Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Wearing A Short-Sleeve Shirt

We didn't mind saying good-bye to the snow. With lots of sugar and movie watching, as well as a little bit of crying, we survived the 10 hour drive to Santa Barbara. Ironically, we only slept in Las Vegas and had our fun at the Buffalo Bill a casino in the tiny border town of Primm.
I'm so happy to be sitting in my grandma's living room right now. I find my taste has been shaped by this favorite place of mine. I love the Spanish style architecture, seeing the fruits of my grandma's green thumb in her beautuiful garden, and the character of an old house.
So far Brian's favorite thing has been his sleep overs with Eli, who refused to sleep in his porta-crib for the first time. Next in line is the fact that Master Jang is here and he always gives Brian a good work out.
Hope everyone else is having as much fun.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Job Change Surprise

It all happened pretty quickly and Brian wasn't really looking for a new job when a friend told him there was an opening at his work. To make a short story even shorter, Brian took the new job with Family Search. His old job, today's his last day at Deseret Book, is giving him his week of paid vacation. No Soo Bahk to gas... Santa Barbara here we come. We'll take off this afternoon and probably spend the night somewhere in Nevada. Can't wait to see my mom's side of the family and warm up a little.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

White Christmas

We noticed the snow coming down this morning and thought, in our warm, comfortable house, how timely. Then, during our present opening, we heard a poor guy plowing. I'm sure he and his family pray every year for a dry Christmas. I'm sure Bing Crosby wasn't singing about snow that comes down horizontally in howling wind, either. It made us appreciate our quiet, happy morning even more.After looking for something more than a silly blankie in his first box, he took his new Thomas train and disappeared to the play room for 10 minutes to put it to work. Sweet thing was content and excited with one new toy.In the mean time, Brian and I unveiled our big presents to each other. Brian got me the camera of my dreams along with some photography lessons at a nearby community center. Mr. Considerate. I had a hunch that this was my gift and felt bad just giving him my 2nd handmade blanket, until I saw how crazy he was about a Wii at some friends' house. He had no clue. Very exciting. And I think my shoulder's already out from a couple clumsy games of tennis. We were also spoiled with way too many presents from family, mostly asian-themed. Then we had a Swiss breakfast with salame, appenzeller, butter, good bread, and tea. Very gluttonous day.
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I Love My New Camera!!!

For the recent post on our Christmas tree I wanted to get a good picture of the beautiful ornaments Brian made, but the bottom picture above is the best I could get, even playing with all the settings and customizing shutter speed and aperature this and that. It had a hard time figuring what to focus on, and chose the tree branches instead of Eli. Unacceptable. Our point and shoot samsung is okay, but this Canon Rebel XS put it to shame. Thank you Amazon for a crazy good sale, and thank you Brian, for the best present ever.
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Sushi and Duck

That is the combination that happens when you let Brian loose in the kitchen to make Christmas Eve dinner. It makes sense, though, logical man that he is. He has been wanting to throw a sushi party for years and used last night's dinner as a time to test out recipes. Eli liked it, I was so pleased at our two year old with culture. Then came the duck, it's the cheapest meat that Brian finds to be a treat. He did a fabulous Martha recipe. Even more practical than the price was that it was a one pot meal, all the vegetables roasted along with the duck. It was a perfect peaceful dinner; I even had energy to get the kitchen spick and span afterwards.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

This year our Christmas tree isn't as stunning as I had imagined it would be, but I love it. My requirements: real tree and homemade ornaments. Unlike most people, I would imagine, I gravitate towards the trees with sparse branches. Apparently ours is an Alpine Fir from Montana. Its tall, thin frameworks perfectly for us. Our vaulted ceilings give us plenty of height but our living room is small. Brian thought the salesman to be the tell-you-what-you-want-to-hear type that sells used cars, but I believed him when he sensed my concern and said it is a wild tree harvested because the forest rangers like some thinning to prevent fires.
Brian's specialty was actually in the ornament making. After some fruitless online searching, I think he came to admire Martha for her well-organized and pictured Christmas crafts. He did an amazing job on the glittery photo frame ornaments. We also glittered some stunning red leaves from the fall and dehydrated citrus slices the way my grandmother does. Lastly we have Brian's mom's hand-painted teddy bears and a garland we made from hot-gluing pom poms from the craft store to fishing line we had laying around. I don't care if Tai Pan is a block away, I can't bare to spend $40 on some loveless plastic balls.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

