Thursday, November 29, 2007


I love how every year Christmas just keeps getting better and better. It finally feels like Saben is really old enough to enjoy and appreciate the holidays. Watching him go through our christmas decoration box wsa fun and hanging lights in the windows together was even better. He loves the lights and helped hand me all the suction cups to get them up.

Getting our tree was lots of fun too. Kyle let Saben carry the saw for the first time, which freaked me out a little, but I got used to it. Then Saben gave the saw back to Kyle, who decides that THROWING IT IN THE AIR and catching it would be fun. If you know Kyle, he does this with everything, all the time. He especially enjoys doing it with things that could break or hurt him. So really, that didn't bother me at all, I am used to it and barely noticed.

Saben wants to carry the saw again and guess what he does? Yep, he throws it up in the air and it comes down and hits his hand. Luckily no damage done except for a little scratch and the verbal beating Kyle received from his wife about being a good example and thinking a little harder before doing things in front of his impressionable son.

So yes, our tree is up, lights up, quite a bit of Christmas shopping done and its not even December yet! We also watched our first Christmas movie with Saben - We decided to get Polar Express since it has the whole Train thing going for it. What I didn't remember is how ominous that movie is. I remember now that when I saw it the first time it kept feeling like something awful was going to happen any minute.

Saben didn't like it at all, we didn't say anything, but he started freaking out pretty early on, even when we tried really hard to reassure him that the ticket blowing around was probably going to be ok. Oh well. I can't decide if Rudolph is worth trying or not.

What I really can't wait for is to see if he screams again this year on Santa's lap. heh heh heh.

Hot Chocolate

I have finally found the hot chocolate of my dreams. I have spent years trying different recipes for hot cocoa, only to be disappointed that the results were not as chocolately as I hoped. For me, the ultimate cocoa is one that satisfies a chocolate craving as well as a chocolate bar would. Thick, rich and not too sweet.

This recipe I just posted on my recipe blog is sublime, even just using 50% cocoa "Pound Plus" bars from Trader Joes and boring supermarket cocoa. Someday I will try the combo of Valhrona cocoa and Scharffenburger chocolate which the author reccomends as his very favorite. I put both on my christmas list this year. : )

Saben 2 years 8 months

Saben's 2nd year has been marked by us saying things like "oh, now he's hit the terrible twos!" (May) "Wait, ok NOW he's definitely two" (August) and "WOW. He is DEFNIITELY two now. Yikes" (November)

We are definitely in a low spot behavior wise with him. We are really trying to get him to try more foods and everynight so far (for 2 weeks) is a screaming fit trying to get him to take one tiny tiny bite of one new thing. Bedtime involves him calling us at least 3-5 times to his room for more water or other made up reasons. Everything we suggest doing, from diaper changes, to going fun places is met with "No!" and running away. Shopping often involves screaming in the shopping cart.

So we are ironing out our discipline methods once again and trying to be steady while he works through it all. He has also been much more attention hungry lately than ever before. He rarely plays contentedly with his toys by himself like he used to, he would rather do stuff with Kyle & I. Not sure if its the lack of new toys since his birthday in March or just the need for interaction these days.

Apparently Saben is also making up for lost time when it comes to childproofing. Suddenly he is playing with plug ins, sticking scary things in his mouth like small bouncy balls, coins & magnets, (we never have had to worry about him choking much, he never put things in his mouth before) and recently we pulled a popcorn seed and a small ball out of his nostril. (two incidents, not at the same time)

Still no progress on potty training either, in January we will start really pushing it. I can't wait.

Saben loves playing games where we make his toys "talk". He has eight cars who all have names & go on adventures together. He is really into make believe lately, everything from making "fires" out of everyday objects to pretending to be a monster who is eating up our kitchen. He is obsessed now with garage doors and everything in our house is a garage door. Except for his markers, they are popsicles.

He loves running around and is getting a lot better at riding his glider bike. He dawdles in that curious preschooler way on walks and likes to observe the color of each and every garage door we pass. He loves drawing, playdough and helping mommy make food. (No, he does not eat everything he helps make, he is quite content to put zuchinni in a pot and not touch it for dinner thank you very much)

I have more to write, but will post it separately later. Time to go play with the boy.

Annika 4 months

Holidays, business trips, sickness, trying to get a jump on Christmas and it's been a busy couple weeks for us! Annika turned 4 months last week and here are her stats from her checkup:
Height: 26 1/8"
Weight: 14lbs 4oz

Annika can now turn both directions. She accomplished back to front a couple weeks ago. She also grabs things and brings them to her mouth now.

