Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's All About Asking Nicely

Jeff came home for lunch today, and while he was here, Weston was adamantly demanding something from him. Jeff was preoccupied and wasn't able to help him out right at the moment. (And no help from Mommy would suffice at the time). So I told Weston that when Daddy finished what he was doing, if he would ask nicely, Daddy would probably do what he wanted. When Jeff was able to shift his focus to Weston, Weston ran over to him, saying, "Nicely, nicely, nicely..." It was the cutest thing ever, and of course, Daddy couldn't deny the request! You can't ask much more nicely than that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

When Was The Last Time You Rode On A Yellow Dog?

For me, it was today. Before that, who knows--and who even wants to remember that?! I accompanied Ruth's class on a field trip to the Elgin Christmas Tree/Pumpkin Farm. We got to go on a hayride, listen to a story and lecture about how pumpkins grow, have a picnic lunch, decorate mini pumpkins, pet and look at a wide variety of farm animals, go through a corn maze and a hay bale maze, race rubber duckies and play on the farm's playground. It was a really fun day! The weather was perfect and the kids were well-behaved, for the most part. I don't think there is a Kindergartner at Jollyville who won't sleep well tonight--or a chaperon, for that matter!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Egg Nog Season

It's the most wonderful time of the year. The time of year when all the grocery stores start to put out Egg Nog. I have no idea why this heavenly drink is only offered to us once a year. Perhaps it has something to do with absence making the heart grow fonder. I'll drink pretty much any egg nog, pretty much anytime, but this weekend while shopping at Central Market, we picked up some of the Promised Land "holiday" variety. Ummm. I also came across this recipe, which I intend to try very soon--if the egg nog can last that long!

Promised Land Eggnog French Toast with Maple Syrup
Courtesy of: Central Market
6 servings

4 cups Promised Land Eggnog
4 eggs
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated allspice
12 (1-inch thick) slice Central Market Challah Bread
1/4 cup unsalted butter
confectioner's sugar
maple syrup

Whisk the eggnog, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl. Place the bread slices in a single layer on a 10 x 15-inch baking pan. Pour the eggnog mixture over the bread slices. Chill, covered, for 2 to 3 hours. Remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before cooking. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until melted and foamy. Place as many bread slices as will fit in a single layer in the skillet. Cook until both sides are brown, turning once. Repeat with the remaining butter and bread slices. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with maple syrup.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Barefoot and Pregnant

Ah, bare feet. Images of sunny days on the beach and childhood days running through the grass--until you become pregnant. Then, bare feet take on a whole other connotation. And heaven-forbid it should be your third child resting cozily there in your womb. Burgeoning bellies elicit the most unsolicited, and sometimes unnecessary, commentary imaginable. I mean, what pregnant woman hasn't had to sit through at least a handful of horror stories about deliveries-gone-wrong and babies born in less than perfect health. For me, this time around, it's the shock of it being the third: "Oh my goodness! Three kids?! Wow! You're definitely going to have a house-full." "Was this planned?!" "Well, I guess you don't mind being poor." And sometimes, it's not the words people say, but the look on their faces or the tone in their voices, even when they are trying to sound like they are happy for you. It seems that 2 is the "right" number of kids to have. If you go beyond that, people become very uncomfortable. And this is somewhat comical to Jeff and I, because it was infinitely harder for us to think about having two kids than it was to think about having three. Going from one to two seemed like stepping from the earth to the moon. Going from two to three seemed like walking across the street. Having three kids is not overwhelming or intimidating to us, even though it definitley seems to be to some people. We feel like we are doing a good job with the two we have, and we see no reason to believe that adding one more will change the way we parent. We are going into this new phase of life knowing more or less what we're getting into, and believe it or not, we are very exicited! So, bring on the happy images of barefootedness. Afterall, the difference between three and two is just one.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fun Day

Here are some of the highlights of the day:

