Monday, April 28, 2008

The Zoo

Well, between getting kids the ready, all the stuff that follows kids ready and ourselves, we finally made it to the zoo on Saturday around 11:30 am. I was hoping more for a 10:00 am arrival, but you do what you can. Adrien had a great time, we started out looking at the birds and the gorillas in the temperate forest area. Our ultimate goal being the place where you feed the birds... but that never happened. We took a pit stop and nursing session at the Zoomazium, which is absolutely awesome!!

I wish that every place that you take kids had an area like that. That would be so great. Adrien and Scott played and Izzy ate while I relaxed. I have never felt more rejuvinated from twenty minutes of resting in my life. That is until another child vomited all over the place. Yucky! So, we headed back out in search of the feeding area and Adrien had an absolute temper tantrum right there in the middle of the walkway. OK, we say we're seasoned, the Doc says to just make sure he is safe and let him ride it out. After twenty minutes of trying to not let him out of the stroller (that was why he was throwing the fit... he wanted out) and a man telling us that was why they make liquor! Scott gave in and let me try. So I am sitting there and trying to be as oblivious to him as well as all the stares we are getting. I wait and I wait and I wait some more. Ten more minutes.
I'm sitting there and I look at Scott because I don't know what to do. Adrien is hysterical, he has absolutely just gone off the deep end of tantrum town and is screaming for all he's worth. I squirted some water on his face. WHOA! it worked, silence. He is staring at the water bottle like "What the HECK?" It was great. I know, I felt mean doing it, believe me.
But my kid has been known to go on for hours and hours. We couldn't sit there for that long, the zoo was going to close. So, I did it and it worked. He calmed down and we were able to do a bit more walking before we left. Adrien even started to smile and laugh again after a few minutes. Maybe I'm a bad mom and maybe I'm not, but all I know is that he ended up having a great time and hopefully won't remember.

Girl Talk

When I found out I was pregnant the second time, I knew it was a girl. I knew the way that I knew with Adrien that he was a boy. I felt it in my bones. And while I was excited about having a little girl, after 4 sisters I wasn't sure that I wanted one. I was very wary, there are a lot of things that girls have to go through that are so hard and I didn't want to deal with that. But now that she is here and she is six months old, I am so in love. I have been since the moment I saw here dark head of hair. She really amazes me. Everyday I feel like there is something new and different about her. And she is so her own little person, she is absolutely nothing like Adrien.
She went bald on the top of her head and the back. Recently, I have been quite literally watching the hair grow. Everyday it is a bit longer. I have to confess I can not wait until it is longer. I want to braid her hair and comb it and put little bows in it. I am so excited about it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Last night I started my spring cleaning rituals. First I start off with the kitchen, always the kitchen because that has to get redone every few days or so. I hate a dirty kitchen. I mean really, really hate it. I can't think when my kitchen is dirty. Then I move on to projects that have been unfinished or that don't need doing anymore. This time it was the couch and some new pillow covers. I got two of my six pillow covers done. I am still thinking about whether I should just make it five pillows, though. I have two little ones that could make a very cute big one. Not sure yet. Then, because we can not afford a new couch or a new couch cover and Scott ripped my old one, I had to fix that. After closer inspection, I realized that I was going to have to do quite a bit and that was where most of my day was spent. I had to cut off a certain part of it and remake it out of different fabric that I had. Unfortunately our couch is white and so any fabric I chose would stick out like a sore thumb because I never buy white fabric unless it is muslin and I only use that for lining. Well, anyway, I did the couch and I actually kind of like it, it gives it some character. Now, don't get me wrong I would prefer a new couch or couch cover, but that just isn't in our budget right now and so what I did is really working for me. It's funky and fun and since the kids are only going to make it worse I can continue to have fun with it until they get older.
The other thing that I did today was wash my walls and scrub down the fireplace hearth. If you have a toddler you know what happens when those little hands get a hold of juice, crayons, milk anything. All of a sudden your dry, white walls are colorful, sticky and full of hand prints. I use to wash it once a week, but that was exhausting and such a waste of precious baby time. So now I do it twice a month and I try to do it on weekends when Scott is hanging out with the kids. But his Grandmother is coming tomorrow and so all of my weekend cleaning projects have been piling up throughout the week and today is the day.
Here is a list of what I have done:
Couch (cover & pillows)
Fireplace Hearth & Mantel

Here is a list of what has yet to be done either tonight or tomorrow morning:
Beds made
Bedrooms straightened
Hallway/ Laundry room
Hall closet
Diaper Table
And one last vacume

So, looking at it I have actually done more than it feels like. The rest of the stuff is things that I can usually straighten throughout the week so they aren't bad at all. Just a few minutes in each area.

