Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reminiscing...

So I haven't posted lately because I am feeling sad about my changed vacation. Trying to get over it but what has inspired me to post is these old pics I came across while searching for items for the childhood scrapbook album I am working on.


First are "cool" pictures of me and my sister.



The first one of her is cool because she is wearing a famous "hang ten" hoodie. Those were so popular and elusive for us no-so-wealthy types. And if she didn't have braces, they hadn't been off long so that is cool too.



In case you can't tell, I am wearing a Shawn Cassidy shirt in this one. Who is more cool than Shawn Cassidy really?? There are eight candles on my (cherry chip) cake so this was late-ish 70's. Mom always let us choose our cake flavor and dinner on our birthdays. I chose cherry chip for many years it seems. I remember choosing some sort of beef roast for dinner and it seems like my sister chose pork roast. Or maybe vice versa - hard to remember. What kid chooses that sort of dinner? Probably those mostly raised on canned and jarred food. Not that my mom couldn't cook - she makes a mean chili, mac & cheese and, apparently, pot roast. She was a working mom and just didn't have the time. Most of us can relate - except back then I don't think people were heaping on the mommy guilt.



Well, the coolness of this one is just obvious really. This was at the beach by our parent's house in AK. I think this was the summer after we moved to that house and sissy was visiting from mom's - mid 80's. We spent a lot of time taking pictures that summer and not doing much else. Fun times!



This is the famous Doug Dawson from Deadliest Catch. We hung out a lot back in the day. Wasn't he cool even back then? I think he is about 11 here.



This was my dad's cat - Kitty. She actually used the toilet which was awesome - if not a bit disturbing. This was in the early 70's (can't you tell from the colors and style of the bathroom?) and I *think* my dad taught her to do this. He is a thrifty man who appreciates things to be neat - neither of which is achieved by having a litter box.



And last is this picture of my cousin. I am hoping to see her this summer. She lived with us when I was 11 or 12 for about a year I think. She had her first son then, my first real time spent with babies. Her son is my first cousin once removed and second cousin to my kids for those who care. :) Anyway, this baby is all grown up now and has a child the same age as J1. Crazy since I only remember him as this tiny baby.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My boys are silly (and apparently very tired)

Whenever the mister is eating fruit or yogurt J2 is right there, begging like a dog. He stares, bangs on the arm of the chair and makes vehement noises until he gets some food. Then he keeps opening his mouth like a baby bird until all the food is gone. Last night he also got some silly time with daddy.



D came over after her class yesterday and I tried to feed her dinner but apparently she is disgusted by my cooking! :) We had yummy chicken gyros with chicken marinated in Greek Seasoning from Penzey's. They have the best spices and, luckily for us, there is an actual store in Portland. The only problem is that I can't get out of there for less than about $30 which seems to be an exorbitant amount to spend on spices. If I went there more frequently, it would be less per trip, so that's something to keep in mind. It is actually less to buy a bag of basil there - less than $3 for a 1 oz. bag and we spent over $4 at Wal-Mart for .5 oz. of Spice Island. Maybe the other spices are less overall too.

Anyway, we went for a walk and J1 took his scooter. It is a Radio Flyer 3-wheeled one so he does pretty well on it. He looked like such a big kid with his helmet riding the scooter but unfortunately I didn't have my camera. He only rode less than 1/2 way around our normal circle and then actually wanted the mister to carry him. He did walk the rest of the way but without much enthusiasm. Turns out he was pretty tired since this is what happened a little later:


His hand was actually still in the bowl with the veggie booty curled in his fingers. The flip side to this was that he got up at 8 this morning instead of his normal 9 - 9:30 and J2 was up at 6:15. I plopped him back in bed when J1 got up so I could still have a bit of morning peace. J1 is watching the Land Before Time movie - one of his new favs. Thanks D for the set!

