Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lessons learned from a garden beginner

1. Don't plant pumpkins in your garden. They are mean and bossy and take over all their neighbors areas. Plant them far, far away, in a corner of your yard not meant for nice veggies. They will probably still grow insanely long and try a hostile takeover, but at least you have a chance.

2. Plant zucchini far away from everything else. Zucchini is also prone to taking up lots of unneeded space. Its plant:actual fruit ratio is sadly off, so put it on the outside, so you aren't peeling it off your poor cilantro plants everyday. Its like Rylan, it sees the babies and wants to lay and squeeze and love them till they pop.

3. Buy wheat straw early. We intended to put wheat straw down to keep away the grass growth, but a major tornado in our area destroyed wheat straw and we were unable to find it anywhere. So, next year, we'll buy it early and store it in some sort of tornado-proof zone.

4. If you are unable to purchase wheat straw, and choose to do the newspaper covered in mulch route, don't skimp on the newspaper/mulch. You have no idea how pesky that grass can get. And I don't mind saying that I think that the grass and weeds got the note back in June that I was sick, and it quadrupled its growing powers just to spite me. Rylan and I go out each morning and I weed until my 7 month pregnant self can no longer be in that squatty position or his wagon is completely full of weeds and we STILL haven't made much progress.

5. Put the tomatoes in the middle of a large rectangular garden. They grow straight up, don't reach out and grow onto their neighbors and they like a lot of water, and sometimes the sprinkler isn't sufficient for the tomatoes on the corner. They are a happy, neighbor loving plant, that actually produce when you give them care, so they should be in the center. Green peppers are equally happy and neighbor loving and grow to themselves, they are another good option for the center of the garden. They do get top heavy (like me) and slouch, so its good to stake them up.

6. Always have a cute toddler to help you. He may get a bit in the way, but he makes it so much more fun. He loves to pick "ah-pulls" (tomatoes), loves to help throw away the weeds, and loves to pick the marigolds. He also talks in his Chinese/German language to keep you company.
And he works for Mr. Freeze Flavor Ice, pretty cheap labor.

Having a garden this year was part of my New Years resolution list 2010. I am very proud that we've done it. It has given me such a goal of doing this every year and making it better and better each year.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Freezer cooking day and Blistering hot day

Guess what I did? I had a babysitter yesterday and spent the day cooking like a mamma jamma and stuffing our freezer full of delicious and fast meals or parts of meals. This shall help us as I get bigger, if Rob needs to take over as head chef, and as weather gets even hotter (if that's possible), so we don't have to start the oven.Its fine if you want to call me a dork for taking a picture of all my yummies. I was so proud of the amount, I had to photograph my moment. Now, I'll continue the dorkiness and list my accomplishments.
I made
5 meals of waffles
3 meals of Cinnamon Rolls
6 servings of Cream of Chicken Soup
2 meals of Sloppy Joes
2 meals of Taco Meat
1 Tamale Casserole
3 bags of cooked chicken, ready to stick in some pasta or rice or on a sammich.
5 Breakfast Burritoes (for my boy, Rob, he's a fan)
3 meals of Meatballs, and they didn't turn out great, I'm going back to my previous recipe.
16 cups of brown rice, separated into portions.

And here's a pic of Rylan, when he got home from Kristi's house, eating a waffle, lying on the floor. That's totally normal. But, someone that cooks a crapload of food, then takes pics cannot judge. Its a rule.

Its part of my baby ready by 31 weeks plan. Baby ready by 30 weeks has been shot to hell, since that's this Saturday. But, we have made some serious progress. We have:
1. Ordered a new crib and chest of drawers to match the changing table that Rylan outgrew months ago.
2. Picked out decor for Baby Unnamed's room
3. Narrowed the baby name list to 3 names.
4. Cleaned out the closet in Rylan's future room, it contains almost none of the "I don't want to look at this, I'll stick it in the guest bedroom closet" stuff that was in there before. All that is left is winter clothes. We are getting more hanging racks for our closet to rectify this problem.
5. Packed a hospital bag for Rob and I. Just thought today, Rylan needs a bag too, not for the hospital, but to go wherever he goes if we should head to hospital.
6. Bought several packages of diapers in newborn, size 1, and size 2.

Onto cute toddler news, we had a fun playdate at the Rivermarket today. They have a Splash Park, where water shoots up out of the ground and kids run that mad people through it and laugh and play. The awesome things about this place is that its free and anybody can come. The terrifying thing about this place is that its free and EVERYBODY does come. You sometimes lose your kid. A zillion times. But, all of our children were very obviously in need of some outside playtime. Its so hot and the air conditioning feels too good to really push to have outside time. I'm glad we did this.
This is Rylan's friend Harper. She's new to walking (running) and loved every minute of her newfound freedom.

