a blog drama update

If you read my last post you may know that I am having a little, ahem, storage problem with my blog. As it turns out, Blogger has been keeping track of my (almost 800) photos that I've downloaded to this blog, and they are about to cut me off if I don't start financially compensating them.

Paying to blog seems really ridiculous to me, but I also don't want to have to put ads on my blog to make up for it.... Fellow bloggers: any suggestions?

Until my little dilemma is solved I will leave you with the very last photo I am allowed to download (I currently have used 99.9% of my storage, and this picture rounds it out to an even hundred).

This picture was taken when I was 21 weeks, and I am currently about 23. I feel huge now, but I know I will look back on this picture in about a month and laugh at myself for saying that... The best part of this picture (aside from James unzipping his PJs to show off his own belly) is the fact that when I asked Lane to take the picture all I said was "Hey, hun, would you mind taking a belly shot real quick?" He instantly replied "tequila or whiskey?" It took me a second to catch on, but as soon as I realized the way I had phrased the question I couldn't stop giggling.

Around this time last year: these cookies... yum!


stay tuned

Well dear followers of my blog, I have tried to post a few times in the last week, but with no success (obviously).
Although I hate to complain (but I will anyway) the "blogger" website I use has been giving me some issues lately, including this last time telling me that I have exceeded my limit of photos, and cannot upload any more to use on my posts. Which stinks because, lets be honest, you all read my blog so you can see pictures of the cute kid. Anyway, I may have to change cyber locations, or (even scarier) learn a little more about computers and this world wide web you kids are always talking about.

Thanks for sticking with me and hopefully I will be back to blogging soon... complete with color photos!



James turned two.

We had the big family party at our house for James, my cousins, and their son who was born just about a week after James.

I kind of did a construction theme, since James is super into "diggies" right now. We had plastic hard hats for James and his cousins to wear, but James made sure Lane wore one while he used his drill to hang up a mirror before the party began.

I also made a diggie cake using this cake recipe, simple frosting (powdered sugar, butter, milk, vanilla), and crushed Oreos for the "dirt."

James didn't quite understand that he was supposed to blow out the candles. He just wanted to eat the cake and play with those diggies.

I can't believe my baby boy is two! Wasn't it just the other day that he turned one?


fifty yard line

We've made it half way! As of yesterday, I am 20 weeks along with our next bundle of joy.

Truth be told, this pregnancy already feels longer than the first one. I'm not sure if it's because I was working full time and finishing my degree full time during my last pregnancy, or because now that I fully understand the joy of being a mother that I can't wait to meet our little Eleanor.

At any rate, we know that our little family won't just be the three of us (pictured here at the Corbett Fourth of July Parade) for long, so we need to soak up this special time we have.

This time a year ago: Happy Birthday America AND Happy Birthday Mom!


my maternity must-haves

In no particular order:

1. egg-less chocolate chip cookies (obviously, so I can eat the dough)...

...and a good helper who is just as enthusiastic.

2. really good pickles. My favorite are Carnegie Deli Kosher spears from Costco.

3. good moisturizers. I love anything from Burt's Bees, especially their Mama Bee line and Baby Bee line for James. I still believe that my lack of tummy stretch marks is thanks to Burt's Belly Butter. Now, if I had only known to put it on my legs...

4. pregnancy books. The Complete Organic Pregnancy is a good one if you don't scare easily (example: if you are not easily swayed into getting your wall paint and carpet tested for hazardous chemicals, even though the book insists that you should); but my ultimate favorite is The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy, which gives a very laid back, informal look at all things to do with pregnancy. It is so good that I loaned it to a girlfriend about two years ago, and still haven't gotten it back (I'm lookin' at you, Becca Hamm!).

5. naps

6. a sense of humor

What about all the other Moms or Moms-to-be? What can you not live without while pregnant?

PS Thanks to my Fairy Blog-mother who has, once again, made my blog way cooler than I ever could, even though she is most likely very busy being a newly wed and blogging daily at her very own url. Thanks Jen (ahem, Mrs. Posford)!!!

This time, a year ago


My "desperate housewife" + Eleanor

Dearest blog readers, thank you so much for sticking with me during these weird periods when a week or two will disappear in between blogs.

The ridiculous truth is, I actually attempt to blog every day. But something always intercepts my time, patience, or energy. Sometimes it is something little and silly: yesterday I had a total "first world problem" moment when I tried to move my laptop to a more comfortable location by balancing it in one hand and trying to untangle the speaker cords with the other (because if my laptop, which is literally falling apart, is unplugged, it will shut down) and the screen, which is also broken, fell forward, which also means a total shut down. I was so frustrated that I opted for a bowl of cereal and Dick Van Dyke instead. But most times it is something big, like the fact that I am exhausted at the end of the day and have to remind myself that it's because I am raising a human being and growing another one.

