Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Happy Birthday sweet girl! You came into this world going 100 miles per hour, and you haven't stopped since. We can't wait to see what the next year will bring. We love you.

P.S. I really suck at getting good photos on birthdays and holidays. When there's a lot going on, I always forget to take pictures.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


We had many a project going on at our house this weekend. Bryce has been building the doll cradle for Molly's birthday (tomorrow, eek!), and the last coat of oil is drying on it now. It isn't finished in these pictures, but I'll post more once I can get some good light. He didn't use any metal hardware at all. It's beautiful.

And I finished the blanket and pillow to go inside. I'm happy with my first real solo project, although I will admit this picture hides the totally messed up corners (if anyone can show me how to do the mitered thing, I'd be grateful) and the weird spot on the pillow where I closed it off by hand. But still. It was easy and I had fun. I used this tutorial for the blanket.

Lastly, there is a tree house going up in our backyard. It is in the very early stages right now, but I've seen the plans. It's a behemoth, complete with a hanging bridge and a zip line. I'm hoping the kids survive.

I'm Cooking: The other night I made Potatoes Au Gratin with a new recipe. Kind of time consuming, but damn. They were good. I used the Dubliner cheese again, and halved the recipe since it is enormous. Also covered the dish with foil in the beginning so it wouldn't brown too much. Yum!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Potty

The potty pretty much rules our lives these days, and I have mixed feelings about it. When I did this with Porter, it was tough, but it felt like do or die. He was older, and Molly was due to arrive soon, and I felt like he really was ready. I wasn't going to give up until it was done. But this time? Meh. Molly is so much easier in many ways. She likes using the toilet and is willing and doesn't need a bribe to do it. But she's just young. She doesn't poop in her pants, and I'm not too worried about that, but good Lord, I change her pants like 16 times a day and we spend hours in the bathroom. I find that if I remind her about every 15 minutes, then she is okay. But that just doesn't happen, like ever, so we have a lot of wet pants. She will go on her own sometimes, but I often just find her with wet pants. It's not the end of the world, but I'm wondering if it's worth it. The other day, I actually ran out of clean pants for her and had to put her in shorts. In 30 degree weather. And this girl has a lot of pants. I'm sort of tempted to just put her back in diapers and let her go when she wants. Any opinions? Is this just how it goes for awhile and I'm blocking out all the memories from two years ago? Or should she not be having accidents all the live long day if she is ready? I really don't know.

I'm Cooking: I made this pasta again last night with bacon and greens. This one is a favorite at our house, and it's so easy that I tend to make if often. Last night instead of Parmesan I used this cheese though. And it was superb.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Good Place For Kids

You know how some things just linger in your head and bother you? Way past the time that you should have forgotten all about them? Well, I've been pondering something since the summer that I can't get rid of. It's really no big deal, but I'm curious what other people think. So...

We were at a barbecue, at the house of someone that Bryce knows through work. I had never met these people before (they were really nice), and didn't know anyone there. I spent most of my time chasing the kids around, trying to get them to eat, but at the end of the evening I wound up sitting next to a bonfire with a group of people that seemed to be already acquainted. One of the couples had a young boy about Porter's age. Everyone was discussing the town we live in. Some good things. Some bad things. Normal stuff. And then the woman with the son declares that they are moving soon, because she doesn't want her child to grow up here. The reason being that there isn't anything for kids to do.

Now, I had previously been kind of silent, not knowing anyone. But I couldn't help it, and said (probably too loudly): What are you talking about? There is a ton for kids to do here! This was followed by some silence and general backpedaling, but I could tell she was annoyed. And I didn't mean to be rude or so outspoken at all. But I sort of couldn't believe it. I mean, I'm a bit biased, because I love it here. But we have much of the "normal" stuff: libraries, playgrounds, a swimming pool, summer camps, sports, gyms, dancing, movies theaters, etc. Plus we have this huge backyard full of trails and mountains and oceans and rivers. There is skiing and fishing and camping. And I just have a hard time understanding how your kid couldn't find anything to do.

And I have to say that I really do understand how you could not want to live here. There are a ton of reasons why this wouldn't be the place for your family, just like I don't want to move to New York City or Arizona. Even though I know some people really love it there. But. It's not because there wouldn't be anything for my kids to do. I'm of the opinion that kids don't need a whole hell of a lot to entertain themselves, and that there are very few places where you could actually claim that kids were deprived of activity.

So it made me super defensive that someone could claim this was a bad place to raise kids. Because we don't have a zoo? Or Chuck E. Cheese? Or Taco Bell? I guess I don't really know what they thought they were missing. And I'm curious what my friends that live all over the country (and the world) think about the places they choose to call home. Have you ever been worried about your kids there? Does any of this even make sense? And my local friends, what do you think? Do you love where you live? Because that seems like the most important thing to me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bits & Pieces

I know that all kids eventually wind up using the toilet like grown people. It is a good place to be in life when you no longer have to be associated with the intimate details of their bowel movements. But getting there is basically a hassle. At least for awhile. At least to me. Porter was difficult to potty train. He resisted, and made messes all over the house and it took months of sticker charts and m&m rewards before I could count on him. And he was just about three years old at the time. So I've been in no hurry whatsoever to go in this direction with Molly. Honestly, it's a lot easier to change diapers than deal with the potty, and I'm all about easy these days. But she is telling me loud and clear that she is ready, and I don't think I can avoid it too much longer. She is taking off her diaper, climbing right up on the seat with no toddler insert and going herself. Sometimes without telling me first. Without making a mess. Even once at someone else's house (thanks Amy). I don't know how much longer I can justify putting a diaper on her, and I feel like I may as well take advantage of her initiative. Not even a single m&m. Today I bought size 2 Hello Kitty underwear, and tomorrow we will see how it goes. Wish me luck.