This is Rylan's friend Lily. She's more of a nature/find a flower pick it up girl than a fountain girl. And that's okay.
This is Keegan. I have 5 shots of Keegan, they all look like this. He really had a good time.
And this is my Boopers, the pic looks like he's sad, but he was so very happy. Loved every minute of his fountain time.

Lily actually came down off her flowery hill and got in on the water action, but I have no pics. Probably because Rylan and I heard a rumor that there was FREE ice cream and a concert by Club Neveau from the 80's (aka "Lean on me, when you're not strong, and I'll be your friend) up at the Rivermarket pavilion. There was also a rumor of the inside eating area of the Rivermarket having air conditioning. Well, Club Neveau was SO loud I was afraid for my little boy's ear drums, so we went inside to find lunch, and by the time we braved the noise again, the free ice cream was all gone. Probably best.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 4th plus a family fun

These pics are about 3 weeks late, but who give a crappity crap? We had my friend Kelly, and her family over for a 4th of July BBQ and swimfest. Plus some amateur fireworks by Rob. Kelly started the playgroup that Rylan and I frequent and she has 4 awesomely behaved kiddos. Kelly and I have a few things in common, namely our chattiness. I'm pretty sure we sound like a couple yapping chihuahuas when we are together. Probably why our husbands chose to befriend each other and jump in the pool with the kids far, far away from us.

Happy birthday USA!
Rylan and his friend, Keegan, watching the fireworks.
Baby Karsyn. She's so sweet. I hear she sleeps 12 hours a night already. Whatever.
Our resident pyro, Rob.
Kamryn and Keegan
Rylan gets in on the love

This last weekend (as in 4 days ago, how's that for me getting a blog out quickly, so proud) Rob's family came to see us. If you remember this post from May, we went to Rob's sister's house for their oldest daughter's graduation party and I lamented that I didn't get any pictures of Rob's sister, Staci or her husband or her children. Well, they were at our house for 3 days, 2 nights and I regret to say, that there are no pictures of Staci and Chad. I was too busy making horribly unhealthy desserts to pick up my camera while they were frolicking in my house. I DID, however, get some insanely cute pics of their children and my child playing in our small pool.

Staci and Chad might want to print and frame this shot of their children hugging and reference it when there is fighting in the house.
Wil trying to make Rylan laugh. For some reason, Rylan thinks its funny to see you hurt yourself in any way, shape or form. Wil was more than willing to do some acting to encourage the laughing.
If you are wondering why we have a small pool on our porch if we have a big pool in our backyard, here's why: I got sick in June with my mystery illness/possible kidney stones,gall stones, UTI weirdness and couldn't lift Rylan. Rylan and I had alot of time at home and it was too hot to frolick outside, so Rob bought us this smaller pool that Rylan can get in and out of with only a hand to stabilize him. Now that I'm better, we still use it for when its raining, or if Ry wants to swim and I'm not ready to shimmy into the maternity swimdress.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Toddlers and Gardens

This is what Rob would call a "Two Bird Situation"

Bird #1: Entertain toddler
Bird #2: Water garden

One stone: Sprinkler

The only problem is that this sprinkler kind of turned out to be somewhat of a torture device. We've since purchased a more loving sprinkler.

Its all well and good till it gets you in the eye and ear at 50 mph

Oh, and my old blue and khaki blog was really getting me down. I had to give the blog a little pep in its non-step for summer. There was a really cool watermelon one, but it was girly, and I'm the only girly that lives in this house, other than Lola the Cocker that sometimes resembles Alf.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Insanely good and unhealthy yumminess

I like food. And I like talking about food. And I like trying new recipes. I especially like new recipes that end up being really easy AND really good. I am going to start sharing the wealth. So, here's my first recipe for you all.

Poor Man's Toffee

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup, packed light brown sugar
1.5 bags of 11.05 ounces of milk chocolate chips
½ box of Ritz crackers
1 cup of chopped pecans (or walnuts or whatever you crave)

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Line jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Or just use a non-stick jelly roll pan.
Lay a flat layer of Ritz crackers out on the foil. I did a layer and a half, making sure to cover up any gaps with Ritz.
In a saucepan, melt the sugar and butter until a boil is reached. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture over the crackers and spread to coat evenly. Do not mix! Just pour, and fill in any gaps with a spatula.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 5-8 minutes, or until the toffee becomes bubbly. Turn off oven, then take out of oven and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then sprinkle on the chocolate chips. But tray back in oven to help the chips melt a bit. When chips are melted a bit, spread them into an even layer like you would frosting a cake. After done spreading the chocolate this is the time to sprinkle on the chopped nuts or whatever else you want to add.
Let cool and/or refrigerate until hardened. Once firmly cooled then break into pieces.