I Love Cleaning

Ever since my clingy son was born, I have appreciated a good house-scrubbing so much more. Being able to walk around and clean with childless-arms is a newly appreciated blessing. Don't get me wrong, there are days when I feel like all I do is clean up after two boys, and I want to go on strike (and sometimes do). Brian is sweet and helps when he can, like the dishes last night, but this week the dishes and toys and boxes (thank you for the packages family) have been piling up while I rush to bake, sew, shop, do laundry, make cards, etc. This morning I took advantage of Eli's attention span. He gleefully helped me pop in Shrek and I went to town on the kitchen. I wish I was in there right now to enjoy the sterile empty sink and clutterless counters. I couldn't even wreck it by making lunch, so we just warmed up some frozen burritos.

If you think I'm crazy now, I'm going to be a real maniac in February. I'm going to my sister's in California so I can take care of the house when she brings home baby #3. Can't wait. I hope he'll have a quiet cry so I can sleep because I plan on cleaning, organizing, cooking (present and future meals) constantly.

Hmmm...Eli has taught me to be thankful for work. Amazing. And I thought kids just taught us about being a good example, forgiveness, and love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lights On Temple Square

This weekend my mom came down from Idaho for a visit and we took her to see the lights and nativity on Temple Square. It was crazy cold of course, but luckily the geniuses at Maclaren made me feel pretty smart by including a rain/wind shield with our stroller. Eli was nice and warm while we briskly enjoyed the lights, nativity, and music in the freshly fallen snow. We came home and warmed up with some homemade hot chocolate (1 TBSP. cocoa powder+2TBSP. sugar/ C. of Milk) around the fireplace. Perfect Sunday evening.
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My Frist Sewing Project

For the first time I made something start to finish on my own, with my mom's reassuring presence, of course. Like all kids, Eli loves soft things, so I wanted to make him one of these pricey, luxurious blankies. At the fabric store he was already laying and slobbering on the satin, still on the bolt. I'm so excited for him to open it on Christmas.

I ran into a snag or two, despite the simple straight lines. Someday I will look at it and be bothered with the imperfections, but for now, I'm proud. I love making things. Probably because it makes me feel independent, and we can have nice things for -in this case- less than 20% of retail.

Friday, December 12, 2008


My name is Helena... and I love felt. Especially in the form of cute play food. I have no inventor to credit since it's been around since 6500 BC- yes, I've done some homework- but I have a serious admiration for the world's oldest fabric. It's so sturdy you don't have to finish edges and even hand-sewing on it is a snap. Project possibilities are endless: toy felt food, baby slippers, Christmas stockings, quiet books, stuffed animals, puppets, Christmas ornaments, and felt boards with cutouts for storytime.

Here's my next confession: I use, a place for people to sell their handmade goods, to copy people's good felt ideas and designs. Terrible. But my crafts turn out much better than if I had used my own, uninspired imagination. Maybe my creativity will grow as my skill with my new sewing machine does. Until then, my next copycat project is this lovely felt book for Eli's christmas present. I just finished stockings with Anna based on this easy pattern (without the cuff and shaving half an inch off the too-long toe) that you can print right off and use without having to go to the copy store to enlarge. We used a couple of etsy inspirations, one for easy-to-make flowers and another here that's my favorite.

