Sunday, November 30, 2008

NaBloPoMo - wrapping it up

Wow, I can't believe a whole month has already gone by! Writing a post per day was a lot easier to do this year than it was last year. Maybe I'm just getting better at rambling. Or maybe my life is just busier. Whatever the case may be, I had fun this year! I don't know that I'll keep posting daily, but I love how committing to writing every day for a month has gotten me in the habit of being more consistent. So don't worry, things shouldn't slow down too much around here. :o)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sea World!













We had a blast. :o) Though by the end of the day, I was a bit tired of listening to Christmas music. :p I had forgotten to pack the second seat for my double stroller (you have to take it off in order to fold the stroller), and was a bit upset about that. Turns out I wouldn't have really used it, anyway, as Elly didn't want to be in the stroller. She only likes to be in it when we're moving, and we stopped a lot, so she kept getting antsy. I ended up having her in the sling most of the time. She was a trooper, considering we missed all of her naps and stuff (she slept a bit while in the sling, but not nearly as much as she usually sleeps during the day). I was also pleasantly surprised to find the International Breastfeeding Symbol on Sea World's map, marking spots where you could go breastfeed in peace and quiet.



I checked out one of the rooms, and it was quite bare with just one wooden rocking chair in it. I decided to go nurse Elly outside on one of the benches, I get a bit claustrophobic like that. :p But it's a nice start in making public places more breastfeeding friendly, and I suppose someone who needs/wants more privacy at least has a place to go sit down. I'm sure it's especially nice for the hot summer months, where sitting in an air conditioned room would be preferable to sitting outside, even if the room is small. :o) The older kids all had a great time at the park. We loved the shows, and they even got to go on a few rides. Tyler was tall enough for one of the big roller coasters, and he braved it. Dave said he looked pretty freaked out when they got to the top, but he managed to keep it together. There was also a Dolphin Cove, where the dolphins came right up to the side of the pool and the kids could pet them. That was pretty awesome. Then there was the 4D theater, where we watched the Polar Express with 4D glasses on. It was about 15 minutes taken out of the movie, and was pretty cool. The day went by all to quickly, and some wonderful memories were made. :o)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Usborne Books Thanksgiving Sale!!!

Have you been thinking about getting some of these fabulous books for Christmas gifts, but can't quite decide what to get? Or don't want to spend as much money? Well, here's your chance to get a good deal! Starting today through Monday evening, Usborne Books is having a big Thanksgiving Sale! Shop early for the best selection! And remember, by buying some books you are also contributing to a great cause, as the Hurricane Ike Book Drive is still going on. Ready, set, shop! You know you want to. :o)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Who said there wouldn't be turkey?

We made it to San Antonio around 5 p.m. (yeah, so we left a little later than originally planned...). When we walked into the hotel, I remembered that they also serve dinner on Mondays-Thursdays. Since today is Thanksgiving, they had... You guessed it... Turkey! It wasn't the best Thanksgiving meal ever, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't too bad, either. It was buffet style, so there was salad, stuffing, turkey, potatoes, yams, bread, jello salad (that's right, jello salad!), and various kinds of drinks. Oh, and cookies. Ooooh, cookies! They were delicious. Oatmeal chocolate chip, fresh out of the oven! Yep, I love this place. Seriously. $100 a night, for a 1 bedroom suite (which sleeps our entire family, quite comfortably, did I mention that already?), includes a hot buffet style dinner, and hot buffet style breakfast. Not too shabby, huh? I like it. :o)

