WFDW- Baked Potato Soup

Be warned right now, from the get-go, that this may very well be the most fattening thing in the universe. We are talking cream, butter, bacon, basically every kind of fat you can imagine and its all in one dish. But its soo delicious and filling and warm. The perfect meal for a cold and kind of cranky day.

The first step is to get that bacon cooking. You want it crispy enough to crumble. Then saute some onion in the bacon grease until they are carmelized (aka nice and brown). You wont need to use ALL of the grease, just enough to keep your onions from sticking.

While you are doing all of that, go ahead and peel and cube some potatoes. Maybe 5. Boil them with some salt.

Mash up 2/3 of the potatoes with a full stick of butter and 2 cans of cream of celery soup. Add to that the remaining potatoes, a cup of sour cream, the crumbled bacon, the caramelized onions, salt and pepper, and some chives (basically everything that goes on a great baked potato). Stir it up and then add cream (or milk) until you've reached a consistency that you like. Rewarm and serve.

I had mine with an ungodly amount of saltines on top. Josh topped his with cheddar cheese. Zeke had a small bowl of both, and then a 3rd bowl plain.

Yes, I'm still complaining

Have you ever had one of those emotion headaches? The kind of headache you get from just way way way too many emotions? Josh hasn't. We're pretty sure that Josh's most emotionally exhausting day EVER in his LIFE is pretty par for the course for me. It's one of those girl/guy things multiplied by the fact that I'm over-emotional he is one of the most zen people I've ever met. Multiply that again by my pregnancy and you kind of wonder how the man survives.

But anyways I've had one of those headaches for about a week now. It's only part actual stuff that's happening. It's mostly the fact that it's all happening at once and I'm at a hormonal state to deal with none of it.

A. Zeke is testing testing testing lately. First it was public tantrums. Zeke isn't much of a tantrum thrower. He's not one of those kids with all that excess emotion they cant control, he's just faking it to see if it will get a response. They never did at home when he tried them out but I suppose he just HAD to see if they would work better at the store. Not really. I just strap him to the cart/drag him bodily behind me while he thrashes and keep on going. But its embarrassing, and exhausting, and hopefully hopefully HOPEFULLY over because he hasn't tried it again in a week now.

THEN he started doing that dead weight thing that toddlers do when he doesn't want to go somewhere. That or running away. Twice I've had to do the whole "I'm leaving without you and walking out the front door" thing. ALSO now when he is angry at me he will growl. Or if he doesn't like what I am saying he sticks his fingers in his ears and turns away. Lord only knows where he learned that little trick.

And with it all together mixed with an over-all "I will do what I want and you cant stop me" attitude we fight all day long.

B. I've got major cat sibling rivalry going on. Ziggy is super needy all day, and so far during their "play times" goes from pouting in the corner and refusing to look at me, strutting around the room eating Mony's food, laying in her bed, and using her litter box like he's king of the world, and all-out attacking her. Let's just say that so far, its not going well and I'm quickly losing hope that we can ever be a two cat family. Josh thinks they just need more time and says its always like this with cats but seriously? How do people ever have two cats then?

And the whole thing is bring up fears about havign a second child. I THINK Zeke will do well but seriously? What if he takes blueberry about as well as Ziggy is taking Mony? Are we going to have a needy, pouting, strutting, attacking 18 month old on our hands in January?

C. My friend Elizabeth went into labor Friday night and gave birth Saturday morning to a still born baby girl. It was completely unexpected and between mourning for her and her horrible loss and then suddenly being anxious for my own baby I am a little bit of a mess.

D. My other friend Kaitie has been in labor on and off for about a week now. She's physically and emotionally spent and for some reason I'm finding it my duty to be exhausted and emotionally spent FOR her. I seriously have so much empathy at this point that I'm almost feeling her contractions.

E. Its the first week of Josh's elongated work schedule from hell and I feel really unsupportive and awful about the way I've dealt with it so far. Mostly because as he was complaining about parking or traffic or some such nonsense this weekend I told him that I understood that work was horrible right now and that he was cranky but I just plain didnt have the emotional capacity right now to deal with him and he was going to have to leave work at work and be happy at home. He said he was sorry and that I was right and he would try but I feel awful about it.

I ask him to deal with MY left-over crankiness from rough days all the time. Seriously ALL THE TIME. And I feel horrible that I cant do the same for him, its not that hard just to listen to some steam releasing complaining after all. But I really just cant handle him on top of the rest. I need him to be my rock or else I will REALLY go insane. And I cant tell if I'm doing good for our marriage by letting him know my needs before either one of us are mad or if I need to put his needs first because after all I have the energy to deal with A-D.

Ugh. I need a drink. An alcoholic one. And I really dont think it can wait 3 more months.

PS Advice on terrible 15 months (that's a well known malady right?), sibling cat rivalry, pregnancy fears, and marriage welcome. Please fix me.

And PPS I promise my next post (after tomorrows WFDW of course) will be ALL positive. I will talk about how wonderful Zeke is and the great parts of having a new kitten, and how happy I am with my pregnancy and marriage.

Last Try

This is my last try for a nice relaxing day.

t's not looking great.

