Monday, June 30, 2008

Whew. Wow. What a weekend. It felt like one of the most exhausting of my life! Thursday through Saturday we were out till at least 10pm, with very short or no naps at all. By Sunday, everyone was totally fried.

Michelle's wedding was beautiful and went off with nary a hitch. The kids did GREAT in their roles and sat patiently through the entire ceremony, even though Ethan was struggling badly with allergies. I was so proud.

Saturday morning we went to the zoo with the eastern Washington clan (plus a few extra) and despite a VERY rough start with terrible traffic, no parking, high temperatures and crowds galore, we did have fun. Directly after getting home I hopped in the shower, changed the kids and we were off to my Mom's. The kids and J hung out there while I headed next door to Brynne's house for her bachelorette party. I'd never been to one before and I have to say it was quite funny. We played various games, including one that required carving of a cucumber. I won that one!

Sunday we did nothing but putter around the house. We needed a low stress day and while we didn't go anywhere it wasn't exactly low stress. The kids and Elsa were out of sorts and being very challenging. Elsa in particular was frazzled from being held by so many different people and the non-stop activity and was attached to me and nursing constantly. That generally doesn't put me in a good mood either, so yesterday wasn't all that fun. And it was REALLY hot too, which helped no one.

Today is a bit cooler thank goodness and the kids and I are getting along better. Elsa seems more settled as well. I have lots of pictures that I need to go through, so those will be popping up here and there as I find the time.

Can you believe that tomorrow I go in for my 6 week checkup with the midwife? As of today, little Elsa is 6 weeks old! Where does the time fly?

Its rather irritating... I was looking around for some toys for Elsa because yesterday when i was bathing her she saw herself in the mirror and couldn't stop smiling. I thought I had a baby mirror around here, but apparently I gave it away. So I started looking for the toy arch that hooks onto the carseat because I wanted to see if that would distract her from screaming every time we go anywhere. Couldn't find that either. Looks like I gave away every single one of my baby toys. What is wrong with me? I have this vague remembrance of being irritated by the number of toys we had, and that many of them were for little babies and therefore weren't being played with and so I bagged them up and... well, I must have freecycled them. Doh. I'm not very bright, eh? Especially since I'm pretty sure I did all that AFTER I was pregnant. Brilliant!

Friday, June 27, 2008

This week has been very busy and flown by quite quickly. Tonight, Michelle (my second youngest sister) gets married to the fantabulous Peter. Yay!

I spent hours on Monday at my Mom's house making fondant roses for the cupcakes with Grammy, Mom, Jenni and Michelle.

Wednesday I took the kids to the park to run off some steam. Elsa caught some rays too.

That night, I also finished, finally, the blanket I was knitting for Elly. It took me forever. I say "ha" to the idea that this is a "few hours" project. Not for me, though I'm hardly skilled in the knitting arts.

Thursday we headed out to the church to do setup and rehearsal. I had tons of cupcakes to ice and decorate. Each foil container held 18 cupcakes. There were about 12 containers. Luckily, one of Michelle's bridesmaids, Rebekah, and later Aunt Margaret helped to ice them. 'Twas not so bad once you got into a groove.

Finished project. Our handmade fondant roses and mint from my very own yard. For the record, my Grammy is a TRUE fondant artist. She made beautiful roses, where many of my own looked more like cabbages!

After most the cupcakes were done I took the kids home for a quick nap, then later we headed out to a restaurant for the rehearsal dinner (kids did decently), then back to the church for practice. It was a late night. Practice didn't start till 8:00 or so.

Elly's first hair accessory. Uh, didn't go over so well.

Gwen and Aunt Becki at dinner

Uncle Michael and Elsa (awwww)

When we got to the church, we found the doors were locked. Oops! So we practiced outside for a little bit.

Ethan with his boys.

Gwen with her girls

Aunt Becki helping out by holding Ms. Tired HungryPants

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Today I'm acknowledging a fundamental flaw in my cooking skills.

The simpler the recipe, the more likely I am to mess it up. Simple, easy recipes are my kryptonite. Case in point: no-bake cookies. I picked a recipe with 6 ingredients that approximately 5 bazillion people made with great success and somehow screwed it up. And this is not the first time either. Previous batches have been too soft and required storage in the fridge or freezer. This batch, just to throw me off, decided to be too dry! How I go from super gooey to crumbly dry with the same exact recipe is a mystery. Jason says they are still good, and the kids like them, but I'm too grumpy to eat them myself.