With this versatile, cheap fabric and plenty of ideas stolen from etsy that eve a novice seamstress like me can recreate, it doesn't seem possible that I could have more motivation to go felt crazy. There is one more thing, though. The least expensive kind, containing no wool, is actually made from recycled plastic bottles. Handmade toys and decorations from reclaimed plastic, it doesn't get more green than that.
P.S. The stuff sold by the yard his half off at Joann's this weekend.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I can only assume it has to do with the change in seasons, but for the last week, Eli has been sleeping 12 hours a night instead of 10. I just heard somewhere that our bodies naturally sleep more in the winter. It must be true because his room has no windows and is always dark, no matter how high the sun is.
I've been dreaming of this for years, since I learned that most kids sleep 12 hours at night. Hope it's not a fluke, because I like learning what it's like to wake up peacefully on my own and to be able to get things done before the boy wakes. Quiet things on my to-do list here I come.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hoa Hoa Hoa

For the first time we went to a gathering put on by our community's HOA comity. Last night was the Christmas party, complete with ham and a hired Santa whose real belly bounced as he "ho ho hoed". Might as well go, since we're paying for it. That was my attitude, anyway. Brian has more of the holiday spirit, insisting on decorating, crafting, and such. As it turns out, there was a little something for everyone.
First, while talking in line, the Bishop told Brian he was going duck hunting Saturday and that we should do dinner. He's probably researching duck recipes at work right now.
I got happy when a nice lady asked if that was my salad and what the fabulous dressing was. She copied down my made-up recipe, and left me quite pleased with myself.
Now for the boy. I knew Eli wouldn't sit on Santa's lap- friendly people behind us in the grocery store line put him in a somber mood- but after dinner and a story with balloon reindeer for all, he actually did! I couldn't believe it. He stayed long enough for a picture and for Brian to tell Santa he wanted a MacBook and that the boy, who had been good, wanted a cat. After he got down he showed several people his newly-acquired bag of candy.
Pretty fun, more candy for Eli to share, and I didn't have to cook dinner. Perfect.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Last night Anna and I finished adding snaps to the last 30 diapers. Over the past two months we have made 66 cloth diapers. Anna worked the machine while I did all the cutting, pinning, and lots of snapping. Here is why it took 2 months:

First I had to trace and cut out 132 pieces, half in the white liner and half in the waterproof colorful shell. 66 rectangles and support pieces were needed as support behind the snaps and above the hole where the inserts go in and out. That took me 3 days.
Next came pinning the two diaper-shaped pieces for Anna to together and then she added elastic around the legs and some along the back. We trimmed and turned them inside out and I pinned around the elastic to make sure the white part stays curved inside while she top stitched.
I marked each diaper for 20 perfectly aligned snaps and then snapped them with this archaic-looking machine. A few weeks ago Eli happened to run off with a crucial piece of the snap press, causing an embarrassing situation. We had to call the friend who had to call the friend who owned it and didn't know it had been lent out to a third party to find out what size and piece we needed to replace. Lets just say we had to give the machine back sooner, thus our marathon Saturday and Monday.

It has all been worth it. Cloth diapers for 1/3-1/2 the price of new. I had planned on making some for my sister, since she's due in February, but I think I'll send her the small sizes to use before me. I stopped keeping track of man hours a long time ago, Anna figures it's probably good. And my new little $100 sewing machine had already done more than it ever thought possible.
We went out for some well-deserved pastries as soon as we finished. And don't worry, since this is my biggest project to date, there will be photos of our little gems to come after they've been washed and dried a couple of times to seal holes in the water-proof layer and are ready for my little model to wear.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ahhhh... Thanksgiving

What a glorious, peaceful day. It is 9:15 on this gray, frosty morning and nothing is cooking, I'm in my pajamas, and Eli has his dad all to himself. I love to cook for guests and visiting family isn't half bad, but, since we have never had a holiday season with just our little family, I decided it was time.
Although, we do have plans. Gourmet food.

Rosemary Butter Roast Turkey
Potato Gratin
Baked Yams served with Butter, Brown Sugar, and Cinnamon
Stuffing (special emphasis here, since it's my favorite, with sausage, pecans, craisins, etc.)
Green Beans (the way my mom makes them, blanched and sauteed with onion, garlic, and bullion)
Fresh Cranberry Sauce (with some apples and lime zest too)
Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Pie

Lets see... white, orange, green, red...perfect, gotta make sure I have color.

