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.

Cranky Creatures

Brian's favorite food is crab. You know when it's a special occasion or his birthday because its stinky odor permeates the whole house. We have only been to Oregon three times, but eating crab has always been Brian's main objective while there.
Last week at the Oregon Coast Aquarium he saw some small 3 ft Japanese Spider Crabs in a tank next to a mural of a full-grown 13 ft adult. It made him more hungry than scared.
Brian was deeply disappointed that the season for fishing this delectable crustacean doesn't start until December 1. He was further disappointed that his dreams of fishing on the ocean were dashed again because of the rough, unpredictable Oregon sea. Even though his parents' friend with a boat couldn't take him on the harsh ocean, we dropped some crab pots (legally) in the bay.
It was practically a scene off of Deadliest Catch. Brian was the greenhorn, trying to keep from getting his ankles caught in the line that would drag him into the 4 feet deep water. It was sunny,warm, calm water, and most of the crabs were too small to keep. But it was still exciting. Eli went out with us on his birthday to collect the catch. He was calm, but interested (maybe he recognized Sebastian).
Back at the dock, I made sure he backed (cleaned) at least one of them himself, for the full experience. Brian made off with 5 of the critters to eat at home.
He shared... a couple morsels.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Officially A Boy

Today my little baby turns 2. When he was first born and put on my tummy, the first thing I said was pretty loving and profound... "He's so scrawny" Then I kissed his sweet little nose. Here he is, a few hours old. He was already beautiful, despite the trauma. This was his first time to really meet dad. Brian misses the endless cuddles and gummies (toothlessness). Brian always asks how long I'm going to call Eli a baby. At first I said it would be when he turns one, then when he started walking. Now, with his interests in boy things, like playing with trains, making messes, and climbing everywhere, I think I'm ready. His shorter haircut makes him look the part. I guess he can always be my baby without being a baby.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

2 Years Ago, Today

Pitiful, huh? Pregnancy is not glamorous (unless you're Angelina), that's what I said from the beginning. Here I was at the end. This is what 9 months, 6 days looks like, in case you ever wondered.
One day before contractions started, two days before little Eli came.

We're in Oregon now, but I came prepared with some posts already done, don't worry. Today we'll be driving down the coast to Brian's parents. Can't wait to see the ocean.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baby Mania

Is it just me, or is everybody pregnant? Sincere Congratulations Ciril, Shannon, Sarah, and Annette.
I took my last pill today, so we'll see what happens. I hate the word "trying," so we're just going to leave things to chance. Wonder what Brian will say about my public declaration.
To my my main topic. Picking a child's name is serious business. It's tied to their identity, pretty much for eternity, unless you do such a bad job they have to change it. I'm pretty indecisive and couldn't make up my mind until a couple days before Eli was born (which is good, then I didn't have to tell people his future name after they asked and hear all their opinions about it.)
Anna showed me a couple of helpful baby name websites. First go here to find what names you like without reading through a book like "100,000 Baby Names." Put in up to six you already like as inspiration and it judges the style and gives suggestion of more you may admire. You can add them to the inspiration section and a list on the right that you can email to yourself later. Click the names to find our their meanings and such.
Once you have your list go here. (This next step is for those that don't want their child to be one of the 4 Cadens [or Jaden, Braden, Aiden] in their 3rd grade class) Enter the name and it tells you, in a lovely graph, how popular the name has been from the 1880's to now.
Just in case you need more temptation to be on the internet even longer.

Who Needs A Playground

Just in time for winter Eli has discovered that I am a regular old jungle gym. We won't have to worry about snow-covered playgrounds and germ-infested indoor playlands. He just needs me sitting to have just as much fun.
He climbs up my back and falls over my shoulders onto my lap. He bends my legs for a tunnel to climb through and a slide to go down (the only slide he'll use, the ones at the playground much are too scary). If there's a blanket around he demands that it be draped over me to make a fort. He's pretty bossy, but I don't mind. It's super fun and how long will he want to play with me like this? (okay, probably a long time).
Here he is, taking a TV break on a fort, converted into a chair. He too likes multi-functional devices.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What About Korean?

Lets be honest. When it's time to make dinner or go out, you think tacos, pasta, burgers or maybe even Thai or Indian. But nobody ever thinks Korean. Except for us, of course. If you like garlic and spice, which anyone with taste buds on their tongue should, it's perfect.
So, the next time you're at the grocery store, pick up a couple of ingredients ubiquitous to all Korean dishes:

Green Onion
Ginger (powder or fresh (which keeps perfectly in the freezer)
Sesame Oil
Sesame Seeds
Soy Sauce
Rice Vinegar
Rice Wine (if you dare)
And you already own rice (and it better not be Uncle Ben's), preferably short grain Asian, or we like Jasmin.

