Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although we are not having our "official" celebration until Saturday, we did have a pared down and simple version on Thursday.

I cannot get this picture to show up with the correct rotation, so blah. In any case, you can still make out Ethan's mood by the lip protrusion. Despite sending Gwen to wake him up with a marshmallow (his favorite treat), he was a major crank. He got better towards the middle of the meal though.

Gwen, on the other hand,was excited to dig in and eat her favorite part of the turkey... the leg! She was cracking us up during the meal because she kept dipping the leg in gravy and sucking on it, like an enormous popsicle or something. I'm not sure how much meat she actually ate, but she went through a ton of gravy!

Right now I have a pot with two turkey and one chicken carcass in it, making broth for gravy tomorrow. I also have to make two pies. I kinda wish we had NOT had a Thanksgiving meal yesterday as it killed my enthusiasm somewhat for preparing for one tomorrow! Ah well, I'll pull through somehow.

I'm so thankful for my family and friends that I've been blessed with. For the house and cars and material possessions I've been blessed with. This year has has been a good year, and I'm thankful for it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ferry Trip

Yesterday, after school, we all (Mom, Jenni, Becki, the kids and I) went down to Edmonds and took a ferry ride into Kingston. The kids haven't been on a ferry in a really long time and they found it very intriguing. Of course the weather was frigid and rainy, so they were not so interested in being outside. The video games and vending machines were more their speed :)

Ethan was a particularly crabby patty so he appears in none of these pictures. He didn't want to be in any stinkin' pictures (more or less his words).

Elsa and Aunt Becki

Mommy with Elsa on her first ferry ride!

Gwen's face after we made her take a short walk outside. She has the most expressive face of any of my kids I think.

And yes, another of Elsa because she is still young enough to not run away from the camera and smile on cue :)

After arriving in Kingston, we let Jenni choose the place to eat since it was her 16th (!) birthday and she made really the only available choice. Kingston isn't exactly brimming with available lunch options in late November! The food was a step above dismal, but the good company made it a lot better. After lunch we wandered around (finding that this place was far less exciting then we all remembered it), got some ice cream, then hopped back on the ferry. An expensive day trip, but fun still.

Two nights ago, on a whim, I set up the crib in Gwen's room and moved Elly into it. She's been sleeping in our room/bed since birth and I was starting to think that it was now causing her sleep problems. The first night she slept great. Down at 8, up at 12, up at 5:30. Much better than most our nights. Last night was a bit worse... up at 12, up at 3, up at 5, but I think we all feel more rested. Today I experimented and put her down for a nap when she was wide awake. She was playing with her toys, then fussed about 5 min later. I went up, gave her the animal that I'm using as her lovey and she instantly fell asleep. Like the instant her lovey touched her hand she closed her eyes. Weird! But I'm going with it. She's been asleep for 10 minutes now. I think moving her might have done the trick!

Unfortunately, Ethan isn't doing so great. He woke up feverish last night and has remained so. I can't find my thermometer, but Id guess he's around 102. He had to miss school, which was too bad because they always do such fun things the week of Thanksgiving.

Let us just say that Ethan takes after his father when sick ;) He likes to be pampered! I've been doing it all morning and its getting a little old when he won't even raise his arm to reach his milk. That's all he'll ingest at this point. Milk. I really hope I don't regret that later if he throws up. Yesterday, at the cafe, he dropped a chicken strip on the floor and I expressly told him NOT to pick it up or eat it. Well, when I wasn't looking he did (ewwwww) and last night he told me, "Momma, that chicken strip made me sick! I shouldn't have eaten it!". I didn't confirm or deny the idea that it was the chicken strips fault. If it helps him learn not to eat things that fall on the floor, so be it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Congrats to Amber & Josh!

Wow, what a morning its been for my cousins on the east side of the state.

My cousin Josh and his wife Amber had their little girl this morning... in the front seat of their van, delivered by a fireman! Details are still trickling in, but it sounds like quite the experience. Mom and baby girl are fine though, praise God. This little girl has been surrounded by prayer for many many weeks now and God delivered her to the world safe and sound, though through some very exciting circumstances!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Miss Elsa, and more

Ah, blog time. Its seeming harder and harder to find blog time and I rather miss it.

Today I have a bunch of picture of Miss Elsa.

Her first bite of banana.

I think she liked it

Oh yeah, she did.

