Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hair! (Flow it, Show it... all that)

I love Leif's hair. I love the color (strawberry blonde - moreso lately on the blonde side). I love his haircut and I love that it looks so great on him.

Why must he go and rip out my heart?

No, he didn't cut it. (Knock on wood.)

But yesterday when I was combing it. He HATES having his hair combed and squeals "nooooooooo mommy!" daily. Yes, I use detangler sprays on it. If he didn't rub his head all over his bed while he sleeps, this wouldn't be an issue!

I told him it was probably about time to get it trimmed again since combing it was so difficult.

His reply?

"I want my hair short like daddy's and so it sticks up just like daddy's."

No? Can I just tell him no?

I moaned to AB last night about this exchange and he asked how I felt about it.

I don't remember my exact words except that the thought of buzzing my son's head breaks my heart.

AB reminded me that if we are going to do it, it is the right time of year. He won't get too cold yet, and his head won't sunburn.

I know.

But if I buzz his head like he wants he isn't going to look like a little boy anymore. He will look like a big boy.

What to do?

I know, it grows. Before I know it, it will be back hanging in his eyes. That is IF he didn't insist on wearing it that way from here on out.



Leif hasn't had so much funny to say lately like he has in the past. Lately it is more that we find humor in the things he says from a "different" perspective.

The other night at dinner completely out of the blue:

Leif: "I was thinking all day today about maybe drawing a triangle."

NM: "You could do that, draw a triangle if you want."

Leif: "I will think about it more and probably do it next day."


Leif carrying Skadi's two baby dolls out of the bathroom where she left them.

Leif: "Skadi left her dolls in the bathroom."

NM: "Yep, looks like she did."

Leif: "I thought we had discussions about this before, did we not?"

NM: "Huh?"


On the way to work this morning:

Leif: "Mommy what did you say laser meant again, about the light? I want to tell Ms. S because she doesn't know what I am talking about."

NM: "Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation."

(I have no idea where my son might have inherited a know it all attitude.)


While watching Cinderella:

Leif: "It's very important that I write a note to Ms. S right now telling her that I have the Cinderella movie."

NM: "Here's a pen and paper."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The *thing* in the garbage disposal

AB was bathing the kids as I did the kitchen clean up.

I flipped on the garbage disposal and it started clunking. Pretty badly.

So I waited for it to spin down then reached my hand in and fished around.

I found something and pulled it out.

A grey mass.

What the hell is this? I asked myself examining it a little closer. (Always a bad idea.)

Is that? OMG, its fur! And that's a tail! An eye!

I screamed. I screamed like a little girl. It just came out.

AB is yelling for me, "what's wrong? Are you ok?" he asks paranoid to leave the kids in the back.

I threw it in the sink and felt like throwing up as I went running into the bathroom.

"The sink, it's in the sink," was all I could say as I saw the kids playing in the tub.

He was in there a few minutes. I knew he was looking over the *thing* I pulled out of the disposal. Trying to figure out how it got there? I could tell he was trying to decide what exactly it was.

He came back, "I think it's a cat toy".

I was relieved. I hadn't even thought of a cat toy.

But that one word stood out to me, "you *think*?"

"Well there's no blood and I didn't see any bones," he says shrugging.

He's right I thought to myself. I didn't see any of that either.

Then he thinks for a minute. "I will go throw it away," he states.

I nodded.

I am NEVER buying another realistic looking mouse toy EVER again.

Blips from the day

Leif came inside from playing today with a scratch on his finger.

"Mommy, I was climbing the tree and it scratched me," he moaned.

"Oh I am sorry Leif," I said kissing his owie. "Maybe you shouldn't climb the tree anymore?"

"Mommy, that breaks my heart," he replied.

No honey... you climbing the tree breaks my heart, I thought to myself.


While reading the Sharks book:

"There are 400 different types of sharks," I read.

"Wow, that's really impressive!" Leif exclaimed.

No dear boy, you are impressive.


AB gave me a big long hug today after dinner and told me how happy he is and how much he loves the life we share.

This meant so much to me. My BIL (his brother) and SIL are divorcing. AB's happiness and love isn't something I want to take for granted, but sometimes I think we do. And you can't help thinking, "if BIL fell out of love and no longer finds his wife attractive, it could happen to us".

That reassurance that it isn't happening to us was valuable to me.


