Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Family Dinner Night

You know you've got kids if your dinnertime conversation goes something like this:
Adult 1: So, how was your day...take your feet off the table.
Adult 2: Fine, I had to (geeky gobble-dy-gook) and talked to (so and so) about fixing the hard drive on his laptop next week and I may have to go to (some place with seventeen computers that are broken) and....
Child 1: Mommy, I don't like grilled cheese.
Adult 1: But you asked for grilled cheese. Which day are you going next week because I've got to get my schedule straight....stop feeding the dog the grilled cheese.
Child 1: EWWWW - Mommy! Matthew made a mess!
Adult 2: I'm not sure yet, but probably Monday or Tuesday, depends on the users...stop kicking me, will ya?
Adult 1: Well, Monday would probably be better....if you want a drink young man, you'd better start eating that sandwich and stop playing with those toys or I'll take them away.
Child 2: AhAhAhAh Gurrlll, belch, snort (throws cup and food to the dog)
Child 1: Mommy, Matthew's feeding the puppy!
Adult 1: Why don't you mind your own business and eat your sandwich...did you hear what I said?
Adult 2: Yes, Monday, but I can't guarantee it, pass the salad. What did you do today?
Adult 1: You have to ask?
Child 1: Mommy, I need to get up.
Adult 1: Laundry, mopped floor, read "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go" 14 times, put all the summer clothes away, grocery, you need to finish your sandwich and wait for the family to finish eating, then you can get up.
Adult 2: Did you leave me some summer shirts out? It still could be warm for a few more weeks, you know?
Child 1: Mommy, are you done eating? Can I have a drink?
Adult 2: Did you hear what Mommy said? No drink until you're done your sandwich, and No, mommy is not done eating, so you can't get up.
Adult 1: Of course I left you some short-sleeved shirts...sit DOWN!
Child 1: But MOMMY!
Adult 2: Are we done here?

Did someone say that families should eat together? Why? WHY? Guess we have to get a few more years under our belts to start truly enjoying this activity! In the meantime, Mark and I have learned to shelve our important conversations until the kiddos are fast asleep. Otherwise, we get nothing accomplished!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Weekend in the Kitchen

Happy to say, the overnight oatmeal turned out great! It was so easy - I used one full cup of steel-cut oats (which, btw, are much better for you than the rolled oats or quick oats - explained later) and 4 cups of water and about a half teaspoon of cinnamon. Seven hours on low and we got up to steaming bowls of nutrition! Not to mention, the house smelled of cinnamon and it was very inviting and cozy on a brisk fall day!
A word on this recipe. I'd read a LOT of recipes - many that called for fruit - raisins, cranberries, apples, etc... But it seemed that the fruit got really mushy overnight, so I decided to add stuff just before we ate it. We added brown sugar, raisins and walnuts in the morning, and this worked well. And it's nice that each person can customize their own bowl - particularly if you have guests. And about the steel-cut oats - it's the entire oat that's chopped up, not just the inside part. So you're getting lots more fiber and other good stuff. It's a little different texture, and if you were to make the steel-cuts on the stove top, it'd take about a half an hour. So overnight's the way to go.
Other kitchen adventures this weekend? Chicken noodle soup in the crock-pot (hey, I dragged it out of the cabinet for the oatmeal, might as well use it again, right?) That'll be dinner for at least two nights this week, and then I'll freeze some for later. Pineapple upside-down cake for dessert last night (the leftovers of which, are staring at me this morning), and a huge breakfast after church yesterday. We usually go out for breakfast after church, but we're trying to come home at least a few Sundays a month now - save a little money and enjoy being gathered around our sunny kitchen table together. I made turkey bacon and eggs, and pancakes which we enjoyed with the pure maple syrup we picked up at the Fall Festival a few weeks ago.
So it may seem like it, but I didn't spend the ENTIRE weekend in the kitchen, although 3 meals a day for 4 people for two solid days certainly does take a pretty hefty chunk of time. Especially the "clean-up" part! But we did manage to clean out our storage room downstairs, and today, I'm going to drop off a huge load to the Goodwill. We also found time on Saturday night to catch "Pursuit of Happyness" with Will Smith - a GREAT movie. If you haven't seen it, see it. This movie will make you feel fortunate, will make you feel blessed and will make you want to go hug your children, no matter how many crumbs they leave lying around. No matter what your circumstances are in life, trust me, it's tons better than what this guy went through. And it's a true story, which makes it amazing.
So that's the weekend wrap-up. We're enjoying the fall colors around here and the gorgeous weather. Today is supposed to be 80! And the colors seem to be at their peak right about now, but I have a feeling the bottom is going to drop out in a hurry. It is late October, after all.

