Tuesday, October 28, 2008

...the worst of times

We definitely had one of those not so great days on planet Little Joseph. First off Jake and I have some kind of crappy germ taking up residence inside of our very tired bodies. The coughing and sniffing and snorting, headaches, sore throat...basically the symptoms on the NyQuil box. We've got that all covered. Jake has had this crud for a couple days longer than I have, so hopefully he will start feeling better so that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am such a wretch, instead of being sympathetic to him when he is breaking out with symptoms last Tuesday, I just keep informing him that I will be very angry if contract this illness that he has brought into our little world over here. He has to be the culprit because the rest of us don't leave the house on a regular basis, except to get the stink blown off in our back yard or a walk around the neighborhood.Iain stomping on the Hawkeye stone...(yes!)

We had music class this morning, and since neither of us felt like we could utter a note without breaking into uncontrollable coughing, we summoned the Grandma Becky to take the little man for his weekly submersion of music. He was quite excited to see her and escape in her pretty car. Fiona slept while they were gone, so it was time to get to work around here. I had pulled an Overnightman sweatshirt over top of my pajamas when she came to the door and it seemed to be quite cozy as I started into some bead stringing.There has been a grown up date planned for almost a month to get out and see The Dutchess. The date had been temporarily canceled because of the funds being spent on some early Christmas shopping on our last impromptu, non coffee, but errand date that we had Friday night. Wow. Thrills and chills. After two very friendly deliveries today, the first being the Isabel Bloom ladybug strapped to the "Rocketship Run" children's music album that is an important necessity for the daily functions here, and the second being a paycheck for my data entry we would be able to go to that movie afterall! I was very excited and ready to rake some leaves to make the yard a little less frumpy, and I was so efficient with my non pregnant body for the first fall since we have lived in the house and have the need to rake leaves. Jake was on top of the roof sweeping leaves out of the gutter, and the weather warmed up beautifully this afternoon.I was very excited to find a delicious crock pot squash recipe on the Internet, so I started peeling an acorn and butternut squash as a good healthy side to our dinner tonight. I had been marking off many things from my chore list and I thought today would be even better than yesterday. The house has been staying pretty orderly and that always makes me breathe better when the clutter and filth is at bay (or at least under control). I had time to finally get out of my pajamas that were hiding under a sweatshirt and get all prettied up for my date. I couldn't find a pair of pants that were fitting the way I would prefer...but I tried not to get depressed, instead just trying to find something to look good in for my date with my Hunny Bunny.Fiona starting breakfast

Grandma Becky was here when she promised and helped feed Fiona her dinner so that I could eat mine and get the popcorn packed up that I was planning to sneak in to the theatre all slathered with coconut oil. Jake was very concerened that we would get caught and thought that my brown paper bag was too big and noticeable. We had to get going because the movie was playing over at Merle Hay Mall and it is a hike for us. Jake was out waiting in the car and I jumped in with my contraband snacks (popcorn and water) Jake had put Fiona to bed already, and Grandma Becky and Iain were plugged into Jonah. I let Jake pull out of the garage so that I didn't have to wrestle with the stroller in the garage, and we were off to...Something not so cool happening....

The rest of the night was an ever bigger bust. We drove a long ways over to Merle Hay and then Jake didn't know where the movie theatre was, so we hit Aldi on the way home and called it a night. The night was doomed. So we came home and unpacked the groceries, relieved Becky of her Iain watching duties and settled in for the night with our already popped pop corn and a half started movie.

Iain learned how to flick spit off of his toothbrush and the good belly laughs he made seemed to wipe the entire mess of the evening away for Jake. I still needed some quiet time with some music and just realizing that if things aren't meant to be we can't push them. It would appear that we weren't going to have that date tonight, and last week we would get water in our basement three times and the babies fall down and pick themselves up again each time or the water boils over and the leftovers are rotten. Sometimes there is some crying, and sometimes there is some screaming, but we keep walking through it all. Along with the popcorn, tonight I opened up the atomic Bubba pickles that have been brewing for two weeks. There was a crap ton of garlic and tobasco festering in that jar and it seemed to knock some of that conjestion and depression out of me. I was probably in need of some garlic.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Boys are the best!

