Ick Factor of 10

This evening we went to the beach to feed the ducks and seagulls some old rice cakes. When the birds decided we were actually trying to trick them into eating styrofoam, they left and Violet walked along the beach eating the little pieces left behind until we caught her.

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That’s just how it works…

When Violet was an infant, I remember her being very interested in other small children and babies. Henry is no different except that he has Violet and always finds her completely interesting and amazing and fantastically funny. Especially when she’s eating. Speaking of eating, Henry has recently been seen around town chewing on apples, bananas, and tonight–a zucchini. Not eating, just chewing. Because there’s nothing better to entertain a drooling baby with than a slimy piece of fruit for them to suck on.

I do have a confession though. I will be starting Henry on solid foods a month earlier than I had planned, on his five-month birthday which is coming up in nine days. Yes, I’m counting. I haven’t slept more than several freak-occurrence six-hour stretches since he’s been born, and I think that giving him a hefty evening meal of rice cereal should hopefully eliminate the two night-time feedings he currently “needs”. Please Mr Henry, Mama needs her beauty rest before I start carrying spare change in the bags under my eyes. Of course, I can’t complain though…it helps that he defies all possible boundaries of baby cuteness.

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A day in the life of a vigilante…

travelling with small children requires vigilance, coffee, a sense of humor, and vigilance.

Today we went to Providence Rhode Island to visit the zoo and other attractions whose attractiveness depend on how attractive they are to small children. Violet has a short attention span since she is only two, but she loved the zebras, elephants, and giraffes.

Bathtime!

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This, That, and The Other

  1. Violet has recently been caught licking “clean” her silverware and putting it back in the drawer or the clean dishwasher. This leaves me with the pleasant task of sorting through the dishes looking for tongue streaks.
  2. Lions and tigers and bears, Oh My! Tomorrow we are going to the zoo in Providence Rhode Island. I love going to the zoo.
  3. Yesterday Violet and I made an apple crisp together. She loves to help me bake because I let her dump the measuring cups and spoons full of interesting powders into the bowl. She tastes every one.
  4. I could really use a babysitter for twenty minutes. Just twenty minutes so I can go to laundry. I’m pretty sure that I cater to Henry’s want-to-be-held way too much. Crying stresses me out.
  5. I actually need to go turn on the a/c here in a minute. Can you believe it?
  6. Today is a birthday for one of my brothers. If you live in the seattle area, please check out the new restaurant where he is the chef. Here is the link for their website. I haven’t been yet because the place just opened a few weeks ago, but I’m told it’s good! It’s a pizza, etc. place, by the way. My oldest cousin opened it, so if you show up just tell ’em I sent you! I’m most curious to try the pear gorgonzola ravioli…
  7. This just in. I had to take a quick blogging break to shake poop down a pant leg. No, not mine…
  8. Have I mentioned yet that this house is infested with daddy-long-leg spiders? They multiply faster than I can kill them. I guess the good thing is that they are just daddy-long-legs and nothing worse, but I still despise them. Yesterday Violet saw one and went after it with a shoe after seeing AJ and I kill them that way so many times. I don’t care if they aren’t a bad spider, no spider is a good spider as far as i’m concerned. I remember reading a gardening article about spiders once since our patio at home is usually covered in spider webs. I was trying to find ways to keep them out short of hiring a bird to sit out there and eat them but the article was saying that spiders are good for gardens because they keep away pests. I’m sorry, I think spiders are pests. I don’t care if they catch all the bugs. I’d rather deal with bugs than spiders anyway especially considering I haven’t found a spider that keeps aphids away.
  9. We are on a major Dr. Suess kick lately. Violet and I are getting ready to read my all-time-favorite, On Beyond Zebra.

There’s a letter called YEKK. And the YEKK is for Yekko

Who howls in the underground grotto in Gekko

These Yekkos loves echoes, and this is their motto:

“For the best Yekko echoes, try Gekko our grotto!”

10. Violet likes to call food “yucky” to avoid eating it. Except she says, “Yutty, yutty Mamma!”

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    Fish, Food, and Friends

    Today we went to an aquarium in a small town on the edge of a the cape called Woods Hole. The majority of the town centers around a sprawling oceanographic institute. Part of the institute is the aquarium, which is free. Bonus! There were tons of crazy atlantic fish to see. In the second picture from the top in the above collage you can see a rare blue lobster. The one right above me is a lobster that is half male and half female. Apparently you can tell because of the half-and-half color. I thought it might have been painted at first, but in the photo next to it is a picture of it when it was caught showing the same vivid and dramatic color difference.