No cooking for Turkey Day

We're leaving for San Antonio today! In just a couple of hours, hopefully. Still gotta pack... We're going out today and are going to spend the night at a hotel that has become one of our favorite chains since moving this summer (Homewood Suites by Hilton, if you must know, they have one bedroom suites so all of us can stay in one place, instead of having to pay for two rooms, as is necessary now with the number of kids we have. They also have the bestest ever breakfast included. Scrambled eggs, bacon, the works. Yum.) We should get there sometime in the afternoon, and are planning on going out for dinner. Probably a buffet type place, I'm hoping we'll find a Gloden Corral. Loved going there when we still lived in Logan, but there isn't one close to us down here. Yeah, I'm a gourmet like that. :p Now, you may wonder why we're going to San Antonio today. To go to Sea World tomorrow, of course! We figured if we left today, we wouldn't have to get up super early tomorrow morning. It's going to be a long day as it is, and we're planning on driving back home tomorrow evening after dinner, so it'll be a late night. We're all very excited to go. Dave's adviser from MIT (and later USU) is down here with his family this week, and after working with him for 6 years, we've become pretty good friends with his family. We really wanted to meet up with them while they were in Houston, but things just got too busy. They had planned a trip to Sea World for Friday, so we decided to join them. Should be fun! :o)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Garden late November

Thought I'd put up some more pictures. I know you've all been anxiously waiting. ;o) The garden is doing really well (once I got rid of the cutworms). The tomatoes aren't red yet, but I'm hopeful it'll be any day now. The two snap pea plants I had to re-plant are growing well, too. The zucchini seems to be growing kind of slow. I think I planted it too late, should have probably put it in back in September. I'll leave it in, but I don't have high expectations for it. Everything else is great! I put in a few more rows of spinach, and another row of kale seeds. That way we'll hopefully have an extended harvest. :o)

white kale, purple kale, spinach, and green onions


carrots and tomato plant; snap peas, parsley and chives in the background


zucchini


lettuce and sugar snap peas

What we've been up to...

Life has been so busy, I haven't really had time to sit down and write a good post. Last week, Dave's uncle John and his girlfriend Ann were in town. They are full time RV'ers, and graced us with a visit on their way through town. They actually spent a few days here, so we got to have them over for dinner and visit a few times. On Saturday, everyone (but me and Elly) went to the Space Center for the day. They had lots of fun, as the kids always do when they go. We should get a membership... :p John and Ann left for San Antonio on Monday, and we've been quite busy this week. Today, I took Kaylee for her 3 year well-check. Hey, only 8 months late. :p She's doing well, of course, and was really brave for her 2 shots. While there, Elly got a shot, too. She only cried for a couple of seconds, whew. Again, can I say how much I love our new family doctor? She's so super nice! I mean, she even managed to talk to Kaylee without getting the evil look from her. That's rare, seriously. Maybe next time she'll even get her to talk! The doctor's visit was exhausting for me. I had to take all 4 kids, since there's no school this week. They got us into a room pretty quick, but then we were stuck there forever (like, over an hour). First the nurse did her checks (weight, height, blood pressure), then we waited for the doctor. After we were done with her, we had to wait again, for the nurse to come with the immunizations. That took forever! I think we waited for almost half an hour after the doctor left. What took so long??? Beats me. But let me tell you, 3 talking children and one tired baby in a small room make for, well, lots of headache. I finally had a bright moment and got the kids (well, the boys) to play "let's see who can sit on their chair without saying a word the longest". They went for it! Kaylee still kept on blabbering away, and of course Elly was cranky, but at least the noise from the boys was eliminated. Whew. Bryan won, and I let him have ice cream when we got home. Kaylee got an extra serving of ice cream, as well, for being so brave. Glad that's over with! (and aren't you glad you weren't there with me...)

Kids visiting John and Ann's RV

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Baby carrier giveaway!

I love slings and baby carriers. I discovered babywearing when Bryan was a baby, and besides being good for both mom and baby, it's also been really convenient to have a sling while traveling, going shopping, or when we're otherwise out and about. One carrier I've always wanted but never was quite willing to spend the money for is the Ergo Baby Carrier. Go look at it, isn't it nice? Well, right now there's a contest going on, and you could win one! Go enter! :o)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Germany needs more Santas

This was on the front page of yahoo news. Really, front page news? Germany needs more Santas? There aren't more important things to write about? haha And fwiw, the whole Santa being pulled in a sleigh by reindeer is all news to me. Growing up, that was not a tradition for us. Maybe it's a West German thing. In fact, the only Santa I ever saw was my uncle dressed up as one, coming on Christmas Eve to deliver the presents. Gotta love commercialization...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Countdown to Christmas!