Friday, October 19, 2007


It's the killer-attack laundry basket! I have to admit, when I went in to figure out what all the noise was, I was furious and ready to yell....Mr. Monster Laundry Basket's brother was taking a nap, and I heard all these bumps and crashes and I was about to read him the riot act. But when I saw what was going on, all I could think to do was grab my camera - and I walked over a freshly-mopped wet floor to get to the camera, so now you know I'm crazy!
Tonight, I'm going to try overnight oatmeal in the crock-pot with steel-cut oats Never tried it before, but the idea of waking up to a hot breakfast that I don't have to cook is very, very appealing. And if the kids eat it, double bonus! Keep your fingers crossed.
Happy Friday everyone - here's to a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Mind of a Child

With a grocery list that grew into two sheets of paper, I packed up the boys this morning and headed out. To not one, but two markets. In between, we met Daddy for lunch. Jonathan got his usual favorite - ginger ale - served, of course, in a plastic cup with straw and lid. Which, he was delighted to take with him to the second grocery store when we had finished eating. Somewhere in some aisle, he finished the soda and put the cup next to him in the cart. We checked out, and made our way out of the store. As soon as we hit the sidewalk, he grabbed the cup and started shaking it upside down, so that all the melted ice was trickling out the straw and straw hole, making the sidewalk wet, and getting all over his shoes, pants, etc.... And here's me, the ever-nagging mom: "Jonathan, knock it off, you're getting all wet". And then there's my child - "But Mommy, the birds are thirsty." I should've known. Man, I need to have more patience. Sometimes this kid is enough to make a saint drink. But if I ever once stopped to figure out what's really on his mind, I would probably learn something.

Baking With Children

Yesterday, Jonathan and I decided to make some Fall/Halloween cookies. He loves to help out in the kitchen, and this was one of those mommy/kid experiences that I remember from when I was little, and I would watch and help out in the kitchen when my mom and Grandma used to bake. And as an aside, how many globs of raw cookie dough did we consume as kids, and who would let their kids consume it now with all the raw egg risks? I wonder how in the world we all survived licking bowls and eating dough like we did! ;-)
Anyway - it was a really easy recipe using Bisquick - and you were supposed to roll them into little balls, then roll the balls in colored sugars, then flatten them with a glass. Well, I have all these cute Fall-themed cookie cutters, so I cut some shapes with some of the dough, and then rolled balls for Jonathan to decorate with the remaining dough. We had so much fun! My kitchen floor will never be the same, and there's colored sugar granules in every corner and crack in my kitchen, but the cookies are yum! Of course, now I've got this whole can of cookies to consume, along with the apple pie I made this weekend....but I just can't resist baking in the Fall - makes the house smell good and warms up a blustery day. And Jonathan had the time of his life - how can I argue with that?

Monday, October 15, 2007

What IS Jonathan Eating?

Okay, well, first of all, it's a miracle he's eating anything anyway. For those of you who know, and know of, Jonathan, you know it isn't easy to get food into his mouth. But this little treat got the mouth open. For those of you who don't live in Western Pennsylvania, he is eating a whoopie pie. A 6 inch in diameter whoopie pie. For those in and around Western PA, he's eating a gob. Yes, a gob. Apparently, that's what they call them up there. And for those of you wondering what in the world appears to be on top of the gob that looks like a flower, that's just the plastic wrap it was wrapped in. But you get the idea. BTW, the gob was good! The little bits Mark and I could pry from his fingers were pretty tasty!
So anyway - yes, Western PA - we were in Bedford for their annual Fall Foliage Festival which featured 400 vendors, 4000 strollers and 40,000 people. Okay, slight exaggeration on the strollers and people, but it seemed like that! But the weather was nice, the kids were relatively good and it was a nice change of scenery.
That was Saturday. Sunday was football and chili day - Redskins lost against Green Bay, but the Ravens managed to beat St. Louis. I didn't actually get to watch the Ravens because it's the one game a year that isn't televised where we live, so I had to settle myself with listening to the game on the radio in the kitchen while I made apple pie. Go Purple!
And now it's Monday, yes, my absolute favorite day of the week - yeah, right! I'm doing my usual - catching up on emails, catching up on blogs, trying to get the kids to eat something healthy for breakfast. Sigh. I'm not sure why I bother worrying so much!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Insanely Busy Weekend

