Thursday, December 31, 2009

Superstition and Resolution

My last few New Year's Eves have been rather uneventful. Not that I'm complaining. A quiet evening at home with J and the kids, some yummy food and a movie or two is a great way to spend the holiday. Especially now that I am working and those evenings are so rare. But before I was married, New Year's Eve had a different tone to it. I'm not sure why, but they always ended up... not so great. I won't go into any detail, but every year it was something; bad parties, drunk friends, flat tires, snowstorms. I was convinced that December 31st was just a bad day for me. So, I started staying home. And for the past few years it has worked. Uneventful... until today. The curse has returned.

It started out with Matthew waking up shortly after 5 am because his overpriced, so-called "nighttime" diaper had ripped open and spilled "liquid absorbing crystals" all over Matthew and his crib. It turns out that the crystals only hold on to that liquid while they are inside the diaper. Now, normally when Matthew wakes up too early, we can change him and put him straight back to sleep for an hour or so. Not today. By the time we got the mess cleaned up, he was wide awake.

Skip to us rushing out the door to get to the store and me forgetting to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. You'll see why that's important later.

We actually had a good trip to the store, capped off by the kids quietly and happily eating their frozen yogurt from the food court where I work, while I read half of a magazine.

Next, it was off to get haircuts. This is where things started to turn. I noticed that Matthew was sleepy in the car. I should've just aborted and called it a day at this point. But, you know how it is... you just want to get stuff like this over with and not have to make another appointment and drag the kids out again, blah, blah, blah. So, I rationalized that he would be fine, just like the last couple of times I brought him here. I knew to expect a little bit of whining, but nothing like what was about to happen.

We actually got in right at our appointment time, despite a full waiting room. Matthew was first and we brought his favorite DVD to distract him. He complained while they put on his cape and then started to throw a fit while they wet his hair. All of the sudden, he slammed his head forward and smashed his face onto the metal part of the car/chair that he was sitting in. (An hour later this would turn out to be a full on black eye.) So, now he is screaming at the top of lungs, so we decide to give him a minute to calm down. By the way, children screaming is a normal occurrence at this place. I'm not sure why kids get so freaked out about getting their hair cut. But, until now, it has never been my kid.

After a few minutes, he is crying less, but when the stylist tries to restart his haircut he cranks it up again. Everything I try to do to calm him down fails and after 25 minutes of holding him down, we give up and leave the store with half a haircut and one very noticeable bald spot on one side. The very calm and patient stylist gave us an IOU, but still upset from the incident, I swear to never put Matthew (or me) through that again.

So, I decide that it will be faster to pick up some Steak-n-Shake for lunch than for me to make something, but of course that is not going to be the case. I get behind a woman who orders no less than 8 bags of food, and is apparently taking orders for the person she is on the phone with. "What do you want to eat, I can't hear you. Hold on a sec.." It took every ounce of restraint for me to keep my foot on the brake and not ram my car into hers.

We arrive home 45 minutes late for lunch and Matthew who is crying in the backseat, has been up for almost 7 hours. So, I decide that since he had some animal crackers and milk in the car that it is in his best interest to skip lunch and go straight to bed. This is when I realize that his blanket and his bear are soaking wet in the washing machine. I try to put him down with his "other bear" and a different blanket, but he is so far past tired now that he just lays in his crib and cries. I eventually throw the bear and blanket in the dryer and get them dry enough to sleep with.

He finally falls asleep and 45 minutes after we arrived home, I unload the groceries from the car and sit down to eat my cold and soggy hamburger. I turn on the tv and the cable is out. No matter; I turn on a movie that I Tivo'd last night and 3 minutes into it the channel changes and I realize that it has recorded something else. I give up, turn off the tv, and throw away the rest of my sandwich.

Embry and I lay down to rest and we both fall asleep for about a half hour. When she gets up I remind her to be quiet because Matthew is still asleep, and she proceeds to slam the bedroom door as hard as she can. Matthew wakes up and stays up about an hour earlier than he normally would.

I yell at Embry for not listening and for waking up her brother, but 5 minutes later I feel bad. After all, the whole day could've been avoided had I just listened to Matthew in the first place and went home after the store. Instead, I tried to make him fit to my schedule. I always judge parents when I see them dragging their kids through Costco at night. Why don't they get that kid to bed? And here I was doing the exact same thing.