Today, I joined the ranks of people who decorate before Thanksgiving. *gasp* I had actually set a goal this year to wait until after Thanksgiving, but today the bug bit me. Dave was out all afternoon for meetings and visits and whatnot, and I was dreading trying to keep the kids entertained by myself. When Dave left, I had the great idea to get out the Christmas stuff. The kids were so excited! They were great helpers. We put up decorations, and the tree. They even decorated the tree all by themselves (after I put the lights on). It looks pretty nice. Well, not as nice as some people's, since we don't do color themes or anything. Our tree is pretty random, actually. It's pretty small, less than 5'. We put it on one of the end tables, in anticipation of Elly beginning to crawl soon. That worked out really well, as it makes our tiny tree look bigger than it actually is (especially since we have high ceilings in our living room). I was excited to have the space to finally put up most of my decorations. We even got out our big nativity, that we hadn't been able to put up for a few years because we just never had anywhere to put it. Love this time of year! :o)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

That was fast!

Literally, hehe. I ran half of my route today! That's 3/4 of a mile. I did a total of three jogging intervals. I almost didn't go this morning, but now I'm glad I went. I'm trying to figure out what my next goal should be. I need to map it out. Probably one mile total, in two intervals. I'm considering lengthening my daily route to 2 miles, too. Need to map that one out, as well. I guess that's the nice thing about the subdivision we live in, the layout really lends itself to putting together good walking/jogging routes. I played around with it a bit this morning, and I can get a 3 mile trail mapped out once I get further along in my 5K prep. It looks awfully long on the map, haha. Babysteps, right?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Little lies

A different kind of poll for Random Poll Friday today. This one requires you to actually comment. Pretty please! So, we've been having issues lately with Tyler telling lies. They're mostly small things, like him saying he brushed his teeth when he hadn't. And then telling me he dried the toothbrush off with the towel when I asked him why it was still dry (when it should have been wet). This has been happening a lot lately, with all kinds of things. We've talked to him about honesty, and the importance of telling the truth. He's been learning about it at scouts. In fact, we talked about honesty earlier in the week, to fulfill one of the requirements for his bobcat badge (which he got on Wednesday). This behavior is really puzzling to me. Tyler has always been a really good child, eager to please, and very conscious of the choices he makes. I'm not sure exactly what to do about him telling lies. We've gone through phases before, but never like this. What do you do when you catch your child telling lies? Do you think it's just another phase? I don't want to make a huge deal about it, at the same time, he needs to understand why it's important for him to be honest. Ideas?

Let the scrapbooking begin!

I finally managed to unpack my scrapbooking stuff. The movers had just thrown everything into a box (well, a couple of boxes), and it always seemed like such a daunting task. This morning, I decided to tackle it. Lucky for me, my friend Karin called me shortly after I started, so we chatted along as I unpacked my boxes. It made the time go much faster, and I think it kept me from getting overwhelmed and just stopping. You see, I get overwhelmed easily. If I look at something and think it's going to take me a long time to do, I just sit there and stare, unable to move a finger. Then I move on to something else, because I just don't think I can handle whatever it is. So, having a friend to talk to while organizing was tremendously helpful. Thanks for calling me today, Karin! :o)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

As you all know, birth is something I feel quite passionate about. A healthy birth is the end result of a healthy pregnancy. All too often, though, even a healthy pregnancy can end too soon, resulting in a premature baby. The March of Dimes is doing great work in the area of prematurity research and prevention, and I've been donating to them for a long time. Now, I'm not expecting you to do the same, but something you can do is sign the Prematurity Awareness Petition. Each year, the March of Dimes grades all states, comparing their rate of premature birth to the nation's objective of 7.6% or less. This year, the nation overall got a D. Of all the states, the majority received Ds or Fs. Only one state received a B. Obviously, there is much to be done to reduce the rate of premature births. Go look at the website, and take time to read what the petition is all about. Then sign it. :o)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy 8 month birthday, baby girl!

