Wednesday, November 30, 2011

one of my greatest loves.

Growing up I remember going to the Orem rec center- a lot.  We swam, ran around the raquetball courts, and played on that terribly scary basement track.  And I loved going! I hope that my kids grow up with similar memories of the YMCA.  It is such a lifesaver to me.  I LOVE the Y.

Yesterday Zeb finished his first round of swim lessons there.  I'm not sure why we never signed him up before- but I had a free session coupon that expired this month that we finally decided to use!  I was a little nervous because he can be a bit of a water chicken (probably because we NEVER go swimming!), but he was a champ for his lessons.

 It's amazing what other people can get your kids to do.
Kent got to come and watch a lot of his lessons with us and Zeb loved that. After diving in- or going underwater- he'd always look at Kent and give him a big thumbs up with a goofy smile.

Too bad he always wants to go swimming now!  I really don't like to swim at all.  Hopefully Kent can take him a few times during his break after Christmas.
Besides the pool- both kiddos LOVE the playplace at our Y.  It's kind of like a giant McDonald's playland.  And it's the PERFECT bribery to get the kids to go to the gym on mornings when they aren't so excited to go!  If they promise to go into the kidwatch and behave- then after my workout- they get to play for awhile on the slides.
 I love it because they can run around and get more energy out while I talk to friends :)

sidenote: Over the black friday weekend we finally got ourselves a new point and shoot camera since ours broke during the move somehow!  hopefully it will get me back on track to blogging more often.  So far I LOVE it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

finally- I get my holiday :)

 One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is eating turkey/cranberry/stuffing/potato and gravy topped  sandwiches and random pie slices for days after the actual feast- don't you agree?  And I wasn't going to miss out on that part of the festivities just because we didn't do Thursday Thanksgiving!  So we did Friday Thanksgiving.  After my morning of shopping madness- I plopped the kids in front of the tv and got to work on our own thanksgiving dinner.  Homemade rolls- turkey- the works.  I even made Kent's favorite green bean casserole that always seems to taste better when I'm pregnant.

Kent got home to the fabulous smells of Thanksgiving and we dug in.  Can you see my turkey?  it's slightly hidden by some delicious slices of cranberry sauce. I love the canned stuff. I love that it sits on a plate in the shape of a can- with the ridge lines and everything. I love that you can slice pieces off.  I may love it even more than the turkey itself.
I also made the world's most incredible and easy Key Lime Pie topped with fresh blackberries.  Prep time- 3 minutes.  I LOVED it.   I'll include the recipe at the bottom of my post :)
 Once Kent got off Friday- he had the whole weekend off!  I was determined to take advantage of the break and make up for my last two days.
Friday night we headed downtown for Dayton's downtown tree lighting and children's glow in the dark parade.  It was wonderful.
The rugrats were funny all night.
We took our picture with a few strange people and the kids didn't want in on ANY of them.  Zeb HATED this moose.
 And this is as close as he would get to Santa and Mrs. Claus
 Ike wouldn't get much closer.  They weren't really afraid- they just didn't want to be a part of it.
 Then there was the saxophone man who insisted we get a picture with him after we gave him some change.  Zeb was pretty bugged that he kept playing so loud while we stood next to him.
 Although Kent caved and bought them these crazy glow in the dark flashing swords. Zeb insists they are 'light savers' (we've tried to convince him the word is 'lightsaber'- but he is unbending).   After they got their swords they were happy little boys.  I love this picture.  Zeb and I are making 'lightsaber battle faces'. I'm not sure what Ike was doing.
 The actual parade was really really fun! and not too cold.  Plus- we got fabulous holiday glasses that make every light a snowflake!!  it even worked through my camera lense. Zeb insists on wearing them whenever we drive at night now.
 The floats were really fun- and the night was perfect :)  Hopefully we can make it a tradition!

Key Lime Pie! the actual link is here

2 cans sweetened condensed milk (the recipe calls for three cups- but two cans is PLENTY sweet!)
1/2 c sour cream
3/4 c lime juice (20 key limes or I just used the stuff from the bottle!

mix together and place in graham cracker crust (I put mine in a pre-made shortbread crust)
bake 9 minutes at 350.  chill completely in fridge.
Top with cool whip and fresh berries!!!

I couldn't believe how amazing it was. way too simple and fast!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I'm not going to lie...

