Christmas Pics

Putting away Christmas decorations is always a bit depressing. The house seems so drab...

Also depressing? My baby might be getting sick. I cant tell yet. He's sleeping a LOT. He's either getting sick or growing. Ugh on either.

And another depressing thing? Being snowed in.

I am in a bad mood. But this might cheer me up, LOTS of pictures!

Lets start with how spoiled Z is....


He also got lots of books, some Christmas classics on DVD that he will love next year, lots of clothes, a little popper dump truck, a stuffed giraffe and a stuffed zebra, some squishy blocks, some bath-time letters, and little santa in his stocking. Plus a gift card to babies-r-us that I have a feeling will turn into a stacking ring and a few balls.

But even better than gifts was...
Wearing out Great Grand-Nonnie's arms!

Showing off all his skillz at Grandma Mel's house!

Playing video games just like his big-boy uncles!

Laughing at his crazy cousin Tyler!

Eating his very first Christmas Eve dinner at Kyoto's. Mommy's been doing it since she was almost his age! And even though he only got fried rice this time he will be asking for his steak rare just like the rest of the family soon!

Finally getting a liking for Grandpa Keith!

Meeting daddies "first girlfriend"! He was 3.

Listening to Great Grandpa Bruce play some Cash!

Sitting in a high chair that daddy once used!

We are back...

...and as soon as I find my camera in all the bags I need to unpack I will jump on and put up some pictures of Christmas. Zeke even *helped* unwrap a few presents.

The drive back was cake. It had rained and cleared the roads for us. Charlie, my new GPS, almost got us lost. Lol. I know the way from McCall to Spokane like cake, yet as soon as I get a GPS I almost miss a turn. Good thing Josh pays attention. And Zeke, as usual, was very happy to be home. He was trying out his new skill to get into all sorts of things that were out of reach before.

Oh yeah, you don't know! On Christmas Eve Zeke pulled himself up to standing for the first time! 6 1/2 months. My son is such a genius ;). It makes me wonder what new thing he will do next Christmas Eve. It was that day last year that I first felt him kick. And much like the kicking of last year, this new standing thing is now a regular part of our day. He does it all the time, and it makes him so proud. He just laughed and laughed when he got up on Grandma Melanie's couch.

What else? I dont know. Better start tackling all my laundry and bags though...and take down all my decorations :(

PS Will it ever stop snowing do you think? I'd like to leave the house someday!

We made it

So we made it to McCall and even then to Boise. Praise the Lord right? It actually wasn't as hard as we thought and worried that it would be. The roads were mostly a broken snow floor, every once in a while some packed snow. We did swerve off the road once, but you could tell that it was almost Christmas. By the time Josh got out of the car to start pushing we had about 5 cars behind us that stopped to help. I love Christmas. The hardest part, really, was getting out of our driveway. As of Saturday our road had not been plowed. Hopefully it is by NEXT weekend, when we come back, but I'm not making any bets.

We our having a lovely time visiting our families, though, and I wanted to take a short break to update my verse of the week, seeing as how Sunday is almost over. Its a favorite of mine. Isaiah 30:15. "For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, 'In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.'"

Just think of it. I feel my soul relaxing in joy even as I type it. Because it is so true and so easy. In repentance and rest we WILL be saved. In quietness and in trust is our strength. This is a lesson that I am so grateful to have learned, even if it took a very difficult time for me to learn it. I used to struggle constantly. I struggled to be a "Good Christian", to do everything right. I struggled against the way things would turn out, or the way things were in my life. Even things I had no control over, I would be constantly struggling against. I was filled with frusterations. I dont know how many times in my early christian years I found myself literally yelling at the top of my lungs to God and at God. "Why?" I would yell in my tears. Why this and why that and why cant it be this? And I was always trying to change it. To change everything.

It took my miscarriage, a situation I could in no way control and could in no way handle, to teach me to rest. "Cease striving, and know that I am God." is another verse I love and that I would meditate on during those difficult months, when I was praying for my baby to be saved, when it was enevitable that I was losing the pregnancy and I was just waiting for it to happen, and in the months afterwards when Josh and I were both healing from the loss. In quietness and in trust is where I found my strength. Even though my prayers were not answered in that situation, it was in repentance, in turning to God, and in resting in His arms, that I was saved. It's how my soul was saved when I was 16 and I turned to Him and its, I literally believe, how my life was saved when I fould myself in the darkest of places after I lost my first baby.

Wow, what a can of worms to open right? I never really meant to, but there it is.

Oh the weather outside if frightful...

But see, the problem is I do have a place to go. So yeah...maybe don't let it snow anymore? My husband tells me we are still leaving tomorrow morning, just not in our pre-planned rout, and perhaps 3 or 4 hours early. His plan is to leave right in the eye of the storm. (The eye of the storm is the calm part right in the middle correct? I think that is true. Although my only reference is Jacob Have I Loved...a great book but one I read over 10 years ago.) Anyways, the rumor is that THIS storm is over (its moved East), and the NEW storm wont start until Sunday and will last for another week. The fact that we are also moving East I have chosen not to point out. Nor the point that we also have to come BACK at some point. I am being the obedient wife. And praying.