Zeke felt a LOT better on Thursday physically. But after spending an entire day like this:

He was sorely disappointed to find out the next morning when he climbed up onto the couch with his blanket demanding the laptop and a "nana" that not only would breakfast indeed be served at the table once more but imperiously pointing and saying "that" would only get him a reminder that he has legs and can use them. Oh yeah, and no cartoons.

So HIS mood was just PEACHY. Even despite the disappointing treatment he was receiving his rash still bothered him and I think he was still tired too. But he was healthy enough to sit up to eat and to walk a few feet to retrieve his stuffed pig and I didn't want to set a precedent of helplessness. So we fought. all. day.

THEN Josh came home from work and took me to dinner and informed me that for the next few weeks he'd be working 12 hour days and he was going to try to limit weekend work as much as possible but he wasn't making any promises. Apparently his manager thinks he's 3 people or something. Part of me understands that there is a lot of work that needs to be done and that they can't afford to hire more employees ect. but there's another part of me that's like "seriously? if the manager had to work that many hours I bet he would try harder to figure out ways to spread the work out over a normal work week. Instead he just makes everyone else give up their lives so that he can get a bunch of credit for checking off his whole to-do list." Uhg! Management.

Josh is also applying for a different job (within the same company) so we're really praying for that too. It's in development which is what he has been wanting to do since...well since he started school to become a software developer. Hours would probably be equally hellish but the work would be a lot less mundane and actually use some of his knowledge.

The final thing that's been bothering me today is silly but I will still divulge in blog complaining. Becasue I'm pregnant. And I can.

I weighed myself today and I am 160.5 pounds. Naked. I'm only 25 weeks pregnant for goodness sake! I dont think my 30 pound gain with Zeke is going to be repeated since that means I'd only have...oh...10 more pounds allowed and I havent even started my 3rd trimester which was when I gained ALL 30 POUNDS last time.

I also did something very very very stupid. I took a facebook quiz titled "what is your ideal weight". And it said 125 pounds. I've been thinking about that stupid freaking number for DAYS now. I'm 5 foot 6, I have a size D chest, (always have, in fact pre-Z I was a double D), and I have hips made for birthin'. Remember my 9 1/2 pound baby? That kid slid out in a very bad position without even an inkling of getting stuck.

So, I KNOW that 125 isnt ideal for me. If I had a smaller bone structure, or if I was shorter, or if my boobs didnt weigh 10 pounds alone. Or honestly if I wasnt as muscular as I am.

But then that other part of my brain keeps saying, but maybe you SHOULD weight 125. Maybe you should at least be 130... Maybe you have always been fat and you didnt know it. It's a voice that I've worked very hard in the last few years to silence and I got to a place where I was really happy with my body. So dealing with this over again is both upseting in itself and also dissapointing.

I dont want to be that woman that obsesses about her appearance all day, I never have. Josh doesnt want me to be that woman, the fact that I'm NOT is a big part of why he loves me. I dont want any future daughters to look up to that woman. So shut up, you stupid woman. Your body is healthy, it has grown and fed healthy children, it is beautiful in its own shape and size and coloring.

Try #5 for a restful day, my last hope before I seriously need to scrub that tub...has begun.

PS Mony is doing a little better. She's eating and pooping on her own, which is encouraging and getting better on her feet (she was a wobbly runner before). For some reason she makes me have "dancing with myself" stuck in my head instead of the Billy Idol song she's actually named after. PS, that song (dancing with myself) is about masturbation! Seriously? This knowledge may or may not ruin that song for me.

After doing some research I think I was right about my guess that Mony is 4 weeks. I wonder where her mom is and how she ended up in our fireplace? She still hides when we walk into her room but after we nab her she will sit with us now and even purr until someone makes a sudden movement. Next week I plan on letting her into the rest of the house to explore while Zeke is asleep and Ziggy is locked away. I'll try to remember to take the camera up there and get some pictures. I think she's funny looking personally. All big ears and long long fur.

oh a PPS Kaitie's labor stalled out after something like 36 hours, for those of you interested. So the countdown has been re-set.


Im tired. Like REALLY tired. Not as tired as Kaitie, who's been in beginning labor for 24 hours last I heard and instead of taking my advice and taking a nap yesterday decided to walk until the baby came out. Not that tired. But I'm still tired.

You see, last week was full of baby shower preparations, not to mention some major limit testing on Zeke's part. And the mixture of the two resulted in first numerous and embarrasing public-place tantrums, and then later a baby boy finally put back in his place (for now), and an exhausted mommy that warned her husband that she's doing the bare minimum this week. Dishes, sweeping, easy dinners, dishes, and laundry enough to get by. That's it. I dont care that the microwave and fridge both needs cleaning, that there are thankyou notes that need to get mailed, or about the other 4 million extra little things that need being done. I was taking a week off. Or at least as much of a week off as a wife and morther can ever take.

But then Monday happened. Zeke was really needy and cranky. We went to play at our friend Kim and Preston's house and he was awful. Home, 3 hour nap, woke up still awful. Just very needy and clingy and exhausting.

