Saturday, April 30

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad morning

No pictures in this post, and once you read on a little further, you'll thank me.

Last night, after dinner, I handed out handfuls of raisins as a chaser. I let Holly have two handfuls, little realizing what this might entail.

This morning, she woke up with a dirty diaper. I changed her. We had breakfast, and unbeknownst to me, she quietly made another dirty diaper. I've been encouraging the kids to get themselves dressed and undressed. So I told her and Alex to pick out some clothes, and take their pajamas off.

Holly took off her pajamas, as well as her dirty diaper. On the bed. On the sheets.

We whisked the sheets off to the laundry. An hour and a half passed. Things were quiet. I made granola bars, and then lunch, which were taquitos.

I went to get Holly out of her high chair, and discovered that she had managed to somehow have a bowel explosion that missed her diaper entirely, and instead filled the plastic seat of the high chair and plastered the outside of her pants.

It was horrific. It was terrifying. It was scream-inducing.

I whisked her into the bathtub, but not before she had managed to sit on the bathroom rug. This became another item for me to rinse and rinse and rinse. So I washed her. And rinsed out her clothes. And rinsed out the rug. And cleaned out the high chair.

The high chair has a padded layer that fits down over the plastic body of the chair. Holly had soiled this padded layer. As I lifted it out, I discovered that months of crumbs and spilled drink had puddled between the padding and the plastic chair body, resulting in a chunk of horrifying, mold-filled ick.

So not only was I cleaning up fecal matter, I was also cleaning up this disgusting moldy substance from under the high chair's seat. I was nearing a nervous breakdown by the time I finished. Fortunately Ryan fielded cleaning the high chair itself, and was in the process of putting the sheets back on the bed when this all transpired.

I sat down to nurse the baby. Things quieted down. I began to calm down.

Then Alex and Holly emerged from the bathroom, displaying their new haircuts. That they had given themselves. Which consists of shaving their foreheads bald to the roots.

We laughed the kind of awful, hysterical laughter you only laugh when you've had a terrible, no good, very bad morning. And I declared nap time then and there.

Friday, April 29

Baby mug shot

"So what're you in for?"

"Actually, I'm out for good behavior."

Thursday, April 28

Ten pounds! and sweets

I weighed Claire today, and she's up just over ten pounds now. She was 8.2 when she was born. Not bad for being three weeks old.

Patrice over on Everyday Ruralty does the Wednesday Words for Weight Loss every week. A few weeks ago, her daughter suggested a question about, "Something sweet that is healthy that you can eat and not feel guilty."

I've tried and tried to come up with something that might fit that category. Most baked goods are out of the question, because they have flour and yeast and sugar. I suppose if it was something weird like barley flour, no yeast and some weird natural sugar, it might be okay. Anyway, after three weeks of pondering, I finally have two sweet things that I think qualify:

Granola bars

People go crazy with their granola bar recipes, composing them of strange toasted grains, stuffing them with weird dried fruit, and binding them together with honey and maple syrups. I suppose you could eat these without guilt. They're not cake, but hey, you can mix chocolate chips into them, right?

Fruit (not my photo)

Fruit salad

Fruit is full of vitamins and fiber and all kinds of goodness. Although there is a limit to how much you can eat (unless you're immune to laxatives), you can pretty much eat fruit with no guilt.

I keep trying to think of something else that you could eat huge amounts of that wouldn't make you feel guilty (or sick). Try as I might, I can't justify chocolate. I know the dark chocolate people have been working overtime, pimping the antioxidants, but you know what? Chocolate is still chocolate.

Tuesday, April 26

Being fruitful

Be Fruitful and Multiply

A while back, my mom loaned me this little book called Be Fruitful and Multiply. I picked it up again to encourage myself that having babies is the right thing to do.

Oh, it's encouraging, all right, complete with reams of Bible passages about how God blesses a nation and a family by giving them lots of kids. And how our mentality of "let's wait a while before we have kids" is straight from Satan, and how the church has fallen for it.

And I'm sitting here with a baby in my lap, pettily lamenting, "I'm fine with lots of kids, but why does labor have to hurt so much?"