I love to clean. I used to love to clean just to clean. Now, though I love to clean because I get a sense of immediate accomplishment. With the kids everything is always such a long drawn out process that when they finally do something it is so amazing. But at the same time it can really make a woman feel like she isn't worth much. Cleaning gives me a sense of self pride that I think is important. Most people get that from thier jobs, but when your job is your kids the result isn't going to show up for years. So, the immediate can sometimes feel really good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Things are moving along

Well now, everything here is moving along. Yesterday we went to MaryMoor park for some fun. I like that park more than the ones closer to me because the play structure is set back beyond some grassy fields and far away from the street or cars. The parks in Issaquah are all very close to the street or parking lots and I get worried when I take the kids to the park by myself because if Adrien were to just break free and start running, it would take me just a second longer to catch up because I wear Izzy. Marymoor is always a safe bet for him and me.
Yesterday was especially fun as we met a little boy, Duncan and his Mommy, Tracy. Duncan and Adrien got a long really well despite the fact that Duncan is one year older than him. Tracy was very nice and we hit it off immediately. So now we have a tentative play date set up for this weekend. I am very excited, it will be Adrien's first play date and hopefully my first friend here in Washington. Between having babies and the weather here it has been kind of a quiet few years for us here. So I will keep you updated as far as the playdate goes.

Other than that, Adrien is working on putting himself back to sleep in the middle of the night. So far it is going quite well. If I can calm him down and then walk away it usually only takes about twenty minutes. This is down from 1 hour last week, so we are getting better. Izzy is adjusting her schedule as well for less night time feedings. I have to tell you that it is working out great, except that my breasts are the size of bowling balls again.
I got a new bra in the mail yesterday, so I washed it today with a delicate load. As I was pulling it out of the washer it came with a bib attached. So now my new, smooth bra is somewhat ruined and bumpy. I am very dissapointed. But now I have a reason to go get another one!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sleepless in Seattle

Scott left again last night for his third week of training. After this week we have one more to get through and then he is home on a regular basis, again. I think the kids are taking it worse and worse every time. Last night neither one of them slept very well. I thought I was doing great, they were both in bed and asleep by 8 pm, which is what I try to do every night. Then at around 9, Adrien woke up and started screaming and screaming, which woke up Izzy. So, at that point once I calmed Adrien down I just let him be and went to take care of Izzy. Well, it took Adrien 2 hours before he fell asleep, on the floor in front of his door. Then he woke up again at 4 am and I was so exhausted because Izzy had been awake a few times too, she has a tooth coming in. I just took him to bed with me. I hate doing that because I have finally broken him of sleeping in our bed and I am afraid that he will think it's normal. Yikes! I was just so tired. I am still so tired, they have to go down again soon or I think I might pass out....

Friday, April 18, 2008

Strawberry Fields... well cake really

I love to bake, especially cake. Cake is always such a fun, fun thing to do. You get to frost it, decorate it and then you get to watch the people you love eat it.

Today I made a strawberry cake. I have never made strawberry cake before, but so far so good. I know I've told you about my son's love affair of strawberries, but what I convienantly left out was that he got that from me. When I was a kid, my Grandma would go to the Farmer's market and get these huge flats of strawberries and I would help her clean and cut them. Which really meant that I was just eating them. All day I would eat and eat and eat these strawberries. I never got sick of them. When I found out that she had Diverticulitis, I was so sad that she couldn't eat strawberries anymore that I peeled a bowl full for her and she ate them all. So, this strawberry cake is kind of an homage to my childhood strawberry passion, and of course to Adrien my little berry boy.

I got the recipe off of the Whole Foods website, I love thier recipes, and the store of course. But here it is and hope you enjoy, it is a very simple recipe.

Strawberry Cake

Use fresh strawberries to decorate the top of this decadent cake.

Serves 12

  • 2 cups unbleached organic flour*
  • 1 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter, melted
  • 1 cup pureed strawberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 1/2 cup organic milk

  • Icing
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, melted
  • 4–6 tablespoons puréed fresh or frozen strawberries
  • fresh strawberries for decoration

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter (or spray) and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans or one 9x13-inch cake pan. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat remaining ingredients together. Add to dry, beating with a wire whisk. Pour into prepared cake pans. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.