Yesterday I "put some stuff" in both boys' hair after their bath. J1 is always wanting me to put product in his hair so he can be just like me. Well, now he actually has a haircut that warrants it so he is pleased. I put some in J2's hair just to be silly - and gave him sort of a mohawk. He didn't notice or care but it made for cute pics and J1 said it was just like one of his friends at school so he liked it.



Oh, I have actual peas now, not just out-of-control huge plants. I even ate some the other day - delish! I remember my dad having peas growing on the side of his Aleutian Homes house when we were kids. I don't remember huge plants like mine so they must have been a different variety. I do remember eating them even though I didn't like peas. I actually didn't like regular peas (frozen or fresh are good but canned are still nasty) until a few years ago but it seems like my sissy always liked them. When did she eat them when we were growing up? Doesn't seem like something we would have in our cupboards or freezer. Was dad bitter that we ate all his peas?? I was too young to notice or care.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We are in trouble now

J2 finally walked today - I have videographic proof. Good for the mister since he was at work when it all went down. Enjoy. I guess this is all my sister will get to see since they are being driven out of Wrangell. :(

video

Monday, June 22, 2009

A summer haircut

I took J1 to get his haircut today. It is one of those strip mall walk-in places and I had a free haircut coupon. They actually only cut boys hair and they play sports on tvs all over and have various hand held video games too. J1 would have been in heaven but I had to wake him up to go inside so he was pretty out of it. Here are the before and after:





I promised him a drink from Sonic if he sat still - here is the drama.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day and Farmers' Market

There are other "f" words I would like to add to that alliteration but I will refrain in an effort to stay family-friendly.


Today is Father's Day and the mister made breakfast. He always cooks breakfast and dinner on the weekends so why stray from that just because someone decided we should honor fathers?? We had cinnamon rolls which we shared with the boys. Here is J2 after he ate just the middle part. The mister said he looked like a hobo.




J1 made him a card at school - well he sort of made it. I guess the teachers actually made it and he just answered a couple of questions. It is super cute though.




To honor him for the day I am actually making dinner (chicken enchilada soup) and treats. The treat he requested was red velvet cupcakes. I have to say I just don't *get* red velvet cake. What is the draw? They are just chocolate cupcakes that are dyed red. So why the red? Wouldn't they taste just the same without all the messy, stainy red food coloring? Whatever, I made them. I let the mister pick out the cupcake liners from the extensive stash we have and he chose the Halloween ones. What's really crazy is those are the exact ones J1 always picks out when we he gets to choose. Is it in the genes??




Yesterday I went to the farmers' market (yes sissy, there are many farmers) with D, her mom and son, and the boys. The fruit was primarily strawberries and raspberries so we didn't end up with anything. The mister was after peaches, nectarines and plums and D did want strawberries but they were cheaper at our local produce store and that is the ultimate in buying local. The flowers were plentiful though (not that we bought any, just enjoyed looking at them) and the boys had fun at the playground. Plus we got Kettle Corn so J1 was extra happy.




On Friday, D and her mom came for dinner. D and I were doing something in my office and her mom was in the other room with the boys but not paying strict attention to them. She found them both under the kitchen table with the box of cookies, stuffing their faces.


Parental PSA

Yes, this could happen to you. I just wanted to get a warning out to all you parents. We had something completely unexpected and unforeseen happen this morning. It seems highly unlikely that it would happen to anyone else but just in case:


Yea, that was loaded with heavy, heavy sarcasm. The mister left his full coffee cup next to his chair and went outside. Luckily it wasn't hot anymore.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

CM Storybook Plus software rocks!

In the process of reloading all my software onto my new computer I realized the coupon I got when I purchased Creative Memories Storybook Plus software is going to expire at the end of this month. Were it not for my computer dying, I probably wouldn't have noticed this for 1 - 2 years and then would have been exceedingly bitter. I guess that is one good thing about getting a new computer. As I mentioned in a prior post, scrapbooking has gone by the wayside right now. I want to do it but dragging out all the stuff doesn't seem worth it because I know that once I am set up to work, J2 will wake up from his nap, even if he had only been asleep for 12 1/2 minutes. That's how it works around here.


