Monday, March 31, 2008

Emma comes up with the best ideas!

Last night we went over to my dad's house for a while. He had made some chocolate dipped strawberries and we needed to keep the kids out from underfoot of the refrigerator repairman (who HAD to come on Sunday, much as we hate breaking the Sabbath, because stuff had to be cleared out of the fridge and freezer and I can't do that right now, and Sunday is the ONLY day Jeff is home.) So the girls and I went to my dad's while Jeff waited for, assisted, and paid the repairman (and put the food back afterwards.)

They played outside at first and picked lemons off my dad's tree (which is a Meyer dwarf, so it bears pretty much year-round-- right now there are blossoms, half-grown fruit, ripening fruit, and ripe fruit all on at the same time-- and it's low to the ground so little ones can pick lemons themselves.) They pretended to "cook" with them with the play kitchen, then Emma said she wanted to make lemonade. Okay. So we went in and asked my dad, who of course cleared a space and got stuff out for us. I washed and cut the lemons (11 of them-- Ems insisted on using ALL the lemons we had picked, luckily Meyer lemons aren't very tart!), and Emma used the electric juicer to juice most of them herself (I did the first half to show her how.) Bridey actually did three halves herself by the end, she thought it looked fun and wanted to do it too! Then I put some water and sugar in a pitcher and had them help stir it until dissolved, then we stirred in about 3 cups of lemon juice (most of it-- my dad saved the little extra for later use.) It turned out really delicious! I don't usually use that much lemon juice but it was really good! We had it with our dinner (which we had brought over) and Jeff had some too when he came over. Then we had dessert and then Jeff cleaned up while I rested, then we went home.

It wasn't actually that much work, and it was really fun. I have a feeling Emma's going to remember it for a long time. So I'm glad she had such a great idea!

Friday, March 28, 2008

...and sometimes, they actually learn what you try to teach them.

We went to the store today, the little Armenian grocery near our home. It's been really nice weather; I am trying to get out as much as possible while it lasts! (The walking is also good for my hips, and helps the baby not poke me so much.) We picked up some stuff for lunch and dinner, some more apple juice, milk, stuff like that (and of course a few treats.) Our fridge is still broken so we've only got our freezer and my mom's mini-fridge that we're borrowing, so it's been a bit of a pain keeping food in the house, we're averaging a trip to this store (the only one in walking distance, really, at least walking distance when this pregnant) about every 2 or 3 days. And lots of delivery in between.

Anyway, we were there at a kind of busy time of afternoon, I guess. There were several people with small children (6 or 7 and under-- several around 2 or 3) in the store at the same time. There also happened to be a man in an electric wheelchair, who had Cerebral Palsy. He was verbal only with great difficulty (I heard him talking in Armenian to the storekeeper at one point) but he had a big smile on his face the entire time we were there.

What made me happy today was the way my children reacted to this man who was differently-abled. The other children in the store stared rather worriedly, or kind of hid behind their mothers, and the older ones kind of pointedly looked away, trying not to be rude by "staring." Bridey saw him smiling and smiled back, waved, and said, "HI!" Then she turned and excitedly told me, "Mommy, man habe swollew wike me!" ("Man have stroller like me!") He laughed at this, and so did she, because she laughs when others laugh. Then Emma walked up and said, "Hi! How are you? My Aunt Mimi has a wheeled-chair like yours. I like it!" He burst out into the biggest, sunniest smile you can imagine.

As we were on the way home, Emma told me (in between bites of her ice cream), "I liked that man's wheeled-chair! I really liked it! Mimi uses a wheeled-chair too. I think they are fun." Then she told me, "That man holds his hands differently. But that is okay. He was nice."

I think they're gonna be okay.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Oh! And I forgot to mention...

...last night Jeff watched the video of the ultrasound I had on Thursday while we were waiting for the cheesecake to be cut. And because I needed to label it, he FINALLY agreed to finalize the middle name! So, here's the official name: this little girl will be Margaret Nancy (to be called "Maggie", or maybe even "Maggie Nan" by me. :) ) This is the longest we've ever taken to decide on a finalized name! So I'm quite glad it's done.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

We had a good one, hope you all did! We dragged ourselves out of bed (laaaaaate night, no sleep) and got dressed. Then we got the kids up (Emma tends to be cranky getting up early for church but "Let's go see if the Easter baskets got filled!" worked wonders.) Then while they ate junk (the Easter bunny put mostly healthy stuff in their baskets but, of course, they went STRAIGHT for the jelly beans, which were at least fruit-juice based; they did have some jello with peaches and some apple juice, I guess that's fruit, right?) we got them dressed. Went to church (and stayed the whole time! Jeff fell asleep in Elder's Quorum, I was looking all over and the EQ Pres. noticed me and said, "Oh, he's in there, you can get him any time... He fell asleep and we figured he needed it so we just turned off the lights and left him..." Well, at least they understand!)