Then Tuesday happened. Zeke was in a better mood and the morning went well. I took a shower, we made it to the grocery store without the embarassing public tantrum that would have been par for the course last week, he even helped me unload the car. He carried one small item at a time at a time from the garage into the kitchen and then placed them each nicely on the table. I was so proud. No insisting on carrying the biggest bags, no losing interest halfway to the house and wandering into the neighbors yard, no banging my groceries on the table with all the force in his little arm.

But then I layed him down for his nap. And while I was singing him his song I suddenly heard a kitten crying.

After Zeke was asleep I started to investigate but I could. not. find. the. cat. I could hear it inside the house louder than in the backyard. But how would a kitten get into the house without me knowing?

But then I looked out the front window and saw Sox pacing our driveway. I thought that was strange so I went outside and saw all 4 of the cats out there.

A word in my defense: Not all 4 of those cats are mine. Sox and Cream are technically the neighbor's cats. They just spend a lot of their day in our yard because Zeke is apparently a cat whisperer or something because the kid attracts cats like mad. They all love him. Even Tom, who is the local tomcat that all the neighbors hate. He's aggressive with the other cats, he scratches anyone that tries to touch him, he even fights with the dog that lives on the other side of us from time to time. But Tom loves Zeke, he rubs against him and purrs and sits in his lap in the grass. Its bizarrre and touching and why I feed him. Which might make him my cat, I guess, but he's not allowed inside (or atleast that's my defense to Josh).

So anyways Sox is pacing the driveway like mad. Cream is sitting in a planter stoic-like and staring intendedly at the space between our chimney and garage. Ziggy is running and playing and climbing trees but always coming back to see what's going on, and finally Tom (Mean old Tom of all cats) is trying to climb into this teeny little door at the back of our chimney and mewing. Josh says Tom was probably trying to eat the kitten but I seriously believe he was upset and trying to save the thing. Tom has a secret heart of gold.

But either way that's what got me to go back into the house, open the fireplace door, and discover that a kitten had climbed into that teeny tiny little door and was now trapped in our chimney.

The first thing I did was shoo the cats away, thinking that maybe if they left then the kitten would come out. No luck. I tried tempting it with cat food, I tried tempting it with milk. No luck. Our chimeny is so close to the garage that I couldnt reach it to just grab the kitty, not even if I wasnt pregnant can I fit in there.

The cat (and I) were both getting increasingly upset so next I tried going back inside and seeing if I could reach it from there. I couldnt. We have a fireplace insert and I didnt see any little door.

Next I panicked and called Josh. I think his choices were come home and save the kitty or I was calling the fire department and no I would not wait 5 hours until he came home from work, the kitty had been trapped over an hour at this point and worse of all it wasnt crying any more. I was near in tears myself, convinced that it was dying or at the least developing the black lung and would therefor die later.

Josh got a ride from our friend and cat lover Becca and was home within 20 minutes. I think he didnt even want to KNOW what the fire department would do to our house, let alone what they'd charge us to do it.

Josh's first plan was to cut a hole in the garage wall so that we could reach the little door and pull the cat out. But then he thought before doing that he would try to pull the insert out of the fireplace and see if we could reach it from that side. It was heavy. He almost wasnt able to do it. But he finally did and after some maneuvering I was able to get my body in there and reach my arm (josh's wouldnt fit) into the ash trap that is the other side of the tiny door and pull the kitty free.

She was SCARED. And dirty. And there was a chase which woke up Zeke and spread ashes everywhere but by the time I got him back down to sleep the kitty was wrapped up in a towel in Becca's arms.

Her name is Mony (after the David Bowie reference that is Ziggy Stardust, we thought a nod to Billy Idol was only appropriate so Mony Mony it is). She cant be more than 4 or 5 weeks old, we think, and has definately spent her whole life outside because she is jumpy to the max, and seriously malnourished. She's the skinnniest little kitty I may have ever seen and has big patches of fur missing.

Josh didnt even try to fight it. He just said, as he was leaving to go back to work, "I guess you have two kitties now". I love that man. He also said later that night, as we cuddled her in her "safe room", that foreshadowing in real life is kind of creepy. Ziggy has a baby sister now after all.

So, between the kitty rescue, and the setting up of said "safe room", Tuesday was also exhausting. As will be the next few weeks, probably, as I nurse Mony back to health and then introduce her into the rest of the house.

Zeke was great with her. He said "nice, nice, baby" and pet her with two little fingers so gentle and gave her a little kiss on her nose. I really think he understood. Ziggy, on the other hand, just wanted to play. Which FREAKED Mony out. So safe room it is. She's set up in the spare bedroom with her own food and water and litter box and a basket with a blanket that I set up for her, plus a few hiding spots Josh and I built so she feels safe.

Step 1. Josh and I (and Zeke) will go up for a whle to visit everyday until she gets her health back and adjusts to us and I'll bring her towels with Ziggy scent so she can get used to his smell (and vise versa for Ziggy).

Step 2. Ziggy goes into the safe room while Mony has trips to the rest of the house.

Step 3. The cats get to have time together while I watch and make sure Ziggy isnt scaring her.

Step 4. She is released into the family with hopefully minimal trauma.

Wish me luck.