Last year, my friend Laura hosted a CM thing one day at a park which was the best idea ever. There was a covered part where all the scrapbooking stuff could be and then a playground for the kids to play and stay out of our hair. Well, the hostess was extolling the virtues of this program and what great things it could do. I was excited but also torn since I actually do enjoy the physical act of creating pages with paper. That being said, I am also woefully behind with no clear path to catching up. I am in the middle of 2006 in our family albums and have done nothing for the boys. As a compromise, I have decided to continue the family albums the traditional way and create albums for the boys the digital way. Buying the software and installing it was as far as I got until yesterday. I did poke around a little but the learning curve seemed to be high. Yesterday I found some online tutorials made by CM and now I am up and running. The only problem now is I think I have found another thing to be obsessed about. You can get digital content everywhere on the web and import it into the program which is way worse than shopping in a brick and mortar store. Oh bother.


I am having a hard time trying to figure out how to convey all the cool things this program can do so I guess if you are interested, you'll have to check it out for yourselves. For the albums, you can create many sizes and I think I am leaning towards 8 1/2 x 11. Costco will print those pages for about 1.50 and if I can find an album with slip in pages I would be done in no time. Another idea I have seen is to create party invitations using a 4 x 6 size. This gives enormous flexibility and design options and would only cost about .17 each - that is a smoking deal. Look for one in your mailbox soon!



I have been actively using CM's Memory Manager for a few years. It is software that helps manage digital photos - you can group them according to whatever criteria you have and it has a backup feature that does incremental backups so nothing is missed or duplicated. It is a great piece of software too and I found out I can choose the pictures in that program and "share" them with the Storybook program and they will be waiting for me when I open it. And in case you were wondering, I am not a CM consultant, I just like their products!



Here are some of the layouts I made while doing the tutorials. They are totally random because I just used the pictures from J2's birthday and I was doing all sorts of different techniques on each layout. My real ones will be better.




One of the scrapbook albums that is on my to do list is an album about me and Chris that tells about our childhood with details of schools, sports, siblings, friends, hobbies etc. so the boys have something tangible to look at and see that we were just the same as them. This is the album I am aiming to get done before my coupon expires since it is a bound album and is not what I am planning on doing for the boy's albums. It is a fun idea I just need to figure out how to make it all come together in 10 days! With that, see you later!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Have cloth diapers gone mainstream??

Well, it seemed that way for about 10 minutes when the local Target stores started carrying Bum Genius pocket diapers. Apparently the world wasn't ready for it because they were very quickly on closeout. So sad I missed that since those diapers are *never* on sale. The best you can usually hope for is free shipping - which is nice but not "Target closeout" nice.


I started using cloth diapers at the end of last year - only because I realized that J2's eczema resulted directly from the Pampers we were using. I had gotten some Seventh Generation diapers on closeout ($5 per package - usually around $15 I think) and while using them his rash completely went away. It was truly a light bulb moment. Anyway, mom helped me with my initial stash and we were off and running. I decided to get some for J1 as well since I would be doing the laundry anyway and I had heard that cloth diapers made kids want to Potty Train earlier. Well, that didn't work for J1 as he likes wearing the "colored diapers" as he calls them. We are still working on that particular parenting landmine but that is another post.





It turns out I really like using cloth. It is nice not to be buying disposable diapers every week and stressing about coupons and finding sales. I like not putting the huge amount of disposables into landfills. It is mind boggling to think of how many diapers I was going through and then to multiply that by - well, by some huge, unfathomable number - which equals all other parents doing the same thing. It is sort of horrifying. I didn't really think of that before I started cloth so I am not judging, just explaining where I am now. I do still use disposables - when I am going to be gone all day, vacations, when other people are watching the kids - but it is just a small fraction of what I was using. And the washing doesn't bother me either. People make comments about the laundry being a deterrent to cloth but I don't really get that. Diapers do need to have a few extra cycles but all that requires is pushing buttons - it is still only one load. Although, if you didn't have your own washer & dryer, I wouldn't do it either - laundromat, ugh! And for me at least, folding clothes is an excuse to hide in my bedroom, watch some shows the mister doesn't like, and let him parent for awhile. Who doesn't want that??

