Sunday, November 30, 2008

Its been a Quasi-vacation, and now I am back...

We have been enjoying the long Thanksgiving weekend here at our house. I haven't been on the computer much, haven't really done much but eat and eat and eat. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. Each of us girls cooked several dishes so it was not all on one person. We enjoyed four varieties of pie for dessert! Mmmmm. Dad invested the best $13 ever to make five marshmallow guns to keep the guys busy. It was hilarious! They really got into it. Here are a few pictures of the madness:

As tradition goes around here, we have busted out the Christmas decorations and started getting festive. James has been just a weeeeee bit excited! Squeeling and giggling and jumping around. He got to put the star on top of our tree yesterday and it was quite exciting. I have rigged a fence around the tree involving baby gates, zip ties, and bows to cover up the zip ties. I'll have to get a picture of that for you. Its quite the contraption, but better than picking up ornaments for the next six weeks, and repairing whatever gets broken. I'm sure there's more I am missing, but Katie is trying to escape, so I have to git!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Off the Wall Tales from the last few days...

In no particular order, here is what has been going on around here lately:

  • Somehow an opened bag o' dried beans ended up in my dryer. I heard them rattling around, picked out the ones I saw, removed the bag, which still housed most of the beans, and figured I'd pick the rest out as I folded the clothes. Think again! Apparently, the beans were small enough to get sucked into the lint trap, and when I pulled it out they all fell down into the back of the dryer. I dreaded telling Jeff. I mean, seriously, I don't think that dismantling the dryer to extract dry beans ranks on his list of fun tasks. In the end, the dryer shot a few beans back out the lint trap and Jeff took it apart to remove the rest. What a trooper.
  • Rachel stayed with us from Friday to Sunday. We had such a blast. We went to Rice's flea market and Ike@, sewed ourselves purses, and Rachel led a (an?) hilarious story time involving passages from the LLL Breastfeeding Guide. We had such a great time and the kids loved having Auntie Rach around.
  • Its official! Katie now has to wear her brace only while sleeping! I keep thinking I should put it on her, have her wear it anyway, but I remind myself its OK. The doctor knows what he is doing. Its so nice to hold her sans contraptions!!! I think she is going to take off mobility-wise now. She is already walking holding on to our hands. She can climb on the couch and into the window, up the stairs, and pretty much whatever else she sets her mind to. I'll have my hands full!!!
  • Someone delivered a paper to our house. I asked James if he wanted to go out and get it. He went out, picked up the paper, put it in his mouth, got down on all fours and walked back to the house that way. I kept questioning him as to what he was doing, where he saw that. He told me that Maxwell gets Mike's paper for him. Maxwell is our friend's dog, who he met this past summer. That kid has a good memory on him!
  • And speaking of James...this one is funny. I was quizzing him on body parts the other day. I asked him where his clavicles were, and he pointed to his, uh, you know, and said 'they're in my pants!' Clavicles, testicles, you know. They are almost the same thing!
  • Jeff is nearing the home stretch, time wise anyway, of his Calculus 2 class. He has a ton of work to do. Will this ever end?!
  • I might sound like a ginormous dork here, but James and Katie rode in the cart together for the very first time and they were so stinkin' cute. Katie has never been able to ride in a germy cart before. Also, the other day we went to a store that had the car carts, and James asked if Katie could go in it with him. I took her brace off and strapped them both in. That was too stinkin' cute too! I know, it doesn't take much to make me happy.
  • I think I've done about as much damage as I can do here for one day, so I think I'll end here. To quote my friend Rachel, "Peace out, cub scouts."

Friday, November 21, 2008

A good recipe...