I made a little progress on the goals this weekend. I am currently working on my Master Bedroom. The two nightstands arrived the weekend we went to the water park (where our friends were kind enough to haul them inside for us). Truly, had I known they would be shipped and arrive from Overstock within 2 days for $2.99 I would have put off the purchase!

(Ok, explain to me how Overstock can ship items of furniture for $2.99 and Ikea - owned by the richest man in the world - can't ship nearly anything for less than the price of the item. And in the case of a cute dresser? For nearly twice as much as the item.)

Anyways... the nightstands were assembled. One by me on Saturday afternoon while Skadi slept and AB and Leif were at a birthday party. Two hours and twenty minutes with the tools the instructions stated, a phillips screwdriver and a 4mm hex key. And I was sore afterwards! It was hard work!

AB laughed at me when he got home. Why didn't I use the drill? Because it said screwdriver, not drill. Though I do admit that a quarter of the way through I was wondering why it said screwdriver and not drill.

So he set to putting the other together today. With the drill. And logged in at 2 hours and 6 minutes. He wasn't laughing much then. Though his hand is probably nowhere near as sore as mine still is.

I finally ditched the decade old open top ugly hamper and bought a nice hamper at Target today. We organized the bedside tables (love them) and the bedroom is starting to look snazzy. Leif got my bedside table. It was headed to the garage for the eventual garage sale when it dawned on me how much he needs something to put a cup of water, his glasses and the current favorite books (Halloween books right now). I don't think he even noticed it appeared in there.

I have a fair amount more organizing and I really would like to go through AB's dresser. But then we need to at least think about painting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Skadi 18 month well baby

This morning was Skadi's well baby exam. Her doctor called this the Tasmanian Devil stage and she wasn't kidding.

The actually called us back quickly so Skadi didn't have any time to play with the waiting room toys. This put a short lived cramp in her style. Of course then we got the requisite 15 minute wait in the exam room with her in just her diaper with no toys. Yeah, sucky mom I am, no toys in the diaper bag since I had just cleaned it out from our Idaho trip. Though it isn't hard to convince her that her shoes are toys.

The reason kids this age wear clothes is to keep their diaper on. I am convinced. Ok, too look cute too. But clothing at this age serves a very important purpose. Could not get the child to keep her diaper on. I finally gave up.

Skadi was diagnosed anemic a few months ago and has been on iron supplements since. She had her second blood draw last week - oh and by the way, not fun for a toddler... or mom. Her iron levels are on the low side of normal, but we are happy with this. Supplements will decrease to 3-4 times a week - basically every other day for the next three months and then a month off and blood work again. And a hope that her anemia is resolved.

Then the moment of truth... the height and weight check.

Height - 33" (86th percentile)
Weight - 24 lbs 7 oz (50th percentile)

Being a paranoid mom type, I couldn't help but notice that my daughter has lost weight in the last 6 months. Her stats 6 months ago have her at 25 lbs 2 oz and 3 months ago (apparently not blogged about) at 24 lbs 8 oz. She was a chunk once upon a time. Now? Not so much. She has really leaned out. She eats very well - better than her brother. So I am not going to worry about it. As her doctor put it, "this isn't uncommon for bigger babies as they enter their Tasmanian Devil stage".

Milestone-wise Skadi's vocabulary just suddenly took off. AB and I noted receently that even though Skadi had fewer words than Leif did at this age, she is much more communicative. She has picked up sign language very well at her Montessori school. Often times I have to go in and ask what a sign is. She signs "more", "again", "food", "drink", "all done" and "all gone" routinely.

Her vocab is growing and she has just started stringing two words together... though one of those words is very often "no". This morning it was "no no apples" as she didn't want to wear her apple polo shirt. She repeats a lot - we are pretty sure she said "hi grandma" a few times on the phone to my mom. And the other day we were amazed when in the daycare parking lot she pointed to one of Leif's best friends and said, "Niranjana" repeatedly. She even pronounced it better than Leif does! Though we are very shocked that she does not say "Leif" yet.

Some of her words are: more, no, hi, bye bye, hug, baby, swim, boat, plane, apples, fruit (which she has finally decided is not poison), mama, dada, cat, nay nay (horsey), cracker, yummy, baba (bottle), bath, poo poo, diap (diaper), and wipe. I know there are more but I am blanking.

