Thursday, November 29, 2007

Quiet House

Things are getting back to normal at the S house now that Thanksgiving visitors are all gone. J got a dose of two sets of grandparents with back to back visits. He had a blast and I think they did too, but now it's back to reality. Snacks on a schedule, sleep on a schedule, not always getting our way. It's gonna be great!

J's come down with a bit of a cold which has been waking him up at all sorts of times during the night. His face is a mess and he's only breathing out of his mouth, so he's also drooling all over the place. Plus it's so much fun to try to wipe his face. There's not way to do it without screaming.
One of the highlights of J's Nummi's visit was that we got our garage organized. Nummi is a super fantastic garage organizer and this is her second time helping us in two years. Everything now has a place on a shelf (except for those dental and teaching books which are awaiting a shelf or two inside) and we can actually fit cars in there. Imgaine that. It's very exciting. Now we can move onto more fun projects like painting the family room (red) and putting up Christmas lights. The next few weeks are going to be fun! Although I don't think B shares my enthusiasm about either endeavor, but I am sure he will appreciate the final product.

I didn't really get any good Thanksgiving shots because I was in the kitchen all day, but here is a shot of J providing us with some post dinner entertainment. He was wearing his Babcia's shoes and clomping all over the floor.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Dinner is over. The turkey came out great. It was incredibly moist and looked golden and beautiful. We brined the turkey last night with brown sugar, salt, water, oranges, lemons, rosemary and thyme. Then we cooked it by stuffing it with oranges, lemons, onions, and rubbing the orange and butter, and pepper on the outside. The recipe said only to cover it if it started to look brown quickly and this happened after about 1 minute, so it got foiled and only took about 2.5 hours to cook, which is pretty fast for a 16 lb. turkey. That was at 425 degrees.

I made the stuffing yesterday because I wanted to see exactly how long it would take. I'm glad I didn't just try this on Thanksgiving because I am sure it would have been a disaster time-wise. The chestnut and apple stuffing was yummy! The chestnuts really give the stuffing a meaty flavor. I'm used to stuffing made with sausage, but I didn't miss the meat at all. And the fact that it was made with day old baguette instead of bagged stuffing cubes made all the difference. Now don't get me wrong, I still like the bagged stuffing cubes too, but this got so crunchy on top with all the butter. Yum. If only I hadn't sliced my finger while peeling the cooked chestnuts, this would have been fairly simple to make, but it took double the time because I had to work with one hand for awhile.

Now the disappointment was the gravy. It was a cointreau and cognac pan gravy. I doubled the recipe because it looked like I had double the drippings. Everything looked the way it was supposed to, but boy was it salty! You could tell it had some really good depth of flavor, but the salt just overpowered everything. I'm not sure if this was because the turkey was overbrined, which if it was, didn't affect the turkey, or if it was because the chicken broth I added along with the fact that it was brined just made it that way. Either way, I'm in a conundrum about what to do for Thursday. Not sure if we should brine the turkey less, use no sodium chicken broth and try again, or if I should just try a different gravy entirely? Any wisdom would be appreciated!

I should make mention that although this brined turkey was incredibly moist, I don't think it was any more moist than the turkey my mom makes, which is not brined and is cooked at 450 under foil, stuffed, and just coated in butter. I'm also debating if I should just do that instead. So as you can see, this dry run was good, but hasn't really helped me figure out my Thanksgiving menu!

Hummus Hat?

Here is a sentence I never thought I would hear myself say,

"J, please don't touch your Santa hat right now. You'll give yourself hummus hat."

That's what you have to say when your kid sits to eat his snack, asks for his new Santa hat, and continues to eat his red peppers and hummus.

This weekend is a cleaning weekend as well as a Thanksgiving dry run. I'm making a new stuffing and doing the turkey differently, so I wanted to make sure it works out well before I subject my guests to it. I made the chesnut and apple stuffing last night. It tastes great, but we'll see how it goes with the turkey and gravy that are cooking right now. I'll let you know!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

But There are Three More Months Until He Is Two

The phrase "terrible twos" is a misnomer. For anyone that does not know, it starts earlier. Much earlier. Like 8 months earlier as they begin down the path closer to two-dom. Well yesterday we hit some major roadblock or something because it was just awful. There were no "Watch out! Terrible two behavior approaching!" warning signs either. It began at lunchtime when I couldn't get the milk out fast enough. WaaaahhhhHH!!! milk! Milk! Milk! MiiiilllllK!!!! It continued after a shortened nap because of the garbage trucks (stupid, blankety blank garbage trucks!). The pinnacle was at dinnertime. J asked for a fork, which we always give him, and a spoon. I suspect he wanted the fork for his meat and the spoon for his beans. Well somewhere along the line I did something wrong. He kept asking for help. I thought he wanted help scooping the beans on his spoon, but when I did that, he went psycho on me and started screaming at the top of his lungs. So I let go of the spoon. He grabbed his plate, turned it over on his tray and picked up every bean that he could and proceeded to squeeze them in his hand while he screamed. He kept yelling "help! help! help!" I had no idea. I tried again to help with the fork and spoon. This time, he threw what was left on his tray onto the floor. This was just about the time that daddy walked in. He got all excited, "Dad-deeee!! Daddeee!" Are you kidding me? Oh no kid, you just put me through hell all day. Daddy's going to hear about this. Daddy didn't have to hear about it because he saw it all over the floor. He held down the urge to laugh. We eventually got J to clean up his mess without tears. That was the success of the day.