  • Around noon, my parents and grandparents came over for a visit.
  • On the way to and from her Portuguese class, Ruth finished her ninth (and final) book for this new poster--without anyone even looking over her shoulder. Many of the books she read for this poster were second and third grade level books.
  • As a reward for completing the poster, and after giving her book report to a room full of eager relatives, Ruth chose a trip to Amy's for ice cream (Mexican vanilla with candy corns crushed in, anyone?) and some play time with the cows.
  • Granny and I looked through Weston's scrapbook and remembered him as a little baby. (Is he really almost two-years-old)?!
  • Weston got to add four stars to his calendar! (That's four successful trips to the potty, for those of you not familiar with our star system)!
  • We had chili and cornbread for dinner. (Yay, Fall)!
  • We had a little early birthday celebration for Jeff, complete with chocolate cake.
  • The kids left with my parents and grandparents, and Jeff and I got to have an impromptu date night. We made our first trip over to The Domain (a new fancy-smancy shopping area here in Austin), perused the bookstore and enjoyed each other's company along with some Chai Lattes.
All-in-all a really wonderful day!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Blue Hanger Circus

Every once in a great while I take it into my head to pop into the Goodwill Blue Hanger store near our house. Usually when I have some time on my hands--and some hand sanitizer in my purse. This is the "outlet" Goodwill, for those of you not in the know. It's always a bit of an adventure, but today was like nothing I had ever seen. They were refilling the bins and it was complete chaos. People were packed in like sardines behind the barrier, waiting for the signal to go and get the goods. People we pushing and trying to grab things away from each other. And I thought one lady was going to take some swings, when she wandered across the aisle and returned to find her shopping cart missing. I just stood there--a safe distance away--gaping and gawking and wondering what the heck I was seeing. It was like Christmas shopping in the mall. [Shudder!] Jeff thought I was making all this up, but I promise you I could not have come up with this in a million years. In my wildest imaginations, I couldn't come up with human behavior as wacky as fighting over the Goodwill rejects.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So Much More To Smile About

  • My meeting with the spa went very well today and I got my biggest order, to date. Very exciting stuff!
  • I'm told the website could be up by the end of the week.
  • We met with Ruth's teacher yesterday afternoon, and she couldn't say enough nice things about Ruth. She was encouraging Ruth to pursue more challenges on her own and was also promising us that she would do everything she could to ensure that Ruth continues to be challenged at school. She was also suggesting some special projects for Ruth to do at school like some extra research with a couple of other kids for their focus on Korea next month and entering something in the science fair in January.
  • I had a wonderful opportunity to visit with a good friend of mine yesterday.
  • We haven't had to run the air conditioner all week because the weather has been so lovely.
  • Mangia pizza for dinner.
  • Going to bed earlier tonight than last night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Body Dulce Facelift

My Body Dulce products are wonderful for the body. They give just the right amount of exfoliation and moisturizing. And my confidence and creativity have also soared since creating the product. I have been so encouraged by the great response I've had to the product and the business. But today, Body Dulce did something for my face. It put a big ol' smile there all day.

First, I got a call from the salon in Temple that can say they were the first to carry the product. The lady just wanted to inform me that she had sold 5 out of the 6 jars I put in her shop just two weeks ago and that she'd like to have 10 more! And further, she wanted to know, "What would you like for me to do with all this money?" She also had a wonderful suggestion for me, which I immediately took to heart and have already applied (in rough-draft form). I will be perfecting it in the next couple of weeks, as I prepare for a "trade show" in Temple.

Then, this afternoon, I took the kids in for a haircut, and in the course of conversation, I found out that the lady cutting the kids' hair was the owner of the shop. I took the opportunity to talk to her about my scrubs, and she agreed to let me bring in some samples and business cards to set out. I am hopeful that that will generate some more business.

Tomorrow, I will meet with the owner of a spa here in Austin to see about getting my scrubs in her shop as well.