My day did eventually get better. The kids are playing happily together now, and my next door neighbor left a gift bag full of chocolate on our doorstep. A happy surprise, because although we have lived next to each other for a year and a half, we have only spoken a handful of times. Embry and I will return the gesture later tonight with some pretty candles from Pottery Barn.

So, my most important resolution this year will be to listen to my children, to have more patience with them, and to not take out my frustrations from the day on them. I recently read something by a tired and weary mother that really struck me... "My children (and my husband) deserve the best of me, not just what is left after a long day." Amen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Crafts

We definitely have another crafter in the family, now that Embry is old enough to do so much on her own. She has spent the last few weeks working on tons of stuff for Christmas.



Here she is working on these:



Some foam door hangers (from a kit that Grandma sent) and refrigerator magnets (from Oriental Trading Co.).



Here's the awesome gingerbread house that we did together. It was also a kit that came with the house already put together! All you had to do was stick on the candy (included) with the icing (also included). A great project for her age. I've made gingerbread houses from scratch before, and she's not quite ready for that much work yet.

Last week, as part of their studies on Asia, I taught Embry's class a few easy origami models. I included this candy cane since it's Christmas time. Embry has been busy ever since making tons of them to hang on our tree.



And speaking of trees, here she is hamming it up for the camera right after she helped put up the lights on the Christmas tree. Great job!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Adventures in Photography

It's a pre-Thanksgiving tradition for us. Dress the kids in cute matching outfits (I opted for pj's this year so they'd get more than an hour of use out of them), and drag them off to get their picture taken. I start out with pretty low expectations this year because Matthew is not known to sit still for anything. But, the photographer did such a great job last year, I hoped we'd get at least one good shot for the Christmas cards.

So, after waiting for the staff to choose a background we decided to start off with Embry while Matthew ran off some energy in the hall.

First shot....beautiful!
Ok, now let's bring Matthew in. Try putting him on the sled with Embry...

And he's off and running in the hall again.
Maybe if we try a prop. Matthew look, Embry's reading a book!
Nope, he's more interested in honking her nose.
And there he goes again.
Maybe if we try having him sit on something.
Now scoot them closer together, oh wait... Embry is ticklish.
Ok, let's let Matthew relax for a few minutes and do another one with Embry. Very good!
Maybe if we just try sitting on the floor.
Or maybe a stuffed animal. What's that, you only have one? That's not going to work.
(That one is my favorite.)
A couple more with Embry while Matthew recovers.
Should we just give up and come back next week? No, let's just try one more time.
I don't think we're going to get any better than that. Let's go home.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Giving Thanks

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies c/o Martha Stewart (recipe here). They were so yummy. A few notes about the recipe...it says that it makes 12 pies, I ended up with about 25... also there is a lot of spices in the recipe and I actually cut back a little on the ginger and nutmeg... the cakes were wonderful, but they tasted a lot more like gingerbread than pumpkin, despite 3 cups of pumpkin puree.


I actually remembered to take a picture of our only contribution to Thanksgiving dinner this year. So I thought I'd post it along with a list of a few things (people) I'm thankful for...

My husband, who works hard all day to support his family, and then takes care of them all night while I go off to work.

My children, who give me so much to look forward to, every day.

My mother, who will listen to me complain about work and kids for hours.

My husband's family for putting up with our mess and our noise when we come to visit.

My brother for making me laugh.

The rest of my family for their love and support.

And finally, my boss for letting me have off the 2 days after Christmas to spend time with all of my family together. I can't wait!

*Also, I'm thankful for Johnny Depp, for gracing the cover of my Entertainment Weekly this afternoon, and making my day off a little bit sweeter.*

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December 3

Two years ago today, this happened...


Happy Birthday Mattie!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tendencies

Everyone knows that I have certain..."issues." I like to eat Reese's peanut butter cups by eating all of the chocolate on the outside first. I hate when my food touches, especially if pancake syrup gets on my eggs. Yuk!

I always assumed that Embry would the one to inherit some of my behaviors. She likes things neat and organized, just like me. But, I started to wonder when Matthew became obsessed with picking lint up off the floor and looking for hairs in the bathtub.

