An irreverent look at motherhood and family life in a new state of normal.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Roast Beast

Whenever I see a table set for Christmas dinner, I think of that last seen of Jim Carey's The Grinch and comment to myself, "The Grinch, himself, carved the roast beast."

Watching my daughter eat Christmas dinner, I realized that she loves stuffing. I hate stuffing. Andy doesn't like stuffing... really. He'll eat it. I don't stuff turkey's and my sentiment has been affirmed by the Food Network's Alton Brown. Apparently my mother makes a wonderful stuffing. I don't eat stuffing (on the principle that bread should not be soggy unless it's headed down the disposal) so I couldn't tell you about the quality of her stuffing although there are many people who have informed me that it's the best stuffing they have ever eaten.

I love it when someone tells you that they are going to make something you don't like in a way that will change your mind about the thing you don't like. It will make you love that thing you don't like. For instance, a lady once told me that I would love her version of brussel sprouts (which I abhore!) which she soaked in buttermilk, battered, and deep fried and then dipped in a mayonnaise sauce. I countered that taking the nutritional value out of something by battering, deep frying and slathering with mayo is going to make anything taste good. This did not change my opinion of brussel sprouts but affirmed my love of southern cooking.

I wonder what would happen if you battered and deep fried stuffing... I'm sure Paula Dean would approve.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Baby Hopes

Before you hear this story, you have to understand that my nephew is the smallest little guy you have ever seen. He's off the charts under size but totally proportionate. He is also a little brother and loves to copy his older sibling. My oldest nephew is almost totally potty trained and has been "going" in the potty for a while. The baby has been watching and now that he's old enough to indicate some of his wants, he decided today that he wanted to be like big brother, Grandpa, Uncle Andy and Uncle Josh and wear big boy underwear. Mom put it on over his onsie and diaper and he was a happy camper. He marched around showing off his big boyness all over the house and let me tell you, with all those layers he probably put on several extra ounces. At nap time, I asked the older boy to hit the head and little brother followed after indicating that he also wanted to pee in the potty. He's to short for any of the stools to even help him get his stuff up over the edge of the seat so I held him up high. He put a foot right in the bowl. After cleaning off the misplaced foot, I just sat him down. He was the happiest kid in the world. I asked if he was done and he nodded his head, a huge triumphant smile on his little face. I checked to see if there was anything in the potty. Nothing. Not a drop, but that kid was so happy. He got a new diaper, the onsie and back on with the big boy underwear and pants. He's sleeping happily, knowing that he has conquered the potty... almost.

Monday, December 20, 2010

FREEDOM!

After having babies, I have learned that you lose your freedom and it is given back to you in stages. Similar to being on parole or something. Not that having babies is like being in prison but... oh, who am I kidding. It's exactly like being in prison. You can't leave your place of residence without significant difficulty, the screaming keeps you awake, the food looks like slop and you can't change the channel off PBS Kids.

Anyway, your freedom comes back. Just very slowly. At some point, the baby starts to sleep in their own bed and you can roll over without the fear that you are going to crush them. Then the baby starts to crawl meaning you don't have to hold them all the time and you can have your hands back sometimes. Then they stop breastfeeding (if they ever were) and you have your boobs back (at least for feeding... they will always be pillows for everyone in your family). This is usually followed by them learning fairly quickly how to feed themselves (and I don't mean the crap they find on the floor although I'm sure they could survive on that just fine.) Walking frees you up even more and that last little bit... potty training. The ultimate freedom is when you don't have to deal with people's excrement all day, every day. Ah, freedom... I can't wait. My release date (baring any other pregnancies) The last day of Cate's potty training. To celebrate that day (in the oh, so distant future) I am buying a big screen TV for my bedroom on which I will watch whatever the heck I want!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

All Veggied Out

This family has been sick in one way or another for a month now. It's hard to be sick with little kids because they depend on you for everything. You can't tell your toddler to go get themselves something to eat. You can't expect them to do a whole lot of entertaining themselves. If you are sick, they are watching TV so you can rest. If they are sick, there is more TV while they rest. When your husband is sick, you are wiped out from taking care of everything and everyone and there is more TV to pacify them and hope that their brain isn't mush.

Everyday for a month now, Abby has gotten up and been parked in front of the TV for Veggietales. This morning, everyone is well! Can you believe it? I can't...

She comes into my room this morning at 6 and I think, 'I'm not going to be well after this. How is it possible that the baby stays up until midnight and then the 2 year old gets up a 6?!'

I hear her little sing-song voice, "Mommy, I ready to watch Beytales. (She still doesn't say veggie...)" That's when I knew I was in trouble. This is what she thinks her life is about. Veggietales. Clifford. Thomas the Train. When did these characters become a part of our lives? When we were sleeping, that's when.

Time for the intervention. I'm cutting her off. It's going to be a long hard road to recovery with her. We are going to have to deal with the withdraw and the screaming that goes with it but hopefully, after all that is through, she will know there is more to life than vegetables.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Let Him Have It

When my husband and I first got married, I didn't realize how much we did not have in common in terms of food.... and other things. But for the purposes of this blog, we are going to talk about food... and football.

I have been a Best Foods mayo girl FOREVER. I think this is a Kanen thing as Kanen's put mayo on EVERYTHING! (My dad can't eat broccoli without a little mayo on each tree.) Andy likes Miracle Whip which is practically sacrilege in my house. When we got married and I started doing the shopping, I was informed that mayo was fine but he really like Miracle Whip. So, in compromise, I bought a little jar of mayo and a little jar of Miracle Whip and that's how it is to this day. There is also a small jar of Adams crunchy peanut butter for Andy and a jar of reduced fat Jiff smooth peanut butter for me... and I could go on with the things we buy in double but you get the picture.

This year, we were gifted the leftovers of a succulent turkey that was carefully roasted by a friend for Thanksgiving. I love leftover turkey sandwiches. I am at Andy's brother's house for the holidays and apparently all the Adams are Miracle Whip people because that's all they have in the fridge. I DIE!

I used Miracle Whip (let me preface by saying that I have used it before... but I do not prefer it) and WOW! I will never eat another Bests Mayo leftover turkey sandwich again... unless there isn't Miracle Whip.

In other news, until I married Andy, I didn't know all the rules of football and although I'm not applying to be a ref for the Super Bowl, I can explain football (and sometimes I enjoy watching it) with the best of them.

What I'm saying is, I've learned alot from my man. That's what I'm thankful for this year. What has your significant other brought to your life? I want to hear about it! And so do they! Let them know. Every day they need affirmation that they are more than just a good roommate. Let them have it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snow, Thanksgiving, and a Little Relaxation

Andy's classes are over for the week. We are officially on vacation for a few days. We are heading to some friends house for the actual holiday.

Boy howdy, do we look good out there?
Montana Big Sky dumped almost a foot of snow on us so Abby and I went out to build snow men in the middle of the day. I don't have any snow gear anymore so I wore Andy's. Bulky but warm. I realized when we were out there how much Abby is like me. She wanted to be pretty, then she wanted to be warm, then she screamed bloody murder that she just wanted to go inside and watch. I hate the cold. However, it was really fun to get out and have a little fresh air and some fun in the snow. Abby... I'm not sure when she will take to the snow but I hope it's soon. Maybe tomorrow because we are going to head out to sled. FUN!

Thanksgiving should be good. I have this overwhelming urge to cook like a crazy person and compete with everyone else who is bringing food but this year, I have decided to give it a rest and just take a tossed salad (thus accomodating those who are on Weight Watchers and those who should be...)