Oh, I almost forgot. Then TODAY happened. Zeke has horrible horrible gas and diareah, which has become his first diaper rash and let me tell you, he was saving it up because its a BAD one. He is miserable. He's screaming hysterically every time he poops, which is every 20 or so minutes, and is currently vegging on the couch watching Blues Clues on the labtop and feeling very sorry for himself.
Maybe tomorrow I can do the minimum and relax?

A baby shower

Despite what Josh and Ezekiel may tell you, the big event of this past weekend was a baby shower I hosted, NOT the ribs we had for dinner the next day. Boys!

Kaitie is one of my best friends and going to have her baby (baby number4 to be exact) in...oh...T minus 14 days I believe. I had numerous panic attacks about her going into labor, among other things. Doesnt she look good, though?

Her friend, Elizabeth (who is also due very soon) was kind enough to offer up her church building. Which was a HUGE blessing to me because I was almost 100% confident the 30+ invite list would NOT fit into my house if they happened to all be available. Which you know they would if we had to do it in my house.

Which just left me in charge of decorations, a cupcake buffet,
punch,a fruit platter,
and games.
Kim (my partner in most crimes) was kind enough to put herself in charge of the rest of the breakfast food, the coffee, and making the prettiest diaper cake I think I've ever seen.

The cupcakes were eaten.
The games were played. "Cute" was said the required 5,000 times.
All was a sucess and I went home and directly fell asleep on the couch, forcing my husband to sneak our son away to the park so he wouldnt wake me.

And now poor Kim, as the only non-pregnant person left in our little circle, has to start planning MY shower. :)

Allow me to brag a bit

Zeke just impressed the heck out of me yesterday and I cant help but be a bit of a brag, so sorry but... We were reading his current favorite book "Things That Go" and he pointed to and correctly named the car, the truck, the train, the digger (is that what they are actually called?), AND the bicycle. Now, to be honest bicycle came out "bubada" which sounds nothing like bicycle but the other words were so clear that I'm gonna give him that one.

I was soo very excited because even though he brings me books to read all the time he rarely sits all the way thru them and I never thought he payed any attention. 'Things That Go", "15 Animals" (aka the dreaded Bob book) and "Bedtime Peekaboo" are the only ones he regularly will listen to without losing interest. He has about a hundred books and those 3 have been the only ones he will pay attention to for oh...forever.

And THEN not only that but today he pointed to a car and a truck respectively in the parking lot and named them!!

I am VERY excited.

I'm also excited because I finally took that promised picture of my belly this morning and Josh is right, tummy bigger than breasts:
I think this is the first picture that I actually look like I'm definitely, no more question about it, pregnant. At 8 weeks I was still svelt (if I do say so myself...and I do, I'm that kind of person sometimes). At 14 weeks I thought I was showing but no one else agreed. At 20 weeks I was at the oh so hated everyone-is-pretty-sure-your-pregnant-but-afraid-to-say-anything-cuz-you-might-just-be-getting-fatter stage.

At last folks can confidently congratulate me on the street. There is no more doubting that there is a baby in there.

And just for fun:
Ezekiel isnt quite sure how to word what he's wanting to say on HIS blog... ;)

WFDW- french bread pizza

I updated earlier today and didn't realize that it was already Wednesday until well after dinner time! I don't know where my week has gone...maybe it had something to do with the very cranky baby I live with who is currently cutting his top two molars...teeth # 11 and 12 respectively, so I think after this we are done for a while? PLEASE make us done for a long while...

Although now that I think about it his next teeth (his two year molars) will probably be coming in right when Blueberry starts getting her first teeth...great...

Anyways, I realized suddenly that its Wednesday!!! And I was all like "on no-its whats for dinner wednesday time already?". It made me laugh because the meal I prepared a few days back for this post is French Bread Pizza, which just happens to be my favorite "on no- its dinner time already?" meal to make. We commonly have this when I've had to go to the store after Josh gets home from work (some days I just dont think Zeke is in a mood to handle it, others I've been too morning sick or braxton hicksy to attempt it alone with him) and I therefor have to start dinner at the very late hour of 7 or even 7:30.

It's just about the quickest meal I know how to make. Plus, there is just something about French bread. I could honestly call it my favorite food. When I am sick and I can't force myself to eat anything I can always make room for some French bread with butter. I just love the stuff.

So here goes, my best and speediest meal EVER.

First step: Cut your bread in half lengthwise and spread with tomato sauce, oregano, and your favorite pizza toppings.

Second step: Place sliced (or grated) mozzarella cheese on top.

Last step: Broil in oven until the cheese is melted and the bread slightly toasty. Cut and enjoy.

PS Josh informed me today that my stomach now sticks out farther than my breasts. It made me laugh, at least he is being honest. It reminded me of the night, just past 40 weeks with Zeke, that I came up to him and said something along the lines of "Look at this! My first stretch mark! I made it THIS far and I get my first stretch mark!! That *profanity* baby better *profanity* come out soon or I will *more profanity!!* and he kindly informed me that I had had stretch marks for at least 4 weeks, they were just all on the underside of my stomach where I couldn't see them. Some exploring with a hand mirror proved him right, a good half of the underside of my stomach was bright purple, and I was quite upset at his silence until I saw the reasonableness of his excuse. Was he really supposed to say to his 8 month pregnant wife "Hey did you know that your stomach is ripping apart? Or can you not see that part of your body?" I can just imagine the profanity THAT one would bring forth!