No-bake cookies can't compare to my all-time consistent failure though... potato salad (don't send me recipes. I've tried them all!). My greatest culinary success was this watermelon bombe that I made for Mothers Day many years back. It had a cake base, two layers of ice cream and a watermelon sorbet (which I had to make myself) studded with chocolate wafers for the "flesh". I turned it out without breaking a sweat. Yet heaven forbid that I assemble cooked potatos with other basic ingredients and toss them together and have it taste good. THAT would be asking too much. Oh well, everyone needs to have things to keep them humble ;)

Today we went to the park and let the kids run a bit. The weather has actually been nice for a few days in a row. Would it be safe to say that summer is here? It actually feels like spring, but because we skipped spring this year we'll have a cool summer. In any case, lets hope that the nice weather continues because we are sick and tired of rain.

There are a couple recipes from my favorite recipe makers, Cooks Illustrated, that I'm particularly fond of on busy/tiring days. I hope they come out with more because they are far better than "hamburger helper" type meals and require only slightly more effort.

This Skillet Lasagna is what we had tonight

Serves 4 to 6

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion , minced

Table salt
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound meatloaf mix
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles , broken into 2-inch lengths

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 additional tablespoons

Ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Pour tomatoes with their juices into 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 quart.

2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground meat and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

3. Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Last night I met with April and some of her friends for dinner at Stella Mia for a girls night out. We had a great time, and some very decent food as well! Elsa tagged along and did ok, though I nursed 3 times while we were at dinner. Sheesh! I have to say its nice being with a group of women who have nursed or are nursing. I was able to breastfeed right at the table with no embarrassment or discomfort. It was kinda hot in the restaurant (no AC?) and with a babe in arms most the night, I was uncomfortably warm... however, it couldn't dampen the fun I had! There are pictures of the group and our food on April's blog.

Today we've just been kicking around the house and doing some outside work. For lunch we went to a local Mexican place. Gwen greatly embarrassed us by pointing across the restaurant to a larger lady and saying loudly, "That lady has a big tummy. AND big nursies". She kept prompting us to look and then I realized what she was saying and was mortified. Luckily the lady did not hear us. Guess its time to have a talk with her about appropriate things to comment on in public!

Snapped this picture of El today and it reminds me a little of Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies.

Ethan is really taken with the Lego Indiana Jones game. He likes to run around and "boom" people, which you can probably surmise, means to hit them. We keep telling him the game is called Indiana Jones, but he keeps calling it "Marios". As in, "I want to play Marios now!". We're going to get some video of him playing because its really funny to watch. He gets into it as moves all over and yells and stuff.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Today Elsa is exactly 1 month old. Can you believe it? I sure can't.

She had her pediatrician appointment today and all is well. She now weighs 9lbs, 7oz (50%) and is 21 3/4 inches long (75%). In two weeks she gained over a pound and grew over an inch. Now that is what I call growth!

Really too tired to post more. Maybe tomorrow!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Elsa did not sleep through the night last night. Good thing I didn't get my hopes up ;)

So, you decide. Smile or random baby faces that may resemble a smile? I swear I heard a giggle from her too during this session, but that may or may not have been me imagining things.

Looking interested at our attempts to make her smile...

and eventually rewarding us!

This is a random picture from us at dinner on Thursday. She still has that shock of blond hair!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I'm blogging from Ethan and Gwen's bathroom right now. I have a confession to make, I dislike giving them baths. They require so many toys and usually end up fighting and worst of all, they drink the bathwater. *shudder* No matter what J or I do or say, we still catch them taking a sip now and then. Eww.

But as its Father's Day and J didn't really get much of a special celebration, I figured that I could take on the task he usually does and give him a few minutes of peace. He is holding Elsa, but as she's asleep, it hardly counts as watching a child :)

Yesterday we went into Lynnwood and picked up some clothes for J to wear to the two upcoming weddings (sister Michelle's in 2 weeks, cousin Brynne's in 4) and while we were there, I stopped by Babies R Us and picked up that dang baby book. Much to my dismay, they only had 2 in the style I like, which is loose-leaf. Neither floated my boat, but I was pretty fed up with the whole deal so I picked the best one.

We got home, chilled for an hour, then headed out to Mom's house to pick up the kids and do a Father's Day celebration. The kids had a blast for the two days they were at Mom's and Ethan cried the whole way home because he wouldn't see Ben (my 7 year old cousin who lives next door to my Mom) for a few days. Ethan thinks Ben is the bee's knees.

Elsa slept through the night last night. Totally took us by surprise! Could be a fluke. I'm not going to get excited.