With the snow comes more opportunity to spy on my neighbors. Across the street from me (in the house right behind me in the picture) lives a teenager with his guardian (could be a mom or grandmother... not sure). He was out shoveling snow today. I must be getting old because I totally don't get the styles today. He had on skinny jeans that were sagging down to his knee caps, untied high top shoes, a tightish black graphic t, and over it but not zipped up, an over-sized winter coat. REALLY? How can you even move in that? Why would you leave your shoes untied in a foot of snow and how much are we sacrificing for style here? Yes, I remember when I was that age and I would go out into the Colorado cold in my layered slouch socks, stirrup pants, and canvas shoes. I wanted to look like Paula Abdul. Who didn't?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cupcake Queen

Apparently, when I was young, my mom wasn't much of a cook. I don't remember this. I remember loving everything she made. I have been reminded several times that a 10 year old palate isn't very sophitocated so maybe she wasn't a good cook. Pasta dishes and Mexican food seem to be crowd pleasers and that was her usual cooking MO. I don't know. But I do know about 10 years ago, she started cooking and hasn't stopped. When I say she started cooking, I mean she went nuts over the Food Network and has been on a mission to beat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown. She recently took up Baking as well and that's where her artistic skills really came in handy. Here are some of her cakes and cupcakes. The thing about baking and decorating is you usually sacrifice taste for beauty. It takes a long time to decorate a great cake and sometimes the sponge gets dry. You also tend get get some chemical taste in heavily colored icing. Not so with my mom's cakes. She has found just that trick to make her cake moist and her icing yummy and PRETTY! So, if you want a cake or a batch of cupcakes, just give her a ring. She's testing on everyone she knows right now before we open our dream bakery. Bring it on, Bobby!

So what I'm saying here is, go for your dreams no matter what and... eat cake.

Missoula 3:16

After leaving the academy, I have empty nest syndrome. It feels like every day there was dedicated to helping others. We were ministering to the kids and it was all consuming. Then, all of a sudden, we weren't we were just living our own lives and although being a stay at home mom isn't easy, I don't feel that same sense of fulfillment I did when I was at the academy. There is no one outside of my immediate family to minister too. I just don't know the area well enough to be able to go out and do anything yet.

The other day, I went into a thrift store and met one of the founding members of the Missoula 3:16 ministries. They are a community service ministry that services the homeless and the less fortunate. I got a letter just after that inviting me to a volunteer orientation. Today I went over to the mission house to be introduced. There is an extensive screening process for volunteers but I may get the chance to work there one day a week or so. It's exciting. The orientation itself was heartbreaking. I had no idea how many homeless there are here in Missoula. Its crazy considering the weather. I stopped near a site where some of the volunteers said there were people living in boxes and saw their "homes." It was aweful.

Right now, there is snow pounding on our roof and we are sitting here in front of a fire with blankets and hot beef stew. How can I ever complain again? I feel guilty having what I have. When is Jesus going to come and relieve us of the evil that causes children to live in such conditions?

Friday, November 19, 2010

5 Things I Love TODAY!

I realize that I have been a bit of a downer lately. Being cooped up in the house and not really wanting to leave but wanting everyone else to leave so I can just do what I want without interruption has made me into a bad person. I have been complaining and wishing my life was different but last night, my wonderful husband allowed me to take 2 Tylenol PM and head to bed at 9:30 where I got 11 hours of sleep and I woke up a different person. Drugs and sleep always make me all lovey dovey so here's what I love today:

1. Boogie Wipes. These things are fabulous. They dissolve snot into a very soft wipe. After several days of normal low-budget tissue, our noses were about to fall off. Cate's was the worst. Very red and cracking. So we sucked it up and spent the money on Boogie Wipes. No more dry cracked noses. More expensive, yes. Worth it, DEFINITELY!

2. Starbucks. Yes, I need coffee to live - even after many hours of sleep. But today, I'm going to get decaf this afternoon just to make me happy because of this promotion.

3. Heat. No, there is no link for this. It's just getting cold here and it's going to get even colder and I like being able to turn up the thermostat or toss a log on the fire and be all cozy warm. Let's not forget the nice hot baths I can take with these bath salts that Andy knows I love and that make me all calm and ready to face the world.

4. The fact that it's almost the weekend and we are staying home and hunkering down and getting well and getting our house back to normal. HELLO SABBATH! You are right around the corner and exactly what we need.

5. Chicken soup.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's A Date

I always hate buying airline tickets. It's so set. You can't change your mind. (Which annoys me because they can change their minds anytime they dang well please.) Today I bought tickets for my husband, me and my girls to fly to Colorado for the Christmas holidays. There is a big hullabaloo about when we all are going because we are leaving early to give time for Andy to study for tests, take tests and then come get us. It's going to be crazy. Several things I don't like about this whole senario:

1. There are apparently naked body scanners at DIA which causes me to rethink ever stepping foot in any airport again. You can refuse the body scan and have a pat down. So basically either you get your picture taken naked or you let someone feel you up. TSA seems to be getting a little... racy?

2. If even one person has an issue, those who are getting us to the airport, those who are flying... ANYTHING! We are out our money and our trip. If you have kids, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You have to be a super parent to get two toddlers on the plane with clean clothes and diapers. Thank goodness I have the bob!

3. Lay overs. Either you have to much time and you are trying to entertain your kids in an airport (even if you are alone you end up spending more money than you ever dreamed in ridiculously priced restaurants and book stores), or you have no time at all and you are racing to the terminal with one kid hanging off the stroller and the other screaming that they have to go potty! And isn't it interesting that no one (even me) has to go to the bathroom until they are calling for boarding to begin. Then try maneuvering a double stroller, two kids and your carry-ons into the airport bathrooms.

4. Our names. Yes, we thought we were so clever to have a John and an Abigail Adams. Not so when it comes to TSA. They think we are faking it and require us to submit to searches and extra security measures EVERY TIME! We could get through security faster with a bomb strapped to our "inner thigh."

5. Cinnabon. 'Nuff said.

Just pray that no one is sick this time. If there is even one sniffle, I will call the whole thing off. SERIOUSLY! I will not travel with sick kids and I will not kill myself over a holiday that should be taking place in March anyway...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How do you KNOW?

When there are things that happen, and you have no control, how do you KNOW that God is in control and it's all going to be ok?

Seriously, I'm putting it out there. I want answers. I have no clever antidote. I don't have a witty comment or saying. I just want answers.


And to put off a little of the seriousness of this post, here are some pictures of my baby. She is going to be just like me! Starbucks addict...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Survival Mode

I am in survival mode. You know you are in survival mode if:

1. You drink more than half your jumbo sized pot of coffee.
2. You need drugs to be able to sleep (because you can't turn your brain off). Did you notice the mild upper/downer thing I have going on here?
3. Your running list of things to do is prioritized by what will keep you alive.
4. You eat out of pots and pans and drink out of the carton just so you won't make more dishes or because you have no more dishes to eat off.
5. You actually contemplate having your husband pick you up new underwear just so you don't have to do laundry. "Oh, and a pair of footy pj's for each kid and a t-shirt for me. Also, if you want something to wear to school, you better get something for you. Actually 7 somethings because I'm not going to get to the laundry this week."
6. Your kids watch more TV than you ever dreamed. (Your child is actually talking with a Junior Asperagus accent.)
7. You buy "nice" PJs so you will have something to wear when people come to the door.
8. You would rather fish stuff out of your child's mouth than vacuum. The three second rule becomes the three day rule... becomes the "recognizable" rule. "What is that? A goldfish cracker? Didn't we run out of those last week? Ok..."
9. You sleep in your car just to get away from the messy house.
10. You want your mommy, and not just to make you some soup. You need her to clean, cook and HOLD YOU!

Survival mode started when I had my second child. I'll admit that after having Abby, I was in it for a few months but after the 6th month or so of being pregnant with Cate, I was back in it and I have never come out. I really thought I would get it together sooner than this but it's just one thing after another (pregnancy and a toddler, potty training, child birth, dealing with being a mother of two - God only knows how people with more than two even function at all, lay offs, moving, finances, economy, sickness). I thought my life was exceptional in this area but I have come to see that we all deal with this stuff. I do mean ALL of us. Even if you don't have kids, you go into survival mode for short periods of time and if you have kids, it just prolongs it. I thought that the move, the craziness of changing lifestyle and all was the reason but it's not. It's just a factor in my survival. Everyone has their own factors. If you are in survival mode now, tell me that it's going to get better - that I will get a full nights sleep someday and that I can look forward to having a clean house sometime.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

'Tis the Season

Well, my cold is not gone. Now Abby has pink eye and I'm just waiting for it get get worse... for Cate to get sick too. Or Andy for that matter. What would we do then? 'Tis the season for illness I guess. I will be coughing all winter.