Okay, I admit it right up front. I have no pictures from the weekend. We took the camera. It's know. Actually living life got in the way of digitally recording it for all posterity. And such glorious weather, too....sigh.
So Saturday, we went to the Springs Folk Festival in nearby Springs, PA. Held every Fall, and in it's 50th year, it's a wonderful festival full of food, crafts, artisans, music, storytelling and peaceful, gentle people. (Good thing, because Matthew got away from us at one point, almost giving me a heart attack, or at least palpitations, but I digress.....and since I don't want to relive that moment, I won't go into detail. He's fine, we're fine, from now on, he gets the harness.) ANYWAY, this festival is wondrous because at any of the food stands, you get the food that they are making right there, in the moment. Like doughnuts being fried and sugared in front of you, and brought to you, literally still hot and still leaking hot grease into the napkin. Bread being baked in outdoor ovens, sliced hot and schmeared with apple butter being stirred 10 feet away, or with real butter being churned nearby. Ice cream being cranked into the container, scooped out into a cup and presented to you. Maple syrup boiling away, maple candy, sugar and syrup right there for purchase. I could go on and on. We arrived hungry, left not so hungry, and I got some nice goodies to take home. Did I mention all the food? ;-)
And Sunday? Oh my - what a nonstop day. Started at 9am with chuch, at which I both sing in the choir and play my flute, all while helping Mark mind our little guys, while trying to make sure they're not falling down the choir loft (very steep) steps and throwing their sippy cups over the front of the loft and into the congregation below. Most days, they're really good. Today, not so good. We had to leave a few minutes early, because Matthew was approaching full-blown melt-down, and Jonathan wasn't his best - which AT BEST, isn't wonderful.
Now usually after church, we get some breakfast. Today was different - we had a baptism at 1pm, and today happened to be our church's first annual Spaghetti Dinner. So we decided to go eat spaghetti for lunch, but while we waited for the doors to open, we went downtown to kill some time and get some cappucinos. Walked the kids around downtown, and went back up to the church and settled in for an Italian feast, which was pretty good! We met some nice folks from our church and talked awhile - which is nice because Mark and I have only been parishoners there for about 9 months now. We're getting to know people, and that makes me happy.
After using about a dozen wipes cleaning up the kids (what was I thinking - red sauce before a baptism?), we left and crossed the street back to church for my friend's Judi and Jeff's little boy's baptism. What was special about this is that they had asked me to be his Godmother. So I found myself standing up for this tiny little baby (Jeff and Judi's 5th boy, BTW) and feeling overwhelmed at the level of love, friendship and community I'm starting to feel in this little mountain home of ours lately!
After the baptism, I took Mark and Matthew home. Matthew wasn't his best all day, and he really needed the nap. But Jonathan and I changed clothes and headed over to the post-baptism party, where Jonathan played hard for most of the rest of the afternoon with Jeff and Judi's four other boys! We returned home in time for me to sling some supper at the boys, give Jonathan a bath, and change my clothes (for the third time) to go to the first practice of the Western Maryland combined choirs - every year all the church choirs get together and do a Christmas concert. I didn't know tonight was the first night until the last minute. With all I did today, I wasn't sure I was going to bother going, but I wanted to make the FIRST practice. Glad I did - we're singing some beautiful music this year and I've got a lot of work to do to learn it, both with my voice, and my flute!
So I'm home now - grateful for a beautiful weekend full of family, friends, and faith.
The best part? Tomorrow's Columbus Day! A holiday for Mark, so my Monday, Monday routine won't be so yucky tomorrow - I'll have ALL my boys home all day!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Random Musings of the Day

Some new pics of the kiddos - Jonathan just HAD to rake a leaf pile and jump in - he wouldn't listen to any arguments that in a few weeks, there'll be LOTS more leaves. So the biggest pile we could muster was, well, not very big. But I think he still had lots of fun! And Matthew. Learning to climb. It's hilarious - somehow in the 5 days he's known how to get up there, he's already figured out the best seat in the house! Nothing like the corner of the wrap-around couch!

