Friday, August 29, 2008

Green Again

But this time it's pest-o
Not jell-o
(pesto, I know, but I couldn't resist)

Much more appetizing...
Don't you think?
Ok, maybe not in the tupperware, but it sure looked nice on my crackers today at lunch.
Tasted good too.

I'm so relieved to have a new post on my blog, that jell-o one was really bothering me.
(Noah made me do it)

I seem to be very obsessed with food lately.  I almost took a picture of my parfait this morning too (crunchy granola, sweet vanilla yogurt, fresh strawberries and blueberries, YUM).

The pesto brings my "homemade" repertoire to #3
As of this summer I've started making
1.  Wheat Bread
2.  Freezer Jam
3.  Pesto

Yay for me!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aircraft, clovers, and lime

What do these things have in common?
Nothing - it's just what my kids wanted for their FHE treat the other night

Appetizing, huh?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Read This

Maybe it's the world of blogging...when you feel a connection to someone you've never met
Maybe it's maternal instinct...the way your heart goes out to a mother and her children
I know that tragedies happen to people around the world everyday
I know I can't save the world
But I am praying for Stephanie Nielson and her family
To hear their story click the button below...and add your prayers to mine

Monday, August 25, 2008

See pics in previous post

I forgot to mention...Alex's recent nickname is Medussa
And yes, her hair actually looks like that most of the time 
Paul and I love to hear her say, "I NOT Medussa!" in her sweet little lisp.

This Is Our Life

If you didn't already know, Alex is a daddy's girl.  
Today we spent the morning with Paul.  Call nights are the only chance we have to spend a morning with Paul because every other day of the week he's long gone before we ever wake up.  Call shifts at Mayo are from 1pm to in 6pm the NEXT day.  30 hours.  So we spend the morning with him, he comes home the next night a complete zombie and crashes, usually attempts to wake-up and spend an hour with the kids before they go to bed, at which point he goes back to bed too, leaves at 5am the next morning and works another 12-14 hours.  But I'm getting off the subject...
Today when it was time for him to leave Alex screamed "NO!" ran to him, threw her arms around his neck, and wouldn't let go.  It was so sweet and so sad.  I was torn between laughing and crying and ended up doing a little of both.

This was her face after daddy left.  
She just sat there and said, "Why is daddy gone?"
Don't feel too bad for her though.  On call nights Alex gets to sleep in bed with mommy : )  And after a few rounds of singing "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home" she cheers right up.

Yes, Paul's hours are sometimes hard on the kids.  But it's also been great to see them light up when he gets home.  I think they appreciate their time with him more than they used to - especially Noah.  He's always been kind of a momma's boy, but now he loves to talk to daddy when he calls from the hospital, cheers when he comes home, and even gives "bear hugs" and loves to "steal kisses."  Noah is typically very anti-physical affection, so this is a huge bonus!

As for Paul...well, I don't know how he does it.  His job is extremely high stress and the hours are long and grueling.  But when he's home he gives us everything he's got.  He helps around the constantly messy house, listens to his starved-for-adult-interaction wife talking his ear off, and plays with his 2 kids who are inevitably bouncing off the walls the minute he walks in the door.

Sometimes it's hard for me to put myself in his shoes or to understand what his days are really like.  I'm not a doctor, nor have I ever worked in a hospital.  The only time I've been a patient in the hospital is when I had my babies, and trust me, being a patient really gives you NO idea about what life is like on the other side of things, for the doctors.
A couple of days ago Paul ended up coming home several hours later than usual.  Why?  The family members of one of his very sick patients showed up.  They had a family conference about what to do for their family member and whether or not they should withdraw care.  It was complicated because, as you can imagine, there were differing opinions on the subject.  Which is why the needed the counsel, advice, guidance, and direction of the patients doctor.  
It was very strange for me to imagine.  It was one of those light-bulb going off in the head moments.  I found myself thinking, "Oh're a DOCTOR."

I don't share any of this to brag.  Trust me, there is not a lot of glory or glamour in this life we are living.  But it does help me to document my thoughts, to get them out there.

It also seems that it's when Paul is gone that I realize and appreciate all that he does and all that he means to our family.
But I too, have learned to treasure our time with him.  I LOVE when he has a day off, especially if it falls on a weekend (a very rare occasion indeed).  Saturday night, as I was gearing up for yet another day at church by myself with the kids Paul said, "Just think honey, I'll be at church with you on September 21st!"

