Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Baby is Born!

Most of you probably know that I'm pregnant. But only some of you know that my husband also conceived a child. And he has been carrying this child for five years. For FIVE YEARS. And it finally has been delivered! We have named her...


She is a totally amazing, wonderful, sharp, brilliant child. Here are some pictures:

The CutterPillar is a scrapbook trimmer, paper trimmer, photo trimmer, church flyer trimmer, kids' school project trimmer, homemade card trimmer, school teacher trimmer, and much much more. She cuts like a dream. She's got a gear-driven rotary blade. Gear-driven means it isn't pushing the paper as it cuts. That equals straight cuts, every time. It also means a blade that stays sharp with 360 degrees of cutting surface.

Other fabulous qualities our baby has include the back-lit cutting edge (it shines light up through your paper or photos so you can see exactly where you are going to cut), a two-blade cutting system (as well as the rotary blade, there is a stationary flat blade at the edge of the cutting surface that the rotary blade slides against, creating a clean slice like scissors make), AA battery powered LED lights (for incredibly efficient energy consumption and easy portability), a storage drawer underneath the cutting surface (for storage of extra batteries, scrapbooking tools, paper, or current scrapbooking projects), and a 15" surface to work on that cuts just a hair shy of 13" paper. And all for a fraction of the cost of similar cutters.

Doesn't our baby sound wonderful? She is! And she is up for sale! Well, her twins are. (We've had her cloned. Part of the reason for a 5 year gestation period. Poor Big Daddy! You should see the stretch marks.) You can read about it on our facebook page, on our website (, and if you are local to Utah, you can come to the Southtown Expo Center this weekend (March 25-26) and check her out, live and in person, and even find her on sale. Our child is very well behaved, much cheaper than a live child, and, unlike most children, will actually make your life much easier. Come on, it's time to adopt!

(Oh, and stay tuned. I'll be giving one away soon on my blog!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St.Patrilicious Day

I am usually quite a failure as a mom when it comes to theme-ing up my house/my kids lives for holidays. Maybe it's because thus far my kids haven't really understood about holidays or cared. But for some reason they have been super excited about St.Patrick's day all week. It's got to be the lamest holiday of them all. I mean, I don't even know who St.Patrick is or why we celebrate it, other than that it gives people a chance to wear great and pinch each other. But my kids could not WAIT for St.Patty's day this year. So I had to do something.

First, breakfast. Green pancakes with green milk. Daphne swore the green made the milk sweeter. Beck wouldn't even try his. But they both ate their shamrock pancakes.

Second, lunch. I thought they'd had enough of the green thing, but when I tried to serve them plain macaroni and cheese, they both freaked out and demanded green. So I died it green. Then Daphne said it looked liked slugs and refused to eat it.
Her bear seemed like it just fine, though.

Finally, a leprechaun hunt. When the kids got home from school, they spied a note left by the cat door and a sparkly green footprint. That tricky leprechaun must have been in our house when we were gone! The note said:
"I'm a leprechaun, and I visited your house! See if you can find me and steal away my treasure. I'm very shy, but you can follow my sparkles to see where I went, and if you find a gold coin, that's a clue! Keep on going. If you can find the favorite place for a leprechaun to sleep, you might find my pot of gold. Good luck!"

So we followed his advice and headed outside, because, of course, leprechauns only like to sleep outdoors where it's nice and green. There on the back steps, we found another footprint.

A few feet later, a gold coin with green sparkles on it. He must have dropped that coin!

We followed the trail down the sidewalk, and off into the grass.

A few gold coins left here and there led the way to the cherry tree in our back yard. There at the bottom the kids found a green pot and another note!

I guess we missed him. Shucks! Well, at least he left a bunch of treasure behind!

Maybe we'll be faster next year. Or maybe we can be more stneaky. Daphne's advice, after realizing we'd scared him away, was, "And next year, Mom, NO TALKING!" I guess next year I have to direct this whole endeavor silently. Well, a small price to pay for the joy of making your kids believe in little red-headed green men. Even the green stain all over my fingers was worth it.