To make the frosting, sift powdered sugar into melted butter. Add strawberry purée to spreading consistency. Frost the cake and decorate the top of the cake with fresh strawberries just before serving.

* If desired, you may substitute part of the unbleached flour with whole wheat pastry flour or white wheat flour

Nutrition Info

Per Serving (140g-wt.): 410 calories (120 from fat), 13g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 1g dietary fiber, 5g protein, 71g carbohydrate, 100mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Temper Tantrum

So... Adrien has hit the 18 month tantrum phase. What fun, let me tell ya! Scott is gone, both babies and I are sick and all of a sudden Adrien starts throwing these rightous, he** raising fits that would put any exorcism to shame. He throws his whole body on the floor with everything that he's got. Then he kicks, screams, hits, rolls around and throws himself against any nearby hard object. This goes on for at least 10 minutes every time. Some of you say... 10 minutes?! Why don't you stop that?! Well, at first I was and then I called the pediatrician who has said that all I need to do is keep him out of harms way (which I really, really try to do) and let him have it out. Yesterday I was taking him for a walk. All was going well, he found a ball and carried it around with him until we got to the bridge. He was looking at the water through the bars on the bridge and all of a sudden he giggled and threw his ball in, waved goodbye. Then he proceeded to throw the worst fit I have ever seen, until today. It was awful! A man in the house by the bridge was watching the whole thing and was laughing!! Finally, after twenty minutes I gave up on letting him get it out and picked him up and headed home. Mind, I had Izzy in the ergo carrier on the front and was carrying Adrien as best as was possible while he kicked and screamed. I got halfway home and realized he was missing a shoe. So, I headed back and met up with the old man who was getting in his car with the shoe. He just laughed and said he has four kids and ten grandkids... He knows a fit when he sees one and eventually they stop.

Well, on another note, I finally (yea for me!) made my whole wheat sugar cookies... YUM! I actually like them better than normal sugar cookies. The whole wheat flour seems to balance out the sweetness, especially if like me, you put powdered sugar frosting on. So, here is my recipe, hope you like it just as much!

Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies & Powdered Sugar Frosting (glaze)

2/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour (plus some extra for rolling)
1 recipe P.S. Frosting

*In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much flour as possible and if necessary use a wooden spoon to stir the rest in. Divide in half and chill for a half hour... or a few days, but not more than three.

**On a lightly floured surface (I find a dishcloth works great), roll half the dough at a time until 1/8 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or a cup... whatever is handy cut the dough into desired shapes. Place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet.

*** Bake at 375* for 7-8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Powdered Sugar Frosting (glaze)

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk or orange juice or lemon juice

*In a small bowl combine all ingredients. If necessary add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time until icing reaches a drizzly nature. Now smother your cookies in this wonderful goodness and keep in mind, you might have to double this recipe for your cookies!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Cheese Man

I have a crush on the cheese man at our local Whole Foods. I guess it's actually more like a food crush. I love cheese and the cheese section at our Whole Foods is amazing. The parmigiana reggiano is to die for, they always have free samples and don't even get me started on the mozzarella... You see my Grandmother was 100% Italian and taught me how to cook, I love cheese on almost everything. It adds such a unique texture, flavor and aroma that can't be beat.
So, when I go to Whole Foods and I browse the cheese section for the mandatory 20 minutes, the cheese man always asks me if he can help me with anything... and he is so nice and sweet about it and best of all he smells like cheese. Scott says my face just lights up every time. I know that I am disgusting you can say it.

Other than that though I just love to go grocery shopping, I walk into a well stocked grocery with my mouth watering. Especially in the summer. Summer time is my favorite time to cook. Well, except for one dish that is a winter only thing.. but you'll hear of that soon enough. I can't go into a store without my head being flooded with great meal ideas and desserts and experimental twists on old favorites. It's an addiction that I will never give up.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Last day of training this week

