Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I don't have time for much of a post, but I promised a friend I'd post a belly picture so here it is. This was yesterday at 24 weeks.

I also took this one of Emma yesterday and I think it's too cute not to share.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Often in the evenings I find myself craving something refreshing to drink, but alcohol and caffeine are out and I don't like soda so I wind up drinking plain old water or juice and still wishing I had something better to drink. When I saw Ina make her California Iced Tea, I thought that sounded perfectly refreshing, and easily adapted to be caffeine-free as well. Emma and I made some yesterday and, I was right, it was just what I was looking for. Steve told me it's not anything new and it's also known as an Arnold Palmer, but for me it's new so I am still excited.Another thing about which I am excited is my new clothesline. When we moved here, there were two clothesline poles in our yard but no line on them. I've mentioned to Steve a few times that I'd like a clothesline but he thinks they are trashy (which might be about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard) and I haven't been too eager to go in our backyard the past couple years anyway due to the crazy amount of snakes we have, so I just let it drop.This year, in part because of my newfound bravery, I decided to go ahead and put one up. I've been using every warmish, sunny day so far to dry things on the line, and I love to look out the window and see my stuff blowing in the breeze. The trouble with hanging things on the clothesline is that most things become stiff and crunchy when dried that way. I'd like to be able to say that I'm earth-friendly enough to use scratchy, crispy towels instead of the soft and fluffy ones that using the dryer gives me, but I am not quite that committed yet. For now at least, I am happy to dry my sheets and diapers out in the sunshine.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I am feeling very proud of myself. This year I decided that those snakes aren't going to get the best of me, and I'm actually going to go in my backyard. Of course, it's a lot easier to tell myself that than it is to actually walk in the yard, knowing that there could be a snake lurking around any tree or underneath any tuft of grass.
Emma planted some watermelon, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds a couple weeks ago, and they were clearly starting to outgrow their little cups. I told her we'd go plant them out in the garden, but I kept putting it off because, let's face it, I am terrified of the garden. (Wasn't it only a day or two ago that I was poking a little fun at Emma for not being very outdoorsy?) Still, I'd promised her we'd do it, and I'd also promised myself that I wasn't going to be so scared this year.We made our way down to the garden and Emma fearlessly walked inside. I stood outside the fence and told her I was nervous about going in and she said, "It's okay, I'll protect you. I'm brave with snakes, remember?" Well, I'm a little skeptical about that, but I went in anyway and actually sat on the ground and helped her dig holes for her little plants. (We couldn't find a little shovel so we had to improvise.) Quite a triumph for me - and we didn't even see any snakes!
There were a few asparagus plants coming up from my long-abandoned asparagus patch, and Emma was excited to pick them. She carried them up to the house and, even though I had told her I would cook them for dinner, she proceeded to eat every last asparagus stalk while we played outside! I told her they would be probably be better if they were cooked, and she said they were already delicious. If you say so, kiddo.

Monday, April 21, 2008

For Valentine's Day this year, even though we do not usually give each other gifts, Steve surprised me with a gift certificate to this place, good for an aromatherapy whirlpool bath, a 45 minute prenatal massage, and a European facial. All of which sounded great, but the best part was that Steve was going to watch the kids for me so I could actually go and do these things. He has some strange unfounded fear that Noah will cry for me the entire time I'm gone, so he has not been home alone with both kids even once since Noah was born. I went to get my massage, etc. on Saturday and he and the kids dropped me off, then went and played at a park for a few hours while I was there. Of course they all had a great time, and I thoroughly enjoyed my massage. It turns out they don't allow pregnant women to do the whirlpool bath, which was a tad disappointing, and I didn't absolutely love the facial, but overall the experience was pretty great and it was SO nice to get a break from being "mommy" for awhile.