I also got my business cards and gift tags ordered this week, and the website is well on it's way to becoming official. I'm so excited about all these opportunities, and I'm amazed at how quickly this dream is turning into reality.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Blustery Day In The Hundred Acre Wood

We seem to have bypassed Fall altogether here in central Texas, and winter arrived in a wet and blustery rush in the middle of the night. I was thankful that I recently bought a new hooded sweater that accomodates my current roundish figure (though I was not overly enthusiastic about the other tent-like cool-weather maternity clothes begging to be worn out into the chill), and that I was able to convince Ruth that the sundress probably wasn't the best choice for school today. I was also thankful for an excuse to eat yummy vegetable soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. I think the rest of the week is supposed to be absulutely gorgeous, and despite my poking fun at the cool temps today, I actually found it quite lovely. Add a few degrees and take away most of the wind, and it would have been perfect.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Clothes To Make A Man

We added a very important element to Weston's wardrobe today. It's big-boy underwear! He's getting pretty good at going to the potty and telling us when he needs to go, so we thought we'd step it up another notch. He's definitely not ready for the underwear full-time, but we're going to use them occasionally just to get used to the idea. Weston was absolutely thrilled when I presented him with 2 packages of big-boy underwear this afternoon. He was further thrilled to get to put on a pair and play on the deck for a while in his all-togethers. (And Ruth thought the whole process was hilarious). I wanted to put a picture here of Weston modeling the new undies--because his little tushie is just so cute--but Daddy isn't a big fan of pics like that, so we went with a more generic picture. But, trust me, that little bum is too, too cute in those cutie little undies. We're proud of our little man and hope to see him fully embrace the big-boyness that comes along with the addition to his wardrobe.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Watch Your Mailbox

Our Thanksgiving invitations went out today! We're so excited! True to form, it is a themed party and not all that traditional. Stay tuned for more info in the weeks to come.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Getting Out A Little More

As I've been thinking about Weston's upcoming birthday, I have realized, with a certain sadness, that Weston just doesn't have many friends. In fact, he has exactly one. That doesn't really make for much of a birthday party. (Ruth has always invited at least 20 friends to all her birthday parties). I started to feel like a pretty crummy mom for not getting the kid out more. So, today I determined that we would make a change. I loaded Weston up this morning, and I was on a mission. First, I stopped at the YMCA and signed him up for swim lessons for November. Then, we made our way to the library for the toddler storytime. About five minutes into that, I remembered why it is that Weston doesn't get out more, and I determined to make another change (in location, that is). He's a sleepy, sleepy little man, and he just doesn't have the fortitude for these friend-making functions. By the time we left the library, Weston was not just in tears but was absolutely in meltdown mode. And I had lost all hope that our swim lessons will be successful next month. Weston is actually a very social little boy, but he would definitley rather have a nap than a birthday party full of friends. I guess we'll just plan to invite the Snuggly and the Blanket to the party this year, and maybe we'll get out more next year.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pizza Casserole

After finding that fabulous recipe last night, I just left the cookbook sitting on the table. At breakfast, Ruth spotted it and was inspired. First, she wanted to know if she could put together her own cookbook. Her first idea was reminiscent of the dictionary idea. She wanted to have a book like mine where she could write down and illustrate a list of foods. Then, she decided it would be better if she actually wrote out some of her favorite recipes. As she began to throw out some ideas, she came up with pizza casserole. In Jeff's family cookbook, such a recipe actually exists. And so with enthusiasm, Jeff began to tell her about it. She stopped him mid-sentence. "No, no, no, Dad. I was thinking of making a regular casserole and cutting up real pizza into it." Hmmm. Sounds delicious. What is a "regular casserole" anyway?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Moist and Minty Marvel

Desperate for dessert tonight, I reached for the family cookbook and began to peruse the largely disproportionate dessert section. What I found was a little treasure that, to my knowledge, has never actually been made by anyone in my family. But I don't know why, because it's excellent. It's a fabulous combination of mint and chocolate (which is right up there with the chocolate/peanut butter combo, if you ask me), and it's super-easy to make. So, without further ado, here's my Granny's recipe for Moist and Minty Brownies. Please enjoy.

