Friday, December 31, 2010

'Twas The Night Before Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Two creatures were stirring
And they said...

"We isn't up to anything mommy - honest!"

Of course, I beg to differ – although I will admit I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were around the tree. As someone pointed out, they're kids not cats but I wasn't so sure. I thought they might turn into cats at the sight of a tree to climb. Turns out they're kids after all, so scenes of pulling babies out of a tangle of branches mercifully never happened. Nate used his touching finger for the most part (I really must get to this in a future post btw) and even Seth who is more inclined to approach life with his grabbers fully extended (and grabbing) was remarkably subdued. I was almost a little disappointed.


- L.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hi Everyone!

– Uh... Nate?
– Er... yes, Seth?

– What's going on here? Who 'dis lady?
– Umm... well... 

– 'Dis lady not mommy, yet something strangely familiar here.
– No, she not mommy. She gives pretty good cuddles tho'. 

– I have to say I is most vexed 'bout 'dis non-mommy person. Is like someone I met long, long time ago but can't quite place.
– You have to admit she smell kind of nice too. 

– Yes, OK. Smells good and cuddles is pretty good too. You got a point, Nate?
– *giggle* Hi everyone! I is playing a joke on Seth. I know who 'dis nice lady is the whole time. 

– OK. What is going on here?
– I'm sure I doesn't know what you mean. 'Dis not seem perfectly normal to you? 

– 'Dis thing here. With the hands! And the feet!! And...
– And?
– Hey, wait a minute... 

– ... it's Gamma Rita everyone! I can't believe you not figure 'dis one out Nate. And now that I solve the mystery all by myself I can finally say "Hi everyone!" just like old times. So here goes... Hi everyone! It's us – and it's Gamma Rita too!
– *sigh* You is crackerjack sleuth alright. 

- L.

And Just Like That... We're Back!

... Or as Nate and Seth would say, "Hi everyone!".

It's been a very busy few weeks over here getting ready for the boys' first Christmas. The shopping, the wrapping, the (baby-safe) decorating, coupled with a host of new tricks and moves AND a visit from Hurricane Gamma Rita left me with zero time to blog. I've spent the last couple of days furiously sifting through a mountain of photos, videos, stories and memories and I think we're about ready to get back to business as usual. Bear with me while I get you all caught up. Hope you're all still feeling festive!

- L.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Prayers Please

Baby Mason was born September 1st, 2010 with a heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. His condition was discovered at 20 weeks gestation. TOF, fortunately, is rarely fatal in utero, but his doctors and parents would need to wait until he was born to find out how soon he would need surgery to help repair his heart. You can read Mason's story here.

His surgery date was set for January 19, 2011 and his family had been making preparations for an extended stay many hours away from home.

Last night Mason and his mommy were transported by plane to the Medical University Hospital in South Carolina (MUSC) after doctors discovered Mason's blood oxygen levels were perilously low. His condition is currently stable and his surgery is scheduled for this evening. His mommy posted an update this morning about their ordeal.

Please keep Mason and his family in your prayers tonight and over the course of the coming days. I cannot fathom how scared they all must be.

- L.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

More Random Acts Of Domesticity

I have a favorite recipe that I used to make quite a lot, especially during the cold winter months. Of course, that was pre-babies when I could afford to spend 2 hours preparing and cooking dinner. In fact, I thought the days of enjoying some of my favorite recipes were long gone – until I discovered the wonder of using a slow-cooker that is. It's a magic device that makes my dinner for me, quietly doing it's work all day while I am busy chasing babies.

After a couple of recent successes with pot roast and beef stew, I decided to modify that favorite recipe of mine so it could quickly and easily be prepared slow-cooker style, with prep work that requires no more than a 5-7 minute commitment at a time (because if you have 2 or more little ones then you already know you are lucky to get even that).

Without further ado, below is the recipe for The OP's Braised Chicken and how I did it. Of course, if you don't have babies to chase after, you can probably get your prep work done in one shot. Or not. It's up to you.

•   •   •   •   •

The OP's Braised Chicken

Step 1: Prep your veggies* the night before. I sliced up half a white onion, 1 green pepper and 1 orange pepper (a yellow pepper is also a nice option). I tossed everything in a large bowl, covered the bowl with plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge. I was able to pull off this amazing feat while the boys were busy having their nakey time. No one even noticed I was missing.

*Optional: 1 or 2 chili peppers, sliced. I find one gives a bit of kick without being too hot – although I am a self-admitted lightweight about these things. If you like it more than kicking, better add two.

•   •   •   •   •

Step 2: The next morning I prepared the yummy marinade while the boys crawled around exploring the kitchen. If attempting this yourself, exercise caution so you don't step on any babies. Then get busy and mince 3 cloves of garlic and place into a bowl. Add:

• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 generous tsp. paprika powder
• 2 generous tsp. curry powder
• 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/8 tsp. ground cumin 

Take a moment to breathe in the wonderfully fragrant aroma from the marinade you just made, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave on countertop. Retrieve babies from whatever imminent kitchen danger you were unaware existed until just now. Retreat to nursery with said babies.