How Vegetables Made My Day

I admit it: yesterday I bribed my kids to try salad. Salad is so inoffensive. Practically tasteless, no texture issues, just a nice crisp crunch. And smothered in Ranch, their favorite condiment, how could they NOT like it?? But my kids are very mental eaters. Especially Beck. By that I mean that all of their eating issues are based in some sort of mental block they have created that has no basis in reality. For example, both of my kids love lasagna. And they both love baby shells in tomato sauce. But when I serve them giant shells stuffed with cheese, the same shape as their beloved baby shells and the exact same ingredients as lasagna, they both act like I've served scab and rat tail stew for dinner. I know if I can just get a bite into their mouths, they'll say, "hey, this is good!" The challenge is getting their taste buds to over ride their brain. And for that, it sometimes takes money. And I'm not talking spare change, here. I'm talking about paper money. Dollah bills.

So last night Daphne was the first to take the bait. She tried some salad with ranch and, guess what? She didn't die! I think she may have actually liked it, though out of pride she always pretends to hate these things she tries for bribes. Beck wasn't so easily convinced. Even the fact that a clean, crisp dollar bill was soon sitting next to his sister's plate wasn't quite enough to convince him to risk life and limb over. So I sweetened the deal. "How about if we take our dollars to the dollar store after dinner and you guys can buy WHATEVER YOU WANT IN THE WHOLE STORE." Well, this caught his attention. Despite having more toys than the entire nation of Belarus, my kids still feel like shopping for a new toy is the best thing that could ever happen to them. So Beck suddenly said, "Ok, Mom. I'll do it." One bite of crispy, Ranchy salad later, both kids were analyzing their bills, comparing serial numbers, making speculations on the eye at the top of the pyramid on the back, and declaring that their dollar bill was bigger. And I was quietly planning a dinner very soon in which salad played a main role. Mom:2, Kids:0.

But now to the best part of the story: The dollar store. We live in kind of a dollar store free zone. There is the one by our old house that we used to shop at. It's about 10 minutes north. But then Big Daddy found one about 7 minutes south, one we'd never been to, so we decided to try something new.


I have never seen a dollar store like this one. It was the superstore of all dollar stores. Like Wal-mart on steroids. Like IKEA for cheap people. I mean, cheapER people. Normally I get a bit giddy at the dollar store, looking around at all the crap stuff I can buy for only a dollar each. But at this dollar store, I practically hit Nirvana. The enormous Easter section alone sent me into an excited tizzy. And by the time I got through the stationary and gift bag section, 3x the size of my previous dollar store's, to the toy area, I had decided I would need to come back soon. Very soon. They just had such a huge selection of things to occupy my kids for a couple of days and then get thrown away, I couldn't believe my eyes. And the kitchen goods, tools, and hair accessories areas...ahhhhh, they nearly put me in a swoon. Yes, me and my $25 would soon be back to have the time of our lives.

So, the moral of this story is: getting your kids to eat salad is all well and good, but bliss, pure bliss, can only be found at the dollar store.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I've Never

I don't know if you've ever played this game at a shower or party, but it's kind of fun to take stock of what things you've judiciously avoided in your life, what things you have gone for, and what things may have occured like-it-or-not. Anyway, I was thinking about it for some unknown reason while my children were creating mayhem in the McDonalds playland last week (my go-to activity for energy burn-off when Big Daddy is out of town and the weather is bad and I'm on the verge of committing double filicide--your vocabulary word for the day, look it up). Here's what I came up with:

