Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chili and Scones

The Fall Baking has been well underway here for a few weeks - I'm just behind on posts! This was last weekend's goodies - a huge pot of chili and some Fruit and Oatmeal Scones. We also made cut-out Halloween cookies, which are almost gone already, and of course, the requisite apple pie which was several weeks ago. AND, I made my very first pot roast with a beautiful 7 bone chuck roast cut from a grass fed steer. What could be yummier?
NOTHING like baking in the Fall. Hearing the wind blow, the leaves rustling, smelling the smoke from the chimney, coming in from a cool day with rosy cheeks and bellying up to a table with nice, hot, savory meal. Not to mention the good smells, the nice warm kitchen, the little children's faces that light up when they see a ghost-shaped cookie!
We're busy this week - we just had the grandparents visiting for the weekend and they left yesterday, and of course Halloween is on Friday. Jonathan has a big Halloween parade and party in school, and a pumpkin-carving party so meals this week might be a bit rushed here and there. But there's nothing like gathering the family around the table - actually any time of year, but this time of year it just feels special. Maybe because all summer we've been eating outside, half the time in our damp swimsuits, or picnicking somewhere. Bringing everyone back inside to the warm glow of autumn with all the fall colors, looking forward to the big holidays...to me, there's nothing like it. I love Fall. And all the sensory stuff that goes with it. I'm going to go light my gingerbread-flavored candle this morning and plan some meals for the week! And maybe, just maybe start my Christmas gift lists....

Friday, October 24, 2008

3's About Me

My friend Shannon sent me an email with one of those "About Me" things - so rather than email it back and forwarding along, I'm putting it on my blog, just for fun. This one's called 3's About Me. Feel free to cut and paste into your own blog, but I'm not tagging anyone. Enjoy!

Three jobs I've had in my life:
1. Short order cook/crab slinger at carry-out seafood joint
2. Meat wrapper in butcher shop of local grocery store
3. GIS Analyst for 2 agencies of state government

Three people who email me regularly:
1. My friend Judi
2. My friend Jennifer
3. My mom

My favorite foods:
1. Pasta and {fill in the blank}
2. Brownies, cookies, pie, cake, need I say more?
3. Panini sandwiches, especially the ones with neat sauces, like pesto-mayo or sun-dried tomato aioli, etc...

Three places I've lived:
1. Maryland (Randallstown)
2. Maryland (Annapolis)
3. Maryland (Cumberland/LaVale)

Three shows I watch:
1. Cold Case
2. Survivor
3. Without A Trace

Three places I'd rather be right now:
1. Curled up with a book, a hot mug of something and NO interruptions
2. Hiking at Zion National Park
3. Someplace warm, sunny, refreshing and with plenty of free, reliable babysitters

Things I am looking forward to this year: (ummm, does this mean 2009?)
1. Great vacations with various family
2. Jonathan going to school FULL-time!
3. Matthew getting potty-trained

Things I dread having to do:
1. Going to the grocery store with both kids
2. Cleaning the inside of the mini-van
3. Scrubbing out the tub (yuck!)

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Devil Made Me Do It

I just can't help myself. I promised myself I would ignore politics with my blog, and I tried. I really did. But this just beats it all and I just HAVE to pass it along. In case you can't see it all, there they are - Obama, some guy in jeans, Hillary, then the inset of the Palin family - and everyone but Obama saluting our flag, our nation, our patriotism with their hand over their heart like we were all taught in kindergarten. Everyone EXCEPT Obama. What's with that?
Notice here that I am not endorsing a candidate either way. I don't do that. Why? Because I know who I'm voting for. Because I care to be an informed American. See, I take my right to vote very seriously. And so I don't try to sway others to see my side. I believe this highly individualized right to vote that our forefathers gave us should be just that: individualized. If you care; IF you care enough to have a say in who should hold the most powerful position in this nation, then you should be able to research and decide for yourself which candidate would best be suited. You shouldn't be influenced any other way. It's a personal choice, based on personal morals, beliefs, priorties. Unfortunately, that's not the way this nation works.
Every time you turn around, there's some idiot in your face or on your tv or in the paper endorsing a candidate. Great. And by idiots, I do mean idiots. Take for instance, celebrities. First of all, if they knew anything about how the REST of America lives, they might just think differently, but no. They have their $5 million dollar mansions or $20 million dollar mansions or whatever, and they dare to pretend they know what's best for America? What America are you talking about? And really, who cares about your opinion, Paris, Britney, Matt, Cheryl or whoever? Paris, for instance...YOU videotaped yourself having sex and then got mad because it went out on the internet. Let's see, that puts you in the category of not being able to make a rational decision, so why would I even care what you think? Same goes for all of them. And while I'm on the topic, show of hands of everyone who thinks that Angelina and Brad would NOT have 6 children under 7 if they didn't have like 10 nannies? But I digress.....my point is, if you don't LIVE the American way of life, the America that 90% of the nation knows, then shut your pie-hole. Nobody cares.
The latest thing I just read: the media is in a quandry - what are they going to do on election night since they're so sure that Obama is going to have the election wrapped up by dinnertime that they won't have anything suspenseful to broadcast for the next 6 hours? What will they do? OH NO!! Gee, I don't know, maybe actually wait until all the results are in so we can avoid the embarrassing mess that happened let's see, 8 years ago? You would THINK that these geniuses might have learned something from THAT? Sigh. All I can say? Thank God for movie channels. Because that's most likely what I'll be watching election night if I watch anything at all.
So see? I wasn't Obama-bashing after all. Well, maybe a little bit, but it really wasn't my intent. I'm not sure what's going on with that photo - for all I know, it was doctored by the media as well. But it does make you think. Think. And that's all I ask of my fellow Americans. Don't be a lemming. Make up your own mind, based on your own research.