Another thing that I found encouraging is that God first blesses with children, and then he blesses with material things. I worry about our financial situation all the time (who doesn't?), but it's right there in loads and loads of verses: God blesses with the fruit of the womb, and increases their flocks and herds afterward.

I've kept an eye out to see if this principle actually does hold true in real life. I've been fascinated to see that in many people around me, the birth of another child in their home precipitates some kind of success in the father's place of work, enabling him to feed this new arrival.

One colorful example has been the adventures of Rhett and Link. They're a couple of internet comedians over on youtube, and we've all enjoyed their videos for years. Anyway, they're both in the process of having kids. When Link's fourth one came along, they got this deal to do a commercial for McDonalds. And now they have a contract to do a TV show about making their hilarious local commercials for people.

As their families are expanding, their oddball internet-tainment business is taking off. (I don't know all the internal details, of course. This is gathered mostly from their videos and observing the timing of things.)

I don't know if they're believers or not (their videos are always clean). But God is certainly blessing them.

So I'm waiting to see how God is going to provide for us now. However he does it, it will be unique and fascinating. I just wanted to get my thoughts down, so I can look back and go, "Yeah!"

My field of experience isn't very wide at this point. Have you seen this principle of expanding family leading to God's expanding provision?

Monday, April 25

Easter fun

A belated "stuff we did on Easter post"!

Easter morning, the kids got up and had to hunt for their candy, hidden inside of plastic eggs, all over the living room. Then they got to open their sugar eggs from their Grandma Jacki.

It was a breakfast of jelly beans, chocolate, and hot cross buns. They bounced off the walls for hours.

A closer look at the sugar egg that didn't get its decorations eaten off in the first hour. Isn't it gorgeous?

That afternoon, we headed to the other Grandma's to hunt eggs.

They had so much fun that their teenage uncles had a hunt of their own, for an egg containing five bucks. It was hidden deviously well and took them a long time to find.

We concluded the evening by doing communion and the Resurrection Eggs (12 eggs with little items in them that tell the story of Jesus's death and resurrection).

It was a very nice Easter. :-)

Saturday, April 23

Easter frosting fail

Pioneer Woman has a tasty-sounding hot cross buns recipe. I've been snooping around for something "traditional" to cook this Easter. I looked at a lot of Matzah bread recipes, because I'd really like to try to do the whole feast of unleavened bread and Passover thing. Because, hey, Jesus fulfilled all that when he died, and it's really awesome and all that. And I really like Matzah bread.

But I just never got around to it, and I couldn't think of what to serve with it. (Soup? Hummus? Guacamole?) Whereas hot cross buns are just basically a sweet roll with frosting on it. The opposite of yeast-and-sugar-free Matzah bread, but ah well. At least I'm not baking a ham, right?

So I used a general dinner roll recipe, and did PW's technique of folding cinnamon, sugar, and raisins into the dough. You can add more spices than that, but after all that peach butter last summer, I can't stomach the thought of nutmeg.

The rolls turned out so good that we devoured them hot. I was concerned that we wouldn't have any left for me to make crosses on.

Anyway, the rolls finally cooled, and I whipped up a little vanilla buttercream frosting. I dug out the last little Ziploc bag, put frosting in it, cut off the tip, and squeezed.

Frosting emerged from the end, and also from two extra holes I didn't know were in the bag, sprouting extra little frosting-tendrils across my fingers.

Never one to say die, I managed to frost two buns before the bag shredded. So I ditched it and went, "They're just crosses. I can smear that on with my fingers!"

Fortunately I had washed my hands before this farce began.

So my hot cross buns look like this.

Big, fat, smeary crosses an inch thick in icing.

Not shown: the one that I messed up on, so I slathered the remainder of the icing in the bowl on top of it. It made a good snack.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, April 22

Dream interpetation

I know there's folks out there who like to interpret dreams, so I thought I'd toss this one out there.

Since last summer, I keep having these dreams about this house. It's always the same house, and we're always moving into it. But it's a BAD house, about like that one in Great Expectations.

It's dark, and filled with the previous peoples' furniture, which is all dark brown and purple. The layout is weird and maze-like, and in particular, I always notice that the bed in the master bedroom is up on kind of a pedestal with steps up to it.

I keep dreaming this same dream of walking through this bad house that I don't want to live in, but I'm moving into it.