We took Ethan in to get measured for his tux. He is going to be a ring "bear" in Michelle's wedding. Gwen is going to be the flower girl. He's gonna look SO cute in a tux! Then we went and looked at some tent trailers, just out of curiosity. We've talked about getting one for years, and we really can't afford to get one now, but the desire is very strong! There are some really nice ones out there too. However, all we did was look, and that's good :)

After that, we braved Red Robin for lunch and it went fairly well. As long as the kids have something to eat they do ok in restaurants. We got back to the car and El needed to nurse, so while I was doing that J and I noticed that there was a Coldstone right behind us and he went to get us a small serving of ice cream as a snack.

For Father's Day, I got Jason the Lego Indiana Jones video game. I feel really horrible... he's not played it at all. I, on the other hand, am 1/3 of the way through the game. I'm a sucker for the Lego video games. They are so cute, and just my type of game.

Before I end this long and rather dull blog, I want to recommend my new favorite blog/recipe site. Its called, "The Pioneer Woman". You have to check out her site. Not only are her blogs (and even her recipes) hilarious, her photography is beautiful and her recipes delish. Friday night we had the "Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich" (Marlboro Man is the moniker she uses for her husband) and it was so good. And so easy. And cheap. Tomorrow, we're making her "Chicken Spaghetti"

Alright, I've let the kids splash around long enough. Time to wash the hair and brush the teeth.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I can't believe I forgot to mention that my parents have the kids for two nights. I dropped them off last night and we'll pick them up Saturday evening. How nice is that?

We went to Alligator Soul last night and I had probably the best meal I've ever eaten there. It was a giant, double cut, 12 oz pork chop on top of sweet potato fries and a rosemary/garlic gravy. My description doesn't do it justice. Oh, it was topped with an apple/bacon combination too. SO GOOD. So enormous. J had the 16 oz steak with yummy stuff on it too, and that also was so enormous. I indulged in a mint julep which was potent enough that I believed I may have breathed fire after sipping it a little too fast. We were there about 1 1/2 hours and that one drink lasted me the entire time. It was too strong to drink otherwise. Good times though.

Afterwards we went to Borders and I looked for a baby book (or as I'm learning they are called "memory keepsake books". Apparently, Everett doesn't carry keepsake books because I've searched every major store in the area with no luck. I found one at a Hallmark store, but unfortunately, it would only highlight what a bad record keeper I am. I need a book that makes me look like I was somewhat diligent, not one that will show I didn't record baby's first belch and other inane details (I'm not joking, baby's first hiccup and belch were listed in this book). So I'll have to trek down to Lynnwood at some point and go to Babies R Us to get one.

This morning I'm going to do my grocery shopping, then come home and catch up on filling out Ethan's and Gwen's baby books. We'll likely eat in tonight (I have a recipe I want to try that looks awesome!) and then watch, *gulp* 300. I don't want to watch it at all, but Jason really does and if I don't make him watch it we'll hold onto the Netflix for ages and it will really bother me so I'm going to bite the bullet and watch it with him. But I'll hate every minute of it. Its so not my type of movie.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

*sigh* This week has been rough. Just dealing with life and three kids and the changes... You'd think it would get easier with time, but as a mom from Gwen's gymnastics class remarked, "Elsa's about 3 weeks? So the hard part is just starting" is correct. She's been mostly sleeping up until now. She's starting to be awake more and while that's great, its also requiring more of my attention and care and that is a challenge. Yesterday I wanted to make myself an espresso. I started the process at 8am. Due to a variety of problems, issues and needs the coffee did not get made until 11:30am. If it was not one child it was another, and then another, and then I had to nurse AGAIN.

On Tuesday, Gwen had another "show off" day at gymnastics and I took a few pictures. The quality is horrendous because the lighting in the gym is quite strange and the camera struggles to take pictures.

Hopping through the hoops



Got a little cocky and started kicking her legs really high. Good thing teacher was there to catch!

Flipping on the bar


You know, earlier today I had lots of funny things that I wanted to blog about. Funny things the kids had been saying and such. *poof* Its all gone. I really need to carry a notebook and jot down these thoughts because nothing stays in my head for more than a few minutes.

Oh, today we went to Target to pick up a few things and the kids were doing great and I was much pleased. Except right after we paid and were this close to walking out the door, Ethan spotted the cookies in the the food court area and started insisting that he wanted one. I did my normal thing which is to kind of ignore the insistence and go park the limo (i.e. the cart which is like 50 feet long that my kids insist I drive when we go to Target) back in the cart area. I glance back and see that Ethan has thrown himself on the floor and is crying that he wants a cookie. I grab my three bags, the baby's carseat and tell Gwen to follow me and when I look up again there is a Target employee talking to Ethan. Now I'm thinking, "Oh great, I'm gonna get a lecture or something about letting my kid cry on the floor", but actually all she said to me was, "Uh, he's bleeding!". Wonderful. Turns out that during his little dramatic fall he hit his lip.