I just made this recipe for the first time this week, and it is so good! Thought I'd pass it along. It comes from my friend Erin's Mom:

's Cranberry Coffee Cake

8 oz. Neufchatel cream cheese
1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2 1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. cranberries
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Beat together the
cream cheese, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients just until mixed (it will be tough if you over-mix the batter). Spoon into a greased bundt pan and bake @ 350 degrees for about 1 hour (until it tests done with a knife).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Major Food Groups

In our household, there are a few foods we cannot live without. First and foremost, the bean burrito. Its like the Mexican version of PB&J, and I say that in the most respectful way. Its quick, its easy and oh, so delish! Just take a tortilla, some refried beans (preferable homemade), maybe a little cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a healthy dose of Mrs. Renfro's Green Salsa on top and you're good to go. By adding an avocado, another food that deserves its own food group, you can elevate a bean burrito to a work of art. If you are Jeff, adding tortilla chips to the mix would be pure heaven. That boy lives off of tortilla chips. He eats them with everything. He's even threatened to pour milk over them and eat them for breakfast. If you were to poll James for his food favorites, the list would include pancakes, bananas, scrambled eggs and raisins. Katie is a fan of strawberries, and anything she can find on the floor. And me, I am an all-around fan of the bean: refried beans, black beans and who can forget the cocoa bean? Beans are good for you, so since chocolate is a bean, it must be healthy too. I have oft thought that if I had to be stranded on a desert island with nothing but a few staples, I would choose bean burritos and chocolate. Recently, though, another deserving food has added itself to my list of foods that deserve their own groups: Dad's hummus. Dad has started making hummus, and not just your ordinary hummus. No. He makes hummus with roasted peppers, or sesame dressing, or with a smoky flavor. Everytime I am there, I have to take a gander in the fridge and be the 'cupbearer' if you will. Hey, someone's gotta do it! It takes a lot of restraint not to stick my head in the bowl and eat the whole batch! Its really that good. In conclusion to this long and rambling post about trivial matters, if I ever get stranded, please send a burrito, some good dark chocolate and a batch of hummus and I will be one happy camper. Thank you, and good night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A lot of randomness....

In no particular order, here are the highlights of the last few days:

Jeff was attempting to fix our ancient (circa 1996) 'boom box' the other night. The kids pitched right in to help where they could. As you can see, they wanted to be right there where the action was. I sat and watched and laughed myself silly seeing Katie squeezing in there between the two of them. She got the important job of holding the flashlight while Jeff and James fixed the boom box with, you guessed it, a piece of Scotch tape. And only because we couldn't find the duct tape. We are high class around here, I tell ya!

I took the same picture of Jeff with James in that same sweatshirt, and if I had the inclination I would dig it out. They look so much alike! And this is James' new look. He calls it 'that thing with my eyes.' Then he spins in circles while doing that.

In my frenzy to sew my way through the Christmas season, I have been cranking out projects like a mad woman. I can't show them all to you, since it would spoil some surprises, and we all know how good I am at keeping surprises. I did whip up a tree skirt yesterday, which is in dire need of ironing. I scored a tablecloth on clearance at T@rget for $4.99 and used it to make our first official tree skirt! It even had a nice embroidered border that I got to incorporate.

Here is another project I can put up, since last time I checked James doesn't read the blog. He loves to be wrapped up in a blanket, so I figured he would enjoy having a snappy little flannel lined fleece bathrobe. I can't wait to give it to him!

Monday, November 17, 2008

More James-isms

'Pineapple takes your mouth off your chin.'

'Daddy, I'm obsessed with shovels.'


'A yittle bit and yittle bit.'

'Almost!' (In response to many questions, such as 'are you coming? are you done?')

'Is paper route a dood (good) word to say?' After I confirmed that it was OK to say, he spent the day saying it randomly. Who knows where he came up with that one!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shampoo and Politicians

Am I the only one who reads every single word on the shampoo bottle whilst in the shower? Anyone? Bueller....Bueller........Bueller? I have decided that they hire politicians to write the claims for their products. "Will make your hair 5x's stronger, 5x's shinier" or "Strengthens each hair and repairs damage" or "Get lucious curls, without the crunch" Really? Does the shampoo have glue in it or something? How can it repair damage? And how does it make your hair five times stonger? And how do you measure the shiny-ness quotient? And might I add that claiming curls without crunch equals curls that fly away and turn to frizz. But that wouldn't make a very catchy claim. It all sounds like politician's claims: a lot of talk, but can they really deliver? Now I know where down-and-out politicians find employement: as shampoo marketing professionals.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Yee-fiz Turned Yellow