Skadi is much more into toys than Leif ever was. She will sit and play Little People for awhile - whereas Leif is into interacting with people and currently his imagination. Our downfall is that we tend to forget she and Leif are different kids. The perils of the second child? I make assumptions a lot that she likes doing the same things, when she clearly does not.

TV does not interest her at all. (Leif could watch an entire Disney flick and be mesmerized at this point.) She likes to be held and she likes to sing songs, dance, swim, read books and play with her baby. Skadi's favorite song is "Row Row Row your boat". She wobbles back and forth singing "wo wo wo boat" to try to get you to sing with her. And yes, she does love boats and freaks out when she sees one. Her daddy's genes there.

Everyone says Skadi looks a lot like me. She has my hair, but her complexion is a touch darker (she has tan lines...) her eyes are still mix between blue and brown - I hope they stay that way. And she has her daddy's long black eyelashes amazingly enough. I think she has AB's families eyes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

He's a natural!

So I got ready with my camera knowing this very well maybe an all or nothing thing.

He could biff it bad and not ask to go back on the flow rider.

Or he could last 5 seconds like most of the kids.

I snapped the shutter fast on the action setting.

Then I switched to trying to get good shots...

Was he ever going to fall?

The answer was no.

AB had to jump in on a boogy board and nudge him off. Leif could have stayed there ALL day!

He's a natural.

Surfer dude!

Playing at the park

The little mommy

Skadi loves her babydoll. She hauls her nearly everywhere and "carefully" puts her to bed every night. She always offers her a pacifier. And makes sure baby eats often too.

My mommy is so mean

NM: "This would be a cute picture... except for that binky. Just a quick swipe should do it. Snap the pictures fast... And yes, Skadi picked out her socks and shoes."

NM: "No sweety, you don't need the binky. Just smile ok?"

NM: *Sigh* "Drama Queen."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wrapping up my week!

It has been a busy week here. I had a project review this morning that went really well. I biffed it big on a teleconference I was supposed to phone into today though. Must pay attention to details like "EDT"! Duh. Missed the teleconference by three hours. Oh well. It isn't one where I was expected to do anything but sit at my desk with my phone on my ear and listen to them recite everything on the "Teleconference Itinerary" that they sent out.

Won't make that mistake again.

Leif is thrilled that he only has one sleep until we head to the water park! We decided we didn't have time this fall to drive to the coast and spend 4-7 days at the cabin unfortunately since AB is doing this engineering rotation. So we decided instead to take one of AB's normal weekends (since he works four 10 hour days, I had to take a day off however) and head to one of the indoor water parks. I picked the newest one that looked like it might have fun things to do outside of the water too (like the longest gondola in the world).

Leif has been counting down to the trip since we spontaneously decided to book it about 10 days ago. (Yes, welcome to my world of being spontaneous...) Ideally, it would have been better to go after October 1. Taking time off before Sept 30th is always a risky maneuver. But I could afford a Friday since most of my projects (for the first time ever) are not fiscal year projects. Waiting to go until after October 1 meant skyrocketing rates and the end of "summer deals".

Leif has watched the video of the place on the computer a few times and is so excited to do the waverider and the slides. I told him I was looking forward to going down the slides with him.

He replies, "well no, I don't think that will work because it might be dangerous".

I told him no, these slides you can go down together.

He said, "I know, I saw it on the movie, but it might be dangerous for you and so I need to go with daddy. And then after that you can go with daddy."

So is he trying to protect me from danger? Or is it like AB says and I am the nurturer, he is the protector.

Later in the evening Leif told me he wanted to just stay at the water park for more than 5 minutes. I told him we would stay for two nights. He would have almost two days there.

He said, "how about always?"

I told him that would be expensive.

His reply was, "but you have 10 monies!"

Later I had put $40 on the counter for AB. Leif picked it up, jumped up and down and said, "oooh, two monies, we can almost stay forever at the water park!"

(In my own head I was thinking, "well you just bought us 6 hours there...")


Another Leif funny...

I fixed Hamburger Helper Lasagna the other night. I know, sucky dinner, but when you have very little time to cook, you go with what you can. Leif, however, hates this. Part of it is the ground beef in there and his insistence that he won't eat ground beef. I have to say, I kind of understand the ground meat aversion... I am not a big ground beef person either - unless it is in V's tortierre. But hey, it's what I put in front of him and it was easy.

Since he was polite in his whining (is there such thing as polite whining?) and had eaten all of his carrots I gave on my stance that you will eat what I put in front of you.