Here's the thing about sick kids - I am not stable enough to handle sickness from them or me. I freak out and cry. Seriously. When I'm sick, I cry. I cry because I can't get things done. I cry because I feel guilty that someone else has to take care of me. When my kids are sick I cry because I know how yucky I feel when I'm sick and I hate that for them. Seeing Abby's face (and it's not pretty with pink eye, let me tell ya!) I just want to hold her until she gets better.

Well, gotta run. Cate's very cute and not sick face is peeking around the screen and she's beckoning me to a non-cry fest giggle session rolling around on the floor. Happy weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A History of Illness

I have not been able to shake this coldish thingy that is hanging around in my throat and making me laugh like a smoker. In honor of the fluish, coldish, whatever season, I'm going to recount the last several times I have endured this punishment.

When I was a Junior in high school, I had this same phlegmy thing that hung around for a month before we went on a vacation to California where my parents insisted I was fine and went off to spend time with... I don't even remember who now, leaving me with my Aunt and Uncle who discovered me in bed with a fever of 104. Parents returned, took me home to Alamosa where is was discovered that my phlegm had turned into pneumonia and I was put into the hospital for several days. (May I mention that if my parents had not changed our tickets and taken us home early, we would not have gone home for several weeks as the next day, the airports were flooded and no flights could leave for more than a week. God works miracles so his children can be in hospitals near their own homes.)

Just after I married Andy, I had the phlegmy thing again. We headed out to Ecuador as sponsors for a mission trip where it was discovered that I had a fever of 102 and my phlegm had once again turned into pneumonia. I spent the majority of the trip sequestered in the hotel. (May I point out that this is one of the only mission trips where the students were put up in a nice hotel. God works miracles every day. Can you imagine having pneumonia in some third world school gym?)

So now the phlegm is back and I'm not sure what to do about it. Should I race off to Mandi (my new doctor) and get a prescription or should I follow the family tradition of claiming its all going to be ok until we are strapped to a hospital bed (and in our heads still ringing up the total)?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Abby Wants for Christmas

This is an awesome gift idea from www.thepioneerwoman.com

Testify!

I was asked to think about my testimony recently. There was a potential I would have to share it in front of the group. I didn't. But it got me thinking about what a testimony is. It's our story (usually in respect to Jesus and his work in our life). That could take a while. It could take up many sermons and many children's stories and all of our small group time.

Many people seem to have it down to that one moment. "... and that's how I found Jesus." (We used to say that when we were caught in a sultry embrace at the academy to convince the staff that we were giving a spiritual hug and not caught up in the throws of romance. Never worked...)

I don't have a moment. I have been a part of a church that I believe in for my entire life. It is a church that has a subculture so ingrained into your being that you can't tell when Jesus became real. Maybe he was always real to me. I remember pretending to hold my guardian angels' hand as I walked down the stairs of our apartment when I was little. I remember telling Jesus to "remind me I asked that question" when I got to Heaven. I have always had Jesus therefore I never needed to find him.

I would regard my testimony more in a string of spiritual epiphanies. Each one bringing me down off my high horse and reminding me how small and short of the glory of God I am. Each new moment bringing me closer to God. Every separate experience coming together to create in me a picture of Jesus in my life that I can only see darkly. My life testimony would not have a difficult and emotional beginning but would be the very slow work of pulling someone from the granite of tradition and religious arrogance to the rubble of a broken human. A leap here when a man told me I couldn't earn points with Jesus. There are no points. A step there when a woman lent me a video about someone elses' testimony that touched me and changed me. A jump there when a friend recommended a book that made me take a hard look at my marriage and what I was expecting from my husband and myself and how we could never live up to those expectations on our own. There are moments that I can't remember or define that have made me who I am. But Jesus was always there. 

I never did drugs. I never had a sexually promiscuous lifestyle (although people who don't know me might beg to differ). I never gambled. I never stole or killed or lied (excessively). I am the rich man who asked Jesus, "What must I do to be saved?" And when answered with, "Leave it all and follow me," I thought that's what I did. But maybe it's not. Maybe I have been pulled from my security of religious academia for a reason. Maybe my safe lifestyle inside the "bubble" was what I needed to leave in order to really follow Jesus.

So my testimony grows every day. I hope I grow every day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Double-team Diaper Change

When Mom's super power kicks in and she can smell poop, usually, she can also tell if it's going to be a blow out. I'm telling you, Cate is the queen of blow outs. I saw a volcano erping its way toward the edge of her diaper but I was doing dishes and I asked Andy to handle it. Fortunately, my super power enables me to tell him not to put her on the carpet for this particular change or he will end up cleaning more than her backside. Cate HATES to have her diaper changed. She squirms and wiggles and screams and it's just miserable. Today, she twisted and turned and all just after Andy getting the diaper part way off. He's trying not to get anything on the floor because he's late and doesn't want to have to clean it and he's holding her legs off the ground. Suddenly I look over and he's got her in a handstand position and she's freaking out. I see he needs an assist no matter what I'm doing so I dump the dishes and rush over to hold her legs. She's hand walking toward the dirty diaper wanting to get her grubby little hands on it and he's wiping her butt... all with her upside down. He looks at me, "This has to be a first in parent history..." It took us double-teaming our 8 month old daughter but I'm proud to say that she's finally in a clean diaper and has proved a certain amount of athleticism as well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Grandma Adams' Boston Baked Beans

This is my mother-in-laws famous Boston Baked Bean recipe. She serves it over freshly baked bread. Enjoy it people!

Ingredients:
3 cups assorted beans (navy, lima, pinto, red, kidney) sorted and soaked over night
1 small yellow onion
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 tbsp salt
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp sugar

Rinse beans after soaking them over night. Put them in medium sauce pan and just cover with water. Bring to low boil and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes. Put all other ingredients into a Boston Baked Bean pot. Ladle cooked beans over ingredients and bake at 350 for an hour uncovered. Turn heat down to 250, cover and bake for 8 more hours checking every 1-2 hours and adding water just to cover the beans. Last hour, cook uncovered to bake the top brown and nice.

Sorry...

I haven't been around much because I'm totally caught up in cooking and watching 24.

Most people were like, "What? Is Jack's wife really dead?! We have to wait 4 months to figure that out?"

I'm like, "Season finale. Hmmm...." *4 seconds (not months) later* "Hmm... season premier!" Awesome. I love Netflix. And can I just say that Jack Bauer is the John McClane of television. I figured we've watched enough Die Hard during previous winters. 24 is the new Die Hard.

The cooking has been fun. I got down the bean pot to make Boston Baked Beans for my husband and his brother and then, BAM! I was making beans left and right. It's been awesome. For those who are vegan, it's the best! My Spicy Black Beans were really fun and I'm moving on to some lentil dishes hopefully with some curry. Everyone should get a bean pot and a dutch oven. I love the winter for hot stews and soups. Including this beef stew from Better Homes and Gardens magazine they sent me in the mail. AWESOME!

So, this is going to be my winter: watching 24, eating my beef stew, and playing with my babies.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spicy Black Beans

Spicy Black Bean Recipe:

This is something I came up with after trying different variations on my mother-in-law's Boston Baked Beans. It's a yummy recipe to serve over rice with sliced avocado on top. YUMMO! (and really not THAT spicy)

Ingredients:
2 1/2 - 3 cups beans (black and pinto, but more black than pinto), sorted and soaked overnight
8 oz diced green chilis
1/4 large red onion (you can leave it not chopped as it just melts in the cooking process)
1/4 - 1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 heaping tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice

Cooking:
Rinse beans (after soaking over night). Put them in a medium sauce pan and just cover with water. Bring them to a low boil and let them cook for 15 minutes. While they are cooking, put all the other ingredients, except lemon juice, into a slow cooker (Boston Baked Bean pot or dutch oven or some other deep baking dish or slow cooker). Ladle cooked beans and liquid over the other ingredients and bake (or slow cook) at 350 for an hour. Then turn heat down to 250 and bake (or slow cook) 6-8 more hours. Check every 1-2 hours and add water if needed to keep beans covered and not burning on the top. When you are ready to serve, stir in the lemon juice.