I am so very ready for Scott to get home. I feel like such a wimp, there are military wives and whatnot that handle this so much better than I. And I even get to see my husband on the weekends and it's only for a month... WIMP! I think that part of the problem is that Scott and I are really our only friends. We were talking about that the other day before he left and it really is quite sad. But what are we gonna do? We can't afford a babysitter that we can trust and his Mom is still "young" enough to go out and do things and his brother... well don't get me started. My family all lives in California and so we have no babysitters. We got invited to a Passion Party at one of his coworkers houses next weekend and even though we want to go, if for no other reason than to get out of the house. Plus, these are really the only people close to our age that Scott and I know at the moment, so why not give it a try, right? Well... the person in our lives who could babysit would probably get jealous of us and so we can't really ask said person to do it. But, we can't bring the kids... that's wrong on so many levels. So, Scott really wants to go and I said that if he wants to go by himself thats fine, I've already been to one of these. I didn't really like it anyway. The "Fun games" is usually just stuff they have you put on your skin and I can't do those because I have super, super sensitive skin. I once switched facial scrubs only to have my whole face start peeling and breaking out after the first try. It's pretty ridiculous.

Ok, enough ranting. It has been so beautiful here the past two days. There have been blue skies, sunny weather and only a sweatshirt required. Absolutely gorgeous. I always joke with Scott that Washington in the spring is like California in the winter. I've been taking the kids out for walks and they seem to each get a kick out of it. Adrien of course loves to chase the nieghbors cat and the birds. Izzy just laughs the whole time, really it's "haha and hehe" the length of the walk and back. I just know that once she starts walking I'm in for one heck of a ride. They are going to be in so much mischief all the time. I absolutely can't wait. They already laugh at each other and play in the car. Izzy will make a noise and Adrien will make it back at her... it's cute.

I don't think this blog today really had any significant value. I have so much on my mind and I still have not done the sugar cookies. I will probably get to those this weekend, which means I'll have to make chocolate chip for Scott too.

ok... I'm done. Have a good weekend everyone and enjoy this beautiful weather!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

ugh..night 3 day 3

Ok... last night super sucked. Adrien just didn't want to sleep and ended up "resting" wildly in my bed, with Izzy. I don't know how it happened, to be honest that I woke up with both of them in bed with me. I think Adrien probably came in all of his own accord because I left his bedroom door open last night. Izzy and I were on the very, very edge of the bed and Adrien's butt was in my face with one foot over my head. It wasn't exactly what I would call comfortable.

I see the sun outside for the first time in way too many days and I can't wait to get the kids out there today. We are going to go for a very, very long walk. I have high hopes that maybe they will both crash at 5 tonight and not wake up until 10 tomorrow.... in my dreams.

off to make coffee... lots and lots of coffee.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Night 2, Day 2

As I woke up this morning, I realized that both of my kids slept through the night. Yup, thats right, THE WHOLE NIGHT! As amazing as it seems right now though, I just don't feel all that rested. I think I didn't sleep very well because I was constantly expecting them to wake up. Jeez... Oh well. Anyway, Adrien sits at his little table right now and eats his banana pancakes. He loves banana pancakes and sweet potato pancakes. I really don't understand why pancakes are one of the few things that he will eat right now. The other thing is strawberries. My boy has a love affair with strawberries. If he knows that we bought strawberries and most times he does, he eats them with every meal and snack. One time, we were at the grocery store and we grabbed the 4 lb box of strawberries and continued to do some more grocery shopping. We pulled up to check out counter, Adrien happily flirting with every person in sight. Then as he is sitting in the cart after the bags have been packed, I realize that the 4 lb box of strawberries is now next to my little boy and he is pointing and asking for one, saying "dis? dis?" with a look of absolute pride on his face. What's a momma to do? Part of me wanted to say no. The other part, the part of me that realized that he did not throw a fit at all in the store, that he got the strawberries out by himself and was now politely (as possible) asking me to give him one said yes. So, there he sat in the cart with a 4 lb box of strawberries and red lips and juice dripping from his chin. It was very cute.

Tonight, my mother-in-law is coming over for a quick babysitting and dinner. I am going to go to the gym for at least a half hour. It is absolutely annoying to go from goign to the gym every other day to only going three times a week and most of those three times has to be on the weekend. I am already feeling bloated and yucky. Ew. I plan to cook chicken. It is going to be just a bit spicy and we are going to have some left over brussels sprouts, corn and brown rice. I really don't like brown rice, but I hear it has extremely healthy qualities, so I am trying. We have also switched to whole wheat flour and I am making sugar cookies with it today... wish me luck. I'm not excited about that one.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Night 1, Day 1

So our first night by ourselves, Scott in training. I think we did good. The Adrien slept in his own bed and most of the night without waking. Izzy did sleep with me for a few hours, but who else was going to keep me warm? I didn't get to bed until about 12... I started a new sewing project that I am not quite sure about just yet. This morning they both woke up at 5:30, so I guess the routine is going to stay pretty normal overall.