We figured an earlier bedtime would help calm him down and set him up for a better mood tomorrow morning. The one problem was that he decided to wake up every thirty minutes from 2 until 4:30. At that point I threw in the towel and just took him into the spare bedroom to sleep with me. He talked to himself for nearly an hour as I lay there not saying word. "Pee pee...poop (I changed his diaper so I knew he was clean). poop...pee...punter (hunter the dog down the street) amy (ambulance) choo choo (the train went by... stupid blankety blank train) daddy, mama, mommy, seepy, seepy, Jo-nah, jo-nah, jo-nah (well go to sleep J, it will help fix that!). After getting kicked in the face a few times, clobbered on the stomach, he finally collapsed on me and slept until 7. I think I slept for about 3.5 hours last night.

I then took care of a three month old this morning for four hours, which confused the heck out of J. He kept looking at me like, "Where did she come from?" He handled it fairly well. Her mom swore she was an angel. Except she has a cold, wouldn't take a bottle, and didn't want to be in her sling or swing, which she supposedly loves. It all ended well, but I am so glad these two days are over. We are hoping for a very silent night tonight.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Baby Fix

I'd become a weepy mess before and after my little niece was born. My patient husband, wanting to make me happy, and more than likely hoping the weepiness would end quickly, suggested that I use miles to go to AZ to visit the new little one! This meant he would take care of J for three days on his own. He was a little panicked about this, but I left him a few lists and reassured him that he'd have a great, but tiring time.

I arrived on Saturday morning and returned home very late last night/early this morning. I'm so glad I was able to go. Lily is the most darling baby. Her cheeks are even more adorable in person. She makes tons of different scrunchy faces. She only cries a little when hungry or wet. And she doesn't quite have the pee/poop at the same time down yet, so we had lots of fun changing many diapers! It was so great to see Mama Feathernester and Papa D in action. Although they are very tired from constant nighttime feedings due to some lingering day/night confusion, they still look terrific. It was also tons of fun hanging out with Mama Scarlet Lily and talking about everything baby with her. Together, we solved all the breastfeeding issues of the world and told labor and baby stories like we were in the army. Poor Chewy-- the dog doesn't know what to do with himself. He has so much puppy energy that he ate a whole bottle of lanolin out of boredom and proceeded to throw it up. The last thing new parents need! We tried to get him out and running as much as we could, but he was still trotting all over the place, trying to lick Lily any chance he could. Of course the best part was holding Lily and smelling that new baby smell all over. Mom and Dad are doing great, but are focusing on sleep rather than email and phone calls, so here are some pictures for you to enjoy!

Papa D really enjoys forcing his daughter to make all sorts of faces. She'll get him back one day for all of this taunting!

Content Mama and Baby

A cozy place to sleep--that is a burp rag covering her! So tiny...

The happy family

Peeking over Mama Scarlet Lily's shoulder

Proud Auntie, no longer weepy

Wide awake and ready to take on the world!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Election Day!

A day late in the posting, but J loved going to vote yesterday. He kept trying to push the buttons on the computer screen. Then he tried to steal about 10 "I voted" stickers. The polling volunteers thought he was a hoot, especially when he started squealing because he thought I was taking too long. Doesn't he know that it takes awhile to vote on 16 propositions? He was thrilled that he got to leave with two stickers. And one of them ended up like this. I swear that there was no adult manipulation of the stickers to take this picture:

Nothing exciting is going on today. It's cloudy and in the fifties, which means that everyone has hunkered down for the arctic freeze. Except for us. We'll probably be the only ones at the park again today and we won't be wearing any hats and mittens like I saw some people wearing yesterday. Now that's thin blood.

Monday, November 05, 2007


The baby is here! Congrats to S/D and sweet little L. For pics and all the stats, check out here. Of course, she is the sweetest thing ever! J is very excited to have a cousin, but can't quite say her name. He tries, but then he just laughs. He enjoys looking at her pictures and says, "baby, baby" and blows kisses at the screen. We can't wait to kiss those cute chubby cheeks in person!

B, J and I participated in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure yesterday. There were over 21,000 walkers and runners. We decided on Saturday that we would do it and went downtown to register. Then we were up practically all night with the excitement of the baby, but we did it anyway. We ran as much as we could, but it was so crowded on the streets and the stroller made it even more difficult to get around people. J was happy in the jogging stroller and loved it when B ran in and out of people. He also loved all the free food they were giving away. At one point after the race, he was dancing around to the music with an orange in one hand and an apple in the other. He was totally loving life.