Annika seems to be quite the people person. I've mentioned before that she hates just hanging out in the exersaucer. She also has this charming habit of watching people, even strangers, till they look her way. As soon as she catches their eye, she gives them a huge grin. It is so cute and its funny when she does it to people when we're out in public.

She has been loving her Daddy lately and last night just stared at him all over the house & smiled huge everytime he came nearto talk to her. I was holding her and couldn't even get her to look at me, the little stinker. Then she finally turned and threw up right on my stomache.

Annika loves her pacifier and I can get her to sleep easy with it. But lately she's been waking up around 11 or 12, and again at 3-4. Then she finally sleeps till 9 or 10am.

The other thing I love is that Annika is starting to really hold on to me, when I carry her, she's no longer an inert bundle, she puts her arms around my shoulder and steadies herself. She loves touching & kneading me with her hands & arms while nursing and always keeps one arm touching me when she is in bed sleeping next to me. (if I move away a bit she reaches out to find me, even in her sleep)

She seems to be a bit braver than her brother was when it comes to being lifted in the air. She is all smiles these days when we whirl her around. She also loves all her toys now, from the "baby gym" to her Lamaze doll "emily" but still prefers humans to anything else.

We love you Annika!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who knew?

Predictable, but still disturbing to see Jesus portrayed by a carrot.

Jesus really should have come to earth as a teddy bear, think of the impact that would have had on his ministry.


Nativity w/ a "Quilt Theme" because the appeal of pairing quilts w/ Jesus should be immediately obvious.

Baby Jesus s'more snowman makes me sort of hungry. See how they aren't just s'mores, they are snowmen made of s'mores made to resemble the nativity? Very clever twist, that one.

This Mary mouse looks like she is about to devour her young. See the whole set here.

All these pics are amusing, but what really made my night was a description with the phrase:

"Set includes a velcro backed baby Jesus"

I sure wish my babies came backed with Velcro.

3 1/2 Months

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sleep, part 20

Amazingly, Annika will now go to bed incredibly easy. For the last 1 1/2 weeks. The magic trick was primarily switching her to a giant 6-12 month old pacifier which she LOVES. It has helped us so much. All I have to do is pop it in her mouth & lay her in bed after nursing and she just nods off eventually all by herself.

Plus we bought her a new CD player & play white noise womb sounds which helps her stay asleep, she was acting so sensitive to noises in the house & waking up a lot from stupid stuff like toilets flushing & the dog barking in the back yard.

Unfortunately she's been waking a lot earier than she was - 1-4am instead of 5-6am. But I don't really mind, it is much better now than when she slept through the night but took hours to go to sleep & didn't nap. She just nurses once & then sleeps till 7:30 am or so.

She is napping a lot better too, a short morning one & at least an hour in the afternoon.
Sigh. It is sooooo nice. (I am almost afraid to post this because that will probably make everything go haywire again.)


Silly me, all anxious to use my new mushroomy words and I screwed it up.

I went to a FORAY and went FORAGING for mushrooms. Not Foraying. But it did sound so cool.

Actually who knows, I think that's correct, but I'm too lazy to actually look it up.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


So about six weeks ago we went on this gorgeous hike with the kids. On the way down I started noticing that there were mushrooms everywhere. Big ones, teeny ones, purple ones, red ones. Suddenly the thought occurred - how much fun would it be if I knew which ones to eat? I had just read a couple books that mentioned wild mushroom collecting in Europe & how they are eaten so often over there and I started dreaming of going out with the kids someday, treasure hunting & bringing home a wild feast. (for free!)

After the hike I sort of forgot about it until I saw a story in the paper about a mushroom show. I went, brought some mushrooms from my yard which were identified as edible "blewitts" and was hooked. (we won't discuss what happened when I tried to cook my blewitts for dinner one night and kyle realized I'd picked them from the yard where Roxxy roams. And yes, pees. But really, I am positive they weren't peed on. That's my delusion and I'm sticking to it.)

Now I am an official member of a mushroomers club, the one that put on the show. I attended my first meeting on thursday and well... I won't get into that either, except that a really really nice man spent 40 minutes talking about fungus that eat nemotodes. And showed at least 30 pictures (magnified) of mushroom mycellium catching them which basically was a bunch of fuzzy lines & shapes that were about as fascinating as a pile of my hair on the bathroom floor. I chose to leave before the follow-up 20 minute video presentation of a veritable slaughter of nematodes by angry mushrooms.