Me oh my, time goes by too quickly these days... My little Elly is 8 months old today. She's getting so big! She loves to stand up, and is even trying to figure out how to walk holding on to my fingers. She's also starting to try and pull herself up whenever she's sitting close to something that lends itself to being pulled up on. No teeth yet, though there's been a noticeable increase in drool and chewing. :p I just love Elly's personality, too. She's a really happy baby, loves to explore, and gets really excited when her siblings play with her. Sweet little girl. :o)

It's a giveaway!

My bloggy friend Kelley is stocking up her etsy store. To get the word out, she's having a giveaway! These two very cute bows could be yours!



All you have to do is visit her blog and join the giveaway contest. :o) Seriously, go check it out. She not only has a great bow making talent, she also makes really pretty jewelry (for you moms with boys, who have no use for pretty bows :p).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jogging progress report

Remember this post about 4 weeks ago? Well, I thought I'd give a little update on how my exercise routine is coming along. I've been really good about going for my morning walks. I've even started adding Saturday mornings for jogging practice. As you may recall, my friend's dog is too old for jogging, so whenever I go with her (which is most days), I just walk. The days she doesn't come (Thursdays and Saturdays), I add some jogging intervals to my walk. I'm amazed at how quickly I'm progressing! If you look back at my initial post, there is a jogging trail that's about a quarter of a mile long, and the first time I attempted jogging it, I got about a third of the way through. My initial goal was to run the entire trail. I did it last week! Today, I went jogging again, since my friend couldn't come this morning. Not only did I do the whole trail, I kept on going! After mapping it out, I figured that I ran almost a third of a mile. Adding my other two jogging intervals, my total jogging time adds up to almost two thirds of a mile. That's almost half of my route! Yay for me! So, my next goal is to jog half of my route, which is about 3/4 of a mile. Now, I realize that this may not sound like much to those of you out there who are runners, and do a 3 mile run just for fun. :p But hey, it's a start! I'm even playing around with the idea of signing up for a 5K fun run type of thing. Anyone in the area know where I can find out about upcoming runs? Say, in the springtime, before it starts getting too hot outside? I don't think I'll want to do a serious race, but a fun run type thing would be, well, fun. :o)

Monday, November 17, 2008

RIP, little cutworm caterpillar

This morning, after my morning walk, I went out to check my garden. The spinach and kale are growing really nicely, as are the carrots. The tomatoes are plentiful, but all still green. The lettuce is growing in three nice rows. And my pea plants, they are growing, too! And there it was. Covered in pesticide dust. The little cutworm caterpillar. Paralized, apparently. It was still squirming, fairly close to one of the pea plants. Sorry buddy, you're not going to turn into a moth. You see, if you had decided to feast on something like, say, the weeds, you would be alive and kicking. Unfortunately, you decided to pick my pea plants. If you had munched on a leaf or two, I would have showed mercy. But no, you had to go and cut my plants down. Unfortunately, that meant you had to die. Sorry. RIP, and in your next life, maybe you can come back as a bee, or a ladybug, or an earthworm. You know, something useful.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not much to say

Other than, why am I not taking a nap right now??? :p I suppose I could also tell those of you who are just dying to know that the stuff I dumped around my pea plants yesterday worked. No more victims of the evil cutworm in my garden. While I'm all for organic gardening, I'm not completely above using a pesticide every once in a while. After all, if my plants are all dead, there's not going to be any produce... No worries, the stuff I used is very safe, and shouldn't have any effect on the end product. Since, you know, there aren't even flowers on the plants yet. :o) I did find some cool ideas on contraptions to make to put around seedlings so the cutworms don't get to them in the first place (physical barriers). I will have to try that in the future. For now, I'm just excited I saved the remaining plants. The gardening fun continues!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kaiya's Funeral Fund

Since Kaiya's passing, Angela and her family are now faced with all the bills that come along with hospital stays, surgery, and of course funeral costs. I put a button on my sidebar that will take you to the blog of one of Angela's friends. There you can make a donation to Kaiya's funeral fund. You can also grab the code for a button to put on your own blog. Pass it on. :o)

What happened to Saturday???

