Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Car Keys, Cattle, and Carnage - Part I, in which the stage is set.

More than a year after this actual saga took place, I finally feel myself far enough detached from all the gory details to actually record the sequence of events. I record them because it is a ridiculous story that we will want to remember someday. And there are so many details involved that I don't trust my brain to retain them for posterity.

Our story begins on a muggy Friday evening in mid July of 2009. Bedtime for the girls was approaching, and I was planning a trip to Publix to pick up fruit for the tray I was to bring to a baby shower the next morning. After the girls were tucked snug in their beds, I went to the drawer where we usually keep the keys to our van. No keys were to be found within. Jessie and I scanned all the alternate places where keys might be carelessly laid by one of us - still no keys. After about a half hour of more in depth searching with no results, we realized that Publix was going to close soon and we'd have to abandon the search until later. Not wanting to entrust Jessie with the job of choosing the fruit for my tray, I decided to take his work truck myself and make the quick dash to Publix and back. Note: I had never used his truck before, and we never use it for personal errands - it was deemed a desperate times call for desperate measures sort of situation.

We didn't even know the meaning of the word 'desperate' at that point, but we soon would...

To Be Continued.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One day worth of dishes

all rinsed and ready for the dishwasher.
only I didn't feel like loading them yet.
so instead I just took their picture.
how productive of me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


{Beautiful} {Beautiful} {Beautiful}
Beautiful Girls.

that's one mother's opinion.

Salad for Studs :: Barley Romaine Salad

My husband's latest quest for studliness has involved him cutting a lot of foods out of his diet entirely. This has left me with the challenge to make foods that he enjoys, and that fit all the studly requirements. Truth be told, I've been enjoying it immensely (the studliness and the change in diet).
I love salads in particular, and we've been eating a lot of them. I am of the persuasion that there are hardly any foods that wouldn't go well on a bed of fresh greens.
This salad is one of our favorite concoctions of late. I had discovered it before, out of leftovers from a burrito dinner party. Lately I have just subtracted the cheese (since this is a no-no for studs).

The ingredients are:
cooked barley (cooked in chicken broth)
chopped romaine
black beans
sauteed onion and yellow peppers
chopped cilantro
lemon juice and olive oil

Just throw it all together in whatever combination of quantities that brings you delight. Chopped grilled chicken is also delicious in this salad (and is acceptable for studs).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rainforest Cafe

Rainforest Cafe

A place where you can get a decent plate of food

at a ridiculously over-inflated price
in the midst of unique surroundings

that will be sure to terrify your children.

We refrained from documenting the all-out meltdown that included tears, sobs, and petrification. It was really quite sad. Definitely the worst miscalculation of our day in Downtown Disney last week.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Free Birthday Party

Free birthday parties work best for the 2 and under set. It is important for the child to have no pre-conceived notions about what a birthday party should entail, and no abilities to differentiate between new and used toys.

Ingrid happens to possess these qualities, and so she was an excellent candidate for a free birthday party this year. We knew that we weren't going to invite people over for her birthday, so we went to Downtown Disney for a family day last weekend instead. On her actual birthday, after a lunch of homemade macaroni and cheese (a favorite with Ingrid) and green beans, we took about 45 minutes (all this was accomplished on Jessie's lunch break) to have a little cake and presents celebration.

We started out with our favorite,
made from scratch, "Black Joe" cake
(yes, there was coffee in the 2-year old's
birthday cake)

with homemade peanut butter icing.

Then we progressed to the gifts, most of which had been handed down to us from friends a few months ago, and had been stored in the garage in anticipation of this day.

Some were pulled out of a large Williams Sonoma bag

some were wrapped in pink paper

and the last one was covered with a sheet

and unveiled after all the others
had been opened and appreciated

All have been thoroughly enjoyed ever since.

Monday, August 23, 2010

24 Weeks

Yesterday I was 24 weeks

and it rained outside

so we waited another day to take pictures

and it rained again.

I have definitely grown since 20 weeks.

Although I have a few inconvenient and uncomfortable pregnancy complaints, I think as a whole I am enjoying this pregnancy more than any of my previous pregnancies. The baby's movements are a constant reminder of the life growing inside me - that little person that I am so anxious to meet. I love the added anticipation of not knowing the baby's gender. I know some people really enjoy finding out early on, and calling their child by name throughout their pregnancy, and I can see how that would be great. But for me, I love the mystery surrounding this little person. The absolute knowledge that I will love whoever it is wholly and completely at first sight, regardless of gender.

Although I feel a sense of inevitability that this will be another girl (and I welcome that!), it is exciting to think about the what-ifs of it being a boy. I can't imagine adding a boy to this familly right now. We have such a great girl groove going on. There are a lot of side benefits of having children all of the same gender. I think about it a lot lately. They can always share bedrooms. They can be thrown into the tub together for baths indefinitely. When we went to the disney store on Saturday, we spent the entire time in the princess section, and no one complained. But I know if we have a boy we will embrace all the new experiences that come with it, and marvel at all we were missing out on.