For Black Bean Soup, whiz up in the blender after cooking. You may need to add a little more liquid before blending. Serves 6 -8 people.

Great Giving Challenge Contest Entry: HiltonHeadIslandSDA

Great Giving Challenge Contest Entry: HiltonHeadIslandSDA

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crying It Out

Every night since Cate was born, we have allowed her to, at some point (usually the whole night) sleep in our bed. Mostly because I'm nursing and I am to lazy to get up and nurse her in her room and then put her back in her own bed. Besides, when I have done that, she just wakes up and screams. Last night, I finally let her cry herself to sleep, knowing that she was dry, fed and not hurting. She cried for 2 hours. It was torture. Finally, she dropped at 11 pm.... and didn't wake up all night. As I write this, she is still sleeping and it's 8 am. I have checked to make sure she is still breathing several times. She's doing fine. No fever, no nothing. Maybe she needed space just as much as we did. Of course, now that I have gone 9 hours without nursing, I'm about to explode. Off to pump. See you all in another post.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

24

Yup... I wanna talk about it NOW!

I never watched 24 or Bones or any of the other shows that everyone was like, "That's such a good show." We always forgot what night it was on and our DVR was full of stuff already.

So, now I don't have cable. I have Netflix online. I'm watching every season straight through without having to wait unless its because I'm changing a diaper or something like that.

Not really, I take long breaks because I don't want my kids seeing mangled skeletons and stuff.

Anyway, I have to say, I never need to have cable again. If a show is good, I will hear about it and I'm totally happy to rent whole seasons at a time on Netflix.

Goodbye, expensive cable bill. Goodbye, DVR priority list. Hello, instant gratification.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sharing Tradition

As some may remember, I have spoken about the reading aloud of books by my father before. I don't recall whether it was on this blog or in some other venue. Therefore I will draw you that picture again. Dad, every year when we were young, would read us The Other Wiseman. It was a very long story every year (when you are young and Christmas presents are waiting to be played with, everything is long). It was something very important to him and was a tradition that he wanted to continue. We suffered through it and didn't understand it's significance until much later in life (when we began crying through the reading) and we are of course making our kids suffer through the same ritual in hopes that they will grasp the deep meaning of the book and the tradition of reading it at some time in their lives.

Andy had similar traditions in his house. That beautiful tradition of books and learning. His books were the Sam Campbell series chronicling the funny exploits of the wilderness and it's inhabitants. I had read these books also of course but Andy's dad actually got to meet the author and got his books signed therefore making them more of a fixture in their house than mine.


Today, Andy thought he would attempt to start the Sabbath afternoon tradition of reading out of these books (or some other Sabbathy book) to the kids therefore instilling quiet reflection as a Sabbath afternoon staple.

I captured the one moment of picturesque serenity this afforded on camera. Needless to say, this photo does not give justice to the beauty of a lovely fire and the sound of Dad's voice relating a tale of canoe trips and God's creation. After this brief moment what chaos ensued. Abby wanted to get out book after book to look at the pictures. Her up and down was accompanied by her whispers of, "Wait, Daddy. I need another story." Cate woke up and she was wiggling and wobbling all over. She need to be constantly rescued from touching the fire and she was hungry. After being fed, she mooed (yes, like a cow) and Abby started mooing back at her. Andy attempted to read over the din. There was an attempt by Mommy to soosh the kids but it was a futile attempt as toddlers are not to be quieted. I was reduced to snickering at Andy's attempts behind my needle point.

I know that he will soldier on next week and every week after that as one of the reasons I married him was for his quiet patience and perseverance. Hopefully, the kids will at least learn to lay back and listen for a while if not fully appreciate the thought and energy put into the book selection. Andy loves his girls and wants all the best for them and it is shown every time he passes on a tradition to them. Tonight, we eat fresh baked bread and Grandma Adams' Boston Baked Beans that will no doubt bring back memories and hopefully tie the girls to a long and glorious tradition of family togetherness.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Few Random Things

Tonight, I found that we were out of bubble bath for the kids, I used some dish washing liquid that I got as a free sample in the mail from Gain. My kids smell like fresh laundry.

My Uncle Bob died today. It is so sad to lose people in this world but I look forward to getting to know him better in Heaven.

I made Chinese food tonight and Abby hated it. To bad she's not old enough to just be polite and eat it anyway. I guess she won't be joining us at the China Palace any time soon.

Cate has learned how to crawl and is racing all over the house. She was into the toy boxes today and tested everything for taste and durability. I will be bleaching everything soon as it seems to find its way into her mouth.

I am going to reiterate a previous statement about men: If you want them to get something done, buy them a new tool to do it with. I bought a new rake today and I took it out of the car and handed it to Andy who immediately raked the whole front yard. He then took the new fire grate I bought out of the box and built a Friday night fire. They just like using the new stuff.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Love Affair with BOB

After I had another kid, I was trapped. I couldn't get out easily because I had to carry one or drag the other. I could go places in the car but then we were bound to stay close to the car. During the summer, I didn't have a car that was mine all the time and I started getting stir crazy. I finally ran out and bought the first double stroller I could find on craigslist. Mistake.

The first double didn't have a wheel that turned in the front causing me to have to pop a wheely every time I wanted to change directions. I didn't have storage space and the sun shade only prevented me from seeing who was poking who as I walked. It did not, in fact shade from the sun.

I did however, feel a certain sense of liberation. I was getting tired of the problems with the used stroller. It needed some major repairs and the straps were just not working out for the girls. I had been drooling over a BOB (stands for Beast of Burden) and finally, Andy told me that if I wanted it, it was going to be my everything present forever. So, I got it.

Do you see how this picture of my new stroller is kinda shaped like a heart? That's because it's made with nothing but love!
Needless to say, spending so much money on a stroller was no easy thing for us but I can drive it with one hand so when Abby wants to get out and walk, I can hold her hand and still drive Cate. When Abby get's tired, she has a place to sit.

When I had just one kid, my mom bought me a huge Eddie Bauer stroller that housed a car seat if you wanted. It was perfect for traveling and was affectionately called "the beast." It had enough room to put Abby, her stuff, my stuff, the base for the car seat and cup holders to boot. But then along came Cate and Abby was reduced to sitting on the cup holders. One airline trip and I was sold on getting something double.

This stroller does not have as much storage room but it's worth it because I can still get a diaper bag over the back, the blankets in with the kids and another bag in the bottom storage tote. It breaks down easy, the wheels come off and it is just the best thing you can get. Unless you are using your double exclusively for marathons, you should consider getting one if you are having a second kid (or twins). It's the only way to go!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Addiction

I'm addicted to baths. I'm addicted to hot water, in addition to alot of other things. I can put Cate on the floor and have Abby "help" me and take a bath and feel better. I take two or three a day when I have a very young baby. I take less the older the baby gets. Stress just seems to melt away in hot water. I'm in a warm bubble where nothing can get me. It's crazy. I love it.
I'm addicted to chocolate. Every woman's worst addiction. I love chocolate. I have actually taken a liking to Chocolate Silk. Many nights, you can find me behind the refrigerator door sucking down a cup or so of the chocolaty goodness. Yummy... It goes down my throat and gets me all warm and fuzzy inside. Very smooth. Dove squares are a weakness as well.

I'm addicted to sleep. Any time I get upset, after taking a bath and drinking some chocolate silk, I just want to take a nap in a warm blanket.

I'm addicted to caffeine. I don't like being awake but I have to be. The only way to stay awake long enough to make sure my kids are taken care of and my husband is happy is to drink massive amounts of caffeine. I have decided that I might need to back off this one a little more. I noticed a weird feeling today and I think it's all about the fact that the majority of my liquids intake today was caffeinated. Grrr... I have to check myself on that one more.

I'm addicted to my kids. They are the best things and when I'm away from them, although there is sometimes that sense of relief that I'm not responsible for them for a short time, I miss them. I miss them after only an hour. Sometimes I need more than an hour as a break but I'm always a better mother after a break because I realize how much I need them and to be needed by them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Run! It's communion!