Then we went home; I made the ham (and burned it a bit, but it was okay on the inside! I think our oven must run a bit hot) and everyone else napped. We had to turn on the air; record-breaking highs yesterday combined with oven on for 3 hours equals too hot! Then I trimmed up the artichokes, and we headed over to my mom's. I got the artichokes cooking. My grandma had taken the potatoes to her house to cook, since my mom's oven had died! So we waited for her to get back while the kids played in my mom's living room (she has all kinds of cool old FP toys, like a castle and a Sesame Street set) and then they took their baskets and hunted eggs. (We made sure Emma left some of the easier ones for Bridey while she got the hang of it, but by the end Bridey was spotting even some of the tougher ones!) Then we all had dinner. Michael showed up with one of his friends. They actually behaved. (So did the kids-- mostly.)

After dinner we got some belated Christmas presents (everyone got sick and we never did our Christmas stuff with my mom and grandma.) The kids got some toys, books, clothes; I got a really cool diaper bag from my mom, and a neat Tupperware thing from my grandma. Then we ate cheesecake; by that time we were all exhausted!

I do have some pictures, but they're not off the camera yet! I'll post them when we pull them off.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Song by Emma

Emma came up with this one tonight (sung to the approximate tune of "The Noble Duke of York"), while looking at the whale bath toy:

The whale jumped over the sink
He fell down and bumped his head
The farmer cut the whale in half
Now he can't jump and see the kids again.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

St Patrick's Day Dinner

Tonight I cooked St. Patrick's Day dinner, a day early. (We ate it tonight and will eat it again tomorrow, no one will complain since we all like it!)

I made baked ham and colcannon, very traditional for an Irish dinner. (We like corned beef and cabbage, but we don't eat it on St. Patrick's Day-- it's more American than anything else, and we prefer to eat real Irish food.) Colcannon is one of my favorite foods in the world! Following are the recipes I used. I actually doubled them tonight (2 hams, double recipe of colcannon) because I was making enough to feed not only us, but 15 or so people at Jeff's work-- our St. Patrick's Day celebration at home will be a little less than it sometimes is, so he might as well share it with his co-workers!

Super-Simple Baked Ham

1 5 lb. canned ham (we prefer Dubuque brand)
Whole cloves
Prepared spicy mustard
1/4 lb. brown sugar, in a bowl

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

Drain ham and place in a pan (glass is good for this, it's easier to get clean.)

Stud top with cloves.

Squirt mustard on top of ham; rub all over top and sides. Rinse and dry hands, then take the brown sugar and pat it all over, until the ham is covered.

Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour 40 minutes (20 minutes per lb.; if you have a 6-lb. ham you should cook for about 2 hours.)

Check internal temperature, remove from oven, and let rest before slicing. Serve hot or cold. About 10 servings.


About 7 lbs. starchy potatoes, such as Russets, peeled, rinsed, and diced
1 head kale (about 1 or 2 bunches, depending on size, if your store sells it pre-cleaned)
cooking oil
2 large leeks
1 1/2 cups milk (I use 1% or 2%; can use nonfat or whole as desired, or even 1/2 and 1/2)
1/2 lb. butter

Place potatoes in a pot of water, salt the water, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil until tender. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, rinse kale well, dice (you want pretty small pieces), and steam. Steaming methods: place in microwave safe dish with a small amount of water and a splash of oil, cover, and heat until lightly wilted and beginning to soften, draining any excess water when done, OR heat just enough oil to cover bottom of pan in a pan large enough to hold all the kale, saute until slightly wilted, add just a splash of water, cover, and turn off heat, allowing kale to steam until just softening.

Trim tops and roots off leeks. Slice leeks in half and rinse well (because they grow in layers, they often have dirt or grit trapped in between.) Slice halved leeks thinly.

Place in a saucepan with milk. Heat on low, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes, or until hot. Cover and let them rest until ready to use.

