Monday, June 30, 2008

Spare the air!

It's been a pretty slow week in the Mannion house, mainly because we can't go outside. There have been tons of wildfires burning throughout California, and for the last week, the air quality has been unhealthy. They say being outside for a few hours is like smoking a pack of cigarettes. I've been trying to take Chloe out to indoor playgrounds and stuff, but just running errands in the car, with the air recirculating, has had my lungs hurting after about an hour or so. Fortunately, things are starting to clear up, which is fantastic, because we're all getting a bit of cabin fever. We also didn't take many pictures this week as a result.

Addie is just picking up speed and has rugburns on both knees. She's spent the entire week yelling, "Aaahhhh. Nananana. Raaaa," at top volume and pulling up on everything. Here is a picture of her pulling up.
Not to be outdone, here is a picture of Chloe pulling up also. What an advanced 3 year old:)
Here's our long legged sleeping girl. Somehow she got both legs out of her pjs, and tucked under her bum. Ironically, she slept begtter this way. Perhaps I'll tie the legs of all her pjs together.
And finally, here's a couple pictures of our bedroom. Sandy, here, finally, is a picture of the window treatment I tried to describe to you. If you like this knob option, this website has lots of cute ideas and hardware you can purchase. Bracken keeps asking if I'm all finished now, but I'd still like a new bookcase, and nightstands, and to update a few pillows . . .

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pictures from the week

The other day, Chloe was helping me clean the bathroom. She was cleaning the cannister full of cotton products, and when she found the cotton balls, she excitedly exclaimed, "Snow!" Then she found the cotton squares, which she knew were blankets, which was a relief, because she told me the snow was cold. I looked over to watch her carefully placing each "snowball" on it's own blanket.

Every Saturday before Father's Day, Bracken's mom's family gather at Rancho Seco for a picnic and boating. We were disappointed to miss it last year because we were moving into our house, but we had a lot of fun this year. Chloe got to go out in the boats for the first time with me.

Bracken, tired from working hard all week, and taking the hardest continuing education class for his license (which we just found out he passed. Great job, honey!), opted to take a nap with Addie. Addie, tired from cutting her top right tooth and scooting all week, actually took a nap on the ground with him.
Refreshed from the nap, Bracken and Chloe played a rousing game of Swing Ball, which all the kids in my family will recognize as a reinvented version of Zim Zam. I'd gotten it for Bracken for Father's Day, and Chloe only wanted to play with her dad.

Janeth, Jack and Eden supervised.The next day for Father's Day, I made Bracken his favorite dinner, tacos, and took lots of pictures of the girls.

This is staged, but she sure does work it with the hint of a tear in her eye. My little drama queen. I can't believe she's going to be 3 next week.

And check out these pearly whites. Bracken and I went to the dentist the next day, and took the girls with us. They had time to squeeze Chloe in for a surprise first visit, and she did so well! They turned on a cartoon, and I think they could have pulled every tooth from her mouth without her noticing. Everything looked good, which surprised and relieved me. She hates to have us brush her teeth, usually does a pretty poor job herself, and I've been worried that maybe something was wrong and that's why she didn't want anything in there. Fortunately, she has good teeth to compensate for her opposition to home dental care.

And here's my Addelicious. She has been such a busy girl this last week. She cut the other top tooth, learned how to crawl for real, pull up, and clap. She has also been adventurous enough to step from the ottoman to the couch while holding on. I know that doesn't sound very impressive, but for someone who has only just figured out basic forward motion, I think it's pretty bold.

I loved these shots of Bracken reading with the girls. He is such a good daddy, and I am so grateful for all the love and support he gives me. I got sick coming into the weekend, and he just took everything over without a word of complaint. Then he got sick, and I don't think I took nearly as good care of him as he did of me. Mainly because I ditched him for the day to go try out for Who Wants to be a Millionaire? They were auditioning locally for both the regular show and for movie week. I debated for a week or so whether I wanted to go. On one hand, I thought it was a silly thing to want to do, but on the other, I knew I would kick myself if I didn't at least try. Well, I went, on an hour sleep, and managed to pass both tests! I did well in the interview portion also, I think, because I got to do a screen test. I'll know in about 3 weeks if I made it into the contestant pool, so stay posted. Even if they don't choose me, I feel really good about the fact that I still have at least part of a brain somewhere. Seriously, though, I was telling Bracken last night, it just felt good to get a little recognition for doing something well. There are so many days as a mom where I just don't get to feel like I'm doing anything right, and I won't see the results of most of my labors for many years to come. It's nice to feel good about me for a little while.