Why is it that as soon as it's announced from the pulpit or posted in the bulletin, we all find a reason to skip that week? "Let's do something in the mountains." "Camping anyone?" or the good old standby, "Communion this week. I'm sick."

Communion can be very frustrating. You are herded into an over crowded room only to be asked to find a partner. We all know from grade school that finding a partner is the worst! Then you have to remove your shoes (which, let's admit, no one wants to see) and get dripped on and sloshed on.

Back in the sanctuary, you are given the tiniest piece of communion bread ever and asked to hold it. You are getting hungry and the preacher is telling you about the reason for the bread and your minuscule cracker is melting in your hand. By the time he quotes the Lord and asks you to eat, you are licking the remnants off your hand and hoping for something salty at potluck.

Then they pass around the tiny cups and the warm juice sloshes over your hand leaving you sticky and ready for a baby wipe as you are finally asked to drink.

I realize that in the constraints of our modern service, it is hard to do more than we are to represent what our Lord had in mind.

As an academy teacher, I have seen communion done every year although I'm not sure they know they are doing it. It's called "Cry Night." At least, that's its unofficial title. Usually it's called Friendship Commitment. Everyone has a chance to find those people they may want to reconcile with and apologize, ask for forgiveness and pull together before they are separated for the summer or forever as the case my be. It's also something that many faculty (including me) tend to avoid.

I think this is the real reason we avoid communion. We are not reconciled. We don't want to be stuck washing the feet of someone we may have offended or visa versa. We don't want to admit to ourselves or anyone else that a relationship is broken. We are satisfied putting on the happy face every Sabbath and then going home and forgetting all about our troubles.

If I could do communion my way, it would be a feast. Large loaves of crusty bread with fresh grape juice and cheeses and fruits that would be more reminiscent of what they may actually have had (minus the meat...) to eat. Those with the gift of hospitality could really make this great. I would place the pastor at the head of the table and have us all find people we need to reconcile with. Then, when you have found spiritual healing, wash each others feet and or pray together as a symbol of your renewed relationship. Reconciliation is such a healing and spiritual process. (Not everyone needs to be reconciled with another human but we all can use that time to spiritually reflect therefore being reconciled to God.) As communion approaches in your church, find that reason in your heart that is causing you to run away. Is it the service itself or something more?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Goodbye, Grandma

Today I drove my mother-in-law to the airport where the girls and I waved a sad goodbye. Janet Adams is a GREAT MIL. She cooks, she cleans, she cans and she plays with and reads to the girls. She discusses things with me and provokes me to think about my life. It's always fun when grandma comes. Man, I'm going to miss her.

We walked several times during the week she visited. The air here in Montana is getting crisp and perfect for a nice brisk walk everyday. Now if it will only stay that way for a while. I kinda doubt it as every time I walk into a store there are snowsuits and Columbia ski jackets prominently displayed with the Halloween costumes. What with the smell of cooking apples in the house and the leaves blowing all around, I'm practically in Campbell Soup heaven this fall. It's GREAT!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Adventures in Canning

Today we decided to can applesauce. I have not made applesauce as an adult so I was very excited to learn something new. So was Cate as you can see in this picture.

We cut the apples. Abby washing, Cate looking on and Grandma wielding the sharp knife. It was fun. (They get washed, quartered and seeded.)

Then we cooked them down in a big pot... (2 quarts of water to this big canner full of apples. It's a HUGE pot!)

...and while we were waiting, Abby got ahold of the camera and tried to take a picture of Daddy without a shirt on. Hubba Hubba!

Then we squashed up the apples in a squasher strainer thingy that I used. It strains out the skins and stuff. You have to ladle the cooked apples into it and then hand crank it over a bowl and combine all the efforts into another big bowl or pot. I did get a picture of this but I was in it and I was in very inappropriate clothing for a blog. Sorry.


Then after sterilizing the bottles and lids, you have to heat up the applesauce just a bit...

...then ladle it into the cans/bottles...

...and finally put on the lids and boil the can/bottles lightly in a water bath for about 30 minutes until they seal.

At any one time, your kitchen may look like this...

...or like this.

There will be lots of pots used and lots of sticky apple juicyness everywhere. But if your mother-in-law is there to do it with you, it will all be cleaned up before you come out from changing diapers and putting the kids down for a nap.

In the end, the cans will be on the counter cooling and waiting for you to store them for a long winter of yummy goodness.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Reason I Will Never Run a Daycare...

Today I volunteered for MOPS as a childcare giver while they were having a benefit yard sale. I was knee deep in toddlers. I left my own kids with my M-I-L and realized after I got there that I was in way over my head.

There were several little babies, toddler girls (who are easy) and then... there were boys!

I'm just going to say, I don't know much about boys or how they are managed. They are rowdy and dirty and loud and rough. AND I don't know much about how to deal with the potty and a boy toddler. Most of the kids were JUST potty trained so I went in to help a little guy on the potty. When he requested help pulling up his pants, I leaned over and checked to make sure we had the back covered as that seems to be the biggest problem in my JLo butt household. I didn't even think about what may be occuring in the front until he yelled, "My PENIS!" Oops. "I'll just let you fix that," I mumbled while holding his pants out far enough for him to poke the offending part back in. I am NEVER running a daycare. Grrr...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pot: Part 2

This morning while we were still in our bathrobes eating cereal, the door bell rang and fortunatley Daddy was still here because I was quite indecent. The pot had arrived. Here are some pictures of us ooing and ahhing over it. I can't wait to deep fry something. I'll be saving some serious Weight Watchers points for that!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Princess and the Pee

Cate is teething. It's miserable. Daddy is trying to help and that means that both sets of parents are working to get both kids to sleep or rest at random times of the day. We have to separate them right now because one wakes the other up and such. So Cate is on our bed barricaded in with pillows and she takes up the WHOLE BED! Yes, she is a princess. It's amazing how a little 18 lb. baby can take up a queen sized bed and force both parents to sleep in the living room on the floor or the couch or crawl in with the two year old.

On the up side, Abby has decided she's ready for potty training. That means that Mommy has decided she is never going to potty train anyone again and if Abby wants to be a big girl, great. Otherwise, diapers it is until college. Anyway, Abby can get into her own drawer and get out panties and put them on... all on her own. She can also get onto the potty and do her own business. So, if there is an accident, I clean it up and put her in a pull-up. If she wants to put on panties, she knows what she has to do. Updates to follow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pot

I got a great gift certificate from the school when we moved away. Sadly, it could only be used in Asheville as that store doesn't exist anywhere else and they haven't really advanced to letting you use their gift certificates online. It was for $100 so I didn't want to just set it aside and forget about it. Especially because it was to a kitchen store and I want this dutch oven that will just validate my obsession with butter and deep frying. (Donuts anyone?)

Anyway, I sent the gift certificate to one of my friends to spend at the store for me and send me the merchandise. I sent also $15 for her to pay for postage on a "large" flat rate box from USPS. Here follows a copy of our facebook conversation on the subject of getting me my new cooking utensil:

Callie Adams  - How did the sending of the pot go? Was it really expensive? Just let us know and THANK YOU for getting it for me!

    • Alisha
      It is on it's way!! It cost 29 bucks, tho. I was so mad about that supposedly "large" flat rate box! Large, my rear (no pun intended). I was about to go postal up in there! You actually caught me right in the middle of ranting about it as m...y latest update. Anyhow, it will come UPS (take that, USPS!!) No worries on the extra 15. Goodness, you left me with 25 bucks to blow! (THANKS a ton, btw!) I told her it had to be there by the 13th, and she said it would be no later than the 12th. I wanna know what you cook in it first!! Love ya!See More

    • Alisha
      HAHA! You know, "How'd the sending of the pot go?" could be misconstrued... Even funnier? The fact that I couldn't find a big enough box to send it! HAHAHAHHA!
       
    • Callie Adams 
      LOL! That totally made my day! The pot... LOL!!!!!!!!
       
    • Callie Adams 
      ‎...and "how expensive was it?" LOL!
       
      Good thing I'm not a teacher anymore...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Hardest Job

I love being a mom. I love it! I love being the one to take care of my kids and knowing what they are learning and being there for every first. I love holding them and comforting them and being their world.

