Monday, September 29, 2008
All is fine with the three. This was when everyone was sick and was crashing on the couch watching TV. No, the baby wasn't sitting there for ages watching TV, I'd put her down for a few minutes so I could get some things done.
Not two seconds later... ANGRY BABY. I understand if you don't get my humor. But I'm sorry, her angry face is pretty funny. Ethan's all, "Wow, that's loud" and Gwen is "Whatever".
A few days ago, Gwennie snuggling Elly and putting her to sleep!
At the park today, with April and her boys.
And finally, the dress I sewed up for Monkeytoes (that's her online name, if you couldn't tell). Isn't it cute? I love polka dots.
Saturday, I dashed off in the morning to hit two fabric stores to replace my botched work and then did grocery shopping (note to self: avoid grocery shopping on weekends in the future!). I got home and just an hour later we left to go to my Mom and Dad's house for the afternoon. We had a great time! The kids picked a ginormous bowl of blackberries (around 6 cups!) which we made into a pie. Jenni, Jason and I played rummy (I won, boo-ya!) and then Scrabble, which Jason won only because he cheated and I wasn't certain enough to challenge the word. Good times. We had grilled rib-eye steaks, coleslaw and potatoes for dinner, followed by our blackberry pie and ice cream. Good eating, that is for sure!
Sunday, we skipped church (I know. I KNOW.) and I devoted myself to cleaning. April is coming over today and I just couldn't be exposed as the poor housekeeper that I truly am. So I scrubbed, swept, folded, sorted, and tidied all day. Jason helped too! Now, lest you feel bad about us working so hard April, its a good thing it got done. We NEED to be forced into this type of cleaning every now and then. Honestly, we should have monthly get-togethers at our house just to keep us on top of the ball.
The weather has been, and is going to be, so nice for the next couple of days. When was the last time we had a 5 day string of 70+ temps at the end of September? Any and all sunny days are welcome, as my tomatoes need every drop of warmth and sunlight they can get. Still green, but slowly getting more and more yellow. Go tomatoes, your time is running short!
Yesterday, amongst the cleaning frenzy, I was able to almost complete the dress I've been working on for an online friend. I just need to put on the ruffle. Its a darling brown flower/polka dot dress. Pictures will be forthcoming once its finished.
Friday, September 26, 2008
MOPS started today and I was placed at a table, once again, with no one that I really knew! I always hope that I'll be placed with someone I know, but because our group is pretty large its just so happened that every year its a whole new table. My table mates seem nice though, and I think we'll have a fun year.
Nearly everyone is cold free now, but Ethan is still struggling. He just does not rebound as fast as everyone else. His face is chapped and red and his nose doesn't stop running. I'm wondering if part of it is allergies because with a stuffy nose the prescription nose spray can't get into the sinuses.
An order came in for a dress from my new site and I was on track to have it all finished up this weekend. Until things started going wrong. My measurements were wonky in some way (2 hours of working on it and I'm still not sure why things weren't matching up) and so now I have to go buy more fabric to redo the whole skirt section. I was SO frustrated, especially since I wasted so much time on trying to fix the problem with a creative workaround. Mistakes happen and generally I'm pretty relaxed about them, but some problems are more frustrating than others!
Here's a piece of random trivia about Gwendolyn. She calls her light up tennis shoes her "purple running snaps". Now, they are purple, but the snaps thing really doesn't make any sense.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Today we took her in for her 4 month checkup. My Mom, bless her heart, came over early this morning and took the kids to school and picked them up while I was at the appointment.
Elsa dropped a bit in the percentages... she weighs 12lbs, 5oz (10-25%) and is 23 3/4 inches long (25%). She was in 50% last time. No worries though. My babies have always been very slow gainers.
Everything checked out well for her. Our pediatrician is so great. She remembers all the kids and their histories and is easy going. I know I sing her praises every time we see her, but she is that good! Elly got her pokes and I always hate that part. I'm so torn on vaccines.