My little man is so cute in plaid an overalls...I can hardly stand it! I had mucho fun with my camera on Sunday, snapping him at the woodpile which is one of his favorite locations in the back yard. The day was beautiful and he just loved running around in all of the leaves.Jump to Tuesday, and Jake spent a good portion of his day mowing the lawn and the leaves and dumping them in the back yard. We are trying to avoid the stupid lawn bags and stupid stickers that we have to buy to have the city take away our leaves. I seriously miss Iowa City with the big leaf sucker-uppers that would come by and very nicely suck up the leaves that everyone piled in neat rows along the curbside. I am smelling the delicious pork (a nice sweet meat) I have in the crock pot for my dinner party tonight. Pulled pork in root beer sauce is on the menu along with baked macaroni and cheese and a banana cake. I haven't decided if I need to make an apple pie as well, especially since my pumpkin cheesecake didn't make it out of the gate. I was all geared up and ready to fire away in the kitchen this morning, especially since my little babies slept until 9:45...I was seriously starting to worry about them, but not too much! I had my nice sweet meat going, and I got out the recipe for the pumpkin cheesecake with maple sour cream on the top, and alas! "must be made one day ahead." WHA?! I don't think so...oh that can't be! I called Jake immediately, slightly desperate, "Do you think I can still make it?" Well, we won't be eating it for about 8 hours, so he said to go for it. I thought I could do it, but I made one more phone call to my mother who gave me a deadline of everything finished by noon and cooling. I looked at the clock and thought, I have enough time...but then I started to hear some little chirps, and we knew it wouldn't work out. I will have to save this tasty treat for another day.Jake was such a super hero husband yesterday. He mowed the lawn with lots of stopping with all of the bagging and the nagging information of his wisdom teeth being seriously jacked up. Not only does he have a cold, and some residual pain from a filling, a 360 degree radiograph revealed what we all expected: some messed up wisdom teeth. Between three dentists, they have decided this is the worst case they have ever seen. He is a freak of nature!! With all of that, the shopping that has to be done on his day off, a contentious wife, music class for the kids, and then his wife telling him that she is ditching him for her coffee group the man still pulled something from within and he cleaned both bathrooms! He also loaded and unloaded the dishwasher and swept the living areas all in preparation for our dinner party. What a doll. I want everyone to know that he went above and beyond the call of duty and he gets a sincere gold star for the day. Hopefully tonights dinner will be a good reward.Fiona had her six month check up yesterday, even though she is closer to seven months now. She was 16 pounds exactly and 26" long, right about at the 50%tile. A wee bit tinier than her brother who was 16 pounds 11 ounces at his 4 month checkup and in the 95%tile. Two totally different babies, with completely different personalities, and unfortunately different sleep habits as well. There was a reason why Fiona came along so quickly...Iain was sleeping through the night at 3 months and I thought, "This is easy! Let's have another one!" Fiona= not so easy. She is still a joy to have, but I am showing preferential opinion here and saying that boys are more more fun and very low maintanace to this girl. I really hope that she doesn't like fingernail polish and Barbie because I never really got into too much of that. I should be careful for what I wish for thought, because a Tomboy might not be in order either. I can't tell yet. Hopefully Fiona can find joy at the woodpile as well, or at least find her special place in the yard next spring. I just really hope that Houdini doesn't teach her any of his bad tricks.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Organized Chaos

I was pretty humbled on a field trip to a very organized house. I could only aspire to be so organized, and even if I didn't make it to the labeling, I would at least like to get some organization to the clutter that surrounds us. "We're surrounded!" I have purchased a chore/calendar from www.motivatedmoms.com in an attempt to get my housework under control and to feel worthless at the end of each day when the chores have not been completed (the part about feeling worthless is not the intent of the website or organizer extraordinaire, but I am still allowing the feelings of worthlessness to bite me in the butt).

