Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sooooo hoooot...

I can't sleep. Emma is fitful. Maggie is restless. Bridey took a looong time to conk out. Even Jeff didn't go to sleep as easily as he usually does.

It is just way too hot. We ended up turning off the air because the a/c was so hot it wasn't cooling the way it should, and opening the windows (which is just marginally better, heat-wise, but at least doesn't cost us any money on the electric bill.

I just cannot wait for cooler weather tonight. Usually I have no problem with heat; usually I could handle heat better than cold. But for some reason this hot weather seems different. Maybe it's the stillness and heaviness in the air. In any case, I can't sleep, the heat is contributing, and it's bugging the life out of me because I'm tired-- but not sleepy.


Friday, August 22, 2008


Since our fridge is out, we ordered pizza and pasta and salad and garlic bread from the local Guido's. Since it was a really nice evening, the sun just setting and not too cool or too hot (and bath night) we ate out by the pool, in our suits, then hopped in the hot tub (a bit too cold for the big pool; I pre-heated the hot tub while we were eating and then turned it off so the kids wouldn't overheat.) It was about as warm as a warm bath, really nice.

For the first time, I took Maggie in with me (in the Solarveil sling, so no chance of dropping her.) She seemed to like it. We all had fun and when she started to fuss a bit and sweat we got out and went in to shower. It was Maggie's first shower, too. She stayed in the sling and didn't seem to mind at all as I rinsed her off and soaped her little arms and legs and rinsed again. Then she got handed off to Jeff (who was already out, having used the other shower to wash up and wash Bridey) while I washed Emma's hair and body (she likes to pretend it's rain) and then I got the shower to myself once she got out. (That's why we almost always swim only on bath nights; that way we just shower after we're done and baths are done for the night. Because they have sensitive skin and eczema, Ems and Bridey only get baths on Tues., Thurs., and Sat. Maggie generally only gets one if she smells or if she wants to come in the bath with me. Her hair gets washed a little more often but not much.)

Anyway, it was a first, and it was fun, and we all felt better after dinner, a soak, and a shower, I think.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

When life gives you lemons, go to IKEA.

We got a lemon. A lemon of a fridge, that is. We bought it, new (floor model but unused, just out for demonstration) two years ago, and Wed. it broke for the THIRD time since we've had it. The freezer is working but the fridge is not (and our milk is bad.) Each time it's broken before, we have spent around $200 or $250 getting it fixed. This time we said, "Enough."

We don't have it in our budget to buy a really nice fridge just yet; we looked at the Recycler and Craigslist, but we really don't feel like renting a truck, driving a distance, hauling it up to our apartment...

So we shopped around a bit online and decided to get a fridge from IKEA. Their fridges are made by Whirlpool, so a decent brand. We thought before going we'd probably get their $350 model, but when we got there, they're having a promotion; spend $499 or more on a fridge and get a $100 gas card. So we ended up getting the $499 model because for what amounts to $50 more after the value of the gas card, we get a nicer model with better shelves, an ice maker, and better resale value if we decide to sell it and trade up next year (which we probably will. I do want a bigger fridge eventually; this is just a tiny bit smaller than our current fridge, which we got because it fit in the ridiculously small fridge space in our first apartment.) And because we paid for it with a debit card (thank heavens Jeff got his big EA bonus this month) we got a $17 discount toward our next purchase.

All in all I'm quite pleased with the value, this is basically the same fridge that sells for $150 to $300 more at other stores, and it will get here on Saturday, and someone else gets to haul it up the elevator and lug it into our apartment. Now to figure out what we're doing with our old fridge... Freecycle or something, I suppose. I'm just overall pleased with our decision to get a new one instead of pump money into one that I'm afraid would break again in six months.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Thanks so much for all your comments and support on my last post. It was more than I expected. :)

After I posted that I talked to my husband and we agreed on some things. First of all, it's hard for me to remember/find time or energy to eat during the day, and allowing my blood sugar to get low affects my mood, always has. It exacerbates the problems I'm having. He has started asking what I've had to eat or drink and encouraging me to at least drink some juice throughout the day.

