Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Shane's PIctures

I didn't have any great pictures to put up so I stole some of Shane's.

This was a fun game they would pay. Jump off the front of the boat while it is sailing, let it go over you- you're in between the pontoons- and then grab a rope hanging off the end and pull yourself to the stairs. Sounds like fun. Jodi told Shane to look like he'd been pushed so this is what he did.
Here is another Nico spread. As was everything else, Shane said it was fabulous. I've never made sushi myself. Shane likes it.
And here is the famous mashed potatoes with carmelized onions, beef tenderloin, asparagus, and a mushroom sauce. And of course home made bread.
Shane chilling on an island. They set up a hammock, or someone else had, and sat and drank beer to rest after a day of snorkeling and whatever else. I think his goggles add a particular something.
Ron lost the evening card game and got the job of scrubbing the dinghy. Shane lost once and had to do three shots of whatever the winner chose. I was glad he did not get the one where the loser had to take a shot of tequila first thing in the morning and then swim to a nearby island. Boys are silly. But cute.
Our new routine is going pretty well. I am very sore, pretty much everywhere. Shane is a great trainer. He walks up to me and pokes me in sore muscle- I think we'd done chest and back,
'Did that hurt?'
"Good. That means you're doing it right."
He also offered to help me work on my side crunches, which went just as badly as I remembered.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why do I do these things...

I have come to realization that blogging is dangerous. At least for me. It seems without fail, I emerge from the library after finishing a post only to discover a new disaster that needs media attention. I've also found a lot of these events have a common theme- butter knives. They have come to be Kateri and Pippin's calling card. If you find one, you know who was there.

This time they opened two pakcages of macaroni and cheese and sprinkled them all over the coffee table. They are never this quiet. They didn't fight or make any noise. Not so unusual for partners in crime I guess. So for lunch they had just noodles with butter. In th midst of boiling them Kateri came walking into the kitchen carrying Pippin's diaper- which had been on his bottom- explaining it needed to be changed. It most certainly did so I had to quickly chase him down, clean him up, dispose of the diaper and its contents and by the time I finished the pasta was a little overcooked. But they ate it anyway.

So, why am I here again? Because days like this are more manageable if you are not alone. Or at least feel like you are not alone. And typing it all down makes it seem like you've shared the "load" and can now move on. Its very theraputic. And because I already talked to Tirzah today and Shane is not home. But he is on his way so I'd better pick up a little and make sure I got all the lovely cheesy sauce out of the cracks in the table. Audrey was complaining about the odd smell. Not sure how she could pick it out .It kind of fits in .

I was admiring Pippin's hair at lunch. Something about it seemed familiar. Then I realized it reminded me of Sinead O'Connor. Shane's been listening to her Theology album so I had seen her recently. She has a similar widow's peak. I wonder if she uses the 3/4" attachment too.

Some snow , a date, and a haircut

We had a very pretty snow fall last night. It came down like west coast blizzard. Which just means it actually snowed. It was very prett to watch and we figured it would melt by morning as is our custom so we were very pleasantly surprised this morning to see it still here and the roads covered. Shane stayed home long enough for it to get slushy and will come home before it gets cold again, which they say it will and we will get more snow tonight. The kids were pretty excited. Kateri got dressed and went out and came back with her boot- it had fallen off-filled with snow. She set it on the table, got two spoons, and called to Pippin to come share the feast. I guess he has a thing for snow. The first thing he said when he saw it this morning was "I can eat it." I was too lazy to put on shoes so here is a picture out the front door. We got at close to 3", which was more than they predicted. It was so funny to watch the news this morning. The reporter standing at a street corner reporting on Winter storm watch 2008,

"As you can see behind me it is endeed snowing. "-Camera zooms over her shoulder to show snow because you couldn't see it before-" It seems to pretty much be falling everywhere. You can see here the roofs and trees are definitely white. There is snow on the roads and drivers are being cautious"- it pans to the traffic on the road where cars are driving uphill with no slipping and going the almost speed limit-"Some people are taking extreme measures" video of a man walking his bicycle . "And with more snow on the way, tomorrow we can expect to see people in hats and gloves" and with any luck slipping on the ice. That would be news worth watching.

I cut shane's hair this morning and then Pippin insisted I cut his too. I can't use scissors on him so I just buzz his while head. It might not have been the best timing as he'll want to go outside and probably loose his hat but carpe diem. It was looking pretty shaggy.