A few of my recent accomplishments on the chore list would be cleaning out my toaster, which contained an entire loaf of bread in crumb form. When I toasted a piece of breadt the following day, it got burnt on a setting that normally doesn't do anything ("Everyone knows you have to push your toast down twice!) and I continued to eat the black piece of toast because I was in shock that all of those crumbs would actually effect the performance of the toaster! Cleaning the drawers in the refrigerator was something I had been meaning to do since Fiona was born four months ago...no wait she is six months old now, crap!...and there was something totally cathartic in scrubbing out moldy onion peels and all of that fruit and vegetable dust. The chore list only has a few deep cleaning things a day, so I must have missed the previous days that told me to clean out the top shelf, second shelf and so on of the refrigerator. I only have the drawers cleaned out, and I only have time for my chore list each day! So my love hate relationship with chore list gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I get to check trivial things like take vitamins or feed pet each day, but that thing at the top of the daily list "Make bed" is just not happening. We maybe make the bed, if I get into the bedroom before Jake collapses each night, but if I walk into a snoring heap, it is my own fault for ignoring the first thing on the list.Fiona has started to gnaw on some crackers and teething biscuits! We are so excited! She is maybe getting a few calories, if she can suck on the cracker long enough. However, she is mostly a little woodchuck, grinding down on the little crackers and making soppy cracker mess all over herself and whatever can fall anywhere if it hasn't been weighed down by slobber and adhered to her clothes or face. This morning, Iain discovered the crackers and brought them to me to dispense. He wanted some, so I gave him one for each hand, and he shared one with Fiona who was sitting in the exer-saucer. As she was grinding away, Iain kept saying, "Oh my," and pointing to the mess she was apparently making. He got a little closer, picked off some of the cracker shrapnel and held it up to me and again said, "Oh my." He had a disapointed tone in his voice, that can only be an imitation of me. He seemed to know that there was a mess on hand, and wanted to inform me that he recognized the little woodchuck in our midst. In typical Iain form, he wisked it onto the floor so that Brutus could come by and clean everything up for us.

Fiona has decided that when she is upset and I am trying to cuddle and console her, the flailing has become constructive and rather rhythmic. (It must be the music classes that Becky is sending us to.) She starts to slap her hand on my shoulder, while one hand is in her mouth. This seems to quiet her down, along with her new special song:
I know a girl who you don't know
Little Fiona Lynn
Way down south in West Des Moines
Little Fiona Lynn
Oh, Fiona!
Little Fiona Lynn
Oh, Fiona!
Little Fiona LynnIf neither family business works for her, she can always join the circus.

Iain has started helping in the kitchen with unpacking the dishwasher and taking out the recycling. I have started to prop the door to the garage, and stash a counter full of recycling to keep him occupied while I grab the knives and sharps out of the dishwasher. He is very efficient, and seems to know the difference between a recyling item and a return for deposit item. This boy is smart. Now if I can just get him to pick up his own toys all of the time and start dusting, I will have some help with my chore list! Sweet. He was quite the conversation piece on his lunch date with Grandma* Joseph. When he started acting up, I mentioned that we would need to go soon, and he said quite loudly in the quiet little restaurant "CAR!"Even though Jake got home very late last night from Valley West, and had put in a 14 hour day, I had to string a bracelet last night. As entertainment for both of us, I popped in a movie that we check out from the library. Jake gets some serious man points for sitting through (and staying awake!) a Pride and Prejudice remake with a modern setting, also a musical, and set in India! I only mentioned that Bride and Prejudice was a movie set in India, and it starts out with Mr. Darcy (who is a white boy from London) is talking to his friend Bingley (Indian boy with British accent) and Bingley's sister, Caroline. Jake said, They are speaking English, and I said, Yeah. Can you understand them or do you want me to put the subtitles on? Oh I can understand them fine, I didn't think they would be speaking English since it was a Bolywood film. So the movie is going along, and we get to the part where Bingley is going back to India for a friend's wedding and it just so happens to take place in a small town with a family of (only) four daughters (in this version). Jake then realized, Oh is this a spoof on Pride and Prejudice? Well, yeah, it is exactly the same, honey, except the setting is India, and *first song of the film* oops! It's also a musical. Jake started to giggle and said, No way! Erin said, Way.Assume the VeggieTales watching position!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Barf and Snot

Iain is at it again with his bodily functions. With a dripping nose for the past couple of days, the knowledge that his sinus cavity was filling up was thrown upon us at the dinner table. He had very little appetite, so the oyster crackers were being moved from the bowl to the place mat, the place mat to the bowl and then made into a tower. Realizing how funny he was, he started to laugh but a little too much force through the nose and out came the snot. He was so proud of himself, and startling to have a serious giggle, that more came gushing out. I was holding Fiona at the dinner table, and Jake realized that he was the closest to the bathroom to get to a Kleenex.