A carrot to gnaw on. And WAIT. Before you leave me comments on choking hazards and what not, its not a choking hazard. Its a huge piece of carrot that could not be swallowed, and my child has no teeth. At best she is getting carrot essence, nothing more :)

Is there anything more darling than a nakkie baby and/or nakkie baby in a towel? I think not!

The "wistful" look

The, "Its a hard knock life for a third child" look

The "I love my sis but why does she steal my shots" look

The "Ha, she's gone!" look

The "I'm a happy girl who never sleeps for my Mommy" look :)

In other, non-Elsa related, news, I have been feeling crummy for a long time now, but after a bad migraine today seem to have come out and beaten whatever was getting me down. However, Gwen is now sick :(

Saturday we went over to my Mom's and I cannot believe how much her house has changed. They've been painting like mad. It looks great, but totally not like my Mom's house... it'll take some time to get used to.

While we were there, I made two piecrusts and Jenni turned one into a pie for a church pie auction and I made the other into a pie for us to eat. Dutch Apple. Yum.

I finished two dresses that I've been working on for my dear friend Laurie. You may remember Laurie from my Boston adventure two years ago, where I got to meet her and even stayed at her house. I miss that girl! The long sleeve shorter dress is for her daughter Murphy, and the longer one is for her niece.

This picture is kinda bad because it was dark out and I was trying to get in a shot with a child on my leg. Yikes, they are wrinkled :) I didn't really notice until just now! Will need to iron before I send them out... Gwen loved these dresses because they used her two favorite colors!

Now on to Gwen's Christmas dress. I realized I've made nothing for Elsa and I guess I need to start doing that! Perhaps I'll make them both matching dresses for Christmas.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Powdergate '08

I'm stunned that it happened again. After the great powder disaster of '07, I thought we had all learned our lessons and were smarter. Apparently not.

I was distracted by the non-sleeping Elly and had told the kids to bring some stuff up to their rooms. They did so, but I didn't realize that they hadn't come back down. After a few minutes I smell something... something.... baby-powdery. I think, no, couldn't be. Still not making the connections in the old noggin. Finally it hits me. Kids upstairs alone, smell of baby powder. Oh crap.

I ran upstairs, opened Gwen's door and found exactly what I did not want to find. Powder everywhere. All over the carpet, CD player, bed, on every single story of the doll house. You name it. The kids were hiding under their bed. They knew they had done something naughty. I banished them to their respective rooms while I called Jason and tried to breathe. Literally, since the air was choked with powder, and figuratively since I was so angry.

Up I marched and told them that they were losing all toys, books and playthings in their rooms until further notice. Just the bed, dresser and security item. So out it all came. Then I had to vacuum and it filled two cannisters. Everything is powdery, even my keyboard keys down here! If past history is any indication, I will be vacuuming up baby powder for the next couple months.


In good news however, the kids and I cleaned out and vacuumed the car. Oh, it needed it sooooooo badly. Ew.

And when Jason got home I went on another long long walk. I really needed it today, though it totally kicked my butt. Maybe because the sun was shining in my face most the time and made me really hot. I just feel quite wilted now.

Well, off to look at my menu options and see what we're having for dinner. Last night we had a delightful and easy meal... Sausage and Grits Frittata with a salad on the side. I doubled it and it made enough for us last night and my breakfast and lunch today. It kept very well too, considering its basically just an unfolded omelet.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I rock

This week I have managed to get out and go walking twice. Yay. I've been trying to find enough sidewalk to do about 2 miles at a go. I finally found a route that is pretty close and puts me in at 2 1/4 miles round trip. I'm finding that while my body feels like it got a decent workout, I'm not out of breath in the slightest. It makes me feel that I'm not working myself as hard as I need to be.

This may sound weird, but I have this thing with walking. I have to have my headphones and sunglasses on. Its gonna look strange to wear sunglasses when its raining, but I find that I focus too much on cars and people going by if I don't have them. I have this innate urge to acknowledge them. Like they'll get offended if I don't at least look their way as they drive or walk by. It makes me terribly self-conscious. So I put on the sunglasses and headphones and somehow feel that I'm in my own little world and don't have to worry about everyone else around me.