I've never...
1. Had a manicure
2. Ridden in a limo
3. Had to wear a cast
4. Worn a diamond ring
5. Gone mountain biking
6. Worn fake nails (unless you count the fabulous set of Lee Press-On Nails I got for Christmas in 1985, which I don't because they only stayed on for 10 seconds at a time)
7. Died my hair black (how I missed out on this one, I don't know. I still think about doing it all the time.)
8. Slept out under the stars (Are you kidding me?? Hello, BUGS!)
9. Been Scuba diving
10. Shot an animal (Though I did kill a spider once by applying nail polish to it and then feeling guilty and applying nail polish remover to it. Probably more cruel than shooting it.)
11. Owned a dog
12. Been to a pro football game
13. Eaten an ice cream cone (even as a child, I only wanted it in a dish)
14. Shoplifted
15. Made out in a movie theater (although I've seen it more times than I cared to, ew)
16. Driven without my seat belt
17. Been to court
18. Had a cold sore
19. Owned a jean jacket (Yes, my high school years were sorely lacking here)
20. Driven the speed limit the whole way somewhere
21. Worn jeans with high heals
22. Read Harry Potter
23. Mowed a lawn
24. Lost my keys (misplaced? Oh yes. Truly lost, not yet, knock on wood.)
25. Actually committed filicide

What about you?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Used To Be Chicken, But...

Is this what my blog has come to? Posting about recipes for soup with bad puns as titles? YEP. Two kids, one ginormous belly, and serious spring fever (it's 68 degrees today!!!) will do that to you.

So moving right along...

I'm not much of a soup fan. Soup seriously takes way more effort than it's worth. Stew is a maybe. But most soups, especially brothy soups, are just a cheap imitation of a meal. Plus most of it ends up dribbling down your chin. It's not just me right?? Well, maybe I'm not very talented at eating soup. Whatever. Anyway, I generally never eat soup. But yesterday both Daphne and I had yucky-tummy. Nothing sounded good to us except chicken soup. And Campbells, I'm sorry to say, is the worst version of soup because there is hardly anything in it but the mess. That left me no choice but to make chicken soup from scratch, something I (for obvious reasons) have never done.

So I found a recipe on that had ALL FIVE STARS for its user rating, which rarely happens, so I figured it was sure to turn out well. AND I happened to have all the ingredients on hand. So guess what? It did turn out well! And the best part? The recipe actually called for the half eaten carcass of our rotisserie chicken from a couple of days ago that I had been keeping in the fridge on the off chance that I would need the remaining chicken for something even though I never do and always end up throwing it away a week later. Bonus!

This recipe is for a ton of people. I halfed it and it was plenty for the four of us for dinner and at least 2-3 servings to go in the fridge. I served it with a delicious ciabatta bread from Kneaders, but I have a recipe for amazing homemade ciabatta bread that I would have used if I had known 24 hours ahead of time that I would have yucky-tummy and an chance to actually use up my rotisserie chicken. (It's an easy recipe but you do have to start the dough 24 hours before and let it sit. I'll post it if anyone is interested.)

Five Star Chicken Soup

First you make the base:
2 quarts chicken broth
1 quart water
1 store-bought roast chicken
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large onions, cut into medium dice
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds or half rounds, depending on size
2 large stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1. Bring broth and water to a simmer over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle. Meanwhile, separate chicken meat from skin and bones; reserve meat. Add skin and bones to the simmering broth. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until bones release their flavor, 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Strain broth through a colander into a large container; reserve broth and discard skin and bones. Return kettle to burner set on medium-high.
3. Add oil, then onions, carrots and celery. Saute until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add chicken, broth and thyme. Bring to a simmer. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days in advance. Return to a simmer before adding the extras of your choice.)

3 cups egg noodles (I let the kids choose the shape. They went with bow ties.)
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Add 3 cups egg noodles, then simmer until tender, 10-20 minutes: (I only simmered mine as long as the noodles said to, which was 7 minutes)
3. Before removing from heat, stir in: 1 cup (5 ounces) frozen green peas and 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley. (The peas will be fully cooked by the time the soup is served.)
4.Final touch: Add salt and pepper, to taste.