But being a mom is the hardest job.

I can't call in sick. I can't quit. I can't even get a minute to myself these first years. Naptime is the best time because I can think for a second. If I am run down and about to break, it doesn't matter. I have to just keep going. Keep feeding and cleaning it up and trying to lose weight while feeding everyone else what they want. I have to wash the dishes and fold the laundry. I never get to go out alone to Barnes and Noble and get a coffee and read a book. I don't get to have ALONE time even in the bathroom. I haven't finished a project in forever and I haven't had a good nights sleep in 3 years. Sometimes I look at what my passions were before I had kids and they are all going by the wayside because that's what happens when you take on parenthood. It's just all consuming. It's hard being a mom.

Today I am tired and worn out and I need a day off that I won't ever get. But I wouldn't trade being a mom for the world...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Missed You!

We (the girls and I) went on a mini vacation to WA last week, therefore the lack of posting. We are back and have been for a day or so but you all know what it's like to get back and have to deal with unpacking and such. Anyway, I saw my cousin and her family and some more family and then... we hit Sabbath School and it's like Facebook in there. When you have parents who worked at academy's and then you worked at academy's and went to academy's and basically spent your whole life in this little Adventist bubble, you are bound to see someone you know anywhere you go. So I'm in Sabbath School and a face from the past walks in. We did the eye dance for a while as we hadn't seen each other in 15 years (and that's half my life span right now). She whispered to her friend and then I was whispering to my cousin and then we locked eyes and did that silent, "Are you ______?" "Yeah." "HEY!"

So I did what I thought was customary and waited until Sabbath School was over and the din of toddlers was getting to a maximum just before everyone headed up to church to go over and WAIT AND WAIT for her to talk to me or for there to be a break in conversation for me to talk to her. She didn't and there wasn't.

After standing there for a while, I finally was like, "Hey."

She was like, "Hey."

And that was IT! 15 years and we didn't have anything to say to one another. Now, I can usually make conversation like crazy no matter who it is but this girl (now a lady) was really hard to talk to. I'm not sure why but it was the most awkward moment I have had in a long time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

In Love

My little girls are beautiful. I'm not just bias because they are mine. They are really beautiful.

We were at some friends house on Saturday night. They have a son, Sonny, who is around 4 years old. He is so cute, a very good looking child. He and Abby took right to each other. They were just two Gap Kids in a pod. It was late so Sonny's mom set up two easy chairs with pillows and blankets and we plunked them in front of the TV while the adults played games. After a few minutes, they were leaning over onto each others chairs. A few minutes later, they were playing baby and daddy and Abby was casually strewn across Sonny's lap, arms around his neck and he had his arm slung around her back holding her and staring into her eyes. It was straight out of an Abercrombie ad. Grr... My first thought was, "What the hell?!" But then, they are toddlers and they have no idea how inappropriate they look. We let it go. It only got crazier throughout the night. We were rolling in our seats as we watched them faun over each other. Abby is in love with that kid. I would have gotten pictures but I was laughing to hard.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grouch

Here's my grouch... Andy works at a gym here teaching tumbling a few days a week. I take Abby to the same gym. It's a GREAT class. It's really a great gym. There is also an open gym time when you can take your kids in and they can just play. I have been paying at a discounted rate for the class and each open gym session. Last week, at open gym, there were only two other employee kids at the open gym. They didn't charge me but the people who are supposed to be on the floor basically left me to watch their kids while they stood around in the lobby and chatted. OK. Fine. I'm an employee's wife and I don't need to be watched carefully. I don't mind watching other peoples kids, especially if I'm getting a free gym. Then, today, they charged me, and left me with the kids. OK, one way or the other...

I mentioned it to the owner and she was on it like a fat kid on cake. Problem, the lady who is supposed to be on the floor was back in a flash and giving me the evil eye. I "told" on her and she was ticked. I don't know if I will go back. It's just to hard to complain. I had almost made up my mind to just leave it but... I like the gym. I want to go there and not be fuming the whole time while I pay to be a babysitter. Should I have just left it alone? Should I have just not gone back? I don't know. What do you think? Am I just an annoying grouch?

Our Morning

Most mornings are ending up like this. Cate being "dressed up" by Abby and everyone still in pajamas unless we have to go somewhere.

At least Abby likes to help me clean...

TWINS!

I have a friend who is having twin girls here in Montana. I live close to her. If you have or had twins, how can I help her? I have already had the suggestion of taking food and that is being coordinated through the church. Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cate, The Early Bird

Cate was crying and crying last night. I thought maybe those two early teeth (3 months, people. And YES I am breastfeeding her still) were bothering her. But alas, when I stuck my finger in her mouth to rub her sore lower gums, I felt a new tooth on the top coming through. Dang it! Why does she have to be so ahead of the game?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pictures of the Baby

I seem to talk about Abby alot in this blog but that's because everything is new with her. Cate is just as cute and just as perfect. It's just that we have been through all the baby stuff already and I know I'm in danger of repeating myself and driving away readers. Here are some pictures of my precious Cate especially for the grandma's.






Isn't she the sweetest?

The First Haircut - The Event

I like to braid Abby's hair right after she gets out of the shower so it stays out of her face. In this picture, I'm pregnant with Cate and we are still at Pisgah. Aslan is still a part of the family... (sniffle)
I love to put her hair in sponge rollers also. It's so Shirley Temple. But it was getting crazy on the ends. Although there was great baby hair curl, it was difficult to comb out and it was just getting crazy so we cut it.

This is Annette. She was so nice about the whole thing. She let me take pictures and cut Abby's hair so quick we barely knew it happened. I did not save the hair itself.
I prepped Abby for days before we did this. I told her we were getting her hair cut and that it was going to be fun and look pretty and by the time we went, it was a serious event. Look at that serious face!

This is her hair all done being cut. Now, I tried to get a nice picture of her with the apron off and her all smiley and with her new haircut. She would not cooperate and you all know what it's like to try and get a picture of a two year old when they don't want it. I just gave up and I will post something soon when I can get her to stop being a booger.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why Leave All the Spoiling to Grandma's?

How is it that we have this idea that Grandma (or Grandpa) has to be the one spoiling the kids? Tonight I started testing recipes for a Peanut Butter Inside-Out cookie that will blow your mind when I get it done. I'm totally posting the recipe when I perfect it. But for now, it's just not quite right. Abby looks up at me with those perfect little blue eyes and says, "Please, Mommy. Have a cookie?" How can you resist that?! Is it bad that three cookies and a glass of whole milk later, we both need to be on the treadmill?

Tomorrow, pasta and a creamy tomato sauce, more peanut butter cookie testing and most likely, some kind of fruit snacks after she sits very still for her haircut... We are going to need some serious walking time after all that. Bring it on...

The First Haircut

I believe I have mentioned before that I only really do Abby's hair for two reasons: It get's it out of her face and keeps it out of the mac and cheese, AND everyone compliments me and I get to watch them fawn over how perfect she is and compliment me on getting my kid to sit still. I have to admit, it's getting to where I have to sit on her and wrap my legs around her neck to get her still enough to do stuff sometimes but that's only because she's seen every episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog about 50 times and it has ceased to entertain her.

After having combed out the knotty, tangled mass of fine baby hair for 2.5 years, I'm done. I decided that I really want to get that fine stuff off the bottom so combing will be easier and she won't look like some kid of 19 kids and counting. So Friday we are going in to get some inches cut off. I will probably cry but I will also be relieved. I will post pictures when it's all said and done but don't worry, it won't be short. The hardest part is that when all that newborn hair is gone, all her natural curl will be too. Curlers, irons and all that will become a permanent part of her life if she want's any curl at all.

Ok, I have to go deal with the baby songs toy that I skipping and driving everyone, including the baby, nuts. Have a great day all and send me pics of your kids when they had baby hair.

Battle of the Earwigs

When Andy and I were first married, I battled the mice living in his apartment. There were traps everywhere and we lived in the middle of a huge field so that didn't help. However, I triumphed after many weeks and countless times being woken up by the sound of a loud SNAP!