Another little brag of mine is that yesterday I hacked my cell phone. Yeah, I pretty much rock. Verizon makes it very hard for you to use your own personal ringtones (and apparently even harder for the Motorola Razr), so I did some web-sleuthing, found some programs that would aid in my mission and basically was able to connect to the file system of my cell phone, delete some files that prevent me from uploading my own tones and then upload my own custom ringtone, free of charge and without the stupid Verizon limitations. Woo! I was so proud of myself. My first ringtone to be uploaded was the theme from one of my favorite tv shows, The Office. Perfect because its only 30 seconds long too.

I had so much fun I think I may upload a custom ringtone for each and every contact in my phone book :)

Jason took the kids to the park today. All three kids! Good man. It gave me a couple hours to work on some dresses that need to be done by Christmas. I finished one, then found a small, but painful mistake. It required that I pull out about 1 bazillion teeny tiny topstitches. Oh the agony. But I must do it right and this was the only way. I didn't even get to start on the second dress, though it should come together quickly once I get some time.

Well, off to clean up dinner and deal with children.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Long time no blog

Whew. Has it almost been a week since I last blogged? Yikes. That went by fast.

Tuesday, Elsa had her 6 month checkup. Grammy was supposed to come and watch the kids but forgot (its ok Grammy, I totally understand) and so at the last minute I threw the children in the car and we raced down the Kirkland. I made it in 20 minutes, boo-yah!

Anyway, the kids behaved very well and the baby did too. She weighed in at 13lbs, 8oz and 24.5 inches long. Firmly in the 25%. She got her two shots and we were out of there with minimal fuss.

She is LOVING food and gobbles it up greedily every single time its offered. I'm suprised at how fast she's learned to gum things up.

We took this video the other night. One morning I woke up and was humming "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". Ethan was interested, so I found a YouTube for him and he listened to it over and over again and by the end of the day knew most the words.

Ethan Singing

We also took this video of Elsa in her bouncer. Just a few weeks ago she couldn't touch the floor! The video is a little dark... sorry about that.
Elsa Bouncing

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Pot pies!

Yep, they came out great. Worth the wait? Well, that's negotiable. I do not like eating at 8pm!

I used this recipe from Ina Garten: (I used a rotisserie chicken instead of all the chicken breasts)

It made a TON. We had two large bowls, two custard cups, and one casserole dish that I dug out at the last minute when it was clear that we had lots of leftover filling. There were still two servings left in the pan!

Picture of my bowl

And Gwen wanted a pic of hers too

They were really delicious and rich. I'm thinking I might do this again and buy extra custard cups, fill them, top them, and pop them in the freezer to pull out on a day I don't want to cook. I really think a custard cup size would be enough for a serving, especially if you had a nice tart salad on the side.

Anyway, fun stuff. I love trying new recipes and having them turn out so well.

Lots of Elsa

Alright, I need to get back on the blogging horse. I hate having to catch up from the backlog!

I found a GREAT deal on Craiglist for a highchair (we had one that strapped to a seat, but lost the tray, which rendered it useless). It was free and local. So we drove out there Wednesday and picked it up. Great condition. Super nice for a freebie.

Elsa is sitting up like a pro now and is no longer interested in reclining or being on her tummy. Forward and up only Mom! For her to be happy, we have to sit her up in the bouncy seat.

On Thursday we gave Elsa her first meal! She loved it, and wouldn't give up the spoon. I remember from Gwen's early eating days that we had to work with two spoons. One for the baby to grip and one for me to feed her with. Elsa looks to be the same.

The feeding session did not start well. She didn't want to be in the stinkin' seat!

"Oh... this is pretty interesting." This was like the second bite and she'd already wrestled the spoon away from me.

"Don't even THINK of removing it."

We left Gwen to keep an eye on the baby while we picked up dinner and returned to find this. It cracked me up. Gwen is focused on getting in the picture while shoveling a HUGE amount of cereal into Elsa's mouth. Elsa is trying to fend off the looming spoonful of cereal.

On Friday, we had MOPS, then went over to Mom's house to visit and finally get to painting her house! This has been a long time coming... Like 30 years (heh). Mom has agonized over colors for a long time now and finally took the plunge. After taping and everything, we only got one coat on, which is why it looks so blotchy. They were going to do a second and maybe a third coat today. The house looks so different with just this one wall done. The rest of the living/kitchen area will be a buttery type yellow... unless Mom changes her mind again :) Eventually the whole house will be re-decorated. I was happy to help with this first step!