This is his latest quirk that seems way too much like something I would have done. Matthew often has yogurt and crackers for lunch. The other day I noticed him doing this:



He lines his crackers up and takes one bite out of each of them. The same size bite out of the same corner.


Then he lines them up again and takes another bite.





So funny, and yet a little bit scary :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November Update

Around the House: Not a whole lot going on here lately. It is birthday party season, apparently. Embry has been invited to 3 in the last couple of weeks. I still haven't decided how many she will go to. I like for her to socialize with her classmates outside of school, but there are only so many weekend afternoons I am willing to give up. I have so few weekend days off as it is.

In the Kitchen: On my way home from work last night I decided that our home has been lacking in baked goods lately. I had to resort to toast for my late night snack. So today, I was determined to make cookies. However, Matthew is napping and I am blogging rather than baking. After putting together the dough for a double batch of chocolate-chip cookies, I realized that I only had half a bag of chocolate chips. Note to self...check to see that you have all the ingredients before you put everything into the mixer. In my defense, I did check to see if we had enough butter and brown sugar, the two things we are usually out of. So, in my fridge sits a large bowl of plain cookie dough, sans chips. I was tempted to bake a few without, just to see how they turned out. But, I decided that the dough can wait until tomorrow, and I'll bring home a 5 lb bag of chocolate chips from work tonight.

New with Embry: Embry is making huge strides in her reading. She wants to read everything that she sees. Road signs, t-shirts, mail, everything. She's really starting to get it. She's also starting something new with her penmanship. I came home the other day to find a page of cursive words on the desk. She has just started to learn it, but it is coming very easy to her. She seems to like it much more than printing. She did not get that from me, I hated writing cursive in school. It was my worst subject. Go figure.

New with Matthew: Matthew is saying new words everyday. He seems to focus on one sound at a time. He favorites this week are "cool," "goose," and "soup." It is so much nicer to hear his little speaking voice than the usual screaming that we have become too familiar with.

I am Grateful For: The next 2 Saturdays off, and spending as much time with J and the kids as possible.

The Weather Outside: It has been ridiculously nice outside, especially for November. There are lilies blooming in my front yard! I can't remember it being so warm this late in the year, even when we lived in Alabama. We did have our first frost last night, but it is 65 out right now. I love it!

I am Obsessed With: Making plans for the holidays. Unfortunately, I may not know my schedule until the last few days before Thanksgiving and Christmas. So far we have several contingencies, but I know we will make it work...somehow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Late Halloween!

Ok, everyone else I know posted pictures of their kids in their Halloween costumes like a hour after trick-or-treating, but I'm lazy. So, here they are finally...


Matthew is wearing a glow-in-the-dark hoodie that I found at Target in August. (I wasn't even sure it would still fit him by the end of October.) Technically he's a skeleton, but really I would put this in the category with the "Yes, this is my costume" t-shirts. I knew that he would not be interested in Trick-or-treating, but I had to put something on him since he was coming along.


Embry has wanted to be a puppy for months, so I started looking for a costume for her as soon as they hit the stores. Apparently, she grew out of the puppy costumes a couple of years ago, because I could only find them for babies. I did, however, find every Disney princess and fairy costume imaginable. Alongside these were tons of (for lack of a better word) trampy costumes like french maids and schoolgirls complete with fishnets and bustiers. Yes, for a 5 year old! Who dresses their little girl like that? So, I was forced to concoct a puppy myself using a brown hooded sweatshirt and some black socks for ears. Finished off by J's great makeup job of a puppy nose and whiskers, I think it turned out great. Everyone knew exactly what she was.



The pictures are actually from after trick-or-treating, which explains the look on Matthew's face. I had to work all day and I joined J, grandma, and the kids right after they got started in the neighborhood. (J forgot to take pictures before.) The weather was great and we had a great time. There were tons of kids out. A couple of houses had haunted houses to walk through. One family even had the BBQ out and was serving hot dogs, chips and soda to the parents. What a great idea!

