Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Sorry I forgot to call. I hope it was happy! I'll call this weekend. Tomorrow I have two 2-year olds under my care, so phone time isn't on the books.

A Small Confession

I've entered a new phase in my life. The "I don't want to blog" phase. Followed by the "I'm not reading many other blogs" phase. So weird! I don't' know what's wrong with me. I have so much I could write about, but my heart's not in it. I am forcing myself to get through it. But if you're wondering why I haven't written much this month, that's why!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

We did it. 9 years. Wow! I always knew we would.

My mom asked me if it felt like 9 years. It didn't use to feel like we'd been married a long time at all. Then the kids came. Now I feel like we've been married forever! Funny how kids change things. It's not bad. We did ask for them, and we love them dearly. But they still change everything!

It's been a whirlwind lately, hasn't it? In the last 9 months we've packed up all our stuff twice, hauled it 4 states away, and then again a mere 6 miles away, lived in 3 houses, one of which we now own, and tried our darnedest to acclimate to life in a new state. Our baby boy turned 4 and started his pre-k class, and our little 16 month old turned 2 and just talks up a storm. Your job has gotten busier, and my life involves a lot more time in the car. We miss our old life and friends, but still forge ahead. We still managed to find a good fondue place here to celebrate our anniversary. I guess some things don't change.

Thanks for the last 9 years! Here's to many, many more!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Still Stuck on 2004

I managed to get out on Saturday and do some much needed scrapbooking. I'm almost done with 2005! Woo hoo! Doesn't that make you feel better about the projects you're behind on?

We bought a 6 foot table at Costco a couple of weeks ago so I could set up my scrapbooking stuff in the office and leave it out. Until this house I've only had the kitchen table to work on, and everything had to be put away every evening. I found that highly counterproductive. I really hope that Caitlin can keep her hands off my stuff in the office. I won't be able to leave a mess, that's for sure. Caitlin's little fingers are everywhere. I suppose it's normal, but she is just so much worse than Brandon was about getting into stuff, and I only have the first child as comparison. It's frustrating to me that the most often used phrase when I am talking to Caitlin is "Caitlin, just leave it alone!"

Anyway, we bought the table. I was sitting and sorting through some paper today, and decided to see what pictures I have of Brandon. He's the Star Student of the Week next week at preschool, which means I need to bring in some pictures of him and of our family to be posted on a bulletin board in his pre-k class. Every kid has their week. I've known that this is his week since August. Have I set aside any pictures? Of course not! So I got out my PowerSort box and began looking at stuff. I had quite a few nicely organized pictures of the last quarter of 2004. Wait a minute! I finished that album! A quick trip downstairs proved me wrong. I scrapped all the way up to mid-September, and then just stopped. I have no idea why. I had more pages. I had all the pictures. But they're all living in separate places. Who knows why. But anyway, it's not done. So, if you still have an unused, large Creative Memories album in Cranberry (yes, it's several years old and probably not available anymore), I'll buy it off of you, just to make all my 2004 stuff match. And I thought I was on to 2006 soon! I'm still stuck in the past!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Conversation About Future Grandchildren

Conversation heard after nap time:

Brian: Maybe someday you'll have kids, and Caitlin will have kids, and all of your kids will play together.

Brandon: But Daddy, I'm a boy. I can't have babies.

Brian: Well maybe someday your wife will have babies, and Caitlin will have babies, and all of your babies will play together.

Brandon: But Dad, I don't know how many babies Emily is going to have.

Brian: (asking for confirmation) Because you're going to be married to Emily?

Brandon: (give slightly embarrassed look and nods yes).

So, S Family, keep this in mind. We may be your daughter's future in-laws!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Our Basement Playroom

We have a basement. It's great! It's known as a partial basement, which means it's kind of small. The first house we put an offer on had a 1,000 square foot basement, which seemed so huge to us. There was the 12 x 12 spare room, the laundry "suite" (think laundry room in an apartment building), and the huge rest of the basement. Seriously, what would we have done with a basement that large? Especially when the rest of the house was about 2,000 square feet. Our current house has a much smaller basement. It's probably 200 square feet. About the side of a decent living room. But it's still great. It's a bonus room to us, full of toys, but one that we'd like to make into a guest area in the future.
The weather here is different than what I've gotten use to over the last 20 years of my life. It's cold in the winter, and windy. Sometimes the temperature is fine, but the wind-chill factor makes it impossible to play outside. Or the snow makes it hard to play outside for any length of time. I like the weather, but I get tired of being inside all the time. I get tired of us getting sick all the time, too. But that's another blog. Still, we are inside far more often than we have been use to! Thus, our little basement has become the kid's playroom.