Saturday night Emma had a dance show at a retirement community in which she had a small singing solo. I would like to show the whole song because it's cute, but I couldn't really get her dancing without showing the other little girls. They are accidentally in this video a bit, so to protect their privacy I will take this video down in a day or so. Everyone had to bring a pair of gloves to wear during one of the songs, and Emma wasn't very happy with the gloves I brought for her to wear. When she stepped up to the microphone in front of everyone, she spotted me in the audience and called out, directly into the microphone, "Don't worry, I got some better gloves!" I think the loudness of her own voice really startled her, but everyone in the room had a good chuckle over it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Today is chilly and dreary, but in spite of that I think we're finally getting into more spring-like weather. This week the kids and I took advantage of a few nice days by going on two picnics and visiting the arboretum to enjoy all the spring flowers. We were all happy to get outside, and are looking forward to the weekend, which is supposed to be beautiful.
At the arboretum, we discovered that Emma is also terrified of bugs, but "only bugs that are on me," she'll tell you. The first time I saw her running maniacally towards me, letting loose a blood-curdling scream, I thought she had probably gotten stung. Nope. As she frantically shook her arm, I managed to grab ahold of it and discover the reason for all the melodrama - a very cute, and perfectly harmless, ladybug. A ladybug! Not exactly the outdoorsy type, is she?
Noah, of course, loves crawling around and eating flower petals, little pebbles, bugs, and pretty much any speck of dirt he can find. He's not very discriminating either, because he will happily swallow all these things unless I dig them out of his eager little mouth. I know he will of course start walking at some point, but I honestly wish he would hurry up and do it now so all the tasty-looking (to him) morsels on the ground aren't as accessible. Emma didn't learn to walk until she was fifteen months old, and Noah is really nowhere close to walking now, so I think I'm just doomed to have kids who are late walkers. Because of that, my kids are also probably doomed to ingest more than their share of dirt, bugs, petals, and rocks. At least they are organic, right?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Awhile ago, I read this about growing your own sprouts and knew I wanted to try it out. I ordered the special jar lid, bought some mung beans and lentils, and five days later, I had grown my own sprouts! We've now grown and eaten three or four jarfuls of sprouts, and they are very bit as interesting and delicious and I suspected.Of course they are perfect for salads and sandwiches, but Emma also loves to eat handfuls of them plain, straight from the jar. I think she likes to eat them so much because she has actually watched them sprout and grow. They are a perfect experiment for little kids because they grow so fast and are so easy to do. We're all about instant gratification.Does anyone local have a good recommendation for carpet cleaners? Our carpets desperately need to be cleaned but I'm not sure who to call. The first time we had it done I was really happy with it, but last time whoever we used did a terrible job and also ended up charging me more than I had been quoted. I can't remember which company it was either time, and now I'm wary of hiring someone crummy again.

Oh, and here is the recipe I used for the bagels. I followed the recipe exactly except I subbed whole wheat pastry flour for all the flour. Next time I will try baking them on parchment paper so I hopefully won't have as much trouble with them sticking to the pan.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Steve and I generally don't get each other Christmas (or birthday or Valentine's Day) presents. We each just buy something for ourselves that we want and call it a present. This past Christmas, however, he surprised me with a KitchenAid mixer. I had mentioned to him several times that I wished I had one, but at that time I was feeling so crummy I couldn't fathom ever cooking anything again. The box also looked so big and I didn't think we had enough space to store it, so after it sat in our living room for a few weeks, I returned it without ever opening the box. Fast forward to week ago, when I was feeling much more human again, and really starting to regret giving up the mixer. I ordered another one and it arrived yesterday! This time I am properly excited about my new toy.I wanted to do something with it that we hadn't tried before, so yesterday we made bagels. I was sort of skeptical that they would be any good, but they turned out amazingly well! A few of them were stuck to the pan pretty severely, but overall they turned out great. These are just plain whole wheat (great for making sandwiches), but I am looking forward to experimenting with more flavors in the future.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I ordered a little remote to go with my camera, mostly because I would like to take some maternity portraits that are a little more interesting than just me standing in front of a mirror and taking a picture of myself. A few days ago I decided to have a little belly photo shoot. Of course, I managed to take one picture before both kids came charging in the room and the picture taking became all about them. Which is okay of course, because since I am always the one behind the camera, I have almost no pictures of me and them together. Trouble is, these kids couldn't sit still for a picture if their lives depended on it. Oh, and there's also the part where Emma tries to get right in front of the camera and completely monopolize every shot. Still, we had fun and now Emma keeps asking me when we can set up the camera and take a bunch more pictures of ourselves. Very soon, I hope.Emma has developed a new (and completely unfounded) fear. Over the weekend we were doing some shopping at Town Center, and as we were walking back to our car Steve noticed two geese in the grassy median and pointed them out to Emma. He wanted to take her closer to look at them but she was completely frozen in fear. Then as we rounded the corner of our van, there was another goose walking around about ten feet away from us. Emma screamed in terror and started to cry at the sight of the goose. Strange, because I'm pretty sure that geese have never bothered her before. Then yesterday afternoon she was happily sitting out on the front porch waiting for Noah and me to come outside and go for a walk. Suddenly I heard her screaming and banging frantically on the door. I rushed over to let her in and immediately asked her what was wrong. In between sobs she managed to explain, "I saw a bird." Huh.
Today we did end up going to the Royals game. It wasn't raining, but it was super cold. It might have been just medium cold on the ground, but we bought tickets from a scalper and ended up sitting just one row from the very tip top where the wind chill must have been something like two degrees. Both kids did great the whole time though, and in the end we were really glad we went. I'm just glad they were selling hot chocolate! (Oh, and also that the Royals beat the Yankees - woo hoo!)