Embry got tired after only a couple of blocks, so we got home pretty early. She has enough candy to last her quite a while, though. And she is happy to share with Mom and Dad and her little brother.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Picking

It's October, so that means time to pick pumpkins, and we went to the same place as last year. This time Grandma went with, and it was colder than I remember it being last year. We actually had to bring blankets with us on the tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch. Embry found the perfect pumpkin and Matthew just enjoyed climbing over them. It eventually warmed up quite nicely and we had a great time feeding the goats at the petting zoo, and eating homemade custard.

I decided we would paint our pumpkins this year just to change things up. I think Embry appreciated that she could do hers all by herself, as opposed to just watching me carve it. Maybe next year I'll be comfortable with her helping with that.

Enjoy some pictures from the weekend!



End of October Update

Around the House: The last few weeks have been a bit rough around here. Embry was the first one to come down with a cold. Then, despite my best efforts to keep them apart, Matthew got it too. I was next, and J was just starting to show symptoms as Embry was starting feeling better. All of us are doing pretty well now, though. Matthew still has a bit of a cough, but he actually slept through the night last night, and he seems to be getting better everyday.


In the Kitchen: Seven straight nights closing means scrambled eggs and frozen lasagna for J and the kids this week. I plan to get back in my own kitchen more starting on Sunday.


New with Embry: Embry got to do the coolest thing at school yesterday. One of the parents from school is a glass artist, and every year he lets the kids participate in making their own Christmas ornaments. Embry got to choose the colors of and blow her own glass ornament. It was then etched with her name and the date. It is so beautiful, and I can't believe I forgot to bring my camera.

New with Matthew: I hope that Matthew's ornery behavior the last few days is due to him not feeling well, and not the terrible twos creeping in a little early. It seems like every time I turn around he is doing something I know he knows he's not supposed to. Like standing on the dining room chairs, drawing on the couch, or pouring out his glass of milk. Amusing at first, but frustrating after the fifth time. It's a good thing he's so cute.


The Weather Outside: Rain, rain, go away. The worst part about all the rain? Driving in it. I never realized how much time I actually spent in the car everyday, until this week.


I am Grateful For: Setting the clocks back on Saturday night!


I am Obsessed With: Just getting to Friday, this week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen

Presenting the World Premier of the first song written and performed by Embry...

I know Mozart wrote his first symphony at age four, but this is a good start :)

**After several attempts, the first few seconds of this video keep getting cut off. It's the part where Embry says that she wrote the song all by herself, as you can see from the sheet music on the piano.**


video

Friday, October 9, 2009

Latest Project

Embry and I have been working on a project for a while, in the precious few minutes that I have to spend with her lately. We've been recreating the butterflies from Animal Crossing. I finally finished the last one and hung them from the ceiling above the ocean of fish (also from Animal Crossing) on our picture window in the front room of our house. I was going to tape them to the window above the "water" but Embry insisted that they fly.



What's funny is how Mattie reacted to the new decor. The first time he saw them he just stared for a while and then quickly left the room. Then, for the rest of the afternoon, he would not even walk by the front room without me holding him. And he would clench onto me so tight, keeping a close eye on them the whole time. He was totally scared of these butterflies. Finally, I was able to carry him close enough to touch them and he loosened up a little. Today, he will go into the room alone, but is still wary of their presence. It's so interesting what will freak kids out.
**By the way, for those of you familiar with Animal Crossing, we made a Monarch, an Agrias, a Birdwing, a Yellow, a Tiger, a Common, an Emperor, and a Raja Brooke. I think there is one type of butterfly that we did not capture this summer on the game, so I was not allowed to make that one.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mommy Milestone

For the first time in 4 1/2 years there is no high chair in my kitchen. Matthew has been fighting with it for a while now, but we have only recently decided that he was big (careful) enough for a booster at the table. And he loves it.

I am both happy and sad. Happy because that extra square foot of space makes a huge difference in our small eat-in kitchen. Sad because I know that my baby is definitely not a baby anymore.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Poor Children...

They're so bored (what with their lack of toys and attention) that this is the only thing they can find to do:


video

Friday, October 2, 2009

October Update

Around the House: A long awaited improvement for our house... a new TV. J finally picked out his birthday present and it arrived last week. I picked out the stand which is actually a low buffet (I hate those silver or black laquered TV stands) and it looks pretty good in our family room. Pros for having a new TV: watching Dancing with the Stars without lines across the screen, not having to worry that one of the kids will pull over the entertainment center and 75lb tv on top of themselves. Cons: worrying that of the kids will knock over (or throw something at or spill something on) the new tv and we'll be out 3 times the $ than the old one, and of course figuring the new remote.