1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1 stick butter
2 T. water
10 oz. pkg. semi-sweet mint flavored chocolate morsels
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs

Combine flour, soda and salt--set aside. In a small saucepan combine sugar, butter and water--bring just to a boil, remove from heat. Add 1 cup of mint-chocolate morsels and vanilla, stirring until melted and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in flour mixture and remaining morsels. Spread into a greased 9 in. square pan. Bake 25-35 minutes at 350--just until center is set. Cool completely, cut into squares.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gone Again

  • New tires on van. Check.
  • New stereo in van. Check.
  • Various and asundry van maintenence. Check.
  • Full tank of gas. Check.
  • Fully-charged ipods. Check.
  • Bag of snacks. Check.
  • DVDs. Check.
  • Bags mostly packed. Check.
Sounds like a road trip in the making, huh? It's true. We're gone again. This time we're off to Albuquerque for the hot air balloon festival. We're leaving in the middle of the day tomorrow, and as you might have guessed, we're driving. It's a 12-hour trek. Hopefully, we will also remember to pack our good attitudes! We have been looking forward to this for about nine months, and we are so excited. We'll be back on Sunday, but I may not get a new post up until Monday. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Ah, Irony

Ruth woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and was grumbly, grumpy and generally grouchy all morning. She was disrespectful and uncooperative, and consequently we were a bit late to school. (Incidentally, after we dropped Ruth off, Weston caught the grouchy bug and I immediately put him back to bed when we got home). By 8:00 am I had had it. And it was right about then that the phone rang. "This is Mrs. Harris in the Jollyville principal's office." I was blown away. I knew Ruth's day hadn't started off so great, but I never imagined she would act up at school--especially enough to land in the principal's office. "We just wanted to let you know that Ruth has been awarded the Jaguar Pride Award for showing respect, responsibility, compassion and empathy." What?! Wait a second. That's not the kid I sent school today. The secretary put Ruth on the phone, and I was so very thankful for the opportunity to praise her and congratulate her on a job well-done after the rocky morning we had. She got a little certificate and gets to have her picture in one of the main hallways of the school and be recognized in the morning announcements. I'm really proud of her, and I'm so glad that we had that ray of sunshine in an otherwise dismal morning.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Dreaded Phone Call

On Sunday afternoon, while Jeff and I were merrily making our way to visit some friends in New York, we got one of those phone calls you never, ever want to get: Your son stopped breathing and is now in an ambulance headed to the hospital. Granted, my dad assured me that Weston was breathing again, but still. Did I mention I was in NEW YORK?! It turned out to be the simplest thing. He had an ear infection. The problem was a febrile seizure, which I had heard of somewhere in the back of my mind, but honestly never would have thought would have happened to my usually very healthy kid. It wasn't that the fever got so high, it's that it shot up so quickly. When we told our ex-paramedic friend what was going on, he asked, "Did he have a high fever?" Then, "I bet it was a febrile seizure. That happens all the time with kids that age." When my mom arrived at the hospital with Weston, they immediately diagnosed the febrile seizure and then proclaimed how common it was in kids this age. But it certainly wasn't common for either my mom or me (or anyone else involved). Other moms (and dads and grandparents) should be aware of this. Click on the link up there and find out some of the facts. Something else my mom learned and passed along to me, was that the hospital recommended that she alternate doses of Tylenol with doses of Motrin to control the fever. Neither of us had ever heard this, but it seemed to help--plus it keeps your kid from getting too much of a good thing.

Weston is just fine now. In fact, he was doing fine on Sunday night. His fever hoovered in the lowish range until around mid-morning today, when I guess the antibiotic finally kicked in. Now he is fever-free and back to his happy little self.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

One for the road

The kids are looking forward to a weekend of spoilage by the grandparents, and Jeff and I are looking forward to a weekend of foliage. We are off to Vermont for the weekend. We're considering it our anniversary get-away. I know, our anniversary was in August. And, yes, we were supposed to go to Fredricksburg, TX. But Vermon,t during peak Fall foliage, is pretty much the same, right?! Well, this trip just sort of came up. It's a combo business trip for Jeff and vacation for us. The whole point of the place we picked in Fredricksburg, if you'll remember, was the mention of "willow" in the name to fulfill our traditional ninth anniversary gift of willow. Well, it turns out that the place we're staying in Vermont is also willow-named. We're so excited! We'll share pictures when we get back on Monday.

