Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lakeside Vegetable Sandwich a la carte

We were early getting out the driveway for church this morning.

I shouldn't say that like it's uncharacteristic of us. Mr. Marvelous and I both detest being late. But this morning it was really early. Forty minutes early. (How do you do that with a 3 and 2-year-old, and two 1-year olds? I.don't.know. It just happens.) So we decided to take a drive through the countryside after we picked up two "iced foffees," as Luke puts it, from the shop at the bottom of our hill.

But, I don't know why I drink those things. Caffeine plays with my body, big time. It took everything in me to keep myself from making praise and worship time an aerobic workout. I'm not saying that you should hold yourself back from worshipping emotively. I sure don't. I'm just saying I could have done the speed bag move until the end of Pastor Steve's service.

Oh! And since you asked, yes, Julia and daddy had a great time cheering on our U of [state] fb team last night. They came home with a victory, and a very excited season ticket holder. As for the 2-year-old, 1-year-olds and the mama who were left at the casa, we spent part of our afternoon at the grocery store. Again. But this brings good news for you, I gathered all the necessary ingredients for an old favorite recipe of mine. And I'd like to offer you a taste.

The Lakeside's Vegetable Sandwich.

I forgot all about this vegetable medley smashed between its focaccia foundation, that is, until last weekend when these two fabulous people--hi dad & mom--
decided a lunch date at a favorite cafe of mine from back home was a great idea. The weather was pleasant, much like today. And yesterday. And most all of our summer this year. The lake across the street was sparkling, and our smoothies and my vegetable sandwich were delightful.

So here we have:

Lakeside's Vegetable Sandwich
First, grab a box of Lipton's Vegetable dry soup mix.
(This recipe is on the back of the box.)
Mix 1 envelope of the soup mix with:
-an 8oz containter sour cream
-1 c mayo
-a 10oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry and
-an 8oz can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
Chill 2 hours. Or if you can't wait that long, don't wait at all. I sure can't.
Next, cut a triangle slice of your Asiago Focaccia round. Slice it almost completely open. Slather your vegetable spinach mix on the bottom, then layer with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, sprouts, and a generous dallop of, again, the spinach mix. Wala! You have another favorite of mine, all to yourself.
Now tell me. Do you think I look like my dad*? Because, I got mistaken for his sister's daughter all the time as a child.

*Who, btw, is turning 64 in a month and a half. Doesn't he look good!

Friday, August 29, 2008

For the record...

Last night, for the very first time, Hazel vomitted all over herself, her sister, and their crib. A couple of hours after Mr. Marvelous put them to bed, I went in to get something. I found Hazel sound asleep in it and Norah laughing at me while she sat in it. I know it was because we overfed her Hawaiian Chicken for supper. Oh, Little honey with a little tummy.

The Mothers of Mulitples group that I am a part of is getting ready to hold their fall garage sale. For the first time, I'll be getting rid of ALL our baby clothes. You can imagine how that makes me feel. No, not happy!

I bought a multi-colored gumball'ish type choker last weekend and I love looking at it.

I feel like I can still smell what I cleaned up last night in the girls' room. I even threw away a pair of pajamas, a sheet and a thick blanket.

It's date night tonight. I love date night. We're going to the movie Traitor. We'll probably even hold hands.

Yesterday, Mr. Marvelous brought home flowers for me with a plead for a truce. It worked.

This morning I bought a pair of jeans online for the first time. I'm so excited to get them. Only 3-10 days.

I'm researching backpacks for Julia. Who, by the way, had a great time at Meet the Teacher yesterday. All the while I was imagining it being me in her shoes. I would be so, so excited too. But the backpacks...does anyone have some burning suggestions for an adorable pack online? If it were up to me, I'd tell Northface or Mountain Hardware to quick whip up a cute little girl pack. Now, why haven't they done that yet?

And finally, you thought I was kidding when I said I had some car seat haters. Or maybe you thought I was a little on the slight exaggeration side. Well, last weekend, the children and I went back home for a funeral. Come with me now. May you witness a clip as we're nearing the end of our 74 mile drive on the return route. Also, take note of the conversation between the big children in the back. My, how a "Juju's touching me" situation can turn to an "I love you" situation so quickly.

This one really wasn't that bad...once I put the earplugs in.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

stuck, scared, and screeching

UPDATE: Mr. Marvelous came home this afternoon and was sent straight to the deck. What a wonderful man of the house! He hesitantly bravely pulled the umbrella up a bit with all our eyes watching from a distance. (Well, not Luke's. He was front and center for a good view.) And yes, our winged friend is still hanging around. And no, I don't know what we'll do. Maybe rent one of those bee farmer suits to chase him away in.

