Sunday, February 27, 2011

I thought I would do a look back at the kids. Mainly Dylan. I haven't done one of these in a while. All of the pictures are close to the end of February in different years.

Dylan 2007

Dylan 2008

Dylan 2009

Dylan 2010

Dylan 2011

And here is one of Ethan from this time last year.

You've seen recent pictures of Ethan, so no reason to post another!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Poor Ethan. He has added a runny and sneezy nose to his cold symptoms. I really hope this doesn't last much longer. For the most part he is playing well though. Also, I don't know if I mentioned, but Ethan has been walking for a while now. Maybe I have mentioned it. Oh well. Anyway, he likes to carry things for some reason. Of course when he does carry things, if he happens to trip, he can't catch himself. It has led to quite a few bruises. Silly kid. Here are some pictures I snapped really quick the other night.

See that window behind him? My flash really shows all of the finger prints. Ethan loves to stand there and lick the window. No idea why. He will lick it, then run his hands or his forehead across the glass to make a noise. And notice the blocks in his hands. Those are his favorite things to carry. They get scattered out all over the room.

In those pictures is a really good example of why I do not like on-camera flash. I hate shadows. Since it was night time, I had to use it. If I would have used other settings in the camera, then I would have had a lot of noise or grainy-ness in the pictures. I would like to have an external flash, but they are quite bulky. I'm never happy am I?
We don't have a lot going on this weekend. Ryan is working today and tomorrow. This evening though, he is supposed to be home in time to stay with Ethan so that Dylan and I can go to a birthday party for a friend's little boy. With Ethan being sick, there is no way he can go. So I hope Ryan makes it in time. Going no where tomorrow. It is supposed to rain cats and dogs and be kind of cold. Big surprise there.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I have had it with winter and it gloominess and its sickness. Ethan and Ryan have a cold, or something. Chest congestion and a minor cough. Thankfully Ethan is sleeping well today. I got his humidifier up and running so I think that is helping him. He didn't sleep well last night. He fussed off and on. I should have turned it on last night, but I didn't. I hate this time of year. Everyone is stuck inside, in close quarters, so sickness is easier to catch. I just want warm weather. I hate that every other week or so someone in this house has a cold of some kind. I hate not being able to go places because someone is sick. Why can't there be a cure for colds? Why do kids have to get sick?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The other night (sometime within the last week) I made Tequila Lime Chicken. A recipe that I got from The Pioneer Woman website. It calls for you to marinade the chicken overnight in all sorts of wonderful flavors including tequila. I would be glad to post or link to the recipe if there is any interest, otherwise I wont bore you all with that! Anyway, the boys shared a piece of chicken without the marinade. There is conflicting reports about whether or not the alcohol cooks out of food when you use it. So better safe than sorry for the kiddos. I had very large chicken breasts that I just butterflied open and pounded out a bit before marinading. Ryan was conflicted on the chicken because of the cilantro. It called for a half cup of fresh cilantro, and apparently he thought that was a bit much. I on the other hand love cilantro. Its also supposed to be grilled, but in Ohio in February, that's not happening! At my house at least. So I used a skillet. Still tasted great and the chicken stayed moist.

Here is a pic of the chicken in the pan. Lots of good stuff from the marinade!

Here is the finished product topped with yummy cheese! The cheese adds a lot of flavor.

On the side we had roasted potatoes. A favorite of Ethan.