Almost put off, but not quite, I showed up this morning for my first mushroom foray with the club. Everything I had read says that you MUST go with experts for your first few mushroom hunts so that they can help you identify things. Just relying on book descriptions isn't the best way to do it. We had fun, although I didn't really get to see any of the ones I am hoping to find. (chanterelles, boletes & hedgehogs)

Now, you might expect that this mushrooming group would be a bunch of hippies & really funky people with lots of dreads, colorful clothing and body odor. You would be wrong. For some reason, I am drawn to hobbies that are predominated by people over the age of 50. At least 2/3 of the people there had gray hair and of the 25 or so who showed up ONE girl was within 10 years of my age. (My neighborhood gardening club is the same way - its me and a bunch of people 20-30 years older than me) Everyone was quite dignified but kind of geeky as they gleefully examined & discussed all the mushrooms. I fit right in.

Probably some of the people are grown old hippies, but the ones I talked to included a master bee keeper who is going to Rawanda to help with bee polination stuff and an ex-chef of a very esteemed anacortes restaurant who was cooking a bunch of the edible mushrooms we found on a propane burner. (she even had a european accent!) Then there was the lady who was at least 65 who was identifying all the mushrooms for us by their latin names. (there are over 1,000 mushrooms in the NW alone by the way)

Anyways, I am excited, mushrooms are fun, tasty and I surprised myself by loving the people who were into it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Saben has hit that most delightful stage where he asks a zillion questions every day. Except they're not even real questions, its like he just can't stop talking. For instance, he just watched a truck pull into a driveway, open the garage & close it across the street. (his other obsession is garage doors, ever since we got our new one installed). So now the truck is sitting there and here is the string I had to answer:

Will the garage go up?
Will it go down again?
Where did he go?
Is he in the house?
Is he in the bathroom?
Is he in the truck?
Where is he?
Is he in the garage?
Will it go up again?
Will he come back out?
Where did he go?
Where is the man?
Is he in the truck?

And so forth. Notice the repitition of the same question over & over. Notice that I said "I don't know" and "Saben, I don't know where he went" about 20 times in 3 minutes. He asks questions about things he already knows too.

Mommy, did we throw rocks in the lake?
Did I throw rocks in the lake?
Did you throw rocks in the lake?
Did the rock splash?
And so on.

It is driving me bonkers. He is also just sponging up attention, he doesn't let me do things like say, write in my blog, anymore. Actually right now he finally left to go play with train tracks and I am going to go join him. Oh no wait, he is back, kicking the computer. Is that a hint?


If you are at all interested in cooking, especially Italian cooking, I would highly reccomend the book "Heat" by Bill Buford. The author spent a year apprenticing in Mario Batali's NY restaurant & Italy and writes about the experience. However, if you think Mario Batali is a cuddly lovable guy and want to keep thinking that as you watch him on Iron Chef, then don't read it. The most amazing part of the book for me was that Mario Batali & one other person actually consumed a whole case of wine (12 bottles) in one evening. That blows my mind.

But the best parts were when the author went to Italy to apprentice. That's definitely something I've always dreamed of and I am glad I had this hit of reality to know what it would actually be like and how many thousands of foreigners come to Italy each year to do that. They even have a special visa to allow you in the country to work for Italian restaurants for free. So many professional chefs are there working for free, its actually quite difficult to get positions.

I have been immersed in gourmet cooking books lately, between "Heat" and "The Man who Ate Everything" by Jeffrey Steingarten. (Who is a judge on Iron Chef. Notice a trend here? His book is great too.)

It really makes me want to cook, which of course I have little time for. But the other day I grabbed a container of baby artichokes and followed the recipe to make "baby artichoke saute" as a sauce for ravioli and it was absolutely disgusting. Sigh. So much for my culinary adventure. Stubbornly, I still want to try the marinated baby artichoke recipe, I just didn't have the 2 cups of champagne vinegar the recipe called for the other day.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fuzz Buzz

On Oct. 27, a caller in Sehome
neighborhood reported SpongeBob
Squarepants was trying to break into
their home through the back door.
Bellingham Police responded and discovered
SpongeBob thought he was
going to a costume party at a friend’s
home nearby. Police say SpongeBob
had soaked up too much alcohol.