Honestly- it wasn't the best thanksgiving I've ever had- but our day was still great!  we had dinner with some great friends here and ate a lot of fabulous food!  I missed the Starkeys (our Ohio family)- and family from home- but most of all I missed Kent!  He worked a 7am-9pm shift at the hospital.

Luckily the day was pretty quiet- so we got to spend some time at the hospital with him.  We had dessert in the cafeteria and hung around in the resident's lounge for awhile.   The boys think it's quite exciting to visit kent at the hospital- so they had a great day!
I made some fabulous raspberry/blackberry cream cheese pretzel salad that the rugrats wouldn't touch.  I loved it.  It was supposed to have fresh strawberries or raspberries but they were 3 and 4 dollars a container. The blackberries were an insane 50 cents/pint so I bought a bunch of those and used them in several recipes this weekend :)
Kids can be such good reminders of positivity and good attitudes.  They were oblivious to the fact that this Thanksgiving was different.  And in fact- had the best day.  Even though Zeb did tumble down a full flight of stairs at our friend's house!  Our kids only fall down stairs when Kent is away!!  It has got to be my least favorite child injury.  It always makes me think my kid is going to die even though they appear unharmed.
The hospital was completely decorated for Christmas- and that really made Zeb upset. He has been CRAZY frustrated with the fact that people didn't decorate for Thanksgiving.  We hadn't mentioned anything about it- but he's so particular.  Every time we went somewhere with Christmas decorations- he'd ask us REPEATEDLY why people were ignoring thanksgiving.
As we were leaving the hospital we saw these snowmen out front.  Ike screamed: "Mama!  let's take a picture!!"- and then wouldn't budge until I got out my camera. He's definitely my kiddo.
Worse than having Kent gone Thanksgiving day was definitely the fact that he had to work black friday!!  I love the excitement and exhaustion of it.  I love all of the people and chaos.  Luckily Amazon saved the day and we got our 'big ticket' item via the internet.  Plus I did get up semi early friday and lug the kids around to five or six stores with me.  It's a lot harder to shop for them while they are with me. Zeb is far too bright these days.  I don't think this Santa thing is going to last much longer.

Monday, November 21, 2011

long post!

 The past month has been far too pleasant!  but Kent starts another nasty month tomorrow.  just in time for the holidays.  unfortunately when I'm pregnant I'm a gajillion times more emotional- so there could be some holiday tears :)  Luckily I've got some great friends here so I'm hoping to stave them off for the most part!

 I taught preschool a couple of weeks ago. kent was home. the weather was amazing.  The best conditions for teaching preschool!! 
we did some 'junior jungle safari hunting' in the backyard and played in leaves.

And last week we had a Thanksgiving party at our place.  Complete with American Indian head feathers and handprint turkeys.
oh, and a cornucopia (sugar cone) full of rainbow goldfish.  Ike will only eat the 'purple' ones.

We've been trying to get our Christmas shopping finished early- so with some of Kent's days off we hit Ikea, the amazing Cincinnati premium outlets (j.crew, gap, etc), and other spots.  

Something about retail and sales gets me so excited for Christmas :)  kent gets excited about the swedish meatballs. 

I found this bookshelf that I want to turn sideways and use as a table/shelf unit for our front room. Ikea has some of the greatest stuff. I was so excited. And then it wouldn't fit in our car.  luckily we figured that out before we bought it.  we really need a mini van already.  

I've been loving the gloomy weather that's come around this week- but I keep being disappointed when the rain doesn't turn into snow!  come on already!! I want snow!!  we've been wearing galoshes a lot- and just staying warm inside.  I love Ohio for it's assortment of weather.  I can't imagine living somewhere without the seasons.

Kent gave the rugrats haircuts last night and they look so much more handsome.  Zeb is TERRIBLE at getting his haircut. You'd think his hairs had nerve fibers attached to them.  The screaming is ridiculous!!  and the thrashing resulted in a few strange spots :) but he sure is cute. and grown up.
Zeb keeps talking about his little sister.  He's completely convinced that the fetus looked like it was wearing a skirt during the ultrasound so that means it's a girl.    He's also been asking all sorts of questions about how it's surviving in utero.  I told him that it lives in a sac of water connected to a cord inside a giant muscle.  Then I showed him these pictures from when Ike was born.  Both he and Ike were completely shocked.  Zeb sat with his mouth wide open. Ike said "I don't like that!".