I was hoping for some faster movement to get the Kleenex, so during the few seconds that it did take, Iain felt that he had accomplished a great feat, and wanted to run his fingers through his "progress." More laughing and snorting ensued, and Jake and I were besides ourselves with trying to keep the smiles wiped clean off of our faces. Iain kept snorting, but thankfully Jake was now catching everything and whisking it away. Iain realized that if he plunged his fingers up in his nose and snorted again, things didn't happen. This would have to be the cause and effect lessons that plague our daily lives.

After a delicious dinner of homemade chicken noodles soup with those homemade noodles from my childhood that I just had the most intense craving, I was rushing through the house to find my knitting projects and fly out the door to meet some friends for some knitting time at Caribou Coffee. I felt free as a bird, getting into my Cadillac sans car seats and I was sending some little prayers for Jake and the babies to have a good night. Jake would merely have to get them ready for bed and entertain them for maybe an hour, and I desperately needed some adult conversation.

I was late getting to Caribou, since our snot session took more time than I had allotted, and I found two ladies knitting and visiting with a coffee shop junkie. This older woman was intrigued by our knitting, and since she is a painter and a fellow knitter, was delighted to see that we had brought our fiber arts to join in an old fashioned knitting circle. She was quite long winded, but I could probably have listened to her tell stories about her life (dangerous liaisons with a man in Atlanta back in the day) and her plans for the week (making cranberry brandy for Christmas presents-sign me up!). I was very afraid when Husband called about 9:30 and I couldn't seem to find my phone in my bag. I was frantic that Fiona was shrieking at him and he couldn't get her down, and I would need to rush home and then try to soothe her. I quickly called him back to find out that he had found a Boston Terrier in need of adoption. He was web surfing.

Shortly after this phone call, I was on my way home and talking to him again. He had been researching soap making and had decided that we should consider buying soap supplies and essential oils and make a bunch of soap! The children were asleep and I was home in time to watch the end of the news while I frosted a banana cake.

I had a bad feeling that the night would make a turn for the worst, and at 12ish Fiona was crying and wanting to eat. I took care of the situation and got her tucked in. Their room was quite chilly, so Jake brought up the space heater for the night since our debate over starting the furnace was won by the fact that the furnace filter is in desperate need of changing. At about 4:45am, I woke up realizing that Jake was leaving for something...so I called after him. He said he was putting Iain back to bed. I thought he was crazy, since he had been talking in his sleep earlier in the night. Something about "Pick out something that is ripe. Well, I don't see any over here. Yeah, pick that one." OK. So Iain starts to have a serious fit when Jake put him back to bed, so Jake started in on a diaper change and I felt it was time to offer some help when I realized that Jake was running with Iain into the bathroom. *Dum da DUMmmm!* It was puke. If a night can just plummet with one single thing, it would be the heaving noise followed by splattering, rushing around, and lots of crying. Jake stood him by the toilet, and I was wide awake to do my motherly consoling to a little man who was hysterical, pajamas half on and half off.

I am typically ruthless when it comes to puke. Iain is a projectile puker, and as heartless as it sounds, I leave him in his crib to purge that way everything is contained in the sheets. The walls of my house and the jewelry store, and the floors of my house and Walgreens have seen Iain's puke and my realization that puke can be contained in a bed sheet-when my toddler is too little to understand the bucket and move to the toilet rules of barf-this is what we have come to learn in our short time with babies puking. Heaven help me though! If the rules about children are: Your children will be the embodiment of what you were to your parents, plus 10 fold, I had just buckle in for the barf. There are too many stories to remember, and I will need my gas mask, I am sure. One of my funniest childhood memories is driving home from school in our huge green station wagon, and someone had puked. My father can not handle puke vapors, so he was driving down Muscatine with his head hanging out the window. Since I am the Mama, I think I am going to have to put my head down and power through. That is just the way it goes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ode to Coconut Oil