On Sept. 22, a 45-year-old man entered
Bellingham Public Library and
began yelling and cursing at staff.
Asked to leave the premises, the man
kicked the door on his way out, causing
about $2,000 damage to the glass,
according to police. As he left,
a 60-year-old woman followed
him out, scolding
him. He punched her on the
arm, which she had raised
to protect herself from his
wild blows. A 71-year-old
man went to her aid and was
kicked in the leg for his troubles.
Eventually the seniors and
other bystanders tackled the 45-
year-old and held him on the ground
until police arrived.

Reprinted for your delight from

Ps. Its not delightful that old people got hit & kicked, it is awesome that they had the guts to stand up to him.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Friday, November 02, 2007

Hot Date

Kyle took me to the Oyster Bar on Tuesday, our first night out without kids since Annika has been born. These pictures do not even begin to do it justice. We arrived just barely before sunset and had an awesome cozy table right by the window to watch the sun go down over the water. It is so nice inside with a fireplace & the view is so gorgeous. (except for the oil refinery)

And I ate my first raw oysters! I had one BBQ'd oyster a couple months ago and wasn't that excited about it. But I've been reading this book about a guy who is eating & raving about tripe and all sorts of weird things and for some reason it has made me feel more adventurous. We'll see how long it lasts, but for the record, the oysters were delicious. Very tender & not slimy or chewy at all. I just didn't like the juice (seawater) in the shell at all, Kyle made me try it. blech.

Kyle's tenderloin with roquefort melted over top was scrumptious and my Bouillabasse was pretty good. I think I'd order something different next time, but overall the meal was fabulous. And my husband is the sweetest thing ever.

Forever I have been super paranoid about leaving the kids alone in the car, even for just a minute or two. I hate returning carts when I have to go too far from the car & I almost never left Saben in the car in our driveway. Kyle & I have had arguments about this even, because he will leave them in there & I freak out.

But the other day I was blown, the kids were grumpy and I had to return a pair of pants to Buffalo Exchange because it was the last day (5th) I could do so. I just happened to get a spot right outside the store and after carefully weighing my options (heavy, crying baby & running escaping toddler or... peace) I decided that I could just duck in really quick & exchange the pants & watch the kids through the window. I was literally only 15 feet from the car, but it is the first time EVER I have gone inside a building while they were still in the car.

I turned to say something to the cashier and imagine my horror when I turned around and there were THREE policemen looking in the window of the suburban! I ran out immediately, apologizing of course, feeling like an awful mom. One guy goes "Well we heard the baby crying...." and I wanted to say "yah, that's what they tend to do, especially in the car. You try and get anything done without having your baby cry."

Luckily they didn't yell, lecture or even really say anything, but I still felt pretty stupid and couldn't believe my bad luck.


Halloween 2007 memories

1. The scary house - there is a lady up the street who goes all out (I'm sure you know the type) on Halloween decorations. Saben made it up the front walk and seemed to love it, but by the time we had activated the smoke machine, the cackling mummy and the spider had lowered as she opened the door, he was wide eyed and frozen. He didn't break down into tears until we turned to leave and the "hidden mummy" opened and cackled at him for the 6th time. He's talked about the "scary house" every day since. Whoops.

2. Molasses boy - I have never seen Saben move so slowly as we went from store to store trick or treating downtown. It was driving me crazy, I really thought he'd be faster this year, I know he can move faster, but I guess there is a lot to look at. He was just as slow at night too when we went door to door. Not taking a nap might have had something to do with it, but still....

3. Too much candy - for some reason, every single year, I buy way too much candy to hand out to kids and then get all crazy trying to get as much as we can downtown. I don't know why, but when I see everyone handing out free candy, my inner child kicks in and I go nuts. Candy! For free! So I drag poor molasses boy all over downtown when really a couple blocks would have been fine and then we get home and have 3 trick or treaters so we're left with lots and lots of candy. Next year I PROMISE to let Saben go at his own pace and not try to hit every single store as quick as we can. I don't even like candy!!!! That is the funny thing. I would gladly throw it all away today.

4. Crafty mama - I made that railroad crossing shirt! All by myself! Ok, I had some advice from the original Crafty Mama , but I tackled the intimidating craft store all by myself, ironed on the letters & the fabric "X" and even handstitched the whole thing so it wouldn't fray in the wash. Now Saben can wear the shirt all year and hopefully it will last...