Usually I can figure out what my dreams mean, but this one has me stumped. Anybody have any ideas about what it might mean?

Thursday, April 21

Thursday pretty

Gee, it's been a whole week since I updated, just about. This blog is in danger of becoming "let's fill out memes". It makes me take pictures, though!

Anyway, it's time for another edition of {pretty, happy, funny, real} from Like Mother, Like Daughter.


This is the flower bed outside the apartment office next door to ours. These are mostly pansies and snapdragons. They're well established and look fantastic. Therefore I'm sure the gardeners will rip them out and replace them with "summer" flowers any day now.

I went on a photo tour of the blooming rosebushes around our complex, and found this bush with these odd double blooms, pink on one side and purple on the other.

I think I'm going on my tour again, this time with scissors and a vase.


My girls!


Another mystery photo I discovered on my camera this morning. I don't know what's funnier, that it seems to be a butt shot, or that the pants in question are on backwards.


It's a clear, warm, windy day, with a sky blue enough to swim in and the mountains looking clear and much nearer than they are.

I suppose it's not as real as it should be, because I cropped out the busy road at the bottom of the picture. :-)


Wednesday, April 20

Tree climbing

Lately Alex has been enamored with being four years old. He tells me so the first thing in the morning. "Mom! I'm four years old!"

Being four has opened a whole new world for him. He figured out how to climb the tree outside our apartment, because being four means that he's big now.

He's about two feet off the ground, but he can get up and down by himself.

When I was growing up, my Dad's rule was that we had to climb up in a tree by ourselves, and climb down by ourselves, with no adult assistance. So we worked and worked until we could do it. I'm holding Alex to the same rule. So he goes out and sits in the tree when we're all sick of being around each other in the house.

Trees can be such lifesavers. Fortunately, it hasn't dawned on him to climb any higher yet. Maybe when he's five ...

Thursday, April 14

{pretty, happy, funny, real}


Another meme for me! I find that filling out memes is easier than thinking, what with mommy-brain and not having anything more interesting to say than, "Got up. Fed people. Nursed the baby. Fed people. Changed diapers. Fed the baby. etc. etc. etc."

So today I'm trying out {pretty, happy, funny, real} from Like Mother, Like Daughter. It looked fun, and it only requires four photos. I can cough up four photos!

Pretty chocolate chip cookies! With some diced peanuts in them for extra nom.

His smile disturbs me slightly.

"I'll make you a diaper you can't refuse."

My living room this morning. Sigh. The baby really does sleep the best when she's in the midst of chaos.

Wednesday, April 13

Weight "loss" on Wednesday

Well, here it is Wednesday again. This time last week I was sighing about being so huge and pregnant. I took my daughter to the doctor for a checkup, then met my husband and son at a fast food place for lunch. That night, I went into labor. I'm still amazed about that.

Anyway, just for a lark, I thought I'd do Patrice's words of weight loss for today, since I did lose 15 pounds in the last week!

1. Should we classify cheesecake as dairy or a dessert?

It should be dairy, of course, because then we could eat it daily. At one point, I do recall putting cream cheese on toast instead of butter, then slathering it in strawberry jam. Yes, I was pregnant at the time.

2. How often do you get on a scale to check your weight?

While pregnant, once a week. I checked it this morning just out of curiosity. 15 pounds lost so far, which isn't bad, considering 8 of it was baby.

3. Do you wear an apron when you cook?

I have a very nice one, but I always forget to wear it. Then I look down and my shirt is covered in flour or something.

4. Do you like to work in the garden? Tell us about your garden(s).

When it's my garden, yes. I would give anything to have a garden, but we live in an apartment, and we're barely allowed to have flowers in pots. I have a pot of peppermint and a pot of desperate hollyhocks that I fight my children daily to save. They think they should be able to hit the hollyhocks with sticks and pull off all the leaves.

5. Did you hug anyone today?

Everyone in my family, as well as a couple of friends who came to see Claire.

Tuesday, April 12

Mystery photos

I was looking through my camera, and discovered a bunch of mysterious photos that I did not take.

Hmm. I wonder who the culprit might be?

Or maybe it was partners in crime ...