Monday, April 07, 2008

We celebrated Noah's birthday this weekend, which he seemed to think was pretty cool. Emma and I made the chocolate cake from Ina's most recent book, which was very yummy but maybe not quite worth all the effort. I had planned to make Noah his own (somewhat healthy) birthday cake but I didn't get to it, so I did share with him a few bites of his own (extremely unhealthy) birthday cake. When we gave him his present he looked at it for a second, then lifted it to his mouth and tore into it with his teeth! That guy is hard core.Along with a savings bond, we gave him this little blanket doll (purchased from here). I still have plans for him to start napping alone (although it's nowhere near happening yet) and I am hoping this will become his lovey.
Baseball season has started, and I'm so happy about that. We are planning to go to Opening Day tomorrow, but it's supposed to be cold and rainy. I myself am perfectly willing to sit in the cold and rain to watch a baseball game, but am I willing to do it with two kiddos in tow? I'm not so sure about that.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The kids and I love smoothies and drink them all the time, but for the most part I just use the same general ingredients: frozen mixed berries, orange juice, plain yogurt, flax oil, and a little bit of whatever veggies or green leafies I have on hand. Over the weekend I saw a book called The Smoothies Bible and after leafing through and looking at all the various smoothie recipes, I decided to buy it. It seems like a cool book because in addition to the smoothie recipes, there is a whole section with different ailments and conditions such as migraines, exhaustion, pregnancy, etc. and it tells you which smoothies would be especially helpful for each particular condition. This morning we tested out the first recipe, which included the juice from one lemon, two kiwis, an orange, and a grapefruit. We all thought it was pretty tasty, so so far the book is a success.

When Emma potty learned, I thought (hoped?) that I'd never again have two kids in diapers, so I sold off half of our diapers. Turns out that is not to be the case, unless Noah suddenly turns into some sort of toilet training prodigy. Since the chances of that are probably nil, I figured I'd better buy some more diapers and I decided to go ahead and do it now so we can get more use out of them. Oh, and also because I think buying diapers is really fun. Who doesn't love getting packages in the mail? A few of the ones I bought aren't going to work for us so I'm going to resell them, but for the most part I think I'm set for diapering two babies again.

Emma seems to have been growing up so quickly lately. She'll have conversations with me and I find myself looking at her and thinking, "Who are you???" The other day she told me she couldn't wait until she learned to drive so I would have to buy her a car. I told her that Papa and I don't believe in buying cars for kids, but that we would probably sell her an older car that we already owned. She replied, "Okay, that's fine. I'll take the Grand Caravan, but I hope you don't try to rip me off!" Then tonight at dinner she brought it up again, telling Steve that when she is old enough I am going to sell her my car. I pointed out that I won't be driving my car anymore by then, and when Steve asked what I thought I would be driving, I said, "I dunno. A Honda Odyssey?" Nodding her head and gesturing with her hands, Emma said, "Oh yes, Papa! She has to have a Honda Odyssey. They are amazing! I mean really fabulous!" Where does she get this stuff?One more random at our appointment my midwife brought me a Pregnancy magazine, just because it contained an article in which two people I know were quoted. Later this afternoon I was paging through it and I saw an article called The Value-Added Dad, which was supposed to instruct dads-to-be on how to be helpful during childbirth. I didn't read the article, but at the end I saw a box with some "Do" and "Do Not" instructions. The "Do Nots" all seemed reasonable enough, but then it said

DO discreetly tell your partner if she looks particularly bad or has crazed bed-head. She'll want to know; she won't mind when you discreetly hand her a hairbrush.

Seriously? Is this for real? If I were in the middle of giving birth and Steve said to me, "Hey, your hair doesn't look so good," and tried to give me a brush, I'm pretty sure I'd hold that against him for the rest of our lives together! I almost can't even believe somebody wrote that!