Oh, and speaking of roasting...have you ever roasted fresh broccoli in the oven? If not try it. You will not be sorry! It adds another level of flavor to the veggie. I think that you can get away with using almost no salt as well. It really is wonderful. And at my store fresh broccoli isn't anymore expensive than the frozen. The boys love it too!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Well I was able to go into the preschool with the other mom. Ryan's mom came down this morning and stayed with the boys so that I could go. It was an interesting experience. I have never seen a preschool at work. The only experience I have with one is what I see when I pick Dylan up that one day a week. The class has a teacher and an assistant. There is usually one parent who volunteers as well. Right now there are 16 kids in the class. They say a prayer at the beginning, along with the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the class. They were given the chance to play in different areas of the room and the teacher would bounce around and give bits of her time to each group of kids. They had story time, they talked about the story, and then were given a chance to run and play in an open area. After, they got a snack and it was back to business. Again they went into groups and did various activities. They counted, wrote, and did letters, read stories, and colored. They had a way of doing things and the kids were all nice, mannered and behaved. I was told the first week they start, that they ease into all of this. They give the kids a chance to learn their ways and what they are supposed to do. Of course there is much more to their day and what they do. But I was pleased with what I saw. Compared to where Dylan is at now, its very organized and well put together. So hopefully we will be able to get into it. There aren't a lot of preschool programs here in our area.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ugh. I don't feel well today. My tummy is just wonky. I can function but it just doesn't feel right. Last night was rough. Up all night with the sickies. We will just leave it at that, haha! Of course since I don't feel well, Ethan is deciding not to nap right now. Lately his naps have been hit or miss. I think he is getting closer to transitioning to just 1 nap per day instead of 2. Which would be fine with me, honestly. Id rather him just have an afternoon nap. But he still gets grumpy in the mornings, so I know he needs something, but when he is back in his room, he isn't sleeping. He has been back there for almost an hour and hasn't been asleep yet. Granted he isn't crying, just making noises. I guess he is at least resting. I really do wish he could make it all the way to 1 or so before he needed a nap. Like I said, I think that's where he is headed, but he still needs something in the morning. Yesterday was nice. Between groceries and picking Dylan up, Ethan napped for less than an hour in the morning. He did fine, until about 1. I put him down, and he was asleep in no time at all. He slept all the way till 4 or shortly after (I don't remember). He was a dream that evening! It was about 7:45 before he got fussy. Here lately I had been putting him down by 7 or so because he just couldn't function. Which also leads to an early wake time and starts a cycle of grumpiness. So since he went to bed close to 8, he slept until around 7:30 this morning, and he woke in such a nice mood. It was a nice change. Who knows what today will bring. It will all depend on that afternoon nap.
Tomorrow I may be able to go with another mom to a preschool I want Dylan to go to this fall. Ryan's mom said she would stay with the boys so that I can go. It will depend on if the other mom is volunteering for sure or not. Anyway, I am kind of excited to see the class. Dylan won't be old enough for kindergarten next year, so that's why I want him in a preschool. I am so excited for him to go. I hope this preschool works out. I have no idea how hard it is to get in. I guess it depends on how many people apply. They start registration in March. So if I go tomorrow, I will tell you about it!
Winter has made a return. Its below freezing and windy today. We had a few flurries this morning, but nothing big. I am done with winter. If I could have upper 70s to 80s all year around, with low humidity I would be happy. I hate the windy cold of winter, but also hate the high humidity of summer. I would also be happy having our land, but also have the beach on the other side. That way Ryan could farm like he does, but then be able to wake up to the ocean every morning. I can dream can't I?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday went ok. I really didn't get much accomplished. I tried on so many things and hated the way they all fit. I bought 1 shirt. Yep that's all. 1 shirt. Part of the problem is that I have NO fashion sense. None at all. That mixed with my heavier than "normal" figure makes for a very frustrating trip to the store. Even though I didn't get much, I still enjoyed myself. It was nice to be out. Out without the kids. No one needed me for anything! I had a friend meet me for lunch. I got to eat in peace! I didn't have to scarf down my food and rush to clean up afterwards just to prevent crying. It was cold and rainy though! Yuck.
I made a side trip to a craft store hoping to find something that Dylan and I could do together. I didn't find much. The store was really busy, but at the same time, nothing really jumped out at me. Dylan tends to get easily frustrated with things, so I kept that in mind. And he doesn't like coloring. And I cringe a bit at the thought of the mess that paint makes. I'm not a creative and crafty person either. I'm always looking for activities that we can do together. Any ideas?
Its cold and rainy again today. I am kind of glad its raining this morning though. That means that when I go to pick up Dylan, he wont protest so much, because he will be inside. If he is outside playing when I come to get him, then he throws a fit. It never ends well. But who can blame him.
No plans for the week. Big surprise huh?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Today feels weird. Almost feels like Sunday, although I have NO idea why. Yesterday afternoon I took Dylan to my mom's to stay for the night. He was as always, excited to go. They always do things together, and he stays busy and entertained. After I dropped him off Ethan and I just came home. Ryan was just getting home as well. We stayed in. Ethan was tired and grumpy and all I wanted was a quiet peaceful evening. I had a pot roast going in the oven for dinner, and as soon as I stepped in the door, I could just smell the wonderfulness coming from the kitchen.
I had a small chuck roast that I seared off, then added a few carrots and beef broth to the pan. I seasoned it with (dried) rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and about 3 bay leaves. It was great! It had been slow roasting all afternoon, so when I took it out at 5:30 it was just falling apart! Ethan loves the carrots when they are done up that way. So we had a quick dinner, with very little cleanup. Ethan was in bed shortly after 7 due to his lack of napping earlier in the day.
Today we didn't do much either. I picked Dylan up shortly after lunch from my mom's. He was less than thrilled to come home. He had fun with ma-maw and that is what matters. Both boys are down and out for the count. They were both pretty tired. So I hope this nap does them well and they wake up in a good mood.
Ryan is working today. I had hoped to be able to go with him but it didn't work out. So tomorrow he is supposed to be home all day and I am going to take that opportunity to go out by myself. Alone. I need a few clothes. I don't own many clothes. I hate shopping for them, so I just get what I need and get out. But I do need some more, so I guess I have to go. It is such an awful experience for me that I would rather do it alone! I intend to just take my time and do what I want to do. I don't get much time away from the kids. Days like these come less than once a month for me. So I am really looking forward to the day.
Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

