Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumnal Activities

After having our first snow fall, carving pumpkins felt a little funny and all out of order but it sure was a good time. Especially since we got to do it with some of our family and especially since Riley gets excited about such things now she is a whopping 16 months old.

Getting to carve pumpkins after dinner instead of bath and bed put her on an adrenaline high as well as getting chased around by Uncle Jake all night! It was the most recent "best night of her life." That is, it was until she ate it on our steps and bloodied her lip. She forgot about that ten seconds after it happened but I took her in anyways to get cleaned up and ready for bed. At least she got to eat a popsicle in the bathtub then to keep her lip from swelling up. 

 Joe was not as in to the festivities, but he did get to have some good bonding time with Zizi and Aunt Annie.

Suzette got Joe laughing more than ever before. She's a wizard at getting kids of all ages laughing, actually - has a feel for tickle spots and whatnot.

Ander said, "Riley the Rainbow-Colored Blur" - a fitting title for her future biography I think

PEACE! From Buzz Lightyear. (Onsie gift from Kyle and Megan - love it!)
It was a fun night and it's just nice spending time with loved ones, isn't it? Why else would I stay up watching Discovery Channel's weird show, Gold Rush with Dave? I like hangin out with him!

We do miss our family in TX, VA, GA, NC, IA, FL...who did I leave out...oh well - we miss you. And we are thinking especially of those in the frankenstorm out east right now. Those snow pictures are crazy! Hope you are staying safe and warm!
Another fun night with family - Em's double dozen birthday! Andrea made the cake and it was delicious.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunshine and daises and the lack thereof.

Good news! I'm getting new glasses! Bad news - old glasses, my favorite glasses of all time, got a little broken during soccer. Uh, I took a head ball with my eye? I guess that should have been a chest ball, but have you any idea how uncomfortable chest balls are for a lactating girl?

About as much fun as a barbed wire hula hoop.

So instead I ducked, not quite far enough, resulting in a break above the right lens.

The lens now falls out if I run or jump around so I left the game early.  On the drive home I became aware of intense itching on my neck and scalp. By the time I got home I'd broken out in hives all over, and was feeling dizzy and nauseated.

I think it was an allergic reaction to nuts perhaps, as I'd had peanuts (that is, peanut butter) and hazelnuts (ok fine - Nutella) and walnuts (on salad - so that's good...) all in one day. Whatever it was, a cold shower calmed the hives down, but the nausea lasted through the night. I noticed it every hour and a half as our sicky Joe woke up crying. ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT! GAAAAAAAAH!

By 5am I was so dead that I had Joe in bed with us and groggily changed him without a changing pad so OF COURSE he broke the constipation streak with flair right there on our sheets. I woke up Dave (he'd had a half hour of sleep since getting sicky Riley back to sleep so it was about time) and together we cleaned up Joe and changed our sheets. We got back to sleep about 6, and the babies got us up at seven. I want a t-shirt for surviving that night.

You know, life has its challenges. People get sick and glasses break. And then there are serious heartaches of loosing loved ones, abuse, etc. But there is a recurring thought with me these days that each challenge is meant to be part of our journey. That we are meant to have certain challenges, be they physical, emotional, financial, spiritual, what have you, because they can make us better people if we respond to them in a positive way. I wish I could say I respond with more grace - usually for me it's two steps forward and then one back.

I figure that's ok though. I think those steps back have their own importance, giving us greater empathy for all God's children and helping us appreciate what is good even more. And morning comes sometime and with it all kinds of possibilities. New glasses, maybe. Or new friends or jobs or something to remind you:

 life is beautiful.

Thoughtful face, compliments of Joe.

Well, that post evolved.

Love you all,

Friday, October 26, 2012

Let it snow!

Riley's first snow (as a person who cares) has occurred! It was exciting - there was jumping up and down and lots and lots of giggling. That was from the window seal. I opened the door and cautious reverence set in. She tottered out in her pajamas and I let her drag her fingers through it before I bundled her in to get dressed.

Back in for cocoa, in time to watch the snow melt and for our power to go off for an hour. First snow and a power outage. Welcome, winter!

It warmed up a lot later but the wind felt icy. Even icier when we left for the park and I realized I'd locked the keys in the house...luckily Dave works close by and could come home and let us back in. 

 Did I mention Joseph is past the three month mark now? Where'd that go??

 Ah, the many faces of Joe. Clockwise starting on the left: pooh bear smile, consternation, gleeful delight.


aaaaand snuggly nap face

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun for the Whole Family

I think I might have already used this title...oh well, we do have fun together often I suppose.

Here is how we wear our energizer bunny down for bed time.

Today Bri and her baby went on a walk with us up Provo canyon to Bridal Veil Falls. It was perfect weather - cool and sunny.
 A Dave expression, you say? Yes, I thought so too.
 Two hours later we got back to the parking lot. Riley had had enough.
 Sometimes I'm really grateful she's just a little person. She might like to murder me those times I have her in the stroller too long or don't let her jump in the river or eat the fish food.
Don't worry - she was restored to her usual cheerful self after some milk and a cookie; a girl after my own heart.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

About That Soup

Second blog post of the day! But it has been a day, and I wanted to update on that last post, wherein I mentioned soup. Wow - I have such gripping material! Anyways, its been a day for the babies. First, I did a little crafting with a friend, whose five-month old daughter tried to hold Joe's hand (he didn't mind) and who Riley almost suffocated with cuddles.