Have a question for all you moms out there. Why, oh WHY do kids have to dump toys? I just don't get it. All these random toys here and there - large toys, little toys, whatever. They aren't good enough. The only toy good enough is the one on the bottom of the toybox, or in our case, the canvas bin. At any given moment, the two of them can be found pawing through this bin in search of heaven knows what....wait - I think I even have a recent picture of that....

Why is the bin in the closet, you ask? Well, mainly, to try to enforce the old adage - "out of sight, out of mind." They are into this bin all day, rooting to find some elusive toy at the bottom, or, even more heinous, pulling it out of the closet and just dumping it. Makes my blood boil. Nothing, and I mean nothing about raising kids makes me more frustrated. Except whatever's going to happen this evening to make me eat my words.
Does anyone have any idea how bad for you buffalo wings are? Last week, we went out to lunch. We ordered the kids one of those little pizzas - personal size - and I thought I'd get a few bites of that, so rather than me ordering a full lunch, I just decided to order an appetizer, and in trying to pick a fairly healthy one, I chose the wings. Wow, they were so good. So, in all my naivete, I decided to make them for dinner last night. I bought some wings at the market, came home, started looking for recipes. That's when I found out - so much for low-cal! My heck! First of all, those babies are deep-fried! Then the sauce? Pretty much equal parts hot sauce and hello...BUTTER. Ummmm - no wonder they're so good? After about an hour of searching and assimilating some recipes, I finally had my plan, and it actually worked out pretty well. So here's the "south beach diet" version....
8 wings, separated at the joints with tips cut off
enough hot sauce to marinate (I used Crystal - just use your favorite) Put all this in a ziploc bag and stick in the fridge for less than 24 hours. I did it for 2. I can imagine if you leave it longer, they'll be hotter. But not more than 24 hours, because I think the vinegar/acid in the sauce at that point starts breaking down the meat.
Preheat oven to 400
Get another ziploc. Put in about a cup of Bisquick, a teaspoon of flavored salt (celery salt works well, garlic salt would work well, whatever you like) And if you really like it hot, you can add some cayenne pepper. Mix well. Get the wings, drain the sauce, put 3-4 wings in the bag at once and shake to coat. Lay them all out in one layer on a nonstick stoneware or regular 9x13 pan. Bake for 25 minutes on one side, flip them over and bake another 20-25 minutes. Yum. And low-cal, too. Well, if you don't eat the skin. I took the skin off as I ate. I tried to get it off when they were raw, but it didn't work out too well - half the meat was coming off with the skin! Plus the skin seals in moisture. So if you don't mind peeling it off as you eat (hey, your hands are going to get full of sauce anyway), it works much better that way!
Man it's been a long week - twice already this week, Matthew has been up in the middle of the night for 2 hours. Sunday night I'm not sure what it was. Last night, it was gas. Mark and I tried everything and were about to hang him upside down by his ankles (that was a JOKE, people), when it started coming out on it's own, spontaneously! After he gets it out, he was still screaming. So what's wrong now? Well, hmmm, we ate dinner at 5, it was now 1am, and he ate very little for a bedtime snack (about 10 pieces of cereal), so could he POSSIBLY be hungry? He was. Starving. So after some milk and animal crackers, off to bed he went. And off to bed we went. Thankfully, all was quiet after that, but having to do that TWO nights this week was not fun. Let's just say, we're very much looking forward to the weekend, which, this weekend, happens to be a three-day weekend because of the holiday on Monday! Thank goodness - we need the break! Lots of plans this weekend, hope the weather holds!