We love coconut oil at our house. For a snack last night, we had a craving for popcorn. I haven't made popcorn in such a long time, the only oil that I have in the house is coconut, so I gave it a shot. I was a little concerned at the beginning because I didn't hear any kernels popping for so long. I told Jake, "This is not working!" and I started to smell some burning. All of a sudden, all of those little kernels were exploding against the lid of the pan and it sounded like hail in the house. We had a nice full pot of beautiful white popcorn. I dumped it into my retro white bowl with black polka dots, and then the decision to add butter was upon us. Since I don't do low fat, and since popcorn slathered in butter is one of my most favorite comfort foods, I typically melt butter all over the popcorn We tasted it before I started to melt butter, and it was so delicious we aborted that mission. Tossed some sea salt all over the bowl and we were off to watch the news. Whooppee!I highly recommend popcorn in the coconut oil! Instructions:
A few globs of coconut oil in a 2 quart or larger pot with lid
Start to melt the coconut oil on semi-medium to medium heat and shake the kernels into the melted coconut oil, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Don't let the kernels lie on each other, they need their own room to be heated. Cover the pan with lid, and shake occasionally. You can peak a couple of times after you hear kernels popping, and when they start to slow down, you are getting close. I pull the pan off of the heat, and then let the rest pop while I get my bowl. Toss with sea salt, and Viola! We kept commenting to each other how fabulous this popcorn was and *munch munch* can you believe this is in coconut oil? This is so delicious! So this really wasn't a true ode...I will have to come up with one later.We had some Oh Boy! waffles on the menu for this morning, and since the coconut oil popcorn was such a hit last night, it was time to try coconut oil waffles. They were out of this world! Jake and I can ration away the popcorn and the waffles when we use the coconut oil, because we know we are definitely getting our 2-3 tablespoons per day. The waffles were so fluffy and moist. We like soggy, springy waffles cooked "rare" instead of those flaking cardboard waffles that scrape the roof of your mouth. Ick! Hopefully we will turn out like the svelte cows who were fed coconut oil.Iain was so excited to see the waffles cooking this morning when he woke up. He was pointing and calling attention to the fact that he wanted one while he was shivering. So the normal moaning was through chattering teeth. Jake grabbed a hat for him to wear wile he still had his pajamas on, and some football slippers. I thought he was excited to have waffles, but of course it turned out to be the excitement of a kitchen appliance chirping. He wouldn't eat anything today. He normally will eat at least his vitamins, and I had to put those back in the jar. He merely wanted to play with the empty tape dispenser that is on a wrist band. I have no idea where he found it, but he feels that he should wear it most of the day and during meals is no exception. After breakfast was over, Iain decided that potato chips and fig newtons would be better for breakfast. We had a full meltdown over the "No" on both accounts, be he has survived.
He is probably just having some growing pains since yesterday was the 20 month mark. Yesterday, as a tribute to Iain's Sicilian heritage and Columbus Day he had pasta with 1/2 marinara and 1/2 Alfredo sauce (thank you Erika!) and he loved it! We have successfully made the switch to the whole wheat pasta, and he doesn't seem to mind. Fiona is much happier when she is sitting by herself. She is sitting up for longer periods of time when we prop her up. She by no means is pushing herself into the sitting position. Her latest trick is to throw her body out of the Bobby chair. So Iain has been helping coral her by sitting next to her while he works on his calculator.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Some time for a movie review

I felt so wicked last night, staying up until midnight, knitting socks and watching a movie. In our attempt to cut expenses, the Netflix has been "suspended" for the time being, and we are enjoying the shelves of our public library. (I thought it would be good to note, that Oprah Winfrey had no clue that you could rent DVDs from a public library free of charge. What rock is she living under?) The trip to the library was to rent Iain more VeggieTales, but I found my way over to the adult DVD to pick out-as I told Jake-"just one." Since he was following after Iain to the children's book section, Fiona and I picked out a couple of chick flicks.
(Iain took this picture of me yesterday-first time!)