Trudy and Ron volunteered to watch the kids over night again. We finally said ok. This time we decided to stay home and get some sleep. But we actually only came home to sleep. I had decided we'd not eat at home so it would feel like we were out. First we stopped at Arista's to pick up teh wine I ordered and a few extras Shane found. Then we went to Girardi's and had a leisurely dinner, a bottle of wine, coffee and dessert. Then we went to the movies and saw "I am Legend". Then we walked over to Starbucks and got coffee and to Godiva and got some treats. And then because we were not thrilled with the first movie and because we could, we saw Rambo. It felt like such a date. We could go wherever we wanted and stay out as late we wanted. But it was better because there was no curfew and nobody had to go home at night and we could appreciate the freedom more because it was so rare. Like sleep. You never appreciate it as much as you do after having kids. Or going to the bathroom alone, or eating a meal sitting down with two hands. It was really nice.

In the morning we got dressed and went down to the cafe at the bottom of our hill for breakfast and then to Trader Joe's. It is so hard to shop there with the kids. The aisles are so small and hardly big enough for one cart and no matter how you position your cart the little ones can always reach something. So it was a treat to go by ourselves. I haven't taken Shane to the Central Market in Mill Creek yet but that is fun too. And a lot roomier. Tirzah was telling me they have lots of little carts ,so the kids wouldn't have to fight over one. I could just picture all four of ours with carts. They probably would not let us come back.

This morning Shane and I started our new routine. Actually we started it last night by being in bed at 10:00. The kids liked the idea of mom and dad having a bedtime too. But it is necessary for the morning routine. Shane had the brilliant idea of us getting up early and working out together before he goes to work. A friend at work and his wife are doing it and Shane thought it sounded fun. Some friend. Actually, I have been in serious need of some form of exercise. And for the the first time in years I can plan on getting out of bed to do something, knowing Pippin will stay alseep. He doesn't wake up at night anymore but he is still in our bed. This morning Kateri crawled in before I got out which is good because then he has a warm body to snuggle and will sleep better. It worked out and we worked out and hopefully I'll be sore tomorrow. So we can do it again. Today was chest and back. I think tomorrow is plyometrics. Last time I think I fell over. Or that might have been yoga. But it was fun and it is nicer to work out together.

It is snowing again. Very small slakes but lots. Shane says he'll be heading home soon. And also that we are supposed to do 25 min of ab work out tonight. Side crunches are my specialty. Because I can't figure out how to do them and usually just succeed in making violent spastic twitching movements- like a slug being tasered. Can't wait.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Little Chefs, Kids Liturgy

I decided to make champagne chicken for dinner last night. The kids were already hungry and getting a little crabby so I decided we'd make it a group activity to keep busy until it was done. We set up work stations- Audrey and Cyril took turns pounding the chicken breasts, Kateri sprinkled the lemon juice and freshly ground pepper, and Cyprian sauteed the chicken pieces using tongs to turn them over. He likes to pinch things. It worked pretty well and came out very tasty. Their favorite part was when I opened the bottle of champagne. I had parely loosend the wire when the cork went shooting off and hit the ceiling while a fountain of champagne erupted from the bottle all over the counter. I let them each try a sip. Kateri grinned and immediatley said
" Oooh, this is the kind I love!"

Kateri and Pippin got into the icon dresser and decided to play Liturgy. It was cute to hear them chanting back and forth and ringing bells.
Kateris litany went

"Aaaaahhh nations, ahhhhh kingdom, IIIIIIIlove Grandma, AAAAAAAnd Grandma love me."

I started a loaf of bread this morning. The recipe uses beer so of course Kateri , who always helps, had to try some. All my measuring cups have disappeared so I had to use a baby bottle to measure it. maybe that made it seem more kid friendly. She giggled and said it was sour.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I don't think I'm a bad mom....

But looking over a lot of blog entries I could see how someone might think so. Whilst I was adding the last post Kateri and Pippin decided to play a new game. I came out and found Kateri lying on the couch while Pippin was annointing her. With a packet of oatmeal. The maple and brown sugar kind.

They said something about being birdies. And yes, Pippin's shirt is on backwards. But at least he has one on.

After vacuuming it all up I am feeling the need for a thera flu and a hot shower. And a nap. But under the curcumstances it would probably not be wise. Maybe if I secured the area and contained the insurgents first it might work.