Ike is still having poo problems.  Although with the amount of miralax, black beans, and quaker oat squares he's eating- I can't figure out how he's keeping it all in as long as he is! At least he isn't constipated at all anymore- just refusing to poo on the toilet.  Every three or so days- he asks for a diaper and goes.  He stays 100% dry otherwise. even all night.  We are going to try and get him pooing normally again (at least every other day) and then try to poo potty train. Zeb had NO problems with this- so I'm still trying to figure it all out.

Zeb loves taking pictures lately.  We even put out a bunch of plates of birdseed on the back deck to attract some birds so that he could try and take some pictures of them.  So far- no luck. Zeb doesn't think the birds know the birdseed is for them.  Kent suggested we make a sign.

Here's a picture zeb took of us this morning. We'd just returned from the gym.  I feel like I'm not all that talented when it comes to a lot- but I am quite the talented pregnant person.  I'm still teaching my bootcamp classes- and going to spin. I feel great.  Although I think I may have gotten heartburn the other night for a few minutes.  The only annoying thing is the rude (in my opinion) comments from other gym goers.  I don't mind the funny looks- but it is NEVER okay to comment on the large size of a pregnant person. NEVER.  One lady asked: "are you sure it isn't twins? because you are awfully big.".  I was shocked.  Not too shocked to tell her that what she said "was a very rude thing to say to a pregnant person", though.

amazing and easy cinnamon scones.

Here are the easiest and most delicious scones :)   from the Pioneer Woman.  dipped in swiss miss dark hot chocolate.   I even left out the cinnamon chips and substituted milk for cream. still amazing.

  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ⅓ cups Sugar
  • 5 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 sticks (1 Cup) Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Cinnamon Chips
  • Topping
  • ½ cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1-½ teaspoon Heavy Cream

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and baking powder. Cut butter into pieces, then cut into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cinnamon chips.
Mix together cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour into flour/butter mixture, stirring gently with a fork to combine.
Turn onto work surface (mixture will be very crumbly and falling apart.) Gently press together on the sides as you flatten (or roll, with a rolling pin) the top. Form either into a large circle or a large rectangle. Mix together topping ingredients, stirring with a fork. Sprinkle over the top of the dough, lightly pressing.
Cut into wedges (from a circle) or triangles (from a rectangle.) Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Serve with coffee.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Zebba debba ding dong.

I sent Zeb to time out and told him he could get off once he'd counted to 100.  He ran into the kitchen after just a few seconds and told me he was finished.  I questioned his ability to count that quickly and he replied: "I counted by tens, mom. It's faster that way." I couldn't argue with him. Next time I'll be more specific with my instructions. He LOVES to count.  He'll sit in the car and go ON and ON and ON and ON.  He can count to 1000. seriously.  

Here's a nasty face he's been pulling the past month or so.  I took the picture sometime last week and showed it to him.  I told him it was hideous and that he really needed to stop making it. I think he agreed because we haven't seen it in almost a week. Hopefully it's gone for good.  Ike says that it scares him. I think he looks like some Star Trek alien.

He's still loving school and loves to 'practice' when he's home. His reading is improving a ton- and his handwriting is slowly but surely improving as well. Tonight he asked me to write up his Christmas list- but I told him it was only acceptable if he hand wrote it himself. He happily agreed!  It was the best handwriting practice we've ever had :)  Usually he gets bored really really fast.  I obviously helped him with spelling- but  I only had to correct him on the writing of a few of his letters.  It's crazy to me how fast kids can learn.
I asked him if we should fold it up and send it to the North Pole- and he answered: "Maybe we should just send it to Nannie Annie and Gramps' house instead".   This kid already has it all figured out.

Here's the translation:
Max Schnell
Shu Todoroki
Submarine Finn
Nigel Gearsly- British Champion (for some reason he insisted on including that last part)
and  Cars 2 DVD.

This kid loves 'Cars'. Disney is genius for making another movie with more characters.

p.s. for those actually shopping- we already bought Nigel Gearsly.  If you get any of the items- let us know so there isn't any double gifting!

We'll try to publish Ike's list soon :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

odds and ends.

 photo of the week (his smile reminds me of auntie metta!).  
Happy breakfast: black beans a la ketchup.  
Such a crazy little duck.  He still loves his black beans.  for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  With buckets of ketchup.  He's always shouting: "Just one more squirt, please!" 
At least the beans are helping him poo. We've had the most RIDiculous pooing issues. The kid pee potty trained in a snap. He's never even wet the bed. But he will NOT poo. He goes 4-5 days and then spends hours screaming until it forces it's way out.  I think he needs to see a therapist. He really is afraid of letting his poo go. He's not actually constipated- he just holds it.  We've started daily doses of miralax and we'll see how the next week goes.