    After the aquarium we went to a farmer’s market on the way home and bought a hot donut from a vendor, visited with a pet cockatoo named Molly Malone (she’s irish), and after a lengthy browse on a toy store where we bought nothing to avoid going bankrupt, we finished our outing with a chocolate-peanut-buddah cupcake and a red velvet cupcake. I only bought the second one because we walked in the shop and Violet promptly ripped a bow off  display apron. Yay. The last picture is of a diner we passed that i couldn’t resist taking a picture because (even though you can’t really see it) the neon sign in the window says Eat Heavy. Yum?

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    Too Big for His Britches

    Literally. Last night I cut the toes off of Henry’s pajamas. I don’t really want to restock on clothes unless I have to since he has a bunch o clothes waiting for him back home. I didn’t anticipate how much he was going to grow…

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    Martha’s Vineyard Trip

    Yesterday we took a ferry from Cape Cod to a small island nearby called Martha’s Vineyard. Yes, the same one the Obama’s (p’tew) just vacationed at. They have a simple but effective way of keeping this island escape exclusive to rich people. You have to show last year’s taxable income before they let you board. Just kidding. Actually, it’s just expensive. We opted to walk-on the ferry because bringing a car would have been prohibitively expensive. That way, all the middle-class tourists like us only visit the small port towns with bad food and gotta-have-it chintzy beach decor shops. Yes, you can take public transit to other parts of the island but it would take for-ev-er. It wasn’t as bad as I’m making it seem but when you have a day sandwiched between two ferry rides, it’s not much different from stepping in dog poop first thing in the morning. No, i don’t like ferries. Actually, I have a ferry phobia. And I live in the Pacific Northwest. I know.

    Stop laughing. Phobias are real figments of the imagination, okay?

    It’s not really just ferries…I can’t stand public transportation in general, but ferries are by far the worst. By far. Ugh.

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    Spotted:

    Henry laying on his stomach on the bed. Violet sitting on his butt with her arms up in the air yelling “Yee Haw!”

    I knew it was was going to be an interesting story when AJ told me later that day, “So I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but guess what I saw Violet do to Henry while you were gone?”

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    Love is a many splendored thing…

    Yesterday AJ and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. We celebrated by spending the day in Boston with our two perfectly adorably children. Henry single-handedly jump-started the biological clocks of women all over downtown. Seriously. We were carrying him in a front pack and just enjoying watching the head-swivels as we passed women on the street. We went to the New England Dessert show too. Violet was a huge fan since she basically just followed behind me eating cookies the whole time (which wasn’t very long since it was crazy in there). My favorite thing was the beer ice cream. Seriously, the best beer I’ve ever had.  Don’t judge me, it was awesome. Here is the link to their website. I’m told they will soon have online ordering available.

    Anyway, the last six years have been an incredible journey and I am so blessed to have these three precious people to share my life with. Plus, AJ is a great husband and also fantastically hot, so that helps.

    I’d also like to bring your attention to another couple whose life I’ve been privileged to peek into via their blog. I have never met Adam and Amy Root personally, but I’ve been following their journey of healing since Adam was in a bad motorcross accident in May of this year. Please visit their blog to read their story for yourself. Please join them in prayer for Adam’s full recovery, and please be inspired by the love they share and the devotion and unshakable faith that Amy writes with. Every time I read her blog, I say a prayer; one for Adam, and one to thank God for the gift he has given me in my own husband.

    Here is their blog, Ramblings From a Root. Please visit.

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    Just keeping it real…

    As part of my quest to keep this blog an honest and accurate representation of my life I would like to tell you what just happened to me. (I also want to make sure it’s preserved for posterity so my children can read it someday)

    Violet climbed up the side of a chair while eating special k flakes for a snack and fell off in a terrific crash. I ran over to console her and as she was screaming hysterically she proceeded to pee all over my stomach and down my skirt. Peeing unexpectedly freaked her out so much that she panicked even more and projectile vomited. On me.

    Just keepin’ it real, folks…just keepin’ it real.

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    I’d rather not, please…

    several things to highlight for today.

    1. Violet has started taking a toy to bed with her. No, not her doll, not a teddy bear…a rubber ducky. Yes, you heard that right.

    2. Henry has officially had his first solid food. Toilet paper. That’s right, toilet paper. I went to wipe his nose off and he munched down on a whole mouthful of toilet paper before I realized it. I’m not sure his first food was quite as flavorful and delicious as he was hoping for; he has been trying to swipe food off plates and out of hands for weeks now. Nothing like picking toilet paper bits out of your son’s mouth.

    3. Here is a movie I will never watch.

    I need you to watch it.

    Just click play on the preview here. Do it.

    See? Never going to watch.

    Really? Owls? Really? OWLS????

    I know, lets make a dramatic movie with action, suspense, and of course love. Lets include strong themes of sacrifice, nobility, and heroism. What should our characters be like….? Hmmm….*pulling name out of hat…* And the winner is….Owls! Yeah, owls…that could be interesting, right?