My stash


My friend Mo is using cloth and started when LJ was born. I think that is impressive because I never even considered it when J1 was born. I'm not sure why though. I was doing other crunch-ish things - baby wearing, making his baby food, only breast feeding, that sort of thing. A couple of moms in my baby group were using cloth and the leader was an advocate as well but I just couldn't make the leap. Now I wish I had but, hindsight and all that. My sister even used cloth, I'm pretty sure just with her third. I *think* she mainly did because the had just moved to Unalaska (see her blog at right - she is one of my two followers lol) and they were majorly expensive there. I could be wrong about the reason but she will correct me if I am - she loves a chance to correct me on something. :)


For cloth, we use primarily pocket diapers. Mostly we have Fuzzi Bunz (http://www.fuzzibunz.com/) but not the one size or anything, just normal sized ones. I also have a few of the aforementioned Bum Genius (http://www.bumgenius.com/) 3.0 and 2.0. They both work great but I am not crazy about the Velcro. I much prefer snaps. I have a few other pockets thrown in just because they were a good deal or I wanted to try them out. I also got some overnight diapers for J1 because you really need something great for overnight. I ended up with some Very Baby Simply Nights made by Tallulah Baby (http://tallulahbaby.com/simply-nights-cloth-diapers/) and they are great! I struggled with this purchase because they were fairly expensive - around $30 each!! My break even point for J1 was about 6 months of not buying disposable overnight diapers and I just hit that mark this month. Plus I can use them for J2 when the time comes so it was a purchase that did pay off in the end. Thank God! My favorite WAHM (work at home mom) diapers are Chunky Monkey (http://hyenacart.com/chunkymonkeydiapers/) because they are so trim and she has super cute fabrics. Even though I don't *need* anymore diapers, I frequently check her site for clearance items or new cute fabrics. Here are some of my favorite CM ones (Chunky Monkey not Creative Memories) plus one Happy Heiny (the Hawaiian print one).




2 Boys in matching Fuzzi Bunz


J2 in his giraffe diaper - just *had* to buy this one!



I bought this one in honor of my sister.


I had other things I was going to talk about in this post but it is too long already so I will post about what other cloth things are available another day. It really is interesting and pretty cool. Some stuff is a bit disturbing too - at least to me, but I'll let you decide.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Making cookies



I made these snickerdoodle cookies last night with J1's help. He loves to help me bake but it takes immense patience and sometimes I just don't have it. Luckily last night he was engrossed in eating a lime popcicle so I got to measure most of the ingredients into the bowl before he was there to "help" me. In between, the mister was freaking out because some of his music didn't survive the transfer of computers. I know the music is somewhere but I was baking and just didn't have time, nor did I really care at that moment, to help him. Between that and chasing kids around, my cookie dough was well mixed! It was so soft I couldn't really bake them plus it was almost 9pm so I had J1 help me do one batch and I cooked up the rest this morning while the boys were sleeping. The best thing about snickerdoodles is that J1 is actually extremely helpful. I can roll the dough into balls and put them in the cinnamon sugar and then he rolls them around and puts them on the tray. This is good teamwork since my hands don't get sugar on them, he loves doing it, and it doesn't matter if the balls get squished as they still come out perfectly round. Plus, snickerdoodles are the mister's favorite cookie so we get lots of practice. Too bad for him but these are for our Play Park's end of year picnic today. I used colored sugar since it was fun and different. I got the sugar at Target in their dollar section and they are for the Fourth of July but I don't think anyone will complain. They are made in the USA so I am not even worried about poisioning the kids with China-made things! My recipe is from Allrecipes.com - here is the link: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mrs-Siggs-Snickerdoodles/Detail.aspx They are the best I have ever had. I used this dairy free margarine called Nucoa in place of the butter and shortening because of J1's dairy allergy but they are still great. I could have used shortening since it is also dairy-free but I was being lazy. If you like those, her peanut butter cookies are also fabulous. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mrs-Siggs-Peanut-Butter-Cookies/Detail.aspx I have made these with cashew butter, because of J1's peanut allergy, and they were the best cookie ever!