The Culinary Arts, Chapter 241

So I tried something new the other day. Acorn squash. The little dark green squashes that look like....well, acorns almost. I had picked one up at the farmer's market last week, and it was sitting there on my countertop, begging to be cooked and eaten, but how? Never having eaten or cooked one before I turned to...what else? The internet. Read about how they do better with a sweet preparation over a savory, herb preparation, read about how to cut, scoop seeds, roast, serve, etc... Armed with all this new knowledge, I sliced it in two, scooped the seeds and strings out, salted a bit, smeared the exposed halves with softened butter, and drizzled them with pure maple syrup. Into the oven for about an hour and 15 minutes. I have to admit, it did smell good. With the smells of Fall wafting through the open windows of the late mountain afternoon, the roasting squash added a warm, nutty aroma. I pulled them out of the oven and put a half on my plate and on Mark's plate - the flesh was nice and soft - easily scooped out with a spoon - couldn't wait to try it.....and YUCK!!! Okay, to be fair, Mark really liked it. So did Matthew. Jonathan refused to even try it (big surprise there....but I digress). As for me? Well, I've always been a texture person. And my idea of "delicious" does not in any way include a mouthful of what felt like stringy custard. The taste wasn't all that bad - slightly sweet, rather nutty, sort of like a sweet potato, but maybe not as strong. But oh gross, the texture was just sick. I couldn't eat but one bite. Not wanting to make too much of a big deal out of it, lest Jonathan copy me and have new ammunition for not eating, I just moved on to other stuff on my plate and fed Matthew little pieces of it. But I came close to gagging and spitting it out. Maybe a little harsh judgement for the poor little (cute!) acorn squash. But if you're a texture person, you know what I'm talking about. I'm starting to think that Jonathan inherited my issues with texture, and that is some of his problem with eating. I think I needed this kick in the pants - I hadn't eaten anything in awhile that gave me such a reaction - I think in the future, I'm going to be more sensitive to his ideas about food. So all in all - a good lesson learned. And I apologized to Mark - as much as he liked it, he'll have to order it in a restaurant if he wants it that badly from now on - Sorry, Mark!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Family Update

It occurred to me today, that I have now been blogging for about 6 months! So I guess that means it's time for an update. Let's see, where to begin?
Mark's still with the state - working hard everyday to keep this household running. Fortunately, his office is only 5 miles from our house, so his commute is minimal, and often he can come home for lunch. He's been busy lately out in the yard - we've got a ton of Fall projects we'd like to get accomplished - now just find the time to do them!
Jonathan turned 3 1/2 in September. He's very tall for his age, and still quite slender due to the fact that he still hasn't found a way to enjoy eating. I read recently that children who had reflux as babies are more likely to be picky eaters - well, if that's true, that's his problem. We work on this every day, but fixing meals is still a challenge for me, as is getting him to eat a balanced diet. But we're getting there! Things are better than they were even earlier this summer, so maybe in 6 more months, things will be even better! Jonathan is a bright and happy little guy - he counts to 30, okay, to 29, then he says "twenty-ten". But close. He knows all his colors, all his letters, all his shapes, and is starting to read. He is very observant, extremely opinionated, and in general, 3. We opted out of any kind of pre-school this year, but when Fall settles in for good, we're going to start going to some library programs for story times and crafts. Jonathan loves to go "out". Anywhere is fine, as long as we're going somewhere. He particularly loves the post office, where he can put the mail in the slot and help me carry packages to mail. He's had a big summer - carnivals, amusement parks, a big trip to Wyoming, first plane ride....lots of things to remember! Currently, he is very much looking forward to Santa Claus and having a Christmas tree in the house again.
Matthew is now 15 months old. When I started this blog, he was still breastfeeding and just a baby. Since then, he has been weaned, has learned to walk, learned to climb (heaven help me), and learned that Mommy gets very upset when he splashes in the dog's water and dumps the dog's food out. Yesterday, he climbed onto the kitchen table to get the dog's dishes that I put up there because he was into them on the floor. Can't win. Anyway, Matthew has come a long way in a few months too! He doesn't share Jonathan's eating pickiness - he's a great little eater. His worst problems now? He doesn't know his boundaries with his brother, and with the dog. He gets into an awful lot of trouble with his brother, and I'm learning how to break up brotherly fights already. The dog can take care of her own battles, and luckily, she's fairly gentle! Matthew defends himself by biting, and we're working on getting him out of that phase! Matthew doesn't talk much yet - he's only said a few words and they were just repeating something he heard us say. He's a little behind on that curve, but so was Jonathan at his age. He has a way of letting us know what he needs, though!
As for me, well, same old, same old about sums it up! I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I change diapers. I get smiles, I get hugs, I get wet, sticky kisses, and that makes it all worth it, no matter what! I found some Mommy friends here in town and we go out and have lunches and arrange play dates at times, so life is good.
So there's the update - I'll try to do these occasionally - after all, life does bring about a lot of change sometime, even in a few short months!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Monday, Monday - and Happy October!