If you end up liking Korean, go on and buy: Korean chili powder, firm tofu, and kochujang.

One of my best presents to Brian was a Korean cookbook (wow, it's cheap on amazon) which we literally whip out every week. We have many favorites which I will share, the first being a seasonally appropriate.

Soy-Glazed Pumpkin (Yachaejorim)

8 oz. Pumpkin, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
1/2 C. Sugar (we find 1/4 C. to be enough)
2-inch piece of fresh Ginger, grated
6 TBSP Soy Sauce
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Toasted Sesame Seeds and Chives for garnish

Boil pumpkin for 2 minutes (we steam for a bit longer, should still be firm). Drain well, then put into a skillet. Add sauce and pepper. Heat slowly, stirring carefully, until the sugar dissolves. Then partially cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender and glazed with soy syrup.
Garnish with sesame seeds and garlic chives.

Easy, huh? We often do this with acorn squash instead, but peeling it is the devil. Hopefully some of you will try these Korean recipes and love them as much as we do. If not, you'll just think we're crazy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Who knew, a marriage question should be: What kind of TV shows and movies do you like? Not just How many kids? and Ham or turkey at Thanksgiving?
He likes violent martial arts movies and ridiculous sci-fi shows. He has tried to convert me, but every show I sit through only heightens my distaste for them. I prefer more informational, home-building shows on channels like TLC, HGTV, and FoodTV. For a while, to be together, he would watch something on his laptop while I watched the flat screen television he drooled over in the store.
Some time ago we realized documentaries could keep us both in the same room. While we both agree on PBS, History, and Discovery channels, it is The Office that has truly brought us together. We love it, and now that all the seasons are available for instant download on Netflix, we can be together all the time, not just Thursdays.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pao de Banana

A recipe with a story is always more fun, right? In the Wellington Utah Relief Society cookbook that Brian's grandma gave him to bring on his mission to Brazil there is a post it with a recipe for banana bread. Elder Corrales, as I'll call him, often came across cohabitators that believed in the church and wanted to be baptized, but couldn't until they were legally married. They always said that the cost of a wedding is what stopped them, so Elder Corrales, wedding planner extraordinaire that he was, arranged for them to go to the courthouse for the pricey certificate and baked up a mean batch of banana bread for the celebration.

Pao de Banana

2 C. Flour
1 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Margarine
3 Eggs
3 Bananas
1 Bar Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 tsp. Vanilla
Pinch Cinnamon
Pinch Salt

Mix sugar and margarine into paste. Add one egg at a time, beating between. Add vanilla and mashed bananas. add half of the flour, then baking soda, then flour. Add nuts, chocolate, and cinnamon. Bake on low for 80 minutes.
I'd say 350 and it takes a long time until a toothpick comes out clean.

Lucky for us and our neighbors he made some last night. The rest of the time he leaves the baking up to me, except my birthday cake, of course.

Excited and Sad

At least I am, that the first snow has already come. Fall isn't even half over and the cold and darkness are here already. It'll be fun to play with Eli and I love how beautiful the snow it is. The mom of one of Brian's students is a ski instructor and offered us lessons, even Eli. With a few snow activities, some good rain boots, a firplace, hot chocolate, and a train table for the boy, hopefully we'll make it sainly through winter.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Halloween Costume

I must admit, Halloween freaks me out. On the local news a guy goes into the community to let everyone know about events going on and today he was at a corn maze. Why would anyone walk around, lost, in the dark, with strange people running at you with axes and chainsaws? Even more disturbing, how do they find enough macabre employees to carry out this nightmarishness?
At home things will be nice with minimal decorations of the fall harvest and a toddler dressed up as an innocent animal. This will probably be our last year with an unopinionated costume-wearer, so I'm trying to figure out what to make him. Luckily Brian's mom offered to help me sew something, but what would the boy be interested and keep on his little body? He can't be a train or a car. A cat sounds weird. There go his interests. We're in between a blobby zebra baby and an active, knowledgeable super-hero boy. I don't know what to do. Martha and Google Images didn't even help.
Anyone have any greusomeless ideas?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


As we lovingly call it, is the red Cherokee Brian was supposed to pay his dad $1 for when he went off to college with it. His dad bought it new in 1990 because it was supposed to have an everlasting engine. Which is true. She's up to 270,000 miles and I see tons of them on the road. Eli often hears the familiar (loud) hum of the engine and runs to the window because he knows dad is home, even before he noisily stomps up the stairs.
Anyway, a couple weeks back, Brian was driving a couple of his green belt students from the after school class where they help him teach white belts to where their own class takes place. They were hot and asked if they could roll down their windows. A few moments of silence until they asked, "How do you roll down the window?" They had only heard of, but never seen a car where you roll down the window manually.
Luckily they thought it was vintage car cool.