So there you have it. Delicous! And very good for a yucky tummy. And actually it was quite easy, but the de-meating and simmering parts take a while, so make sure to start this soup well ahead of time. Also, if anyone wants my recipe for amazing crusty artisan bread with a chewy center, let me know.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Substitute Mother Bird Needed

During the second trimester of this pregnancy, I got the nesting instinct. Big Time. I spent hours online looking at baby bedding. When I couldn't find any I liked, I went crazy going from fabric store to fabric store to find the perfect combination of cloth for my mom to sew. I did a lot of shopping for stuff for the kids' rooms, too, I cleaned a lot, organized a bunch, painted some stuff, remodelled a few things. I had all these great plans for getting my house ready for my baby bird.

And then I ran out of steam.

But evidently Mother Nature feels like the nest isn't ready yet because all I can think about all day is all the spaces of the house I DIDN'T get done.

For example, I wanted to choose some colorful pillows and accent pieces for our living room. It's all neutrals--grey, beige, and black with ocre walls--and it needs some punches of color to spice it up. I thought about a bright plum or violet, but I never found any pillows that color.
I'm also thinking of a light robin's egg blue. But if I do that, I want to paint the currently sage green kitchen/dining room the same shade of light blue, which I adore. It would look so darling with the red and white accents I have through out the kitchen.

But I just don't have the energy.

The guest room, which has brick red bedding and accessories with touches of sage is in a room previously painted LAVENDER. Can I just tell you how much that clashes??? It looks so sickly in there. But once again, I'm out of steam for repainting.
(This picture is fuzzy, but it shows the true shade of the walls best)

Back when I had some energy, I picked out new bedding for Beck. It's in dark red, blue and white, with stars. A little bit American looking, but very subdued. I'm not into the whole countrified Americana theme. AT ALL. But he still needs a matching valance, snd some matching art-work. And the zoo animal border on the wall that was here when we moved in probably needs to come down, but...I think you know what I'm going to say here: I'm just too tired.

And then there's the baby's nursery. It currently has a giant world map taking up the entire back wall. It still has the sewing table up from when my mom was here. In December. The walls are tan. I can live with tan, I guess. But I have the feeling they should be painted more to match the baby's bedding, which my mom is nearly finished sewing. Here is a swatch:

And there is this great old bookcase in there. Currently it's kind of a dusty turquoise. Big Daddy hates it. I could paint it to match. Or I could just move it somehwere else. Most likely neither one of them is going to happen any time soon. But, hey, I still have two months 'til the baby comes, right?

I should probably either pick out a new color of towel for the master bath or else paint it. The walls are a cross between clay grey and moss green. Our towels are brick red. It's not the greatest color combo. But what is the solution?

See? I just have too many projects and not enough mojo. Anyone want to lend their design sense? Or their painting arm? Pay is crappy and hours are long. But you might get free baked goods out of the deal. They seem to be pretty plentiful around here lately. That's one thing you can always count on a pregnant lady for. Energy? No. Sweets? Heck yes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name

Yes, it's fair to say that baby names have been on my mind a bit lately. I haven't moved to a serious state of decision yet. I'm more in the "search and destroy" phase right now. We have a list of about 7 or 8 names that have survived the carnage and are still looking for new and fresh options, but we probably won't decide on one until "Bebe Trois" is born. We like to see what a baby looks like and what name fits her before we decide.

I have very specific tastes in baby names, in case you haven't noticed. And if you don't know me well enough to know my "rules" on baby names, I'll lay them out for you:

1) The name must be heard of without being common.

2) The name must be easy to say, spell and remember. (I know "Daphne" might not fit those qualifications for some people. But it is a 3000 year old name and I spell it the traditional way. So I figure if you can't say or spell Daphne, it's your fault, not the name's fault.)

Those are the two main qualifications. But the sub-qualifications are:
3) The name has to be a real name with a real history, i.e. not made up. Not even from combining syllables from real names. (No Janalyns, no Jaydens, no Karalees, no Briannas, etc.) So... traditional, but still uncommon.

4) The name can't be a last name turned first name with two syllables ending in er/or or en/on (i.e. Taylor, Brighton, Hunter, Addison)

5) Absolutely NO alternate spellings allowed. In my mind, it doesn't make the name more unique to spell it weird. It just sentences that child to a life of having an average name without the benefit of anyone being able to spell it right. And as someone named Arianne, I know a thing or two about having to spell your name out EVERY SINGLE TIME. (p.s. Hey, Moms-to-be? It sucks! Don't do it!)