This morning my heart pounded the fastest and hardest that it has in a long time.

Come to think of it, the surges it sent through my body were quite similar to the ones I experienced during my pre-teen years. I had a terrible bout of Night Terrors for some period of time. I seemed to be a bit clostrophobic as a child. My mom attributes it to me being stuck in the birth canal while being born. Who knows.

But, my reoccuring dream was of me trapped in my Grandparent's barn--just down the hill from my house--while the walls were closing in. Some nights I would wake from it, fall back to sleep, and it would start all over. I can still see it clearly. There were no cows around, I was standing in the middle of a manure-filled pen, and it was dark outside. As the 4 walls continued to close in on me, I stood in a panic. But in every dream, just as they would reach the sides of my shoulders, I would wake up...terrified, heart pounding, and out of breath.

That's kind of how I felt this morning during our--let's call it our Advanced Biology Lab that was held out on our deck. The babies were napping, Julia and Luke were going to play in the backyard, and I was going to fold a load of laundry on our deck table. I sat my basket down, and opened our umbrella when this dropped next to me.

Now let me tell you. Not many things get me excited. I do fine with snakes, bears, wasps, you name it.

Not bats.

And I'll be honest, my last drought of bat experiences was fabulous. It's been a wonderful 15 year stretch since I last had to deal with this flying mammal species. And that bat, I'm sure, regrets messing with 2 teenage cousins during the wee hours of a sleep over.

After a rush around the house--heart still pounding--trying to find batteries for my camera that has the most zoom, and Julia trailing close behind, I snapped this picture,

then sllllooooowly reached for my basket to jet inside. Of course it then "got scared" as Julia puts it, and FLEW AT ME. I darted for the door that was still open with my basket in hand, plowed Julia over sending her into a weeping tizzy, and slammed the door behind me. All the while, screaching and squealing for the neighbors to hear.

And wouldn't you know, I thought it had went on its way. I would have if I was getting kicked out of someone else's place. But much to my surprise, it flew right back to its apparent home in the top of our umbrella. I found that out the hard way minutes later when I decided I would air out the umbrella, now that it was gone.

So, it's still there. I'm quite positive about it.

And I'm quite positive that Julia is now in love with bats, regardless of her mother's petrified behavior. Because, you know, she informed me that they help us by eating mosquitos. And the bat was probably scared because it couldn't find its mama.

And I'm quite positive that only about 20 minutes ago did my pounding heart return to normal rhythm.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

a tag

I was tagged by Lisa and figured, since my house is spotless, my laundry is finished and put away, I jogged 10 easy miles today, and I premade and froze 4 meals for this week, that I'd have a little extra time to spend it on blogging.

Here it goes.

4 Things

4 things that I was doing 10 years ago:
As a just turned sophomore, I was religiously following my Cross Country practice routine for the new college I was about to transfer to. I was saying goodbye to my ORU roommates and hello to my Northwestern College roommates. I was confessing to my boyfriend/now husband that I didn't think he "loved me enough and I think we should break up," for the 43rd time. I was driving around in my grocery-go-getter...the Mercury Lynx.

4 things on my To-Do list for today:
Comfort and love on a best friend from high school and my maid of honor while at her father's funeral. Take a walk through my parents' cow pasture and down to their creek with Julia, Luke and my mom...while the babies napped. Call my husband and tell him that I love him. Comfort and love on a best friend from high school and my maid of honor while at her father's funeral.

4 random things I love about my husband:
He is a go-getter and must get things done instantly.
He is always thinking about ways to make my day.
He's adventurous and talks about all the places he wants to visit with me.
He is a fanatical Fantasy Football pro. Not to mention a sportsaholic.

4 jobs that I have had:
Many jobs within 3 different YMCAs.
First grade teacher in an inner inner city school.
Waitress at a downtown Japanese restaurant. (Ok, fine. It was only for 3 days, and then I quit because I couldn't understand a lick of what anyone was saying.)
Barista at Starbucks.