Second, after praying for some help and comfort, Monday evening we were at Trader Joe's and though I wasn't planning on getting it, I walked past the soy milk, and stopped. I remembered that when I had really bad PMS when I was in my teens, soy milk and other soy products helped. (Soy contains compounds that mimic estrogen and in some women can affect hormone levels and the way we feel. I've always been very responsive.) I don't like most soy stuff but Trader Joe's chocolate soy milk is the only kind I'll drink. I felt an urge to try it. I drank two cups that day and by the morning was feeling somewhat better. Not completely better but life was more bearable. And it corrected another post-partum problem I've been having (which I won't go into right now because that WOULD be TMI. ;) ) I continued drinking it today. Tonight we dropped by and picked up more soy milk and I'm going to make a real effort to consume at least 2 servings of soy a day.

So things are looking up a little bit. Thanks for your love. Continued prayers would be wonderful. :)

In a very happy update, Emma has continued to both pee AND poop in the potty exclusively. We have had no more accidents and I'm ready to call her trained! Yay! Even if she has an accident here and there it's looking like that will be an anomaly, not the norm. I am so glad that after two and a half years of trying to get her to go, she is finally done!!! She now doesn't even use her potty seat except when we're out in public in places with filthy toilets, in which case she uses the folding one (because I make her.) She does everything herself and flushes (except the loud public ones, she has me flush those) and washes her hands by herself. She is very proud that she can "do it like a grownup." AND, Bridey is following her lead!!! Bridey has, in the past three or four days, pulled off her training pants, put on the potty seat, climbed up, and peed in the potty, then called, "I did it! I potty!" until we come and find that she did, indeed, pee in the potty and wipe (and praise) her. We are going through reward stickers like crazy and I could care less! (I got a book of 1,250 small reward stickers for $1; they didn't like the chart but they like to be given a sticker or two and wear them on their hands, and can be bribed into all sorts of good behavior with them.)

Oh, and Jaden has asked that we wait until the Britax sale and get her the Madison Regent because she'd rather wait a few weeks and get the pink one right away. Okay. :) Further update on that when I buy it.

We went to Once Upon a Child today to check out their summer clearance. The clearance was picked over but I did end up with a pair of leggings each for Ems and Bridey, a t-shirt for Maggie ("Got Milk?"), and a pretty church dress for Ems. Oh, and a new kind of sippy cup for Maggie. :) (She's been occasionally having a sippy of expressed milk when I want to take a bath or something. We're hoping to get her nice and used to it so by the time she's six months she can take some watered-down juice and be left for short periods with my aunt or mom while we go on a date. If I'm up to leaving her by then, that is. I do still have nightmares about her being taken from me and start to panic if she's out of my earshot/sight for too long. But hopefully that will be better by then.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

I guess I don't talk about this much.

But I know you will not mind. (No TMI, I promise!)

I think I may have some PPD.

I've had a great weekend. The music was fun, mostly (don't get me started on my altercation with the lady who works there-- okay, not altercation, that's too strong a word, but I was not happy with our interaction), despite the hotel experience (they told us they'd have a crib and then they didn't; we hadn't brought the port-a-crib after being told they'd have one; Bridey didn't sleep until almost 5 AM-- it was La Quinta Costa Mesa, if you want to know), we had fun at IKEA and a good time at the wedding (though Emma freaked out at the sparklers-- which are illegal, BTW, which I was rather surprised no one seemed to know about, and we were RIGHT across the street from a state park, during fire season), a new nursing dress I bought on eBay was waiting for me when we got home, it was all around a fun few days. But I've been snappish, sad, yelling, crying, when we were driving home I had this crazy urge in the tunnel to just open the door and roll out into traffic. It was kind of scary. Jeff took Maggie to burp her while I was asleep and I woke up in a panic because she was gone. I am extremely anxious when separated from her (though I'm getting better about letting others hold her and not holding her ALL the time.)

Please don't suggest drugs. I'm not going to take them. Please don't suggest counselling either. I don't trust therapists. Both these issues stem from my experience with medication and therapists as a teen, which I don't want to talk about, but I may share privately if you ever really have to know. Suffice it to say, it's not going to happen. It's like my thing with female doctors. Just not going to happen. (Not that I could afford it if I wanted it, with no insurance. But since I don't, it's moot.)