Also, a pleasant surprise in the flower bed... the tiny mums that I bought 3 for $2 in the checkout at Home Depot last year came up and started to bloom last week. And they are huge; at least 24 inches across. That makes 2 things that I managed not to kill this summer!

In the Kitchen: Not too much going on since I've been working so much lately. I am, however, going to try a new recipe for New York Crumb Cake tomorrow for company. It looks so yummy, I can't wait.

New with Embry: Embry is getting along great at school. And she asks me everyday, "How many days until soccer?" She is doing better about actually eating her lunch and resting if she gets tired in the afternoon. She had an especially good time at school yesterday when a very lively thunderstorm rolled through town. Apparently, the teacher instructed the students to stop their work and come to the center of the room. They turned the lights off and closed their eyes and listened to the rain and thunder. Then they read a book about rain and discussed why the lightning comes before the thunder and so on. She was so excited to tell me all about it.

New with Matthew: Matthew has recently become pleasantly independent lately. I say "pleasantly" because he has always been independent in the way that he wants to do things for himself. But he is now actually able to do so many more things for himself, safely and without much help. For example, I can set his yogurt, milk (in an open cup) and crackers on his highchair tray and he will feed himself without spilling (too much) or choking from putting too much food in his mouth. I can now actually eat a meal while he is eating his. Also, he has become quite comfortable with walking himself to and from the car at home. This may not seem like a big deal, but to anyone who has tried to carry a toddler while unloading groceries, wrestling with a diaper bag and balancing a coffee all at once knows how freeing this is. He can be relied on not to fall up the stairs, or run into the street, and I don't have to make several trips in order to bring everything along. Baby steps, but they make a big difference in our everyday life.

I'm Grateful For: See above.

The Weather Outside: I finally had to turn on the heat this week. Wednesday morning the temp outside was 49 and the temp in the house was 55. I tried to warm up by putting a sweater on over my pj's and digging out my warm slippers from the back of the closet. But, I just couldn't get comfortable and I used Matthew's cold hands as my final excuse. I turned the switch on the central air to "heat" and left it on for about 30 minutes. Just enough time to take the chill out of the air. I was satisfied and the house was left smelling a little musty like it always does when you turn on the furnace for the first time.

I am Obsessed With: The new TV series "Glee." I think it's on Fox, I don't know for sure since I've only watched it on Hulu. It is hilarious. Somewhat campy (I think that's a word) with very dry humor and lots of "High School Musical" style singing and dancing (which I would normally despise). But the fact that no one takes it too seriously makes it so good.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Official...

I am now an actual Soccer Mom. Embry had her first soccer lesson yesterday after school. Matthew and I came about halfway through to watch. She and the other kids were so cute running around kicking their soccer balls back and forth. I especially loved the little girl in the tutu. That's Embry in the pink pants and blue shirt.
It was surprisingly organized and cooperative (for a bunch of 4 and 5 year-olds).



The kids mostly spent their time learning to dribble and control the ball, but at the end they all lined up and took turns making a goal.



Of course, Matthew felt like he had to kick a ball around too, so my job the whole time was keeping him away from the other kids. He so badly wanted to join in.



Afterwards the coach told me what a great job Embry did, and asked when Matthew was going to sign up. So much fun! And great weather too!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September Update

Around the House: We are settling into a yet another new routine here at the Rickman casa. School has started, so our mornings are slightly more hectic trying to get Embry and Jason ready and out the door by 7. Lunches to pack, breakfasts to make, ponytails to comb (that one is exclusively Embry), teeth to brush, etc. Then, at 7:01 all is quiet, and Matthew and I eat breakfast and watch the morning news.

What is most different this year is picking up Embry in the afternoon instead of before lunch. This means that most days Mattie and I eat lunch by ourselves and then Mattie goes down for a nap. Despite an new, earlier naptime, I still have to wake Matthew up when it's time to pick up his sister, so he's usually not in a great mood for the ride there. But, he always cheers up immediately when his sister gets in the car.