Later Riley's two little buds, a boy and a girl, came and played for a couple hours and let me tell you, it's not a party till there are three one year olds and an infant! They are hilarious. Well, the little boy was sad for a while after his mom left so the two girls crowded around him patting him on the back, shoving their binkies in his mouth and giving him kisses. Which looked kind of like bites, so I intervened at that point.

After the toddlers dispersed we had our Carrot Ginger Soup and grilled cheese. I thought it was delicious. Riley thought it was delicious. Dave, unfortunately, did feel that being shot in the face would be preferable to eating pureed carrots and ginger. However, I like his looks and anyways who wants to be the girl that shoots her husband's face? I was happy to eat his bowlful as well as mine. Which means in one sitting, I ate 1.5 pounds of carrots.

Guess I don't have to eat any more vegetables this week. Month. I might though - I might just make this soup again tomorrow, I liked it so much! Reminded me of something I had at Soupernova in Lancaster, England (one of those artsy soup joints common in more urbanized areas). So yeah, I'd recommend it. Unless you are Dave.

 And now (drum roll): Joseph blowing bubbles on cue!

And some senseless babble to wrap things up:

I like having babies around. Conversation is a little one-sided, and I get puked on more than I would like, but other than that we have a lovely time together. And thanks for coming over, friends - we love seeing you !


We've been sick the past few weeks - you too? Everyone is getting colds!
Maybe this picture will cheer you up: (or vomit - sorry if it's the later)

She said the chili doubled as an exfoliant! This baby likes her sensory experiences, what can I say. 

Tonight I'm making Carrot Ginger Soup from Lesley Graham's blog. It looks pretty tasty, plus ginger is good for colds, right? We'll have grilled cheese too. Just in case, you know, SOMEone would rather get shot in the face than eat this stupid food. (I just quoted from BabyMama, though she was referring to split pea soup. Hopefully no one has similar feelings tonight...)

Hope all you sickies are getting lots of rest! 

Last night we taught Riley how to "DOG PILE!" which of course she loved. She probably could have fallen asleep mid-pile, but wouldn't Dave have had the krick of all kricks? So we put her to bed and watched "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" which was kinda different and I liked it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I Made This For You

Joe/Joe Mav/King Joe: he is a lovely gentleman. He's not a big cuddler like Riley but he does have a very warm, loving personality and acutally DOES cuddle you without even touching you. Observe:

Feel cuddled?
Sometimes I can't tell if it is just me because I'm their mom, or if they really are that awesome.
I'm gonna say they are that awesome. Yes. If you want to print off a picture for your deskfridge, for cuddle looks all the time:

 Our garden was a flop but at least Riley enjoys it (that is, enjoys picking the stunted tomatoes and squish-squishing them).

 And finally: winter is a comin'!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Riley Fights the Good Fight

Usually when its between exhaustion and hunger, I just go to bed. What I don't get is how can you be THIS TIRED and then take a half hour nap and be good to go the rest of the day??? Babies fascinate me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Food for the Fall

Often when I'm pushing our babies around (in the stroller of course) I try and figure out what I'm feeling for dinner. Oh do I get excited when I land on the perfect dinner plan - something my body needs and my taste buds are enthusiastic about. The past week has seen a lot of fall'ish dinners that hit MY spot, and might do the same for you. So here's some recipes, and a few random pictures for fun.
*All recipes fed two adults and a toddler and had leftovers for lunch the next day.

Pulled Pork sandwiches:
2-3 lb. Pork Roast
1 yellow onion
1cup apple cider vinegar
1cup apple juice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 tsp brown sugar
Hickory bbq sauce, about 7 ounces
Dice up the onion and put half in the slow cooker bottom, add the roast, dump the rest of the onion on top of the roast and pour in 1/2cup cider and  1/2cup vinegar. Drizzle a few tablespoons of bbq sauce over it. Lid it, cook on low for 6 hours. Remove Roast and dump the onions and liquid out (unless you like onions in your meat), shred the roast (should fall apart easily), put back in the slow cooker. In a separate bowl, mix remaining vinegar, juice, red pepper flakes, cayenne, sugar and about 5 ounces of bbq sauce (add more if you need - it's to taste). Stir mixture into meat and cook on low 1-2 hours. Serve on buns, or salads, or quesadillas and tacos.
Pushing pom poms into a punctured, empty yogurt container. Dave called it the worst game ever. But he's not one.