Better put a belly pic up soon, though!

And baby makes 4

I've been thinking a lot lately about Blueberry's arrival and what having another child will mean for our family.

I'm not worried about the "technicalities" of it; as in breastfeeding while playing with a toddler, going to the grocery store with 2 children in the cart, having time for both kids ect. With my previous experience as a nanny, and with the babysitting I regularly do for friends, I'm just already partly used to it. It's not really twice as hard..maybe just 1/2 as hard over again? (and now that I've said that I will have a VERY VERY hard time with 2 kids). Honestly, though, people do it all the time and Zeke is a fairly chill child. Other than his anxiety in social situations he's VERY independent for his age and we've been working on a lot of "big brother" skills like waiting a few minutes when he wants something, giving gentle touches, retrieving his own snacks and water from his spot in the kitchen, and throwing away diapers for mommy. I just honestly feel that, as far as 1 year old's go, he's fairly ready for a sibling.

So far, he LOVES babies. He loves them in real life and likes to pet their teeny little faces and give them kisses and he gets very very concerned when they cry and wants the baby to be picked up RIGHT AWAY. He gets sooo stressed when we see a baby crying and no one holding it. He's also starting to love pretend baby dolls (which we sadly don't own any of). He wraps them in blankets and brings them to me and tries to stuff them up my shirt so I can feed them. Yeah, you know that I've surrounded myself in a certain birth culture when my toddler has no understanding that babies drink bottles. Babies go in mommies shirt, duh.

I might go out and buy him a little baby doll, honestly, just so we can keep up a conversation about them and their requirements. I have a few New Baby books that have been gifted to me but honestly they don't really make sense for our family since they always display the more traditional baby crying in a crib and drinking from a bottle scene (not one often seen in this house), not to mention those books always show bigger babies that are crawling and eating. By the time Blueberry is that age I doubt Zeke will remember a time when she wasnt around. Honestly how much long term memory can he have? Plus I really don't know how much Zeke gains from a book at this point. Pretend play is a lot more his level.

Anyways, though...I was saying we aren't worried about technicalities.

The thing that's been on my mind this week is the relationship between Zeke and I and how that will change. We're such partners and suddenly we're going to constitute a team. Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to minimize the part that Josh plays in the family but Josh goes to work, he's in and out of plans and events...Zeke is with me ALL THE TIME. We're always together, every part of my day involves and revolves around him. We have a certain dynamic to our relationship, an understanding of each others habits and quirks, a...melody to our relationship... how will that develop and change when there are suddenly 3 of us?

It's funny but when Zeke was coming, I never had these thoughts, which now seem, looking back, like they would have been completely natural. Almost to the point that it seems unnatural to NOT have had them. I never wondered how adding a baby would affect Josh and I's relationship. Maybe because we had a good 2+ years of marriage to cement that relationship, or because having a baby took us long enough that by the time we were sucessfully pregnant the idea wasnt new, or because we both wanted a baby so bad.

I do wonder about Zeke and I's partnership, though. It's part worry and part excitement and part curiousity and is best described I guess as anxiousness. The feeling of the night before your first day at school where you dont know what to expect and you're afraid it will be bad but mostly you already know it will be great.

I feel like I have a grip on the relationship between Blueberry and I, I imagine it as a copy of Zeke and I's relationship all over again, even though I know that wont be true I still cant help but imagine her as him. I have an understanding of the ways that Josh and I's love will grow with yet another child. But I have no basis of comparison for what it will mean to have an oldest son. Bringing another baby into the family will completely change not only his role in the family, from baby to brother but mine as his mommy to BOTH of their mommy...and I'm (nervously) looking forward to watching us both adjust to that.

The end of summer

Even though it's warmed up again and suddenly feels like we're still in the thick of it, our family is realizing that summer is drawing to a close.

This presents itself differently in each of us.

The Z's (Zeke and Ziggy of course) have been spending every waking moment that I will allow in the backyard in what I like to call their "little forest". And every waking moment that I will allow equals out to almost every waking moment. Even though neither one of them is allowed in the backyard without me yet, the weather has been cool enough that I don't mind sitting on the back porch hour after hour. Not with how clean it keeps the house!
That right there is the "little forest". I did mention the littleness right? But they sure seem to love it. There are rocks and sticks and bugs and dirt, ie everything a young boy (and kitten) need to have fun.
Although since trimming our bushes on the other side of the yard back a little bit, Zeke has also been favoring crouching back there. I'm pretty sure he thinks I cant see him.
And of course there always has to be time spent on the patio driving his 4 wheeler.
And a few minutes rest on the deck in mommy's chair. (note to self: next year Zeke needs his OWN chair)

For my part, this end of summer rush involved a lot of what I called when I was a child "forced family fun". Which meant a trip to the fair on Saturday. Zeke's favorite animals were the pigs and the goats by far. He really really wanted to climb right in with those piggies, even when they were awake and snorting at him! And Josh and I got to see the hypnotist that we watch every year.
We also went back to Greenbluff to see if by any chance at all there were still peaches left (we were lucky and there were!) and to pick the early apples. The apple trees were absolutely LOADED.