*BTW, if you're planning to take pictures of your efforts, try not to use a shiny reflective bowl like I did (unless you want an inverted image of yourself among the spices that is). Spices, I might add, that resemble an inverted version of this. Spooky. 

•   •   •   •   •

Step 3: I managed this last step by throwing some Cheerios at my babies after their lunch. Cheerios are a great diversion, btw. While they were distracted, I quickly salted, peppered and browned 2 chicken breasts in a little olive oil. One or two minutes per side and you're done. Place in bottom of crock-pot and brush with roughly half of the marinade you made earlier. Looks pretty good already, no? 

Pour 1/2 cup of chicken broth around the sides of the chicken. Toss the veggies you prepped the night before with the remaining marinade and add to crock-pot. Top with 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, including juice from can. 

Cover, set your crock-pot on low and enjoy the next 8 hours with your babies. 

The finished result: 

Prior to serving, remove chicken and gently pull apart with a fork. Top with veggies and reserve liquid to your liking. Serve alongside or over rice (Basmati goes well with this dish). Makes at least 2 very generous servings.


- L.

PS. Or, if you prefer, here is the recipe minus the mommy rambles (click to embiggen):

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Future Olympian: Rhythmic TP Event

– Oh hi everyone. You is just in time to check out something I been working on.

– Is my rhythmic gymnastic routine. I like to start with a big flourish. 'Dis always a crowd pleaser. 

– Next I move on to complicated looping part. 

– I say it complicated, but let's face it... I is making this look easy. 

– I is still working on big finish, but I imagine you is pretty impressed with my routine so far. I sit here and await applause and big scores now. 

–... while I work on thinking up my next trick. Keeping mommy on her toes is a full-time job you know.

- L.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


– What's dat you up to Nate? It look very interesting.
– Oh, is very interesting. I think. If only I could reach 'dis interesting thing I would know for sure.

– I is helping you now. 'Dis looks very interesting indeed.
– Mmmph. Can... almost... reach... it. *grunt* 

– Uh... Nate? I think we is not the only ones that is looking at something interesting.
– What you mean? Is just you and me and... 

– Oh.
– We is busted.
– Yep. 'Dis what busted look like alright. 

•   •   •   •   •

Mommy note: A belated Happy 10 Months to my sweet conspirators (for the record, I did take these pictures yesterday). And in case you are starting to think I let Nate and Seth run around nakey 24/7, it was the only time I was able to catch these two together on their big day – after I remembered to charge my camera battery that is. Oops.

- L.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fun With Cheerios

– Oh, hi everyone! It's us! Is been a long time since we have chats.
– Oh yes, hi everyone. It has been a long time, but...

– 'Dis not really a good time. We is kind of busy. We is eating Cheerios.
– Mmmph. 

– Oh great. Now I is distracted and lose my Cheerio.
– Me too. But I find mine. 

– Is OK everyone! I find mine too.
– I is using my touching finger to check 'dis one out. Mommy says we talk more about my touching finger in 'nother post tho'. 

– Maybe everyone come back later when we is not eating. 'Dis sort of rude to be eating and conversating at the same time.
– I agrees. Is hard to concentrate on matter at hand. Or finger. I think I just lose my Cheerio again.

– Cheerios is a good thing though, just so you know.

– Oh yes. Very good. Om nom nom...

•   •   •   •   •

Mommy note: I had tried offering Nate and Seth Cheerios for the first time a little over a week ago, but I didn't get any takers. What a difference a week makes though – now they LOVE their Cheerios. I'm hoping this is the first step in getting them to eat small pieces of food since they really liked the idea of being able to feed themselves from their bowls.

*fingers crossed*

For awhile there I thought I'd be sending them off to college with a suitcase of pureés. Now I know I can at least send a box of cereal along with it.

If this post hasn't given you your fill of Cheerio fun just yet, head on over to our YouTube™ channel for some lessons on table etiquette with Nate and Seth. Hijinks included.

- L.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Charlie's Story

An update to A Sad Post: Charlie's mom Katy started a blog dedicated to her son. She has asked everyone to spread the word in order to raise awareness about meningitis.

Her blog, titled simply Charlie's Story recounts Charlie's all too brief life and documents his last days from the onset of his illness until his death. I recommend having a box of tissues handy.

- L.

Monday, November 22, 2010

If It Seems Like It's Been A Little Quiet Over Here...

Let me assure you, it has not been quiet. 

We are moving, standing, and attempting somersaults (no joke). I've been on a mission to get some nice shots of the boys and their new moves, but alas... my mission has been a fruitless one.

So you get what you get in other words. These really are the best pics I've gotten all week.

I hope you remember what Nate and Seth look like because I'm pretty sure future posts with photos will look something like this:

For the record, please note that everything around my two motion machines is in focus.

Also, for the record please note that if you are looking for a walker/wagon for your baby to practice his first steps with you don't need to shell out the big dollars like I did. An $8 bucket will do nicely.

Seth cruised his way across the room and over to PooBucket™ Corner hanging on to nothing more than his favorite bucket. Go Seth!

