Thursday, December 27, 2007

Look what Michael found!

One of Michael's guys found this cutie on their doorstep Christmas Eve. They named her "Eve" because they found her Christmas Eve in the cradle of life.

It looks like there is a slight possiblity he may be able to bring her home.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

We found snow!

We are home visiting family, hence the sad lack of posting.

Yesterday my dad drove us up to seek snow. Hannah has been pining for snow for a month. There isn't much hope of seeing any in coastal NC, so we wanted to make sure we got to some while we were here. She was disappointed that it wouldn't pack to make a snowman. It didn't keep the kids from having a snow (not ball) fight, though. They just picked up loose snow and heaved it at each other at close range.

It was Nora's first experience with snow, and she loved it! Kristen pulled her fast in the sled, and was rewarded with big smiles. What, can't you tell she's smiling under that coat? She was frustrated to find she couldn't really pick the snow up with her mittens on. I gave her a taste of it, and she liked it so much she flopped on her belly and stuck her face right in it to get more.

Ok, so there wasn't much snow, but isn't it pretty up in the hills?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's Potato!

Nora has been doing a mystery sign. She would tap the open palm of one hand with one finger of the other, and look at me like I was supposed to know what she was saying, but I just couldn't figure it out. I asked Hannah, but she didn't know either.

Yesterday, Nora was looking at a farm book and she pointed to the picture of a potato and said, "Potato." Or some approximation of the word, her enunciation isn't the greatest. And then she tapped her palm. Ah... I asked Hannah (yes, she is our resident ASL expert) what the sign for potato is. She showed me one closed fist with the first two fingers of the other hand tapping the back of the fist, "Like you're sticking a fork in it."

I still haven't figured out where Nora picked up the sign. Maybe I showed her in a moment now lost in the fog of my memory. Maybe she learned it from Signing Time. Hannah insists that she did not teach her.

I love this language acquisition stage.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Menu Plan Monday 11/5/07

Monday: Garlic & Herb Chicken w/Roasted White & Sweet Potatoes
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: Hamburger and Onion Stuffed Bread*
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: Salmon Fillets w/Rice
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: Lasagna

* Hannah can help.

Visit Laura for more menus!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ice Cream Truck

There's something very wrong about an ice cream truck in November. Playing Christmas songs, no less.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Cross Country State Meet

My little brother C is running in the state cross country meet tomorrow.

I'm so very jealous. It's been 10 years since my last state xc meet. I can feel the excitement. The adrenalin. The pressure.

I still have that course committed to memory, although it's changed a bit over the years. C is in lane 2, so he has to get out as fast as he can so he can make it around that first corner without getting caught in the crush. Oh, and I can hear the clicking of all the spikes as they cross the paved path there.

C is a senior this year, and he's considering not doing track in the spring. He's relieved that this is his last cross country race. He doesn't know how lucky he is! Oh to have a team to run with again. . . . The camaraderie, the time to work out for hours daily. . . .

Run fast tomorrow C! Enjoy it.

And I will strive to see take a larger view of the place I'm at in my life. I'll cherish the children in the stroller as I steal a few moments for a morning run.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Beef Recall and Flat Rate Boxes

Gosh, I don't claim to be any kind of tech expert, but this one's really got me stumped. My post on flat rate boxes is listed as a related blog post under this article about the recent beef recall due to e. coli on What???

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sourdough Starter

I've finally succeeded in starting my very own sourdough starter from scratch. It is all "wild" caught yeasts, no commercial yeast booster. I used this recipe, because my previous attempts were plagued by the fast growing, gassy bacteria.

I had a few little problems on this attempt.

On day three my jar started to grow some mold. I just scraped it off and transferred the remaining starter (the mold was only on the jar at the top of the starter) to a clean jar. Every time I fed it after that I moved it to a clean jar and I didn't have any more problems with mold.

Since we've been having such warm weather (the house was consistently above 75 during this experiment) my starter thrived on being fed every 12 hours rather than every 24. There were a couple of times when it looked like the yeasts were dying, but I added a bit of rye flour and started feeding it more frequently and it took off again.

