Thursday, May 29, 2008

I don't know why I seem to think there's some sort of moratorium on how often I can post, because I tend to just save it all up and post one giant post every so often, instead of just dropping a line here and there. And I think I also subconciously feel I must have pictures every time. So here are some pictures, and I'll try to add more text later. These are from our Memorial Day Family Barbeque. Where Addie finally got to have ribs. She couldn't have been happier. Or messier.

Monday, May 12, 2008

And all I got for Mother's Day was a fat lip.

Okay, so I got more than just a fat lip. But my day did end with said injury. I was getting a tired and therefore extra energetic Chloe ready for bed, when she jumped and smacked her head right into my lips and teeth. My first thought was, "That's a fat lip, no question," followed immediately by, "And on Mother's Day. That's funny."

But not as funny as the thought I had shared in Relief Society. In our ward they have Sharing Time at the beginning of the meeting, and everyone has an opportunity to share any special or spiritual things that have happened in the week. I proudly raised my hand and said, "My daughter pooped in the potty." It brought the house down. And Bracken says he's the only funny one in this relationship. But seriously, it was the best thing that happened all week, and it marked a real commitment on Chloe's part to potty training. We have not had a single accident, including during naps, in over a week. She's not there on nights yet, but I'm thrilled with where we are.

My Mother's Day was nice, though. Bracken made me cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and sausage, because all Chloe wanted to eat was a hot dog. He gave me a new more powerful drill, because my old one needs a rest after about 3 screws. I know it's not romantic, but I've been looking forward to it for months. After church we took a couple pictures with my sweet girls. I'm so glad to be their mommy. I just love them so much, and love the opportunity I have of being home with them. I did realize the irony, though, that in my head, Mother's Day, which celebrates motherhood, should be a day off for Mom. I got a pretty good day off.

I tried to take more pictures of Addie for this post. I had two problems. One is that she does not take great pictures with a flash. Something about that redheaded, ultra fair skin and piercing blue eyes just doesn't work.
Second problem was Chloe. Every time I tried to take a picture of Addie, Chloe would pop her head in, "Take picture me, Mom!" Addie is so close to crawling right now. She leans from sitting into crawling position, stays there for a moment, then collapses.
I really want her to learn to move on her own for real, because she is so anxious to move that holding her is an aerobic event. She's constantly flipping and rolling and launching herself out of our arms. She also spins in circles when either sitting or lying down. She's clearly calling for Momomom and Dadadad now, and has been for a couple of weeks, but I've forgotten to write about it. Poor second child. I'm also afraid her love for her sister is going to be the end of her. She laughs so hard when Chloe plays with her, and the harder she laughs, the harder Chloe plays. Bit of a safety hazard.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Who is in Quebec?

Some of you may have noticed the little ticker on my blog that tells me who is visiting and where they are from. I haven't wanted to go private with my blog because I enjoy catching up with missed friends and reading other people's blogs. I figured this was a way of keeping an eye on things. Well, I just noticed that someone from Quebec was viewing it, and they left via a couple of half-naked pictures of Chloe. If this is someone I know, and purely a coincidence, please let me know. If I don't hear anything in the next couple of days, I'm officially going private. If you've been reading my blog and aren't sure if I have your email address, please send it to me because I would love to stay in touch. For all of you parents out there, if you see that I've gone private in the next couple of days, be concerned about who is reading your blog. I'm officially freaked out.

Working the System

Chloe amazes me. In 4 days we've gone from refusing to poop in the potty, to metering poops to get more prizes. Yesterday afternoon, she wanted some Pez, which for some reason is her prize of choice, so she pooped in the potty. She ate the candy I gave her, then wanted more. I told her she couldn't have anymore prizes until she pooped again. So she pooped again, and got another prize. When she got bored with that one (she actually chose a toy that time), she went into the bathroom, and squeezed out a peanut sized poop, just to get another toy. I'm not complaining, though. At least it's all going in the potty.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Skillet Chicken with Broccoli, Ziti and Asiago

This is my favorite dinner to make lately. It is fast and delicious and I love it. Bracken only loves it if I serve it to him before I add the cream and cheese, which is fine because that means there are more leftovers for me. I've only ever made it with penne instead of ziti.