Anyway, Gwen is zonked out on the couch and Ethan has played a one too many levels of Lego Star Wars and its time for me to get moving and make some lunch.
Just to spice up this dull blog post, here's one of my favorite recipes that we had for dinner last night, Chicken Veronique.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Now in my minds eye, pinafores are not closed in the back. So I may try this again but leaving the back seam undone. I think I will also skip the hook & eye and do a button loop and button.
And because she was such a good model, I told her I'd post a picture of silly face as a reward :)
Monday, September 22, 2008
Over the dinner table we like to challenge the kids with questions. Sometimes its easy things like, "What is your full name" or asking them the real names of their Mommy, Daddy and grandparents (we figure this might come in handy if they are ever lost) or where certain foods come from. Other times we discuss deeper things like Jesus and heaven.
Last night we were talking about heaven and the kids brought up their Poppa and how much they missed him. They wanted to know when Poppa would be returning from heaven and they could see him. We talked about how we'd have to wait to get to heaven to talk and see him. Ethan said, "He's up there with his friends and having fun". Then they wanted to know if they could pray to Poppa and talk to him. Well, doesn't really work that way, we explained, though we could ask Jesus to pass along a message.
This morning, Ethan is in the bathroom off the kitchen going potty and I hear him say, "Dear God, please help me not to be scared (for some reason he is sometimes scared of bathrooms). Also Jesus, please tell Poppa that we miss him a lot and when we come to see him we'll have blue ice cream that has gum in it and we'll play with toys and it will be great. Tell him that Elly is here now and she's fun. Love you Jesus and Poppa!". Oh my goodness, way too cute and touching.
Then later, he tells me he wants to write a letter to Poppa so I get him some paper and a crayon and he writes a "letter" and then reads it to me and its pretty similar to what he said in the bathroom but you can just see in his eyes that its a pretty special to him. The kids go through times where they need to hear again how things happened and why. I have to say that the way they've handled the whole situation (and while we didn't tell them all the details, we were pretty frank with what happened) and their simple trust is amazing and inspiring. I wish I could be more childlike in this way.
Well, enough blogging for now. Elly is just miserable with her cold and my arms are already aching from holding her non-stop since we got up. I thought she was out for a good nap, but I hear her fussing. No rest for these weary arms!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Jason, Ethan, Elsa and Gwen are all in varying degrees of sickness. Jason brought home a cold from Vegas and it spread to Gwen. Last night Ethan woke up with a "tickly" throat and Elly has a runny nose and little cough this morning. I'm the only one who has not been hit yet. Its nothing all that serious, though Gwennie seems to be getting it the hardest today. She has a fever and her tummy hurts. No one else seems all that weighed down though.
We all had a rather terrible night last night. Kids were up repeatedly for various things, baby didn't sleep (her worst night of sleep since she was born!) and I do think that I burst into tears at least twice during the night. I was sooooo tired and didn't get a chance to sleep.
We're skipping church today (thats the third week in a row. I feel bad) and everyone is lazing around and taking it easy.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
This is a size 4/6.
I'm working on a simple HTML page to list these types of things. As I work pretty slowly there is no way I could have a storefront type of deal, but I do like to sew girly things and Gwen (and soon Elsa!) can only have so many dresses and skirts. Selling off my extras seems like a fun little (and I do mean little) side business :)
A couple people have wondered how I have time to sew at all. Nap time my friends, nap time. But then I have this little tiny child that has no set nap time, what do I do with her?
The baby straitjacket of course!
Now, now, in all fairness... I do NOT straitjacket my baby on a whim :) She loves to sleep swaddled at night, and occasionally we have to break it out in the daytime too. Today she was steamin' mad about something and just couldn't settle down, even though her eyelids could barely stay open. Even nursing wasn't calming her down. So, I wrapped her up snug in Gwen's blankie... instant calm. Then into the swing she went to listen to a bit of white noise and zzzz... she was out.
