Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Good-bye Klines.

On saturday we said good-bye to Mary-Anne, Jeremiah and Ethan as they headed off to Ft. Hood. After spending 3 weeks together, Ethan and Skylar were definately buddies. We tried to get one last picture of them.

Ethan was distracted by the flower on Skylar's shoulder:
Then he noticed her barrette:He decided it was fun to play with:
So we moved Ethan to the non-barrette side and tried again. This time they just chilled like the little villians that they are while we took pictures:
One last picture of our families (either it was Ethan's nap time or he does NOT want to go to Texas):
My BFF (that's right, I said BFF, we're in 7th grade):
Mary-Anne gave Skylar a flower before she left because she knows how much Skylar loves them. She smelled it until all the petals fell off and then took a nap with the stem.
A picture from almost 5 years ago, which honestly feels like it was another lifetime:
I miss you already! It sure is quiet around here without you guys. But I know that we'll see each other again and we'll pick up right where we left off.....

Only two more months and it's OUR turn to move.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Where is my denim fairy?

For years I have been searching for the perfect pair of jeans.

I've decided they are way harder to find than a husband (which, lets face it, is no small feat in this day and age) since I managed to snag Micah before I was 25, and have yet to find the perfect pair of jeans after about 14 years of searching. I have to admit, I'm a little fatigued.

And yet, I persevere. Somewhere out there is a pair with my name on it that has denim in the perfect dark wash, with flattering pocket placement, plenty of length in the legs but not so much that they drag and get frayed, just enough stretch to keep the behind from sagging, and a waist that does not create one of two fatal problems: a muffin top or, ahem, "buttock cleavage". (And if they happen to be mislabeled therefore leading me to believe I am a size smaller than I really am, even better, I would believe it).

Is that so much to ask? Apparently it is, unless you want to pay well over $100 for jeans that are constructed to fit every lumpy, bumpy curve or lack thereof.
I have discussed this issue at length with my sister Nicole. Mostly she just nods her head sympathetically as though she too is dealing with the post-baby bulge. She believes part of the problem is that my jeans stretch out when I wear them, so maybe I should buy them a little snugger. I kind of have a thing against tight jeans, I want them to be comfortable. But it's true, if they start out comfortable, they usually end up saggy in the rear.
But why should I have to feel like a stuffed sausage for the first two hours that I wear them, in order for them to relax and fit well for the rest of the day? Does anyone else have this problem??

A couple of weeks ago I thought my day had come. I was at Ross to get hairbands. (I know, that sounds like an excuse, but whatever. I really do like their hairbands, they are the thicker kind that come in an array of colors and are half the price of anywhere else.) So anyway, since I was there I perused the jeans without any expectation.

And then I found this pair from Paper Denim & Cloth for $19.99 (retail $175). I couldn't help but think, maybe these are The Ones I've heard about. You know, the really expensive kind with the perfect pockets to make butts (even flat ones) look cute. Except that they weren't expensive, they were a steal. It was too good to be true! I tried them on and almost didn't even notice or care that Skylar crawled under the dressing room door and ran away. I was having a moment.
It was miraculous. No gross fat roll bulging over the top! The rear end was just right. Granted, they were a good 3 inches too long because apparently people my size are supposed to be 6 feet tall, but I could get them tailored or wear them with heels. (Yeah right, I could roll them up.)
I took them home and decided I would put them on and wear them until the rotted off my body. Unfortunately, by the end of the day they had loosened just enough to reveal their fatal flaw: alas they were a lower rise than I realized. Low rise=crackage. You know what I mean, and it isn't pretty.
And so they are relegated to the pile of jeans that can only be worn with long shirts. And the search continues.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Not much longer.....

I have long been awaiting the day when the center of Skylar's universe starts shifting towards her Daddy. When he is the only one that can do something to help her. When she cries and clings to his legs. When he is the one she wants to bathe her, brush her teeth, and read her stories. She has always been a mama's girl, but I think that day might be getting closer!

Lately when Micah comes home from work she greets him like he's a celebrity. It's usually something like this (accompanied by excited noises):
Big Hug:
Then she honks his nose:
Another big hug:
Then another good honk:
Everyone knows that nothing says I Love You like a honk on the nose.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Broken Record

I apologize in advance if this is as annoying to read as it is to hear myself say. Here are ten conversations I am sick of hearing myself have Every.Single.Day in no particular order:

1. "Toothpaste is not for eating. I know it tastes yummy but it's for cleaning our teeth, it's not a snack."