4 movies I've watched more than once:
The Notebook
The Wedding Planner
Dumb & Dumber

4 places I have lived:
the basement of a sweet old lady's house...I'd clean her house and bake cookies with her for rent. an apartment 4 minutes from campus with 3 fabulous roommates
a new townhouse in suburbia, Midwest...with Mr. Marvelous after we wed
a house on the hill, with trees and these

4 places I have been:

4 places I want to visit:
Bora Bora
Costa Rica

4 TV shows I watch:
Jon and Kate plus 8
The Bachelor(ette)
American Idol..I didn't start until last season
..that's it.

4 things you may not know about me:
I married my husband who is younger than me and who graduated high school with my younger brother.
If nutritionally appropriate, I'd eat Nacho Cheese Doritos every day.
I may appear as the calm and collected type, but it's all an act.
I could sit and listen all day to my grandparents tell stories from their past.

4 people I tag:
L e a h

Friday, August 22, 2008

private pow-wow

It was a Grocery Gala Girls morning.

With Julia getting big and all, I decided we would make a visit to one of my favorite places in our neck of the woods--our local grocer/childcare drop. I know, I's something every town should have. A grocery store with a childcare drop right inside the doors. And, I know, I know, I'm apologizing now if you don't.

So the plan went like this: drop the 3 littles with dear sweet Maria, permit Julia to be the sole mini-Grocery Cart Captain, gather just a few needed items into our mini-cart, and meet at a table in the deli for our first private pow-wow.

She's "almost 4," you know.

And she's "starting preschool so so soon," you know.

So we sat across from eachother, her grocery cart parked perfectly parallel to her spot in our booth, sipped on a Snapple Lemonade and munched on the box of Animal Crackers that the cashier gifted Julia for cute, I assume. And for the next 45 minutes we chatted about the finer things in life. The really important notions that almost 4-year-olds think about.

Things like: do I think there will be children in her class that will try to get her to make the wrong choice, will we drop her off at preschool and then leave her there...because that's what she was hoping for, how was Jesus happy and sad, at the same time, while he died on the cross for us, and when she's big enough to drive a car, do I think she could drive Lauren, her cousin, to church some day?

Like I said, the finer things in life.

That girl. She's my favorite. Favorite big girl.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Water Routine

in my punky youth

I've decided something.

I don't post even a smidge enough photos of myself here on my blog. At this rate, the book that this blog will someday become might only have a measly 4 snapshots of me...out of 3,000. (Have you noticed I prefer using the numbers 4 & 3 when I exaggerate?) And when my children are 25 and I'm--gulp--50, I definitely don't want them thinking I was never young, or wrinkless, or sagless. (Alright, so I'm hoping that doesn't come until at least 80.) And I know I wish my mother would have taken/saved/kept track of more pictures of her during her punky youth. I know she was a cute little spitfire. So, watch out! I'm makin' a change.

Here I am*. In my punky youth, at the young age of 29. Holding our first born, Julia, at an even younger age of 3.5. And while we're on the topic. Do you know what this stinker said to me today? I was giving her the Reminder Talk as I unloaded the dishwasher this evening and she sat at the island coloring a picture for her cousin, Kendall. It was the talk about why she gets consequences and why she gets privileges. The talk about why things happened today the way they did and how things could have been different. Towards the end of the chat, I said to her:

Julia, another reason why mommy wants you to always tell the truth is because when you're my age, not telling the truth causes for a much bigger and worse consequence.

And then out of the mouth of this 3.5 year old came...

Yea, and when I'm your age, you'll be reeeeeallly old.

Sheesh! What are we talking about here?

*in the reflection of our back curtainwall on the walk-out basement level

Monday, August 18, 2008

Favorite Post P-style

Last weekend Mr. Marvelous and I traveled with our 4under3--carseat haters and all--to our home town. My paternal Grandmother turned 92 and there was a big party to be had. Forty three of us arrived at Grandma's farm, some from CO, FL, SD, MN, and WI.

I love myself a good reunion. Especially when it includes...well, family!

Activities on the schedule (that I was asked to help organize of course, since I love games) ranged from a bunch of water balloon tosses to the Ladderball Tournament, the Badminton games to karoke, and slip-n-slides to pool splashin'. Not to mention the 3 Legged Race and Egg and Spoon Obstical Course that we didn't even get to.

I love my extended family. I have so many great memories of family parties that still prance around in my head from when I was a young child. Even though we've all ended up sprinkled across the US, everyone still makes it back to the farm to reunite.
With this being said and to celebrate my Grandma's 92 years of life, I've put together another Favorite Post-P style. (Do you remember my Favorite Post-Plan B?)

Again, in no Particular order.

With no specific reasoning in Proceeding to share them with you.

Just to Pass on a Portion of my life.