When we get home from school, Embry and Matthew play together and I try to get in as much kid time as possible because most days I head off to work as soon as Daddy gets home.

In the Kitchen: Tomorrow is the International Grill Fest at CMS (Embry's school). I'm making chocolate chip cookie brownies for the cake walk, and Mexican layered dip for the pot-luck. Other than that, not much has been going on in the kitchen. We have vowed to clean out our freezer before we buy any new dinner stuff, so it's been frozen pizza and stuff for the last week.

New with Embry: Embry is so excited about school this year. I think what she likes best is not being the newest or the youngest kid in class. She tells me everyday on the way home about how she helped one of the "little kids" with something. I think it's one of the best aspects of the Montessori classroom, that the classrooms are mixed age. She gets help from older kids and she is so proud of herself when she has taught someone else.

New with Matthew: Matthew is finally starting to talk, a little bit. He has a Diego book with a pen that talks. Diego says, "Hola!" and Matthew responds with, "Ya ya!" He also will occasionally repeat "Night, night" or "Bye, bye." It doesn't seem like much, but for our stubborn little boy, it's a big step forward, finally.

The Weather Outside: Still beautiful. It's warm, but not hot. Cool, but not yet cold in the evenings. Perfect!

I am Grateful For: A husband who works all day and then puts up with kids by himself all night. Who leaves work early so that I can get to work on time and then works from home after the kids go to bed to make up for it. Thanks for taking care of all of us, J!

I am Obsessed With: Too busy to obsess this week, maybe next week.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Last week was J's birthday, so of course I have a new cake recipe to share...

Here are the Boston Cream Cupcakes that I made: Thanks to Martha for the recipe.



Of course, Embry helped me and she almost couldn't wait to eat them.


These were so cute, so yummy and not difficult at all. Just a basic yellow cupcake recipe, a vanilla pudding filling and chocolate ganache topping. They are assembled just like a regular size Boston Cream Pie, only smaller. They area little messy to eat so, J and I used forks, but Embry insisted on using her hands.



Hope you had a great birthday honey!




Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Update

Around the House: I have finished my first official week at work and all is well, so far. I'm not really any more tired than usual, but I have definitely been sleeping better at night. J is handling the kids fine in the evenings, and because I am missing them so much when I'm at work, I can't wait to see them the next morning. I do miss having the weekends to do whatever, and I am appreciating the time I do have off much more.

In the Kitchen: We've been cooking a lot lately since we've been given tons of garden veggies from my MIL. Some of our favorites are fried green tomatoes and okra, grilled zucchini, homemade salsa, and anything we can think of with fresh tomatoes. I also broke in my new cookbook, "Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey." (Thanks to Alicia for introducing me to this one.) The recipe we chose was Banana Bread Pudding. The recipe called for a chocolate sauce, but we made a bourbon sauce instead. It was soooo yummy.


New with Embry: Embry has been slightly obsessed with climbing lately. "Climbing what," you might ask? The car, the doorways, the swingset, anything that is taller than she is. She can almost touch the ceiling in Matthew's room, all on her own. That kid will do anything to keep from being bored.

New with Matthew: Matthew has really started to like anything to do with drawing. He draws on his MagnaDoodle all the time. Anytime he sees me using a pen or a pencil he runs over, grabs it out of hand, and draws all over whatever I was working on. Then, the other day, I let him try his hand at the chalkboard and he loved it. Then he started using the chalk to draw on the paper side of the easel (and the wall and the table). Luckily, chalk wipes off easily. Now he and Embry draw together all the time. So cute.


I'm Grateful For: Kids who are old enough to play together for 10 or 15 minutes at a time without fighting or injuring each other or breaking something.

The Weather Outside: I have nothing to report except beautiful weather all around. Low eighties, partly cloudy, no humidity. Just lovely!