But can you BELIEVE this snow? For those of you not in Spokane, just choose not to believe it, lol. It put down 25 inches yesterday, I know, because I measured. And it was in a good spot too. Not under any trees where extra snow can fall off, or near any shoveling. I know how to measure snow.
Just look at our deck!! After a while we were starting to get concerned about its structural integrity. I mean, honestly, I worry about that deck's structural integrity when its windy. But we had been so focused on the driveway all day that I didn't get to it until after dark. It was even higher than in this picture! After all that shoveling I had to treat myself!Lol, Zeke wanted some cocoa too. I have him a zwieback toast instead, and he thought that was just as good.
But then this morning he kept getting into the shovel over and over again. He wanted to shovel some snow too! Maybe he thought I'd give him some hot-cocoa this time?
Anyways, its certainly crazy out there. I've been stuck at home, as our street has not seen a plow yet. In the last 3 days I've missed a Le Leche League meeting, a Mindful Mothering meeting, a MOPS meeting, AND a 6 month appointment. Oh and also Josh's Christmas party tonight was cancelled. What can I say? I'm a busy woman. And staying at home, let me tell you, is driving me nuts!!

I thought it would be a little better because Josh also cant leave (a.k.a. cant go to work). But alas he CAN work from home. And he's doing just that. Seriously? Sometimes I HATE my husbands work ethic. It's ridiculous. I bet everybody else is slacking off. But he wont even take extra breaks. He's all like..."well usually around 3 I take a 10 or 15 minute break to play fooz so I will be up then and say hi." So I'm not even really seeing him extra! I'm all alone all day, by myself, stranded, and he is even home! Hasn't he heard of a snow day? Lol.

I'm going nutters.

What's For Dinner Wednesday...and a Christmas Letter!

So I was thinking today, as I mailed out my last 7 Christmas cards...making it 50, people! 50 cards!...Anyways I was thinking that all my lovely blog readers weren't getting one. I mean, some of you will, but not all of you. So I thought, I should post my letter, because you already got the Christmas picture yesterday but the letter you have not seen. So here it is. Even before the snail mail recipients.

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas! 2008 has been a tremendously eventful year here in the Clark home. So tremendously eventful, in fact, that we are partaking for the first time ever in a great Christmas tradition- the Christmas brag letter!

I suppose the biggest thing to happen this year was our son, Ezekiel, was finally evicted from the womb on June 11th. With a due date of May 26th he has continued a fine old family tradition of devoted late-ness and Josh and I have started an equally fine (though new) tradition of out-stubborning our children.

In the 6 months since that hazily remembered day Zeke has transformed from a tiny (ok he was 9 and a half pounds, so maybe not exactly tiny) infant to a crawling, babbling, 20 pound, 6 month old. His stubbornness has grown more powerful with each passing month but I am confident that Josh and I (as veritable stubborn Jedi’s) will prevail and guide our young Padawan correctly. For as Josh likes to say, stubbornness leads to screaming, screaming leads to tempers, and tempers lead to the dark side.

Another great June event was Josh’s graduation from college, June 14th in fact. Because, you know, that’s the way we Clarks like to do things, all at once in a chaotic bundle. He received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a minor in both physics and math with flying colors, and as a prize for all his hard work he got to fulfill his dream of working the next 40 or so years.

I have mostly been keeping busy this year making, and subsequently raising Ezekiel. It is a full time job. And like any job these days it leaves me with the responsibility to spend a frightfully large block of time each day wastefully surfing the web. Since the one painful moment of this year, the ending of the election and all the constant online news, statistics, interviews, debates, spoofs, and endless, joyfully endless opinions this has been a lot harder to do. I’ve coped by devoting this time to blogging obsessively at TheCocoCafe.blogspot.com. Josh is having a harder time weaning himself off of the election coverage. He plays as much World of Warcraft as possible but it is just not the same.

I pray this letter has found you and your family well and that your year was as tremendously tremendous as ours…or…you know…at least ok.

All the Love we have left,

Josh, Courtney, and Ezekiel Clark


AAAAnnnndddd, now a segment of......WFDW!
Rice Pilaf and Honey Chicken!

So first you want to put some brown rice and some broth, (at a 1/2 ratio...as in 1 cup of rice equals 2 cups broth) along with a few tablespoons of butter, some garlic, and some pepper in a pot to boil. If you dont keep chicken broth in your house, by the way, you should. It makes everything better. But I suppose you could use water.

While it heats up and maybe even starts to boil you can chop up and add some carrot, some parsley, and some onion. (I shake my parsley in because its dried. Fresh is better but who really keeps fresh herbs all the time?) Once its boiling and everything is added turn your burner down to low, cover your pot, and ignore it completely for 4o minutes. You now have other things to do!

Like taking a couple of chicken breasts out of the freezer or fridge, placing them in a casserole dish, and drenching them in butter and honey. For my 2 breasts I think I probably used 2 Tbls of butter and 2 Tbls of honey and it was plenty. Bake it for...oh it depends if it was frozen or not, but it took mine say 40 min for frozen? Thawed more like 20 I'd guess. Just look at it every once in a while. When it looks like cooked chicken and isn't bleeding anymore its done. Its not hard, trust me.
Yum! Josh loves this chicken, because he loves honey. And we had that canned cranberry jelly with it, you know, the Thanksgiving kind. Because I love that stuff. But that's optional, lol. You could have green beans or something for all I care. I just cant get enough of that cranberry jelly. I know its probably 40 percent high fructose corn syrup but I just dont care. I'm even eating some right now as I type!