This may turn into a very random post, so bear with me...

Picture day! Here are a few pictures of the boys all playing.

Ethan has a bad habit of taking Daddy's glasses off. So Ryan stuck them on Ethan's giant noggin.

Have I mentioned that I love food? I love cooking, I love reading cookbooks. I could talk about food everyday. My goal is to have an entire cabinet full of cookbooks one day. I just wish they were cheaper! Some of them are so expensive (in my opinion). But I am kind of a cheapo. There are a lot of things that I think are over priced, even though in reality they may not be. Anyway...While I love food, I try to control myself as to what I eat. Its no secret that I am not as skinny as I'd like to be, so I have some will power. Occasionally I will allow myself some sweets. When I do, I go to this ice cream.
It is sooooo good. I used to not care for mint. But while I was pregnant with Ethan I would crave it. Weird. So when I came across this stuff I gave it a try and wow! It has cookies crushed up in the ice cream! Its not your plain Mint chocolate chip ice cream. Its so much better! I am currently restraining myself from going into the kitchen to eat it. All. So that's why I am talking about it. I'm hoping it will keep me busy and out of the freezer, haha!
Tonight I think I am going to make hamburgers. Something fairly easy. And the highlight of the meal (for me at least) will be the potato wedges I am going to make. I get cravings all the time for potatoes. Mainly when they are roasted in the oven. I would make potatoes every night if the rest of the crew wouldn't complain about it.
Oh, and I was so disappointed today. Supposedly it is supposed to be near 70 degrees today. But there is some crazy wind out there. It feels nothing like the 50 some degrees that the thermometer says it is. I don't know how strong they are blowing but the house is creaking, so it must be strong. Stupid weather. It needs to make up its mind. We are still in winter, but its acting more like spring. Right now at least.
So not a lot going on. Ethan's bruise is darker, but usually that means its healing. He is starting to make me a nervous wreck. Walking is over-rated. He tries to move too fast for his little legs. His brain moves much faster than the rest of him.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today's letter writing went a little better. I had Dylan do one page of C's and one page of D's. They were fairly easy for him to understand, so I was afraid making him do 2 pages of C's would bore him. It worked out. He would trace a couple and then would go into a speech about "When I get done with these I am going to..." and name various things he wanted to do today. He repeated that numerous times. But he made it through the letters without any frustration.
Last nights dinner was a little different. I made steaks (those are nothing new) with a whiskey cream sauce. So good! Butter, broth, onions, cream, and of course whiskey!!! YUM. I didn't take any pictures of it for a couple of reasons. One it is fairly boring to look at, and two, the crew was starving. Dylan was in and out of the kitchen every five minutes asking if dinner was done yet, and Ryan was hollerin from the living room that he was hungry. Anyway, it was good. There was absolutely nothing light or healthy about it, but that's ok every once in a while. The sauce had that wonderful whiskey flavor without the bite of the alcohol. I used the recipe from the website The Pioneer Woman. I have used a few of her recipes and recently bought her cookbook. She knows what she is doing, that's for sure! Along side I made sweet potato onion fries. They weren't crispy, but they still tasted good. They had salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder on them and were tossed in olive oil. The chili powder really balanced out the sweet. I would make them again, but wouldn't waste the time cutting them into strips, instead would just chunk them.
Yesterday afternoon, Ethan was walking towards the coffee table in the living room with a block in each of his hands. He stumbled over another toy, and fell into the table. He now has a nice bruise on his forehead. Honestly I am surprised he isn't covered in more bruises. He tends to be very clumsy at times. And I don't know why he likes to carry things. He is always carrying something for some reason. Most of the time, it is a block or 2. Anyway, he cried for a while, but is fine. It wont be the last bruise I'm sure!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Well last nights Bolognese Sauce wasn't as good as I hoped. It tasted fine, but really not much different from a jarred sauce. I expected a much deeper, richer flavor. I won't give up on a good Bolognese though. I will look up more recipes and try something with more ingredients. Not a total fail, but a little disappointment. Over the weekend I had made Ryan a Coconut Cream Pie. I told him it was his Valentine's Day gift. I can't stand coconut. Ick. But he likes it, so that's all that matters. I made this pie once before and once chilled, the meringue started to separate. It got a little watery basically. So I got online and started asking around, and was told that it was possible that the meringue wasn't cooked completely. Part of the trick there I guess is getting the meringue onto the steaming hot filling asap. I was a little slow on that part the first time. I was also given some tips to help make my meringue more stable. One of those ways was to find a thing called "Meringue Powder." So I just happened to come across it in the store that I was in and bought it. It is a super fine powder that you just add water to and then whip up. It did take a little longer to beat that the normal egg whites. But Ryan said the pie was great! So that was a success. I haven't given up on the traditional meringue, but until the powder is gone, I will use it. Even though I cheated a bit, I was successful. Here are 2 pictures of the pie. When I took these pictures the pie was half gone, so I had to work with what I had!