2. "Vitamins are not a snack. I know they are yummy but you can only have one or your tummy will be sick. Thank you for saying please, but you can't have anymore today, you are finished. Skylar, mommy said no more vitamins. Tomorrow you can have another one."

3. "Are you pooping right now? Are you stinky? Should we go change your diaper? Here....let mommy check. Yep, you're poopy!!! Let's go put a clean diaper on! I know you don't want to, but you are stinky and it'll make you feel better. That's okay you can be mad, I still have to change your diaper....would you like a wipee?? Okay! Here's a wipee so you can clean your face! Oh, you want to clean that too? Okay, here's another wipee. Yay, all done! What a big girl!"

4. "Mommy has to go potty now, I'll be right back. It's okay, there's no reason to cry, I'm right in here. You want to come too? Okay you can come too. Oh you want the dogs to come too? I don't think they need to. Okay fine, they're in here too. Mommy is going potty now. Thank you for the toilet paper. Okay, that's enough toilet paper, I don't need anymore. It's time to flush the potty now, are you ready to say bye-bye? Good job! Uh-oh you added more toilet paper, now we have to say bye-bye again. Okay, that's enough now. Thanks for helping."

5. "It's not time to put soap in the dishwasher, it isn't full yet. Okay, we'll put a little bit of soap in so you can close it up. Watch your fingers, please don't squish them. It's not time to turn it on yet. I'm going to turn it off now. You are such a big helper, thank you." (EVERYTIME I OPEN IT.)

6. "Are you ready to feed Sabot? Okay hold the bowl up. Hold it up so the food doesn't spill out. Hold it like this Skylar. Uh-oh the food is spilling. That's okay, let's pick it up now. Okay, now hold the bowl up while you walk. Hold it up please. Uh oh, the food is spilling out again....."

7. "Please don't unfold mommy's clothes Skylar. The clean clothes don't go in the dirty clothes basket, they stay in the drawer. Mommy doesn't want you to put my clean clothes in there with the yucky ones, then I will have to wash them again. Please put them back in the drawer where you got them. Thank you, that's enough, no more helping please."

8. "Please stop giving your food to the dogs, that is food for you, not for them. They have their own food, they don't need yours. I said no more people food for the dogs. If you can't listen they will have to go away so you can't feed them anymore. Okay, the dogs are gone. You don't need to cry, you can still seem them through the glass door. They'll be back when you're done eating."

9. "Where's binky? You don't know? Let's find it! Biiiiinky, where arrrre you????"

10. "We only color on paper Skylar. We don't color on the floor. We only color on paper, we don't color on the couch. We only color on paper, not on the table. Oh, you want to color on your cardboard house? Okay, that's a great idea! Oh no! Please don't feed your crayons to the dogs Skylar. That was not okay to feed your crayon to Sabot, now it is all gone and you don't have it anymore."

Okay, your turn......

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Turkey Chili Recipe

So I just mopped myself into the family room, and now I have to wait for the floor to dry. Skylar's napping and Micah is at the office thanks to a dozen frantic phone calls from staff duty. So what to do? Guess I'll post a recipe to occupy my time.

Turkey Chili:

1 pound of lean ground turkey (use whatever you like, I use the 97% fat free kind)
1 medium onion diced
2 small, or 1 large can of petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 can low sodium chicken broth
2 cans of kidney beans, drained
1 can of corn, drained

Brown the meat and onion together in a T. or so of olive oil, throw in all the other ingredients, season to taste with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne and chili powder and whatever else you like. Simmer for about an hour and eat! I usually serve it with jalapeno cheese cornbread.

Assuming you serve about 8 big bowls, I estimate (with the olive oil and 16 grams of fat total in the pound of turkey) this recipe is under 5 grams of fat per bowl. Not bad compared to the regular stuff.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Aspens

My friend Mary-Anne and her son Ethan have been staying with us for a couple of weeks in preparation for their move down to Ft. Hood. We decided it would be fun to pack up the kids for a little day trip up to the mountains. Since we're both moving away we wanted to go see the leaves changing.