I was waiting for my starter to raise nicely, but after reading this page, I decided it sounded ready after all and decided to go ahead and try baking a loaf of bread. I used this recipe and produced the loaf pictured above! Incidentally, I proofed the starter for the bread, then kept some out for the mother and fed it again while I was making the bread, and the mother did raise beautifully in the jar.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Nora 13 Months

Do other babies do this? As I recall, all Hannah's signs were solo efforts.

Nora thinks that some signs are cooperative efforts. "Bear" for example. She doesn't scratch at her own chest; she leans over and scratches at mine. And when she signs "dance," her little fingers either dance in the air or on my palm, not on her own. She also likes to pull my "I love you" hand to her cheek for hugs.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Graffiti courtesy of Hannah:

Nora's chair.

Hannah's chair.

Evidently she thought we might forget.

Nora has been practicing her pirate utensil-in-mouth grip.

"Not" Your Head

Here's a new Hannah-ism:

She thinks "nod," as in "nod your head yes," is "not." She told me as she was shaking her head, "I'm notting my head." And then as she nodded her head, "Now I'm yessing my head."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I love flate rate boxes!

I mailed a care package yesterday totaling 13 pounds 15.4 ounces in a flat rate box. That would have been $15.35 in a non flat rate box.

14 pounds of dried fruit, trail mix, and granola bars. Dried mangoes and apricots are favorites of Michael and his team. Michael's only complaint about the food over there is the lack of fresh fruit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Whispering Dove Goat Farm

We visited a local farm with our attachment parenting playgroup. The tour was better paced for the adults than the children, but we all had a good time and learned a lot.

The farm is on 13 acres, and they have 50 some goats, 3 dozen chickens, a handful of potbellied pigs, an eight hole rabbitry, guinea hens and bees!

The primary breeding buck. Doesn't he look regal?

Several young goats.

Hannah chatting up a goat.

The farmers sell animals, eggs, meat (goat, rabbit, and chicken), honey, and soaps made from goat milk.

I was interested to learn about several laws that hamper their ability to sell their products and make a livelihood from their farm. They cannot process their own meat, but have to send the animals that are to be butchered to a USDA approved facility for processing. Of course, this is expensive and increases the cost they must charge their customers for chevon. They said they are allowed to process a certain amount of rabbit and chicken. They cannot sell goat milk without a full scale approved dairy in a separate building. They used to be able to sell pet milk, but there is a new law that requires them to add charcoal to any pet milk, discouraging human consumption. Milk shares are also not legal in North Carolina.

They also disparaged the notion that honey can harbor botulism, praising the antibacterial nature of raw honey. They surmised that the botulism warnings were a product of an anti-honey lobby. I still won't feed honey to a baby under one, but the botulism issue wasn't one that I'd questioned before.

Speaking of bees, I asked about the "Colony Collapse Disorder" that has been plaguing the bee world and was surprised to learn that they weren't much concerned about CCD, but there is a new threat from a hive beetle that they are very worried about. They are hopeful that their chickens will be able to keep the pest under control, should it appear on their farm. Apparently the insects hatch out of the ground. See the final picture above for a view of the chickens foraging in front of the apiary.

When we got home Hannah looked out at her slide in the back yard and told me we should move it to the front so we'll have room for our animals and so they don't hurt her slide. She even wants bees on our farm now, since her little friend told her that if one stings her she can just rub it to make it feel better.

The farmers told us they got their start after the wife clandestinely bought some chickens and pigs. Maybe I'll have to follow her lead and get some chickens while Michael is deployed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Magnetic My Little Pony Update

My mom and little sisters (14 and 10) have informed me that My Little Ponies did not used to be magnetic back when I played with them. Now they have one magnetic foot that activates features on different accessories. Little sister aged 10 says they had a castle with a cake that changed from one layer to three when activated by the magnet. They also had a cash register and a sink that opened.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Menu Plan Monday 10/22/07

Monday: Hamburger and Onion Stuffed Bread*
Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Tacos with leftover Roast Beef and Black Beans
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: Curried Salmon Cakes
Sunday: leftovers

* Hannah can help.

Visit Laura for more menus!

Friday, October 19, 2007

State Fair

We saw rabbits.

And sweet potatoes.

And giant pumpkins, including a new state record pumpkin.

This Brahman cow was beautiful.