Anyways, have an amazing Wednesday. I know I will, admiring my lovely toes (I got a pedicure last night). Especially since Zeke slept all night. And really ALL NIGHT this time. Ah lovely pain medication, my teething son can have you everyday for all I care. Im seriously considering writing a sonnet to Tylenol.

I dreamt I got a full nights sleep...

...and woke up to a dream come true! Thank you, thank you to Jen (and Kim in all fairness also pointed it out, albeit in person) for letting me in on the now-obvious information that my son is teething! Moving him into our room didn't help Sunday night. But Monday night some Tylenol did! He was out like a rock till 1 am for a feeding and a re-dose and then straight back out till 4, repeat. Then till 6 when he always wakes up and I switch the boys in my bed. Not amazing but so much better! So Zeke is sleeping back in his room and Mommy is buying some Motrin (which works better for teeth/lasts longer).

I'd be so lost without you guys!

And to reiterate something that has come up a few times since Sunday and I guess I haven't fully explained: It's not that I'm 100 percent against crying it out. I think it has its place. But these are my thoughts. The point of any sleep training method is to teach your baby to sleep. This isn't knowledge we are born with, and the transition from wakefulness to sleep must be learned. I fear that when you teach your baby how to sleep by leaving him to cry (or scream) himself out before he's ever learned how to sleep, you are teaching him that sleep is a scary state to go into and setting yourself up in the long run for a bad sleeper, nightmares, ect. Since the Ferberization of our country kids' night terrors, bed wetting, and even sleep problems in adults have skyrocketed. I worry its related. And my biggerproblem is that you're not really teaching your child how to sleep so much as that you are teaching him "We are not listening to you, this isn't working, you might as well give up." Crying is Zeke's only form of communication. I want him to know I am responsive to it.

Now when Ezekiel becomes older and knows about and recognizes sleeping, and has other ways of communicating with me so I know if it's something like an ear ache, and even more importantly can understand me when I say "no it's time for bed and I will be right outside your door in my room, but you need to sleep now." Well then I'll probably let him yell if I have to. Because I know that he is just being ornery and trying to get up in the middle of the night. And my son is ornery, believe me, I will let him yell many times and for many things in his life, I am sure. I already do for his tantrums. I am a huge fan of ignoring/not responding to bad behavior. But for right now he is only starting to be ready for it, and his night crying wasn't tantrum crying, but his baby cry, so I chose to respond like I did.

For the record I'm not a huge fan of bed-sharing either. I also think this has it's place with newborns and sick children and occasional bad nights, or even very high need kids. But I don't think its the best full-time situation for most children. Again, its just not teaching your child to get himself to sleep.

This has always been my problem. I have no extremist cult following to go along with. But I think, in reality most people don't. We all try a little of everything until we find a blend that is truly ours. I do the two steps forward, one step back method. Zeke was in my bed until we were both recovered from birth, a few weeks. Then he was in his Moses basket next to my bed for part of the night, them most of the night, then all. When he went down to 2 or 3 wakings/feedings I moved him into his own room, mostly even then because he was outgrowing his basket. In hindsight I think it was a bit early. But the point is this has all been a 2 steps forward, one step back deal. If he wasn't doing well that night or that week we went back to the old way for a while. And I always do the smallest amount of comforting necessary but at the same time as much as is necessary, ie if just whispering "your ok, Zekers, go back to sleep" puts him back out, that's all I do, next I try rubbing his back, then and only THEN will I pick him up. This sleep training method, if you want to call it that, means less sleep for me, probably. For now. But its teaching him gently to be independent, and I think will pay off in the end when I hopefully have a great sleeping toddler.

At the least it works for us. Which is what matters. It might also work with the next one, it might not. It might work but take WAAAY longer to get to each new step. Who knows. But I will try everything again, with a better feel for what I like due to experience, until I find the blend that works for me at THAT time. That much I know.

See you tomorrow for Whats for Dinner Wednesday! I'm making rice pilaf and honey chicken. And I'm even going to do an extra this week so I have one to post while I'm in Boise!

And totally unrelated. Look how cute our Christmas picture is! Thanks to Kait! She is a photo taking wizard! Im mailing out Christmas cards today so watch out for them!

Do you think the baby jesus slept through the night?

Josh says he didn't. But I like to imagine that he did. Sleeping through the night is a popular subject around here lately. Because guess who doesn't anymore? Zeke has developed major separation anxiety, or something like it. He wont abide being left alone. If he wakes up and he's alone he screams holy terror. So the last week or so, around midnight or 1 or if we've been really patient 3 am either Josh or I have moved to Zeke's floor and slept there. Its ridiculous. We don't even touch him, but as long as we are in there he falls fast asleep. If we aren't he wakes up over and over, getting more upset each time. This weekend we decided that this situation is NOT working. And since we still both firmly don't believe in letting our son scream in terror for a few hours every night for a week we did the only thing we could think to do, we moved his crib into our room. I feel defeated but also glad that I am the kind of parent that is responding to my child's needs and not necessarily what he is "supposed" to be doing. Zeke does things in his own time. And I know that raising kids is 2 steps forward, 1 step back. This is one step back.

Also on a step back? He doesn't eat anymore. Don't get me wrong, he nurses. He would nurse all day if I let him, just a drink here and a drink there and playing all the while. But solids? Meh, he's over that. So we offer in the morning and at night and shrug it off. I find the longer I am a parent, the more I shrug.