So this is our life.  
Paul works a lot.  He's stressed out and exhausted a lot.  I do a lot on my own.  Which means I'm stressed out and exhausted a lot.  Homeownership is hard.  Money is tight.

But we LOVE living in Rochester.  We're making good friends.  We're part of a great ward.  We've got a great place to live (even though I complain about it a lot).  The kids are happy and busy.  The summer has been beautiful.  Noah starts preschool in a couple weeks and both of the kids are signed up for more community ed classes (Noah - spanish, Alex - gymnastics).  We've got family coming out to visit next month.  And did I mention yet that I love Rochester?

This is our life.
And I love it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Privacy Please

Yesterday I got together with my friend Jessica and she helped me sew up some curtains for my bedroom.  (Think 8 hours, 7 kids, a lot of craziness, a few mistakes, and some quality bonding time)

I can get dressed without having to sit down on the floor to avoid being seen by the neighbors.

I think they turned out pretty good (especially considering I was the one doing most of the sewing).  Thanks Jessica!  I couldn't have done it without your expertise : )

These curtains are the finishing touch on the 'master bedroom project.'  Hurray!  One room down...a lot more to go.

Oh yeah, I guess now I have to hang things on the wall...there's always something more to do.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Just the boys

Paul had the day off Saturday (a somewhat rare and wonderful occurrence) and decided it was about time he took Noah camping.  He managed to get home at a decent hour Friday night and the boys loaded up and were off!  Noah was so excited, he'd been talking about it all week.  This was his first campout and Paul and I were not sure how he would do.

He loved it!  They cooked hot dogs over the fire, roasted marshmallows, and did some hiking.  Noah loved sleeping in the tent but was so excited about it he had a hard time settling down.  Paul was wiped out and Noah was bouncing off the (tent) walls - when Paul suggested that Noah come get in his sleeping bag with him Noah jumped right in and slept soundly all night.  Unfortunately, Paul was not able to do the same : )

Paul had brought cereal and a quart of milk for breakfast - but he forgot to put the cereal away and an animal got into it during the night.  Paul asked Noah if he wanted a hot dog and milk for breakfast and I don't think the kid has ever heard a better idea in his life!  Paul couldn't quite stomach it so as Noah ate his breakfast Paul packed up.  Then Noah says, "Um Dad, we have a problem."  When Paul asked what it was Noah said, "There's a hot dog in the milk."  As if he had no idea how it got there!  Sure enough, Noah had put his hot dog in the quart of milk.  So much for the milk.

It was a short trip, but a great first experience for Noah.  
Thanks for being such a great daddy, Paul : )

While the boys were gone Alex and I partyed.  We ran around in our underwear and drank Izzes.  Ok - only one of us was in our underwear.  (Wish I had a picture of Alex in her undies downing an Izze).
And of course we (what else) painted.  Apparently some of you got the false impression from a previous post that my painting projects were over - I wish!  They've only just begun...
(Wish I had a picture of Alex with a measuring cup in one hand and a pastry brush in the other, pretending to paint like mommy). 

He did it!

Noah passed his swim class (Pike 1 at the YMCA)!  This was his second time through, and it's the lowest level.  As I've said before, Noah got a late start to swim lessons (due to living in Cleveland) so he's a little behind.  That's fine with me, I'm not worried that he'll never learn to swim.  He LOVES the water, he's just a little timid.  What I was worried about was him repeating this class over and over again and realizing that he was the biggest and oldest kid in the class and feeling bad about that.  So I was crossing my fingers, holding my breath, and encouraging him to work on certain skills he was struggling with all without trying to put too much pressure on him.

And he did it!  Now he's on to Pike 2...which I'm sure he'll be taking more than once as well : )

Way to go Noah!  We're all so proud of you!
(Especially Alex, who cheers for you every time you put your face in the water)

P.S.  The only way I could convince Noah to pose for this picture was by telling him I would put it on the blog so his Grandmas could see that he passed his swim class.  
Enjoy Grandmas, Noah did this just for you : )

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I disappeared for a few days to read Breaking Dawn.  

Now what?  

No more So You Think You Can Dance, no more Twilight Series.  

What am I supposed to do with myself?  

I mean besides laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, errands, bills, kids, hubby, calling, house projects....

Ok.  Nevermind.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The batter gene

This may not look like much...

but it is the best brownie batter (or any kind of batter) you will ever taste.