Toward late summer, I started telling James that it would be fall soon. I explained to him that the leaves will turn yellow and orange and red, and they will fall from the trees. Now, whenever he sees leaves in someone's yard, he says 'Look! The yee-fiz turned yellow in their yard! Its fall time in their yard!' We have been raking leaves a lot, and while James will rake and load the leaves up in his wheelbarrow, he will not sit in the leaves or jump in them. And if you mess up his pile...whoa! 'Hey, you just took the roof off my castle! Do not take the roof off my castle!' Where a grown-up sees a pile of leaves, a little boy sees a castle. I love the creativity!

And a brief Katie update: We went to CHOP Tuesday. The ortho wants to see her in the brace for two more weeks, then we'll go to naps/nighttime only. Her socket is still shallow, which is normal for dysplasia. Its a wait and see game as far as how much growth her hip and femur do on their own. He did mention surgery for the first time, but it was more of a 'just in case' type thing. It is a possibility, but not a probability is my understanding. Her femur is looking better than I remember it even with the last xray, so that was nice to see. She has stood for several seconds on her own lately. Her balance is improving and she is walking with one of those little push-cart things they make for babies. She can climb the stairs, and climb on the couch and into the window sill. She can also climb through the tunnel, up and down steps to get to the top of the tall slide at the park! She isn't letting the brace slow her down at all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Off Topic

Huh? Seriously, I just wanted to say that. Because really? There is no topic here at N&B. I crack myself up. Anyway, the ol' brain is doing funny things since...since...I got an entire night sleep!!!! I haven't done that since 1976, or at least since before I had kids. It may not be that bad, but I don't think I've slept that good since before I was pregnant with Katie. First, I had nightmares from the hormones. Then there was the issue of the shrinking bladder. Then a baby who wanted to eat. Go figure. Then, a cast and a brace. She has slept worse in the brace than the cast. So, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and realized I hadn't been up with her. The following things ran through my mind:

1. Did I forget that I got up with her?
2. Is she still breathing?!
3. Did I sleep through her crying?
4. Did I forget that I got up?
5. Is she OK???

I got up and checked on her and she was contentedly sawing logs. Jeff woke up and asked where she was. I told him she slept through the night. He said 'Are you sure she's still breathing?' Yeah, that's what happens ladies and gents, when your kid sleeps through the night for the first time in who knows how long.

And on to a completely different subject, I was brainstorming Franch ideas and I remembered that I have not yet told you about Speedo man! Its not really a Franch story, per se, but a Colorado story. In Grand Junction, there was a character everyone knew of as Speedo Man. Shockingly enough, his nickname came about due to fact that he never appeared in anything other than a Speedo. I guess that's not all together true. In the winter, he wore a leotard under his speedo. A purple or aqua leotard. Sometimes he would accesorize with a matching sweatband. He was spotted all over town, usually riding his bike, although sometimes he would be strutting around with a strange gait, no doubt due to the ill effects of 24/7 Speedo wearing. Toward the end of our time in Colorado, Speedo Man's appearances became fewer and fewer. Rumors were rampant. I knew a guy who said he partied with Speedo Man in a storage unit. Word has it that Speedo Man partied hard. There were also rumors that Speedo Man left for California. I heard he was a lawyer. I heard he was dead. I really don't know if anything has ever been confirmed in regard to Speedo Man. Maybe my CO reader could shed some light on it. I don't know. But good ol' Speedo Man. It always was entertaining to spot him riding along with traffic. It was like finding Waldo, except without the clothes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Super Freak

This is what happens when Calculus 2 gets the best of you. You crack under the pressure and take bizarre pictures of yourself. Looks like he needs a little vacation to the funny farm! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Whenever I think I've lost my mind, I remember Mike