I'm Obsessed With: Darn that stupid Internet and the vast amount of old tv shows that are available whenever you want. I recently started watching "My So-Called Life" on Hulu.com. I almost forgot how amazingly great that show was. And all my feelings of anger about the show being cancelled after one season because it was too controversial, came rushing back to me. I mean, if this show were on tv these days, it would be quite tame in comparison to what else is on. Anyway, I'm almost finished with this show, then I'm starting "Growing Pains"...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tomatoes

Yes, I actually grew something. My family is full of people who are fantastic at growing things. Gardens, flowers, houseplants, you name it. But I can't keep a cactus alive. If there is a plant alive in my house it is because it was given to me within the last few months. If there are flowers in my yard, it is because they were planted by whoever lived here before us. If there are fresh vegetables in my kitchen they probably came from the farmer's market.

It's not that I don't want to do these things, I'm just not good at it. So, when my mother-in-law brought these upside-down tomato plants to our house I figured they'd be dead in a couple of weeks. But thanks to Embry for reminding me to water them, and thanks to our sunny backyard, they actually grew big and produced!

These were my first official fruit...aren't they pretty? Now what to do with them? Not enough of them to make marinara, too many for a salad. I've got some bacon in the fridge...hmmm.

Oh yes, one of my favorite things to do with a fresh tomato. BLT.

It was delicious!! I can't wait until we harvest some more!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pizza Recipe

Costco has this great pizza kit that comes with 3 ready-made crusts and 3 pouches of sauce. I thought it would be fun for Embry to get to make her own pizza, so I bought these tiny mini-pepperoni that are the size of a dime. She made her pizza one half cheese and one half pepperoni.

For the grown-up pizza I wanted to try something different. I also wanted to use up some of the huge bag of spinach that I had. So, I searched the web for a spinach pizza recipe and found this one.

Spinach, Ham and Egg Pizza

1 store-bought pizza crust
4 cups (about 4 ounces) baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 ounces prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)
3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
4 eggs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place the pizza crust on a cookie sheet. Scatter spinach all over crust. Drizzle with oil. Evenly distribute prosciutto, Parmesan and garlic on top of spinach. Crack eggs onto pizza, roughly positioning 1 yolk on each pizza quarter. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until spinach is wilted and egg whites are just fully cooked. Cut into 4 large slices.

It seemed a little weird, but we like to try new stuff, so I went for it. Embry helped with this one too, of course. It turned out great! I decided that it tasted a lot like quiche. We ended up using bacon instead of ham, because we always have bacon in the house, but I think our version was better. I had a second piece after rationalizing that all of that spinach was good for me. Yum!

Decisions

As of Monday, I will be going to work, part time in the evenings and on the weekends. It was something that we've been thinking about for a while now. I go back and forth as to what is really better for our family. I don't necessarily want to work, I would much rather be home to eat dinner with my husband and put my kids to bed every night. However, saving up some cash for a house, for Matthew to go to school with Embry, and for whatever might happen in our near future seems more important right now.

Every time I get sad thinking about what I'll be missing, I try to remind myself about how great I'll still have it. Not many people get to stay home all day with their son or pick up their daughter every day from school. I'll still have 3 days off every week, so it's not like I'll be gone all the time, but right now it sure feels like it. J and I agreed that if it gets too stressfull, I'll just quit, but we're going to give it a shot.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Henry

"Henry" is Embry's imaginary dog. He is a big dog who once was a puppy, and we have traded him in at the mall for a new puppy a couple of times when Embry has gotten tired of having a full grown dog. I'm not sure if we are getting a new puppy each time, who is always named Henry... or if we are taking him to some sort of backwards aging store and just making the dog-Henry young again.

Anyway, Henry goes almost everywhere we go. He rides in the car and we have to make sure that he has his seatbelt on before we go. He rides in the cart at the grocery store, and he loves to go to the park and to museums. According to Embry, the City Museum is Henry's favorite because he like to go down all of the slides.

I have to say that an imaginary dog is the best kind. He keeps us safe and is loads of fun, but he never needs to be walked or bathed. And on the rare occasion that he makes a mess, Embry is always happy to clean up after him. Until the day when I lose my mind and get a real dog, he seems to be a good substitute.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Many Faces of Embry

Embry and I were being silly with the camera. She wanted to show me all of her different faces.


Here is her "fake happy" face:


Here is her sad face:



Here is her scary face:



I don't remember exactly what this one was, but I think it had something to do with a scorpion?



No idea what this one is, but it's funny.