Sunday, April 10

Quick Sunday update

The munchkins are adapting to having a new baby surprisingly well. I'm trying to make sure they all get enough attention, so it's not such a terrible experience. Here they are, learning to rock the baby. Isn't Claire so tiny?

Here's a better-lit closeup of her little frowny face.

Friday, April 8

New arrival

Claire Elizabeth, born April 7th at 9:35 AM. She weighs 8 lbs 2 oz, and is 19 inches long.

It's hard to update a blog with a newborn. I'll endeavor to keep at it, though. :-)

Tuesday, April 5

Blueberry cobbler

Last week when the kids were so sick, Mom gave me some frozen blueberries to feed them.

The kids decided that they didn't like blueberries, so I've been slowly eating them all myself, on yogurt and mixed with cereal. I noticed we were getting low and felt bad about it, so I decided to make something that everybody would enjoy: a cobbler!

I was going to make a pie, but it looked like too much work. So I started researching cobblers.

There's a hundred bazillion types of cobblers, so I just went with my favorite tried and true recipe, and added a bit of seasoning to the blueberries to make them more like pie filling.

Blueberry cobbler recipe

3 cups blueberries, frozen or fresh
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Juice of half a lemon, about 1 Tablespoon

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
Half a stick of butter
Juice from other half of lemon, about 1 Tablespoon

Butter 9x9 baking pan. Heat oven to 350. Toss all filling ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into baking pan.

In separate bowl, mix flour, sugar and baking powder with fork. Lightly beat egg, toss in flour mixture until it looks like flaky crumbs. Scatter over berries. Melt butter, mix with lemon juice. Drizzle over top of flour mixture until mostly covered. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned.

It turned out wonderfully, and we ate most of the pan directly after dinner. Nobody complained about eating blueberries when they were in a cobbler, that's for sure.

Sunday, April 3

Books for Monday

The munchkins watching Shaun the Sheep on Netflix. Really, a non-talking series about claymation sheep shouldn't be this funny. (It's by the Wallace and Gromit guy.)

I've been reading "duty" books lately. You know, the sort of thing you read to kick your brain into shape, and not so much for fun.

The lineup:

For Women Only

For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men

The Politically Incorrect Wife

The Politically Incorrect Wife: God's Plan for Marriage Still Works Today

The Christian Woman's Guide to Childbirth

The Christian Woman's Guide to Childbirth

The first two were to get myself back to being nice to my poor husband. He puts up with so much from me, and once this baby comes, he'll have to put up with so much more. So I've been working on that, and he seems to think I'm being nicer, so I guess that means it's working.

The last one is a refresher course on labor, breathing exercises, and so on. It's kind of like watching a TV show that you've seen at least twice before, though. This is my third, and my first two labors were pretty much the same (except for the first one, because I didn't know what was happening, ha ha.)

Anyway, my brain has been very tired after all that, so I asked Mom for a fun book. She gave me Byzantium, by Stephen Lawhead.

Byzantium (Harper Fiction)

I'm about halfway through, and it's amazing. It's about this young, idealistic monk in Ireland ("Eire") who gets picked to go on a pilgrimage to Byzantium, aka Constantinople. Along the way he gets kidnapped by vikings and sold into slavery. The vikings are hilariously awesome. I'm only to the middle, but so far he's made it to Byzantium and is now doing secret spy work for the Emperor himself.

This book is far and away better than the other Lawhead I've read. Admittedly, I haven't read his Pendragon cycle (because I think Mary Stewart has pretty much ruined me on all other Arthurian legend retellings), but I read his Song of Albion trilogy a few times, along with Dream Thief and ... I'm sure there's been others. Anyway, Byzantium puts them all to shame. I think about it all the time and can't wait to jump back in and find out what peril our hero is in in THIS chapter.

I think what I like most is that the monk's Christianity is so genuine. He prays all the time, and has doubts, and tells his viking friends about Jesu and how the Romans murdered him, and how Jesu came back to life after first rescuing all the slaves in Hel. And it doesn't feel clumsy or preachy. I want to write like that, and just be honest about it. It's great to see a Christian author who can actually articulate Christianity while telling a good story.

Otherwise, still sitting on my nest, waiting for the new chick to hatch. My brain is going into shutdown mode, so I think I'm probably only a week or two out at this point.


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