A Cyrilism, a mess, and a bottle of rum- actually wine

Cyril sitting at the breakfast table after declining my offer of some toast

" You know why I don't eat very much?"

Me, very curious especially since he doesn't not eat very much "No, why?"

"Because a lot of times I just find food on the floor and I eat that. So then I'm not very hungry."

I was horrified that my kitchen floor could actually sustain a growing 7 year old boy and was wondering if he was referring to events like the one below when Kateri and Pippin decided to hack an apple into hundreds of pieces with butter knives- luckiliy they used a cutting board not the floor- and then I remembered they also dragged a chicken breast carcass off the cupboard where it had been patiently awaiting burial after I de-boned it.
But he continued,
"Like one time I found 30 nerds on the floor in my room and I ate them. Stuff like that."

I was gald he had the sense to not eat off the kitchen floor. You never know what you'll find.
The same night as the apple massacre they attacked a roll of toilet paper- I think stilll weilding butter knives. While all this was going on Shane and I were discussing family changes/rules in the library. I didn't take them long and they were really quiet about it, which was my first clue something was wrong. It gave me some ideas for new guidelines around the kids in the kitchen and bathroom.

I called the wine store we frequent to see if they had any of the wine we tried at the Salish and they said no but they could order some but it would be the 2004, not the 2003 we had. The next day Shane went to QFC and they had three bottles and they were all 2003. We might try some other stores to see if they have any left but we'll get some 2004 and see how it compares. It's only around $21. Unlike the Salish which charges $50.
I think the worm has turned, finally. This morning was the first morning in weeks where I didn't need to have two cups of thera flu in place of coffee. And I even had a latte so I am thinking we are on the other side now. I still had to steam Kateri in the middle of the night. Poor thing. The cough is really doing a number on her. The big kids seem almost normal and I think Shane's completion of Call of Duty 4 yesterday will give him the extra boost he needed.

So that means I will be able to leave the house someday and no more silly posts. Well that last part is probably a lie. Shane didn't believe me when I told him I posted pictures of a pizza box. But he thought it was ok when he saw them.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pizza box silliness, Are you my Mother?

Cyprian loves the book "Are You My Mother?" Tirzah got it for him for Christmas and he is very possessive of it. You can look at his Curious George books and his animal books but if you pick up Are You My Mother he is very vocal about declaring ownership. I love how he says "Noit" for Snort. We were sitting at the table eating dinner and I over hear Pippin asking
"Are you my mother?" I looked over and saw him cozying his chicken wing up to his slice of pizza as it asked if they were related. Then he took a big bite of chicken. Not sure what to think about that.
We ordered pizza for dinner- still all under the weather and not feeling much like cooking and cleaning. As I was eating I read the side of the box. I had no idea it was so technologically advanced.

Then I read the other side.
I think my favorite was the bottom of the box which asked why you were reading the underside of the box and they hoped you didn't have any pizza in the box. I appreciate silly entertaining things where you least expect them. And I have not been out of the house for a long time and am tired of being cooped up and sick which explains why I am putting pictures of a pizza box here.

Friday, January 18, 2008

House Blessings, Bread, & Pippin

We had house blessing's on Tuesday. Its fortunate Tirzah, Anna, and I are in the same area because then we all get to have dinner together. Irina is in our group too but unfortunately couldn't make it to the dinner. Everything went well and cleaning up the house wan't too much work. I was glad we'd been keeping up on the nightly kids pick-up routine. Dinner was tasty, conversation was lively, and the wine was in abundance. Looking forward to next year.

I found this bread recipe in my last issue from Cook's Illustrated. I always wanted to make rustic looking loaves like you see in bakeries. This is an almost-no-knead bread. You need to let it sit for about 8 hrs though, or up to 18, to get the slighty sour dough taste. It has beer and vinegar too. Then you cook it in a covered dutch oven for the first 30 min then remove the lid for the last 20 min and it comes out steamed with a pretty, crunchy crust. I liked in Ratatouille, when they are discussing how to test bread by the sound. This loaf had a perfect brittle, crackly sound when you squeezed it. It tates yummy too. Especially when it is still warm. The kids like it toasted for breakfast. This was my third loaf this week. I'm out of flour now. I'd like to try it with fresh whole-wheat flour some time. But I don't have a grinder. I asked Shane if I could get one and he said sure, as long as I didn't start wearing denim jumpers and head coverings too. I submissively acquiesced. But I haven't picked one out yet. I like the idea of getting more wheaty-nutrients and it tastes really yummy if you freshly grind it- as opposed to the store stuff. and recipes don't come out brick hard.