My mom, my sisters and I use to make this as an after school treat - it was a favorite.  But we'd always double the recipe.  That way we could eat half the batter, and still bake a pan of brownies with what was left.  My mom always said the batter was better than the brownies.

Noah shares my love of batter (Alex shares my love of anything junk food).  Whenever he helps in the kitchen he wants to try the batter - even if it's pancakes or bread or some kind of batter that really isn't meant to be eaten and just doesn't taste good.

Last week I realized I'd never made these brownies with the kids before, so I made sure to pick up the ingredients when we did the grocery shopping.  So Noah has been asking me all week, "When can we make the brownies with chocolate chips and marshmallows in them?"  Yesterday was that day.

The kids pull their chairs up to the counter (love that we have the counter space to do that now) and start helping me dump ingredients in.  After each ingredient we add Noah asks, "Is it batter yet?"  

Finally, the batter was ready to be eaten.
I think the kids enjoyed it as much as I always do.  Don't you?
(love their faces in these pictures)
 I guess that batter loving thing is hereditary.

Disappearing Brownies
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips

Melt butterscotch chips and butter.  Cool.  Add dry ingredients, egg, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows until just combined.  Spread in greased 9-inch square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Don't overbake.  Center will be jiggly, then firm as it cools.

Don't forget to double the recipe - one bite of this batter is never enough : )


Alex is obsessed with her "babies."  She takes care of them all day long: carries them around, talks to them, sings to them, feeds them (i.e. actual food shoved in the little hole made for the binky which I then have to dig out) snuggles them, and puts them to bed.  She also disciplines them.  Which is, of course, based upon her own experience.

One night last week I could not get the kids to settle down and go to sleep.  Alex kept getting out of bed and they were jumping, running, laughing and screaming together in their room.  I went back and scolded them once again.  I said, "I don't want to hear another peep!"  (sidenote: this was one of those moments where, as the words are coming out of your mouth, you're thinking 'oh my gosh, i've become my mother.'  love you mom!)  

So of course the moment I walk out of the room Alex says, "Peep!" and starts giggling.  I marched back in, pulled her out of bed and put her in my bed (that's the latest punishment for the kids when they won't go to sleep - we separate them)  

Now back to Alex and her babies...Yesterday I watched her tuck her babies into her bed, walk out and close the door.  A few seconds later she looks at me, gasps, and says angrily, "They peeped!"  She promptly marched back to the room to separate the two babies for "peeping"

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

For the Record

A couple of things I don't want to forget:

On Sunday, as I'm getting the kids ready for church, Noah says, "Mom I don't like sacrament meeting.  All we do is eat bread, and drink water.  But in primary we learn about the gospel, and temples..."  The first part of that comment may have been a little sacreligious but it made me laugh out loud.  And the second part was just sweet : )

Last week Alex took her first ever swimming lessons (don't worry, Noah took his first lessons this summer too - what can I say, we were broke and living in Cleveland).  For Alex's age group, a parent takes the class with the child and swims with them.  I'd been looking forward to this because I feel like Alex is always getting dragged around to all Noah's stuff.  Poor girl, she wants to be big and do what Noah does and sometimes she just can't.  So this was gonna be her thing and I was excited to do it with her.  Plus, she's fearless and she loves the water.  So imagine my surprise when class starts and Alex SCREAMS HER HEAD OFF the entire 30 minutes.  What?!?  I thought she would love it!  I'm sure everyone thought she was scared but the real story was simply that she didn't want to do what the class was doing, or what the teacher was telling us to do.  Little Miss Alex wanted to do her own thing.  I should've known.  So for 30 minutes I fought to keep hold of her and calm her while she screamed, "LET GO OF ME!"  "I DO IT MYSELF!"  "I WANT TO GO ON THE DUCKY SLIDE!"  and a million other variations.  It was embarrassing...and frustrating...and exhausting.  So that night, and again the next day, Paul and I talked to Alex about the way swim lessons work (i.e. no crying or you go home, do what the teacher says and THEN you get to go on the slide).  It worked.  She never cried again.  She loved swim lessons after that and had no problem participating or cooperating.  She was so excited to go every night, and on the way there she'd remind me, "No crying.  Do what the teacher says."  Oh, Alex.  She's definitely got a mind and will of her own.  I don't think we're going to survive her teenage years...  

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

My First

Strawberry Freezer Jam
I'm so excited!  I can't wait to try it tomorrow.  Hopefully I pulled it off and it's not just strawberry syrup - we'll see.