Last week I ordered a Playhut Megland play structure from Target (thanks for all those gift cards!). For those of you without kids, its a series of EZ Twist tunnels that pop up into larger structures. There is almost no room in our basement right now, but we have two happy kids! So, this is what our basement looks like now:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ain't Life Grand?

Caitlin just told me she loved me. No prompting. Nothing. She was sitting on my lap, sniffling (she had just bumped her nose and was sad). Suddenly she threw her arms around me and told me she loved me. Ain't life grand?

Friday, February 15, 2008

How My Kids Sleep

Each child is approximately 2 years and 1 month old in these photos.

Caitlin - sleeps with one or more feet sticking through her crib sides:

And with every stuffed animal or doll she can get her hands on:

(this picture doesn't even come close to showing the full extent to which she can fill her crib with little critters!)

Brandon, on the other hand, took tips from John Travolta in "Saturday Night Fever" for his night time crib moves:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Adam and Eve in the (Toddler)hood

Brandon gets to choose 2 books or 2 stories for us to read to him when he goes to bed. He gets stuck on books, so we end up reading 2 chapters each evening. Lately it's been his Storybook Bible. It's not my favorite of his Bibles. It doesn't have a lot of the stories that he wants to read (like Joshua knocking down the walls of Jericho, for example), and the stories are geared towards older children (which has never stopped Brandon from reading anything, though). I also find it hard to reconcile some of the harshness of the stories with the cutsy, Precious Moments drawings on the opposite pages. Here is the one I stared at last night:

I just kept staring at the pictures of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they must have been somewhere around oh, say, 4 years old. All the while reading the words of the Lord to Eve:
I will cause you to have much trouble....when you give birth to children."

And the words of the Lord to Adam:
"You listened to what your wife said. And you ate from the fruit of the tree I commanded you not to eat from. So I will put a curse on the ground. You will have to work very hard for food."

I'm still staring at the picture, thinking the whole time "They're preschoolers! Dude, you're cursing preschoolers!" God is telling them they must leave their home. And they're 4!!!!

I just know that I'm going to lose it one of these days, say my thoughts out loud, and thus wreck my child's Bible believing future. I mean, aren't my thoughts akin to blasphemy? Maybe I shouldn't be reading the Storybook Bible. I'm obviously not mature enough to handle the pictures.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Photo Friday

Two weekends ago Caitlin and I flew to San Jose for a quick visit, and so I could see "Little Shop of Horrors" with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. I have wanted to see that play since I was 18, so flying there was a treat. It's also a treat to get to travel with only one of your children. Both my children are very active. Both can be a royal pain in the rear. And both can be very, very sweet when given alone time with mommy, and lavished with attention. Caitlin was very much that way on this trip.

We left our house at 6:30 am (way to early, but the only flight that worked). We whisked both kids out of bed, plopped them in the car with sippy cups of milk and their blankets, and drove the 35 or so miles to the airport. I decided not to change Caitlin into her clothes until after we got through security. Lo and behold, they took pity on me, seeing my "baby" in her PJ's! I got to carry her through the security line. This was a first. They've always made her walk (her first plane trip was after she started walking). I also didn't have to put her shoes on afterwards, which sped things up. I changed her in the bathroom, and we headed out. The highlights of the airport, at least in Caitlin's eyes, were going on the escalator instead of the elevator, and walking on the people movers.

Caitlin got to spend time with her Nana and Grandpa, and her aunt Jackie (a big favorite). She developed an irrational fear of the butterfly non-slip stickers in the guest bathtub, and got to celebrate her second birthday again with another cake! Cake is always a winner in our household. Here are few pictures that I got while on our weekend trip.

Changing Caitlin in the bathroom of the airport

Caitlin drinking her apple juice from the coffee cup (complete with lid and two little stirring straws) on the plane.