When potatoes are done and drained, mash with leeks and milk. Add kale and 3/8 lb. butter (1 1/2 standard sticks); fold in thoroughly, until kale is incorporated and butter is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, mound in bowl or large dish, depress top slightly, and top with remaining 1/2 stick butter, sliced. allow butter to melt down the pile of colcannon and enjoy! 10-12 servings.

And now I am going to rest because my arm and back are a bit sore from mashing those 14 lbs. of potatoes! :) Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day, everyone! And don't forget to wear green.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More reasons I'm never sending anything FedEx. :|

So apparently the other two seats were delivered today... I knew nothing about this until Jeff asked when they were scheduled to come. I checked the tracking info and saw "delivered 11:34 AM." WHAT???

I went and looked and they are outside our door! Thank goodness we live in a safe apartment complex! Somehow the FedEx guy got in without buzzing like he's supposed to (probably someone was going out and opened for him as he was coming up), and then WITHOUT KNOCKING OR ATTEMPTING TO GET A SIGNATURE, he just LEFT THEM OUTSIDE THE DOOR. If they had been damaged or stolen I would have been REALLY MAD. As it is, I guess I'll just be glad they're here. :|

FedEx is NEVER getting my shipping business, and if I have a choice I'll choose another carrier when ordering things, too. Grrr.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I am NEVER sending anything FedEx, EVER.

Today I got TWO of my Radians. The other two are apparently in another shipment somewhere and the info on them hasn't been updated since they left CO. Hmmm. First the estimated arrival date was last Friday. Then FedEx took 3 days to pick up the car seats after a next-day pickup was scheduled. So they changed the EAD to yesterday. Then today. Then tomorrow. Finally Thursday.

Today, with no warning (and we're all sick, so I wasn't dressed or anything, and look awful, I'm sure, unkempt and in my nightgown) two of the seats arrived. The other two are still showing a Thursday EAD (which these two were last night when I checked them, too.) At this point, I'm expecting them to arrive some time between tomorrow and next week. *rolls eyes*

To make FedEx look even worse, I've had 3 packages sent UPS ground in the same period of time, and arrive with no delays. I know there have been storms and grounded flights in the midwest, but that shouldn't affect ground shipping from CO to CA, should it now? Not to mention that the UPS packages were coming from areas that WERE affected by ice storms, blizzards, and the like during that time. Hmmmm.

On the good side, I got one seat all adjusted and ready to go (it's the one for my dad's car; since I got Bridey's seat and one of Emma's, I figured I would give the first one that came for Emma to my dad for his car, since she currently has a well-fitting seat in our car, if a cheap one, but has pretty much outgrown the one she's using in my dad's car. So the first seat goes to replace the unsafe seat while she can wait another week if need be to get the seats in our car.) They are just as advertised, very narrow, nice low profile, and super-sturdy! And I've gotta say the folding up is cool. Heavy, but then again, that's 'cause they're built to be so sturdy and hold such big kids! And Emma looks to have a good few years of growth in this seat. I think she'll make it at least to 6 for sure (by height of course, there's no way she'll outgrow the weight when she's only 34-ish lbs. right now! By six I do expect her to have passed the "standard" 40 lb. limit, though, so I'm glad I'll be able to keep her harnessed-- check out the sidebar for info on extended harnessing!) I am going to be thrilled to have the kids in such great seats (now that I've played with one and figured it out.)

Now I think I'm gonna take more Sudafed and Tylenol; I'm so congested my ears hurt. :( Bridey has been screaming her poor little head off since she woke, about every little thing, saying "no no no!" and throwing fits. I think she feels about like I do. But I am not up for wrestling meds into her; maybe when Jeff gets home we'll dose her so she can sleep tonight. Emma's doing the best of the three of us, she's a little drippy at the nose but her cough seems better today and she doesn't seem so miserable. And her throat seems better than ours, she's a little more open to eating "scratchy" things.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Little Miss Bigfoot

Okay, we knew Bridget was outgrowing her shoes, and that she has big feet. But this is getting crazy.

After my doctor's appointment (Miss Bigfoot the Youngest had fun kicking the doppler and giving the doc grief when he tried to listen to her heartbeat; he thought it was pretty funny) we dropped by the shoe store because Bridey has literally outgrown ALL her shoes. She hardly even got to wear the size 7 sneakers we bought last month. I measured her feet and she's more than 7 1/2, I had to buy her size 8 sneakers today. EIGHT!!! She is TWENTY TWO MONTHS OLD! Emma is just barely starting to creep up on the limits of her size eight shoes! I got Easter/summer church shoes for both of them and one pair was size 8 for Bridey, one was size 8 1/2 for Emma. (Church shoes give a little more growth room because they can wear tights or thin fancy socks instead of play socks with them.)