I was having a little too much fun with the freezer jam tonight, can you tell?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Note to self:

Running...not fast and not far, but running

No stroller, no kids

A good friend

A great night...and one happy girl

(who also happens to be the wife of one hard-working intern and the mother of two cute but crazy kids)

In Summary:
Running + friend - kids = happier (and hopefully skinnier) me

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The weirdest thing my kids do

My kids make up words.  Well, Noah makes up words - and Alex does whatever Noah does.  

For a long time Noah's word was "congo."  I know Congo is a word but he didn't know that and he obviously didn't use it properly.  He used it in place of other words.  To him, it meant anything and everything.  You could just throw it in anywhere.  

Now the word is "pincko."  
Here are some recent examples of how it is used by my kids:
referring to me, Paul, or each other, "Hey Pincko"
the response you get when you ask a question "Pincko"
Alex, when she says her prayers "in the name of pincko" (this one always gets them into trouble)

Pincko is a noun, verb, adjective, you name it.  
And it is driving us crazy!!!

Summer Meal

One of our favorite summer meals is Bagels with Lox and Cream Cheese.  It's a huge hit with the kids, especially Noah (Alex will eat anything).

This kid loves fish!  Whenever we eat this he takes a bite and says, "Wow this is fresh fish!"  Ummm, not exactly, but whatever : )

I love this meal for several reasons:
no cooking
super fast
kids love it
it's yummy

It will forever remind me of the trip Paul and I took to New York just after med school graduation.  We found this great pastry shop, 1 block from the apartment we were staying in.  It was open 24/7 and every night when we'd come back late we'd stop and I'd order the Bagel with Lox and Cream Cheese.  It was the best.

It also reminds me of "The Babysitters Club" books.  One of the characters, I think her name was Stacey, spent part of her time living in New York with her dad and she would eat this.  I remember this because it was the first time I'd ever heard of it but it sounded so good, I always wanted to try it.  How's that for a flashback?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Who knew?

I painted my walls yesterday.  For the second time.  Well, it was the second time for 2 of the walls anyways.  So here's the 25 step process I've become an expert on (through A LOT of trial and error):

1 - Remove wallpaper.  Could be easy, could be hard.  In our bedroom it took, soap and water and a wallpaper scraper and a lot of time and patience.  In the rest of the house all it took was our hands.

2 - Remove glue and paste from walls.  This is the worst part of the job.  It involves washing down one small area at a time with hot soapy water, scraping the glue off with a wallpaper scraper, repeating the process again, then rinsing with clean water.  Tedious and exhausting.

3 - Spackle and sand any holes or problem areas

4 - "Seal" the walls.  Because the wallpaper glue and paste does not come off completely (no matter how much you scrape) you have to use a special sealer on the walls.  You paint it on and it dries clear.  It seals the glue in so that it can't react with the paint and cause it to chip, peel, and flake.  

4 - Prime the walls with paint primer

5 - Paint walls the color of your choice.  You will need 2 coats

Did I stay 25 step process?  I meant 5.  It just feels like 25.  So, like I said, this was the 2 time I painted 2 of my walls.  I started out with a beautiful color called "feather gray."  The problem was it didn't really look gray in my living room.  Depending on the time of day it looked either blue or lavendar.  Not good.  So the second time around I took Paul's advice and painted the walls "crested butte."  It's a natural color, a member of the gray family, but much more brown.  This color didn't turn out like I expected either though.  It's much darker than I thought it would be, more brown, and even a little green sometimes.  I have to admit it ties in much better than the blue/lavendar did.  But it's still not quite what I was expecting.  I don't hate it but I don't love it either.  And after all the blood, sweat, and tears (literally) that I've put into my walls I wanted to love it.  But paint isn't so cheap, at least not to us, not right now.  So it is what it is.  I'm hoping it will grow on me.

Who knew removing wallpaper would be such a nightmare?  Definitely not me.
Who knew choosing a paint color was so difficult?  Not me  

Who thought owning a home was a good idea?  Me
Who wishes right now they were renting?  ME!!!!!!!!!!

On the brightside, today I took my first shower in 2 months.  It's fixed!  The downstairs shower anyways.  We also learned that to get a shower working upstairs we're looking at about a $2,000 renovation.  Oops, that was a downside.  But the truth is we really haven't experienced many upsides of home ownership yet.  

I think we bought "The Money Pit"