And I did get the new computer all set up finally. Here is a picture - and yes, it is usually that messy. See the prior post about my cleaning! The only down side so far is that this computer doesn't have the correct connections for my split keyboard so I am making due with this horrible tiny one that makes my forearms ache. That will be the task for tomorrow when J1 is at school!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

For those who missed it...

Which was basically my whole side of the family - not that I'm bitter! :)

Jack turned one at the end of May. Don't know how that happened so fast. It seems like time went super slow when J1 was a baby. There was plenty of time to fill out the baby book, take tons of pictures, learn sign language, make baby food, you get the picture. When J2 was born (like a month ago it seems) that just wasn't the case. The baby book is only a tad bit filled out although I have a plan. I know of the basic timeline for most things so I am just going to pick a date and memorialize it - once it is in the book, that is when it happened! There are actual weeks that went by with no pictures taken - ugh. This blog is helping in that regard like scrapbooking used to help - "oh, that will be great for the blog, better take some pictures." My whole picture-taking life used to be ruled by scrapbooking. I would set up shots with my layouts in mind - not faking anything but just making sure I had ample pictures to tell the story. But with the birth of J2, scrapbooking basically went out the window. I just haven't made the time. Facebook doesn't help with my time management either but let's not go there.

On his actual birthday, he had his 1 year checkup - shots and all. Oops, forgot about the shot aspect of that appointment when I made it but since he is just one, it didn't mean anything to him being miserable on that day verses any other day. And since he is such a squirmer, he got some scrapes from the needle and an extra poke. I'll keep that in mind for next time. So that day passed without much fanfare. The mister's birthday was two days before that and I made him yummy mac & cheese with bacon which he *had* to eat as leftovers for a couple of days so he was happy. The party plan was a BBQ on Sunday celebrating both boys' birthdays with just family since the one year old doesn't really have friends. I guess I could have invited some of the mister's friends but it didn't occur to me until just now - sorry mister!

All my in-laws came plus my bff D and her mom. Also my friend Mo and her family. The first time I had seen her little one, LJ, since the hospital so that was great. Here is our spread of food and the cupcakes. Hiding behind the bowl of chips is the trifle I made for the mister - his fav - homemade angel food cake, homemade pudding and strawberries and bananas. Very yummy. The cupcakes and frosting were also homemade. It is easier to make things from scratch because of J1's food allergies - plus I just like to. We also (and when I say "we" I really mean "the mister") made burgers, hot dogs and chicken.





Here is J2 opening J1's presents. J2 was oblivious and J1 was pretty happy so that worked out. And J2 eating his cupcake. He was pretty sticky.




I mentioned that we had some fruit trees and blueberries in the yard. Here are some pictures:


Looks like a bumper crop of blueberries this year - hooray!



Our pear tree is five kinds grafted together (so it can pollinate itself) and this is one of them.



Another pear - there are quite a few growing. I think we got about six last year but none grew enough to actually taste good.





One of many, many apples - Macintosh I think. We got a few edible ones last year - 6 of the 15 that grew. J1 picked the other 9 when they were about the size of a walnut. Bitter!


One of the two lone plums we have growing. I think this spot is cursed for fruit trees. Our peach never did much and then got sick so we replaced it with this plum which also has five kinds grafted together.


The Pretzel Wars



J1 decided to share these pretzels with J2 (and the floor). J2 clearly has handfuls of pretzels but would still grab J1's pile so J1 was protecting them by laying on them. What a mess!