Tater Tot Casserole (COMFORT FOOD)
1 lb ground beef
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can green beans
Splash of Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
Squirt of ketchup (to taste)
Garlic powder
Onion flakes
1 cup shredded cheddar
Tater tots to cover top
8'8' pan
Brown beef with Worcestershire, ketchup, garlic powder and onion flakes. Remove from heat, drain grease, add cream of mushroom and green beans and dump into your pan. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of cheese over it, add a layer of tater tots, and sprinkle cheese over top. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.
Autumn Salad
1 lb chicken breasts (two med. breasts)
8 slices bacon
Chopped red delicious apple
Chopped walnuts
1 Romaine lettuce, chopped bite-sized
Poppy seed dressing
Pan-sear chicken with salt and pepper, slice into bite-sized pieces. Bake bacon on foil-lined baking sheet in the oven at 400 for about 11 minutes (or put on the stove, but it's easier and cleaner to do in oven). Assemble, enjoy.

Chicken Coconut Korma:
1 lb. of Chicken cut into bite size pieces and rubbed lightly with salt
3 Tablespoons of Olive oil
1/2 to 1 Onion
2 cloves of crushed Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Yellow Curry
1-2 teaspoons of Garam Marsala
1 can of Coconut milk
1 Tbs tomato paste
Bay leaf
Dash of cinnamon and ginger
1/4 cup or handful of cashews
Add oil and heat on until smoky. Add salted Chicken to the pan set at Med/High. Remove chicken from the pan.
Cook Onions. Add Garlic and Spices and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add tomato paste Coconut Milk. Return the Chicken to the pan. Simmer about 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. May stow in the fridge to enjoy later or serve right away.
Bake Cashews for 5-8 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve Korma on rice with cashews sprinkled on top. Delicious with nan bread or garlic rolls, and melon.
If this ever happens again, I'm letting them sleep in the stroller as long as they want - I'll take an extra lap or something. I made the mistake of carrying them in and they both woke up, annoyed with me. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weekend Update

This week Dave had another four-day weekend and would you believe it, we were actually really productive. There was cleaning, organizing, rearranging, and GMAT studying (getting down to the wire - Dave is taking it at the end of the month). I am quite happy, actually OVER THE MOON to have finally got rid of the hard-water stains in our bath tub that were so gross (I thought they were permanent, but a kind of pumice stone from the cleaning section did the trick). And the living room is much more cozy with its new TV stand and chest - a thrift store find that we reupholstered it ourselves! 

We got to play a little too. Thrifting is fun! Our hunt this week yielded some great Halloween costumes, pictures of which will come at Halloween. We almost got Riley a Little Orphan Annie costume, but we want our costumes to coordinate with each other so that would make Dave and I... her dead parents? Meh - no thanks.

 Isn't she cute? And Joe! Such a rock star.

Riley's favorite game: Running into things/people with a blanket over her head. I think she appreciates the element of danger. Uh oh.

Friday night, Andrea and Em came down for dinner and to babysit for us, bless them. Dave and I first went to my soccer game and then to the Haunted Forest. IT WAS SO FUN! I highly recommend it. There were "wacky shack" hallways and animatronic werewolves and all kinds of surprises that made me shriek like a little girl.

Because they send you through about 8 at a time, Dave and I found ourselves on a group date with a bunch of middle-schoolers. We traveled in a cloud of Axe body spray (what the kids are wearing these days, apparently) and thoroughly enjoyed their conversation:
 "If your shoes catch on fire, stomp like this."
"Dude, that girl has called me seven times since we've been in here."
"Oh my GOSH, I like, LOVE pink, you have NO idea." 
It was awesome and we got along really well, actually. Must be our evolved social skills. Oh, and someone asked if they were ours! THAT was weird. I guess in the dark we look like we could have 15 year-old kids.

Here's our actual kids, during the General Conference break today:
Riley sometimes does a "Chris Farley face" now. I love her so much.
Our beautiful, sleepy man, whose eyes, by the way, are looking hazle'ish.

 Riley, trying on her dad's shoes (she couldn't lift her feet so she just stands in them) and resting on a gap in the fence she likes that is just her size. If you are thinking, "Holy cow she is growing right up," you are correct. She is kind and funny and smart, and sometimes annoyed and grumpy, but life is always an adventure with her around.  

About that general conference, haven't the talks been amazing? And the big change - missionaries can now serve as early as 18 for boys, 19 for girls! Our little buddies from the haunted forest could be missionaries in three years! Elder Uchtdorf's talk is my favorite so far - his words about living in the moment really resonated with me. He talked about missing out on moments and people, and regretting it.  

"Life is not something that should only be appreciated and rejoiced in retrospect." 

After his inspiring words, I resolved to not take the people in my life for granted, and to try harder to cultivate the relationships that are everything, and to be present in the moment - not texting when I'm with people and doing LESS multitasking when I'm playing with my kids are two changes that came to mind.
* General Conference from today is already online: to watch today's recorded talks or to watch the sessions live tomorrow, click here.
Here are a couple fuzzy cell phone pictures from when Andrea came to visit a few weeks ago. We walked up to bridal veil falls and fed the fish and waded in the icy water. Also, you can kind of see it here - Andrea and Riley have the EXACT same hair color and similar cuts - its' cute.