The apples smelled so sweet.

Hannah talked with this pretty cow for quite awhile. And the cow seemed to enjoy the conversation. Nora "moo-ed" at all the cows and "cock a doodle doo-ed" at all the roosters.

Hannah took this picture of the piglets.

Hannah enjoyed the PBS booth.

Hannah spun her teacup with abandon.

Hannah wanted to hold every one of the chicks and ducklings.

We had a grand time and wore ourselves out thoroughly. Hannah was making plans about all the animals we should have on our farm. We were disappointed to find that they didn't actually have the petting zoo indicated on their map, but Hannah sure loved the chicks and ducklings.

There were a few things that made the fair stand out as a distinctly North Carolina state fair: the tobacco and the sweet potatoes. The first vendor booth we came across after we came through the gate was a chewing tobacco tent (18 and over only, and completely enclosed with a zippered door). There were also several displays with hanks of tobacco leaves and I noticed one FFA project that was an apparatus for drying tobacco.

We saw a fancy booth complete with a diver in a tank recruiting for Navy EOD.

And of course we ate cotton candy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

so much for regular communication

Michael has moved to an even more remote forward operating base, and now we're down to one phone call a week, plus snail mail. That's from daily email (excepting generator failures) and twice weekly phone calls, plus snail mail.

Hopefully communications will improve as they settle into the new place.

Hopefully Michael's living conditions there will improve also, before it gets cold. He's really roughing it now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bronze Stars

I just found out about two new Bronze Star winners today.

Matt Breed is from our hometown. His older brother gave me a bracelet in first grade. I still have the bracelet.

Daniel Bogart is an USMC EOD tech, like Michael.

Congratulations and many thanks!

Menu Plan Monday 10/15/07

Monday: Asian Salmon Roll Ups*
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: eat out
Thursday: French Dip Sandwiches
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: Baked Chicken Fingers w/Honey Mustard*
Sunday: leftovers

* Hannah can help.

Visit Laura for more menus!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Granola lends itself to experimentation. Substitute, play around, and enjoy!

Today I doubled the recipe, used maple syrup, millet, and 1.5 cups each pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsalted mixed nuts
1/2 cup mixed seeds
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut OR millet

Roast oats (and millet if using) on baking sheets at 250 degrees for one hour.

Heat tahini, honey or maple syrup, water, and vanilla over low heat until melted.

Mix nuts, seeds, coconut (if using), and roasted grains in large bowl. Stir in liquid mixture until well combined.

Spread on baking sheets. Bake one hour at 250 degrees.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Unread Books Meme

The below listed books are the top 106 books most often marked as being unread by LibraryThing users.

The instructions are simple: Bold what you have read, and italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish. Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once. Underline those on your TBR list.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre*
A Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World*
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo*
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility*
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake: A Novel
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey

The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit*
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

41 read.

3 unfinished.

3 TBR.

Found at Mommy Brain.

unintended break

Sorry about the blogging break. We've had a family crisis. I'll write more about it when the threat is over.

Everyone is in good health, and I'm sure everything will turn out okay. But we could use your prayers.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Menu Plan Monday 10/1/07

I am done shopping at the big commissary on Sundays! I keep forgetting when it's payday weekend, because we don't wait for payday to do our grocery shopping. Yesterday we managed to hit a payday weekend and a case lot sale. It was a mess. The checkout line wrapped all the way around the back of the store to the entrance and it took us half an hour to get through. I think once that line gets going it just perpetuates the back up. People get in line right away and then send off the other spouse or the kids to pick up the things on their list. As much as I enjoy our quiet Mondays with no errands or activities to run to, we're going to have to move our grocery shopping day and Monday looks like the best place for it.

Monday: leftover Tuna Noodles w/White Beans and Capers
Tuesday: Crockpot Burgundy Beef and Mushrooms
Wednesday: leftovers
Thursday: Garlic and Herb Chicken from freezer
Friday: Curried Salmon Cakes
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: Artichoke and Walnut Pesto Pasta

Visit Laura for more menus!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Honey Cracked Wheat Bread

I tried Beth's Honey wheatBerry Bread recipe from the blog A Year in Bread, but I made several changes and I wanted to share my version. I can't compare it to the Orowheat version that Beth was imitating, but it made a tasty loaf even though I forgot the salt. The crumb is soft and the bread is perfect for sandwiches. I might even get Michael to try this as a sandwich bread to pack for work. He's opposed to homemade breads for packed lunches because he says they dry out to quickly.