Some Random Photos

Little boys eating breakfast one (must've been warmer) morning -- we haven't been in short-sleeved pajamas for a few weeks now! What's on the menu? Waffles, crayons and a parking garage, what else?

A walking stick. Which is a type of bug. They look like sticks - so if you see them in a tree where they're SUPPOSED to be, they're so camoflaged you can't even tell. THIS one was on our patio door and Mark can't resist photographing icky bugs. THIS walking stick looks more like a walking branch to me, but I've been told it's a female, and they're much bigger than the males.

Matthew indulging in the finer things in life - I managed to get the picture BEFORE he had ice cream up his nose, on his shirt, on the table, on the chair, in his lap, on the floor, you get the idea. We do lots of ice cream around here!

Watching the Raven's game! Every Sunday, Matthew and I put on our matching Ray Lewis jerseys and watch the game. We were relegated to the bedroom tv on this particular week because Jonathan and Mark were glued to the Redskins. Or maybe Jonathan was glued to Noggin and Mark was forced downstairs to the guest room tv. At any rate, why Noggin gets to be on the big flatscreen and we have to watch football games on the smaller, inferior tvs is a mystery. But that has been changing! Noggin is just as good in the bedroom, and we've added a little tv to the kitchen so I don't have to miss the action while I make dinner!

Actually, for Matthew, it's less about the game, and more about hanging out with Mommy, who apparently is all that and a bag of chips lately. Well, more like ever since he was born. Most of the time, it's cute and sweet, but other times, Mommy needs, well, a little quiet time, a little privacy. But they're only this little for so long, right? So for now, I'll endure the little guy, who might as well be one of those sticky little burrs I've been picking out of the dog's fur lately.

In other news, today I feel like baking. After three or four days of really nice weather - in the 70's - today is the start of what looks like the true beginning of cooler weather in these parts. Indian summer is over in a big way. So this morning, I'm baking up a batch of Toll House cookies for the boys, and then later on, I'm going to try this recipe for Fruit and Oatmeal Scones I found in one of my Pampered Chef cookbooks. Be a nice treat for the weekend with coffee while we sit inside with coughing kid(s) and watch the leaves swirl around outside. I'm also making a huge pot of chili for the weekend and beyond - and that means cornbread too! Can you tell I'm hungry right now!? I'll try to post some of the final product photos - I really miss blogging about my recipes and my fun in the kitchen!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bloggin' in REAL Time

Okay, thought I'd try something different, or, rather, try to distract myself less I run out the back door and scream at the top of my lungs into the crisp mountain air tonight. Why? I'm sitting here listening to Matthew scream and scream and scream. I put him to bed half an hour ago. He usually goes in fine - give him a sippy cup with some water, give him a little pat, cover him up, press the button on his little crib/aquarium/music thing and depart. Good for 12 hours. But lately, he's been having a few issues. Perhaps it's related to the two HUGE molars the kid's getting. This child grows the biggest teeth I've ever seen. Like horse-sized. He's getting his two bottom final molars and it's got to hurt. Or perhaps it's related to the hacking cough he's had since Monday. Or maybe it's because we've been babying him a bit (well, he IS a baby) and going into him lately, because a) he's getting molars and b) he has a cough. Somewhat of a circular argument, but I digress.