The pic does not do it justice, its perfect for a little party or potluck item. Its not perfect to have around the house, as it is as addictive as crack, I do believe.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My sons: human and furry

So, I haven't been the only one with health ailments this month. Luckily, Rob is the picture of health, and our cocker spaniel Lola only has a disease called Annoyingness. Rylan and Curt (our 15 year old pomeranian mix) have each taken several years off our lives.

At Rylan's 18 month visit in May, the doctor found a heart murmur. He had never heard one on Rylan before. CUE BIG FREAKOUT. He said he thought it was a growth spurt causing an "innocent murmur." A technical term for don't worry. He did a chest x-ray and an EKG immediately, which were both fine. He gave me two choices: wait three months and see if its still there, if it is, proceed with testing OR get an echocardiogram as soon as possible to absolutely rule anything out right away. Since we are sort of worry warts by default (well, I am anyway), and Rob and I each have heart disease in our families, AND we are due to have a baby in a little over 3 months, we chose to have conclusive tests done now.

Now, in between the finding of the murmur and the actual ECHO, we heard lots and lots of stories about how other peoples kids had the same thing and it was nothing. But, its our kid and we still were scared and sad about the maybes.

I am happy to report, that Friday, we learned that Rylan's echocardiogram was totally normal, most likely he is going through a large growth spurt (hasn't Rylan's whole life been a large growth spurt?) and it caused the "innocent murmur."

Onto my furry child. Curt has been in Rob's life for 15 years, he has been in Rob's care for 12, having previously been with Rob's sister and brother-in-law. When I met Rob, Curt and Rob were a package. It was like dating someone with a child. When he came over for dinner, so did Curt. When we went on vacation, so did Curt. Curt is the sweetest, most well-adapted and ready for anything (except thunder) dog on the planet. He gladly accepted me as his new mom and we quickly became a party of 3. Until I stupidly thought Curt needed a buddy and brought home a stray cocker spaniel. Curt still hasn't truly forgiven me for that one. Then we really shook both dog's world and had an actual BABY. Just wait till October. Oh, doggies, is life gonna be tough.

A week ago, Rob discovered a large mass on Curt's rear (not to get too personal). Curt has very long Pomeranian hair, so the mass was able to grow, unseen before it was noticed. By the time we saw it, it was GIGANTIC. An emergency vet visit, a regular vet visit, and a biopsy later, the pathologist decided that there was a large chance that Curt has Anal Sac Carcinoma.
1. Owwwww
2. Gross name, couldn't have called it Rear Large Bump Disease?

So, we did our research, only to find out that even with aggressive treatment, this is almost nearly fatal. For one, Curt is too old to even consider aggressive treatment. For another, our concern is for Curt to have a happy end to his life. The THING needed to be removed regardless of any treatment, because he could no longer sit comfortably, and sitting is a big part of quality of life. So, we opted to get the Rear Large Bump removed, and no matter what the results, we would comfort him, take care of him and let him enjoy his life, however long we had.

I am happy to report that the doctor removed it, our 15 year old canine made it through surgery with flying colors, and is home with us and recuperating very well. The bad news is that it was a malignant tumor. Its likely to re-grow, but very unlikes to spread to other parts. So, for now, we are relishing every day with our Curtdog.

I am one of those people that believes that something good has to come out of something bad. HAS TO. Or I will sue. Who will I sue? Dunno, but I'll find someone. So, the good that has come out of this whole shabang, is that I have re-learned to relish every moment that I have in this world with my loved ones. It shouldn't take health scares to remember that doggy throw-up on the carpet, kid poo down the leg at public places, incessant barking at the mailman, and temper tantrums are actually proof that you have your people and pets, still with you in your life.

On a similar note. Do you want to know the best way to get motivated to clean your house and exercise often? Have your doctor and husband and family tell you to do nothing. All of the sudden, you've never wanted to clean, exercise, cook, or dance so much in your entire life.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Ry is obsessed. With Sponge Bob? Nope. With staying up late? No. Chocolate milk on a hot day? Nada. He is obsessed with apples. The word aaa-pull is his new go-to word, surpassing "Go", "bye", "mama", and "dog."