This week has been great and busy again.  preschool is at our house. I'm teaching lots of Y classes. and Kent is on a crazy ER schedule.  It hasn't actually been all that bad- but he gets home a lot in the middle of the night and my sleep gets all disjointed by it- although I know his is much worse :)  We've been able to see more of him than usual- and we get to go to the gym a lot as a family in the mornings.

I've also been doing some recipe experimentation. A few weeks ago Kent said to me: "I forgot how much I love when you're pregnant!!".  Want to know the reason?  because I'll cook/eat/buy/allow all sorts of foods that would normally be loudly shunned.

I actually made Navajo tacos a bit ago.  I think it's the first thing I've ever truly fried.  And I was pleasantly surprised with the end result.  Just plain delicious.  I went the super duper easy route by thawing rhodes rolls- flattening them out- and dropping them in oil.  We topped with turkey chili, sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, guac, and cheese. So dang easy and really very tasty.
We've also had some exceptionally great fall weather days.  And with Kent being home- we've had family yard days.  Which means I've got lots more leaf pictures of the rugrats.
I love this picture.   I have two little rugrat toddler boys and sometimes it's just crazy to me.  

The boys are pretty darn crazy with the leaves. We have leaf bits ALL over the house and inside of  clothes.   Zeb got a little itchy with leaves down his undies, though.
Here's his sneaky face. Ready to pounce on his little brother.

I love the happy scream/giggle.

 How is it that my kids always have bruises on their heads.   I don't beat them, I swear.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

the blog where halloween happened a week later than everywhere else.

 Okay- so really- it's just the blog where I didn't post about Halloween until a week later than everybody else. Lame-o, I know.  Last week was crazy nutso.  With preschool, swim lessons, teaching my classes, subbing extra classes, a church activity, and halloween itself- I just wanted to sit and veg when I actually had a moment to spare.  I'm really grateful that while Kent is experiencing the busiest three years of his life- I just happen to be crazy busy as well. It's a lifesaver for me.

Halloween was 100% perfect. Somehow Kent had the full three day weekend off?! not sure how that happened- but don't get too jealous- it's just helping to make up for his HORRENDOUS holiday schedule. three full work days on the next big three holidays. We won't go into details so I don't get too depressed :)

The weekend of Halloween we had parties like crazy :)  The church trunk or treat was INSANE. Kids EVERYwhere. There are so many kids here!  There are seriously THIRTY kids Zeb's age. And possibly more in Ike's age group!

We dressed up as a family and had so much fun.  Although I got really homesick for Toledo that night.  I sure miss that place and the people.
The boys got matching face paint.  Purple butterflies?!  I have no idea how that was decided.  I'm going to blame it on the young women doing the painting :)

After the trip around the parking lot- Zeb was SOOOO done and wanted to go home.  Ike asked if we could make another round.  One of these kiddos is a lot like his mom and the other a lot like his dad.  Take a guess who's who.
Saturday morning we woke up early to do the neighborhood costume contest/parade. It's a pretty big deal. Our neighborhood is HUMONGOUS.  Like 2000 houses or something.  and guess what?!
We won (in our category) and got these nifty sweatshirts and walked in the parade.
  Although we are pretty lucky that we pulled off the win.  This kiddo would NOT wear the top to his costume without a major scream fest- so we entered with a headless hot dog :)
 These rugrats were pretty good sports to put up with heir parents' shenanigans, though. It was a cold morning with a decent wait to be judged.  It's all about forcing fun family memories, right?

When all was said and done- Ikey actually wanted to stay and get more candy and listen to the marching band.  Why do I love crying pictures?!
On halloween evening we did the trick or treating thing.  The neighborhood right above ours goes ALL out for the night.  Haunted houses in garages- scary scary displays- and tons of candy.

The kids were MORTIFIED by most of the garages.  Kent tried getting them inside a few- but they started shrieking when he got within ten feet.  We loved it.
 Check out Ike's face.  So funny.
 Zeb got to trick or treat with his pal -Barrick- and loved it.  I love Zeb's double chin in this picture.
 I love Halloween.  We get to make fools of ourselves and eat lots of candy and have fun together.  What could be better?