Friday, September 19, 2008
That said, I want to share a crockpot recipe that we absolutely adore in this house. Generally I'm not a big fan of crockpot cooking. Oh, I do it from time to time, but I'm never all that satisfied with how things come out and never all that convinced that I couldn't have done it better outside the crockpot.
However, this recipe is the exception!
- It calls for brining the pork chops overnight, which I think is WAY too long. I do it for about 4 hours and its perfect.
- I go a bit easier on the pepper for the kiddies, though even at the full amount its not as overpowering as you think.
- If you are using thick pork chops (like those from Costco... and I think those are the best for this recipe), you might need the full time in the recipe. If you're using thinner ones, you absolutely will not need as much time as in the recipe. Perhaps my slow cooker runs hot, but these are almost always done at least an hour earlier than the recipe indicates.
Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed
1 pound ice
4 (1 to 1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 ounces dried apple slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, julienned
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Combine the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup kosher salt, brown sugar and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and add the ice. Place the pork chops into a 2-gallon zip-top bag along with the mixture and seal. Place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the chops from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season on both sides with the kosher salt and set aside
Place the apples in the slow cooker.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch stainless steel saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker atop the apples.
Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and thyme and stir to combine. Transfer this to the slow cooker, set to high, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 hours and 30 minutes or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.
Served simply with an roasted yam on the side its simply fantastic.
The baby cries, I must end before Jason gives me the evil eye!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
On a lighter note, today was the first day of school for Ethan and Gwen. They are attending Kid's Korner, through Calvery Chapel. Ethan went last year and we really liked how low-key and personal it was. This year they started a pre-k class, and that is what Ethan is doing. Gwen is in their pre-school class.
They picked out their own clothes even... ok, well, that's not 100% true. In true stereotypical style, Ethan could not be bothered at all to pick out his first day of school clothes and Gwen spent much time picking out hers, including coordinating undies and socks!
Note Ethan's giraffe... it came along for moral support
Gwen got the last minute jitters and did not want to leave her seat when we arrived at the church. Ethan, bless his little heart, spent 5 minutes bolstering her courage and telling her that, "I'll be right next door and if you need me I'll come help you". After this pep talk, she got out without any troubles.
Though she did have a hard time looking all that pleased
Ethan, on the other hand, was great! You'd hardly know that this was the kid that spent the first two months of preschool sobbing at every. single. drop off.
Both kids were happy to see me when I came and got them and had a great time. Gwen was much happier.
I guess I'm working backwards here, but on Saturday my cousin Caitlyn got married! She was a stunning bride.
My littlest sister, and my littlest child
The bride and groom, Caitlyn and Matt.
Elsa's great-Aunt Daralyn
The proud grandma's. My Mom holding Elsa and my Aunt Daralyn holding her newest grandson, Cian. He was born in August, so him and Elly are only 3 months apart.
Ethan asked me to dance
And one of us
Thursday, September 11, 2008
We had a good time as always and besides the first night when I slept terribly, I got more rest than usual because my Mom got up with Ethan in the mornings. Nice.
Here are some pictures from Sunday, when Aunt Becki stopped by for a visit.
Becki's handmade chemise and corset. This is the first step in her work towards making this ensemble. These pieces are really impressive!
I've always wanted to lace someone into a corset. The only way it could be more perfect is if she was clutching a bedpost, like Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind. Don't worry, no ribs or lungs were hurt in this reenactment!
Later on, we gave the kids a bath in my parents big jacuzzi tub
Elsa had a dip too. She loves being all floaty in water. My baby may look like she has creepy doll eyes, but don't worry, its just the lighting in that room :)
Ethan giving Elsa his "lego guy" so that she feels safe in the water.
You can imagine the fun they had in this! All those bubbles from a stray bar of soap that fell into the tub right before the jets were turned on.