The picture is Hannah's interpretation of the bread as a mermaid's head.

2 1/2 cups water, divided
3/4 cup cracked wheat
3/4 cup milk
4 cups whole wheat flour, divided (I used King Arthur)
3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour, divided (Gold Medal)
5 tsps gluten
1 Tbs instant yeast
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbs salt

Boil 2 cups of water and pour over cracked wheat to soak for 30 minutes to an hour.

Combine cracked wheat and liquid with milk, yeast, and 1 cup whole wheat flour. Mix, cover, and let rest until bubbly, 20-30 minutes.

Add Butter, honey, remaining 3 cups whole wheat flour, 2 1/2 cups white flour, 5 teaspoons gluten, and 1/2 cup water. Add more water or flour as needed. Dough will be rough. Mix for two minutes.

Add salt (don't forget!), then spread 1 cup white flour on clean surface and knead. Beth says 4-5 minutes, but I kneaded for about 15 minutes. I don't usually knead by hand, though, so I think my kneading was slower than most.

Roll the dough in flour, put in bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled; about an hour.

Shape into two loaves. Place in greased loaf pans (or bake free form on a stone like me) and let rise until doubled; about an hour again.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 45 minutes.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nora is a whole year old!

My parents are pitying Nora because she didn't get to eat any birthday cake. Michael will probably also be horrified when he hears. But Nora is only eating bananas, rice, millet, pears, kale, avocado, sweet potato, peas, and squash. And the cake has three of the top eight allergens (milk, wheat, and eggs). Not to mention all the sugar! Nora favors fruit already. If I fed her sugar she would go on an everything else strike for sure.

Hannah and I enjoyed the cake. Anyone want to help us finish it off?

One month down!

I got my first three letters from Michael today, one month into the deployment. Only six months or so to go. . . we're one seventh of the way there. Things don't seem so bad when we hit a month mark!

Two of my friends just got their husbands back. I'm mostly very happy for them. There's just that little hint of jealousy.

One of the husbands is only home on R&R. So really I'm not jealous of them at all. He has to go back and his deployment is much longer. Not to mention he missed the birth of their son a few months back. She didn't know he was coming to visit! She was sitting on the porch and he walked right up and surprised her. I think I would literally faint if Michael pulled off something like that.

One day at a time, and he'll be back before we know it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Breastfeeding Pictures

These are beautiful! Go see photographic reproductions of famous breastfeeding artwork.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm a winner!

I won the Family Travel Gear giveaway at 5 Minutes for Mom! I am so excited about this! I'll get a Kids Car Organizer Compact and a Toddler Coddler from

The car organizer looks like it will be awesome at corralling the clutter in the van. And the toddler coddler looks very snuggly!

Many thanks to 5 Minutes for Mom and!

Did you know My Little Ponies are magnetic?

I had no idea.

Are they all? Did they used to be 20 some years ago?

Update here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Peter and the Starcatchers

Hannah and I have been enjoying audio books as we drive around to our various errands. Our minimum drive time is ten minutes, so we've been getting quite a bit of listening in. After our most recent book, however, we will no longer listen to audio books that I haven't previewed.

We read J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan about 6 months ago (read out loud, not an audio book) and enjoyed it immensely, so I thought Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson and billed as a prequel to Peter Pan, looked like a good bet. However, I was astonished to hear a s#x scene as we were listening to the audio version of this book. Thank goodness it went right over Hannah's head.

This book is completely inappropriate for a juvenile audience. The 10-14 year old target audience would not miss the s#x scene.

The book in no way approaches the masterful storytelling of Barrie's Peter Pan. It is lurid, graphic, and utterly lacking in magic.

I wouldn't play an audio book of Peter Pan for Hannah, either. I censored Tinkerbell's "silly a**" comments during our reading. I'd rather have my then 3 year old repeating "silly boy" than "silly a**!"