As tempting as black Friday sales are, we're having an emphasis on homemade gifts for now on. I suppose we won't be helping the economy, but I want Eli to grow up thinking that Christmas is a time to be sharing, thoughtful, and resourceful. There are lots of ideas, like these, these, these for kids, and these for men.
Tomorrow night we will go for the lighting of Temple Square and a new downtown tradition of an old world Christmas market with local artisans, and free hot chocolate at Deseret Book. I also hope to make an advent calendar. If you're looking for a new tradition and a nice family activity this long weekend, I highly recommend it. I love this one by Martha's people because it's so simple, inexpensive, and easy to store. I have some favorite wrapping paper that can live on year after year as it's decoration. Plus, I also have all the supplies since I pooped out last year after making one to send to Anna.

Saturday will be diaper marathon day. Anna and I will finish sewing and snapping our 66 pride and joy baby bum covers.

Happy Thanksgiving family and friends, we are thinking of you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Is it wrong to adore something just for its color (not to mention antioxidants and refreshing tartness)? They're so stunning I feel like stringing some into a necklace. As a kindergartner in Switzerland I remember eating braised purple cabbage just because it was my favorite shade of violet also on my little Birkenstocks. I'm just as mature today. Better get back to my beauties bubbling away on the stove.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Brian's Celebration

This week Brian got a letter from his martial arts federation saying that he had met all the requirements to become a 4th dan (black belt) and master at his test in August in San Diego, but official word wouldn't be coming until March. Despite this, his teacher, Oliver Whitcomb, came down from Idaho to meet and teach his students and give Brian the last belt he will ever wear. I pulled out all the stops and made chocolate-covered strawberries and apple tarts for a little party. The parents are the best, congratulating and thanking him and organizing treats too.
I'm so proud of him. It looks great. If you mention his new belt, he tries to hold back a big, proud grin.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finders, Earners

I suppose most kids have heightened senses when it comes to locating candy. Eli was very young when he learned that the sound of a crinkling foil/plastic bag meant goodies. Lately, thanks to his short stature, I successfully rotate candy stashes on shelves where he can't see. But last week, looking for some ingredient, I carried him into our unlit pantry, assuming he wouldn't see the chocolate's newest hiding place. Despite my quick feet and the darkened room, his little radar picked up the sweets. The kid is always finding candy, whether its a lollipop in the junk drawer, chocolate chips in with the foil and saran wrap, or Halloween candy up high.
This nosiness can't be rewarded. What will I do when he's taller and more agile? Let him eat candy all day?
A couple of weeks ago I came up with a brilliant idea. Just like the Aztecs, we would use chocolate as currency. If the boy finds chocolate chips, I direct him toward one of his toy messes-this morning it was cars- to clean up and then pay him with a few semi-sweet morsels. Perfect. He learns the benefits of work, and I burst with pride at my tidy little two year old.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bad Granddaughter

The fires in Souther California are world news, but I just heard the reporters saying cities like Montecito and Yorba Linda, so I didn't worry about my grandparents in Santa Barbara. I should have looked into things since Montecito borders Santa Barbara, but I didn't. The grapefruit candies must have been inspiration, since I haven't called my grandma in a year and a half. Very bad. Yesterday I talked to my mom who told me that my grandmother was evacuated Thursday, voluntarily, and my cousin wasn't even evacuated. She left when she could hear the roar of the fire and the smoke was intense. Grandma went home the next day to an intact, yet smoke-blackened home where my uncle had stayed to hose off the roof and pack pictures. My poor cousin lost everything but the car she drove away in and a few over-night items.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bye, Bye Barnes and Noble

