Sunday, November 7, 2010


Some notes about the newest addition:

The best sleeping baby I've had. Only wakes up a couple times a night (please, please, don't let me jinx myself!) and will nap through almost anything.
October 1st

October 2nd

October 29th; "Do you hear what I hear?"
He actually likes sleeping in the swing...maybe it's the motion? I think it's his second-favorite spot, behind a human chest, of course! The past couple days he's actually slept in the crib for a couple naps; no matter how good of a sleeper you are, you will most undoubtedly be woken up by your 3-year-old brother parking his semi-truck underneath your swing and screaming "HONK! HONK! HONK!" as loudly as possible.

 Oliver has been smiling for almost two weeks now, and laughing occasionally. It took me awhile to finally get some good smiley pics: 

I love pictures where all the baby appendages are blurry, yet the head is still!

Having his parts exposed are his happiest time, can you tell?!

The crazy-wide-eyed look.
Oliver absolutely loves Danny and Isaac already. He'll actually calm down to them "shhing" him sometimes, when he won't for me! And they're amazing with him: they've gone to the swing, when I've had to set him down and he's fussing, and made him happy again. They delight in making him smile, even bragging about it. Sometimes they fight over who gets to kiss him first. They have yet to freak out when he's crying, when even feel like freaking out! They want to be present at every.single.diaper change. They have taken to big-brotherhood like ducks to water. I love it.

"Hi, this is Oliver. I'm a baby, so I can't talk." Danny's narration, not mine!

Oliver loves baths, too. His first three baths, we just had him take in the big tub, with Chris. And he hated it. Finally, I gave him one in the little baby bath, while Danny and Isaac were taking their bath, and he loved it. And has ever since. I think the big bath was just too big and he didn't feel secure enough. There are some better pics, but they all are naked ones, and this is a public blog...

He's starting to hold his head up pretty good, and greatly enjoys kicking and flailing around. He's gotten pretty irritated in the Moby at times recently, I think because he's had enough of the being-held-so-tightly-to-mom business!

And to think we're only 9 nine days from his 2-month birthday! Flying, flying, flying.

Halloween 2010

A dragonfly and a dragon.
Funny how it came about: Danny decided to be a dragonfly way back in summer, when they were plentiful, and never changed his mind. The second Danny decided to be a dragonfly, Isaac decided to be a dragon, and never changed his mind. Fickle children I have not. Must have gotten it from Chris. In the beginning, Isaac repeatedly talked about how he would be a mean dragon, and shoot fire from his eyes. Then something shifted, and he decided to be nice, so we could pet him.

I was so nervous for trick-or-treating. Chris had to work, so I had to go it alone. However...Danny and Isaac were great, neither were scared of anything, and Oliver slept the entire time. We did our neighborhood first; Luna, the boys little buddy from down the street, joined us halfway through, so that was fun. We came back to the house for the wagon and then crossed the street for a little more candy. Danny was the one who made the decision to come home, and Isaac didn't argue. All together, we were gone for 1 1/2 hours. Perfect.

The aftermath of trick-or-treating:

Sugar coma.

Notice the chocolate smeared all over his face...
I gave the boys the go-ahead to eat all the candy they wanted immediately when we returned home. They barely made a dent, I was slightly disappointed!

Our bowl of candy we'd left on the porch was surprisingly still full. I asked the boys whether I should leave it out, or if they wanted to answer the door while I nursed Oliver. They were very enthusiastic about answering the door. So they sat at the table, eating candy, and every time the doorbell rang, jumped down and went to hand out candy. Danny sat a few trick-or-treaters out, Isaac loved doling out the candy to the kids.