Tuna Noodles with White Beans and Capers

1 lb noodles
2 6 oz cans of water packed tuna, drained
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups cooked white beans (any white bean will do)
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
salt & pepper to taste

While cooking noodles, assemble other ingredients & mix. Drain noodles, add to the rest, and stir.

Menu Plan Monday

This is my first Menu Plan Monday post, but since I've been making a weekly meal plan offline for years, I expect this will be a regular feature!

I currently do my menu planning on Saturdays and shop on Sundays, but my plans actually do run Monday-Sunday. I plan my menus by looking over my master dinner list. This list is all our favorite meals categorized by type of meat (beef, poultry, seafood, pork, vegetarian, and "any meat"--for those versatile recipes that work well with your choice of meat). I usually choose one beef, one poultry, one seafood, and one from either pork or vegetarian each week.

Monday: Shepherd's Pie
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: Pizza w/Butternut Squash
Thursday: Tuna Noodles w/White Beans and Capers
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: Ginger Chicken w/Mango Chutney
Sunday: leftovers

Friday, September 21, 2007

Nora kissing Papa night-night

Thursday, September 20, 2007

in which I scare far to easily

Michael's base has very few amenities. They serve him one meal a day. They've got a plumbing system involving urinals rigged up from former bleach jugs.

BUT he's got great internet access. And I am terribly spoiled by this. I can send off a quick note and ask those little questions that I always forget about when he calls. It looks like he'll even be able to watch this season's TV shows online.

So when I didn't have an email from him in my inbox this morning I worried and wondered a little in spite of myself. I kept checking my email. After noon I started looking in the driveway every time I heard a vehicle go by. I started my mantra: "No news is good news. No news is good news." Then I got a phone call from the wife of one of the guys Michael is with. Their power was out. And she's coming over for dinner on Saturday.

I need to get a grip. And clean my house.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Free Day for Military at NC State Fair

The North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh is offering free admission to active duty, reserve, guard, or spouses with military ID on Wednesday, October 17. Each military member or spouse also gets free admission for up to 4 guests.

They will have special military displays and entertainment along with all the regular fair displays and activities.

I'm not sure why they think we need special military displays and entertainment. I'm going to take the kids to see the animals and the jam, not the Navy Rock Band.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

deployment tip: photo book

We made a photo book at Shutterfly telling our deployment story. I started with some pictures of Papa in Iraq; with friends, working, and playing. Then I did a few pages with us writing letters to Papa and things that we'll do while he's gone. Next there's some pages about what we'll do with Papa when he comes back home. I ended with a picture of our whole family together.

Monday, September 17, 2007

deployment tip: Daddy Dolls

Daddy Dolls are not for us. But if your child likes security objects, these would be wonderful.

The company, started by two Marine wives, custom makes 12 or 17 inch dolls from your picture of daddy or mommy. You can also order a voice recorder for the deployed parent to record a message to the child. The recorder is placed in a special pocket inside the doll.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

deployment tip: United Through Reading

We made a recording of Michael reading to Hannah for his earlier deployments. We thought it would be a great way for Hannah to see and hear her Papa. We didn't end up watching it much because I cried so much every time we put it on.

Michael wants to try that again this time. If we'd planned ahead, he could have made a recording through United Through Reading before he left. At USOs near most major military installations, a military member can go in & record a DVD. The website says the USO donates the DVD, book, mailer, and postage. Facilities are also available at many locations throughout Iraq.

I think I can watch it this time. But if not, Hannah's old enough to sit in front of the TV without sticking her fingers in the VCR. Nora likes to stick her fingers in there still. And unplug anything that's plugged in. And then chew on it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

deployment tip: maintain routine

We've found it very helpful to maintain our routines even when Michael is deployed. Maintaining routines gives the kids a sense of stability. And our bedtime routine ensures an opportunity to connect with Papa every evening. When he's home we all sit on the couch for Bible and prayer time before bed, and after prayers the girls kiss Papa goodnight before heading to bed. When he's gone, after prayers we take out his picture and tell him goodnight. We also have a message from him on the answering machine that we play. He just happened to leave a nice message with an "I love you" to everyone early on this deployment. We'll consciously prepare some kind of recorded message for future deployments because the girls really enjoy hearing him during goodnight time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

rain makes everything grow

At dinner tonight Hannah was lamenting how small our house is compared to her friend's. Then she looked out the window and said, "The rain is making our house grow taller!"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Daddy Who?