AB asked him, "would you like chicken nuggets or a hot dog?"

"Chicken nuggets," Leif replies and then pauses. "And lobster too."

"Yeah Leif," AB replies, "I would rather have lobster than Hamburger Helper too!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Holding steady with the goals

I would like to say that the Master bathroom is finished. But we haven't gotten around to the touch-up painting. Of course this is mostly because my attempts at spray painting the cheap shelves I had hanging up in the bathroom failed. AB suggested I just buy new shelves - which is fine. Fine except that I have anchors and screws in the walls to hang these ones.

Anyways, what that means is that I need to yank out the anchors, patch the walls and paint over them. Not really a big deal, but time consuming enough that I haven't gotten to it yet. Might as well do all the touch up painting at once.

I had intended to be done with the Master Bath by the end of Labor Day, but I keep finding little things in the bathroom to work on. I need to recaulk the shower, work on one of the light switches and AB needs to reattach the trim.

So switching gears to my September goal - the Master Bedroom.

Our Master Bedroom needs serious attention. It is just a sorely neglected room as far as decorating and furniture. We don't like our dressers, but don't want to spend the money on a new bedroom set now.

What I did do was to buy new nightstands. We have never had nightstands and instead have some random small tables next to each of our sides of the bed. So I have ordered new nightstands and they should arrive next week!

They were inexpensive (though solid wood - AB might have strung me up by my toes if I bought anymore laminate particle board stuff) - Overstock.com stuff. But they should match the dressers reasonably well - at least in color if not hardware. They will work for now to help organize our bedside areas. Then after we buy a house, move and buy a new bedroom set (with a king sized bed), we can relegate these nightstands to the guest bedroom.

The things I still need for the Master bedroom are a new hamper system. Badly need this. Anyone see any nice, inexpensive hampers out there? And we could also use two matching bedside lamps or sconces. Probably lamps to put on our new nightstands since I have mounted shelves where sconces would go. AB hates the shelves for some reason... truly not sure why. He would trash them and put up lamps. But my shelves hold my huge stack of books to be read.

Since I am so good at plowing through books lately.


The last thing that needs to be done in the Master bedroom is a coat of paint. It isn't a must, but it would be really nice (and AB agrees in theory) to have the paint color in the bathroom extend into the bedroom.

No way am I finishing all this in September. My summer turned September goals have now become my October goals. Oh well. I am making progress!

I am really looking forward to the kitchen in November. Probably good I am procrastinating that though... because it is going to get pricey. (New floor, pull outs...)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cupcakes flashback

Tonight as I was reading to Leif before bed I recalled back to elementary school. One of my favorite activities that was held a few times a year was "Cupcake Sale Day".

I should ask my mom more about it. But this was long before cupcakes were haute cuisine. Before shops opened carrying only cupcakes. This was kid stuff and so very much fun.

Everyone made and decorated cupcakes and brought their batch in. They were all decorated differently and the parents split the cupcakes out among many tables in the hallways. A cupcake cost a dime. And we saved styrofoam meat trays (washed, but still now I wonder about how wise that was) for us all to carry them home on covered with a big produce baggie that I worked so hard to keep from mucking up my frosting.

I usually bought six - exactly how many would fit on a styrofoam tray - the maximum we were allowed to buy. Though since my mom was a room mother every year for either my sister or I we always ended up with more cupcakes than that - the leftovers. Leftovers were the ones that were an obviously obscure flavor or weren't usually decorated nicely.

Because as elementary school aged kids, we were ALL about the decorations.

Ours were always so nicely decorated that I had to resist buying our own cupcakes. And then there were the boys that you watched when they walked in with their cupcakes (providing their cupcakes made it in one piece), which were theirs. Because some boys had cooties and you wouldn't dare want to buy one of their cupcakes.

Cupcake sale day was great. So the fundraiser only raised 60 cents per child at most - won't go too far in today's schools. But there wasn't any of the door to door sales stuff. I admit though, I am a sucker for the neighborhood kids selling stuff. I will buy anything that comes to my door because they are most often for a good cause - the kids are in sports or working towards something for their school.

So far this school year I have bought a case of water for to help support a soccer team, a bucket of chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough - that not only do I not need, but can't possibly taste as good as my own - to support a gymnastics team. And I am waiting for the annual gift wrap drives to make their way here. Oh and exactly how many car washes do I really need? This is an anomaly here... I have never lived in a place that had so many charity car washes. And I really hope my children aren't involved in any organization that does this because it really reeks of something unpleasant seeing the preteen girls on the sidewalks begging cars to follow them.