It Ain't Braggin' If It's True

Well, this is going to be a brag post, so if you aren't into that, better go get a snack or something and check back with me later.

First, my brilliant daughter. Ruth finished another reading poster this week (eight books on this one--for a total of 26 books since July)! We celebrated tonight with a trip to Burger King--the one with the huge playscape. I wouldn't have picked that for a celebration for myself, but Ruth couldn't have been more thrilled. We've upped the ante a bit for the "Nine" poster. For that one she will not only have to read the books, she will also give a book report on each one to whichever parent didn't hear the story. She needed a new challenge, and she thinks it's a pretty neat idea. We're so proud of her!

And now on to my advanced son. While we were at Burger King tonight, Weston came to me--from the playscape, mind you--to tell me he needed to go potty. I rushed him to the bathroom and found that his diaper was already quite wet. I thought that must have been what all the "potty talk" was about, but was still pleased that he was making the connection between a wet diaper and going potty. Still, I put him on the potty so that he would further make the connection between telling me he needed to go and actually going. And to my complete delight, he went! (This was a slightly messy undertaking since Mommy is still getting the hang of the boy parts, especially when there isn't a little shield there to keep everything going the direction it should). Even more exciting was the fact that this was his second time to go potty today! (The first time was on the little potty we have at home. And while we're talking about that, let me just say, I never really thought much about what kind of potty we used when I was potty training a little girl. But now, I'm definitely thinking about it, and I'm currently in the market for a new one. Again, it has to do with those boy parts that I'm not sure what to do with). We are definitely on the right track! Woo-Hoo! So proud of our little man! He's just getting so big!

--One funny thing was that when he went at Burger King, we tried to reward him with dessert there, thinking by the time we got home he might have forgotten what he was getting rewarded for. We underestimated the child. He liked the pie fine, but he wasn't going to bed without his special potty treat--a couple of Skittles. As I was putting him in bed, he puffed out his bottom lip about as far as it could go and said over and over, "Treat." I foolishly tried to reason with him: "the pie was your reward." Finally, as real tears were forming in his little eyes, I gave in and got him his Skittles. His whole face lit up with a smile and then he immediately went to sleep.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hard Luck Haircut

I have had the worst luck with haircuts the last several months. I've been going to the same place for a few years and have been completely pleased with the lady who cuts my hair. Unfortunately, she sort of flaked out over the summer. And so I've been putting off haircuts, and finally searching for a new salon. I must say, it's not going well. I feel like I've been going around with shaggy dog hair since about June. And when I tell people I want it short, they don't seem to believe me. I went in to a place today, with pictures in hand, firmly saying over and over that I wanted it much shorter. The only thing she kept saying back was "I think it should be longer here, here and here." Consequently, she didn't cut it as short as I wanted it. Which means sometime next week, it will probably be driving me crazy. Ugh! If anyone out there has a fabulous stylist (who won't cost me an arm and a leg), who knows how to listen and/or can look at a picture and at least get a general idea, please, please send me their name. I'm desperate here!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Take Me To Your Leader

Apparently over the weekend, some of the woodland creatures who hang out around our house held an election, and the carved bear on the right hand side of our front door (as you face the house) won. The squirrels are paying homage to him by laying their biggest, most impressive acorns at his feet. I suppose he must be living up to his campaign promises. I think the whole scene is hilarious, and Weston thinks he's hit some kind of toddler boy jackpot.

Monday, October 01, 2007

More Pregnancy Insanity

Tonight, Jeff and I were having a conversation--about nothing unpleasant, mind you--and I spontaneously burst into a fit of crocodile tears. No rhyme. No reason. No explanation. Literally seconds before that I was laughing heartily. Nothing whacked-out about that.