I feel like I'm in some kind of time warp, haha! My day in a nutshell...
  • get up and make everyone breakfast
  • start a load of laundry
  • go jogging
  • hang up the laundry and start another load
  • put Elly down for a nap
  • take a shower
  • put Elly down for a nap (yes, again, like 15 minutes after the first time, because some loud kid woke her up...)
  • eat breakfast
  • hang up the second load of laundry
  • do some gardening
  • start diaper laundry
  • blow-dry hair
  • go grocery shopping with the whole family
  • start dough for rolls
  • take down the two loads of dry clothes, hang up diapers
  • put towels in the washer
  • put Elly down for a nap
  • get rolls ready for second rise
  • hang up towels
  • start 5th load of laundry
  • sweep and mop kitchen
  • peel potatoes and get soup going
  • take towels and cloth diapers off the line, put in dryer to finish
  • bake rolls
  • finish potato soup
  • put last load of laundry in dryer
  • make peach cobbler
  • enjoy dinner with the family and our new friend and her kids
  • enjoy peach cobbler
  • do dishes
  • figure out that it wasn't the wind that got the zucchini plant, it was a cutworm - which also got two of the new pea plants
  • go out and put dust on pea plants to hopefully finish off the cutworm
  • help kids with bath
  • sit down to blog
  • oh, and at some point, I also managed to clean the shower
Now all I have left to do is put Elly in bed (Dave's got the kids), and then give Dave a haircut. Whew. Good thing I went jogging this morning, it gave me that little bit of extra energy needed for the busy day. And that was just MY day! Dave did his fair share, too. Whew. Didn't I just write about Saturdays? Crazy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's a...

Playlist! Yes, it's true. I've joined the ranks of people with a playlist on their blog. Yay for me, boohoo for you. ;o) Karin, the very first song, Wonder by Natalie Merchant, is dedicated to your beautiful daughter. :o)

Formula feeding

Random Poll Friday! Last week, I was curious about motivation to breastfeed. This week, I want to know your reasons for formula feeding. Go vote, and if you feel so inclined, feel free to leave a comment and tell me about our experience! :o)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sweet Baby Kaiya

Just a couple of weeks ago, I posted about my friend's baby girl who was born with hypoplastic right heart syndrome. She had surgery shortly after she was born, and was recovering nicely. Sadly, she passed away last night. She had come off of most of her supports, and was doing so well yesterday. Her mom, my friend Angela, was able to hold her a lot throughout the day. I'm sure they're in shock right now, and I can't even begin to imagine the pain they must be feeling. Life is so fragile. Please, keep their family in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's babywearing week!

I love slings. I think they're the best thing ever, and every mom should have one. Babywearing has lots of benefits. I love it for the convenience and bonding. Here are some pictures of me wearing Kaylee when she was younger. I should get some of Elly, too!

the ring sling, which I love for little babies
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the mei tai, which is awesome for older babies and toddlers
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There is hope!

Brisk Walk Can Curb Chocolate Cravings

I crave chocolate approximately, well, all day long. Usually, the only thing that keeps me from eating it is not having any in the house. Maybe I should start going for a walk each time the craving becomes overwhelming. Wow, I might be walking, well, all day long. But hey, it may kick my weight loss into gear! I think I've been trying to lose the same 3 pounds for about 4 months now... Not to mention the 15 or so pounds I want to lose on top of that. :p

Wah!!!!

We had some strong winds last night, and apparently they managed to blow hard enough to break the leaves off my zucchini plant! All three precious leaves, gone. I wonder if that's the end of it? Fortunately, the plant Kaylee thought was a weed took root again and is growing nicely. Strangely, it didn't sustain any wind damage. Who knew it would be so difficult to try and grow zucchini??? On a positive note, my lettuce is coming up! Still waiting to get my kohlrabi seeds...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Love it!