Oh, and all of a sudden he can count to 15. We've been counting going down the steps each morning, but now he just randomly counts anything and everything. It's too funny. Of course he doesn't completely get the concept that one number goes to each object; he counts about 3 or 4 for each one.

Off to dinner. Have a good night!

Saturday, November 03, 2007


My SIL, feathernester is in labor! This is very exciting because it means I'm going to be an auntie very soon! I've never been an auntie and since they are having a girl, I hopefully will be a cool auntie that gets to totally spoil her. As much as her parents allow, of course. I've always said that I think I am only going to have boys and that if I do have a girl I will be totally shocked. As far as we know right now things were going very, very slowly to the point of boredom (they've been at the hospital since about 2 this morning). I joked to B that I felt like I was more excited about this baby being born than I was about my own. He said, "That's because you were sitting around in pain the whole time and you couldn't be excited!"

It really is amazing how pregnancy and labor is different for everyone. Out of all of my friends here, each of us has a completely different birth story. Some knew they wanted epidurals right away and they didn't work and had to do things the old fashioned way. Others wanted to do it the old fashioned way and ended up having c-sections. Some were incredibly long labors while others were only a few hours. And of the friends who have already had more than one, even those births were completely different each time. I guess it's nature's way of keeping you on your toes.

We can't wait for this little one to make her appearance! Keep your fingers crossed that all goes smoothly for everyone!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Yep. That's some dog.

I am still in shock that this actually happened. That there are actually people like this on the planet.

J and I were picking up bread and yogurt at the grocery store. As I was walking around our checkout counter, a highschool/early college age kid nearly collides with me because he was speeding on the back of his cart. If I didn't stop J would have had a cart in his shoulder (I was carrying him). He ignored us and kept going so I said, "Excuse me." I'm sure that excuse me had some force behind it. He said, "Excuse yourself, lady." I know my face went beat red and the mama bear said, "What did you just say to me?" He said, "You heard me." I said, "You nearly ran into both of us." He told me to shut up. I told him he was rude. Then, this is the best, he said, "Yeah. And you're fat and that's some dog you're carrying." Is your tongue hanging out of your mouth? Can you believe someone raised a child to be so hateful? I was so disgusted and shocked that I just walked to the car as he and his friend high-fived and laughed as they rode away on the back of the shopping cart towards their car. What I really wished I could have done was dragged him by his ear to his mother's house and stood him on the front porch and make him repeat what he said to me. This is what we're up against, considerate, polite people. It's gonna be a rough road ahead.
To make up for such an awful story, here's a random cute pic of "the dog" to brighten your mood a bit.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Halloween was a blast yesterday. J and I started out the day by attending a fall festival put on by the town. It was geared towards toddler and preschoolers, so they had little games at their height levels, a small petting zoo (we got to touch a baby hedgehog!), a hayride, and a fire truck. Best of all-it was free! I am continuously impressed by all of the family oriented festivals we find in and around Austin. So much fun.

J pretends not to hear the firechief tell him it's time to get off the truck

We weren't sure what to expect on our block once evening arrived. In the past 6 years we have never had a trick or treater come to our door (that's what happens when you live in apartments) so we were ready! I planned for a bunch of trick or treaters because one of the neighbors said we would be swamped living on the corner. It didn't start out that way, but once things got rolling, we had a stream of kids and I was glad I bought that extra bag of candy at Costco. One of the houses a few doors down put on this massive UFO/alien production. They built a spaceship that hung over their driveway. They also built a gigantic treehouse like structure for the aliens, complete with glow in the dark heads, to land. They rigged up a speaker system and had alien music playing. When kids went up the driveway, they yelled things like, "Bring us the children. We want the candy...Load up the ship, clearly there is no intelligent life here." If I were a young child I probably would have been scared out of my gourd. It really was neat to hear all howls and screams from the kids as they attempted to trick or treat there! B said he wants to try to beat them next year. I have my doubts and think we should just aim to put up some decorations.

J visited a few houses with B as I handed out the loot. He tells me that J loved knocking on the door and saying, "Treat" to everyone. If they had something on their porch that talked, like a pumpkin or skeleton, he said, "no, no no". Poor kid has something against inanimate objects coming to life. I can't say I blame him. J also helped pass out some treats with me before headed to bed just a little later than usual. I thought the noise from the house down the street would keep him up, but it didn't.

There was no way we were keeping that lion head on him today, but he did still do a heck of a cowardly "roar".

I guess there is a Halloween curfew because all the noise stopped at 9:00 and we had one or two stragglers after that who got all of our leftover candy. They were pretty psyched by that. If Halloween was such a production, I'm really interested to see what people do for the Christmas season!