Josh, for his part, actually doesnt seem to mind summer leaving at all. He's just looking forward to the Fall. In fact after his initial dissapointment when I informed him that I was hosting a baby shower next weekend and had a lot to do to prepare for that and therefore no, he couldnt "just have both", he did in fact have to choose between apple pie and another peach cobbler this week, (he chose apple pie)... after that initial dissapointment he went on a good half-hour reverie about how "it was almost fall wasnt it?" and that meant I was "going to make that pumpkin roll thing soon right?" And he looked so happy that I almost *almost* decided to go ahead and make him both, shower next weekend or not.

When you have a husband that gets THAT excited about your cooking how do you NOT give in? I know I'm going to give the man diabetes but I just cant help it.

It also gave me one of those really crazy "how did I get here moments". Do you ever do that? Suddenly you look around yourself are you are suddenly like "how in the heck did I get here?". Not necessarily in a bad way but it's just that as a very young (say 12 year old) woman I saw myself as this huge feminist. I was going to be a top editor at a major publishing company (an editor mind you, not a copywriter or an assistant but the head honcho). I was going to live in New York and adopt babies from Africa and never mind a husband because who the heck needs one?

Now I find so much of my identity in "wife", which is pretty much "second" if you are honest about it. I bake his favorite deserts and I cook dinners and I rush around at 5 o clock every night trying to get our house and child into some semblace of order because (and yes, I would have gagged a few years ago too) my husband works long hours at a job that is often frusterating and rarely satisfying or challenging and he deserved to come home to a clean house and clean child and a wife that can give him an hour before she starts with the "honey do's".

He doesn't always get it, sometimes Zeke is filthy and there are dishes piled high in the sink and oh yeah we need to go to the grocery store even though you just walked in the door but first change Zeke's diaper for me while I go get dressed because I'm still in PJ's... but he does deserve it and I try my best. How in the world did that come about?

I had the same thing today at the park talking to 2 other pregnant moms (we were all due within 4 weeks of eachother, strange!) about inducing. One had found a great doctor who had promised her that she can be induced at 38 weeks, and the other was jelous and sympathetically agreed with her comment of "why do we even have to wait THAT long? twins get to be born earlier than that all the time!" I always try to be understanding of these women, that they are making their own choices ect, but I do find myself increasingly irritated with the culture (and especially the irresponsible doctors) that do not bother to look at the risks involved in inducing early just because you are impatient.

I said nothing and thanked my stars that they didnt ask when Zeke was born as they traded dates of their previous kids because that whole "almost 3 weeks late" thing always gets me strange looks. Plus then I'm always inevitably asked why I waited and have to admit that I'm against inducing. Sometimes then it gets dropped but others I have to tell a woman to her face exactly why I think her induction was wrong (and its always some poor woman who's induced...uhg). And I was thinking the whole time "How did I get here? How did I develop into this person with all these strong beliefs about birthing?"

It's crazy sometimes.

How to sleep while pregnant (complete with graph!)

Suddenly I find myself in my 3rd trimester...ok not really...I'm still only 23 weeks but it FEELS like my 3rd trimester. I have constant heartburn, near nightly braxton hicks contractions, keep ramming my stomach into things, and can no longer roll over in bed without a really intricate 5 step program and a lot of heavy breathing (I also sometimes require a break halfway thru).

Uhg. Bed. No longer a haven of warm pillows and blankets my bed is now a battle ground, for yes, the battle of the comfortable pregnant sleeping position has begun. If you've been pregnant you know what I mean, if you havent ever had the joy (or if you are still in a blissful state of non-whale size) then this will be informative for you.

For I found after months of battle in my experience with Zeke the perfect pregnant sleeping postion.

Clue: It involves a lot of pillows.

Here, here is a graph.

As you can see, you are laying on your side (the only medically advised position to sleep in) and involves the following intricately placed pillows:

Two pillows underneath your head. Some people can get away with 1, but few while pregnant I've noticed.

One body length pillow to cushion your stomach (this helps keep the baby from constantly kicking the bed, and your tummy weight from pulling you forward) and also it serves as a bonus to lay your top arm over. Every pregnant woman needs a body pillow. Josh refers to mine as my boyfriend.

One really firm pillow to go between your legs. Some people have said to use your body pillow. Dont listen to them, it's not nearly firm enough to actually support your leg. In fact, I've heard of people sucessfully using a rolled-up beach towel instead of a pillow at all for the firmness. You DO NOT want your legs unsuportted, this is extremely painful and pulls your hips all out of whack. If you get trapped on a desert island and only have 1 pillow this is where you place it.

A final bonus pillow (and this is a trick I learned so late in the game with Z that I'm really only enjoying its full potential in this pregnancy) behind the small of your back. While laying forward on your body pillow you wont use this. Buut if you start to go numb and need to move in the middle of the night you can roll over onto it, thus achieving a 45 degree angle that's ALMOST sleeping on your back.