This final picture is the one that makes me the happiest. At the advice of some online friends who I consulted about my blossom end rot, I've been watering the HECK out of my tomato plant. I mean, I'll dump a whole watering can on there in the mornings and maybe even some more at night if the soil is dry again. The thinking was that because it got so enormously huge that it was root bound and because its in a dark pot, its getting warm and absorbing more water than usual. We figured that we had nothing to lose if it killed the plant, so why not. While we were gone I left a hose in there, dribbling out water.
There are 9 tomatoes on the plant now, one bigger than a golf ball now and NO signs of end rot. Its working! If I can get just one tomato I will feel that it wasn't a total failure. Woo hoo!
Jason arrives home tonight around 8pm and will be with us till Sunday when he departs for a week long conference in Vegas. Lucky guy :( I want to stay in a plush hotel room, surrounded by all sorts of high end restaurants. He gets all the fun! My cousin Caitlyn gets married on Saturday evening , so we have quite a busy weekend.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
April trying to keep all 4 of the bigger kids swinging.
Ethan and... a juice box.
Its hard to teeter, when there is no totter
Finding a more even weight distribution, but neither kid was heavy enough to make it go. So April helped.
Then Ethan wanted in on the action!
Almost... so close... to having my two oldest looking at the camera AND smiling.
Ethan is kind of a 'fraidy-cat. Its just his nature. So him on these ropes is a big step!
April spinning her boys, Giblet™ on the left and Grady on the right, in the spinny seat until they were dizzy!
Ethan trying to lift Grady onto the cement frog. He was shocked by how much heavier Grady was than Elly!
April holding Elsa on one of her brief appearances from napping, and, as April called, "the boobcave". See her blog for the referring picture :)
Its time to go when you get this face and the words, "But Moooooommmmyyyyy". Whining. A surefire way to know your play time is done ;)
This is picture I took of Gwen on Friday when we were at the grocery store. She's been eyeing this horse for awhile. She found it quite lacking in excitement, unfortunately. She told me next time she won't waste her quarter on THAT. She'll use it for a gumball.
Friday, September 05, 2008
The last 3(?) days, I've been trying to take walks of about 5,000 steps each (around 2 miles). I've been exploring various routes. The first one I did was pretty flat and was 3.500 steps. The second one I did took me up a ginormous hill and was pretty tough, but it too was only 3500 steps (but a much harder 3500).
Today, after grocery shopping, we went over to my friend Kristy's house (her son Blake was in Gwen's gymnastics class and also attends MOPS). She lives, well, according to my pedometer, about 3/4 of a mile from us and this was our first attempt at walking there. We did it fine (though the kids are really whiny about walking) and had a great visit with her in her very lovely home. The walk back was rough as the kids were super tired and cranky. Gwen picked a handful of blackberries and held them to her chest, leaving a bright red splotch. Looked like she'd been shot or something! That's gonna take a heck of a lot of stain stick. Anyway, that walk was around 3900 steps. Its seemingly hard to find a route that doesn't intersect with huge streets that don't have crossing access and also has sidewalks that are 5,000 round trip.
Suppose the exercise is good either way though, hmm?
Well, off to pick up. We've been gone all day and the house is a disaster.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Ethan started throwing a fit right as we were about to enter and we started getting stressed out. J and I took a moment to become calm, then dealt with Ethan calmly. One of the things we've found is that ignoring the behaviour, especially in public, is quite effective. On the way, we'd talked about what exactly was going to happen. We were going to put Gwennie in her class, then go into the church and sing and pray, then Ethan would go to his class. When the children were dismissed, the lady behind us asked if she could walk Ethan to the class and I agreed. I think this helped so much too... He generally acts a lot better around non-family. He went without any fight and came out happy and smiling. Whew, what a relief!
Unfortunately, we won't be attending the next two weekends because Jason is on back-to-back business trips, but hopefully our next visit will continue on this happy trend.