Friday, November 30, 2007

Ends and Beginnings

Today is the end of NaBloPoMo and of my hair, but yesterday was the beginning of Christmas, so I guess it evens out. Allow me to elaborate.

As you may recall, I took a challenge on November 1st to blog every day for this month. It has been difficult at times, and not all posts have been literary gems, but in the end it was an awesome experience.

This month saw the beginning of my participation in Works-For-Me Wednesday, and the creation of Tasty Tuesday, both of which I plan to continue. Better yet, yesterday I came to the realization that my camera has an accident coverage policy, so, comforted by this blessed reassurance, I have ventured into the kitchen with it for future Tasty Tuesday posts. So don't go away yet! More excitement is still to come!

While I can't promise that it will ALWAYS happen, I have every intention of continuing to blog every day. It has been a valuable and enjoyable part of my life, and not one that I'm ready to give up just because November is over. So... look out, internet!

Today was also the end of my hair as I have known it.

I have fantasized about dying my hair for years but have never had the courage to do it. Finally, I picked up a bottle of brilliant blonde and took the plunge. What I hoped to do was to bring back the light, metallic color that I used to have, a color that has been fading toward brown over the last few years.

This is what happened instead.

The word that most easily comes to mind is "unfortunate."

Everyone is trying to tell me that it looks fine, but I don't know whether to believe them yet, since few people would say "your hair looks awful" to someone's face. I'd like to be able to blame RaeAnn, who dyed it for me, but, as she hurriedly pointed out when I expressed concern, I'm the one who picked out the color, so it's my fault. And she's right. But it's still more fun to blame someone else.

I'll give it a couple weeks and see what I think then. She offered to dye it another color for me if I decide I can't stand it. I'm not sure if that would be chickening out, though. Probably any color would freak me out, because I've never dyed my hair before, so it all seems weird.

I haven't been feeling Christmassy yet, but, considering that it's officially Christmastime, I decided yesterday that I'd better haul out the decorations and try to get in the mood. I put up the tiny fake Christmas tree, and Ariel had fun playing with ornaments (she kept throwing the glass balls - yikes!) and climbing on top of the storage tub ("Dump! Dump!" "NO! DO NOT JUMP!").

I know the pic of Ariel is super-blurry, but I thought it accurately conveyed how constantly-in-motion she is.

After I pulled out some more ornate ornaments and some brass candlesticks, I had a brilliant idea. Or at least I thought it was brilliant. Dan wasn't feeling it. What do you guys think? Does it work? Yea or Nay?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Feature - Old Blog Posts!

Jump for joy! I have begun the process of entering and back-dating posts from my old blog.

Many of you may recall that I had a blog before this one. It was abandoned for two reasons: the title included the size of our family, which has changed, and it used our last name, which may not be the brightest decision ever. Although I'm sure that it wouldn't be terribly difficult for any potential stalkers to hunt me down. But let's not think about that.

Okay, still thinking about it. You see, I went out to the porch today to get my Christmas decor out of the storage closet, and found that the closet door was LOCKED. I have never locked this door. In the year and three months that we've been here, neither has Dan. I'm waiting till he gets back from class to ask him if he locked it. And if he says no, then it's his job to go open it. Because there might be a hobo living in there.

Okay, not too likely, I guess. But it wasn't too likely that there were gunmen living under my bed as a child, and I managed to believe that when I was alone with my thoughts. Confused gunmen. Very confused. Ask me about it sometime. Or don't.

But the moral of the story is that you will be able to view old blog entries. I've got three of them up so far, and I'll just keep going backwards a few at a time until everything is on one blog (edited for sensitive content, of course).

I've also started labeling Tasty Tuesdays and WFMW's so that you can access them easily from the sidebar, and I intend to eventually (which could mean anytime) add labels for things like Ariel's silly antics, Felicity's milestones, pics of the girls, and maybe even one for random essays on whatever I happen to be thinking about.

But all in good time. For now, you can check out my new archives, the most recent being September 6, 2007, in the blog archives on the right side of the screen. If you want to. But you really don't have to.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WFMW: Shorter Trips to the Grocery Store

Now that I'm a mom of two kids under 2, it's harder than ever to go to the grocery store. At the same time, I've lost so many brain cells over the past 2 years (you know, the ones that die during pregnancy and 2:00am feedings?) that I find myself doubling back through the same grocery aisles over and over again. And when I finally get home and start unpacking, I realize that I've forgotten some vital item (Milk? Bread? Oops.), so I have to go back in the next day or two for one or two more things. Which becomes 5 or 10 by then. And the process repeats.

In September, I came up with the oh-so-bright idea of listing out EVERY SINGLE ITEM THAT I EVER BUY on a sheet of paper. I went through my cupboards and took note of everything that we use, and where I would buy it. I then made up 4 lists: one for the pricey natural store, one for the super-cheap grocer, one for the conveniently nearby store, and one for the cheapest store to get personal and paper supplies.