We'll start off with: Parties...surprise parties at that,
Pretty Paper...and fabric, the Pre-K years, Pumpkin Muffins, matching Punky cousin mohawks, the color Pink, lap swim in & Pools to splash around in, walks to the Park, Porches...moreso front porches with a swing, Playing with the brightness & contrasts of my Photos, Plucking apples from the tree, Polkadots, snap Peas, the Psalms..especially 139, any Pancakes..but banana are Preferred, Playin' footsie with Mr. Marvelous, Pie...I lean towards the fruit filled, Parfaits, Perfume of a light light flower sort, the Peace and quiet of naptime, Pink Lemonade, to People watch, to Pinch Mr. Marvelous' bottom ;), People that are Polite, and the Power of Prayer.
There. That about does it. Every single P-love. That is, unless I've forgotten a Particular one.

Ponder your P-loves. I'd love to Pull together a Parade of them.

Pretty Please.

Friday, August 15, 2008

his age fiest and persona

Hypothetically speaking, if you had a delightful little guy like this...

...(although he doesn't have to look like this, but more so of the same age, fiest, and persona) that turned 2.4 and seemingly lost most of his 2.3 & under manners, turning into a vigorous rabble-rouser, what would you do?

More specifically, imagine if you--hypothetically speaking--were at a nearby park that you frequent often and you arrived as the only park players, but were later joined by a boy that looked to be at least 2 years older than your boy and at least two heads taller than your boy, but your boy insisted on calling out to the seemingly innocent older and bigger boy, "No! No, boy! No!"

So tell me, would you pretend it wasn't happening, wait until the older, bigger boy gave your boy what he was asking for, or remind your boy over-and-over that "we talk nice to our friends"... but end up announcing anyways for an early park departure, and walk your boy to the car because he refuses to share his playground?

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

relative tears for the emotional type

So I cried the other day--hard!

These tears were similar to the ones that make themselves known right as SCC's Cinderella song begins to drift out of the radio. They quite possibly are distant relative tears to the ones that appear towards the end of The Notebook too. I wouldn't say I'm the emotional ty--ok, maybe I would. But not about everything. Just certain things. And, especially when it comes to our 4under3.

I had just finished tucking and kissing the last of them in their beds for naps, I had the mail under my arm, and good grasp on my cell and a tall glass of agua con lemon. As I was making myself comfortable in a chair out on our deck, I started opening what appeared to be a package from the preschool Julia will be attending for the very.first.time this fall.

Ya know, we debated even sending her, Darn it! While Mr. Marvelous and I are both proud of our Elementary degrees, he specifically in middle school history and I in Early Childhood, we are confident we'd continue to do a fine job "teaching" her at home. But, the girl is in love with school...or the thought of it. School buses, playgrounds, backpacks, teachers--they're all on her mind, most all of the time.

So here I am, sobbing over the Release Form while molded memories of her flash through my head. Things like the day she was born, the day she said "purple," her first word, in the bathtub, the day she fell and chipped her front tooth while trying to perfect her new walking skills, and the day after we moved and she no longer shared a bedroom with her little brother, she was found snuggled up next to him in his crib--in his room--while he slept peacefully and was nonethewiser.

I'm telling you. This girl is my favorite.
Favorite big girl, that is. Luke is my favorite little guy, and the girls are my favorite little girls, of course. They're all my favorites, I guess. And that's what I tell them.

And I hope that's what Julia's teacher thinks of her. That wouldn't be too much to ask of Mrs. M at Meet the Teacher night, do you think?

Monday, August 11, 2008

playin' footsie

There's no place I'd have rather been, then here...

...playin' footsie with Mr. Marvelous.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

throwback photo 2007

Wombmates: Hazel (L) & Norah (R) 13.5 months ago

... and only a couple of hours old here. Induced at 37 weeks exactly. Provided the most easy delivery weighing in at 5.10 and 6.10. Just 2 minutes apart.

Bu-bye sweet girlies! Have fun getting a double dose of being doted on at the farm this weekend.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

contest practice round

So I love games. I love games, and riddles, and mind teasers. I thrive on challenges like ropes courses and corn mazes. I would--without a doubt and without hesitation--accept an offer to appear on shows like WipeOut or American Gladiators. And, really, it's safe in saying that I'm quite fond of the competition part of it, whether it be against others or simply against myself.

Like the dishwasher game. It brings me joy in methodically placing cups, plates, or bowls, as to fit the most in at one time, strategically leaving the least amount of space leftover. And the beloved Recycling Bin Shootout. Our bin is placed in front of our garbage can, half way across our garage. If I stand at our kitchen door and toss, for an example, an empty black bean can precisely in the right spot for it to bank off the garbage can and swooshing into the recycling bin, it's a guaranteed 2 points. Luke even cheers a, "Good job Mom," once in awhile.