I was like this when I was pregnant with Emma. I got over it as the hormones changed. It never happened with Bridey, at least not that I remember; okay, maybe a few days when she was a few months old. That was it. But this started when I was separated from Maggie and has persisted since then. It doesn't help that my hormones aren't back to normal yet. I've got a good few months to go, judging by past experience.

If you are a praying person, I'd love your prayers. I feel detatched and isolated even as I'm more involved than I've ever been in a host of things. Life goes by so fast and I sometimes just feel like it's passing me by. I hate this. I hope it passes soon.

And I don't know why I'm even writing this. I just am. And it doesn't help. Prayer helps while I'm praying, and for a little while afterward, but not all day. And I feel so tired I don't even want to pray. Ditto everything else that usually makes me feel better. I'm stress eating, which just makes things worse. I should probably watch that. But I don't even care.

I want to escape. I just want to go watch the waves roll into nothing and then sleep and not listen to any whining and screaming and just sleep.

I guess I sound pretty depressed, huh? Sorry. Didn't mean to bring you all down...

I really do have fun. This weekend was fun, lots of it. Next Saturday we're having a poop party because Emma finally pooped in the toilet three times in a row with no accidents. (Who's coming? My mom. Who else? No one, because all she wants is my mom and a pinata, go figure. Well, that's fine, makes things easy...) Everything is fun. But the fun never lasts, and in between I'm just... bleh.

I want to sleep now. I'm tired. But I can't sleep and probably won't. Again. Oh, well. That's okay. It's not like I have anything to do tomorrow...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ridiculously musical children

Wow. This is getting a bit crazy! I knew my babies were all musical-- but have you ever known a three month old to sing a song (well, gurgle it wordlessly) on tune and in key???

All my children have kicked in time to at least some songs while still in utero. (I'm told they get this from me.) Ems and Bridey are prodigious in their tone and pitch; they have very good tone and pitch for their ages, and although they sometimes mishear (and -sing) or skip a word here and there, they also have remarkable heads for lyrics. (They get that from me too.) When Emma was nine months old, she had a "piano" toy that played songs, always in the same order. After about a month of playing with it she learned the order-- and liked to look at me, gurgle the first few bars of the tune that was coming up next, and then hit the toy and laugh when it played. Bridey regularly sings songs she has only heard once, note-for-note perfectly. And of course, Maggie danced through several songs during Mamma Mia! (I mean, she actually moved her hands and legs while swaying side-to-side-- in perfect time.) But I think this one is a bit more... unusual...

My dad called; he's doing a show at Arnie's Cafe Friday night. He's doing a lot of his originals as well as songs by the songwriters that he considers his major influences (Kate Wolf, The Beatles, Stephen Foster, Hank Williams.) He asked if I'd like to sing a couple with him. We discussed it and settled on "Hard Times Come Again No More" and "Across the Great Divide." I'm stoked, it's been a long while since I've been able to sing in public (other than ward and stake choir.) Anyway.

Tonight I finally got over my headache; I listened to "Across the Great Divide" to get the key fresh in my head, sang it through a couple times up and down finding my key, and then started with "Hard Times." I was experimenting with tempo there as well as key, so I sang through the chorus especially many times. Maggie grinned happily through the singing, nursing much of the time and just smiling the rest.

When I finished, though, she looked at me expectantly. I asked her what she wanted, did she want more na-nas? She grinned at me again and then blew me away by gurgling the exact tune of the chorus of "Hard Times", in the key I had settled on as best for me.

I am now unable to sleep for my amazement. You just wait, in a couple of years I'm going to teach these girls to sing harmony and they'll give the Peasall Sisters a run for their money!

(If anyone's in the L.A. area and would like a fun Friday night outing, BTW, Arnie's is a lot of fun. The set will run from 8-11, though my little family is leaving by 9:30 or 10 at the latest, since we want to get to Costa Mesa, where we're spending the night, in time for Jeff to get some sleep before his seminar on Saturday. And we need to rest up for IKEA, too! Anyway, there's no cover and Arnie's has yummy wraps, delicious smoothies (non-tea, unlike some other places around here-- except the green tea smoothie, of course), and a scrumptious assortment of waistband-expanding desserts. They even have fresh fruit! Something for everyone, and sure to be fun. Okay, so I'm biased-- but I think my dad's a good musician.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tangles and Headache

I have a headache. I've had it since last night. It's a migraine. I am dizzy, in pain, and it's worse with noise (yeah, good luck having quiet in a house with three kids), movement (and Emma keeps kicking the bed), and sitting up (so the kids are fending for themselves, and each other, as much as possible while I lay here.) I am also nauseated. Ick. So low blood sugar is probably a contributing factor since I can't eat anything (and threw up whatever was in my stomach from last night this morning.)