I also wanted to show the papers I am using to teach Dylan how to write. It is so frustrating on my part. I really don't know what I could do differently. Most days it is a struggle to get him to do the papers. We do 2 pages a day. Its not a lot. I don't think that I am asking all that much from him. But he is pretty resistant to it most of the time. There are days when he will do it without any issues, but not many. Today he spent most of the time whining about not wanting to do them. It took him an hour and 15 minutes to do what is pictured. Like I said he whines that he doesn't want to do them, or that he can't. But once he gets the papers done, he is so proud of himself for doing it. I just don't understand! Anyone have any ideas?

Monday, February 14, 2011

An uneventful weekend. I did have mom over for dinner on Saturday. Her birthday is later this week. I just picked up pizza and she got to spend time with the boys. It was a nice evening. Both boys were exhausted and were in bed shortly after 7 that evening. I was of course thankful, because I was tired too. Must have been something in the air! Dylan had his Valentine's party at school today. He was so excited to go this morning. He got to pass out his Valentine's to everyone. When we were headed home, he says " I love Valentines day." So cute.
After I picked up Dylan, I ran down to the car wash to get the winter gunk off of the car. I just used the automatic washer. Its warmer than it has been for a long time, but its not that warm. I'm not going to stand out there with a hose in this weather. Of course it scared Ethan, but his cries didn't last long. Once we pulled out of there he stopped crying.
On my grocery trip today I made sure to get the things I needed to make a Bolognese Sauce. I have been wanting to make one for such a long time. Its basically a from scratch pasta sauce. Slow simmered for hours. The house smells so good right now! I hope that when its dinner time, it tastes as good as it smells. There are quite a few variations to the sauce, so if this one isn't all that great then I will try another.
I do my best to cook nice meals everyday. I do cook everyday (its rare we go out to eat), but I wish I had more time to cook better. I am always trying to rush through recipes, because there is always a kid whining. Ah, speaking of whining. Ethan is now waking from his all to short nap. Great....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yesterday it was partly sunny. I wanted to practice just to see if I would even be able to do the whole picture thing. I think that I can, as long as the boys cooperate. If I have the right amount of light coming in to the room, it will be fine. Again today its cloudy. So anyway, I thought I would share my practice shots. When it comes time to do the real pictures, I will dress them better. At least in shirts that go with the background better. I have an off white sheet and a green sheet that I am using. I think I like the off white much better though.