Some of the foods go on twice - I definitely want to buy tortillas at the cheap store when I'm there, but I might need more between trips, so I'll pick them up at the nearby store, too.

I arranged each list of everything by aisle, in the order that I go through the store.

I keep them stuck to my fridge, with a pencil on top of the fridge. When I discover that I need something, I star it, and take notes if needed. Before I leave for whichever store I'm going to, I run my eyes down the list to make sure that I have everything starred that I could possibly need from that store.

Ah, relief from the chaos! I hope that you're inspired to do something similar if you're having trouble in this area. It sounds like a big project, but it took me maybe half an hour. SO WORTH IT!

This post is in participation with Works For Me Wednesday at

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

I gave this recipe to Mom a couple weeks ago, and she called today and told me that she was making it for the gang tonight. I talked to her again after the meal, and she said that everyone enjoyed it a lot and that she intended to make it for company - the true test of a good recipe! Since they seemed to enjoy it as much as we do, I thought it would be appropriate to share it with all y'all tonight!

It's a very warm, cozy soup. Perfect for a chilly day!

16 oz smoked sausage
1 medium onion
2 celery stalks
2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled
3 tablespoons flour
½ to ¾ teaspoon cayenne (how hot do you want it?)
4 ½ cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice the sausage and chop the vegetables (chop the potatoes coarsely). In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, sauté the sausage over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, and sweet potato, sautéing for 5 more minutes. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring thoroughly so that the flour is lightly cooked. Add broth and salt and pepper, stir thoroughly. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Serve piping hot with crusty bread or cornbread!

If you taste test this and decide it's not QUITE hot enough, only add cayenne to the soup that you are going to eat THAT NIGHT. Maybe I'm imagining things, but it seems like the leftovers get hotter as they sit in the fridge...

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm so proud!

This morning, Ariel swiped my cell phone from where it was resting on the arm of the recliner while I nursed Felicity. "Give it back, Ariel! Give the phone to Mommy!" I commanded. She glared at me angrily and threw the phone, which smacked Felicity in the head. At my request, Dan took her into her room and placed her in the playpen for a Time Out.

Perhaps thirty seconds later, we heard a little voice say, "I sowwy!"

Naturally, we went right in there and got her up. Her first unprompted apology!

Later that morning, she walked out of her room, burped, and said, "'Cue me!"

When I put Felicity in an infant seat that partially blocked the entrance to the kitchen, Ariel said, "'Cue me!" every time she squeezed by her sister.

Later that day, as we pulled into my mom's driveway to pick some things up, I quietly let out a burp of my own. From the back seat, I heard a little voice say, "'Cue you!" I guess she needs to teach me some manners!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Geez Louise!

Today, I asked Ariel if she wanted a hot dog or a quesadilla. She cocked her head thoughtfully and replied, "Ummmm.... quesadilla!" I could tell that she meant it, too! By the time we got through the line at Taco Bell, she had shortened it to "quisa." As in, "Mo' quisa? MMMM!"

She's saying all kinds of new, bigger words lately, and understanding more than ever! I wish I could think of more of the things that she's said in the last few days, because I think you would be shocked. I sure have been!

We removed our television from the living room two nights ago, in preparation for returning it to the place from whence it came. Since then, Ariel has been walking around asking, "Toovee? Toovee?" We tell her it's "all gone! Bye-bye, TV!" But she's not satisfied with that answer. Ah, well! I'm more than satisfied to have it gone - two days straight with no Winnie the Pooh has been quite a luxury. Once they learn to turn the television on by themselves, there's no stopping the insanity.

I have been having a grand ol' time the last couple days reading The Pioneer Woman. It is arguably the best blog ever. This woman is an AMAZING writer and FABULOUS photographer, and her pictures will have you drooling almost as much as her dramatic story of how her and her husband got together, which she's been writing in installments for several months. Anywho, I stayed up till 2 in the morning on Friday and 1 on Saturday because I just couldn't stop reading the darned thing, which probably isn't a good thing for the mother of an infant to be doing with the hours that her child is sleeping. But I've taken a couple naps to help make up for it, and I'm feeling just fine (compared to normal, that is - don't think for one second that I'm not tired!).

I will leave you with a video of Ariel doing one of her favorite things while talking about another one of her favorite things:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Accomplishing a few things here and there

The TV is out of the living room.
The papers are cleared off the counter.
The bread maker is put away.
All the pots and pans are clean.

I plan to change the sheets tonight.

Maybe tomorrow I will finally mop the floor. And plan a trip to New Seasons.

But don't hold your breath.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007


  • lots of good food
  • family
  • warm, fuzzy feelings

  • some of the food I can't eat (although I am very grateful to Mom and Becky for their help!)
  • family
  • people asking me what I'm thankful for

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WFMW: Those Pesky Little Buggers!