I think this headache has been exacerbated by the hour I spent untangling Emma's hair last night. It was tangled to begin with and swimming just made the tangles worse. It seems that Jeff doesn't understand how to properly comb hair; I've been leaving it to him too much and he just doesn't get the tangles out. I guess that's probably because he's always had short hair, and also his is stick-straight (while the girls have waves, a product of his straight hair and my uber-curly hair.) Emma didn't like it but was remarkably well behaved. She even let me brush it out and braid it when I was done combing out the tangles. This may be because I bribed her (I told her she would get five reward stickers-- she likes to put them on her hand-- and a treat if she sat still and was brave until all the tangles were out. There was a little whining but not too much.) Anyway, hunching over left me with a sore back, which seems to be making my headache much worse.

I guess that's pretty much it; this was just a gripe post. I hope none of my readers feel as cruddy as I do right now!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Artichokes, mmm mmm...

(In case you don't know, that's from a song by Malvina Reynolds)

We just had a yummy dinner; we started it with artichokes my dad picked up for us earlier in the week. We all love artichokes. These were giant ones, but fresh and still tender. Mmmmmm. The kids each finished a whole one off, too!

Then we had salmon and steamed rice. We've had the salmon a while, it's been sitting in the freezer. They were salmon patties, actually (like round steaks, the size and shape of a hamburger patty), from Trader Joe's; I think my aunt gave them to us. I threw them in a simple marinade I often use:

-1 part soy sauce
-1 part apple cider vinegar
-2 parts honey
-1 part water or apple or orange juice to dilute
-handful of dried onions or a few cloves minced garlic

You just dump it in a ziplock bag, seal, mix it all up by shaking or squishing, and put the meat in, re-seal, and squish around to cover, then pop it in the fridge to marinate. It's kind of teriyaki-ish, and goes great with fish or chicken, though turkey and some cuts of beef can be good, too! Then Jeff grilled it (we have a very nice communal gas grill out by the pool. Makes grilling really pleasant!) It is hot but clear, a perfect day for grilling!

It was so delicious with just plain steamed rice. Really yummy, easy dinner!

Oh, and I've done two things on my list (below.) I went swimming Thursday night and tried out my swimsuit (which is GREAT! The high neck keeps me covered even when I have, ahem, buoyancy issues. And the slenderizing really holds me in, even when I'm "really" swimming, not just towing and chasing Emma! As usual, Land's End has more than just satisfactory quality. The color, rich and attractive when dry, gets richer as it gets wet instead of just looking sodden. And did I mention it STAYS PUT? I highly recommend this suit!) And yesterday we went to the Watermelon Festival. We picked up dinner on the way and ate it there, then had all the watermelon we wanted for dessert! The kids rode the carousel and Emma rode a kiddie ride; she seemed scared at first but warmed up to it by the end. She insisted she REALLY REALLY wanted to go on it even though she had to ride it alone... It was a bit nerve-wracking for me, since it's the first time she's ever gone on a ride alone, even a little one! I was proud of her for giving it a try and even smiling by the end. :)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fun plans

We have many things coming up that look to be lots of fun (if we ever get over these colds...)

So not so much a real blog post as a list of stuff we'll be doing that I'm looking forward to.

-the Watermelon Festival is this weekend. That's always a blast!

-the weekend after, we're staying Friday night in a hotel in Costa Mesa. Jeff has a seminar he has to attend for work that Sat. at the Huntington Beach Hyatt Regency, and while that's too rich for our taste, we'll be close so he won't have to get up at 5:30 to get there. The place we're staying at is literally across the street from an IKEA, so we'll have a late checkout, and just sleep in our clothes, get up, and go spend about 3 or 4 hours at IKEA while Jeff goes to a boring seminar! We do so love IKEA. And sleeping away will kind of be like a mini-vacation, so fun! Jeff has that Friday off so we can do stuff that afternoon, too.