Mommy and Caitlin hanging out on the plane

All decked out for optimum DVD viewing (with Dad's Sennheisier noise-cancelling headphones - the only ones that fit her little head)

Attempting to blow out the candles on her cake

Frustrated that she can't blow out the candles, but determined to win by staring down the candle.

Hey! It worked! One candle gave up!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Just took the trash out. Had to pry open the lid to our frozen garbage can with my bare hands. Not fun in our current 6 degree weather. I can't wait for warmer times. Dare I say it.... I am looking forward to summer. Me! The girl who always complains about the heat. But still... I am. Real winters make you appreciate the summers.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Joys of Not Cooking

Dinner is always a crazy time in our house. Brian doesn't get home until 6:00, and we try to eat dinner as a family. Sometimes I think I'm nuts for doing this, but we do it anyway. My friend Lara told me about "30 Minute Meals" when I was pregnant with Brandon, and I'm a big fan of Rachael Ray's recipes (minus some of the excess EVOO). I've never been one to cook long meals, on average, anyway. Slow, simmering sauces are great, but not practical for every day. Over the summer another mom here in Colorado told me about a book her MOPS group used, called "Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer." I put it on my Christmas list, and got it in December. The recipes are great! I've thought about doing freezer main courses before, but I've always hated the recipes found in the books I've seen. I've thought about using my own recipes, which I have done in small quantities, but I didn't want to experiment on my family with stuff that looks too horrible to eat (i.e. - peeled raw potatoes turn black in the freezer), or food that tastes nasty once thawed (such as frozen cooked pasta), or food that is mushy. Can-not handle mushy. I wanted to do it the easy way.... I wanted someone to tell me what to do, tell me what works, and tell me what doesn't. I just wanted to be a follower.

Since then we have dined on grilled buttermilk chicken (grilling in 25 degree weather is always fun. May not do that one again until summer), breaded chicken breasts stuffed with pesto butter, and lemon-honey glazed chicken. Tomorrow night we are trying the chicken breast stuffed with proscuitto-wrapped mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes in a tomato cream sauce. I hope we like it, since I made 6 of them! You still have to make the occasional sauce, side dishes, or something to accompany your main dish, but the stress of that when both kids are screaming is a lot smaller than thinking of the whole dinner. The recipes are pretty simple (for those of you who aren't a whiz in the kitchen), and don't call for any exotic ingredients. Funny thing was I had the turmeric and smoked cumin, but not marjoram! On the downside, you use a lot of plastic baggies for freezing, which is so bad for the environment, and you do have to remember to take your lovely creations out of the fridge the day or morning before your meal and thaw them, or you may be having eggs and waffles for dinner!

Albertson's has had some great deals on chicken lately, so I've only tried the chicken recipes. I'll try some beef meals as soon as that meat goes on sale at the market. I'm really bad at cooking beef, so I'm hoping that this book will alleviate the anxiety I face whenever I cook with beef! Since the meals are made with raw materials and frozen right away, they are tasty on the day they're cooked. I'm hoping to get down to cooking two or three times a week, replicating the meal a few times for future eating each time I cook.

Some friends have asked for my favorite recipes, as well. Here are a few links to some of my favorite eats that are tasty and easy!

Stir-Fried Broccoli Beef (I cut out most of the red pepper, as hot spices are not my thing):

Chicken Picatta Pasta Toss (don't use a pound of pasta unless you love it!),1977,FOOD_9936_21995,00.html

Chicken Tortilla Soup (I also add black beans)

Chicken and Dumplings,,FOOD_9936_21772,00.html

Keep in mind that I'm not huge fan of leftovers, so I do cut most of these recipes in half. The soup and the Picatta are good the next day, though!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Night Night with the Dogs

Yesterday we headed over to a friend's house. Brandon and Ethan are in the same pre-k class, and Caitlin and Emily are only a few months apart. Ethan and Emily have 2 friendly dogs and a cat (and some sea monkeys, which are much tinier in real life than in the comic book ads of my childhood!). Emily played with her baby dolls, the boys played crazy boy games in the basement (like "night camping" in the closet with flashlights), and Caitlin decided to go "nigh nigh" with Shadow in the middle on the hallway. I knew the dog was there, but was surprised to see this on my way to check on the boys!