When Ethan heard the word "bleeding", his eyes get really big and he majorly freaks out. He gets up and runs to me, blood streaming everywhere, giant tears on his face. Everyone entering the store now stops and stares because there is a bloody faced child crying loudly and it looks much much worse than it is. I'm standing there rather speechless because my arms are completely full and I'm not sure what to do. So nice TargetLady takes us all to the bathroom and gets us settled so I can clean him up. Of course, as I'm wiping away all the blood, he says, "Can I have a cookie please??". I'm like, "HECK NO", but I say it nicely so that the people staring at us in the bathroom wouldn't think me a mean mommy for telling my injured son he couldn't have a cookie. Little did they know that the stupid cookies started the whole thing!

I'm sure this is some right of passage. First blood-inducing tantrum in a store or whatever. Luckily, Ethan wasn't too fond of how it all went either and told me quite firmly that he would NOT do that again. Good boy. Lets hope that lesson sticks.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

After having numerous people ask me if I'm ok, I realized that I better update my blog so that folks didn't think I'd really lost my brain after Monday and was in the throes of depression or something :)

We've been pretty much housebound all week, except that we went out for Gwen's gymnastics on Tuesday. Mom met me there to pass on some clothes and ended up staying and entertaining Ethan the whole time, which was so nice! I think it would have bothered him more that Gwen was doing something fun and he wasn't if she hadn't been there. Thanks Mom!

Today, April and I tried to be good Mommies and give our kids outside play time, but ended up missing a total drenching by just a few minutes. It started out as a slow drizzle and then got me heavier and heavier until we madly dashed for the car and it became an all out downpour. So we headed to a local McD's and let the kids play for a few hours and eat lunch. I snapped this picture of Elsa smiling in her sleep. Actually its the tail end of a really big cute smile but I couldn't get my camera in time.

I suppose it was on Sunday that we took the kids to the park. We brought their bikes and they had a good time.

Ethan made a friend about his age. This child has a name, but both my kids refer to him as "Stinky Feet" because he took off his shoes when Ethan was trying to climb the slide and stuck his feet in Ethan's face, resulting in Ethan being totally disgusted and horrified by the stench. Hence, "Stinky Feet" is how this child will always be remembered. This is the park that we were rained out of today and both my kids expressed concern that "Stinky Feet" would be there. Luckily, he was not.

Ever-daring Gwen

In other news... Angry baby.

Content baby.

Silly babies.

Today I was thrilled to receive a necklace that I ordered last week. I heard about Lisa Leonard from a blog post on Confessions of a CF Husband (the blog I pull the feed above from). I'm not one for jewelry, and when I do wear it I like it to be a bit unconventional and small, especially when it comes to necklaces. So when I saw this teenie tiny initials necklace, I was immediately drawn to it and wanted each of the kids initials. I likely wouldn't wear a traditional "mothers necklace" very often, but I think I shall wear this one quite a bit. The initials and pearl are all about the size of a pea, so the whole thing is very understated.

Monday, June 02, 2008

This is the first day I've felt absolutely miserable. Its also the first day that Jason is back at work. These two things are not related actually. Just an unfortunate coincidence.

Last night was very rough. From about 9:30 till 12:30 I could not sleep at all. Elsa was up at 12:30 to nurse, and was fussy fussy fussy. I think she finally went back down around 1:30, though I'm not sure. I lost all track of time. She was up and down constantly. Then Ethan wet his bed for the second night in a row. Jason dealt with that, but it was yet another disruption. Jason left for work and shortly thereafter, the kids came into our room, even though I'd told them quite firmly that they must not get up before the alarm (they've been reverting back to their very early wakings and ignoring the alarm edict). I was up nursing and sent them back to their rooms, but said they could play together. Elsa just wouldn't go back to sleep so I drifted in and out. Then I heard the kids downstairs and knew I had to get up. So I did and had to put them on television restriction for disobeying.

They had also trashed both their rooms and Ethan spilled his entire bowl of cereal on the floor so everything is sticky. Ugh. I'm running on very little sleep, my baby is cranky, I'm really fed up with my older children. My house is a mess, I'm in laundry up to my eyebrows because of the wet beds and its ONLY 10:30? Good lord, I'll perish before the day ends at this rate.

On a slightly happier note, Elsa is 2 weeks old today. And the kids have been doing a really great job of entertaining her when she's awake. The other night they kept her distracted for over an hour while I did dinner stuff. I've noticed that their chatter tends to calm her down in the car (which she pretty much hates right now).