6) Nothing trendy. No matter how cute I think it is, I won't use a name in the top 200 most popular baby names from the last decade, preferably not in the top 500. How can I know this? The Social Security baby names website, of course! It's pretty much the best invention ever for choosing a baby name. How many times have you heard a mother say, "I had never heard of another Jennifer/Madison/Ethan/Kaden when I named my child that!" Well, if she had checked the S.S. baby name website, she would have known that it was the #1 most popular name for the last four years. So...before I choose a baby name, I check the S.S. baby name site to see the trend for the name I like. It'll tell you how that name has done in the last 10 years, 100 years or more; it'll tell you how popular it is by state; it'll let you browse the top 1000 names for any give year; or you can look up a year and see what people were naming their kids then (which is especially helpful if you like names from a certain era. Yay 1910! Boo 1966.) That way I can be sure that I won't accidentally end up with four other kids in my child's class with the same name.

"Daphne" for example, has not ranked higher than 476th out of 1000 in the last decade. Perfect. "Beck" hasn't ever been in the top 1000. Even better.

(Side note, Daphne actually had another Daphne in her class at the beginning of the year, and, despite my careful planning, she had to go by Daphne T. until she moved to a different class. Can you believe it?)

So as I consider the list of names I like, I have to hold them up to my rules and see how they do. All of the names I like are fairly uncommon. Some of them more than others. I recently discovered that one of my favorites has jumped from the high 200's to #108 last year. So that's probably out. Another that I like is very uncommon, between #570 and #935 in the last decade, but a possible nickname for it has sped up the rankings to #101 as of last year, dangerously close to being a popular name. A couple that I like are not even in the top 1000 names and haven't been for about a century. Those names fit my specifications best, but they may not be the ones I like the most.

And then there is rule # 7:

7) I can't name my child something that someone else I personally know has recently named their child. It's a weird thing about me I can't explain. But that's just the way I am. I guess when you go to all the trouble of choosing an uncommon name, you don't want someone you know to use it too. That defeats the purpose. And so similarly, I feel like I can't go using a name someone else I know has just used.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. (Yes, there is one. Surprise!) In the last two weeks, I have had FIVE of my most favorite, yet most uncommon names, taken by other parents! I haven't ever voiced my names aloud, so it's not that they stole them from me. They just...stole them from me. Don't get me wrong. These are still very uncommon names. I'm not afraid of having three of these in my child's class at school. But I still have this thing where I feel like I can't name my child the same name as someone else I know, even someone I don't know well and don't often see. So what do I do??? Use the name or not?


I'm not asking for actual advice here. I realize I am on a remote island when it comes to baby names and I have learned by now that pretty much no one out there shares my opinions enough to give me advice I would listen to. Usually, I don't even share my names or rules...I just know no one will agree. So I guess I simply wanted to voice how frustrating it is to have this great list of names and then, only 2 months before the baby is due, to have five of them picked off my list (IF I follow rule #7).

Hmmm...Maybe I'll throw out rule #7.

Or maybe I'll just name the baby Mildred so I won't have to worry about it at all.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Adventures In Pregnancy

There are four things that are not very conducive to a good night's sleep:

1) Going into labor at 1:30am
2) Being 29 1/2 weeks pregnant when said labor kicks in
3) Knowing you are 45 minutes away from the hospital where you plan to deliver
4) Getting two shots of terbutaline which, as far as I can tell, is the OB's version of speed.

There are four ways to help make up for the loss of sleep:

1) Knowing there's another hospital only 5 minutes away, even if it doesn't host your favorite doctor
2) Having relatives who stay up until at least 3 am and who can drop everything at a moment's notice to come over and watch your kids
3) Knowing your little babe is staying put for now
4) Skipping church

I guess there are worse things than having the baby punch me in the ribs all day.