In other news, I'm starting another weekly segment, a verse of the week. See it up there in the top left? This is actually something I've done personally for, say, 2 years now. I'm supposed to be memorizing them. Yeah right. I am awful at memorization. I'll have it for 3 or 4 weeks and then, poof, its gone. But at least I try right? And now I'll share them with you. And for this week I'll get slightly Christmasy, just a little. "Behold the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." Mary says it in Luke 1:38. I've always loved that line. You see, the angel Gabriel just told her that she was preggers, unmarried. She knew no one was going to believe she was a virgin, no one did. She knew she would be ostracized by everyone, she was. This wasn't really good news. But she just accepts. Because its what the Lord had planned. I never accept. I always fight. I want to be more like Mary.

And a picture, because you havent had one is so very long. Isnt Zeke such a big boy now in his new carseat?
And some baby giggles, because we could all use some sometimes.

video

Im dreaming of a white Christmas...

...With every Christmas card I write.

So I'm sitting here, writing my Christmas letter, semi-freaking out that I haven't mailed them yet, listening to carols, sometimes singing along, wondering why Amber hasn't relieved my suffering and posted the sex of the twins yet, obsessively checking her in-vitro blog, wishing I hadn't eaten all of my fudge already, pretending to myself that its strange for me to eat that much fudge already, considering making more fudge tomorrow, getting up over and over again to take Zeke out of the bathroom...again... (he likes the heater vent, and doesn't realize there is at least one in every room), realizing I could just shut the bathroom door, doing just that, feeling ashamed that I didn't think of it sooner, thinking about what a noob I am, WHEN IT STARTS TO SNOW.

An aside: Yes, yes I WAS thinking all of that at once. Got a problem?

So yipee snow! Even I was starting to wonder where it all was this year. At least until I remembered last year. And then I didn't care again. But hey, now my Christmas pictures are going to be super cute. Like, at least 124% more cute then they would have been had it NOT snowed today. Because no, no I haven't taken our Christmas picture yet. Got a problem?

Also, just so you know, Zeke's new car seat came!!! So now I get to practice not nagging my husband until he installs it. Lol. Pray for me, I need it!

Also again, If you don't read my blog as obsessively as I write it, you'd better scroll down. Because yes, yes I have posted 3 days in a row. If you DO read as obsessively as I write...well....man...you might need to get a life. We all already know I don't have one. I decided to have a baby instead.
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an update: 2 girls!!! Congratulations Amber!

Not Me....a one time thing

Many brave blogging souls post every Monday a "Not Me" segment, in which they list the things they most definitely "NEVER do". In a rash and unexpected fit of...lets call it honesty?....I will now admit for the first time ever my perfection. And its not even Monday.

I have NEVER nursed Zeke while going to the bathroom. Nope. Not me. Thats gross...and probably unsanitary.

And speaking of nursing, I have also NEVER EVER nursed him while I surfed the web because that is the only time he will ever sit still. And I really really don't do it every day. I'm totally not doing it right now. Because, you know, breast feeding is about bonding.

Another thing I've never ever done? I've never lost my baby under a couch. Or under a bed. Not me. I always know where my son is. I don't need muffled babbling to find him. Don't listen to Kait.

Another thing Kait will lie about? I've never melted a bottle nipple in my dish washer. I know to use one of those little plastic boxes. And if that did, you know, hypothetically speaking, happen once, I wouldn't run upstairs thinking my Christmas tree was on fire. I can smell the difference between plastic burning and pine burning. I didn't sniff the tree.

And I never, after hours and hours of my son babbling at THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS, not hearing a single solitary grown voice ALL DAY LONG, yell "BAAA BAAAA BAAAA BAAAA, HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?" I am an adult. I dont talk to a 5 month old like that.

I also bathe my baby every night. Even when House is on. And he totally gets dressed every day. Who do you think I am?

Now come on, tell me a few of YOUR finest Not Me moments.

Another long post, and the very first WFDW!

First lets talk about Zeke, because that was the origin of this blog and still its center. His sitting is going really well. It was as I suspected and he just finally did it when he felt like it. That or my constant nagging about how ridiculous he was being by crawling before he would sit up sunk it. But I'm putting my money on the prior. Either way yesterday he was crawling around and pulled himself into this position.
Its blury, I know, but it's hard to get a picture that isn't of that kid sometimes. And this is his first *true* time sitting up, i.e. no one is holding him steady and he isn't bracing himself with one hand on the ground. Finally.

On a less exciting note I have to admit that my son has become a verified, card carrying, fit-thrower. I didn't think it would begin this early and I'm actually a little lost as to what to do about it. I don't want to punish him for the behavior. He's too little to punish anyways. He wouldn't understand time-out and I don't even feel he is big enough to spank yet, not to mention the fact that I want to reserve spanking for much bigger offenses than this. My plan (albeit a plan formed before having children and we all know how those plans go) has always been to only spank for outright defiance in my children, you gotta nip THAT in the bud. So to get back on subject: What do I do? Punishing is out, because 1. I don't know how to properly punish an almost 6 month old and 2. I've always felt that tantrums (at least most tantrums) are just the child-that-doesnt-know-any-better's way of showing and releasing frustration and better then punishing them for it, really the only way to go about it is to let them know that THIS isn't going to get them anywhere and tell them what would be a better way of handling their emotion once they are calmed down.