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    Firsts and Agains

    A year ago today AJ and I were just arriving in Philadelphia during our three-week east coast trek with two babies. A lot has changed since then. Baby number one is no longer a baby by any definition and instead is becoming an adorable little girl with a strong opinion, and perfect curls. Coco Chanel said that a girl should be two things, classy and fabulous. Fortunately, Violet is both.

    Baby number two is no longer the size of my thumbnail, and has become an adorably squishy little boy. Very pinchable. Look at those cheeks.

    That happened pretty fast.

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    Trivia Tuesday

    Last course: Boston Cream Pie served with fres...

    Image via Wikipedia

    What weighs three tons, is fifteen feet in diameter, and is an all-you-can-eat? Only the largest Boston Cream Pie in the world. IN. THE. WORLD.  I am so there. Wait, no, I really am. That’s right. This weekend for our 6th anniversary we are heading to Boston for the 2010 New England Dessert Showcase. You can read all about it here, but in case you are the sort of person that doesn’t like clicking on links just because someone tells you which probably means you have deep-seated trust issues that stem from some traumatic childhood incident, let me at least tell you that you should be jealous. Imagine a whole bunch of awesome with a side of delicious.

    It’s inappropriate how excited I am. I actually high-fived myself.

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    In the interest of full disclosure…

    I spy with my little eye…No, wait. Don’t play that game with this picture. I don’t need you acknowledging the underwear on the floor and stuffed in the couch cushions. In my defense, Violet likes to play dress up with her underwear.

    Repeat after me: It’s okay if my house is a mess, it’s okay if my house is a mess, it’s okay if my house is a mess…

    Alternate Version (for those of you with no children): It is not okay if my house is ever messy because I have no excuse.

    I honestly have no idea how my house ever got messy before we had Violet and Henry. No idea.


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    Pony Tails and Test Kitchens

    New favorites:

    Violet has suddenly taken to ponytails in her hair. It. Is. Adorable.

    America’s Test Kitchen 2010 recipe book is my new favorite casual read. Not casual as in a bathroom reader, because I very much do not agree with bathroom reading on principle. That principle being two-part: 1. there are other people that might need to use the bathroom so get off the pot, and 2. there are just too many germs floating around in bathrooms for people to be touching things that don’t get washed on a regular basis. I’m one of those people that doesn’t put my toothbrushes too close to the toilet because of the germs that splash up during flushing. I also never flush public toilets with my hands, but that’s another story. Seriously though, this book is perfect for that quick coffee break between chores, flipping through while you’re on hold with your phone company, reading while your husband watches football, or pouring over with your girlfriends on a rainy sunday afternoon. I seriously love this book. I intend to renew it at the library indefinitely.

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    Guilty as Charged

    I know one thing for sure: Washington State tourism does not have me to thank for inspiring people to visit the state. I actually make a point of telling people that it rains all the time and that we pretty much have webbed feet as a result of our nativeness. I make no apologies about it either because there are way too many people moving to the greatest state in the union every day. I don’t tell them that no other state is as diverse a playground of deserts, rainforest, mountain peaks, and beaches. Instead I tell them how it’s okay that it rains all the time because we actually like it and skip on the umbrellas as proof. I don’t tell them that we have some of the best food in the country, but instead agree with them that its not normal for our coffee to be so strong. I also particularly like when we’re on the national news for something and it’s raining.

    On a completely different note I would like to highlight a TV commercial that I can’t stand.

    Seriously. Seriously? Does that make you want to eat skittles in ANY way???? What is wrong with these people.

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    Happy Four Months King Droolious Geezer!

    Today Henry is four months old. I have no idea how that happened. He weighs 16.4 pounds and is (about) 26 inches long. He is also 85% adorable, 5% stinker, and 10% drool.

    The following video needs a disclaimer since it’s target audience is fairly small. Read: Grandparents. I know it’s a long video of nothing but two little kids laughing at each other. I get that you might be bored unless you are a grandparent to these two. I don’t take it personally because I would be bored watching it if they were someone else’s kids. They are pretty cute though.

    Last but not least: I have officially found a suitable Wheat Thin substitute. The secret is to get the dough rolled out as thin as you possibly can and cook it long enough to get it crackery enough. My secret for rolling them (and anything else) out is between two pieces of plastic wrap because nothing sticks to it, although I made do just fine rolling it out on a gallon size freezer bag. If you cut them into squares first instead of after baking, then they will all be perfectly crunchy. Seriously, roll them out and let the dough rest a minute or two and roll out again.

    Its not complicated, just mix the below stuff together and bake at 400 for 7-14 minutes depending on the size of the crackers.