Look at these cute girls. Oh, I just love them.

Here's Daddy and his girls on Father's Day.

And more of some goofy Addie grins. Could her hair be more orange? I laughed as I took these pictures because her eyebrows are usually pretty transparent, but as soon as you hit them with the flash, they glow orange.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Just so you know. . .

If your nearly three year old starts losing her mind one day because she needs a nap so badly but doesn't want to take one, but you make her go down anyway, so she wets the bed before falling asleep, and you hastily throw all her sheets as well as the rest of her dirty laundry in the washer after she wakes up, make sure you check said laundry for any disposable training pants she may have stashed in there before you start the wash. Pretty disgusting suprise to find all the laundry, and the washer, caked in those squishy water absorbing crystals. The good news is, they all wash away after you wash the clothes a second time with an extra rinse cycle for good measure.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Missy

So, it's my Missy's birthday today, and since her husband is out of town, and I didn't manage to get a real card in the mail in time, I thought I'd send her a Happy Birthday trip down amnesia lane. Missy, I love you so much and am so grateful for you. I hope your day is wonderful.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Almond Tart

So here's a recipe again, at last. It's the dessert I made for Bracken for Father's Day. Now some of you may be thinking, Almond Tart? That's not a very manly dessert. Well, that's where you're wrong. For one thing, it has nuts, which obviously makes it more masculine than feminine. For another, this recipe is brought to you, via Martha Stewart, from Jesse James, of West Coast Choppers fame. Can you get more manly than that? I was actually watching the day he was on (Honestly, I usually don't watch) and it was hilarious to watch Martha squirm as he did things contrary to "proper" way. And then he picked up his slice and ate it like pizza. So, there you go, manly, simple and delicious dessert.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for hands
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon Grand Marnier (I don't use this, but you could substitute orange extract I suppose)
Pinch of salt


Prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Butter a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flour, sugar, and salt. In a small glass measuring cup, stir together butter, vanilla, and 1/2 tablespoon water; pour over flour mixture. Stir to combine. With floured hands, press dough into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove tart shell from oven, and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, stir together almonds, heavy cream, sugar, egg, almond extract, Grand Marnier, and salt. Pour filling into crust. Bake tart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Mommy Tag

My sister in law Lindsay tagged me with this about forever ago, and since I don't have the camera to post any new pictures today, I thought I'd finally answer the questions.

1. What time do my kids wake up? About 6 am, and Chloe is trained to go straight to Bracken's side of the bed.

2. On a good night, what time do my kids go to sleep? Depends on which perspective I take of a good day. Addie goes down by 7, or she is up all night, like she was last night. If Chloe takes a nap, she goes to bed at 8. If she skips her nap, like she does most of the time now, we shoot for 7, which gives us a long day, but a quiet evening.

3. How long have I been a mom? 3 years on the 2nd.

4. How old was I when I became a mom? 28

5. What's my fav. kid show? Curious George, hands down. It has been Chloe's favorite forever.

6. Least Fav kid tv show? Little Einsteins. Given the entire catalogue of Classical music they could feature on the show, they repeat the same songs with different lyrics, sung by a little girl with a very nasal voice.

7. Fav Chore? Gardening!

8. Fav Meal to cook? Skillet Chicken with Brocolli, Ziti and Asiago (see my May archive for the recipe).

9. Whats the meal cooked most often? It's a close finish between corn dogs, chicken nuggets and mac'n'cheese. And does Little Caesar's $5 hot and ready pizza count?

10. What our your kid’s fav meal? At the moment, we've had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich almost every day this week, which Chloe has helped with. Also, see above.

11. Whats my Fav thing that Bracken does with the kids? Every night since Chloe was a baby, he has been the one to give the girls their baths every night. He has his own little routine and things that they do, and I love the guaranteed time they have together.