So I suppose thats my answer isn't it? I let him know this isn't working? He's not even old enough to give new options to. So far I have been comforting him, but not giving him what he wants. Like when he get so very angry because daddy has to go to work or he cant have the scissors. Of course daddy isn't going to stay home, and I'm not going to give my baby scissors. So I hold him and tell him calmly that I'm very sorry but he cant have such and such. And he usually screams and throws his body around in my arms until he passes out asleep from the effort, then he cries in his sleep a while. It's so hard. Because he doesn't understand what I'm saying, of course, other than the "I'm not giving you what you want" part. And he's not old enough to give other options, or even to understand other options, to vent his emotions. So I just breath thru it.

Any thoughts, suggestions, empathy? Feel free to tell me I'm going about this all wrong, as long as you then tell me the right way to go about it of course ;)

Finally I want to introduce the first of a new weekly installment I am trying out, entitled What's For Dinner Wednesday?! (or WFDW) I've been thinking for a while now that though I LOVE to share pics of Zeke, and also to vent frustration and get advice on raising him, there is also a lot more to me. *gasp* I am more than Zeke's mother. And while this is Zeke's blog, it is also mine. So we are going to expand a bit. There will still be pictures of Ezekiel galore. I will still record every tiny detail of his little life, because that is a LOT of my life. But I'm also going to talk more about what's going on with me, my faith, and my opinions on being a wife and mother-of-a-small-boy.

And we will have, tentatively because this is a test, once a week, an installment of What's For Dinner Wednesday? Because I LOVE to cook, and I LOVE to eat. And who doesn't sometimes get in a dinner rut? You know what I mean, you don't have ANY more ideas for healthful dinners, you are bored, and it would be nice to know what so and so across the way is having for dinner. So I will post a dinner with directions every Wednesday. (It's what Josh and I had Tuesday, so I guess a more appropriate title would have been What Was for Dinner Teusday. But there's no alliteration there people. Give me some artistic wiggle room!)

Some caveats: I LOVE to cook. I LOVE to eat. I HATE to clean dishes. Especially pots and pans because you cant just throw them in the machine. So these meals use a minimal amount of pots and pans. Usually 1, maybe 2.

I LOVE to cook. I LOVE to eat. I have a short attention span. These meals are quick to make. Or at least quick to prepare and then sit unwatched for a while.

I LOVE to cook. I LOVE to eat. I NEVER follow a recipe. These are not recipes. These are directions. There are no measurements because how do I know how much you want to make? If you are feeding a lot, use a lot. If you are feeding a few, use a few. There are no ingredients because how do I know what you like? If you love chicken and hate broccoli use a lot of chicken and a little broccoli, or no broccoli, use carrots instead. It wont explode.

I LOVE to cook. I LOVE to eat. Especially veggies and cheeses! These meals have LOTS of veggies. And LOTS of cheeses. Because veggies and cheese are my favorite foods, so I know about quite a few of thse. But veggies and cheeses are fairly interchangeable. See above. None of these recipes explode. Even in you leave out the kale or the leek because you dont know what that is, even if you use Parmesan instead of Romano because that's what's in your fridge.

So without further ado...

Our first recipe is going to be Chicken Soup. There is a lot of sickness going around and it’s good for the soul people, so much better than nasty canned soup!

A disclaimer before we begin: Homemade stock is best. I realize this. And its not hard to make. I realize this as well. But I am lazy and like meals made FAST. So unless I’m feeling special, I buy chicken broth in the soup isle. Sue me.

So to begin put one of those handy boxes of chicken broth on the stove in a big ol pot to heat up.


Then chop up and add some celery, some carrot, some peas, some whatever veggies you like in your soup. Tomato (even canned diced tomato), onion, green bean, asparagus, leek, really whatever is in the house! Pictured is carrot, celery, tomato, and onion. Add a bay leaf or 2 if you’ve got them in the house, or even 3, heck why not?


Now in a perfect world you have some left-over cooked chicken just laying around. I wish I always had left-over chicken. Or even better you still have some left-over turkey from Thanksgiving. If you do, this is the time to shred it up and throw it in! If you don’t you will have to cook some before putting it in. Don’t worry, its not hard and you can boil or fry or bake it, it doesn’t really matter. Or just go buy a cooked chicken at the grocery store and shred that sucker up, no one has to know!

Let it all simmer until your veggies are nice and soft, then you need to add grain of some kind. I like to use wide egg noodles, or wild brown rice. If your feeding it to kids they might like some little stars or letters. Throw it in until they are done (check the package for a time), fish those bay leaves out if you added any, and enjoy!




And now I will leave you with some pictures of Zeke eating HIS dinner last night. If you can even call what happened eating, which I don't. There were peas on the tray, peas on the floor, peas on the wall, even peas between Zeke's little toes. Only God knows if there was a single pea in Zeke's tummy.


The stockings have been hung on the chimney with care

All 3 of them folks, its true :)

Also done with care? Cookies. With care, I assure you. And a tree was decorated. You guessed it, with care. And I even took pictures of Zeke with care. In front of said tree.

Seriously, why do we have to be so full of care when we hang the stockings? I dont get it. Are they afraid you will thumb tack yourself?

Anyways, Pictures!Isn't this gorgeous? I just love that I caught such a special moment.

My boys, my life.

This is his determined face. He is going to come get me, I assure you.

A you can see we went ahead and got a big tree and put it on the ground. Zeke, fortunately, and I will admit a little disappointingly, doesn't seem interested in it. The ornaments are safe for one year at least.