  • Rooibos tea - best tea I ever tasted! My new friend (neighbor) is from South Africa, and she introduced me to this. I'm hooked!
  • The rain stopped this morning just in time for my morning walk. Yay for exercise!
  • There were puddles for the girls to play in. Great fun!
  • Speaking of exercise, my new stroller. Did I already mention I love it?
  • The way the boys snuggle up together so Tyler can read stories to Bryan before they go to sleep at night. So cute.
  • Kaylee when she entertains Elly. And the way Elly loves it when Kaylee plays with her.




Monday, November 10, 2008

My friend, the firefighter

This has got to be the funniest thing I've read in a long time. What's even more hilarious is that she's going to do it! Now, let me tell you, Saskia and I have been friends for some 24 years. That's right. We grew up together. And over the years, we've managed to stay in touch. She's one awesome friend. And I should say I'm proud of her for taking on this challenge. You're my hero, Saskia! I still think it's hilarious. You should know the girl. She's 5'7", and weighs maybe 125 pounds - 9 months pregnant! Non-pregnant, I think it's a good day for her when she makes it to 110. I'm thinking her uniform is going to weigh more than she does! Haha. Good luck with your new calling, my friend. Can't wait to read the stories!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Hurricane Ike Book Drive!

I've been thinking about doing this for a while, and I'm finally figuring out the details. You see, every year, I set up an Usborne eShow for myself. Whenever I send people book gifts (love to do this for baby gifts), I buy them through this eShow. Once Christmas rolls around, I turn in my show and get some free and discounted books as gifts for the kids. After hurricane Ike, people started asking for donations for everything from clothes to furniture to kitchen items - you name it, somebody needed it. Which is good. And I started thinking that many schools and teachers in the area probably lost a considerable amount of books to flooding. So this idea started forming in my head to donate my free books to a school. Just didn't know how to go about doing that. Well, I finally got in touch with someone who will help me do this! I'm excited! So here's the thing. Right now, my show is at $156, which will get me $20 in free books. It's a great start, but I'd love to be able to give more. So, I need YOUR help! If you're still looking for Christmas gifts for your kids, friends, or family, please consider getting some books! They really are awesome, and great quality. And you'll help me raise money to give some of these wonderful books to one of the schools that lost so much during the hurricane! If you'd like, please put a link to this post on the sidebar of your blog to help spread the word. Thank you!

Click Here to Start Shopping

The book drive will go through the end of December. Commission earned will be used to help me cover the cost for some discounted books, as well as taxes, shipping, and handling costs.

UPDATE: We have a school! It's actually outside of our own district, but it needs help badly. It got completely destroyed, and they're in the process of re-building. Obviously, the teachers all lost their classroom libraries. Books will be donated to these teachers, as classroom libraries take a long time (and lots of money) to build up. Thanks again for your help! Oh, and if you live close by and have books you don't need anymore (and that are still in good shape and appropriate for an elementary school), please get in touch with me!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Garden in early November

Wow, I've been a gardening fool lately! It's beginning to pay off, though. Things are starting to grow nicely! Well, except for one of my zucchini plants, which Kaylee mistook for a weed and pulled out. I put it back in the ground, but it's not looking too hot... Good thing I put in two zucchini plants! :p My purple and white kale transplants are doing great. Both the normal carrots and the purple carrots are growing, and I need to thin them out. The two rows of spinach are already coming up, and I put in a third row today. Green onions are growing, and the chives and parsley are finally coming up, as well. The five sugar snap peas are getting taller, and are beginning to hold on to the trellis. The tomato tree (we call it that cause that's what it looks like) has lots of tomatoes, and is still putting out lots of flowers. I also put in the lettuce seeds today. Now the only thing I'm waiting for is my kohlrabi seeds, they were on backorder. Go figure. I hope they'll come sometime this week, so it doesn't get too late in the season to plant them. They're fast growing kohlrabi, so we should be fine. They've got their spot ready waiting for them! :o)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Breastfeeding - what motivates you?

