Saturday, August 28, 2010

Quirks

For breakfast I like to eat frozen blueberries dipped in ketchup and syrup. I crush the pancakes into crumbs, but don't actually eat them.




Monday, August 23, 2010

Driving Again (The Saga)

Our return trip from Kentucky started off well. Abigail was in good spirits and seemed to enjoy the trip. She was laughing and giggling in the back seat. I handed her a new toy about every thirty minutes and she was really enjoying herself. I thought that she would fall asleep soon after the drive started, but no. She kept herself up for about three hours. However, it was pleasant to hear her talking and singing in the back. Good times.

Then she napped. I was bored, but had some time to think about everything that needs to get done back in Iowa. I was also excited about Ben's new calling as the seminary teacher. Fun! Hard work, super hard, difficult, I know...but fun!
Here are some pictures that I took while driving.











We then visited my cousin Shelly and enjoyed seeing everyone there. Abigail loved all the new toys and even "shared" Elmo with the twins. She's still working on the whole sharing thing. We had a fun visit and stayed for almost two hours. Thanks Shelly for taking us in and for the yummy food and snacks. Thanks also for the directions to a gas station. Luckily I made it before I ran out. Good thing our tank can go for about twenty miles after the light comes on. Phew.

After leaving there, I thought that Abigail would enjoy a DVD. I put one on for her and started driving. Several points throughout the trip she dropped her passy, her blankie, the DVD player, etc. I couldn't reach most of these things and just decided to let her be fussy. However, we did enjoy singing for forty minutes as I went through all the children's songs that she knows. She likes singing and knows the words to a few songs with her favorite being "walkin" or "Teach Me to Walk In The Light." She can sing some of the words in all three verses and she asks for it constantly.
I was pretty proud of her and how well the trip was going (should've knocked on wood) and decided to stop at a rest stop outside of Galesburg so that she could play on the playground equipment. I got her shoes and socks out of the trunk and set down my keys while put them on. I got Abs out and then I locked the door and closed it. I immediately realized that I had locked the keys in the car. Ah!!! I didn't have anything with me but her. No keys. No cell phone. No milk. No diaper bag. Nothing.

I didn't know what to do and was surprised to find the janitors working in the building. It was 8:30 p.m.ish. One of them, persuaded by my tears, allowed me to use their personal cell phone. I didn't even know who to call. It took us several minutes to figure out that we needed to call Ben so that I could get the emergency number off of our insurance card (mine was locked in the car). Then I had to call and talk to them. It took the poor, wonderfully helpful and patient, woman half an hour to find a place that was open on a Sunday evening. Apparently small towns don't do that kind of thing, I can't imagine why. All the while, Abigail was struggling. Early on in the phone call process I looked over at her to see her diaper, very messy, down around ankles. Are you kidding me? This has NEVER happened. Why now? So I used my free hand to pull it back up and strap it back together. I couldn't change her while I was on the phone. She was bored and unhappy and wanted to go to the playground. She would grab my hand and walk me to the door and say "parque" or "fuera." She also spent time playing in the vending machines and managed to smash her fingers. So imagine a screaming, stinky baby being watched by her blubbering, incompetent mother who is on a borrowed cell phone in the middle of nowhere Illinois. Sorry no pictures, you'll just have to imagine. The camera was locked in the car.

The diaper fell down a second time before I was finally able to get off the phone and go remove it.

Then the poor dear had to walk around in her dress with nothing on. I decided that it would be better to wait the 45 minutes it would take the tow truck company to drive the two miles to the rest stop outside in order to decrease the workload on the janitors. It was 9:15ish. I was squeamish about letting my bare-bottomed baby ride on the swings, etc. so I tried to make sure that her dress was always between her and the equipment. She didn't mind and was enjoying the park, which was the reason I had stopped in the first place.

There were some cool frogs hanging out on some of the toys and she enjoyed cautiously watching them. Then she went down the slide a few times. I put the dress under her which made her descend rapidly. Once she went so fast that her feet bounced on the ground and she smacked face first into the ground. Ouch. Again, screaming baby, blubbering mommy. Pretty sight. Poor thing scratched her nose up pretty good, I'm so glad it wasn't broken.


We spent the next forty minutes walking up and down the sidewalk, looking at the moon and at the bugs that gather around the lights. She kept grabbing my hand and walking to the car so that I would open it and let her in. She wanted milk but was a really good sport and didn't complain much. At least she really got the chance to stretch her legs.