We finally put Eli's birthday present together, almost a month late. Our goal was to make his wildest train dreams come true. It'll be great for keeping him busy inside during Winter and I won't have to convince him away from the train table in the children's book section. Brian is currently the proud railway designer and builder. I'm sure Eli's track creations will make more sense soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Wednesday Eli and I were perusing the aisles of our new favorite grocery/produce store when I saw a crazy good deal on Texas grapefruit, they were surprisingly normal-sized. I remembered that Brian likes the juice from this particular citrus fruit and decided to get 8, should make a pitcher full. I got home and had juiced one when my crazy conscience, which has even come to scold me for throwing away trash, reminded me I could do something better with those peels. Then I remembered.
The summer after my sophomore year of college I lived in one of my favorite places, my grandma's house in Santa Barbara. I was supposed to help take care of my grandpa who has Parkinson's, but I ended up spending most of my time in the kitchen making meals, baked goods, fresh pasta, and, a couple of times, candied grapefruit rind. My grandma recommended it since it was something she at as a child and she had a tree in the front yard. My sweet little grandpa loved them too and they didn't last long, even the quite bitter batch.
Here I was, acting like I too had grown up during the Depression, not being able to throw away rinds. Another example. Ever since Brian's grandma told me how, after having a roast chicken, she would save the bones to make broth, I can't even throw a chicken carcass away without doing the same. So, after $1, 8 grapefruits, many cups of sugar, and many more hours spent, I ended up with juice for Brian and pounds of candy for my grandparents. It was a bit of work, but totally worth it. For a faster version of the candies to follow, just peel the zest off lemon, orange, or grapefruit and bring to a boil in some water and then rinse in cold water. They will be ready to candy.

Candied Citrus Peels

Peel, including the white pith, firm and shiny skinned lemon, orange, or grapefruit (I cut them in fourths for uniformity). In saucepan, cover peels with cold water and slowly bring to boil and let them simmer for 10 minutes. Repeat this process many times, my cookbook says 3-5, but I must have done at least 8 to get as much of the bitterness out as possible. I've read that it isn't all supposed to come out, it's supposed to be a little bitter. To candy, cut them in slices and add back to pan with 1/4 Water and 1/2 cup Sugar for every cup of peel (8 grapefruit gave me 5 cups). Let the sugar water boil away, stirring periodically. At this point you can lay them all out on foil to cool, but I coated each one in sugar and let them dry on cookie racks before storing in an airtight container.
You can eat them plain, garnish desserts, cut and add to fruit cakes, or dip orange ones in chocolate (the ones to the left aren't mine).
Hope my Grandparents like them in their spiffy new Ikea canister. Let me know if you're brave enough to try or have had some before, I would love to hear.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why I Blog

Let me begin by telling you why I haven't for the past week, in case anyone noticed. I am feast or famine when it comes to getting things done. Some days Brian comes home and there is no dinner, a sink full of dirty dishes, and no clean underwear. Other days, most of them, I hope, the house is tidy, a from scratch dinner is hot and waiting, and the blog is updated. Most people would say they've been so busy they haven't been able to post. I've been so not busy I haven't been able to post. Plus I've been a little daunted about all my ideas and how to share them, which is harder for me than writing about our goings on. Can I write about Christmas ideas without any for Thanksgiving? How many recipes are too many for a not food blog?
On to more productive things. Anna suggested I blog for months, but, indecisive and self-conscious as I am, I assumed I wouldn't be able to come up with anything valuable enough for you and I to spend our time on. Several factors changed my mind.
Eli and our far away family and friends. Besides calling my sister, I'm not much of a caller, so it's the perfect way to stay in touch with people and let them see Eli grow up.
Loneliness. Sad, huh? Sandy doesn't seem to be the most personable city and I felt I had tried hard enough with inviting people over and to do play dates that I gave up. (Don't worry, we're going to our first mommy/play group next week).I choose to connect with my loving family and existing friends. If Eli does something cute or I come across a fabulous recipe or money-saving tip, I want to share it. It is always my goal to come up with something good enough to get my sister to comment, so far its only happened twice.
Heart on my sleeve. For some reason, between my big mouth and animated facial expressions, most of my thoughts are no longer personal to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not tactless, just easy to read and unreserved. I try to give the reader a little something extra, not just a recipe or what we did that day, but some background or thoughts.
Journal with immediate gratification. I don't have to slowly and laboriously dictate ideas and events onto a paper journal that will lay shut until I die when nosy children will thumb through it, I can reap the rewards and hear from others as I go. Especially appealing to me is that every year or so we can make a lovely blurb book with our picture-laden online journal. More importantly, Eli, and any other possible children, will have the highlights from their childhood complete with dates, photos, and their mom's sassy storytelling.