Random Poll Friday! Seeing as I've been nursing babies for pretty much all of the last 5.5 years, it's obviously on my mind a lot. When I had Tyler almost 8.5 years ago, breastfeeding was something I just did without thinking about it too much. I saw my sister-in-law nursing her babies, and it was just the natural thing to do. By the time Tyler was 6 months old, I switched to formula, since I was going back to school full time and didn't know much about pumping and such. By the time Bryan came along, I had read more about breastfeeding, and I knew I wanted to nurse him until he was a year old. He ended up self-weaning at 20 months. Kaylee came along just 4 months later, and she nursed until she was 30 months old (I know I know, not all of you think that's a good thing, I think it's great :p). Elly was born 6 months after Kaylee weaned, and we're still going strong. My motivation to breastfeed my babies, over the years, has gone from something that just came naturally to being something that I'm very committed to. Learning about the health benefits for babies is part of it, as well as learning how beneficial it is to mom's health. So, if you breastfeed/breastfed your babies, what is/was your motivation? You can choose multiple answers. Feel free to comment if you like!

Fun times!

My blog friend Sabrina came to visit me today. We had a great time! Amazingly, my chocolate cake didn't kill her. :p And her little boy Zane survived my currently not-so-childproof house. Which is going to need some serious childproofing soon, as it probably won't be much longer before Elly becomes mobile and figures out that we have some awesome stairs to climb on. Thanks for taking the time to come visit, Sabrina. It was fun to get to know you in person! :o)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Kaylee girl

Oh, she's so stubborn and strong willed, some days I really don't like her. Of course, I love her to death, but you know... Well, I'm sure those of you with strong willed children know what I'm talking about. :p But she's sure a cute little girl, and she's really good and well behaved (for other people). Today, I let her go to a gymnastics class, to see how she'd like it. She loves watching the boys go, and at home she always likes to practice with them when they practice handstands and headstands and whatnot. So I decided to let her give it a try. She totally loved it! It was just her and two other little girls in the class, and she did so good! As in, her behavior was good. She listened to her teachers, followed directions, and was just plain adorable to watch. Compared to the other two girls, who were cute, but were not so great at listening and following directions. Both of them kept running off, and their moms had to keep taking them back to the class. I was proud of my little girl for being obedient. Hey, I can deal with her being a booger if I know at least she's good for other people. :o)

Most delicious!

So I was craving chocolate today. And cake. And I had an overripe banana sitting on my counter. And I had an idea. The idea turned into the most deliciously moist, and extra chocolatey, chocolate banana cake. It's, well, delicious! Worthy for a recipe post. :o) I used a recipe from my favorite baking book and adjusted some ingredients, and added the banana. Here goes.

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup soft butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
9 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 3 Tbsp. oil (used this to substitute 3 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate, which I didn't have)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups water
one very ripe mashed banana

Beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix in really well. Add mashed banana, mix really well. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat really well. Add vanilla and mix. Add cocoa powder and oil, mix. Then slowly add flower and water, alternating a little at a time. Mix until everything is well blended. Pour into greased 9x13 cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees (I baked at 300, using the convection option on my oven). Check after about 30 minutes, with toothpick. I think mine ended up needing more like 35-40 minutes, but check after 30. Let cool, and enjoy! I think cream cheese frosting would make it divine. Unfortunately, I didn't have cream cheese on hand, but I'll definitely try it next time. The cake has some serious chocolate flavor, with just the slightest hint of banana, and is super moist. Mmmmm.....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Organic lawn care

So, I'm very much committed to keeping my garden as organic as I possibly can. So far, that hasn't been too difficult. Things are growing quite nicely in my compost enriched soil, with just a bit of organic fertilizer. No major problems with pests so far, either (knock on wood). When it comes to lawn care, however, I have absolutely no experience. And our lawn has lots of problems with weeds, fungus, and whatever. Seeing as I have absolutely no clue, I've relied on the standby solutions my neighbor friend has offered. In the long run, though, I have a goal to get the lawn green without chemicals. I spent the day today reading up on eco friendly lawn care online, and I'm going to have quite the job getting all of our grass good and healthy. I started out getting environmentally friendly fertilizer, instead of the chemical winterizer. We'll see how well it works. The way the grass looks right now, there's not much damage to be done, really. I'm also going to need to get compost to spread on the grass (a thin layer), to get good microbes back into the soil - which will actually help break down the chemicals that have built up, and should also help aerate the clay soil. I hope that if I manage to get the soil healthy, it'll take care of the fungus that's ravaging the grass right now. I also learned that over-watering is a major problem, and most people water their lawn way too often. Who knew? Hey, at least we grass-cycle (we don't bag grass clippings), so we're headed in the right direction. :o)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