Oh, and in case you're wondering why the boys are wearing hats in the nursery, it's because I was eager to take some pics of them in their new pirate hats (they are getting quite the hat collection btw). They are also modeling their new fleece lined jeans, which have to be the most comfortable jeans ever. I wish I had a pair.

For what it's worth I wish you had a pair too, but I digress...

This is the best picture I got of Nate:

At least you're looking at something other than the back of his head. Also, it kind of looks like their pirate hats are fighting. Y'ar!!!

And the best picture of Seth:

Of course, I was only able to get a face shot because he was wondering where Nate went. Cute hats though, right?

And this photo pretty much sums up our week in pictures so it's sort of my favorite:

Also, now you know where Nate went. Hi Nate!

The video is at least a little more impressive, so head on over to our YouTube™ channel to check it out. Nate does a full stand, Seth exits with his marine-man crawling moves (and that's him you'll hear in the background making a little noise btw, but he's OK). I definitely had to put the camera down for good once Nate started doing his moves one-handed, but the little trembles for the first few seconds are adorable. Also scary.

Very, very scary.

It's the end times everyone – better lock your doors.

- L.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanks For The Laugh Blogger™ Stats

Last July, Blogger™ added a stats feature. It allows members to view their own blog's page hits, popular posts, referring sites/blogs, etc. 

It also allows you to see search keywords that have led people to your blog. I tend to check this feature fairly regularly because I like to keep an eye out for anything questionable (read: creeps looking for pictures of kids). I actually changed a post title a few months ago because a search phrase came up that made me raise an eyebrow.

Today, however I got a good laugh when "poobucket" came up under this week's keywords. I hope whoever was searching Google™ for "poobucket" got a good laugh too.

I feel kind of sorry for whoever was looking for tips on "establishing baby's bedtime" though since they sure wouldn't have found any advice here. ; )

- L.

Out & About: The Starbucks Edition

I've been wanting to get some pics of the boys in their pea coats for awhile now, but I kept forgetting to bring the camera along when we would head out. Or I'd remember to bring the camera and then forget to take the pictures. See: Mommy brain.

I finally got my act together a few days ago before heading out to Starbucks. Nate and Seth love it there by the way since they get coo-ed and clucked at by random strangers and regulars alike, and especially by the staff. One of the baristas is officially their "girlfriend" ever since she stocked coffee near our table a few weeks ago and they couldn't take their eyes off her.

Here are Nate and Seth upon arrival:

You can see from the semi-maniacal look in Nate's eyes that he's ready to get out of the stroller. Like, now. 

He didn't really calm down much upon release.

This slightly blurry shot above is the clearest one I could get since he was having such a good time he wouldn't stop moving and whipping his head around to look at everything. 

Seth on the other hand was more focused. Literally. Of course, they looked so cute when the coats came off I kept clicking.

Seth looking fetching in his new (slightly too big) red shirt: 

And Nate:

... who is perpetually teething so I couldn't manage a shot without hand/fingers in the mouth. 

Although I tried. 

But the best I could get him to do was switch hands. Even with the blur you can see how drooly those fingers are! 

- L.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Random Acts Of Domesticity

I recently came across a recipe online for a slow-cooker pot roast, although I'm not even sure I should call it a recipe since it was so simple. Really, it was a meal that cooked itself with less than 5 minutes of prep time. And it was not only delicious, it yielded two freezer meals for a lazy day (or two lazy days rather) plus a generous supply of homemade Baby Beef Stew after a run through the food processor. 

If you'd like to make this delicious feast yourself don't forget I already warned you that it may take up to 5 minutes to prepare.

Easy-Peasy Pot Roast:

• 3 lb. pot roast (I used a cross-rib)
• 10-12 little potatoes, halved (I pulled out all the stops and used both red and white potatoes)
• 1 bag of baby carrots

Rinse and place into slow cooker.

• Add 1 pkg. Club House pot roast seasoning (mixed with 1 cup water per package instructions).

• Pour over meat and veggies.

• Place lid on slow-cooker and set on low for 8 hours.

• Walk away and enjoy the rest of your day. : )

If you want to get fancy like I did, you can steam some peas and make a side-salad at the end, but this is purely optional.

Here was the end result:

Uninvited guests (unfortunately) may be included. Can't really blame poor Zed for trying though – and yes, I did (reluctantly) share.

All in all it turned out pretty well so I took a look around to see what I could get into next and noticed an entire bag of blueberries in my freezer – and you know what they say...

When life hands you babies that hate blueberries, better get baking!

So I whipped up a batch of blueberry muffins that have suddenly made breakfast for me a real thing around these parts again. These are straight from the Company's Coming cookbook series and very yummy. 

And last on my domestic endeavors for the week...

De-pilling the boys' Disana wool covers:

Oh, how I could go on and on about the awesomeness of these covers, but I will admit the extreme pilling caught me a little off guard this time around. However, 10 minutes with a razor and voilà:

BTW, I included the "leavings" in the pic so you all wouldn't think this was just a 10 minute Photoshop job instead of the real deal. 

Now if I could only find another 10 minutes to finish the other cover I'd really be in business. Ah well, there's always next week.

- L.