12. What are the 5 things that make me smile while being a mom?

  1. I'm smiling right now at the mess Addie has made while I've been typing--She's dumped a bowl of Cheerios (thankfully dry ones), emptied a basket of laundry Bracken folded, found some sort of dried fruit something to put in her mouth, and is now yelling into a toy and smiling at me.

  2. Chloe running. She's always up on tiptoes, her hair bouncing with every step. I just can hardly stand it.

  3. When my children sleep. Oh, it's so easy to forgive the worst days when you look down and see them peacefully dreaming, bums in the air.

  4. I love hugs and kisses and snuggles. Neither of my kids are particularly snuggly, and while I love their independence, I treasure the cuddles.

  5. The joy and excitement the girls get out of things that seem perfectly ordinary to me. At a wedding this weekend, Chloe got to talk to the princess (bride), and the exchange went something like this, all with doe eyes: "Did you get married?" "Yes, what's your name?" "Choe," in a breathy voice. Then the bride asked, "Can I give you a hug?" Slow nod yes, still with wide eyes. And then there's Addie, who about loses it with her mouth in an "O" and arms waving when presented with something new, usually to put in her mouth.

13. Where do I want to take my kids someday? Disneyland. Just now when we were waiting for the dentist, Chloe saw a picture of Snow White and initiated a conversation with her, and had to show it to everyone. She will lose her mind over Disneyland.

14. When was the Last time Bracken and I went out without the kids? We actually had an honest to goodness date Friday night. We did a little shopping, had dinner, and caught a movie. It was lovely.

15. One thing you said you'd never do as a mom? I never wanted to have the dirty kid, but most the time it seems like I am the dirty kid.

16. Favorite past time with my kids? They both just love the pool. They are water babies to the core, and I love to watch their joy.

17. Favorite quality that my mom has? My mom was good at being silly. I think I need to work more on that.

18. Advice for new mom's? Just relax, and pick your battles. Don't compare your kids to other people's kids. They all develop at their own rate, and they are all special. And it's okay if you never got dressed today.
19. What’s a scary or heartbreaking moment you've had? Just yesterday we thought we lost Chloe. I was getting Addie dressed for church while Bracken got ready, and I realized I hadn't heard Chloe in a while. She's a master at escaping, but the back door was locked from the inside, so I knew she wasn't out back. I checked the front door and it was unlocked. I looked up and down the street, didn't see her at all, then ran back in to tell Bracken I couldn't find her. I could hear the panic in my own voice. Then he checked the garage, which for some reason I hadn't even thought of. There she was, in the car, ready to go, $1.25 richer.

20. When was the last time your kids said I love you? I know Chloe has said it more recently than this, but the time I really remember recently was when I was making dinner one night, and was at my limit on "Mom? Mama? Mommy?" for the day, so I sent her to go find and help Daddy. She did, and came back in a few minutes later saying, "Mom, I wub you." She left again and I heard Bracken prompt her, "Go tell Mommy you love her again." And Addie tells me with the shaking arms and excitement described above.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Yesterday Chloe was jumping on the couch and after a few minutes of internal debate over whether or not this was a battle worth fighting, I leaned over and asked her to stop. She leaned back and said, "Mom, I need to have fun. Okay?" All right then.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Big Trash Day

Firstly, I'll start by captioning the pictures. There's a Miniature Golf Course near our house, and everytime we drive by, Chloe gets so excited to see the castles (there's a big and little one). This last Monday, we finally took her to see the castles and play minatures golf. After the tenth hole, she just walked off. Which is fine, because that's about as much patience as I have for miniature golf.

After supervising intently for most of the golfing, Addie eventually fell asleep in the backpack.

Chloe fell asleep later on the blue couch. She then woke up, switched couches, drank some juice with Dad, and fell asleep again. He got up, she rolled over, and continued to sleep though she was half off the couch. We scooted her back on, put on her pullup, and put her to bed, where she slept until the next morning. It had been a busy weekend.

Most of the busy and excitement was because Aunt Kiki came to visit. Chloe was so excited to see her, she got all dressed up. In one of Addie's dresses.

Addie was so excited, she mashed Fruit Loops into everything.