Also, if you have a blogger account (and you know that you should) you should follow me! Its easy to do, I assure you. Just click on the little linky in my right sidebar that says "follow this blog".

And finally, how do you like the new sidebar anyways? I know, I know, I need a new picture of me and one of Josh. Its hard to get Josh to let me take a picture of him, however. And even harder to get in front of a camera myself! I will work on it, though.

PS Isnt Zeke wearing the absolute cutest outfit ever known by man...or even mom? Aunt Jen and Uncle Josh have such wonderful taste. Ok, ok, its probably 95% Aunt Jen. But Josh gets points for bringing her into the family ;)

So many new things

This is going to be a loooong post. Because I have SO MUCH to say. First we need to discuss today. Then all the new things Ezekiel has been doing, and there are A LOT. Then I wanted to talk about my newest hobby. And my new carseat. So brace yourself people. Also, there are a few pictures, although Monday I will update EVEN MORE. Because tomorrow Zeke is going go wear his SUPER CUTE Christmas outfit from Josh and Jen to church, and we will take pics when we get home, in front of a decorated tree of course! Another warning before we begin, there will be A LOT OF THIS because I am all caffeinated up! Apparently the 2 or 3 cups of Joe I had in Boise over the holiday weekend got me re-addicted...

Soooooo. Today Zeke really showed his Christmas spirit! He was happy and content in not only 1, not only 2, not even only in 3, but 4 WHOLE STORES of Christmas shopping in a ROW! Seriously. Then we even went to lunch at Tomato Street. And he was STILL HAPPY. He sat in the high chair the whole time playing with a soup spoon! Daddy tried to give him a crayon to play with. I almost stopped him, what a silly daddy trying to teach his 5 month old to color right? But I decided not to. I don't want to be "that" mom, if you know what I mean. Daddy also let him drink some water out of a straw, and I thought that was silly too, but then guess what? He drank out of it! So I guess mommies dont always know best do they? Psss, dont let Josh know! But I am getting ahead of myself, into the "new things" section and I'm not done talking about today! After lunch it was almost 3 o clock. Way past nap time. So we went home for a while so Zeke could rest. He went right to sleep, woke up 2 hours later, and then off we went again to buy a Christmas tree. And he was STILL HAPPY. And let me tell you, it was COLD. That coat Grandma Kim bought him sure came in handy! OF course by the time we got home, had dinner, had our bath, bla bla bla, it was too late to decorate it. So we will do so after church tomorrow.
Now, on to NEW THINGS. Zeke finally has started what I will admit is crawling. At least he took 3 consecutive "steps" in a row. Which was the definition of crawling that Josh and I decided on for our bet. In fact, the other day when I put him on our bedroom floor to play while I showered, he followed me into the bathroom and almost got stepped on when I got out! Then yesterday he followed Josh and I into the kitchen to see what we where doing in there! Its a whole new world, let me tell you. And very exciting.

Another new thing is Zeke is finally sitting up sometimes of his own will. This is something he has refused to do until now. He is still really unsteady but at least he is willing to work on it now right? He especially likes to sit up in the bath, he gets some really good splashes in let me tell you! Here is a picture of him with his favorite bath toy, its a ducky. We could NEVER get him to do this before. Like I said, still very wobbly, and especially in the bath. Who ever heard of a baby that crawled before he sat? But I am hopeful that he will be sitting soon. And we're going to buy one of those sticky bath mats I think...

My last new thing was drinking out of a straw. We discovered this today and were fairly amazed. We started just dropping the water into his mouth with the straw. But then he got mad whenever we werent doing this so we tried letting him suck it up. I really didnt think it woudl work but he must of understood there was good stuff in there because he sucked some right up. Maybe I should try that sippy cup again?

Now, my latest new hobby has been crocheting Amigurumi, because lets admit it, one small boy needs only so many hats. And I haven't been able to post any because they are going to various small cousins as Christmas gifts and I dont want to spoil the surprise cuteness. But in some recent frustration with trying to figure out how to make a lambs head I decided to start a simple project until I figured it out. Hence the creation of Zeke's new pet octopus! Obviously he is Japanese. And yet to be named. Any ideas?

What was last? Oy vey. Oh yes. The car seat. After much unnecessary stress over such a relatively easy decision I decided that I wanted the Radian65. I know that many of you were on the edge of your proverbial seat about this. I like how tall it goes compared to most car seats, the fact that it allows a 5 point harness until 65 pounds, and the fact that it will FIT INTO MY CAR. It is suppose to arrive between the 11th and 17th. So that is exciting. I know Zeke will be pleased to fit into a car seat with his coat in, which currently he cannot.

Anywhos I am out. PS Do you like the linkies? Its going to be my new thing. ;)

It must be Christmas time at last

Attention everyone.

The nutcracker army has been assembled, cookies and peppermint fudge are on their way, and my Bright Eyes Christmas CD is playing. It is time. The Christmas season has begun.

Also, this weekend we are getting our tree!!! So I better wrap some of those presents hiding in my closet to put under it, lol, I'm so excited. We still haven't decided if it can go on the ground, or where it will go if its not on the ground since we are a strictly anti-coffee-table family... I don't want a tree knocked over by a curious baby... Oh well, even if it is the nutcracker army is safe atop the fireplace. Zeke cannot reach them there. Not this year at least.