This bonus pillow is sooo awesome because as we all know, sleeping in one position all night long is really annoying. But like I mentioned, rolling over while you're pregnant? It's near impossible. Not to mention then you have to wake up your husband and force him to build your tower of pillows back around you once you have achieved this amazing roll over. Oh yeah and honey while you are at it could you also pull the blankets back over me? Yeah, the ones that I kicked off in a heat flash about 10 seconds ago.

One thing I learned with Zeke is that if you absolutely HAVE to roll over just wait until you have to go to the bathroom again and then come back and start fresh on your other side. My average time between bathroom breaks for both pregnancys was about 90 minutes so it wasnt a long time to wait. Funnily, getting all the way out of bed is somehow easier than rolling over for me.

Anyways, hope that helps...or at least makes you remember why you pop that birth control pill every morning.

WFDW- Chicken Pot Pie

We did a lot of yard work this weekend, and there is pretty much nothing that does a body better after a full day of heavy lifting in the fall air (not to mention a pregnant body doing all that heavy lifting...I'm still slightly sore) than a warm, healthful, filling meal afterward.

Chicken Pot Pie definitely fills those requirements...and its low maintenance enough a meal that I didn't mind making it, even after such a long day.

So, with no further ado:

Your first step is to saute some onion and about half a stick of butter.

Add about a 1/4 cup of flour and stir it until it's all bubbly. Then slowly pour in some chicken broth. Keep stirring, making sure you don't have flour chunks in there, until its nice and smooth and thick.

Then you add your veggies. I always use a mix of frozen and fresh, depending on what I have available in the house. And don't forget to add the chicken as well (I nearly did, lol). You can also add salt, pepper, and sage if you like.

As soon as that has simmered enough to cook your veggies and chicken you can add about a cup cream (or milk) and lay your pie crust on top, complete with slits to vent the steam. I used the store-bought pre-made stuff (Remember all that yard work I'd already done that day? Also, pie crust is my kryptonite.)

Now, I used a cast iron pan all this time. It's oven proof so I can just lay my crust right on top and then transfer to the oven. I think this is by far the easiest way to do it. If you dont have an oven proof pan, however (and I'm sorry because they are sooo nice), or you want a more traditional pot-pie with a top and bottom crust you can prepare a pie pan with crust, pour in the chicken mixture, and then top it with another crust.

Also, my crust always sinks into the liquid, forming those pools. It's ugly but I like my pot pie really soupy so I can drink up all that delicious broth when I'm done. If you use less broth you wont have that problem, however, you just also wont be able to drink up delicious broth.

20 minutes later in a 375 oven adn you are ready to eat!

PS, I've also topped this (after one of my many pie crust creating failures) with mashed potatoes. Exact same steps (oven time and all) and it was really really good.

A big boy room and a TON of yardwork

Josh and I took the whole "labor" day thing a little too literally and decided to make it a big work weekend. The original plan had been camping, a big goodbye to summer, but then we realized how much we have to do to prepare for winter this year and how useful a 3 day weekend would be in jump starting that project list.

So jump start we did.

Saturday we mostly spent working on Zeke's new big boy room. I found, a while back, a bedroom set including a captain's bed with a bookshelf headboard, a nightstand, and a dresser for 300 bucks on Craigslist. Josh thought the deal was awesome enough to give me the go-ahead to buy it and the first thing we did this weekend (after breakfast and dissasembling Zeke's crib) was borrow a truck and go pick it up. Then we got right to the job of trying to fit all of that furniture (plus Blueberry's changing table...more on that later) in his rather teeny tiny bedroom.

Unfortunately we never did fit the nightstand. But hey, he has it available for when he moved upstairs into a bigger room.

And all in all I think the room turned out rather snazzy looking (if not exactly belonging in a Pottery Barn magazine). Here it is!
I think my favorite part is those drawers underneath the bed. Soo nice for extra toy storage and Zeke loves putting his toys away in them...we will see how long that lasts.

And what about Blueberry you ask? Well this is the part that really gets us excluded from the Pottery Barn magazine...she wont have a room. You see, we only have 2 main floor bedrooms, and since Zeke doesnt sleep thru the night regularly enough that we feel comfortable with him on a different floor we found ourselves a little stuck as to what to do. Then we realized a nursery is really pure asthetics. So Blueberry's changing table and all her clothes will be on Ezekiel's 4th wall.
And her crib will go on Josh and I's 4th wall. So in our world two 4th walls a bedroom makes.

At least until next winter (when they are 2.5 and 1 respectively) when we will either move Zeke upstairs and Blueberry into his old room or (even better) just move both children upstairs. I say hopefully both because we plan on them sharing a room together as soon as Blueberry is sleeping thru the night enough to go up there and we have this crazy dream that this might happen by the age of 1. It's honestly probably a less crazy dream than that of Zeke sleeping thru the night enough at 2.5...seriously...sometimes I lose hope in that child (we've had another rash of bad nights, grr...and after a good 2 weeks of sleeping too!). But at least at 2 and a half he's freaking old enough to come down to us instead of us having to go to him, lol. It's really all that I'm just way too lazy to trek stairs at 2 am.