This cartoon was in the Marine Corps Times last week, under "How Others See the Military."

Hannah was 7 months old when Michael deployed the first time, and 14 months when he returned. And she remembered him. She was a little unsure of him when we met him at the shop, but we stayed there for all of about five minutes, and after we got him home she would not let him out of her sight. Just after we got home he went out to the garage and she howled when the door closed behind him. As soon as he popped his head back in: silence. She spent the next several weeks insisting that both parents be within viewing range at all times when at home.

I've got some posts in the pipeline with ideas for preventing a "daddy who?" during a deployment. But those of us who've been there know the cartoon is so absurd it's offensive.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Nora loves kale!

I have to say, I'm a little surprised.

Steamed & pureed kale, mixed with millet porridge is apparently much tastier than millet porridge sans kale.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Pretend Soup

We checked out Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson from the library and Hannah and I are both enjoying it! She's been choosing a recipe to make each day. Here she is cutting bananas for the title recipe:

And enjoying the finished product:

Each recipe is presented first on a two page spread for the grown ups, with notes about what kids can do at different ages and safety tips, as well as the recipe in a traditional format. My favorite part of these sections are the reviews by their preschool aged testers, like this one: "I also like cinnamon on broccoli."

Then the next two page spread shows the recipe in a pictoral format that pre-readers can follow. Hannah loves telling me what to do next! This can be a little troublesome when I want to modify a recipe and she insists that I'm doing it wrong.

Katzen is the author of the Moosewood Cookbook so it's no surprise that the recipes in Pretend Soup are all vegetarian. Most incorporate lots of fresh fruits or vegetables and are things that I'm happy to see my preschooler eat. And if Hannah helps prepare a dish she is much more likely to actually eat it!

Friday, September 7, 2007

allergens enter milk more readily in early days of breastfeeding

After our experience with Hannah's allergies to cow's milk and soy as an infant, I made an effort to try to prevent Nora from going down the same path. I took probiotics throughout my pregnancy and postpartum. I refrained from consuming the vast quantities of cow's milk products that I did during my pregnancy with Hannah. So far, Nora appears to only have difficulties with nightshades.

But, if I had paid attention when I read this New Beginnings article, I would have maintained a strict low allergen diet for the last month of my pregnancy through the immediate postpartum period. According to the article, substances pass more readily into breastmilk during the first few days of milk production.

I must have read the article. It was published in 2005, before I was pregnant with Nora. And I've been a subscriber and loyal reader since 2003. Better luck next time, right? If I'm blessed with more babies I'll add that to my anti-allergy regime.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

unwanted traffic

We live on a pretty quiet street. This morning I was wishing we lived at the end of a dead end road with no neighbors within earshot because a brief episode of anxiety left me with a racing heart, certain that each vehicle I heard drive by was going to stop in our driveway to deliver dreaded news. I got on the computer to try and distract myself and got an email from Michael. He hasn't been able to email much, but the timing couldn't have been better.

Hannah still seems fine. She's not acting out. She isn't expressing any sadness. She's very matter of fact about it. Papa is in Iraq to help people and he'll be back around Easter (which is after Nora's birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Papa & Momma's birthdays). I wonder if there will be a change as the days turn into weeks and she starts to really miss him.

Nora, on the other hand, notices that things are different. She had several evenings of very unusual fussiness after he left. She loves to look at Papa's pictures on the fridge. Every time we go by them she points and says, "Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa!" She's pronouncing the "p" now, too, which she hadn't quite managed before. She enjoys holding the laminated picture and "hugging" it.

I don't think this is dark enough to be called gallows humor:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nora 11 Months

Nora turned 11 months yesterday. We were hoping that she
would walk before Michael left, but no such luck. Hannah took her first steps the day after she turned nine months and was walking everywhere within a week. Michael missed that by 2 months during his first tour in Iraq. Nora is still just not interested in walking. I stand her up and let go and she just squats down and crawls off. She can hold my hand and toddle along, but she doesn't want to. She'd rather crawl. Even on the laminate floors. We've been joking that she'd start walking as soon as Michael left, so we'll see how long it takes.