We hung out at the park in Buena Vista, ate ice cream cones at K's and then went up to Spring Canyon to check out the scenery. After sitting in her car seat for two hours, Skylar needed to do gymnastics for awhile.
Then she wanted to lay in the grass. So we did.
This was our view from the ground:
Ethan recently started walking!
The aspens did not disappoint.........
We kept trying to get a picture of Ethan and Skylar together, but all we could catch was Ethan's backside. He had places to go and no time for pictures.
Guess who was ready to pose? Surprise.
One of the best views in the world:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Apple Farm

This past weekend we celebrated fall with a little apple picking.We lured Micah to the orchard with promises of smoked brisket and turkey legs that were advertised on the website. Sadly, when we got there....they were all out. Micah recovered some of his enthusiasm thanks to apple pie a la mode. So we hopped onto the tractor and headed for the promise land.
Nicole loves fruit more than anyone I know, so apple picking is kind of like shopping for her.
The farmer encouraged everyone to sample all 4 of the different apples while we picked. So Skylar ate......
And ate......
And ate..
In fact, there are little bites and teeth marks in a lot of our apples. She had her very own bag and filled with all the rotten and bruised ones that were on the ground until it was too heavy to carry.

We emptied it for her and she started again.
Skylar liked being a farm girl.
We picked up lots of goodies while we were there: pumpkin butter, cider, roasted chilis and local honey. Now I just need to figure out what to do with all of these apples!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grandparent's Day!

Dear Noni & Papa and Granbabe & Granstud and Nana & Papa and Mumma & Puppa,
Skylar has a special message for you!
Take one:
Take five:
Take nine:
I love you all very much!

Love, Skylar

Friday, September 11, 2009

The way I meal plan.

Micah reads this blog at work to find out what's going on in our lives, and he thinks my posts about recipes and cooking in general are very boring. Sorry Micah, that's all it is today.

Several of you have put your weekly meal plans on your blogs in the past, and it's always fun to get ideas. Mostly I'm impressed by your organization. I am so not a planner. I rarely know what I'm going to cook a day in advance. In fact, more often than not I decide at about 4 pm. The thought of actually figuring out a whole weeks worth of meals is so daunting to me (and contrary to my personality) that it will never happen.

On the flip side, never knowing what I'm going to make more than 3 hours in advance makes life harder than necessary. I love trying new recipes and cooking elaborate meals, but since Skylar has come along cooking has turned into a chore and I just don't have the motivation.

Last week it occured to me that I actually DO have a system, I just didn't consciously realize it. Over the past year, out of necessity, I started doing meal "groupings". Basically I have a small repertoire of ideas that can then be made into more than one meal, thereby minimizing the work (and planning) for me.

For example:

1st night: grilled or broiled marinated chicken breasts (the key to variety is with sides)
2nd night: quesadillas (made with leftover chicken breast, beans & cheese) or paninis (a loaf of day old artisan bread, pesto, roasted red peppers or artichoke hears, cheese, all squished to toasty goodness with my handy dandy panini press, courtesy of the in-laws:)
3rd night: Big salads for dinner with leftover chicken breast (I also like garbanzo beans, fresh grated Parmesan, homemade croutons, turkey bacon, avocado, and always homemade dressing on them). I just make them on seperate plates so everyone has what they like.
1st night: Whole wheat pasta with turkey meatballs (tip: I use fresh grated Parmesan instead of breadcrumbs to bind them and it makes them really moist since there's almost no fat in the meat)
2nd night: Meatball subs with leftover meatballs
1st night: Tacos or chalupas made with ground turkey
2nd night: Leftover turkey for homemade mexican pizza or skillet mexican pizza with cornbread crust, or burritos, nachos, etc.
1st night: Grilled salmon
2nd night: Grilled salmon salad (A Barefoot Contessa recipe--love her)

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

I will also poach a batch of chicken (I simmer it in broth on low heat for a long time) and then shred it for enchiladas or succotash, or chop it for potpie or homemade chicken soup.

We don't eat red meat around here, so everything I make involves boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ground white meat turkey, or seafood (hard to come by in Colorado). This probably seems like it would get redundant, and Micah does occasionally get the urge to grill himself a steak, but for the most part we don't even think about it. In fact, 9 times out of 10 he still orders chicken even at restaurants.

On weekends when Micah is around to keep the munchkin occupied, I try new recipes or make more time consuming meals to mix things up a little bit. Either that or we go to Chipotle:)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good-bye summer.

Over the weekend, Mary-Anne and I took the kiddos to go play in the fountain one last time before we both move. The fountain closes after Labor Day....which most people consider the official end of summer....I concede. Sigh.