Nothing To Be Shy About

Eli likes to get ready to leave. Yesterday I said we were going to the playground and instead of getting his shoes out, he picked up an empty toy bin and started to fill it to bring with us. After a couple of minutes he handed it to me to hold so he could get his shoes. It was filled with cars and tampons.

Monday, October 6, 2008

No Time To Lay Around

Since being a mom, general conference is not a chance to sit around at home in my pajamas and watch church talks on TV. It's double duty time, listen to church leaders speak and do work in my pajamas (for this reason there are no pictures of me).
Last year we painted the back room green while the boy still took two naps. This year I was cutting out yards of diaper fabric, pinning, and trying to sew (for a couple minutes until it made more sense to let Anna do that). On Sunday we were doing mounds of dishes, making homemade mozzarella and Brian made his famous Brazilian banana bread. The boy was peaceful and content, as he always is when Brian is around, and did many picture-worthy things, like eating watermelon under the coffee table and yelling on two phones.
We should have done a better job listening, apparently.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back To Nature

I've explored Salt Lake's shopping plenty since we moved here, but that's about it. From the valley we can see the mountain trees warming in color. We finally ventured up into Big Cottonwood Canyon Friday, hoping to see the fall leaves before the weekend rain. We used to go to Provo Canyon all the time when we lived there and realized how much we had been missing during the beautiful drive. Plenty of other people were taking advantage of the nearby forest and majestic cliffs. We passed hunters, rock climbers, hikers, fishermen, and the toughest cyclists I've ever seen, ascending the 15 curving miles.
When we got to little Silver Lake in Brighton there were lots of families walking the paved trail around the lake. Brian grew happy and reminiscent as he breathed in the (naturally) pine-fresh air.
Eli was in heaven, exploring off the trail, throwing gravel, and chasing squirrels. He was constantly running, laughing, and saying "Woooow." Brian grew proud that Eli was going to love hiking and fishing like his dad. Brian's outdoorsiness showed as he scoped out the best fishing spots- where the lake grew deep and cold. The fish were even jumping out of the water. He was disappointed that we hadn't discovered this place sooner.
All the aspen trees were glowing yellow, a beautiful contrast intermixed with the evergreens. It was the perfect evening. I can see why this was Brigham Young's summer vacation spot. I hope they had mosquito repellent back then.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Aparently I Have A Thing For Free Photography

A few weeks ago I was looking on at some online classifieds to get Eli some 2 year pictures and there were lots of photographers, maybe with these hard financial times, offering free photography for families to bring potential customers to their door and expand portfolios. I booked the least cheezy and most professional looking one. After going to get the CD yesterday, I realized that I have never paid for photography, except for senior pictures. Our engagement, bridal, and wedding were done by my friend Leilani's saintly dad. He drove all the way to Logan for us.

When Eli was 3 weeks old I dressed him in a white onesie and laid him on a pillow under plenty of light to get his birth announcement pictures.

Last year, my friend Anna, let me know that her wedding photographer was wanting to add kids to her portfolio and I got free photos a couple months after Eli turned one.

Other than Leilani's dad, we've been slightly rushed, understandably, but we don't need an album full each time, just a few good shots to capture life at that moment. Now I want a fancy camera for Christmas. Maybe we'll never pay for photography and maybe I'll never be in any of the pictures.

Family Pictures

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Grandma's Birthday

Happy Birthday Karen (Brian's mom). I didn't get your present to Grandpa Frank in time to bring on his flight home, so you won't have it for your birthday. A picture's almost as good, even if it ruins the surprise:
The lucky lady lives half a mile from the ocean, so I thought I'd come up with a way to display some of her beautiful shells.
I know you're all alone in Oregon, but we're thinking of you on your day.

They're Not Going To Sew Themselves

Yesterday the diaper fabric came. There's no turning back, it cost Anna and I $300. Somehow it's going to turn into 60 cloth diapers. Sounds like a good keep-yourself-busy-during-General Conference activity to me. Wish us luck. I'm inexperienced and poor Anna can't do it all.