We keep a constant supply of bananas in our home for Dan's protein shakes, which means that, once or twice a month, I manage to bring home a few dozen fruit fly eggs. There are few things more obnoxious than walking into your kitchen in the morning only to be greeted by little black dots swirling around you and alighting from any bit of leftover food that might still be exposed from the night before (I never said I was Martha Stewart! I'm workin' on it, though!).

A few months ago, I found a home remedy for killing fruit flies that has been working like a charm for us! Here it is!

In a shallow bowl (it doesn't have to be big AT ALL - I use a 3" diameter condiment bowl), mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water. Add a dab of dish soap and swirl it around.

Leave the bowl out on the counter for the day, and I guarantee you that you'll have a few dead flies in there by the evening. When you get too grossed out by them, dump the mixture out and repeat. You'll be down to one or two flies in just a day or two!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tasty Tuesday

I know it's kinda late in the month for this, but I think I'm going to add a themed day to my blog - Tasty Tuesday! If I post it, then it's easy to make, the ingredients are inexpensive, and it has my husband's stamp of approval. This is impressive, because this is a guy who won't settle for anything less than handmade pie crust and micro brews (not together, obviously). Not a pizza-and-Budweiser man, no sir. Not a soup-from-a-can man, either.

Let's start with a Greek dish that Mom asked me for the recipe for, so we can kill two birds with one stone. Dan has declared this to be quite good, but unusual enough that you probably won't want to make it more than once or twice a year. Unless you're Greek.

Lamb Tagine

4 lamb shanks
3 carrots, cut into chunks
2 onions, sliced into wedges
1/3 cup grated gingerroot
7 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 can whole pitted black olives
3 tablespoons cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 T brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown the lamb shanks on all sides over medium heat. Put them in the slow cooker. Add carrot, onion, gingerroot, garlic, raisins, and olives to slow cooker.

Combine the spices, broth, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper and pour over the lamb and vegetables. Cover and cook on low heat for 7 to 9 hours.

Serve over couscous.


Monday, November 19, 2007

An Ellie Sample Platter

Three times during the past two days, Ariel has brought Rebecca (the aforementioned Big Doll from my childhood) to me and, tugging at her little underpants, has informed me that she (the doll) is poopy. It seems some doll potty training may be in order.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .

We went to the doctor today. It was our first time with this physician, and Felicity was going in for a well baby visit (well, it was supposed to be a well baby, but she got a cold, so I guess she was a sick baby after all). The decision to change doctors was a difficult one, and I still wasn't sure that I had done the right thing when I walked into the office this afternoon.

When the doctor came out, Ariel instantly became clingy and acted very wary of him, which intensified my concerns. It's hard to have pleasant doctor visits when your kid is creeped out by her doctor. I know this all too well; I always found my pediatrician a little creepy!

Well, I needn't have been concerned. When we got into the room, Ariel immediately noticed the otoscope and exclaimed, "Ear!" (she knew what it was from watching her beloved Elmo DVD). Max (the physician) responded not only by showing it to her, but also by giving her one of the disposable pieces that goes into the ear and letting her try to fit it onto the device herself!

Let's just say he stole her little heart!

She followed him all around the room as he grabbed papers and instruments and examined Felicity. When he went into another room to get some forms, she sauntered right out of the exam room with him! The look in her eyes as she watched him fill out Felicity's growth charts made it clear that she was fascinated by and enthralled with him.

And so, of course, I'm enthralled, too.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ariel is learning colors. She's been guessing them a lot, and she usually guesses wrong, but she's trying! Today, as she colored with her green, blue, and pink colored pencils, she held one up and said, "yellow?"

"No," I said, "that's a blue pencil. Do you want a yellow one?"


I brought her a yellow pencil. She started scribbling, but immediately became upset when she couldn't see the faint yellow scribbles. I tried getting her a darker yellow pencil, but by that point I think she was already convinced that I was trying to rip her off.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Just Call Me Scrooge

Today was one of those rare days when Dan and I manage to completely throw off our concept of time by sleeping late, taking naps, sitting around in our pajamas, and eating at odd hours. By about 2 in the afternoon, as we sat in the livingroom, me in the armchair with Felicity and Dan lying on the couch with Ariel, I complained that I wanted coffee, but that we were all out. Since we needed other things anyway, I pulled my slightly greasy hair back, put on some yoga pants and a shirt, and headed off to Fred Meyer.

What greeted me was horrifying.

All I can say is, thank goodness that I reviewed my shopping list before I left, because I forgot to bring it in, and it would have been a tragedy to have to make a second trip. The lines were a mile long - the front of the store a nearly impenetrable sea of shopping carts, each fully loaded. Positioning myself behind one of these loaded carts with my few bags worth of groceries, I saw the reason for all this hysteria.That's right: spend $100, get a free turkey. Next to the woman's purse and copy of the ad sat her turkey, and her cart was filled not only with food but also with things like toothpaste. She was determined to have that turkey for free. As I looked out over all the ridiculously full carts, it suddenly made so much sense. Not only was this Thanksgiving week, this was FREE TURKEY WEEK. And poor, innocent Jenni - here for coffee, diapers, steak, and potatoes - was just a helpless victim.