I was so excited that I didn't take pictures all weekend long, and only managed to document proof of the visit at 6 in the morning before she left. So, because I love my sister and am so happy she came, you all get to see me way too early in the morning. Seriously, how cute is my sister. She out dressed me the whole weekend, much to my surprise. She and a couple of her mission companions were taking a road trip through their mission, and she managed to finagle a couple of days with us out of the deal. It was so nice to see her, and I love her so much. Chloe was obviously also very upset about Katie leaving.

And one final shot of Addie. I've been wanting to accent my kitchen with orange, but I really wasn't planning on using pureed sweet potatoes. Apparently she has other plans.
But onto the title of my post today. This title can be taken many ways. For one thing, Addie has been waking up at random times in the night, shrieking bloody murder, and then going back to sleep. I, unfortunately, have not been going back to sleep so well, so today might not be worth much on the little sleep that I got.

Also, this entry may just be a big dumping ground for all the random stuff that we've been up to lately that I haven't written about.

But specifically, it was big trash day in our neighborhood, and I embraced my white trash heritage and went for it. 3 times a year, we have a big trash day, and everyone piles all the stuff that's too big to fit in the bins on the curb. In honor of this event, we cleaned out our garage. And everything we put on the curb was gone within an hour, though we never saw any of it actually disappear. Well, driving to and from stake conference yesterday, and seeing all the piles of stuff on the curbs . . .when in Rome . . . I suppose if you call it recycling, it sounds a lot better, but if I tell what I got, it sounds even better! I got a Little Tykes slide and picnic table, an iron garden trellis, a birdbath, a small ironing board, and some lattice fencing. When you add that to the "new in the box" trellis garden bench for $10 at a garage sale and a rotary tool, it was a really good weekend for taking charge of other peoples castoffs. I have to say, though, some of the garage sales I hit were pretty amazing. Seriously, do some people never throw things away? Or maybe they're just reselling all the stuff they picked up off the street that other people threw out. I'll let you know when we have our next garage sale. As a side note, though, our garage is making us so happy right now. There is room to open all the car doors, the cobwebs are down, and it doesn't crunch underfoot when you walk. Bracken and I have been opening the door and just looking because it looks so good. It was a very productive weekend.

Some other things we've been up to:

  • Bracken finished the semester, and even got an A in the class he was most worried about. Hooray! One more class to go towards the MBA.
  • Addie is inching on her belly. It really looks like an inchworm crawling, because she humps her bum up in the middle.Addie has also successfully pulled up on the couch now. She is moving!
  • I got a head and foot board for our bed--it's the first time either of us have had one. We also got a new mattress--another first for me. It is delicious. In honor of these new additions, I finally made curtains for the room. They cost me zero since I used fabric I'd been given, and recycled the knobs I'd take off our closets when we moved in to hang them. I'll post some pictures once I finish putting up the trim on the frame.
  • I finally filed all the papers on the counter. I thought I'd just let it go for a few months. No, it was more like a year.
  • Because we've been in our house a year now! I can't believe how fast it has flown, and how many projects we still haven't done. But that's okay. We love being in our home and doing the work of homeowners.
  • We put up our pool. We had three days of 100 degree weather, so we hurried to move out all the wood chips, fill the area with sand, and put up the pool. Chloe had the time of her life as we moved in the sand. She jumped from pile to pile, took off all her clothes, and left a sand trail in the toilet everytime she used it for the next few days. I honestly don't know what I'm going to do for her birthday. I think everything will be anticlimactic after the sand party. Bracken and I ended up putting up the pool by the light of the moon because we knew if we didn't get it done then, we'd never be able to keep Chloe off the sand long enough. Right after we got the pool up, the temperature dropped 25 degrees.
  • Chloe is dry almost every morning now, and has had no accidents! To reward her for this success, I have taken away all her sippy cups. I know, I'm mean, but she's almost three and we're tired of being woken up by a little face whispering, "Milk, milk." She seems to be handling things pretty well.
  • And finally, welcome to Will, Ryan, Abigail, Mason, and all the other babies who have joined our world lately. And congrats to the mommas. Good luck.

Now, since my little one is making noises, I'd better wrap this up. I'm vowing to be better about posting, so it won't take so long to read my ramblings.