So, thanks for reading and commenting, so I know I'm not the only one here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's Better Than A Sale At Nordstrom?

Nothing. Well, that's what I thought this morning. Today was to the the start of Nordstrom's half yearly sale ( for women and kids) and I had plans to be there at precisely 9 a.m. to check out some new galoshes for me and shoes for the boy. Hence my dismay at the snow storm which brought with it the need for Brian to use the Toyota since the Jeep's wipers are out of service. The Fates were against me, not really.
Instead of picking out a lovely pair of rain boots after breakfast, we were out in the fresh snow. Eli was apprehensive at first, of course, making me hold him. Then his wildest dreams started coming true. First was a super-cool (to Eli) truck plowing the snow. Then the friendly cat, Ice Man, came to find some warmth in my arms and lead us to his house where he hoped we would let him in. Eli was squeeling and smiling at his luck. Comfortable enough to walk around his strangely cold and fluffy white surroundings he discovered the joy of slush stomping and stream splashing. This stream also led down to a gigantic puddle. It goes without saying that he found it. I smiled watching my little boy have so much messy fun and waited until he was wet to the knees before taking him home. That way he wouldn't mind either.
I decided it was the best kind of snow possible. The first big one is always an exciting change and not yet too frigid.
I also got to see two of my favorite things...combined: fresh snow on tree limbs and fall colored leaves. Extra beautious. Snow on warmly tinged leaves. I love where we live and I love staying home, exploring the world with my little man. His excitement over something so small as a fly in the window is rubbing off on me.
Nordies will always be there, but not a delighted 2 year old.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bulgogi: Eli Tested, Mother Approved

We love all the Korean food that we've encountered thus far, but the following recipe is for our absolute favorite dish. Bulgogi, which means "fire meat" is thinly sliced, marinated beef in a lettuce wrap with rice. (Above is an authentic table setting with myriads of side dishes, they must like washing dishes.) Pretty much every person that has ever eaten at our house has had bulgogi and everyone seems to love it, even the Gochujang, a uniquely spicy red paste dotted on sparingly. The meat cooked on a table top grill (I'm sure you can use your electric griddle), which makes it a fun choice for entertaining. Guests can cook their own meat as they eat. I'm afraid Eli doesn't afford us such leisurely eating, so I brown the meat ahead of time and we just dig in.
I'm not sure if Eli likes it so much because I especially craved it while pregnant with him, but he stuffed himself silly last week when we made this for dinner. He was like a ferocious animal, eating straight off the plate, bypassing utensils or hands and grabbing meat off our plates and from the serving bowl. We've never seen him eat so much (in Oregon, 1 shrimp was a dinner), he even ate the rice and lettuce that go along with the meat. Let's just say I was pleased, since his scrawniness is one of my motherly worries. And now for the recipe that has worked miracles:

Broiled Beef Bulgogi (serves 4)

4 Scallions, coarsely chopped
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP Toasted Sesame Seeds
3 TBSP Soy Sauce
2 tsp. rice wine
1 TBSP Sesame Oil
2 TBSP Sugar
Pepper to taste
1 LB thinly (no more than 1/4") sliced against the grain filet mignon (if your boss is coming for dinner), or sirloin, round stake, or london broil. (I'm sure your friendly neighborhood butcher can cut a roast for free on his fancy machine if you want to make your life easier, otherwise, freeze the meat for an hour to make slicing easier).