As for the pumpkins...we'd done a trip to Pomeroy Farms, way back at the beginning of the month, and promptly carved the boys pumpkins after that (Chris did them, after the boys picked what they wanted). They rotted by mid-month; I thought they'd last longer. Luckily, Danny's preschool class took a trip to Bizi Farms, so they each got another pumpkin. We carved those the day before Halloween, and, surprise, Danny really was capable of doing his own! (He'd insisted with the first pumpkin, but 5-year-old + knife...I just couldn't picture it turning out good.)
This is Danny's "cat" pumpkin; the whiskers are the chunks out to the sides :)
And Isaac's 2nd ghost pumpkin; the kid is obsessed with ghosts. Danny added the nose after I did the eyes and mouth!
And the cutest pumpkin of all!
 Don't worry, the Zeus was not excluded from the Halloween festivities:
ROAR! I'm a dinosaur! ROAR!

Time to start up?

I've been thinking a lot about writing lately. I enjoy writing, and I want to be better about doing it regularly, mainly just so I have this to look back on and remember, in greater detail, my life at this point. These babies are growing too fast, and doing too many things, saying funny things, observing the world around them so astutely...I need to remember this all.

And now that Oliver has made his entrance and things are settling into something of a routine again, I think I may have the time and energy for it again. We'll see :)

Today I was reminded of writing while making breakfast: Danny and Isaac were in watching their ritual Sunday morning cartoons on PBS (the HD antennae wasn't working, alas, so no Thomas this morning; they settled for Dinosaur Train) and Oliver was snuggled up in the Moby with me. I've been pretty lazy with breakfast since Oliver's birth, so I wanted to do pancakes this morning. Danny requested apple pancakes and Isaac helped me make them.

Everything was just so perfect...Isaac helped me so well and Danny was content playing in the living room, so there was no fighting; Oliver was happy and asleep and warm; my coffee was perfect, and with eggnog to boot; I had made bacon wrapped persimmons as an appetizer, one of my fave things; and our pancakes were delicious (sour cream for half the milk, laced with cinnamon, topped with maple syrup); and the late fall sun was peeking out through the clouds, warming up the kitchen so nicely. It was wonderful. It's what makes me happiest and I absolutely, positively, never-ever want to forget it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Oh, I miss the long hippie-surfer hair already (June 15th)...


Danny has to have hair long enough to twirl, so his didn't get cut nearly as short. And I have to admit, they're such handsome little boys under all that hair :)

And some pictures of Chuck, because he was so cute.

And the boys, on their bikes, on the deck. They must spend at least an hour each day doing this. I'm not sure what I'd do without that deck and those bikes...

What happens when I don't get out of bed...

It's even funnier when you find out that these were taken by Danny (on June 4th, at 8:30 in the morning)...

Huevos Rancheros

One of our favorite family vegetarian dinners--which is amazing, I don't think we ALL agree on many dinners.

Not that huevos rancheros is that hard to make, but this one was kind of special, for a few different reasons.

First off: the beans. I did them in my slow cooker (after soaking the dried beans overnight), and they were the best beans I've ever made.

Cuban Black Beans

This is from a Betty Crocker Slow Cooker Cookbook. They don't have you soak the beans beforehand, but I don't think that would have turned out as good.
  • 1 pound dried black beans (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 
  • 5 cups water (I only did 3 or 4 cups since I'd soaked my beans)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients in slow cooker; cover and cook on high heat setting 6 to 8 hours, or until beans are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaves before serving. 

The salsa was a little special, too. Last summer, after canning almost an entire year's supply of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes (I only ran out a couple weeks ago, just in time for fresh tomatoes...), I still was getting too many tomatoes from my garden. Brenda and Tom had read to just freeze them whole and that they would thaw under hot water easily. So I froze a few gallon Ziplocs full and had yet to use them. I pulled out a bag and ended up making this salsa with them.

I let the tomatoes thaw slightly, and drain a little. I put garlic, jalapeno and onion into my food processor and chopped them pretty finely. Then I threw the tomatoes in, coarsely chopped, with cilantro and salt, and continued processing until it was the consistency of salsa I wanted (not very chunky, in this case). This made such good salsa! I couldn't believe how good the tomatoes still tasted--and they never got freezer burnt.

The last "special" ingredient was our sour cream...which wasn't sour cream. I had needed whey recently, and after draining the whey, you're left with what most people refer to as yogurt cheese. We were out of sour cream (quite a rarity, actually), but I subbed in the yogurt cheese and my sour cream loving children were none the wiser. Danny was actually surprised when I told him what it was.