As far as sewing projects, I am working on some baby blankets. Really tiny ones. Bryce is making a wooden baby doll cradle for Molly's birthday (which is really creeping up on me), and I'm going to make some blankets and a pillow to fit inside. I have this huge pile of stained and old baby blankets from my babies, and I am hoping to reincarnate them into something more suitable for a doll. This is also possibly the world's easiest sewing project imaginable, so a good one for me.

And then, here are some pictures we took when my mom was visiting. They are more like outtakes, but are the best ones we could get. I can only imagine how impossible it will be to get everyone looking at the camera when there are three of them.

I'm Cooking: The other night I made Poached Salmon in a Cream Sauce from the Fiddlehead cookbook. Rich and yummy, although I just used whatever white wine I had, not the Riesling. Served with Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Brown Rice and a Salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette and Persimmons. Molly went nuts over the persimmons. And I think Brussels Sprouts are about my favorite thing ever.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Last of the Domestic Arts

When my mom was here last week, she gifted me with a sewing machine. My mom made all of our Halloween costumes when we were kids (among other things) and is generally awesome, and my sister took up sewing, and a ton of my friends are into it, but for some reason I've been putting it off for years. I dreaded even having to sew a button back onto a shirt. No longer though. And I'm excited. I'm not exactly a crafty person, and I foresee blankets and sewing patterns in my future. But also maybe a poodle skirt for Molly, and I can't wait. This is a hard place for clothing (I mean, really, the best place for clothes is the grocery store or possibly Costco), so at least Molly will get some cute things. Bryce is also happy that I can now (maybe) patch up his work pants instead of just throwing them away.

So, my mom and I bought a pattern and made a little dress for Molly, and it turned out adorable! It's fleece and comfortable and she loves it.

It's a good start.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

No More Tears

So. Yesterday. I had this great idea to quit buying the Aveeno baby shampoo that I've used on my kids since they were born, and try a more earth friendly, organic version. We've been trending that way with our food lately, and this seemed like a good idea to add to the mix. Plus, my grocery store has a little natural foods section that has all that stuff, making it easy.

After looking around I settled on a nice bottle of baby shampoo with ingredients like coconut oil and aloe and nothing I couldn't pronounce. It even smelled good. Kind of expensive, but I figured on that. You get what you pay for, right?

Later that night, the kids were in the bath, and we broke it out. Both of the kids love to wash their own hair, and are moderately good at it, so I usually let them. Life was good. Until Molly started screaming bloody murder. I looked over, and she had a few suds from the shampoo lather in her eye. She's not exactly adept at the whole self-grooming coordination thing, so this happens a lot. Except that normally it doesn't bother her, and tonight she's dying. I rinse it all out of her eye (which she loves, of course), and she's okay, but all red and disgruntled. And then I look at the bottle and see something I missed earlier:

"Mama wants you to know: this is not a no-tear formula and it has no anesthetizing ingredients. So use extra care around your angel baby's eyes!"

I really had no idea that regular baby shampoo had to have anesthetizing ingredients in it. I guess I always thought that it was just made of gentle ingredients so as not to irritate eyes. Strange. But I think I'm going to have to go back to it. In my mind, baby shampoo = no screaming freak-outs when it gets in a baby's eyes. I thought that was the whole point. Also, I have to add that while the shampoo smelled lovely last night, kind of like grapefruit, this morning my kids hair smelled a bit like vomit. Aveeno, I apologize, and here we come running back. Unless anyone has a better idea.

I'm Cooking: I keep messing around with a brown rice/smoked salmon salad recipe, and I think I got it right the other night. No exact measurements to follow here, but cooked brown rice mixed with wilted spinach, carrots, smoked salmon, white balsamic vinaigrette, soy sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Yum!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween and Everything Else I Forgot

Okay, I am behind. You know. My mom was here for a week. It was great, and the kids had a fantastic time. But it went waaaaaay too fast. It seems like we did a whole lot of running around and errands and dentist appointments and dressing up and not enough relaxing. I have pictures to post and stories to tell, but first things first.

Halloween. Porter was Anakin (or Luke, depending on the day) Skywalker. My mom made the costume, and it was perfect. It was also warm, which is sort of important here. Molly was a cow, which surprisingly, she fully embraced. She even managed to moo at a couple of people. This picture was taken right as we were heading out for trick or treating, and even though they both look totally bored, I swear they had a great time.

They got to wear their costumes at Porter's preschool costume parade, and then again at a Halloween party hosted by friends, and then again on Halloween itself. Molly is still waking up every morning and saying "costume???" And I'd probably let her if it wasn't smeared with chocolate in the laundry hamper.

Anyway, much fun was had last week, and my mom left on Tuesday. I even got to vote that morning with no kids. Porter loves his grandma, good-byes are hard, and he sobbed his little heart out the whole way home from the airport. Some days it is very hard to be so far away from family, but I'm grateful that we can visit as often as we do.

So, life has been pretty busy, and this morning I decided to just relax with the kids and take them to the library, which we hadn't done in a long time. Right. Relaxing. Porter was fine, but Molly, now I remember why we don't go there. It ended with me yelling and everyone crying and by the time we got home, the first snowfall of the year was dumping on our house. We miss you Mom!

And everything else will have to wait until next time.