Combine all the ingredients and let marinate for at least 1 hour. Preheat broiler or barbecue (brush on vegetable oil if its not a non-stick surface, otherwise, don't use at all) and cook meat in batches, one layer at a time- this is crucial for searing and flavor, Brian's too impatient and cooks it all at once and it turns soggy. Should only take 30 seconds/side.

Serve with romaine lettuce leaves, sticky rice (1/2 C. before cooking/person), and gochujang.
Not the most beautiful plate, but de-lish. It's so healthy, we always eat plenty and don't feel too bad about it.
I made it this time with chicken breast since beef is getting too expensive for my personal $1.99/lb limit. It was a good choice because Eli could chew it easier and therefore eat more.
I hope everyone makes this one, let me know how it goes. Or you can come over and we'll gladly make it for you, maybe even with filet mignon... maybe.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween: No Planning Necessary

I could live with or without this spooky holiday (can it be called that?), but yesterday Brian informed me that he for sure wanted to take Eli out to trick or treat, so I had to figure out what the boy was going to be. This week I had already searched the malls, but all the quality costumes were taken and I refused to buy my first born some flimsy costume from those overpriced Halloween superstores that pop up in September.
This morning as I got Eli dressed to meet dad in town for lunch, I realized he was practically a lumber jack wearing a puffy orange vest and Brian's boots from when he was 2. After some failed running around town to buy accessories like suspenders, a toy ax, and a blue ox (not too much to ask, right?) I came home at 6 pm disheartened, especially seeing all the excitement going on at the mall where all the little ones were trick or treating. Brian wasn't daunted, and somehow we pulled together a little orange hat, mascara as whiskers, and suspenders made of a sash. Wow, 100 % free, fun, and creative. We'll definitely have to do home-made costumes for now on.
By the last couple of houses, our pooped little Paul Bunyan started to understand and stopped giving the nice people the candy he got at the last house. I'm glad Brian made us go. Everything is more exciting once you have kids (even parades).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

You Know You're In A Small Town

If you see this in the gas station attendant's window. No, we were not in Mayberry, North Carolina.

(Sorry for the fuzzy picture, it's a list of people under "Gas Not Paid For".)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oregon Overview

Here are some condensed highlights from our trip:

Our Amazing Lit
tle Traveler

He was perfect on the plane, either interested in the scene outside, playing or sleeping. The 5 hour car trip is what I was worried about. Combine Eli's new-found patience in the car with bribery items like candy, soda, and a portable DVD player constantly streaming the Little Mermaid (at the boy's request) we made a miraculously quiet journey up and down the coast with less stress than anticipated. There was maybe 5 minutes TCT (total crying time, yes I just made that up). Road trips here we come.

hen Daddy Was A Boy

We got to see things and hear stories from Brian's childhood. Toys and clothes like his favorite doggie. Eli ate in his high chair and slept in his crib, and we even took home his first pair of hiking boots for winter shoes.

Eli's Birthday

Trains, Trains, Trains. His toys were mostly trains and his cake had trains spelling out his name on top. This had to be the best birthday, he expected nothing and was excited for everything. Between the shredding of wrapping paper came "WOW."

Oregon Coast Aquarium
This was Eli's treat for the long drive down the coast. I loved how they had colorful glass decorating the tanks rather than coral and rocks. They even had otters and seals outside.

We were all a little timid at the touch tanks. One even had little sharks to touch.

Going To The Beach

He was scared of the loud ocean and even the sand. Grandma and I took turns carrying him around while Brian hunted for sand dollars like a 4 year old looks for candy-filled eggs on Easter.

Time With Family

He even started calling Kim "mom" after a couple of days (he just barely started calling me that a couple of weeks ago).

I'm afraid we were only in Portland long enough to see some gruesomely scary young people participating in the annual zombie walk( and I was too shy to ask for their pictures). In total it was as peaceful of a trip as you can have with a child. We weren't even dying to get home, for the first time ever. Thanks for having us Karen, Frank, Kim, and Aaron.