Time seems to be passing simultaneously slowly and rapidly. Our days are filled with multiple park trips, afternoon naps, late dinners on the porch, and evening "family walks" around the pond. Everyday brings new ways that James makes me smile and laugh, and also new difficulties that grow me in unexpected ways. Lane has been working long days, James has been having difficulty falling asleep before 10 pm, and I have been learning patience and reliance on God for the physical energy to not fall asleep at the lunch table. It is during these days that a little sugar right around nap time can go a long way. Let me clarify: I am the one eating the sugar, not James.

This isn't an every day treat, but a once-in-a-while indulgence. I make a big bowl of plain oatmeal and stir in chocolate chips and a spoonful of peanut butter. It's like a giant oatmeal-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookie. Yum.

So, what is everyone else's "desperate housewife"? Potato chips in your cottage cheese? Chocolate sauce and a spoon straight into the ice cream container? 'Fess up! What are they? ... I'll probably be trying them, especially if they involve sweet and salty.

PS In case you didn't hear via Facebook (apparently over 60 people "like" this... I don't think I even have 60 friends), we are almost positive that the new baby is a girl! Since you, my wonderful blog readers, didn't get to hear it first, I will tell you what we are naming her before it hits the FB: Eleanor.

This time a year ago: Asparagus rolled in chicken with caprese potato salad


the deck

My favorite room in our house isn't actually in our house.

Our deck is part-dining, part-living, part-play room, and even part-kitchen (due to my husband, the grill-master, barbecuing for us).

The deck is also partly covered, so we can even stand out there when it's pouring.

Hopefully we will finish any other room within the next couple weeks so I can continue to post updates. Until then, let me leave you with this picture of James being caught in the act:


Updates: pregnancy, James, and the big move

Pregnancy: Still feeling very tired, despite the fact that I am three weeks into the second trimester. Growing and gaining, and craving things like pickles (how stereotypical) and cream cheese- and dragging James down with me.

James: So stinkin' cute it is unreal, making us laugh and smile all day every day. He went to the last prenatal appointment with Lane and I, and he was able to hear the baby's "heartbeep." He imitates the sound "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!" and then imitates the sound of James' big boy "heartbeep" that sounds like "bump, bump!" 
He is warming up to "new house." He loves that it has stairs to go up and down and a big porch to run back and forth on. 

The move: Oh lordy, we did it! We are moved into "new house" as James calls it. It is currently in a state of disarray: we are refinishing the kitchen cabinets, so boxes marked "kitchen" (most with little more description than just that) are stuffed into closets and what will be new baby's room; the garage is the work station, so we cannot store much in there; and our dining room table is covered with an unending supply of things we are trying to put away. Life is crazy, but we are so happy to be here. 


one year + 100th post + Hawaiian meatballs

Today is the one year birthday of my little blog. Were I not so tired, I would do some sort of review of the
last year of blog posts, perhaps highlighting my favorites and not-so-favorites.

It is also the 100th post. Only because I am a little OCD about stuff like that, so when I realized it could be the first birthday and post number 100, I had to do it.

Also, my mom came over today and we made one of Lane's favorite dishes: Hawaiian meatballs. Since all I want right now is to crawl into bed with a big bowl of life for dessert, I will just say this about the meatballs: sweet, salty, good.

Oh, and this about my mom: fun, good cook, I love her.

This time last year: Fruit Salad (kind of a lame post, actually, especially to begin a blog with) and Brie, Mango, Cilantro, and Red Onion Quesadillas

Hawaiian meatballs
adapted from Joy of Cooking

for the meatballs:
1 lb ground meat (we used chicken breast, other meats will contain more oil)
1 slice bread, crumbled
1/4 tsp yellow mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced ginger
1/4 c soisin sauce (1/2 soy sauce, 1/2 hoisin sauce)
1/3 c pineapple, chopped
1/4 of a green bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp lime juice
vegetable oil

for the salsa:
2 c pineapple, chopped
3/4 of a green bell pepper, chopped
handful of cilantro
green part of 1 green onion, sliced

for serving:
4 cups cooked Basmati rice
more soisin sauce (see above)

Combine the meatball ingredients and form into about 16 equal-sized balls. Heat a couple tbsps of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and add as many meatballs as will fit without them touching one another. Allow the meatballs to brown on all sides, repeating with as many batches as nessesacry. Then place them on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads at least 165 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients for the salsa in a medium bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the meatballs with the salsa, rice, and soisin sauce. Enjoy.


peanut butter cookies with pretzels and chocolate chunks

Sweet and salty, chewy and crunchy, chocolate and peanut butter. These cookies are a pregnant gals dream come true (well, aside from maybe unlimited free foot massages).