    3/4 cup whole wheat flour
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. baking soda
    2 T. brown sugar

    mix the dry ingredients and add:

    1/2 cup water
    3 T. oil

    yum. The flavor is similar but not identical to wheat thins. You might salt the tops…maybe that would do it.

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    All Is Fair In Love And War

    Sometimes it really makes my day when I hear someone else’s child throwing a tantrum. Is that wrong? I also really like it when I see harried parents.

    Today the church we are visiting here had a summer celebration with a potluck. There are several things you might want to know.

    1. Not everyone here is a good cook. There were a lot of bland pasta salads. Seriously people, there had better be more up your sleeve than mayonnaise and cold noodles.
    2. Violet had (and loved) her first cotton candy.
    3. It just made us miss our own church so much more.
    4. Getting and eating food at a potluck is very complicated when you have small children and you don’t know anyone.
    5. Don’t get me wrong, we had fun and the weather was beautiful.
    6. When we get home we are going to cash in a serious amount of babysitting credits with the grandparents. (get ready guys)
    7. The church is starting up small groups in a couple of weeks and the small group flyer was basically a list of who has bragging rights for the small group with the best food. After today I seriously have my doubts. I think we might have to go to one just to show these people what good food tastes like. Oh, and to introduce them to the west coast phenomenon known as Mexican Food.
    8. That’s right. There are several places here on the cape that serve “mexican” food, but it’s pretty obvious that their recipes are based off of pictures of mexican foods they found on the internet. We have to show these people how it’s done.
    9. If that makes me sound like a food snob I am totally okay with that.
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    The Wrath of Earl

    They say a picture says a thousand words. For those of you who don’t like reading a thousand words, please stop reading here and just look at the picture. For those of you who are still there, the picture above is not from my front door. Nothing happened last night. Nothing at all. The surf was pretty fantastic, but other than that there was some wind and rain–nothing unusually strong though. However, I did promise myself that I was going to post hurricane pictures for you all today and it didn’t make sense to post pictures of my serene little yard with every leaf in place. Oh, make no mistake though–we’re still going to go on the record and say we weathered a hurricane.

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    earl crackers and patriot games

    Well, although we really just have to wait and see, i’m afraid hurricane earl has been downgraded to a tropical storm. Not that i’m complaining, but it’s not quite as impressive to say you’ve weathered a tropical storm. Be that as it may, we’re still waiting for earl to pass at around 2am tomorrow.

    Since I have no idea if and how long we’ll lose power for, i decided to make some crackers in my quest to find a recipe for homemade wheat thins. Since everyone has a different idea of what “tastes just like a wheat thin” really means, i’ve been trying different recipes. I have to post this one. I made some changes to the original, so this is officially my recipe. They aren’t wheat thins, but they are amazing and addicting. It’s like a cross between a wheat thin and shortbread. Melt.In.Your.Mouth.Awesome.


    YIELD: About 13 dozen crackers
    BAKING TEMPERATURE: 400 degrees F
    BAKING TIME: 5 to 7 minutes

    3/4 cups whole wheat flour

    1/2 cup white flour

    1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    4 tablespoons butter
    1/4 cup buttermilk (or milk+1 teaspoon white vinegar. let sit for a minute to clabber)
    Additional salt for topping (optional)

    1. TO MAKE THE DOUGH: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it in thoroughly, using your fingers, a pastry blender, a mixer or a food processor.  add the buttermilk to the flour mixture, mixing until smooth.
    2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
    3. Roll out the dough super thin between two sheets of saran wrap. cut into “wheat thin” size crackers. and place on a baking sheet. bake at 400 for 4-7 minutes depending on crunchiness desired

    WARNING: these will disappear fast. do not plan on saving.

    Next, there’s something funny about moving to a state where people are really into sports. How much? Remember how obsessed everyone was when the mariners were in the world series, or when the seahawks were in the super bowl that was stolen from them? That’s how everyone here is all the time. Can you blame them though? Between the superstar status of the Patriots and the Sox  and the fact that they actually win sometimes, New Englanders have good reason. I’m sure some of you are saying,  Are you kidding me? I love my sports teams–the Mariners are awesome. If you are a fan, then you’re a fan like a suspicious little kid is a fan of santa claus or the tooth fairy. You’d love to believe they’re for real, but you have your doubts.

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    Thy name is Earl

    Well, i guess this is the part where we thank our lucky stars that we didn’t take the travel assignment in the virgin islands. There was one, but we decided that hurricane season probably wasn’t the best time to set dead center in hurricane path. Island life is everything you imagine, until you get hit by a hurricane…or so I’ve heard. Tomorrow we get to see what a hurricane looks like. Hello Hurricane Earl, hit me with your best shot, fire away. just kidding. haha, be nice mr. hurricane.

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