Anyways. Bake sales don't always bring in a lot of business. But our cupcake sales were truly fun... and yummy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Samblich Pie

"Time for bed honey pie!" I called to Leif.

"Why did you call me that?" he asked.

"I always call you that, I like it," I said.

"Well I think you should call me 'samblich pie' instead, okay!" he tells me.


Leif lived in his cape the entire weekend. Seriously I am not sure it was off of him for more than an hour for a bike ride. On Saturday Leif went to answer the door as one of his friends was visiting. We opened the door to see the other little boy standing there... also wearing a cape. The caped crusaders played hard.

It was a busy weekend. Skadi and I went to swimming, then we all hit some Parade Homes. We went home for nap and I cooked dinner in preparation for guests.

Sunday our doorbell rang at 9am while we were finishing up breakfast (pumpkin waffles) and it was our babysitter. Only three hours early for her babysitting stint.

"NOON, not NINE!"

AB pointed her towards home and asked her to be back in a few hours.

AB and I had nine homes to finish up on the Parade of Homes route and we decided to tackle that last day sans children. They would rather stay home and play anyways.

Our sitter came back at noon and we chit chatted while AB finished showering. I asked how her trip to the cabin was and she told me she confused the weekends and she is going next weekend.

"Next weekend?" I asked her.

"Mmm hmmm!" she nodded with a mouthful of macaroni and cheese.

"So you aren't going to be able to housesit for me then?" I asked her.

She had that characterizeable blank look on her face for about 20 seconds. Then the bell dinged and she stammered trying to figure it out.

I made her promise that she get back to me asap. In the meantime AB has put plans in motion to just bring Winny along to the condo, which is probably a better option anyways.

I think she has the ding dong, ditzy teenager thing going on. It has been something with every single of the last three scheduled sitting jobs. Her mom is super and I am trying to be uber understanding. But this flightiness has me concerned and unimpressed.

Not to mention the fact that when we got home four hours later she was on the couch with Leif (while Skadi played on the floor) and he exclaimed, "we watched Tarzan, Mulan 2 [which I had put aside unopened in reserve as a reward] AND the Spiderman movie?"

"Spiderman movie?" I inquired with my eyebrow raised.

"Yeah," he wanted to watch it she said.

"It's rated PG I think," I told her.

She looked at me.

"He's four," I reminded her.

Ok, so I remember a babysitter letting my sister and I watch Friday the 13th all the while we declared, "it won't scare me". (HA HA HA HA HA.)

Yeah... our neighbor girl has been put on hold for babysitting pending a little growing up, or something.

So anyways... Parade of Homes. Mediocre. It's a Parade. I want to be wow'd. I wasn't wow'd very often. Only a few houses wow'd me. One we want to buy. Though there are enough little things I would change that I have trouble pulling the trigger. AB a little less so. I am thinking building the same house with a few modifications is more likely.

There were too many homes that were seriously just "open houses" with no decor. That's just a waste of my time.

So anyways. Weekend was good. Busy, but good. I cleaned out my dresser and threw away clothes, made another stack for keep (but not here) and a bigger stack for Goodwill. It was my effort to at least *try* and get started on my September goal before the end of the month. AB rolled his eyes at me when I mentioned the word "paint" this afternoon.

SO maybe my kitchen will be in November...

Work Wrap Up - (warning, boring post ahead)

It is 9:40pm and I am exhausted. Just plain tired. I had a long, busy week at work. One of those that left me gasping for air by Friday.

It's fiscal year end and for the first time ever I am not going to be scrambling for work at the beginning of October. I am not going to be whining about continuing resolution. I am not going to be hating work. I am going to be enjoying my fall, like fall should be for me. (I love fall. Everything about it.) I am going to be scrambling to get things done and just like in September parsing my hours out over a wide number of charge codes.

My big project is healthy as ever and we are spinning up and off a new team in the next few weeks to look at a new problem that the client has. Three seperate projects under my umbrella and counting. Oh and I love my client. Love her. My sector manager is retiring in two months, which makes me horribly sad as he is one of the greatest people I have had occasion to work with. Sector management is still being "figured out" as a few people are retiring. I am chomping at the bit to see how things shake down.