Not much else at the moment. OH! My little sister went out and got married yesterday, she is officially Mrs. Steven Rhodes!

Friday, April 4, 2008

UGH! I think I jinxed it yesterday by talking about how beautiful it was here. I woke up this morning to screaming babies and Rain. I was really hoping it would be beautiful again, today. I am going bike "preshopping" this weekend. What I do, is I go check some stuff out, possibly try things on, like a new helmet, or a cute pair of bike pants and shirt, etc. Then I write everything down that I wanted, how much it is going to cost and I think about what I really, really truly want. I am doing this because next week we are expecting out return to be blissfully deposited into our checking account and I am FINALLY getting my new bike. I have not had a bike in three years and a new bike since I was 15. Needless to say, I feel I am due. I can't wait, the one that I want is sort of a hybrid bike. It is more a road bike than a mountain bike, which is good for what I will be using it for. But, it has a straight handle bar with crank gears, I love crank gears. I can't handle it when I have to move my thumb and the whole placement of my hand just to switch gears. The only downside to my bike of choice is it's seat. Off the floor, my bike comes with the tiniest peace of barely squishy seat I have ever seen. I on the other hand have a big butt, not too big mind, but big enough. It has been known to make my husband burst into "I like big butts and I cannot lie...." at random, sometimes inconvenient moments. So, I will be searching this weekend for a bigger and squishier bike seat, as well. Scott's bike is going to take a trip to the bike shop, his gears need fixing and we are going to get a bike trailer for the kids. It is more than exciting. I have already set a goal for myself which I think is highly reasonable. Next February there is a 30 some odd mile bike race called The Chilly Hilly. It is my goal. I am going to train all summer and as much of the winter as I can.

On another note, I have recently purchased Jessica Seinfeild's Deceptively Delicious. So far I have made brownies with Carrot and Spinach, pretty good. However a little flat, and I would recommend eating them with the chocolate dusted on top as it is in the picture. I have made Macaroni & Cheese with Cauliflower, this was amazing. Scott even said that I have to make it once a week until he gets sick of it. Yesterday, I made oatmeal raisin cookies with Banana and Zucchini, those were good but tasted like little mini zucchini breads, so I call them zucchini cookies. I made hamburgers with mushroom and zucchini and even though the flavor of these was ok, I am going to mess around with this recipe, the hamburgers are a bit mushy. The other item that we had for dinner this week was Pork Chops with Granny Smith Apples. I love this recipe even though I hate pork. The flavor is amazing and I like to cook it with some brown rice and make a yummy salad.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Just another thought

It has been so sunny the past few days that I am actually feeling a bit out of place. The weather has been so gray all winter and first half of spring that seeing the sun is like seeing a friend for the first time in years. Surreal but nice...

Bad Day Blues

The other day I finally got around to putting some plants on my patio. This is my favorite thing to do. I can plan what kind of flowers and plants and herbs I will grow at my house in the future. In my dream garden there are flowers and plants everywhere, with little fairie bobs and what not. I even want a lawn gnome... I know, it's crazy, but I do. I will have a short brick fence around my garden with a beautiful archway covered with climbing roses, pink jasmine and morning glory. I will have gerbera daisies everywhere and columbines everywhere else. I will have roses of every kind and color. I will have cherry trees and willow to sit and read under. I can't wait..

Other than this though, my son seems to be having a bad day. Actually, a bad few days. He has been so cranky and tired, I don't know what to do for him. We have taken him to the park, for walks. He isn't eating very well, if he eats at all. At first I thought it was because he is asserting his independence, but I'm not so sure anymore. He might be feeding off his father and I. Scott goes to training next week and for a month he will be gone Sunday night through Thursday night. It really should not be that awful, but the kids enjoy their afternoon time with Scott. They have all grown to really love it. I worry about how they will feel and what is going to happen in the middle of the night when there is two babies screaming at me. I don't know who to take care of first, I have heard opposing views on it all the time. I know that I will be lonely, but all at the same time, I know that for the kids it will be worse. They don't understand what will be going on and that makes me sad. The mood has been rather melancholy here, perhaps that is what is affecting my little man.