The kids were playing with balloons and rubbing them on their hair to make static electricity. Cyprian would walk around the house with a balloon perched on his shoulder or back- looking kind of quasi-modoish. Kateri's hair was amazing but she wouldn't hold still for a picture.

Pippin and George sharing some breakfast.

One thing we seem to have escaped, so far, was picking up Jack's sickness. He threw up while they were here so it seemed like a pretty sure thing. I guess the germs felt sorry for us as we have been battling colds for the last 2 weeks. And it is still going strong. Kateri's had a resurgence last night and was coughing. I couldn't get to sleep until after 2am. I did make some home-made chicken broth which I simmered all day yesterday. It was very comforting and I'm looking forward to more at lunch. Every evening I find myself craving thera-flu. Not sure how I'll survive once I'm over the cold. If that day does come.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Our Second Honeymoon

So, after 10 years we decided it was finally time to get away for a night. Alone. Shane gave me a trip to the Salish Lodge, along with lots of extras for Christmas/Anniversary and since Cyprian is finally not nursing at night we decided to give it a go. Ron and Trudy bravely offered to watch the kids, which the kids were very excited about. They would live there if they could so of course we knew they would be well taken care of and we'd be able to relax, not worrying about the kids.

It was sort of last minute but everything seemed to align for that Friday so I booked the room and dinner reservations and spa treatments. Which we'd never tried before. Anywhere, so I was looking forward to it with anticipation. We dropped the kids off around 3pm and headed for Snoqualmie.

I can't express how excited I was. I was giddy packing our bags and envisioning a night of uninterrupted sleep in our own bed with a crackling fire and uninterrupted conversations.

We went to check in, where the attendant wished a happy anniversary and reconfirmed our other reservations. I felt very strange walking to our room. I was waiting for someone to stop me and say,

"You don't belong here. Go home to your kids. Fold some laundry. What are you doing here?'

No one did, so I kept walking. I still felt a little unnatural and like I didn't know what to do with myself. After we got to our room it came to me that all I had eaten that day was a breve latte. I knew that couldn't be good. Our dinner in the main restaurant was not until 6:15 and it was just after 4. We decided it might be a good idea to stop in at the Attic Bistro for some pre-dinner snacks and wine. It was heavenly.

I was chilly from being hungry so I picked a table in front of the crackling fire. As I felt the heat I started to melt. Then they brought the bread and creamy European-style butter with fleur-de-sel and glasses of merlot. I was completely over any feelings of not fitting in. I didn't even worry about Pippin. I really need to be more careful about my eating habits. We didn't want to spoil dinner so we looked for a tasty appetizer and fixed on a meat and cheese platter. It was very tasty with creamy bleu cheese and cute little kalmata olives with three kinds of thinly sliced meat and artichoke hearts and stone-ground mustard. I think I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

We sat for awhile and enjoyed the warmth and tastiness until it was gone. Then mosied to out room to get ready for dinner. They seated us in our own private room up against a window. It was dark out but it had a nice view of the water in the daylight. We first had to tackle the wine list, which was very extensive- 6 pages of reds. I told Shane he would have to pick. There were too many choices. He picked a Snoqualmie Cabernet Reserve. 2003. It was a very good choice and the bottle was really neat. I forgot to ask to keep it though.

After we had tackled the wine choice we had the dinner menu to go over. There were too many tempting choices so Shane suggested we try the 6 course dinner so we could try a variety of dishes. I am so glad he did. It was spectacular. Each dish that came out was more impressive than the previous one and the presentations were amazing. As were the descriptions.

As the waiter presented each new course he gave us a rundown of what we were about to enjoy. Each dish had its own litany of words. I think I caught frissee, compote, reduction, cappuccino and a host of others. He rattled them off so quickly and I expected him to end each time with "and spam."