Needless to say, I turned right back around and grabbed some celery. No way is this mama going back in that store this week!

I found myself feeling very annoyed at the Fred Meyer advertising department. Isn't Thanksgiving week crowded enough without free turkeys? Why are they trying to make my life harder?

This reminded me of how I felt when I went to browse Freddy's for some Alone Time last week (Hey, alone is great wherever I am! And I will celebrate it with big purple letters!).

I walked into the store through the back door and peered down the rows of seasonal items. Christmas towels, Christmas oven mitts, Christmas light-up Santas, Christmas serving platters...

And how did I feel?

Sad for the earth.

Yes, my ecological concerns have trumped my Christmas spirit. All I could think about was that all those things were made out of precious resources, and that they would probably get very little use before ending their existences in landfills. Meanwhile, sheep-like consumers would be convinced via advertising that they "needed" these items, or at least that the items would make them happier. And, at best, they would only be used for a month or two a year, before being packed away in a box for the next holiday season. And being packed away in a box is essentially the same as being wasted, because during that time they are serving no purpose and simply taking up space.

This is weird, because I have simply REVELED in Christmas the past few years. By this point, I should have dragged out the decorations and plotted our breakfast for Christmas morning. I should have purchased and wrapped gifts for everyone on my list. What's happening here?

I'm sure that the best attitude to have is somewhere BETWEEN this year's and last year's. In the meantime, pardon my less-than-jolly attitude. I'm not feeling negative about Christmas ITSELF, just the surrounding consumer-minded hoopla. And, really, that's not what Christmas is about.

Although, come to think of it, Thanksgiving IS about free turkeys, kind of...

Saturday, November 17, 2007


This evening was Dan's company dinner. They gave out gift cards to everyone raffle-style, so it was up in the air what store yours would be to, although the value was the same on all of them.

The gift cards were for many stores, including Target, Best Buy, Costco, Sears, and more.

Judging from the whooping and hollering, the most coveted cards were to Home Depot and Sportsman's Warehouse. Are you getting a feel for the crowd yet?

When the first Costco card was announced, a guy sitting in our table laughed, "What if you don't have a Costco card?" As he spoke, the announcer read HIS raffle ticket! It was hilarious to watch him accept the card. It was just enough money to pay for a membership, so then he could buy nothing!

Dan got one of the oh-so-popular Sportsman's Warehouse certificates. He asked the Costco guy if he wanted to trade, and they quickly swapped. The man said he felt like he was getting the better end of the deal.

After he took the envelope from Dan, our friend and the guy next to him jumped into a laughing discussion of how they could pool their gift certificates to buy ammunition.

There are some things that I will never truly understand.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Who can guess what she's thinking?!

During dinner tonight, Dan and I were talking and laughing together. Each time we would burst into laughter, Ariel would give a loud, almost weird courtesy laugh, then look straight into my eyes and spit a "raspberry" at me. What in the world? It made us laugh all the harder, of course, which I suppose only reinforced her odd behavior.

After dinner, Ariel found my old cell phone and started playing with it. She held it to her ear.

"Kah-maw! Kah-maw!" (Grandma).

"Do you want to talk to Grandma?"


"Oh, so you're just pretending to talk to Grandma?"

"Hmmm!" (yes)

"Oh, okay."

Since then, I've offered many more times to call Grandma for her, but she's uninterested. She keeps holding up the phone and saying "cheese!" It's weird to think that my daughter will grow up thinking that it's normal and unremarkable for phones to be able to take pictures.

Right now she is standing in the living room, spinning in circles until she falls down. Between spins, she kisses the "Bee Ball" (big ball- my exercise ball). As she spins, she holds her dolly to her mouth and sucks her thumb, or sometime she pulls the thumb out and yells. When she falls, she laughs. It looks that much cuter because she's only wearing a shirt and socks. Ah, to be one!

Speaking of the Bee Ball, Ariel is learning adjectives! We've always called it the Big Ball, so that's not so impressive, but yesterday Ariel went into my bedroom, where she found something that I had pulled out of a closet. It was a toddler doll (as opposed to a baby doll), about 18 inches tall, that I had played with as a girl.

She picked it up and dragged it into the living room, announcing excitedly, "Bee Doll! Bee Doll! Bee Doll! MY Bee Doll!"

Of course it's yours, sweetie.

I love you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Becoming More Like Me

It has become more and more common lately for me to think back on a memory of myself and wonder where in the heck that girl went.