I know I'm not the only one like this. And now I'm determined to find all the other challenge driven folks 'round this part. I've been meaning to kick off 4under3's first contest, but I thought we'd start with a practice round. If I get a good turn out this round, I'll be sure to put together our very first Chime-In Challenge.

Here's what you need to do! The picture above is of Julia and Luke posing next to a well known statue. Answer one or both of the following questions.

-The statue that's in the picture with them is found where?
-If one of my children were to be saying something in this picture, who's saying it and what are they saying?

Good luck. And finish well. (At least that's what my husband always says.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

insect based menu for a car seat hater


She's a silly girl.

Not that our other children haven't trademarked their own special silly qualities...Julia being the "Scholar," Luke being the "Gravity Defying Stunt Man," and Hazel being the "Nonstop Face Maker," but Norah...she's a different kind of silly. She's the "Dry Sense of Humor," "Can't You Hear What I'm Tryin' to Say?," and "Look What I'm Getting Into" type of silly.

In Utero, she threw most of the sucker punches at her wombmate. She always measured to be gaining the most, the fastest. And, she was the first born of the two, by two minutes.

In this air breathing world, she is quite determined to get her requests across. She is the LOUDEST of all 4 children. She likes to experiment with the sounds she can make come out of her mouth. And she loves to eat. LOVES. To EAT! And it shows, too, since she tips the scales much more intensely than her other siblings.

She is 13 months old and completely uninterested in walking* by herself. She'll push around the walkers, laundry baskets, and kiddie grocery carts. She'll cruise around things. And just yesterday she decided she'd teach herself to crawl down the stairs. But walking--Who needs it?! And we're fine with that. We both figure she'll be walking by kindergarten. That's all that matters.

She's a tummy sleeper, slide lover, bathtub splasher, sand eater, and our one-and-only

This is where the silly turns into screeching screams.

Take for example, last Thursday. Mr. Marvelous invited obliged to us joining him on an out-of-town work trip he was planning for. "I promise. It'll be so much fun, honey," I begged, "Please can we come with?"

Unfortunatly it wasn't "so much fun" an hour into our 4 hour ride when our silly girl started screaming. I'll spare you the ear plugging details of our ride there AND back that led me to believe I--in a heartbeat--would have rather eaten bugs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week prior, if it meant avoiding the screams from the silly CAR SEAT HATER.

*Hazel is consistantly taking 6 steps in one direction. And, OH, is she so excited about her successes! Her laughs and giggles are usually what knocks her right over.

Friday, August 1, 2008

the new kid on our bok

If you remember right, you know that I've grown a new space in my heart for Bok Choy. For the first time, a couple of weeks ago, I sought it out, bought it, whipped it up into a salad, and it became a much loved friend of mine. Today it was love at first sight all over again.

To give you some background on the green and white goddess, Bok choy originated in China. It holds nutritional benefits similar to those of other cabbages: It is rich in Vitamin C and contains significant amounts of indoles, as well as fiber--both of which appear to lower the risk of various forms of cancer.

Bok Choy is also a good source of folate. And with its deep green leaves, it has more beta-carotene than other cabbages, and it also supplies considerably more calcium. The stalks and leaves have quite different textures, so in culinary terms, "it's like getting two vegetables for the price of one."

And as if that nutritional jargon isn't enough, it tastes crisp, fresh, and scrumptious.

So...because you asked for it, here it goes.

Better-Hide-It Bok Choy Salad

To start, wisk together the dressing in a small bowl.

About: 1/3 c red wine vinegar, 1/3 c olive or grapeseed oil, 1/3 c white sugar, and a tablespoon soy sauce.

Next melt 1/4 cup butter in a skillet, crush 1 or 2 packages of ramen noodles, and add to the skillet with 1/4 cup slivered almonds, and a handful of sesame seeds. Saute until all is golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel.

Next, chop up a bunch of bok choy. I say 5 or 6 large pieces of the bunch. You'll get a feel for if you want less or more depending on how much dressing you like. And if you want to add an extra vat of vitamins, chop up 5 or 6 pieces of Napa Cabbage too.

Add all to large bowl with 3 green onions, or half a red onion, or whatever type of onion floats your boat. Throw in sauted noodle mixture and drizzle dressing over top. Toss.

Now, if you must, get out your chopsticks and dig in. Or a fork. That works too. Just make sure you hide it. Because once they find it, they'll love it too.