Usually if you have that weird quiet, you assume your kid is up to no good. A few months ago, my assumption would be that Rylan was in the toilet, usually with my cell or a remote of some kind. A few weeks ago, he'd be taking all of our bathroom supplies out of the drawer and throwing them on the floor. Here is what is happening when I get the weird quiet these days.
Gazing at the apples
Offering the apples to me
Using the apples as a cell phone

You see that bell pepper there? Guess what it is to Rylan? An apple. The tomatoes in our garden? Apples. Everything is an apple. He was getting up in this chair and getting apples in a such an unsafe manner, that we've actually had to have an "apple time out." The apples are much higher on a cabinet. With his growth, he'll get the apples back in like 3 weeks anyway.

And a final pic for cuteness sake. I bought a leash for Rylan. This has been on my mind alot lately, whether a leash is a good idea or not. It does feel a bit barbaric, having a kid on a leash. But, I am six months pregnant and already having contractions and issues, and Rylan is a 32 pound 19 month old that likes to run away and needs to be lifted into carts at stores. I weighed the pros and cons and decided that having a leash every once in a while is certainly better than me throwing out my back and being completely out of commission or having to (and this happened) grab the back of Rylan's shirt (nearly choking him) in an effort to keep him from running out in front of cars.

Well, after all my overthinking, turns out, Rylan loves his leash. Loves having a monkey on his back and thinks its hilarious to be pulled around. I am as serious as a heart attack when I tell you that he brings me the backpack/leash and wants it put on. I know that this honeymoon will end, but I'm enjoying the ride. Here is a pic of him on his zebra, with his leash on, and eating a whole apple like a big boy. What a mess. A darn cute mess.

Friday, July 2, 2010

So, I'll be honest. When we found out we were expecting baby number 2, we nearly had heart attacks. We weren't exactly trying. We sort of had a really tall, very energetic 13 month old on our hands. We had memories of bedrest and the fear it would return and wondered "what have we done to Rylan?" This lasted about 3 days. I didn't sleep, I just thought about all that the next year would bring. I was scared, nervous, excited, and giddy all at the same time. I just kept laughing. Like a hyena. Not funny ha-ha. Funny "oh crappity crap" funny.

But, then it sunk in. Its amazing how quickly you can start to love someone, even a little ball of cells. And we saw the positive. And oh, were there some positives.


We are still in baby mode. We don't really remember what its like to sleep in, or sleep all night, or sleep deeply. We don't know what diaper free life is like. Why not just do it all at once and reap the benefits in 3 (or 5) years.

I've already quit my job (mostly). I don't have to worry about letting them down if I were to go on bedrest, I don't have to secure time off for a maternity leave, I don't have to leave my precious new bundle at daycare after 8 short weeks and feel remorse for the next 10 month till I get up the umph to finally quit. I'm here, at the house, ready to by a stay-at-home mom to Shim II.

Rylan loves babies. We started switching kids with Kristi when her baby was 8 weeks old. Rylan has learned to share Mommy. Of course Aubrey always goes home at the end of the day, this one won't. But, a girl in my playgroup has a new baby and he is always attached to her carrier.Wanting to give her a pacey or a bottle.

Rylan and his little brother will be so close. They will, hopefully, be best friends. A friend of mine has kids 16 months apart (bless her little heart) and she says "you'll go crazy for awhile, but then they get bigger and want to play, and life will be wonderful." I'm quoting her, and if I don't get the wonderful, I'm going to SUE HER.

There they are: all our positives.

When we calmed down, we thought about all the preparations we need to do. We decided that, just in case of bedrest, we would be totally baby ready by 26 weeks. Where did I get this number? Well, bedrest started for me at 31 weeks with Rylan, and probably should have started at about 29, I just was a dumb butt who didn't know better. I thought this would give us a nice window. Be Baby Ready by 26 weeks. GO

Well, we are on week 25.5. Guess how ready we are. Not even a little. We have clothes (leftover from Rylan). We have a new exersaucer and swing, thanks to a rockin' consignment sale I went to. We have a toddler bed ready for Rylan. Except we have a Rylan that won't go to sleep unless he's in some sort of "cage." Plus, we don't really like our crib, it will probably be replaced by one that hasn't been recalled for safety purposes and one that I don't cuss at daily (its a little annoying to get the side rail down, its a hand me down.) We also don't have a name for Shim II. We have definitely ruled out: Christofero, Mangus, and Dante, so don't suggest those to us. We do have a few front-runners, so that's a step in the right direction. So, here starts my mad dash to Baby ready by 28 weeks. GO SARA!!!!

My theory is that if we prepare for bedrest, plan for bedrest, bedrest won't happen. POSITIVE POSITIVE POSITIVE.