A side note: I cant wait until I have enough nutcrackers to be a true crazy nutcracker lady. Josh says I already am but he is just being polite, I think.

Door?

That was FedEx with Josh's present!! What perfect timing, yes? I would tell you what it is but he is known to look at this every once in a while. Rest assured that it is awesome.

I better go hide it!

First Thanksgiving

No pictures at the moment but lots of news. First, we are back from our trip to Boise for Thanksgiving. It was fairly successful. We were happy to be there and happy to be home, at least, and I call that success.

Down moments: Zeke's inability to nap if there is anything interesting going on. This is a rather pain at home but even worse when we aren't at home, as you can imagine. It could have been worse, I suppose. The first day at Kathleen's he napped very well, and he always did great at night as soon as Josh or I were in bed with him. I think for Christmas I will just have to be more mindful that traveling is exciting and lay down with him every afternoon at the quietest available moment. This trip we where so busy that I tried to get him to nap on the go or in a back room of a noisy house by himself and it just doesnt work.
The drive back. We didnt leave until after 2, so well over half of the drive was in the dark, the sun set at about 4. One passenger in the car did NOT enjoy that. I tried to refrain from telling my husband that I had TOLD him we shouldn't go to church on Sunday because if we left too late the drive would be miserable. Zeke does great on these long drives in the mornings. I succeeded through the first 2 hours of screaming, then to my shame went into an "I told you so" rant.
Zeke is still overwhelmed by lots of new faces at once, people that put their faces really close to his face, and really loud people. I just described our families.

Good moments: The drive there. Zeke was so good and patient. In 7 hours we only stopped twice and he never got cranky. He played mostly by himself with his crochet hook, or listened to music.
He said "mama" for the first time!!
There were moments when Zeke did really well with strangers. Uncle Zack and cousin Tyler both got him laughing really loud. He let his grandmas and grandpas all hold him, my parents especially got to treck him all around the mall, lol. It gives me hope that he will get better and better. After all, he does better at playdates and I havent had to rescue him in the nursery at church in absolute weeks. Again I think next visit with somewhat less absolute craziness since its longer will go a bit better. It seems like it was the huge family gathering days that were the worst.
Getting home. He was so soo happy. He just kept looking around and smiling and even giggling to himself. We put him down at 9 in his crib and he didnt even move until almost 5 for a feeding. Then at 8 he moved into bed with me and slept past 10:30!
Hand-me-downs from aunt Jen (and cousin Ashton too). We spied them out this morning and they are great! Thanks!
No crawling! Haha, I win!

All packed up

I am all packed up and ready to go to Idaho for Thanksgiving, or jet-set as I like to say...I don't know where I got that...

Anyways, I am super stoked. Seriously. I am. And I should be decorating the house for Christmas so that it will look all nice when I get back home but Zeke is taking a late nap and I don't want the noise in the closet to wake him. We where at Kait's a bit too long today probably, oh well, it happens. And it was worth it because Molly, Zeke's girlfriend and also Kait's daughter, gave him a big fat kiss. Seriously people, we didn't even tell her to! She did it of her own accord. I am glad they are listening to their mommies and falling in love but a little worried at how young they are doing it. Maybe those two should slow down!

PS Haha Kaitie, I blogged it first!

Also, as many of you know, because this comes up surprisingly often, Josh and I decided not to give Ezekiel a circumcision when he was born. We had many reasons for this decision and did a LOT of research, and we haven't regretted it for a second. Quickly put we just felt that the medical reasons to circumsize didn't really hold (and neither did the medical reasons to NOT circumsize), I knew from experience with other small boys that it wasn't "dirtier" or harder to clean, and neither of us wanted to do something, especially a painful surgery, just because everyone else does it. Not that everyone else does, I was surprised to find out how many of my friend's children aren't these days.

Anyways, I wasn't actually planning on getting into that decision or my reasons for it although I'm happy to discuss it with any of you. What I wanted to segue into was this reply to one of my ulitmate fav. blogs/bloggers and hero about this same subject. I never thought of it this way and found it so interesting.

...Something that I didn't see brought up on your comments was female circumcision (FGM) [I am fairly certain this stands for Female Genital Mutilation, am I correct?]. This practice is common all over the world. There are varying types I through III. Type III includes removal of clitoris, labia minora and majora, then sewing the vaginal opening, leaving a very small opening the size of a matchstick. I have assisted in delivering babies from women with type III circumcisions, and it was not pretty. Not to mention all of the other health problems it causes. We lived in a city that was predominately Somali. The State Department sites that 90% of Somali women have been circuited and that 80% of these circumcisions were Type III. I have spoken with many Somali women about their circumcisions over the past 5 years. They cite reasons such as, "girls will become prostitutes if we don't stop their sexual drive", "if you don't cut the clitoris it will keep growing until it's hanging down between their legs". It has also become a convenient way for women to prove their virginity before getting married. It's interesting to note that it is the older women who keep this tradition going and the #1 reason for circumcising is simple to them.... "It's the most beautiful". It's how they look, and they want their daughters to look the same. [I find this such a frightening parallel to male circumcision in the U.S.: circumcising boys without their consent because it is the way their fathers look and it is the most "beautiful" (or normal, or acceptable, or common, or least different, or usual) way for boys to look in this country. Should that alone be reason to continue this practice in our country?? Should that be a reason to continue FGM of girls in other countries!?]