Here they are all loaded up and ready to go in our new ride: After looking at a grand total of 3 cars, we bought a 2004 Passat from a man in Denver. It was a great price with low mileage and very well maintained. Neither of us loves it (which is kind of sad since half the fun of a new car is being excited about it) but we feel like we made a good, practical choice. And we both love not having a car payment. Getting 35 mpg coming back from Castle Rock didn't hurt either.
I realize that some people find it completely inappropriate to put little girls in bikinis. I however would argue that it's the only time in your life when you CAN wear a bikini. She won't be wearing them by middle school, I guarantee it.

Ethan loved the frigid water!
Skylar had to say hi and wave to everyone that would notice her. She has no stranger anxiety at all and would gladly run away with the first person that offered her candy....or just smiled at her.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Self expression.

Today Skylar gave herself a uni-brow, half of a Hitler mustache, and a giant neck mole:

I thought about leaving her that way for church tomorrow, but in the end I did the right thing and bathed her to spare her the humiliation of going to the nursery and being the laughing stock of all of her toddler friends. Then again, they would probably understand.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Best Dog EVER.

Our lab Sabot (pronounced Say-bo), is the most easy going, well-natured dog EVER. His goal in life is to make everyone happy (except for when his diet-induced hunger occasionally overtakes him and he can't control himself).

Skylar frequently crawls on him while he's taking a nap and he doesn't flinch. She'll just sit on his back and bounce and he sleeps right through it. She takes his bone from his mouth, and has even taken his bowl away while he's eating (we don't let her do that!) and he has never snapped. She pulls his tail and swings from it. He is constantly getting beat up by Skylar and Jack, sometimes they even tag team him:
Yesterday she was pulling on his lips and "honking" his nose like she does to me, and he just let her do it.
I noticed after I took these pictures that she even stuck her whole hand in his mouth at one point and grabbed his tongue! He never bit down he just laid there. I highly recommend a young lab to anyone with kids who is looking for a dog. His tolerance level is amazing.
On the down side, Skylar thinks ALL dogs are like this and wants to play with them all....obviously not always a good idea. When we were in SC, she was crawling on an older dog's back and he got mad and tried to bite her. I just screamed of course (apparently that's what I do in stressful situations) but Cynthia was rational enough to grab her and save her from permanent defacement. Skylar was completely unphased by it. She thinks that when dogs growl, they are playing like hers do. At least by the time Sabot is old and crabby, Skylar will be older to.

So hurry, go get your Lab puppy today!!! You're husband will understand.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Full house and Twenty-six!

Since last spring, Motel Rue has been open for business and in full swing! In 2 weeks alone we will have had 7 people staying here at different times. We have plenty of extra room and we love the company, so the more the merrier.

This past weekend in addition to Micah's friend Taylor who was staying with us since his return from Iraq, we had the two Pettegrew kiddos so that Edi and Travis could have a weekend alone. I was a little nervous about 3 kids since I knew Micah was working most of the weekend. It worked out great though and was much easier than I anticipated.

Skylar and Hailey were buddies all weekend and by Sunday they were fighting like sisters.
We all went to the zoo on Saturday morning and Riley was beside himself with excitement. He said he loved all the animals, he didn't have a favorite. He really got a kick out of feeding the giraffes. I asked him if he thought his parents were having a good time like we were, and he said "Yes...their probably playing tag....and maybe hide and seek".
He desperately wanted to go on this train ride, so he did...and he had the whole train to himself.
Haley and Skylar holding hands:)
There was a sprinkler in the kids play area and Skylar went nuts. She shrieked with delight and was completely soaked. Of course, I forgot to pack extra clothes so she wore a jacket and mildewed shorts from the bottom of her diaper bag after that.
They were totally pooped!
Then Nicole turned 26! We had a birthday dinner on Sunday night to celebrate. It was a fun crowd, Kristy and Andy came down, Steve, Rita and Brianne Wade, Tom and Jan Falconer, Natasha, and Nicole's friend Cathy. My camera hasn't been working well lately, I think it's on it's last legs, so most of the pictures didn't turn out. Natasha made her fabulous tirimisu for dessert. It was AMAZING.
The girls:
Nicole was giving Kristy meaningful touches. It turns out I'm not the only Austin who likes to torture her.
Yesterday was Nic's real birthday so Skylar and I took her to lunch and then we walked around downtown and had tea and dessert. Skylar has only been eating cantaloupe, grapes and mixed veggies for the last 2 weeks, but she tore into the chocolate I guess we can add that to the list of foods she'll eat.

Happy birthday Nickerdoodle!


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