This recipe also works well with 8 ounces of penne. Parmesan cheese can be substituted for the Asiago. Serves 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts , cut into 1-inch squares
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or olive oil)
1 medium onion , minced (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces ziti (2 /12 cups)
2 3/4 cups water
1 2/3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (1 can)
12 ounces broccoli florets (4 cups)
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed and chopped coarse
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 ounce grated Asiago cheese (1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 1 minute without stirring. Stir the chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, of the pink color has disappeared and the chicken is lightly browned around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl and set aside.

2. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the ziti, 2 cups of the water, and the broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is very thick and syrupy and almost completely absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Add the broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and the remaining 3/4 cup water. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the broccoli turns bright green and is almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

5. Uncover and return the heat to high. Stir in the cream, Asiago, and reserved chicken with any accumulated juices and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing more grated Asiago at the table, if desired.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Additions and Subtractions

Yeah, I've been slow to blog lately. And it's not because Chloe's been sick. She's fine. Better than fine. We finally achieved something major this week. And it has nothing to do with this picture of her by the temple. This picture is here because it's cute, and she loves temples because they look like castles and she can see "princesses" there. I realized we haven't actually brought her to the temple in a while, so we went by on Saturday.
But on to the real achievement.We started potty training in January, and after a couple successful attempts, for some reason she has been boycotting pooping in the potty. We've tried prizes, stickers, an overabundance of excitement, and nothing has worked. So this last week we started taking things away. Certain movies, then TV all together (which was a bit rougher on Mom, but necessary for both of us anyway), treats, and finally, when nothing else worked, we took away all pull ups and even her panties. I figured if we were having a separation anxiety problem, making sure things had to fall was our best bet. I was putting her down to nap with a wee-wee pad underneath, and even put her to bed with nothing on, since she had also taken to night pooping to avoid the toilet. I also had to make sure I moved all Pull-ups and diapers from her room because she was choosing to put on a Pull-up and pee rather than use the toilet. It angered me and made me smile at the same time. Anyway, Sunday, at my cousin Tiffany's house where we were celebrating the blessing of her second daughter, Sariah, CHLOE POOPED IN THE POTTY! It was amazing. I had to control the urge to hug her before I wiped her. I hope we continue in this direction.
This next picture gives you a clue about one of our new additions. Yes, I finally did it. I got a Kitchenaid! Despite already having 2 kids and a mortgage, Bracken says we are now grownups. After taking all shared opinions into consideration, and price shopping online and in person, I decided against the Costco Kitchenaid. We went to Bed Bath and Beyond and got the 6 quart mixer, using my 20 percent off coupon. The thing is, it came with a pouring shield, and a rebate for a free slicer attachment, so it really balanced out in the end. I also figured I could buy the smaller mixing bowl at some point in the future for mixing smaller amounts of things if I wanted to. So for our family home evening activity tonight, we made cookies, just so Bracken could test drive the new mixer. I had no idea he was also so excited to get it.

Our other major addition right now is working sprinklers in the backyard! We've had a sprinkler system out there, but it's not worked since we've lived there. Our plumber friend came out and worked on it for a few minutes, and got it all working. It is beautiful to see the water spraying out there. Now we just have to figure out where the leak that is running into the street is coming from . . .

The big subtraction for the week was Fish. He was over 1 1/2 years old, never had a real name, and spent most of his life swimming upside down. He had been fished out of the bowl twice by Chloe, and recovered both times. I was just contemplating buying him a new bowl, and the next day found him floating sideways, which for him apparently was the equivalent of another fish floating upside down. Chloe seems totally unaffected by his demise, and I keep debating whether I need to make a bigger deal of it or not. I guess it's best to let floating fish float.

In case you're wondering, Addie is still alive and well, I just have been horrible about taking pictures. Which is why I have no pictures of a little pool party we had this week. Which might be good since it seemed like most of the kids were naked at some point. Chloe herself was naked, then wearing a suit, then wearing only the top of the swimsuit. Good thing we have a good fence. Anyway, Addie loves food. She loves baths with her sister. She still does not really like to sleep. But we're all doing pretty well with that, as long as I wear earplugs.