To assemble our huevos rancheros, I spread the beans on a corn tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, add the egg (sunny side up is what our family likes), then top with salsa, sour cream and whatever other Mexican food type accompaniments we have on hand (avocados, this night).

Karin and Randy--almost two months late :)

At the end of May, we finally got to see Karin and Randy--it had been almost two years, I think, which is so awful.

Unfortunately, the weather was horrible while they were here: I'm not sure about May, but June was the rainiest June we've had in 15 years...May couldn't have been too far behind it! My garden literally drowned--carrots, lettuces, and peas never even poked their heads up and my spinach bolted after about 2 weeks. Only the peas have ever been replanted (we ended up with a nice crop though!).

So...Chris' mom wasn't too happy with the weather! But despite that, we had a nice visit and did quite a few things. I actually think the rain wasn't too bad while they were here, but it was overcast the entire time.

We did a trip into Portland to visit Powell's and Voodoo Donuts, then ate dinner at the Berlin Inn, Chris' favorite German restaurant he's found, so far. And Chris and his mom loaded up on German goodies and cold cuts at their little adjacent shop.

Their visit fell on Memorial Day weekend and the Shawa clan was meeting at the beach, so we went down there to join in. Dad had arranged housing for himself, Susie, Ava, Brenda, Tom, and Bean (oh, Pua and Annie, too) at a condo, and then for our family (plus Zeus) and Chris' parents at a friends' cabin; Reema, Don, Michelle, Josh and all three of their dogs rented a house; and then Jamal and Naseem (each with a friend) were going to stay at Grandma's. However...our "cabin" was uh, not the nicest digs. So I managed to convince everyone involved that the teenage boys would really be better off switching with us, which ended up working for everyone!

So...14 adults; 4 teenagers; 4 little kids; 6 dogs. It was chaotic. It was my family at their best and I loved it :) I think (I hope), Karin and Randy did, too!

Of course we had to go to the beach while we were in Long Beach: we first stopped at Waikiki Beach, where there was a beached baby seal. It was so sad, but they do this, for whatever reason, and it was neat for the kids to see.
There are also tons of rocks (and driftwood, obviously) on Waikiki, so it's a fun place for kids to play.
The boys also played in an existing driftwood fort, but no one took a picture of it. Apparently, none of us were doing well with the cameras this weekend...

Chris had become obsessed with the jetty, so from Waikiki we walked down to Benson Beach, and out onto the jetty. There were whales breeching right there off the jetty, so that was pretty cool. This was a pretty yucky day, misting heavily and cold, but Karin was a trooper :) And Danny walked a ton. Isaac ended up passed out on Chris during a piggyback ride back to the car, poor guy.

From there, we went back into Long Beach and met Brenda, Tom, Bean and Mom for pony rides for the kids. They don't look happy, but I promise they enjoyed it! Just the damn rain...

From here, I don't really remember the order of things. Blame it on a food-induced coma from all the good cooking that went on at Grandma's house: Don and Reema and their enchiladas; Susie and her cinnamon rolls and mac and cheese; Grandma's crazy seafood splurges (FIFTY pounds of steamer clasms); dessert after dessert after dessert...

We made it up to Oysterville, to the church where Chris and I were married.
And of course we weren't going to leave Oysterville without some fresh oysters. (So this must have been on our last day...). Then we drove the beach from the Ocean Park approach down to Cranberry, and stopped for some sand play and kite flying. We also saw a bald eagle flying around--this trip was just rife with wildlife!

When we got back to Battle Ground, one of Chris' best friends, Toby, and his dad happened to be driving through, so they swung by the house to say hi.

Then...we only had one day left. We took a trip to Moulton Falls and did a little walking. When we got home I fried up the oysters for lunch and an hour after that, Chris took Karin and Randy to the airport. The boys were pretty bummed to see them go, but they really enjoyed their time with Oma and Opa.