So half hour ago, I rocked him awhile, kissed his sweet little cheek, smelled his freshly washed head, snuggled in the rocker with him and he was fine. Then I made the supreme mistake of telling him it was bedtime and putting him in his little crib. It's been angst ever since.

So what to do? What to do? Go into him? Pick him up? NO. Will not do one bit of good - he'll just stop crying and then when I put him in again, he'll be hysterical another half hour. So how about going in and giving him a little pat? Nope. He's too old for that. Maybe would work on an 8 month old. But I know as soon as I walk in there, he'll shoot right up, hold his little arms up to be picked up and be all the more insulted if I don't actually pick him up. Sit here and listen to him cry more? Well, so far, it's done nothing except cause me stress. Nail-biting, self-hating, parental technique-doubting stress. I want to scream. He's still screaming.

By now, with the cold he's got, his face is probably soaked with tears and snot. His mattress sheet is probably soaked and slimy. He's probably all congested and has swollen eyes, face, etc....
WAIT. Haven't heard anything for about 30 seconds. Is he....giving up? Still quiet. Could he be falling asleep? Fingers crossed. Heart rate falling ever so slightly. Still quiet. Silence. Don't breathe. If I could whisper-type, I would.

While I'm waiting, let's talk about Ferber. Many people don't like him or his ideas about kids and sleep. I didn't think much of it until my very sanity was in question, then I bought his book. While the man isn't the genius some make him out to be, he does have some good ideas. And while "Ferberizing" your child can be emotionally painful, it does work in the long run. When Matthew was 8 months old, he was waking up to nurse 4-5 times a night, then sleeping half the day and not eating much through the day. It was the Ferber method that not only reversed that, but got him sleeping entirely through the night at about 8.5 months, without even a nursing break - something that Jonathan never gave up until he was completely weaned at one year. So ever since 8.5 months, Matthew's been sleeping through the night wonderful. Except in times of sickness, or if we're traveling or whatever. Jonathan? Well, we weren't so lucky with him - he started sleeping through at about a year old, but it was hit or miss. For the most part, we can't complain. Once they're actually ASLEEP, our kiddos sleep fairly well, and for that, I can be grateful.

And right now, I'm REALLY grateful, because Matthew is still quiet, so it looks like he's down for the count. Hope he stays that way - although it wouldn't surprise me if he needs a midnight round of motrin for his teeth. We had to do that the other night, and we fought our instincts tonight to give him a dose before bedtime. Maybe we should have!

Some Artwork

Remember this? You might, if you're a long-time reader of my blog and/or on my Christmas card list -- this was the photo from the photo card that became our Christmas greeting from last year - Christmas 2007. Now take a look at THIS:

Nice, huh? That's my father-in-law's rendition of Jonathan, as he copied it from the photo. Mark's dad likes to draw, paint, etc...(I think he'd be mortified if I actually said he was an "artist" so let's leave it at that...). At any rate, he tinkers around and when he gave this to us a week or two ago (a total surprise), I was touched. Nothing like original art of your children, no less. I'm going to frame it and hang it up here shortly. Not sure exactly where yet, but we'll figure it out.

But the story doesn't end there. Jonathan understands what the photo is all about and I think he was pretty impressed with the fact that Grandpa drew a picture of him and for him....so the other day, he asked for a piece of paper and a pencil so he could draw a picture for Grandpa. This is what Grandpa is going to get when they come for a visit in a few weeks:

A little person of some sort:

A caterpillar:

And a butterfly: (don't you love the way everything has a face?)

And there's the little artist with the whole array of drawings - there's a few more things on there - the top thing is supposed to be a couch and the thing down to the right is a house with steps leading up the side....he wasn't too happy with the way they looked so he didn't "name" them.

So not bad for a four year old. Better than I could do myself - could he have inherited the art gene that seems to have skipped right over Mark? And trust me, it didn't come from me - I am the most hopelessly deficient person when it comes to artistic ability ever. So we'll have to see what comes of this - in the meantime, I'm going to get him some new arts and crafts things for Christmas and see what transpires!

Oh, and PS - sorry about the little blog vacation recently. I've been up to my neck in all kinds of stuff, and blogging has sort of taken the backseat to some other priorities. But if you know me, you know I can't keep my mouth, well, fingers, shut for too long, so stay tuned and I'll be adding more regularly again!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Buzz, Buzz

Busy as bees we are - sorry I haven't had much time to blog these last few days. Work meetings, kid stuff, fall yardwork, football games -- so many activities, so little time!

Stay tuned for more, coming your way very soon!