I have a couple small proof of concept projects that ended this FY and may be picked up by the client this fall. Am I a bad person to hope that they don't? It is work I don't particularly care about doing. Sad when I come home from work and my husband knows and understands more about the project then I do. The proof of concept projects were small peanuts, which in my directorate is more annoying than anything. I am trying not to be the spoiled brat that says, "I don't need what you are offering, so I am not going to do it. Take your toys and go play somewhere else." Yeah, well. Mean and I would get in trouble for doing that. So instead I will smile. And do the work.

I have funded work through a major "work for others" government entity and I think the client might like me to actually do something. The project has been idle pending my "having more time after the first of the fiscal year". I am sitting tight with the project, however, have mentioned to a few key engineers that I may be looking for help after October 1.

Then I have a moderately sized internally funded project that will be going into its second year. I am teamed with a group of people I didn't know before this year, who I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and work with this year. I am looking forward to bringing this project to fruition.

Oh and then my meal ticket client for the last six years - the one that defines the pain of "continuing resolution" - my first funded project right after Leif was born, was renewed for another year. Color me shocked. Anyways, nice to have the meal ticket, but I am excited to be weaning myself off the meal ticket... I think.

1000 Posts

What a milestone! I logged on to post a weekend wrap up, but I couldn't let that be the 1000th post.

I should say something profound.

Or neat.

But I feel like last week sucked my brain out of my head. And the weekend has not returned it. And I am fresh out of blog ideas at the moment.

So instead how about my favorite quote?

"May you always have wine and a friend to drink it with." French proverb.

When you don't have much to say...

Blog with photos.
Skadi loves her "nay-nay".
Ok, so it is really Leif's horsey - and he reminds us of this fact regularly. But you can imagine how often he rides it...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

For my mom

NM: "Leif put your glasses on."

Leif: "No mommy, my glasses have a problem."

NM: "What kind of problem?"

Leif: "They weren't washed today."

He gets it from me.

Leif: "Mommy I am going to tell you a joke ok?"

NM: "Ok Leif."

Leif: "What did the car on top of the house say?"

NM: "I don't know Leif what did the car on top of the house say?"

Leif: (Silence.)

NM: "What did the car say honey?"

Leif: "That was the joke mommy. The car on top of the house is funny!"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

He won't smile for me...

But he couldn't resist smiling at getting to ride the train - up front - and ring the bell. The.entire.time.

Thanks Andy!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Happy girl, cranky boy

I could have had hundreds of pictures of my girl today. She had a spectacular nap and was all smiles, all day long. When she has a good day, it is great, when she has a bad day... well let's just say we all know it.

Then there was cranky pot boy. He was unhappy with me that we left the train at the park (after two rides, one where he got to ring the bell and ride up front) and nothing was right with the world after that.

Here he was telling me no pictures. I listen really well, don't I?

When he figured out I wasn't listening, it became a game. You can almost see the grin here...

Leif's glasses

I really have been trying to get a picture of him with his glasses on. He is in a no picture taking mood lately. I did finally snap this really poorly lit picture of him today.


The hat. She loves her hat.

Ok, so this one is mine. She can't tell the difference between the two - they are different only really in size, and that mind has a fold up brim. But she found my hat this afternoon and played in the yard all afternoon with it on and after dinner went for a walk with it on.

Yes, her little halter sun suit (it was like 85 degrees today) and a knit beanie.


My mom used to always say my sister and I did it on purpose, we liked opposite things just to annoy her. If my sister liked pickles, I didn't (and still don't). If I like mushrooms, she did not. The list goes on... and on and on.

Evidence that this was not purposeful (beyond just saying it) can be seen with my kids. My kids aren't old enough to make decisions to be different from the other. And in fact, the are at that age where they more often strive to be the same. However, Leif (my once self declared vegetarian who now eats a little meat and chicken in addition to his beloved salami that he never surrendered) since he started on solids loved fruits, vegetables and carbs. Skadi, on the other hand, is a protein girl. The one thing they agree on though is rice. Rice, rice and more rice for my kids.

Leif still loves his fruit and vegetables. I am not bragging that he asks for fruit for every snack. Because he also asks for it at every meal. We plow through a lot of fruit and have had no problems getting rid of fruit from our fruit trees and raspberry canes this year.

Skadi makes awful faces and refuses fruit in all forms except for bananas and canned peaches. All summer I have worked to get a fresh raspberry into her mouth to no avail.