One of the things that Jeff’s small town is famous for, well maybe the only thing its famous for, is Mike the Headless Chicken. Yes, you heard that right. Poor Mike was cut short, literally, one fine fall day when ol’ Farmer Olsen decided it was time for butchering. Farmer Olsen had a long day ahead of him, with many chickens to butcher. For those of you city folk, that means chopping their heads off with an ax. It is the quickest way to do in a chicken. On a side note, nothing puts the fear of God into you like seeing your mom dispatch a few chickens into the big coop in the sky. Anyway, back to Mike. When it was Mike’s turn for the block, fate intervened and gave Mike a new head(less) start on life. You see, somehow the bottom of Mike’s brainstem remained intact enough to allow Mike to live. Chickens, when beheaded, run around for a while all willy-nilly, thus the phrase ‘like a headless chicken.’ The curious thing about Mike, though, was that he didn’t stop running. At the end of the day, Mike was still kickin’. After some examination it was determined that enough of Mike’s brainstem remained to allow him to function. Farmer Olsen figured out that he could drop feed down Mike’s gullet with a dropper. Now that’s thinking with your head, which at this point was not something Mike was capable of. Mike went on to live for nearly 2 years, traveling the country and making it into Rip1ey’s Believe It or Not. Mike met his demise by choking to death in a hotel room. It was a tragic end to a life of mindless wandering. Mike’s story soon became a distant memory relegated to the minds of the old timers. It wasn’t until recent years that Mike’s story was resurrected. The town decided to head up a Mike the Headless Chicken Festival. This festival is complete with lawn mower races, Mike the Headless Chicken Dance, and a Run Like a Headless Chicken 5k run. Its quality stuff you just can’t find in a big city. To learn more about the fabulous Mike, click here.

And how could I forget to
mention that a sculpture of Mike graces the main street in town!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bla, bla, bla....Version #528

Yesterday was a rather crazy day, and I could have blogged about a number of things, mainly how fried I was after my trip to Se@rs to get the kids' pictures done. One incompetent photographer plus two uncooperative kids equals disaster! Anyway, I am working on a rip-roaring Franch tale which should be done soon. It is full of really bad puns involving our fine feathered friend, Mike the Headless Chicken. Until then, here is a bit of randomness:

I got a book at the library full of patterns for vintage handbags. Fun, fun! Yesterday I tried out one of the patterns. It was nice to finish a project in one day! What made it even more fun is that I used an old skirt of mine...I was able to use the fabric, the lining and the ribbon from the skirt so I feel ever so thrifty and clever. Now, what do I do with it?!

And I never, ever thought I would say that leg warmers are cute, but aren't they cute on little baby legs? They slide down her skinny little legs but I can't resist. They are just too cute!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

And James Strikes Again...

Last night Jeff had his co-worker over for dinner. James heard me say that I was making brownies. When they came out of the oven, James ran into the kitchen and said 'Mommy, I want a hash brownie!' Uh, we don't serve those here, Chief.

Now that I think about it, it does remind me of the time that a girl brought 'magic brownies' to the church potluck in hopes of impressing my bro. Yes, nothing says 'I have a crush on you' like bringing magic brownies to the pastor's son. Fortunately those brownies didn't make their way to the potluck. They got hidden in the janitor's closet where the girl who brought them ended up consuming mass quantities of them herself and getting stoned off her rocker. Such memories.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tu-ties, Scissors and a Manger

Apparently we have been doing an excellent job of getting the true meaning of Christmas across. James told me today, after asking me to set up the 'tristmas twee' for the 187th time, that 'it will be fun. We'll have tu-ties (cookies), scissors, a manger and fra-brit (fabric). Where he comes up with this stuff, I'll never know. He does know that at Christmas we celebrate Jesus' birthday. I told him we would make Jesus a birthday cake this Christmas, and he reminds me of that quite often. This morning, he told me that Jesus will not be sad anymore when we make him a birthday cake. That's sound theology there, my friends. We have the next Charles Ryrie on our hands. At least I will theoretically have about 987 more times to remind him of the true meaning of Christmas, judging by the average number of times per day he asks. He has the whole thing planed out: when its 'thanksdiving time, daddy will dit the twee and stuff out of the attic and we'll set up the twee and maybe Drammy will tome over and help us. It will be fun.' I am looking forward to the first Christmas where I think he'll really start to enjoy all the festivities and understand more of what's going on. And to think, its only 49 days away. Yikes!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stair Master!