When the tow truck guy arrived it took him less than sixty seconds to break into my car and unlock the locks. I feel really safe now about the security of my vehicle. Good news, I'm pretty sure that State Farm will pay the $85 dollar fee for this amazing sixty second feat.

The good news is that we're safe, we were able to resume our trip, and that Abigail still seems to love me. She slept soundly all the way home. I was tired and a little rattled but I was able to drive the last two hours. I arrived around 1 a.m.

Abigail was up at 6 a.m. and kept asking to go to the park. Go figure.

I feel really blessed that this is the worst that happened, especially after reading about my friend Heidi's experience. I'm glad that we didn't have an accident, that a towing company could come help, that the janitors were so helpful, that nothing happened to us at the rest stop, and that we made it home not much worse for the wear.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Puddles

Being a child sure seems carefree. Sure I tell her no a lot and I don't let her do a lot of the things that she wants to do, but I sure let her do a lot of fun things. I take her to parks, libraries, zoos, farms, stores, etc. all geared towards little people. She and I play a lot and she doesn't have to worry about things like selling houses, mud puddles in the back yard, ants, moving to new places, getting jobs, etc. Being a child sure seems nice.

We made a quick, spontaneous trip to KY to visit daddy, aka more driving. It was so good to see him again. It was nice to hold him in my arms, to hear him talk, to walk hand in hand, and to have his help with our wild toddler. Diaper duty was all on him.

The public library here in Danville is awesome and we also enjoyed some of the parks. This seems like it will be a nice place to live. Benjamin is loving his job and excited about starting classes soon.

Our current landlords (in KY) have been kind enough to lend some of the toys to Abigail. She spends two to three hours a day playing with the doll stroller. She also loves the wagon. Yesterday we were out for a walk. It was drizzling and had been raining off and on. The wagon was full of water. Abigail went straight for it, splashed a little, and then climbed right in. Here are some of the shots I got of her. Every time I put the camera away she would ask me to get it out and take "mas pictures." She's a delight.




She kept holding up her dress and saying "all wet"

How fun! Puddle jumping in the rain. Fun memories


video


Oh and we also had the dreaded return of the dog allergies. It's official, Abby is allergic to dogs, some more than others. We visited some friends and Abby and the girls were playing outside next door to some dogs that were fenced in. Abby must have touched one of them. Then she started rubbing her eyes and within ten minutes she had a ring of bumps around her left eye. Poor baby. She loves animals. She was also scratched by the cat today. We were warned that he wasn't a nice kitty, but A. wouldn't leave him alone.



And....gross, gross, gross...I caught her petting a dead mouse today. The cats around here are pretty good and proud mousers. They leave their catches on the front porch and sidewalk for their owners to see. Abby found one. YUCK!!!!


Carefree for them, but full of dangers from my point of view.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Driving

No, not this. This was the bicycle that we got for D. when she was in town. We sold it on Craig's list and broke even.
THIS is what we drove. Many many thanks to our friends who car swapped with us for a week so that I could drive Benjamin to KY. Although the gas mileage wasn't ideal we were able to fit a table, chairs, etc. Everything Ben now has fit into this vehicle. The drive went okay. We passed the time by singing, playing games like peekaboo, watching the DVD player, listening to music, and sleeping.

We found a rest stop that had a unique playground; i.e. a flower bed with large rocks. Abigail loved it! Maybe I can get some large rocks installed in our back yard. We didn't take any other pictures of the drive, so this is all we have. I'll post more about the drive home (Me ALONE with her in the car) and our fun visit to friends in Indianapolis later.









This last picture is late in coming. Remember how we went to UT in June and visited our awesome friends in Denver. We miss them so much. They are amazing. Their new house is amazing. We enjoyed seeing them. Here is a quick picture of their little daughter with Abs. Isn't she the cutest EVER? Thanks T & S for letting us visit."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Spinach

Two days ago I posted about this chocolate cake. It was yummy, but very rich. Good thing I gave the rest away after eating one piece.
I should probably try eating a little healthier and therefore I will post some healthy recipes to balance out the unhealthy one.
I really like Spinach. I like it raw and in salads. I like it when Ben adds it to pasta or other dishes. I DO NOT LIKE that I can never seem to use the entire bag before it spoils. Oh Spinach, why do you go bad so quickly? With Ben out of the picture for a while, it is even more difficult to finish the entire bag in time. Yet I keep buying it.
In an effort to not let it go to waste, I have been looking online for recipes that are healthy and use Spinach. Why even bother eating Spinach if it's in a dish that has more calories than you should eat in a week? If you're going to eat it, it might as well be good for you.

DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY GOOD RECIPES THAT USE FRESH SPINACH??? PLEASE SHARE!


That being said, I found a recipe for a Spinach casserole that looked promising. It wasn't. It ended up being a tart sauce with chicken in it. No casserole. I had to make noodles to serve with it. Still working on those leftovers.
Then I remembered that my friend Heidi had once posted about a green healthy drink that she made for her kids to get them to eat vegetables. I looked through my recipe file on the computer and found this recipe. I had to wait a few days to make it until I could get to a store to get some OJ.

Spinach Smoothies
1 C. orange juice

2 C. fresh spinach (not the frozen kind)

1 C. fresh kale (cut out the thick center stem)

Blend until smooth, and runny, and nasty green.

Then add:1/2 a banana

1/4 C. frozen raspberries

1/4 C. frozen blueberries

Blend again and then add ICE while blending!





Then I went online to find Heidi's post so that I could give her credit for the recipe only to find that hers was COMPLETELY different. I have no idea where my recipe came from, so I can't give credit to anyone. Since I didn't have the ingredients to make her green juice, I had to stick to mine.


Note: Even after googling it and reading about it, I STILL have no idea what kale is. I couldn't find it at the grocery store and decided to leave it out. I also realized that I was out of bananas. Whoops. I threw in a few frozen strawberries.



IT WAS YUMMY! I never would have known that there was any sort of vegetable in it, let alone spinach. This recipe (owner less as it is) is a keeper. Abigail loves it too.

I took the extras and made them into Popsicles. The ones featured here, however, were made a few days ago from another yummy (vegetable-less) smoothie that I made. Wait, it had cucumber in it, I guess that's a vegetable. Go me! Anyways, these are a great snack when I'm craving something sweet. Abigail even asks for them any time I open the freezer.



Recipe #2 (and you thought I was done)
Bran muffins. I love these. I crave them, I really do. I made a batch a few days ago and then I froze them. They freeze well. I defrost one when I want one and warm it up in the toaster oven. These are yummy and I feel good about getting some bran(fiber) in my diet. I even made them once with whole wheat flour. Ben ate them without complaining or even noticing. That was amazing, because Ben does not eat anything with whole wheat flour in it.

Here's the recipe. I pulled it off the All-Bran website.
The Original All-Bran Muffins (low fat variation)

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar (or ½ cup)
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups All-Bran original cereal
1 ¼ cups fat-free milk
2 eggs whites (or one egg)
2 tablespoons oil (or ¼ cup)

Directions:
1) Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2) In large mixing bowl, combing cereal and milk. Let stand 2 minutes or until cereal softens. Add egg and oil. Beat well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion evenly into twelve 2 ½ inch muffin pan cups coated with cooking spray.
3) Bake at 400 F about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
4) Yield: 12 muffins.



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Best Friend



Abigail's best friend, Gigi, turned two recently. We were so excited to receive the invite to the birthday party. We dressed Abigail up, did her hair, and headed off to the party.




I tried to style Abby's hair with double french braids like Rachel did, but mine didn't look nearly as nice as hers did. I threw on a HUGE flower to distract from the bumps. Ben didn't even mind the huge flower.




Gigi's parents did a fabulous job and provided yummy food, cake, and treat bags.







The whistles, juice bags, and the glasses were a hit, as were the candy necklaces.













I think the children's favorite atrractions were the park and the ice bucket. You heard me, the ice bucket. This nifty device provided hours of entertainment for the little ones and no fingers were lost despite the cold.



Unfortunately, Abigail lost her balance and fell off the bend while eating her cake. She scratched up her elbow and was pretty sad for the rest of the night. Luckily I was surrounded by med students. They were extremely helpful and checked out Abby's arm to make sure it was okay. We tried to keep ice on the elbow, but she wouldn't have it. Here elbow is still healing and she still complains about it. She asks me to put cream on it at least once a day.
Thanks Gianna for letting us celebrate your birthday with you.
Much love!