We went on a walk this afternoon and AB stuck a few plums in his pocket from the tree. He handed Leif and I each one on the walk and we immediately started into them. Skadi looked at us like she was completely left out.

AB handed her one and I waited for her to scream, "BALL!" and throw it. She didn't. She bit it.

And she kept biting it. She ate it!

And we rejoiced.

For dinner? We had salmon, fingerling potatoes and broccolini. We could count on Leif to eat the potatoes and broccolini while making up excuses not to eat the fish.

But we were really in awe of Skadi as she plowed through four stalks of broccolini and her potatoes as well as the one vegetable she normally eats (canned carrots).

It was like the produce button clicked in her head this evening and we are so very thrilled!

Now if the fruit snacks button will just click off. We are horribly tired of 20 minute tantrums when we decline her request for "more" while pointing at the fruit snacks.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Where have I gone wrong?

Thankfully I have been having a conversation on my discussion board recently with other moms of boys that makes me believe that I haven't messed up THAT bad.

One thing with raising kids that AB had to compromise on, that I stood strong was that our kids would never have toy guns. The line has to be drawn somewhere and so I chose to draw the line in between toy guns and water guns. Water guns are fine, toy guns are not.

As Leif has gotten more into Star Wars I had another decision to face. That Princess Leia action figure? The one with the gun? Is that ok? I gave on those too. They are an inch long and usually lost within a week. I could deal.

Gun talk at school is strictly forbidden and so I felt like I had backup there. AB all along has said, "boys will play guns no matter what, you aren't going to change that". My retort has always been, "then they can do it with their imaginations and invent their own". Which Leif has done.

I don't mind swords or lightsabers so much - except when they are used on his unarmed sister. The lightsabers have been in time out for awhile now. Maybe even months. Leif will have to do something pretty extraordinary to release them from their confines in the top of my closet. Until then the foam swords (that frequently also land in time out) he picked out with his gift card from grandpa are just fine.

Today on the way home from work I handed Leif a costume catalog turned open to the Star Wars page. I have dreams of little Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi walking down the street together. We have Yoda and it will fit Skadi and is just too perfect for her. Leif would make a perfect Obi Wan. Or Anakin. Ok, I will even pay for the Darth Vadar costume to make this work.

"Oooooh!" Leif swooned. "Look at that costume with the gun, that is SO cool!"

I cringed.

"Guns are not cool," I said.

Leif swooned some more. And some more. Then he started turning the pages and pointing out every costume with a gun.

Okay okay... if I want my Star Wars dream Halloween it may end up being Bobba Fet and Yoda. (Rolling my eyes.) Though in the next few weeks while there is still time, I am going to push as hard as possible, reminding him that if he is Anakin, Obi Wan or Darth he gets his lightsabers out of time out.

A new dinner option

I am always looking for new dinner ideas. For me it is good if it is reasonably healthy, quick to make and my kids eat it. Here is one from last night that the kids and AB gave a thumbs up to:

Chicken Sausage Lettuce Wraps
(Time to table 25 minutes.)

Aidell's Teriyaki and Pineapple Chicken Meatballs (available at our Costco - I bought them for the first time after the kids chowed them at one of their demo stations.)
Cooked Rice Noodles (also called MaiFun and available in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
Red and yellow bell pepper strips
Carrots, julienned
Romaine Lettuce

Dipping Sauce:
1 part soy sauce
1 part water
1 part rice vinegar
Scoop of chili garlic sauce (Sambal Oleek) to taste
Diced fresh cayenne (if you are like AB and like to sweat while eating)

Assemble as lettuce wraps.

My kids don't do lettuce yet, so they got the meatballs, the vegie strips and rice. My kids have a serious thing going on with rice lately and I am loving the Uncle Bens Ready Rice (90 second microwave packets) in different varieties for them. Leftovers go in lunches the next day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Weekend Wrap Up

AB and I enjoyed four full days off. The poor kids only got three days off, but both were ready to get back by last night. I asked Skadi if she wanted to go to school this morning and she nodded her head wildly. Let's just hope her teacher isn't about ready to boot her by the end of the day - she is trying to push through her last two teeth (as opposed to molars - she still has four of those left to go for a full mouthful) and is a little bear. Her nights have been misery and AB and I have resigned ourselves to one of us just jumping in the extra queen sized bed (currently residing in her nursery) with her to get her back to bed. Sucky habit I know, but we all (including Leif) get more sleep that way. Oh and she IS a cuddler.