Now we are here in the land of eternal rain and there are earwigs in our house. I don't know of any snap traps that will deal with that kind of infestation. I have been grabbing them up with Kleenex and running them to the toilet to be flushed (to which Abby says, "Bye bye, Nemo bug..." Anyway, I'm battling the earwigs and dreaming every night of them being all up in my nose and stuff. I'm especially worried about my babies having earwigs on them EVER! Therefore, I have decided that I will never sleep. I will be the night watchwoman over my kiddos and grab earwigs whenever they appear. I already function solely on caffeine and cheese. I can go without rest...

The Increadible Shrinking Bedtime

I have been trying to find a happy medium with Abby. She usually gets up around 8 am. If she takes a nap, it's usually 2-3 hours in the afternoon. She can't sleep again until around 10 or so. I have tried putting her in a dark room and just leaving her there. She will cry or scream or play or get up and come out until around 10 o'clock and then drop off. It's tough. During the summer, we tried no nap. She would hit the hay around 7 pm. Now she can't make it that long anymore. I'm not sure if it's because there isn't the excitement here in Montana that there was with her cousins around or what but she will sleep whether I like it or not around 12 or 12:30 after her lunch and stay that way until around 3. She is going to be about 8 pm and actually going to sleep. We have had so many different routines that it's hard for me to determine what is the best. Anyone else have trouble with their kids sleep patterns? Does anyone have suggestions?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Netflix presents: Superman

Watching old cheesy episodes of Lois and Clark with Abby. Wow, the acting is really bad but Abby goes, "Wow. Mommy, a superhero!"

Lois: "Superman!" *dreamy eyed look into the camera*

Abby: "Mom, he a superman." *same dreamy eyed look at me*

We are all hooked up to the internet and we have a great DVD player that streams directly from netflix to our computer. It's the only way to go. Forget regular TV. No commercials... no scary previews. Nothing. I can control what is being watched.

Also back to regular blogging. Please, dear readers, don't desert me. I missed you all...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Daddy's the Big Man

Abby has been calling men "the big man" for some time. She always states to me that "Daddy is the big man." Yes, it's true. Daddy is the man... such a man. We are at his brother's house for the weekend and there is the slightest chill in the air. We aren't putting on a sweat shirt. We aren't snuggling up in a fuzzy blanket. We are building a fire. What is it with men and fire?

I seem to remember a certain student missionary who, when surrounded by all females, felt the need to build fire on the beach. Not only do men build and light fires, they tend fires. They love to sit there and feed the fire. Find any campfire and there will be a man, boy or male toddler who is sitting there feeding the fire with anything he can find.

Tonight, Daddy built a fire and I was terrified the whole night that we would burn down the house. It's not our house and we don't know what's been going on with this fireplace. Let's be real, I don't even know how to use an indoor fireplace. There is a fire roaring as we speak and there isn't smoke pouring into the house nor is there fire spilling out onto the hearth. I guess Andy knows what he's doing.

Side note: After building up the fire, Andy was trying to get Abby into her jammies and got pulled into a you-stop-that, no-you-stop-that argument. I was trying really hard to back him up but I ended up snickering into Cate's stomach. Her tummy, while fun to motor boat is a poor muffler...

Monday, August 30, 2010

College Move-in Day

Had to go to Wal-mart today to get some stuff for the duplex. That's what I'm calling out house. The duplex. It's soooo not a permanent home but Andy has done his best to make it homey so it needed a name.

Wal-mart was a madhouse. I mean, ever minivan in the whole state of Montana was in the parking lot and every college freshman and their parents were in there getting stuff for their rooms. Move in day at the U of M is just CRAZY. I actually heard, one aisle over and through the dwindling supply of tiny trash cans, a mom yelling at her husband. "Harry, OH... MY... GOODNESS! She can NOT drink that water. Did you remember the Brita from home? I don't think you did! You better go find another Brita. She is not drinking that water..."

Let go, people. They are going to be fine.

I went to church and there was a very quiet girl there. She was black and that kinda stands out in Montana. There just aren't a bunch of black people here. She's from Kenya and she's here all by herself to go to the University and study MICROBIOLOGY. (brave...) Now that's letting go. I'm totally bringing her to my house for lunch and getting her away from the dorm and THAT WATER!

Hand in the Cookie Jar

For the church campout, Casey and I made a huge batch of chocolate cookies. Try them, they will change your life. Anyway, we had them in the back of the car and the kids could see them. They both (Sebbie and Abby) wanted one. They were sternly told by a ridged Auntie Callie/Mommy that there would be no cookies until lunch time and even then they had to eat all their good food first. Disappointed, they turned around to play in the back seat. I reached into the back to get the cookies and take them to the potluck table. The smell of chocolate wafted over my already slightly hormonal nose and I couldn’t resist. I stole one out from underneath the plastic wrap and took a delicious bight. Just then, Abby popped her head over the back seat and said in that cute voice, “Whachu doing, Mommy?”

Busted!

I shoved the whole cookie in my mouth mumbling as clearly as possible, “Nothing, Baby,” as I rushed off, cookies in hand toward the tables. You never get to savor ill gotten goods…

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Gardeners - Neighborhood Exploration cont.

I feel a little like Sherlock Holmes as I scout out my new neighborhood, checking out all the yards and lawns and making my deductions. It's interesting to see someone's back yard. There is more about someone in the back. It's what no one else sees. Our backyard is up against two other backyards. I see the people come out every now and then to check their plants. There is Pat, a black guy in his 40's or so, who seems to do the majority of the gardening. He is married to Christine who is white and I rarely see at all. She must work or be away from the house for various reasons. I met them briefly and they encouraged me to eat whatever ended up growing on my side of the fence from their garden. There is also another guy, long white hair, bandanna with some kind of Asian symbol on it, same clothes every day, who comes out and tells Pat what to do sometimes. It kinda makes me laugh. He told me he's been in the air force most of his life. He does look like a Vietnam Vet that hated being there and turned hippie as soon as he got back. I call them the gardeners because they have alot of veggies growing back there along with stuff that is growing in a green house. I'm afraid to find out what that might be.

However, they have promised to give me some raspberry shoots come spring time because they know it grows well here and I need something for that side yard rock area.

I'm guessing the guy that lives in the other side of our duplex, who has the other yard visible from ours, is a single guy as he owns a very nice Mustang and a two seater truck. His back yard is mowed nicely but has no flowers or other plants. He has on the little slab of concrete in the back, only a small grill. Such a guy. Minimalist. Less to clean up that way and what do you really need when it's just you and you are working like a crazy person? I think he's single because no woman would let him live in this duplex and have that car. "You are selling that thing, mister. We need a bigger place..."

I think the guy across from us is single too. He left his garage door open and there was one bike, a hunting jacket and a tool box. He's got to be single or that chick would have the garage full of stuff.

You could deduce alot from our yard and garage also. The yard is already full of toys for babies. We have a stroller parked by the garage door all the time. There is tons of garbage filling our big can. There is also a ton of stuff in our garage, almost to the point that we can't get the car in.

The rest of the neighborhood seems to have some nice little families and a few dogs that are roaming free. That makes me a bit nervous but all in all, I think we are going to be fine here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some Funny Moments

I decided that I wanted to get organized right from the get-go in the new place (we'll see how long it lasts... DON'T LAUGH!) and I bought clothes pins to attach all the correct diaper covers to the correct dresses. I have yet to do more than one and that one got worn already and is in the wash therefore, not attached anymore. I was inspired by my friend Larissa who has all her kids clothes on perfect little hangers and their closets perfectly organized all the time. I'm amazed she has the stamina to do this. It's all about priorities... Mine is definitely cooking and hers seems to be laundry. Anyway, I have all these clothes pins and Abby is trying to pin them on the screen of the laptop while I'm checking my facebook and one shoots off and hits her right in the nipple.

I could hardly keep from laughing.

She says, "Ow, Mom. Ow." Just like that. No crying. No whining. Just, "Ow." And then she says, "I need that for feeding my baby doll." Then she goes and gets her doll and uses the bruised nipple to feed the baby saying all the while, "I da mom and you da girl and dis my baby doll. She's drinka da milk..."

I love it.