You know, the one who parked at the far end of the parking lot because she took pleasure in a long stroll. The one who loved the thrill of inline skating crazy-fast toward the end of a dead-end street and then trying to keep from face-planting in the grass. The one who sat down with her little journal and wrote poetry when she felt sad. You know, JENNI!

Lately, I feel like all I am is Dan's wife, Felicity's mom, Ariel's mom. Sometimes I just want to scream, HEY, I'M JENNI FIRST! I HAVE DESIRES AND NEEDS AND I ONLY FEEL HALF-ALIVE WHEN THOSE THINGS ARE IGNORED! And yet, so much of my past feels so far away that I sometimes can't even relate to my former feelings. Inline skating down a hill sounds dangerous and stupid. What if I got hurt? Who would carry the girls down the stairs if I had a broken wrist? Again, I'm Mommy, not Jenni.

It's weird to finally become comfortable with who you WERE, but no longer are. After so many years of feeling insecure, uncool, unsure of myself, now I finally feel like I'm okay. Not okay right now in this moment, but okay as a person on the inside. The dishes aren't done, the floor hasn't been mopped in months (now THERE'S a confession!), and dinner was ill-planned (Dan is currently at the store buying hamburger buns as the hamburgers simmer on the stove). I'm not okay with how I'm handling my roles right now, but that's all they are - ROLES. I am finally okay with ME, but there isn't a lot of ME left to be okay with. Instead, I find myself missing the woman that I've finally come to accept, wondering where she went and why I can't enjoy her now that I finally love her.

So now I'm trying to be more like me.

When I want to sing, I try to let go of fears that I'm being obnoxious and just sing at the top of my lungs, because that's what makes me happy. Dan says he's mostly okay with this, depending upon what I sing and whether he's trying to do his homework. So... Good!

I tried to write a poem the other day when I was sad, but I got writer's block after like 6 lines. Still, it's a start, and I'm committed to trying again.

I'm trying to be less afraid to say funny things or be spontaneous. It's funny that I worry about what Dan thinks of me, when the girl that he fell in love with was the real me, before I started worrying so much about what he thought.

But some things are harder to do. It'll be awhile before inline skating is safe again - the rain can cause some nasty skidding. And, of course, I'll have to do it while Dan's home and willing to keep both girls with him, or we'll need a sitter. It's hard to park at the far end of the parking lot when you have an uncooperative toddler and a rather heavy baby to transport across that parking lot before you are relieved by a shopping cart.

Really, I'm not 100% sure who I am, because I've never gotten to know myself very well. Going pretty much straight from high school to marriage doesn't leave a lot of time for self-discovery, though I doubt I would have utilized the time if I had had it. Now I have another 20 years to go before solo, multi-week vacations are an option for me. So I guess I'm not really sure what I'm like without the influence of other people's expectations. I'd sure like to know, though.

How do you take time to be YOU and truly get to know yourself in the midst of life's craziness?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WFMW: Clean and Chlorine-Free Dishes, Cheap!

Ever since I started thinking about the chemicals in my home, if not before, I've been disturbed by the thought that my dishwashing liquid is full of chlorine.

When I was in 9th grade, my science teacher told us a story about when he used to work at a facility that housed chlorine gas, and how he was told that if he ever saw a green cloud creeping along the ground and under the door, he should run for his life. Ever since then, I've imagined chlorine as a scary monster or alien being, creeping along trying to kill me and those that I love. Yes, it won't kill you in small doses - NOTHING will kill you in small doses - but still, who wants to ingest a poison?

You can't avoid chlorine in your water unless you buy a very high-grade filter or a distiller, which I am not currently able to do, but I can sure as heck-fire avoid putting it in my dishwasher. Especially when your dishwasher isn't working super-well, it's nice to know that you're not eating off a chlorine film at every meal. Organic detergents can be pricey, and you never know how "organic" they really are, since the term is not regulated in anything other than food, but the stuff I use is known to be safe, non-toxic (well, you shouldn't eat washing soda, but it's not nearly as toxic as chlorine), and inexpensive.

SO.... here's the "recipe" (do not actually mix these together or you'll end up with nasty goo) for natural, poison-free, clean dishes:

*1 T Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer makes it, but it's different from baking soda - it's in a yellow box in the detergent aisle at Fred Meyer)
*1 T Simple Green (I use the lemon kind because we like that scent better for our dishes - Linens N Things carries it)
*White Vinegar

Put the washing soda in one of your dishwasher dispenser holes and the Simple Green in the other. Put white vinegar in the Jet Dry dispenser (otherwise you'll end up with white film all over your glasses).

I've been very happy with this and have seen NO NOTABLE DIFFERENCE between using this and liquid Cascade. Maybe they don't rinse QUITE as clearly (the vinegar really helps), but I'm not trying to impress anyone, just to take good care of my family. And now, when I unload the dishwasher, I can feel good about what I'm doing for them!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Crazy Day ABC's

It was the best of days. It was the worst of days.