After four days off, AB and I were both ready to get back to work. AB started a new position within his same company today. He passed his EIT/FE exam awhile back, his manager braggardly opened his mouth to some of the other managers and shortly after AB was invited to float around a few other groups and find a place where he is happy (not that he isn't) and feels like he will fit long, long term. His manager is the meantime left regretting having bragged about him passing his exam.

Me? I am ready to have a day at work where I don't have 24 lbs hanging around my neck that screams wildly when put down. It's no wonder when I jump on my treadmill to run lately I surprise myself how far I can go before panting and dropping to the ground. She really has been giving me a workout.

So the big news of the weekend is finishing my Master Bath off. For the most part at least. Little details remain like recaulking the shower, sticking the trim back on, figuring out how awful my spray paint job on the shelves went and whether or not I am going to put them back on the wall or not (AB votes for not) and buying new rugs. My bathroom rugs are old and I want some pretty ones, but AB suggests that I wait until we are ready to list the house since my son's aim is pitiful.

I am starting to look towards my Master bedroom planning out my attack. Storage, I need lots of it. Ideally I want to sell our two dressers and put the money towards a new bedroom set. Realistically I need to purge the dresser contents, replace the hardware that has fallen off and deal with it until we move. The walls will need to be painted. It shouldn't (in theory) be a big job. Now October when I hit the kitchen? THAT will be a big job. Maybe I should save the money that would go towards a bedroom set for a new kitchen floor instead.

AB and I started our fall ritual of dealing with food. Leif and AB put what seemed like hundreds of tomatoes through our food mill (it was horribly entertaining for a four year old) and then AB cooked down the purree to about 3 gallons. Then froze it so we can tackle spaghetti sauce another weekend.

I cooked down our Merlot grapes to about 2 gallons of ridiculously sweet juice. Cabernet grapes will be in a few weeks - and I am scared. I took a look at the vine last night and I estimate that I have at least two to three times as many Cab grapes than I did Merlot. AB asked me what I am going to do with the juice other than take up valuable freezer space. Jelly maybe? Sorbet? Sherbet? Maybe all three. My MIL, however, was disappointed to hear that I have no plans to make wine. I don't know... maybe I should try? Maybe it would be a good experiment and a quick way to use up all the juice. Though I am with Andy on this one... why should I make wine when I have the stuff the pros make in my backyard?

I made a big double batch of pumpkin, chocolate chip bread. Recipe courtesy of VG... (who I really wish would start blogging again... she cracks me up and I could use the athletic motivation). Anyways, I ended up with two large loaves and four minis. Though it was good I got it into the freezer (yes another thing in the freezer) quickly. Both my kids will devour the stuff. (I am blaming them 100%, they aren't here to defend themselves or point fingers.)

I had every intention of making and freezing a few nectarine pies - but our freezer is full of grape and tomato stuff. And the kids were starting to look a little pale and neglected like they had seen one too many movie. So instead we jumped in the car with the dog and headed to the park for a play and a short hike in the foothills. It was good for us all as opposed to nectarine pie that only tastes really good.

Yay Buffs!

Leif called Bompa during the Buffs game the other night.

"We are watching the Buffaloes soccer game," he said.

"Football!" I whispered to him!

"I mean football!" he said.

And the Buffs didn't disappoint! 38-17 over the Rams.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Welcome to my sanctuary

For at least the next five hours before it is reinundated with kids bath toys, AB's clothes and little boy underwear.

Bathrooms are hard to photograph, so bear with me. And don't pay attention to any little blobs of paint, I am off to touch up after I post these, but I didn't want to wait.

Here is the entry to the Master Suite:

Look to the left and that's our Master bath. The closet is the archway to the right.

Ok, so one thing I am still not fond of is the maple cabinetry and trim. If *I* was planning to be in the house long term, then *I* would paint the trim antique white.

The shower area. AB still has to attach the new trim. He has it cut, but I insisted on painting before attaching trim. He will get to it after making spaghetti sauce, fertilizing the yard, dealing with hundreds of ripe nectarines and fixing dinner. (Yes, I am the one sitting here blogging...)

For posterity purposes... before it is littered with bath toys and various tints of bathwater and bubbles. It is calling my name... with a glass of wine... maybe the kids can bathe one more night in the small tub...