Monday morning - there's a song written about that, I think. Well, here it is. There's only 52 of them a year, but you would think there's a lot more. After a marathon night where Matthew decided to wake up and stay up for 2 hours, and Jonathan bounced into bed with us at 6:20 am, we have arrived, kicking and screaming into Monday morning. In all seriousness, Monday's aren't really all that bad for me. True, the weekend is over, and Mark goes back to work, leaving me to fend for myself with my little guys. We try not to do too much on Monday - the boys are generally a little worn out from the weekend's activities, and I try to spend some time putting away stuff ("picking up the house"), making lists of things I want to accomplish during the week, reviewing everyone's schedules for the week, planning menus and trips to the grocery store or the farmer's market (which, sniff, sniff, will be gone next week until next Spring WAAHHH!!) and catching up on laundry. So all in all, I've learned to not set my expectations too high for that old Monday morning.

In other news, it's October!! Halloween month, and I have no idea about costumes for the kids. I guess it really wouldn't matter all that much - I just wish I had more imagination, and then, when I actually DO come up with some good ideas, wish I had the talent and the creativity to execute it!

We went to Morgantown, WVA on Saturday to do some shopping. Morgantown's about an hour away from us, but it has a nice shopping area - a new place with all these great stores all together - Target, Sam's, Walmart, Old Navy, Barnes and Noble, etc... We started some Christmas shopping and got the kids some stuff. It was a great drive - the weather was bright and crystal clear - we wanted to maybe see some early Fall color in the upper elevations, but not yet!

And, to welcome October, I managed to make an apple pie this weekend. We stopped on the way home from church yesterday morning to get some milk to make pancakes for breakfast, and the market had Cortland apples - the BEST pie apples ever. They're only around for a short time in the Fall, but they make a great pie - they're the perfect texture, perfect amount of juice, perfect sweet/tart ratio. Yum - to all you pie makers out there - try the Cortlands. You'll be happily surprised.

Has anyone read about that woman who has 6 kids, took them all to the grocery store one day, and sold the stuff they sneaked into the cart on ebay? I'm serious - the kids put stuff in the cart, and she didn't realize it until she got home. She was so mad, she decided to sell it on ebay, and in the body of the auction, she wrote about the whole experience. It was pretty funny - but ANYWAY - now, she has like a million people reading her daily blog, and she's been interviewed by newspapers, tv, magazines, and I think next week they're flying her to New York to be on one of the early morning news programs. AND she has a book deal. Okay, call me crazy. People are making a huge deal out of this - the publicity she's getting is staggering. But c'mon! I know people who've got 5, 6, even 8 kids, and that's their life. They do it, everyday, they don't whine about it or write about it, they actually ENJOY it, after all, it was their decision to create it in the first place. I'm not sure what's so special about this woman, except that maybe she's pretty good at writing, and people enjoy the humor. In a way, it's kinda cool. Learn how to make tons of money by writing about your kids squirting yogurt on the ceiling. Not bad. Get your 15 minutes, or in this case, a whole lot more, just by getting your blog discovered and having the interest in it spread like wildfire - isn't that everyone's dream? Sure, I think it'd be cool to have a million people reading my blog - but then there'd be a million people bored to tears!

Anyway - lastly, I give to you a picture of something you will NOT see too often - Jonathan napping. This is the child that takes about one nap per year. As a matter of fact, the last time he took a nap was perhaps last December, and that was because he had a 103 degree fever. I'm not sure what prompted this one - he fell asleep in the car on the way home from Morgantown, and when we got home, stayed asleep in the car for a half an hour or more. When he finally stirred, I got him out of his seat and carried him inside, and he told me to put him down. I thought he wanted to go play, but amazingly, he laid down on the floor, and slept for another hour and a half! Poor kid must've been beat!

So anyway, that was our weekend. I think, in honor of this particular Monday morning, I'm going to have a second cup of coffee and go snuggle on my brand new love seat (which, amazingly, made it through the first few days here with no spills, tears, rips or puppy accidents) and watch my kids play while I go through a bunch of mail I didn't read last week. TTFN!