Now, hopefully Bridey will not grow so fast that I will have to buy her size 9 shoes before the summer is over... Even $13 Payless shoes get expensive when you have to buy a new pair each month!

Their Easter dresses also came UPS today (this dress in "Straw Yellow Daisy"; their cousins got the same dress in "Shell Pink Daisy") and I pulled them out to look at the size. Emma's looks perfect (got her a 5) but I'm going to have to try on Bridey's 3T before I decide whether it's big enough or whether to send it back and get a 4... She is just growing so fast!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bragging on my sister

My sister (half-sister, same mother, whatever) Megan (who is a graduate student in ceramics) has had a piece accepted for the International Orton Cone Box Show! It's a prestigious travelling 2-year show. All the pieces must be small, no bigger than 3X3X6 inches, and available for sale, valued between $30 and $150. Or something like that. :) This article about the 2004 show will give you an idea how hard it is to get in, and how well-respected the show is.

Here are pictures of the piece that was accepted:

Middle of the night snacking

Onion bagel with reduced-fat cream cheese and a can (yes, that's a whole can, folks) of freestone peach slices, drained. Mmmmmm.

Why am I telling you this? Because I can.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I remember the days...

...when doing ONE load of laundry did not cause me to be short of breath, dizzy, and thoroughly exhausted.

When eating dinner was not a chore that likewise exhausted me.

When I could interact with my kids without becoming so frustrated that I put MYSELF on time-out to avoid screaming.

When showering was part of my, if not daily, at least weekly routine, and not something I vaguely remember I used to do more than a few times a month, and baths, while nice, were not a near-nightly necessity for back pain.

Ah, the days gone by... As they say, "Welcome to the third trimester." :|

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Time is a funny thing...

Sometimes, days and hours drag by so slowly. And yet Sunday, the one day we have together as a family right now, seems to fly by so fast.

I can't believe Sunday is practically over. I wish it weren't. I like seeing my husband now and then. ;) And yet, every day done is another day I don't have to wait for things...

Things I'm waiting for:

St. Patrick's Day. How can I not love a day when I wear my favorite color and make colcannon and listen to even more Irish music than usual? Although we traditionally have poached salmon with the colcannon, since I just like an excuse to buy some good salmon and cook it (well, it is a traditional Irish food source, too), this year I'm not sure I'm up for that much extra work. I'm thinking of getting ham steak instead and just serving fried ham with the colcannon. I doubt I'll be baking soda bread, either. In any case, colcannon is the main thing for me... 2 weeks, one day left until St. Patrick's Day.

Easter, because Easter is a great holiday. It's all joyous and happy; it's religious and intuitive all at once (how can you not celebrate Spring? And celebrating Spring goes perfectly hand-in-hand with celebrating the Atonement and the Resurrection.) And we get to hang out with my family and eat good food. And the kids get new matching dresses, which is always cute, and hunt eggs, which is cuter. 3 weeks left until Easter.

The end of tax season. That will be niiiice. I am very anxious to NOT have Jeff working 90+ hours a week (usually more.) And we'll finally be able to really get things ready for the baby to come. 6 weeks, 2 days left until April 15, the end of tax season.

The baby coming! So far we're planning on April 24 (when I will be exactly 39 weeks along) as the induction date. (I may not make it that far but if I can it would be a nice day, we think.) I'm looking forward to meeting the baby, of course, but also to just not being pregnant any more! It hurts. And to getting some REST in the hospital, I love my girls but I will really enjoy just having ONE for most of the day for a few days, and getting to bond with the newest little snuggler. Not to mention being waited on, never running out of diapers, not having to fight little ones over what I want to watch on tv... 7 weeks, 4 days left until my anticipated induction date and meeting Maggie.

What's funny is, when you put it in weeks, it doesn't seem that long-- but when you try to think ahead to it, your mind can't quite grasp how fast it might go, and each individual day still seems to go so slowly sometimes.

I remember waiting seemed so much slower when I was little. Perhaps it was because it was more of a percentage of my total life lived, and now it's less? If that's the case, is everything just going to keep speeding up as I get older? I can't believe my little baby Emma will be four on April 5... And Bridey will be 2 on the 21st of April. Soon after that I'll turn 25, and a month after that will be our fifth wedding anniversary! *sigh* I remember all that time, but it doesn't seem like years.

Time is such a funny concept.