ONe of my favorites- they all were- was the kobe beef cheeks served over creamy mashed potatoes and alongside a horseradish cappuccino. It tasted rich and buttery and creamy and not very horseradishy, which I'm not fond of anyway. YOu were supposed to sip it with your meal because the beef and potatoes were not rich enough. The beef was the most tender meat I've ever eaten. They'd serve little pallette cleansers and starters and by the time we got the the "chocolat bombe"- because it tastes better spelled that way- we could only eat a couple bites. It was presented on large plates with chocolate scrolled letters around the border that read "happy 10th anniversary". I thought that was a really neat touch.

Then feeling quite content and cozy and completely at home we headed back to our room. First Shane got a fire going and then we ran a hot relaxing bath. It had lights in it that flashed green, yellow, red, and blue. Everytime they turned on we expected a mariachi band to jump out of the closet and start playing "Feliz Navidad". I could picture it in a movie. But they didn't.

After we got out we noticed the fire wasn't drawing well and the room smelled a little smokey. Shane stirred it and tried to get it going more. It did but it didn't help the smoke. We found ashes spread all over the room. So we opened the window but that almost seemed to draw more smoke than it let out.

Soon we discovered the next surprise feature of our room. An intermittent screeching sound like metal scraping against metal. Shane removed the screen, which was not the right size and was just leaning against the window anyway, and popped his head out. He could see a down spout which had broken loose and everytime the wind blew it scraped and made the horrible noise. We figured it might stop eventually. We left the window open to help alleviate the smoke and were then able to enjoy the sounds of cars and semis careening down the highway. I thought counting them might help me sleep but it didn't. I woke up Shane to say I couldn't sleep and we lay there for awhile listening to the romantic sounds all around us as we filled our lungs with air heady with ashes and smoke. It was so riciculous all we could do was laugh. We were in hysterics imagining the cleaning staff finding us unconsious in the morning, maybe with the Christmas-bath lights going. I tried as hard as I could to sleep- which only mades it more impossible- and finally I called the front desk, described our current conditions and asked for a new room. A little later we were told the hotel was booked but they coul send up a fan and that we should close the damper on the fireplace to make sure wind was not bringing in the smoke. It seemed a little unsafe as the fireplaces have a glass screen but are not completely air tight, but it was either that or try sleeping in the hall. Which I was actually quite tempted to do.

The fan did help with the noise and we kept to window open so I felt a little safer of not expiring due to smoke inhalation. We were both very surprised the fire alarm in the room never went off. At that point it would have just been another thing to contend with getting to sleep.

So, around 4am we were finally able to sleep but were exhausted when the alarm went off to wake us up for an 8am spa appointment. We considered missing it but decided it might be better to move into a smoke-free area for awhile. That fact and a massage I think would be the only reasons for not sleeping more.

We were glad we went. It was very relaxing in a cozy room with a non-smokey fire burning and calm music playing. I wondered why they didn't just let us sleep there. And it really helped with the side-effects of the night. As relaxing as it was she was not very strong and I knew I'd need Shane to take a turn on my shoulders but we picked up some new techniques and it inspired us to get a massage table and work on creating our own spa nights at home.

Afterwards we quickly got dressed and out of our room. It was not really a pleasant place to stay in still. Breakfast was tasty and the breve latte was very strong- which I really needed. And the views were so pretty. We thought of walking down the look-out point but we were both very tired and just wanted to get home.

Unfortunately, we did not get pictures of anything at all. I really wished we'd taken the camera to dinner but oh well.

So now we are home still in the process of sleep recovery.

Oh, and I forgot. As a final farewell gift this week-end we got colds too. We'd been staving off the kids bad colds with zicam, and pretty sucessfully. But Saturday afternoon we both felt the cold was winning. I'm sure the bad sleep was the culprit.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

More Holiday Fun

We invited Tirzah and Aaron over for dinner. Kateri was so excited. She set up hernew tea set and some things and then went to wait by the door for them. I found her later asleep. Jack had napped on the way over and it was the best get together they've had. I'm thinking more naps might be in order. Kateri's set up.

I made beef tenderloin with 5 onion confit. It is very tasty and I luckily did not over cook it.

Tirzah and Aaron brought Twister for the kids-so we could watch them play. But the adults had fun too. I liked Pippin's version.

We rang in the new year at a friend's house. I didn't get many pictures and this was not blurry and I think Shane looks cute so there it is. The outdoor ones didn't turn out at all. The kids all had a good time- as did the adults-and we all were awake at 12:00. Not really an unusual thing for our kids.