-when he gets out, we're going to his cousin's wedding reception in Pacific Palisades. Not only do we get to go to a wedding reception and see his cousin; that happens to be the building I was baptized in! It should be fun for me to go back, see if there's anyone still in the ward who remembers me! (Long shot-- it's been 7 years, and I've changed a lot!) Maybe I'll get a chance to show the family the font where I was baptized. That would be cool. Also, it's just plain beautiful there. :) Emma will love looking at the ocean. Hopefully Bridey will sleep in the car there. Now, I get to decide what we're all going to wear... (Well, what we're going to change into. Jeff will probably be the only one to wear what he's going to wear to the reception all day.)

-I get to buy a super-cool carseat! Jaden, our niece, just had her birthday. She turned 4, and she's outgrowing her carseat. So for her present, we're buying her a Britax Regent, which is just an incredibly awesome seat (we'll probably be buying one when we get a bigger car, for Emma, and when she's outgrown it Maggie will probably be ready for it, my long-torsoed girl... Do you know she has a TWELVE INCH torso already? :o ) Anyway, there's going to be a Britax sale soon, so we're getting this ASAP (when Jeff gets his bonus for getting his EA next paycheck-- oh, did I mention that came???) from Amazon, which has a 30 day price guarantee. Then when the price drops for the sale, I'll just call and get my refund. Simple! I even found a website that will track your Amazon items and notify you when the price drops. Awesome!

-I got a new swimsuit (from Land's End-- via On The Counter), and I get to try it out. I love having a pool. :) And I just ADORE their swimsuits. This is a "High-Neck Slender Swimsuit." Which is just how it sounds! Has a high neck, and slenderizes you. :D

And I'm sure there's more fun stuff that will happen too! But that's my top-five excitement list right as of this second. :)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I may be crazy...

...but even when it's hot I like a good rice pudding. Our favorite is really low mantainance, adapted from a recipe I found on Recipezaar (I do so love the 'zaar!)

Tonight I bit the bullet and baked it even in the heat. We had bought whole milk to make peach ice cream and, since we pay about $1.20 more to buy two gallons than one, I went ahead and bought 2 even though the girls and I pretty much only drink skim milk. (Jeff is quite happy to drink whole or 2%. I was not raised that way, lol.) I planned to use the extra for rice pudding so... Rice pudding it is. :D Plus, we all have colds; rice pudding goes down well on sore throats! (And it's almost nutritious!)

Here's my recipe, which you might want to save for cooler weather (unless you're in the Southern Hemisphere where it is winter right now.) Another thing I love is this recipe has no eggs. Lower cholesterol! (Plus no eggy taste! I'm really not usually a big egg fan.)

Simply Delicious Baked Rice Pudding

Note: the original recipe calls for short grain rice. I don't usually keep that around and, food prices being what they are, am not going to buy it when I'm not making something else that would use it (like risotto.) If you have it, it will give you a more creamy texture. We usualy use long-grain, which gives a texture more like Mexican arroz con leche, which I actually prefer, since I grew up on arroz con leche; my mom never made traditional rice pudding. This recipe doubles well; I make 2 batches since they're no more work than one; I can bake my two round Corningwares at once to make a double batch. Just rotate them when you do the second stirring and move the one that's more forward to the back and vice versa. Good hot or cold; also freezes well!

4 cups milk (not skim; whole is best but I've successfully used 2%)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt
1/3 cup white rice (see note)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup seedless raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 deg. F. Spray a ceramic or glass oven-safe casserole (I like my round Corningware, as I've said) with an 8 cup capacity with non-stick cooking spray (or otherwise lightly grease.) In a saucepan, heat milk (covered) until it heats up and just begins to bubble around the edge. Turn off heat and add butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix well. Put rice in bottom of baking dish; add cinnamon and stir. Pour liquid ingredients on top and stir again. Add raisins, if desired. Place in oven and bake for 2 hours. Stir after first and second half hour; do not disturb for the last hour. Tempting as it is, let cool a bit before eating or you'll burn your mouth! 6-8 servings (depending on how much you like rice pudding!)