Miss Potter had been on my Netflix queue for some time, and I was delighted to find it! Starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, I was ready for superb acting and hopeful for a beautiful love story. Probably one of my favorite books as a child would have to be Peter Cottontail and as the story unfolds of Beatrix Potter I met all of my bunny friends and the stories retold through the life of the author. The watercolor drawings throughout the film are so vibrant and since they were Miss Potter's "friends" they accompany her throughout her life. I highly recommend this film to anyone who isn't too busy or annoyed by a truly feel good movie, complete with love and puffy dresses. The British contryside is absolutely charming, and I am already planning that my next trip must go to the Lake District. I was quite pathetic and crying all by myself, but so seriously engrossed that I had to finish the film and "just another row" of knitting. This film received the Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award but it is more than just a Hallmark movie. The description on the back said that USA Today said "reminiscent of Finding Neverland."

We had a very good day on Planet Little Joseph today. The only mishap that I can remember is Iain pulling a dozen eggs off of the counter and onto the floor. It is exciting and also horrible that he can reach things on the counters and inside drawers. We only lost one egg and took the signs to be communication that Iain wanted eggs for lunch. We tried to have blueberries and granola for breakfast with a huge handful of holiday red grapes. The blueberries were not a hit, and most of the granola was thrown off of the tray onto the floor for Brutus to eat. Iain did think that it was pretty funny to pick up each piece individually and throw it to Brutus, and one of these days Brutus will be catching it in the air with a direct hit.

Another beautiful fall day in Iowa today. We played outside in our fenced in yard, with gates that are "latched" with very archaic devices. Husband was out of the house this morning at 7AM to purchase new batteries for the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. This was after some marital distress caused by him unplugging the smoke detectors and leaving them on the counters. He also has "bolted" the gates so that our little people can not escape as they seem prone to do on certain occaisions. The north gate is tied shut with the left over cable from the old TV antanea, and the south gate has a metal chopstick that is shoved through and "bent" to hold it closed. As long as I don't have to go running through the neighborhood with my heart screaming for Iain again, I could care less how the gates are shut.
My two little gems were totally precious watching Josh and the Big Wall today while I did data entry. We also had a trip to the park and I wish I would have had the camera with me! They both love swinging! To have them side by side on the swings at the park and both squealing with delight was pure joy for this Mama.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

100% Boy

We had a rough day at the Joseph ranch today. Fiona was pissed about something, and it is probably my fault! She didn't want to take a nap, she didn't want to eat, and she didn't want to sleep. I couldn't help but think that the 1/2 full Dixie cup of Kombucha was the culprit, tainting my milk with detox from my own body. I was detoxing on my own and Iain seemed to have a similar problem but did not have Kombucha. There could be something in the air.

Iain is 100% boy and wanted his shoes put on over his footie pajamas so that he could be outside and play. It was a beautiful day! Even though he awoke with purple shivering lips he wanted to brave the chilly morning to enter his wild backyard adventure. With a hat and Hot Wheels "CAR" in hand, he was so excited to get into his minimal amount of mischief. The logs in the woodpile make an excellent "CAR" and if he can't find any more little rocks in the window wells, then it would be time to stuff the watering can with pieces of mulch and pick dead leaves off of Papa's rhododendron.

Fiona does not want to eat solids, but tonight I figured she is crying and I could try stuffing some applesauce down the hatch. She was delighted to be eating with Iain! She didn't eat very well, but he decided that he should holler at her when she was trying to grab a hold of the salt and pepper shakers. "Ahh yaya whadya nananene!" It was something like that, and he was shaking his spoon full of cottage cheese in her direction.

Since Jake worked 9-6 at West Glen and 6-9 at Valley West, I was a single mom the entire day. I am so thankful that we are a team, because I wouldn't be able to handle the babies by myself every day. I could tell that they were both out of sorts without him and so was I. It was easy for me to get Fiona ready for bed by 7:30 and Iain was quick to follow at 8ish. Thankfully, the sun is setting earlier, so it is darker sooner and easier for them to be tired. We had stories and singing, and they were off to bed. We will be on our own tomorrow night as well, since Jake has his late Thursday night.