This really got me thinking about my cosmetic reasons for wanting to circumcise my son, and how dangerous that line of thinking can become. [I believe that "line of thinking" has perhaps become a trap for American parents regarding male circumcision as well.] Somali women would even suggest that because we circumcise our males, it should be fine for them to circumcise females. Although there is no comparison to the degree of mutilation that it causes, I am happy to be able to report to them that we haven't circumcised any of our children, male or female. [Certainly male circumcision is much less extreme than the female circumcision spoken of here. However, regardless of the difference in extremes, I drew a huge parallel between these two and the reasons both have been carried out as long as they have.]

I of course dont want you to think that Im suggesting any of you with circumsized boys have mutilated them, or even that circumcision is a bad choice. Your choice, as long as you chose it, is the right choice, if that makes sense. I just found this so interesting that I had to share.

New look

Lol, I know, I change my look pretty often. What can I say, its fun. Also I don't do it nearly as often at Kait. And that makes it all ok doesnt it?

Anyways, thanks for your patience if you've tried to get on the last 2 days. I know its been strange.
video
Zeke will be crawling any day now. Seriously. Josh and I's bet (Josh-before Thanksgiving; me-after) will be a close one. 8 days to go.

In other news, and this might be TMI and if so, too bad, but Ezekiel has not pooped in 1 week tomorrow. At first I thought it was just because he ate a WHOLE banana Thursday night. But now I'm getting a little concerned. I tried to feed him applesauce a couple days ago to get things going but he didn't like it. So then I tried some watered down apple juice this morning...his first juice experience. It also didn't go well. He found the apple juice in the bottle insulting or something, he wouldn't take it. So then at the grocery store I bought a tippy cup. Well he's not really ready for it yet I don't think (nor did I really expect him to be). He LOVED chewing on it and playing with it, and he even held it really well and got it into his mouth. But he wouldn't suck. And so I tried removing the little thingy that keeps it from spilling so it would dribble into his mouth. He probably got 2 ounces all over himself and 1 in his mouth...if I'm lucky... So now we are going to try pear for dinner. The taste wont be as strong as apple, I think, so maybe he will like it. And I think if he doesn't poop tomorrow I will call Dr Morgan because I am out of ideas! Any one have any?

One thing is for sure. Zeke is only allowed a half banana at a time from now on!

Also, look at Zeke's adorable hair! I bought him some product, its called Surf Hair or something like that, lol. I also cut two little sections that have been driving me insane. They were WAY longer then everything else.

Feeding himself

Ezekiel has decided he is old enough to feed himself. He used to be content with just holding an empty spoon while I fed him. But now he wants to dip his spoon in the food too, so we gave it a go last night (on Daddy's bath night...heehee). He did surprisingly well, he got well over half of it into his mouth. Still WAY messier then when mommy does it, though. So maybe this will only be a weekend, daddy bath day, treat...


Josh and I also watched Kung Foo Panda last night. Zeke thought it was sooo funny. He's always watched the TV when we watch before but this is the first time he reacted to it at all. It's also the first time we ever watched a cartoon, so that may be related. He was laughing and laughing at the Panda, however. Cracking us up for sure. Then after the first 5 or so minutes he lost interest and fell asleep. Score.

Toys

Zeke is suddenly very interested in toys. Not only in the old classic sense of loving to hold things and put them in his mouth, either. He is beginning to play for the first time. Right now his favorite game is knocking down towers. Josh and I build them out of stacking cups or the little blocks Kait gave him (thanks Kait!). But he has also shown interest in flipping the pages of his board books, and rolling cars back and forth. He LOVES cars and especially wheels. Its ridiculous. Cars and knocking things down...sounds like a boy to me, at least he's got an interest in books too.

With this new love of toys is also a startling new ability to make messes! My son, who cant crawl yet I might add, is still somehow able to make his way across the blanket to his toy basket, flip it over, and spread it everywhere in the time it takes me to go to the bathroom. Evidence: below.
Actually with a combination of rolling and "catterpillaring" as Josh and I have named it (he lifts his but waaay in the air and then stretches out) he can very slowly make his way towards whatever he wants. This was annoying at my mindful mothers meeting yesterday because what he wanted was a little girl's coloring book and NOTHING was distracting him. He is stubborn, my son.

We also bought him a very cool toy with some money that Josh's aunt Deb sent us, to encourage him to sit up more. It sort of works. He will sit maybe 10 minutes which is longer then he ever has allowed before. Zeke's refusal to sit drives me bonkers, in case you haven't noticed. I don't know why. I've accepted his constant "serious" or "concerned" or "concentrating" (depending on who you ask) face and the fact that he rarely smiles in front of anyone but Josh and I. I've accepted that other than the "dada" he gives us every few days he doesn't babble at all. My son is almost always silent unless annoyed and I haven't even jumped to a premature diagnosis of autism (even though its been suggested, ridiculous). I have shrugged my shoulders and said that he's slightly behind socially and probably just shy. Yet this not sitting this gets to me. Maybe because he's always been so ahead physically before? Who knows. But its become a fight and therefor we picked a toy that would necessitate sitting to play with.



Other than that no Ezekiel news really. I guess a slight cough but honestly Josh and I are wondering if he is faking it. It's really shallow, like he's clearing his throat and he seems to cough the most when he is bored and we are ignoring him... It might be imitation because he's heard other's coughing recently. Then again he might also have caught the cough. Who knows.