I am making what smells and appears to be delicious pot pies for dinner, but my timing was way off and its 7:45 and they are not ready. Oops! Better late than never :)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election ramblings

There isn't one particular part of me that feels tired, but the feeling is there. The building drama and anxiety about the elections really took it out of me I guess.

Now I sit and have fears, which I squelch, then other fears that come up and take its place. I won't go into them, mainly because I don't wish to make myself a target for more arguing, debating, or criticism. I feel I've gotten enough of that over the past year or so. I'm done.

I am actively working on giving these fears to God. Following one of my favorite verses, Matthew 6:34, "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." and Philippians 4:6-7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

I hope that President Obama well exceeds my expectations for him. I hope that in 4 years I can look back and say, "It wasn't so bad" or even, "Things improved". I'm an eternal optimist at heart and my fervent wish is for that optimism to pay off.

There is no doubt that the election of a black man for president is a monumental occasion and I'm so pleased that I was able to witness it in my lifetime.

I don't have much else to say. I feel rather depleted and bereft of words. I will go play Lego Batman and not think about things for a little bit.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Toby is a good sport

While I was eating my lunch in the kitchen (deeply engrossed with my book, to be honest) and the children were mere feet away from me eating at the table, they did this to our poor Toby.

Its not a great picture because the dear thing wasn't very happy and wouldn't sit still. The kids took their yogurt and put it all over his head and down his back!

We had to take him outside in the freezing cold and give him a bath. He didn't complain, he just ran inside as soon as we opened the door and got every. single. item. within his reach wet and smelling like (freshly washed) dog. I suppose that's fair.

Finally, a more upbeat blog

I have no idea if the last couple nights have been an improvement with our struggles. Its all a blur, but I know is that I don't feel much better. Jason reminds me to have patience, but I'm finding that difficult.

In lighter news, because of my miserable state I haven't been keeping ya'll updated on what is going on. This past week we took Ethan into his allergist and the news was GREAT.

His nose swab this time was almost entirely clear, a huge improvement over the "dirtiest nose I've ever seen" that we had at his first visit! We have only a yearly appointment now, and I have plenty of nose spray samples to use if he starts having allergy issues again, but he's much improved and there is no immediate plans to do allergy shots or anything more invasive than wait and see. Hurray! Ethan does have one very large tonsil and one very small tonsil and that may cause problems down the road. We'll see.

On Thursday I had a dental appointment that wasn't all that great. The worst part is that, ugh, I'll have to have my wisdom teeth out. They haven't come up on their own and are impacted, one of them quite badly. So that is something fun to look forward to. Not.

Thursday night, Gwen, who hadn't gotten her customary afternoon nap for the second day in a row, fell asleep while eating dinner. In her costume no less!

Halloween, we had everyone over here. Everyone was: Mom, Aunt Deanne, Aaron, Ben, Jenni and Shawn (here for a brief stop before they headed with my Aunt Margaret to South Africa!), Aunt Margaret, Becki, and our little group. We walked up to the church we've gone to a few times for a "Trunk or Treat". It was an interesting set-up, we'd never been to one before. Basically a bunch of cars had their trunks open and decorated. Some people were dressed up as well. They handed out tons of candy, as well as information about the church. They had a bouncy house and cupcake decorating, popcorn and coffee. After that, we walked back to our house, trick-or-treating on the way. The kids got a HUGE haul this year. Way way too much.

Gwendolyn as a butterfly princess. Everyone thought she was a fairy, but no, she was a butterfly princess.

Ethan as Darth Vader (he hated the mask and didn't wear it after this).

"ITS TRICK OR TREAT TIME". I use caps because they were yelling this.

I didn't get a picture, but the very first car had a Sarah Palin look-a-like. I wasn't sure if it was a costume or the woman just looked/dressed that way normally, so I didn't say anything.

This car was neat... The kids dug for treasure!

Bean bag toss for candy.

Christmas in October

Gwen with her decorated cupcake. She was a little bit wet because right after we got there a rain squall moved through. No harm done though.

Elsa with a typical... well, Elsa-face

At the end of the night, Vader lost his will to walk and had to sit in the stroller, cuddled with Elly's blanket

We just got a big bag of clothes from my cousin Trina (thanks again Trina!) and when we get these, Gwen loves to try on every single piece. Sometimes multiple pieces at a time. At dinner yesterday, this was the outfit she was wearing that hour. Yes, I said hour. She changes constantly. She's a clothes hound. Doesn't she look so grown up here?