So that took up Saturday. What with the fact that I also took the opportunity to get out Ezekiel's winter clothing and his old 1-3 month plastic tub to fill the changing table with Blueberry's first outfits. Plus we had to go out and buy a matress because the one that came with the bedset smelled like cat (gross) and return the truck we had borrowed. Plus, oh yeah, we have a toddler who requires semi constant feeding and playing.

Sunday was designated to yardwork. In particular (and for my part) it entailed creating large piles of sticks and weeds for Josh to collect.

I was pretty diligent.

Just call me the demon barber of Sanson Avenue. I was trimming back bushes (and we have several, all in need of a good trim) like crazy. It took me probably 5 hours, lol, we have sooo many bushes. But I actually love them. Josh and I are both so happy that our kids will have their own "little forest" in the yard. And trimming bushes is pretty fun work, if you ask me. You get to use those giant scissors. Although after 3 or 4 hours I did start to get a little philisophical about the whole thing and feeling really bad about it. I didnt mind the cuts I made for the health of the bush (diseased branches, or to help with air circulation for example) but all those poor branches that I whacked off because they grew the wrong direction and looked funny got me feeling bad. Who am I to say what shape or size the bush should take? Why do I have the right to inhibit nature in that way in a quest for what I think is "beautiful"?

Luckily before I got too sentimental and decided to turn our yard into a bird sanctuary so that we wouldnt legally have to mow anymore (a mayor did that once) Josh tapped my shoulder to bring to my attention that a pretty good storm was blowing in and maybe we should all go inside. I hadnt noticed between my deep thoughts and my war against a paricularly deep rooted weed.

The storm blew over, dissapointingly, in about 15 minutes. But it was about dinner time so we called it a day.

Monday we finished up the weeding and the last bush. After that we were supposed to rototill our garden plot (for next spring) and spread that winter guard fertilizer on the lawn. But we underestimated the size of even the smallest rototill and it looks like we will have to borrow a truck (again) in order to rent one. And we were advised to actually wait a few more weeks to fertalize (even though we were told memorial day and labor day are the times to do it). So we ended up just actually having a bit of a vacation. We will rototill either next weekend or the weekend after, and the fertalizing will take all of a half hour so we'll do that the last time Josh mows for the year.

So even though we ddint get EVERYTHING done, we got a lot done. One more work weekend for the rototilling and putting in more insulation into the house (another chore we have to do) and we will be done.

At least until leaves start falling and we get to rake them. And then, you know, the shoveling of snow. But THEN it will be spring...and we can start planting the new garden...and powerwash the house... Does the work every actually end?!?

Fake it till you make it

I was in a really bad mood last Wednesday. It was nearly 100 degrees and Zeke was being naughty and Josh wanted me to drive downtown to pick him up and go to Pig Out in the Park and I really didn't want to go. I just wanted to stay home in the AC and be cranky.

But I once heard a very intelligent woman say that "You fake it until you make it". Now, the woman happens to be a doula, and she happens to have been talking about making it thru labor. But I've kept that phrase in my mind because I think it's a great example of how I sometimes live my life.

You see, instead of staying home and being cranky, and further ruining my evening (and Josh and Zeke's evening as well) I decided to "fake it", to act as if I wasn't cranky, and as if I wanted to walk around in nearly 100 degree weather eating greasy food because I knew that's what would make Josh happy, and that's what would make Zeke happy, and the funny thing about faking a good mood is, it tends to put YOU in a good mood as well.

And it worked. I picked up Josh, I put on a fake smile, and we had a lot of fun.
Eating greasy garlic fries...
And huckleberry ice-cream. Among other things, of course. I, for instance, always eat a gyro at such events.

And I use this method often, honestly. I've gone thru stages of discontent and yearning and had to pretend to be content with my place in life until I found, once again, that I was. I've gone thru stages when I was totally lost, and didnt know what to do or where to turn and I had to fake that I wasnt panicking and I had it under control until, suddenly, I wasnt and I did. I've had days where the last thing I wanted to do was play inane toddler games with Zeke, but once I got over my mood and forced myself to not only play with him but to pretend to enjoy it, I always found after a few minutes that I WAS enjoying myself.

Heck, all mushy anniversary posts aside, there have definItely been evenings where I was faking love for my husband. Not that I dont always love him, I do, deep down. But as all married people know, sometimes that love is, deep down...and buried under a foot or two of little annoyances and needs unmet and missed communications and nights of bad sleep. But I fake the love I know I should be feeling, and show him the respect that I know I usually want to show him, because it gets us thru that day. And usually the next day, my mood is over and I'm not faking it anymore.

Now, I know I now have to say this. You cant ignore real problems. You cant pretend you're not in an abusive relationship, you cant fake it until you make it when you need real help to make it (post partum depression, for example, cant and shouldnt be "faked" thru).

Buuuut when the only "real" problem is that you're in a funk as I like to say...well..give it a try. It beats sitting around being miserable, and making everyone around you miserable at that. Or at least, it does for me. Sitting around and moping never did accomplish much in my experience.