Today felt like a constant striving - sometimes to kick butt, sometimes just not to have a nervous breakdown. Ever have days like that? I think I will describe my day starting with each letter of the alphabet, just to be odd.

Ariel was a hysterical little girl today. Between way too many viewings of Elmo and Pooh, she wailed and screamed and sobbed and took stuff that was off-limits, and she pulled up her little shirt and flashed Daddy when she was mad at him, which was the only comic relief amidst all this drama. Constantly having to deal with or even just listen to her tantrums was absolutely grating on my nerves. Dan was home most of the day, and between Ariel's insanity and Felicity's bloodcurdling screams when I left for a little while, I think his shoulders are still tense.

Emotionally, I've really been at the end of my rope lately. For the first time in my life, I've even had stress-related chest pains and faintness. Granted, if there's ever a time to be stressed, it's when you have two babies, but my lack of ability to overcome it has me concerned. Having two little girls means that I have a responsibility to tough it out and go on being the best mom I can be, regardless of my own needs. I guess what I'm finally realizing is that I can't take care of them properly if I neglect myself, so I need to find a way to take care of all of us.

Just sitting down at the computer or with a book isn't enough anymore; when I'm at home, I feel constantly on edge. Kids make it hard to get away, but Dan has been gracious enough to watch the girls and let me slip away when I ask him, which has been every week or so this month. Little trips to Starbucks or even Fred Meyer by myself have been life-saving.

My patience started out thin this morning, but the Lord knows I really tried. Not getting much sleep made me feel resentful, but it helped when Dan let me take a nap in the late morning. Of course, when I got up, I was thoroughly depressed by all the housework to be done, and when Ariel started her very long string of tantrums, it was hard to be the adult. Poor Ariel - I tried to watch my tone and temper, but there were times, I'm sad to say, that I snapped and hurt her feelings.

eally, Ariel's behavior was beyond bad. Standing on the computer chair trying to type or grab office supplies. Throwing herself or her sippy cup (why her sippy cup?) on the floor time after time, often over demands that I didn't even understand. Until, finally, when I realized that just looking at her was enough to make me clench my jaw in anger as she broke yet another rule, I put her down for an early nap. Very predictably, she didn't sleep, but that wasn't the point, was it?

When Dan got home, I rather desperately requested a break, and he let me run off to Fred Meyer to browse and buy hair dye. EXactly on cue, Felicity started screaming moments after I walked out the door, which I think is proof that Satan exists and likes to influence/sabotage my life and well-being. Yet, to his credit, my very wonderful husband didn't call and ask me to come home until I had been gone for around 45 minutes. Zipping home was the last thing that I wanted to do when I heard Fiffy's cries in the background, but, praise God, she was calmer by the time I got there, although Ariel's hysteria lasted until bedtime.

On the plus side, I cleaned out much of Ariel's closet today. Yay? Now it's time for bed. Here's wishing for happier children tomorrow!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Darn it!

Just 3 minutes to post before midnight! I guess I'll leave all ya'll with a few little tidbits and stream-of-consciousness. - it's funny

also..... Dan is a good-looking guy.

My wassail is yummy, but I need to buy a glass pitcher so I can store it warm without worrying about leeching chemicals.

God is awesome.

I'm wearing all black today.

I love my new pink Razr phone.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Felicity was fussing and chomping on her pacifier today, so I decided to do something to help her in case she was experiencing teething pain. Ariel was napping so I couldn't get to the Tylenol in her room, but I had some homeopathic teething tablets in my diaper bag.

They were already dissolving into a thin paste on Felicity's tongue when I remembered that they are made primarily of milk.


The screams came quickly. Fortunately, they didn't last too long, but that didn't keep me from feeling like a pretty cruel parent.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

If I won the Powerball...

I think I am a great candidate for winning the Powerball, aside from the fact that I have never purchased a ticket.

When I win the Powerball, I will do an excellent job of handling the money, because I already have it all planned out now! Planning ahead is key to fiscal responsibility.

First of all, understand that I will win 320 million dollars. I have already decided this. I told God, and He hasn't voiced any objections, so now we're both just waiting for it to get up there so that He can tell me the winning numbers in a dream. I don't think this is cheating, because God CAN'T cheat. He's God.

So, yeah, assuming that God's silence on this issue is silent agreement, I will win 320 million dollars at some point in the future. I will take the cash - 180 million - pay my taxes - 90 million - and invest the rest at 8%. When it comes down to it, after I invest it all, I should be getting around $320,000 per month after taxes in interest payments.

Now, don't think that this money would immediately be poured into boats and huge wardrobes! Oh, no! First of all, I don't care for boats, and second, where would I put those clothes without a giant closet? Oh no, the closet must come first, which means that building the dream home must come first. It's important to think these things through so you don't have to pile your J. Crew bags on your back porch!

So after building a 3,000ish square foot place (not entirely huge, but very efficiently designed), I would fill my closet with classic, high-quality clothes, buy a bigger family vehicle, and then life would continue like normal.