Katie decided on Sunday that she was going to climb the stairs, and climb she did. The first try, she climbed up 4 stairs. After that, she went to the top! She even knows how to slide down on her belly. She went up and down, up and down. She can now climb with or without her brace. Now I really have to watch her close! Also, she went to the pediatrician yesterday and weighed in at 19 pounds, 6 ounces and she is 31 inches long. We grow them long and skinny around here. She is between the 75/90 percentile for her height and 10/25 for weight. Looks like another kid who'll be impossible to find pants for. :) But they are very happy with her progress despite the cast and brace, so yeah!!!!

Tortilla Lament

I did my monthly grocery shopping extravaganza yesterday and that means stocking up on tortillas. Jeff and I believe that refried beans and tortillas deserve their very own food group. While I have pioneered making our own refried beans (much better than canned!), I have not perfected my own tortillas. I need to kick my tinkering in to high gear. The reason? Tortilla selection in the fine state of Peeeeee-A is dismal at best. At our grocery store, they sell two brands of unrefridgerated tortillas. One brand is dry and stale, the other brand is to tortillas what T@co Bell is to Mexican food. Except Taco Bell tastes alright. The refrigerated section offers an additional two brands to choose from. This is where I get mine, because they are the lesser of the two evils. The problem is, they taste just like the bag they come in. They are not fresh, and they have taken on the plasticy flavor of the bag. Argh! A wise man once said 'A good tortilla is hard to find.' How true. While I have a tortillador (stolen/borrowed from my parents) which makes a darn good tortilla, it does not make the large, flexible tortillas required to make a good bean burrito. So you see, my peeps, I have a dilemma. I must overcome the sad plight of the tortilla!

Now stop reading the blog and go VOTE!!! Be there or be square.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Being a Party Pooper is Genetic

I am happy to say, after reading my sister's blog, that I do believe being a party pooper is genetic. Every Halloween, my parents turn off their lights and hole up upstairs till the whole thing is over. With the exception of one year, Jeff and I have done the same thing. We were sort of turned off by the high school trick-or-treaters and the parents who reach in and take some for themselves. Part of me feels guilty because I was the benefactor of many a kind candy-giving soul. We used to come home with loads upon loads of bottlecaps and nerds and peanut butter cups. The good stuff. So, part of me feels guilty that I am not 'giving back.' My guilt is somewhat lessened by reading my sister's blog this morning. Being a party pooper must be genetic! It just runs in the family. I will make sure to tell that to the next disgruntled trick-or-treater that leaves my door empty handed. I am sure he or she will understand.

Actually, we had very little in the way of candy-begging munchkins. No one knocked on our door, and we saw very few people out. Our neighbor had to park his truck at the end of his driveway and hang out there to fend off neighborhood kids who wanted to see the 'haunted house.' There is a 300 year old farmhouse across the street from us, and all the kids think it is haunted. As for our halloween festivities, I took the kids to the mall to see Curious George and do a little trick-or-treating. James, being a first-timer, was really funny to watch. If he actually said anything, it was in a whisper so low it was inaudible. He just looked at the ground and held out his candy bag. The appearance of Curious George was a bit disappointing. He was later than expected, and then he just stood on stage and waved and blew kisses and danced a little bit before he headed off. They said there was to be a meet-and-greet but I don't know what happened to that. The good news is, James was none the wiser. He was enthralled at the sight of George, and he blew kisses and waved right back. Here is where I would post cute pictures of the kids in thier Halloween finery, but my camera decided to rid itself of all my pictures and they are gone! I think we may have to have a staged photo shoot here one of these days. They were just so cute.