This one would have been nice if I didn't cut his head off! Note to self next time! Oh, and the flash was on in this one and completely washed him out. Ick.

That smile turned quickly and all of the sudden, practice was over.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sitting down and asking Dylan to do something structured has never gone well. Mainly I think its because its me that he is sitting down with. He seems to do well with his teacher at his school that one day a week. I have never had much luck though. Despite that, I am going to give it another shot and try. I am going to keep my expectations low, and keep it fairly short. So I finally found some traceable letter sheets online that I actually liked. I wanted to find a paper with minimal distractions on the page. So many of the ones I saw had pictures all over them along with the letters. So my intentions are to have him do those sheets everyday during Ethan's first nap.
Today was the first day of this effort. It went OK. Not great, but not horrible. He made it almost 30 minutes. The last five minutes I struggled to keep him still and focused. The papers have 2 rows of 5 uppercase letters and the same for lowercase. We did 2 papers of the letter "A". I will give "A" at least 1 more day, hopefully 3 though, before we move on to the next letter. He knows all of his letters. The challenge at this point is to get him to write them. I have tried it before, but not with the traceable papers. I'm hoping this attempt goes better than past attempts. So anyway, he managed 2 papers, but the last one was a little struggle. On the back of the paper I also had him free hand some letter A's. Not bad! Then we started to fill out his Valentine cards for his party on Monday. We will do a little at a time. Since I know that he cant (or wont) write his name, I make him spell his name while I write it.
Seems like I am going to have a problem with Ethan's nap though. This is the second day where he has slept less than an hour for this first nap. Dylan and I just barely finished what we were doing when he woke up. And now that he is up, he is in a horrible mood. Go figure.
Did I mention that I am going to attempt pictures of the boys? Like good pictures and not just snapshots? I keep waiting for a day when the lighting is right in the living room. I guess its harder than I thought to have a sunny day. So anyway, I am still waiting to do that.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I had a horrible weekend. You ever get that feeling where nothing you do is right? Nothing you do is enough? That's how I felt. I don't always feel this way. I do the best I can daily. I'm certainly not perfect. I will never be perfect. I am just me. As I started writing this I realized I really don't want to talk about it. Enough.
Today at school Dylan is decorating his shoe box for the valentines party they are having next Monday. He was pretty exciting to decorate the box this morning. This week, he and I will work on writing out his valentines cards for Monday. The boys are slowly getting over their colds. Dylan is coughing less, and Ethan is snotting less. Hopefully it wont be much longer before they are back to normal.
That's all for now I guess. Just in a slump. This post is so short its really almost pointless...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

We have been knee deep in snot all week. Both boys have a cold. But, both are doing well with it. Ethan's cold is mainly a very very snotty nose. Dylan's cold is mainly post nasal drip and cough. Ethan is surprisingly sleeping very very well despite his nose and congestion. I have been wanting to get out so bad. But with both of them sick like this, its just not happening. By the time we got anywhere Ethan would be head to toe covered in snot. I have to constantly wipe his little nose to keep him from wiping it all over himself! And it is so cold out! 12 degrees right now, still windy, so who knows what the windchill actually is.
We just barely got clipped by that big storm that moved across the country. We got lucky. We did have ice. In some areas of the county it did bring down trees and power lines, but I am so thankful that it didn't make our power go out. We lose power on sunny days, so I am very surprised that we didn't lose it. Since then it has been very cold and extremely windy. I am so ready for summer. I want to be outside with the boys. And I can't wait until our beach vacation! The boys will love the pool and ocean. But its a little too early to be dreaming about summer. That dumb groundhog says it will be an early spring. He better be right. I know I could look it up, but I wonder how often he is right...hmm.
I've been slacking lately on pictures. Part of that is this stuck in the house thing we have going on. All the pictures look alike, because we can't get out. Sometimes it just gets to me. I have cabin fever. A big case of it. I got to the grocery store and that's it. It would do me a world of good to get out for a bit by myself. That hasn't happened in weeks. Many many weeks. Every mom needs time for herself. Unfortunately I don't get that very often. Cabin fever...I told you.
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