Nora may not walk, but she does talk! She says: Hannah, Momma, Papa, cat, outside, night night, bye bye, banana, Grandpa, Nana, Oma, all done, eye, thank you, and amen. Along with a slew of other things that I can't understand and a handful that I'm forgetting.

Speaking of Nora's "Amen". . . She prays, too. At Bible time every night, she folds her hands with a big smile on her face while we're praying. And of course says, "Amen," at the end.

Monday, August 27, 2007

he's gone

We saw Michael off today. He's headed to Iraq for a third time.

I feel different this time. I hate to have him gone. I'm not looking forward to being the lone parent present for 7 months. But I know I can do it. I've been here before. The only thought that makes me cry is "What if he doesn't come back?"

God, please let him come home to us.

I don't mind so much that he's gone, just as long he comes back.

Hannah took everything in stride. No tears. I don't think she fully grasps the situation. She knows Papa is going to Iraq for "a long time." We told her a couple of days ago that Papa should be back by Easter, and she kept asking if Easter was here yet when he hadn't even left. She loves traveling and was excited for him to get to ride on buses and planes. When we got home she spotted all the free Priority Mail boxes we got for care packages and said, "We must send those to Papa!"

Nora actually seemed to know that something was up. While we were waiting she kept fussing in my arms and reaching out to Michael. She'd even cry when he gave her back to me. She's very much a momma's girl and the situation is usually reversed. She slept through the actual send off, though.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Olympic National Park Slideshow

We're going home for a visit soon!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Nora's New Skills

Last week Nora started cruising and waving. She has also been crawling (as opposed to scooting) a lot more since she started cruising. And she is trying to climb up onto various things. She can nearly do a pull up on the back of our dining room chairs. If she succeeds, she'll pull the chair on top of herself.

She practises waving every chance she gets. Any time someone leaves a room, there's Nora, waving away. She also experiments with different waves: sometimes she'll wave with her whole arm, sometimes she does a little wrist flick.

Just today Nora started clapping. She's been trying to for a few days, but today she's finally put her hands together. She is so very right handed. When she claps she holds her left hand still and brings her right hand to it.

Yesterday we were visiting friends and Nora was fascinated with their cat. She petted it (with some help) and kept trying to grab its ear. She was also trying to say "cat." She's been trying to say "Hannah," too.

Vegan Cupcakes, Food Allergies, and Bread

I've been trying to figure out where Nora's mucousy stools are coming from ever since she had a little blood in one a little over a week ago. I've been consistently dairy & soy free ever since Thanksgiving, so it's something else. My top suspects were onions, tomatoes, and citrus or citric acid. Mom suggested eggs, which I dismissed for who knows what reason, but now I'm thinking it may be eggs after all.

This afternoon I was starving & decided I wanted cupcakes. But cupcakes with no eggs? Oh yes, vegans to the rescue with this recipe! I subbed almond milk for the soy milk. And I didn't use any coconut extract, just a little extra vanilla.

But silly me. I forgot that my favorite cupcake recipe is egg free. And it's made with yummy stuff like whole wheat flour and ground flaxseeds and maple syrup. So I needlessly overdosed on the fluffy white cupcakes.

I'm almost out of yeast, but I don't want to buy more because I have 2 pounds on the way from my food coop. It won't be here for another week, though, and all the bread in the freezer has eggs. It's the challah recipe from Whole Foods for the Whole Family. I made pitas the other day with some old bread machine yeast and they turned out great, but I don't think the yeast has the rising power to make a real loaf of bread. Maybe I'll just make more pitas.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

"Mommy, do you want to play Beauty and the Beast?"

"Oh, are you the beast?"

"No, I'm Belle!"

Monday, May 14, 2007


The first salad from my garden this year, from the last of a packet of mesclun mix from Territorial.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Nora stands!

Nora pulls up to standing!

I went to grab the laundry & came back to see Nora on her feet. Her first unassisted pull up. . . look how proud she is!

I'm afraid I'm going to have another 9 month walker. Except this time she's got big sister's things to get into! On the bright side, it looks like she'll start walking before Michael leaves.