Well... normal except that I would buy my groceries online, join a Pilates class, hire a nanny part-time to help me out, and have a maid come in once a week to clean the floors and bathrooms.

What about you? What would you do if you won the Powerball?

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Beauty of Community

Ok, so this is my second post this week that has had "Beauty" in the title. I guess I'm just seeing a lot of beauty all around me lately, in all sorts of places.

When I was giving birth to Ariel and I got my epidural, my immediate reaction to the easing pain was to turn and, watching Dan lay sheets down on his bed for the night, rave about the beautiful color of the sheets. Maybe beauty is something that I most easily see when I am relieved in the midst of pain and struggling.

Today, I see so much beauty in community.

I live 15 minutes or more from anyone whom I know more than casually, so I certainly don't have a physical community to draw strength from. But I have a wonderful community of friends through gDiapers. Rae Ann (who, being my cousin, I knew without gDiapers, but it's still something we have in common), the gDiapers yahoo group, and my friend Stephanie whom I met through the yahoo group and then in person at the gTea are all wonderful, supportive people that give me somewhere to turn when I feel alone.

And when you're a mother of two babies, sometimes you feel painfully alone. Alone in the middle of the ocean, thrashing around with no one to save you.

Of course, this ocean is made of dirty dishes and piles of laundry and crying babies and sleepless nights and hysterical shopping trips and too many viewings of Winnie-the-Pooh.

But when you have women there for you - women who have been there and feel your pain and care about you and want to help and have great advice to offer - you don't feel so alone. You feel taken care of. You feel hopeful. You feel relieved.

And that is why the internet is so darn awesome.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Okay, so I'm finally getting on the Rocks In My Dryer bandwagon. Today is BACKWARDS DAY for Works-For-Me Wednesday, and I am supposed to ask all ya'll a question.

So here it is: how do you care for the teeth of a spastic 20-month-old? At this point, I just give her a tooth brush when she asks for it (which is every couple days), and she chews on it and gives it back. I'm concerned that this may be inadequate.

I can't imagine her ever sitting still and letting someone else brush her teeth - she is NOT that kind of baby - but she certainly isn't accomplishing a thorough tooth cleaning on her own. Do I need to be concerned about this? I can't be the only person faced with this problem. What do you do?


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Counting, continued

Well, she's just about got it!

We're missing 1 and 3, but otherwise she's got it down! I am one proud mama!

BTW, I don't know why it shows a video camera on here instead of the first frame, but if you click on it, it DOES work!

Monday, November 5, 2007

O blissful beauty!

Well, we gave in to the pain of picturelessness yesterday and bought a new camera. We got the four year accident coverage warranty, and I have a feeling we won't regret it, considering that our first camera started fritzing out after only one year (in the middle of Ariel's first birthday party, no less!).

I LOVE this camera!

Neither Dan nor I know the first thing about photography, as you may have noticed from my previously posted photos, but already we've gotten some breathtaking (to me, at least) pictures of the girls! Check these out!

You've gotta love that last one! A very good representation of her attitude when Daddy tries to soothe her. He's kind enough to attempt it anyway, though, and I greatly appreciate those breaks!

Anyway, I'm thinking that if this is what we've gotten in two days of fiddling, maybe we can say goodbye to JC Penney and just blow up our own snapshots! I greatly prefer natural photos to traditional poses, anyway.

Okay, for another example of how cool this camera is, check this out (warning- breastfeeding ahead!):

Dan took this picture of me this morning, fresh out of bed in my stretch pants and sweatshirt with no makeup. And it doesn't look totally hideous! It's probably one of the better pictures taken of me in the last couple years (I'm sorry to say). This gives me hope.

So I'm currently trying to capture a good shot of Felicity smiling. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Bloggity Meme Of Four

The Bloggity Meme Of Four
(as would be answered Ariel, who was tagged by Stella)

Four First Names of Crushes I’ve Had:
-Uncle Brian
-Cousin Nate
-The high schooler in line at All the Perks
-I liked any attractive man between the ages of 10 and 30, at least until I was around 15 months old.

Four Pieces of Clothing I (Mommy) wish I (Ariel) still owned/fit into:
-her denim blue sandals w/ rhinestones on them
-her stripped sweater dress w/ matching leggings
-her joker-style winter hat from TCP
-her old-style medium gDiapers - she just grew out of them.

Names I’ve been called at one time or another (by Mommy):
-Snuggle-bug (a complete misnomer)
-Ellie Bellie Ballerina

Four Professions I Secretly Want to Try:
-Podiatrist - I love TOES! and I love shouting TOES! while I'm getting my diaper changed
-Urologist - enough said
-Radio DJ - I love the radio, and I'm very picky about what songs I want to listen to
-Modern Artist - Color? Color? COLOR!!!