These cookies are delicious, and also a little less guilt-inducing than the recipe on the back of a chocolate chip bag: they contain no butter and are partially whole wheat. At least, that's the excuse I am giving myself for eating three consecutively after lunch today.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Pretzels and Chocolate Chunks
adapted from "Peanut Chews" from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book

1 c smooth all-natural peanut butter
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1 large egg
1/4 c water
2 tbsp corn syrup (honey also works here)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c white flour
heaping 1/2 cup pretzels, broken into small bits
3 or 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
course salt (I was classy and dug out the pretzel salt from the bottom of the bag, this worked out quite well)

Cream together the first nine ingredients (peanut butter through salt), until smooth. Add the flour and stir until combined. The dough will become very stiff, use a stand-up mixer if you have one. Stir in the pretzels and chocolate.

Drop heaping tablespoon-fuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Either flatten the cookies by pressing a pretzel into the top of each one, or you can do the classic criss-cross shape using a fork (dip the fork in water when it begins to stick to the dough). Sprinkle with salt.

Bake the cookies for 9-12 minutes at 350 degrees, rotating the baking sheets half way through. The key here is to remove the cookies as the edges are beginning to brown, but the middles are just a bit on the wobbly side still. This will ensure chewy cookies with crisp edges. If they bake too long, they will harden.

Eat warm. Enjoy.


they are small people who will one day be big

Although my full-time job is being a mom, I am always a little nervous to write posts about parenting. I am afraid that you dear readers will glance over these posts thinking "Who is she to give parenting advice? What makes her an expert?" Being a parent obviously does not make me an expert, and I am well aware of this.

However, I did receive such nice and positive responses from the last parenting post that I have decided to try my hand at it again.

The subject of this post is something that has been on my mind lately: raising our children to know how to interact socially. There are many books and lectures and people who probably have PhD's on the subject, but what I have been thinking about is how our behavior as parents towards our children shapes their social behavior.

I see a lot of parent's who are positive role models for their children; but, sadly, I also see so many interactions (or worse, lack of interactions) that are not teaching good social behavior.
(Disclaimer again here: I know I am not perfect, and I am sure someone has shaken their head at something I have done as a parent.)

There are small courtesies that we need to be teaching our children by modeling to them. Open the door for your children. Turn down your music and make eye contact with them when they are telling you something. If you are handing them something and you drop it, say "oh, whoops, sorry," pick it up, and give it to them. Can you imagine if you were handing a pen to a stranger in line at the bank, or towel to a friend who was doing dishes, and you dropped it, and then just left it on the floor for them to pick up? You wouldn't, because that would be rude. (If you would, perhaps you need to reevaluate your social behavior!) What gets me the most is when parents become upset at their children for being rude, when the child was never modeled the polite way to do something in the first place. (Think of all the times you have heard someone growling in a terrifying voice "Don't you talk to me that way!" as they themselves are speaking horribly to their child.)

Children will mimic your actions; often at a younger age than you may think. Here is an example: At the end of dinner, Lane will often clear the table. Sometimes I will do it, too. Each time we take the dishes to the sink. The other person always thanks the table-clearer. I have never asked James to clear his dishes, I always do it for him. However, the other day he was sitting on a bar stool at the counter eating a bowl of yogurt (his favorite food in the world right now, by the way). When he was done, he slid off the bar stool and grabbed his bowl and spoon. "James, what are you doing?" I asked, imagining all the places he could take the bowl and spread the remains of the yogurt. He didn't reply, but walked right past me to the kitchen sink, where he deposited both spoon and bowl. James isn't even two years old. You see what I mean? He saw us modeling helpful behavior, and, without being asked, he began to do the same thing.

Another thing I want to touch on is electronics. I realize they are useful, and handy, and blah blah blah, I can't stand them! I truly feel like we are losing an entire generation of social inter-actors to text messages and X-boxes. But is it fair for us to limit their "screen time" when we sit at our laptops perusing the web while we should be playing with them? What about all the parents on cell phones at the park? Oh my gosh, don't even get me started! Okay, since I am started: I understand the need every once in a while to answer an important call (I really do know this, since we have been trying to purchase a house- and still are, more on that later- for over a year), but these parents who are just chatting with a friend, or text messaging, or looking through facebook, or whatever it may be... James and I always end up playing with the kids of such parents at the park (or even the library) and they instantly glomb onto me because they are so excited that someone is finally paying attention to them.

Okay, whew, breathe. I really didn't intend for this to be a rant against what I interpret as bad parenting. My point is, one day we will want to have a conversation with our child (or someone will) and it will not be possible because they won't know how to have a face to face interaction without text messaging or updating their facebook status throughout it ("My mom is blabbering on about something again... who wants to go see a movie later?"). One day we will want our children to have successful with relationships with friends, other family members, and eventually a spouse, and to do this, they will need to know how to treat people like people: help carry bags, open doors, offer to help with the dishes, say "bless you" when someone sneezes (James blesses me for everything, including yawns). The best way for them to learn this is for us to show the same courtesies towards them. They are people too, just a little smaller.

And, for pete's sake, get off your cell phone.