Birthday Baby Girl

I wish I could just bottle up Ingrid at this age.
I think not having another younger baby (or two!) around has made me realize how babyish almost 2 years old still is. But Ingrid is walking a fine line between babyhood and big-girl-ness. Its so disturbing when she looks at me and rattles off a string of baby talk, which I expect to be just babble, then I suddenly realize that I actually understood every word!
I don't want to see her bouncy little toddler gait turn into a more purposeful and balanced stride. Seeing her run haphazardly down the hall on her chubby little legs, shaking her curls from side to side, is one of my favorite sights.
I don't want her to lose the babyish lack of inhibition and craving for skin-to-skin touch, which causes her to lift my shirt far enough to lay her head directly on my belly when we snuggle, or grab my hand at the table so she can use my arm as a pillow.
But you are 2 today, and I remember how fast your sisters lost their baby-ness after that age. I love watching you learn new things, but can you stay a baby for just a little longer? Say, for four more months?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pimp my Pancakes

I hardly ever post about food on my blog. Its not because I don't cook, or don't like to cook, because I do, and do. Its mostly for the reason that when I prepare food, I'm usually in such a frenzied and distracted hurry, that grabbing my camera and documenting the process seems ludicrous, if the thought even happens to occur to me at all.

However, for some unkown reason, I was feeling remarkably mellow as I began breakfast preparations yesterday morning, so as a result you are treated to the first (and quite likely also the last) edition of "Pimp my Pancakes".

I have a basic pancake recipe, and it should be noted that it is a quite good, decent little pancake recipe in and of itself. But somewhere in the course of things, this recipe ceased to be viewed as a recipe, and came to be viewed as more of a framework for bigger and {arguably} better things.

The most recent flavor of the week is "Banana Peanut-Butter Pancakes". They came about one morning when I had a couple of mushy bananas on my counter which needed to be used poste haste. They were an immediate hit, and since over-ripe bananas are hardly a thing that is in short supply around here, they have been made several times since, with further variations.

My basic no-fail dry ingredients for pancakes are these:

2 cups all purpose flour (or whole grain, or what have you) 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt

On this occasion I added to the dry ingredients: 2 Tbs brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and roughly 3Tbs flaxseed meal just to make us feel good about ourselves (if you do not require flaxseed meal to make you feel good about yourself, than by all means, skip it).

I then mashed up one banana (although I sometimes use two, only one was to be had on this particular morning) and mixed in 1 tsp vanilla and 2 generous spoonfulls of organic peanut butter.

The other staple wet ingredients are 2 cups milk (feel free to substitute almond milk, or whatever) and two lightly beaten eggs. My original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of oil, but I do not use this, since the banana and peanut butter lend plenty of moisture to this version.

Throw the wet ingredients in with the dry and mix them up, and cook them up. Then slather with more peanut butter and drizzle with syrup or honey.
Feed them to your children, and feel good about yourself (after all, there's flaxseed meal and 2 whole servings of fruit in this recipe!)
I don't mean to leave Ingrid out of this post, but she already had a generous amount of syrup in her hair by the time I took pictures of the pancakes being consumed, so she was conveniently skipped over.

What types of food do you find yourself constantly tweaking?

Monday, August 16, 2010

nautical themed baby shower

this past sunday I had the fun of organizing
a nautical themed baby shower
for a lovely woman at my church.
and when I use the word "organizing",
what I mean is:

"shamelessly enlisting and exploiting
the talents and resources of women
who are far more creative than myself."

we have a talented and generous-hearted
group of ladies at our church.

clear limeade/sprite based punch,
complete with toy boat.

there were about 6 or 7 of the little anchor decorations
scattered about. the flags held little sayings:

"ahoy, its a boy!" ~ "daddy's first mate"
"mommy's little mariner" ~ "bon voyage, baby james"
"we sailed the seven seas to find a lad as sweet as he"

nautical themed cut-out cookies:
seagull, lighthouse, anchor, sailboat, fish

crackers with salmon salad garnish

"blessing book"

with little pockets on each page into which we slipped cards with favorite bible verses or blessings for the mother and new baby

our resident banner queen made this awesome banner, great for hanging in little James' nursery too.

this cake blew us all away with its cuteness, and it was delicious too!

we rounded out the theme with lots of nautical decor borrowed from different ladies' homes (not too hard to find in the state of florida)

lifesavers mints

bowls of goldfish were a last minute addition

(they come in multicolored,chocolate, honey graham, and pretzel varieties!)

Isabel arrives

(is she cute or what?!)

i'm glad Agnieszka was brave enough to cut that cake. i certainly didn't want the job!

Isabel and one of her daughters - four girls in this family- first boy makes for a lot of excitement!

many thanks to all the ladies who were a blessing on that day!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

check out jessie's new photography blog:

Jessie Wert Photography

I haven't posted much lately because as Jessie's editor-in-chief, I've been spending every spare computer-allocated minute editing wedding photos over the last few weeks. Jessie shot my brother's wedding in Washington state last month. What a beautiful state, and what a joy to witness two people who have sacrificed so much for each other finally see the fruition of all their work and waiting. After finishing the editing, I decided to go ahead and make his blog public (we created it a while ago, but hadn't spent enough time formatting it and uploading pictures to share it yet).