We have a new nephew!

Born at 3:50 p.m. PT (only about an hour and a half after I posted). Beautiful natural labor, she had everyone amazed that she didn't have any pain meds. Nice sized baby, too, at 8 lbs. 12 oz. and 20". Both mom and baby are doing well. Congratulations, Keith and Nicci! :o)

Exciting day today

Whew, I feel so accomplished. I went out and bought a bunch of pansies today, and beautified our front yard. I put a bunch of humus and topsoil around the tree (200 pounds, if you must know), planted the two aloe plants my neighbor friend gave me, and then planted 24 pansies. It looks really nice. I also got two little kale plants (a blue kale and a white kale) and planted those in my garden bed. Yum! I actually got my spinach seeds in the mail today, too, so I'm going to go out and put those in the garden in a little bit. I'm also proud to report that three of the five sugar snap peas I put in are growing nicely. I put in two more seeds where the other ones didn't come up. My two zucchini plants are peaking out, as well, as are the carrots. Woohoo! I'm going to have to take a picture, maybe tomorrow. :o)

To make the day even more exciting, a new nephew is on his way out to meet the world as I type! After being a few days past her due date, my sister-in-law went in this morning to have a foley catheter placed in her cervix. She went home, and started contracting before too long. The catheter eventually fell out, and the contractions kept on coming. Last I heard, she had just checked into the hospital and was 5 cm/80% effaced. Shouldn't be too much longer! :o)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Baby Kaiya

My friend Angela (we took a few classes together at ASU) just had her third baby. Baby Kaiya was born with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. I think Angela and her husband are just beginning to realize the severity of Kaiya's situation, and they could really use some prayers right now. So, if you pray and feel so inclined, please think of them and little Kaiya at this time. Thanks. :o)

Halloween pics

The kids had a fun time trick or treating on Friday. They were so excited, they could hardly wait to go. Dave told them they had to wait until it started getting dark, which was just plain torture. When they were finally ready, Elly was about done sitting in the stroller, so I ended up staying home with her to hand out candy to anyone coming by our house. We only had four groups of kids come by, maybe 12 kids total. That was a bit disappointing, but what can you do? Between the leftovers in our bowl and the kids' treasures, we ended up with tons of candy. I'm going to have to sort through it and just throw stuff out, otherwise the kids are going to be on a sugar high for the next month or so... :p



Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturdays

Are Saturdays crazy for anyone else? It seems to be the day to get caught up on everything that didn't get done throughout the week around here. Like, wash the car, shop, clean the house... Saturdays are never just fun. We never seem to be able to go out and do cool things, like other people do. Maybe it's because we reserve Sundays for doing nothing but church related things. I don't know. Either way, today was a typical Saturday, with lots to do. I did laundry, Dave cleaned the car, went to home depot, we went to the garden center to pick up some fertilizer for the lawn, went out for dinner (fast food, see, we don't even have time for a restaurant...), and then went grocery shopping. Okay, so the grocery shopping part is somewhat my fault, since I didn't do it earlier in the week like I hoped to. But still... To top it off, Kaylee got her fingers smashed in the car door. Fortunately, they didn't break. They don't even look too beat up. Regardless, she cried for a while, I'm sure it hurt pretty bad. Well, I know it hurt pretty bad, because I just got my pinky smashed in the car a couple or weeks ago... Anyway, our day in a nutshell. Maybe we're still just getting used to being homeowners, and to always having something going on. Fun times!