies, I've been on the computer, kids watching shows/fighting/playing in the dollhouse.

This cold just won't die. Its mostly sinus problems now, which makes the head foggy and sore.

A few nights ago Ethan asked to watch E.T. He'd seen the DVD and was interested. So we sat down and I've never seen that kid so enthralled. Other than to ask a question here or there, he didn't speak or move the entire time! He adored the movie. He's been wanting to watch a movie every night now, which isn't really our thing, but we'll have to enlarge our DVD collection with more kid-friendly stuff.

Sunday Jason leaves for Chicago for a business trip (on SuperBowl Sunday, how cruel is that?) and we'll be at my Mom's until Thursday. I'm looking forward to it for a couple reasons, but I'll be honest and say primarily, right now, because I'll be able to sleep more!

Our star chart is working well and bed/nap times are going more smoothly. The second day we were using it, Ethan called me up and said, quite seriously, that, "I talked to God and he said that I can sleep downstairs on the couch". Uhhhh huh. I told him that God also says that you should obey your parents and sleep in your room. That kid!

Tonight we're having our favorite salmon dish, Honey and Soy Glazed Salmon. We usually have it with plain rice and sauteed frozen spinach. YUM!

Seems like I'm forgetting stuff that I should be writing about. Oh well!
Have been so bad with the blogging thing lately (me sick), but I wanted to ask you all to be praying for my sister, Becki, who is going on an amazing adventure today.

Today she leaves for Guatemala, with a small local group called Reach Beyond Borders. She'll be providing medical care and supplies for a very very poor rural region near Guatemala City. The group works under the oversight of America Latina Clinics and Ministries (their website doesn't seem to be working, but hopefully will be by the time you read this).

Guatemala isn't a very safe place for foreigners... Lonely Planet rates it high-risk. Many safety precautions have been taken, but we ask that you pray for her safety while there. Becki is so excited to do hands on service that fully utilizes her skills and to bring desperately needed supplies to an area that is extremely rural, poor and seemingly forgotten by the government.

She hasn't even gotten on her plane yet, but I'm anxious for her return so she can share pictures and stories. What a trip!