Four Musicians I’d most want to go on a date with (or at least listen to a thousand times):
-Marie Digby
-Maroon 5 (Mommy would have to come with me, for sure!)
-Jimmie's Chicken Shack
-Carrie Underwood

Four Foods I’d Rather Throw than Eat:
-Triscuits. Now that I know there are yummier crackers, I think Triscuits are a scam.
-Anything that Mommy and Daddy WANT me to eat, at least until Daddy force-feeds it to me and then I know that it's yummy, after all.
-Whatever you gave me that wasn't what I asked for. COOKIE!

Four Things I Like to Sniff:
-my flashlight (Daddy showed me that it's for sniffing, not staring into)
-anything that someone else sniffs
-Nothing else - I don't generally sniff things yet.

Four People I'd Like To Tag:
-Uncle Matt
-Uncle Brian

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The difference between blogs and diaries... that blogs are public, which means that they are not always the best place to spill your guts. And on nights like tonight, when I just can't bring myself to be trite and superficial for the sake of my readers, it's hard to know what to type.

So here's a recipe for my favorite vegetable soup. Good stuff. Perfect time of year, too, and the ingredients are nice and inexpensive. It probably serves.... 8?


1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
2-4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2-3 celery sticks, chopped
2-3 carrots, coined
1/2 t thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
5 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (or 5 cups water and 5 t bullion)

In a large pot, saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic, lowering heat slightly, and saute another couple minutes, being careful not to let the garlic brown. Add the other fresh vegetables and saute for a couple more minutes, adding thyme, salt, and pepper as you go. Pour the contents of the pot into your crock pot, adding the tomatoes and chicken broth as well. Cook on low 7-9 hours or on high 4-6 hours. Longer means yummier!

Variation: to add some pizazz to your leftover soup, heat it on the stove and add canned black beans, cumin, and chili powder to taste. Serve alongside cheese quesadillas. So good!

Until tomorrow, then!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Somebody put me on a stage, quick!

I think I can identify with skydivers.

A skydiver does something absolutely terrifying, something that few other people would ever choose to do. He does it, and he takes pleasure in it. I am certain that being a skydiver must carry with it a great sense of pride, to know that you are one of the few who can fly in the face of such fear and choose to do it again and again.

Well, does it make me a total nerd to feel similarly proud of my enjoyment of public speaking? I have always loved being on stage. I was on the speech team in high school, and I absolutely loved it. What a rush! To stand up in front of a group of peers and judges, knowing the the slightest slip-up could both humiliate and disqualify you. The way time slows down and you fight to keep from speaking too quickly, to put emotion into your voice, to look out at the individuals in the audience and convince them that you mean every word. There are few times that I have felt more alive. More capable. More exceptional.

But life as a mother of two babies doesn't provide many speaking opportunities, and it's been awhile since I was on the stage. Last time was as a freshman in college, 2 years after my last NFL (National Forensic League) competition, when I won second place for Dramatic Interpretation, competing against Communications majors, sophomores and up. That felt pretty good. But it was 3 1/2 years ago, and that's a long time not to do something that you love.

Dan's taking a speech class this semester. Yesterday, he gave his first prepared speech. I definitely enjoyed helping him prepare, but every time I listened to him recite it, it was hard not to think about how I would say it, what words I would emphasize, how I would stand... and how thrilling it would be if I could be the one back in front of the class, taking my turn, facing my fear, proving myself all over again. I told him that I wished I could go give it for him. He said he wished I could, too!

Last night, Dan and I went to a seminar in which the speaker asked two people to come forward and do a role play. I raised my hand excitedly, and he called on me to come up. As I stood up and walked around our table to go to the front, a girl in the front row popped up, apparently unaware that he had called on me. He welcomed her up and gave her the role. I sat back down. It felt so juvenile to be jealous, and yet I was. I was so very, very jealous. And I still am.

If somebody doesn't put me on a stage soon, I'm going to scream.

Okay, first the good news, then the bad news.

Good news: Felicity slept 10 hours last night. Woohoo!

Bad news: Our camera is broken. Apparently, it was not a battery problem, because the battery arrived today and the camera still doesn't work. So... I may not have pics for all y'all for a little while yet.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Copy Cat

So, Rae Ann signed up for a challenge to blog every day during the month of November, and, like any good younger cousin would do, I am copying her. I should have a working digital camera sometime this week (the new battery is in the mail - hopefully the battery is the problem), so that should make it easier for me to provide entertaining and crazy-cute posts for all y'all. In the meantime, you'll have to put up with text-only musings from yours truly. I'm excited about it, though; I think it will be a good opportunity to exercise my long-dormant creative writing skills and express myself thoughtfully. I hope so, at least. So, get ready for a month of super blogging fun! And if a day goes by and I DON'T post, be sure to leave plenty of berating comments on my previous post so that I will feel really bad about myself and my horrible inconsistency. Ok? Great! Ready.... Set.... GO!!!