Cate has a cold and is a faucet of snot. Yuck. I've been "bulbing" it out like a good mom. I came into the room to find Abby trying to bulb Cate's nose herself. It was interesting. Cate was just letting her do it. Little things like that totally get me.

Like when I asked Abby to give me some space when I was feeding Cate and she said, "Fine. Don't be my friend," and crossed her arms and turned away from me in the most adorable pout. I could hardly contain my laughter enough to be stern and tell her that was not appropriate behavior.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To Garden or Not to Garden

Let me preface this whole blog by saying something about my father (sorry Dad…). When my sister and I were young, Dad bought about 100 trees and planted them hither and yon across our large country yard… and then ordered US to water them every day. He will freely admit that his strategy for getting an oasis of landscaping in our desert domain was to plant as much as possible and perhaps something would survive. Mom also had some kind of plant-a-ton-and-then-make-the-kids-weed philosophy. Ever since then I have had a vendetta against any kind of outdoor work and really plants in general. I couldn’t even keep a cactus alive in college.

When we lived at Pisgah, Andy mowed the lawn but I never did anything outside. I did mow a couple of times just to get some exercise but I really hate doing it. In this new place, there is a yard with a tree in the back, a tree in the front and a lawn. Of course, Andy is out there mowing away. It’s required by the landlord for us to mow and trim and whatnot. I wonder if he was a kid that hated landscaping and therefore requires everyone else to do it but won’t do it himself?
Anyway, back to me… Ok, there is a little rocked in area right in front that looks perfect for a little flower garden. LITTLE! Like 2 6-foot rows and that’s it. So the question is: Will Callie give up her hard core hatred of all things horticultural and plant some flowers in her yard?

What even grows in Montana?

When Dad was sick and Mom was up in Denver taking care of him and I was all alone in their house, it once again fell to me to make sure the plants didn’t die. They have moved on from the straight up desert and into town. There is easier access to the plants from the hose. They have a new strategy for planting as well: pick something that grows well in the desert and nurture it. There are way less plants to take care of and I could get all the watering done in about 30 minutes. I still managed to kill the two front hanging garden thingies that apparently needed to be watered 3 times a day and have me whisper sweet nothings in their petals for them to stay living. Mom even left the price tags on everything so I knew how much I was costing them when I missed a watering. ($49.99 per hanging garden thingy! Dang… gardening is expensive.)

So… votes: What should be planted here?

10 Things I Hate About...

I realize it has been some time since I blogged last. I am blogging now over a weak internet connection and I don't know if it will last long enough for me to get this out over the lines to those who care enough to read this blog.

My life has changed dramatically. Although I was pessimistic about ever getting back with my husband, we are here... in Montana. We have arrived. Andy found us a nice little two bedroom duplex. It's way small but we are contained. There is alot of our stuff in the garage and it might just stay there for the duration of our run here. We have a wood burning fire place, a tiny back yard and no money but we are going to make it. I'm excited about being back with Andy. It was NOT fun to be a single mom. All you who have ever done it alone (kinda... my mom was there for me through most of it), you are a bunch of saints and your kids should kiss the ground you walk on.

I have to admit that I hate living like this. I'm scared that we will never get out of debt after Andy is done with school and I'm also scared that something will go wrong and we will be stuck in this same lifestyle forever. BUT! Let's list the positives about this new place shall we?! Hating just makes us grouchy and nobody likes a Mr. Grouchy Pants...

1. There are no stairs. Sorry Pisgah... that situation kinda sucked with little ones. People having to troupe up and down the stairs into the mucky basement to do laundry, get to the guest room and answer the door. Not ideal. This is MUCH easier.

2. It's way smaller so there is less to clean.

3. There is a garage. I was afraid we would land in some apartment that didn't have any place for us to put the excess stuff that was bound to not fit in any room. By the way, after all those HUGE garage sales and us just giving stuff away at the corner, we still can't fit all our stuff in this place... grrrr...

4. Wood burning fire place saves on heating costs and Andy get's to look like a manly man when he wields an axe.

5. We already have friends in the Missoula area so... AWESOME! And thanks again to those who came and helped us get it together on the first day.

6. Linoleum instead of carpet under our table. Toddlers... 'nuff said.

7. Fenced in back yard. I can lock all the front doors and keep my kids contained. I was scared about moving here because we have always lived on Academy campus' and they are so safe and contained. Now we are in a neighborhood and it's a little scary.

8. We live literally one block from the emergency room. I can walk out our street and into the hospital. Awesome.

9. Starbucks is about 2 feet away. Actually it's a bit of a walk but I need that to walk off the Latte's I'm sure to consume on a daily basis.

10. I'm with my kids and my husband. Everyone is healthy and happy. We have awesome family and friends who are supporting our decision for Andy to go back to school and who love to help. What more could we ask for?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Postpartum Depression

I'm having a bit of postpartum depression. That's right. I'm putting it right out there.

Symptoms:
1. I cry over the stupidest things. (Most recently, a box of cereal...)
2. I'm tired ALL THE TIME! I can wake up in the morning after 10 hours of great sleep and still be wasted. I need introveinous caffine just to function.
3. I have the weirdest aches and pains (that cause me to cry... refer to symptom #1.)
4. I get unreasonably mad about stuff that doesn't matter. (Like Abby moving one inch while I'm doing her hair.) Then I have to reason with myself for an hour before I react or I'm bound to say or do something I regret. This usually involved some crying.
5. I'm dehydrated and feel like I need to drink all the time. Is this really a symptom or am I just running out of fluids between breast feeding and crying?

So, suggestions? My mom thinks I need vitamins. I think that's a good idea.

Update on the status of our lives:

Andy is still in MT working out the last of his school stuff and loans and all that. I'm still here. There is no apartment yet but I think that will be worked out after some other things are worked out. We are still up in the air over so many things. I just hope we get it all together soon but really, I'm not that worried about it... today. Some days I'm crying over it and some days I'm content to just sit here and take care of the kids. I say "just" but we all know what a big job taking care of the kids is. Well, friends, I am sorry that I haven't been blogging lately but I have to get the kids down and cross the construction zone in the house to use the computer. Honestly, every spare second is used for sleep or laundry or such.

Update on Dad:

Dad is home, feeling alot better, and realizing what a long time it's going to take to recover from MAJOR surgery. He is getting antibiotics through a PICC line morning and night. It's interesting to see him down like this. I know how it is to recover. I also know what it's like to feel like since you aren't in the hospital anymore, you should be going full speed. It's just not going to happen. Get over it and get some rest. Easier said than done, right? Keep sending him your love. It's what keeps him going.

Don Kanen
106 Willowcreek Pl.
Alamosa, CO 81101

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My girls and I are spending the summer at Grammy and Papa Kanen's house. They are having a blast playing with their cousins and just having fun destroying everything here. My mom has always taken better pictures of the kids than any professional photographer.





Abby and Seb were supposed to be in my cousins wedding but plans changed. We got them dressed up anyway and took some pictures.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Playing Make Believe and Another Update on Dad

Today Abby and Seb were using a skate board as a car. Apparently they were driving to school. Seb decided they needed gas. Abby still refers to glass as gas. She hears Grammy talking about glass cleaner so much (my mom is like the greek dad on My Big Fat Greek Wedding: "Just put some Windex on it...") that she assumed Seb was talking about glass cleaner. She says, "Yeah! Let's get some gas ceaner!" So off they go, coming back with watering cans full of water. Abby is cleaning the skate board with "gas ceaner" and Seb is filling up the tank with "gas" and off they go. They played at this all morning. So much fun to watch.

Dad is still up in Denver. He was not responding well to the antibiotics so they switched his meds. He is very sick (a side affect of the meds) and puking and stuff. His surgery is scheduled for today at 5:30. They are re sectioning his bowel in the hopes of removing all pockets that cause the abscesses and such. We'll see how he does. You can still send him stuff here. Casey and I are going up on the weekend to see him and will take him all the mail. He has received many cards and letters and it just makes his day to open them. Please continue to pray for a full recovery. We will continue to update this blog and my mom updates her's almost every day with the news of how he is doing. Please leave them messages on this blog, her blog, and her facebook. Please don't call as telling the story over and over is kinda wearing on her.