Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 In Review

1. What did you do in 2010 that you've never done before? We did our very own vegetable garden!

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn't make any resolutions last year, but Maggie did. As far as I know, she kept it! I'll most likely make some for 2011, but not sure what yet.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? I did! Jessica Fae joined our family June 2.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.

5. What places did you visit? We did not leave the state this year, but did have a weekend away in Bozeman MT before Jessie arrived.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? A Minnesota Vikings winning season. Seriously, 2010 was a pretty darn good year that didn't lack for much of anything.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory and why? Jessie's birth is probably the only actual date I'll be able to recall years from how.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Other than giving birth? Going to the family camp at Luccock park with a 3 month old! And being able to give Jessie mostly breastmilk for her first 7 months of life (so far). I think she's only had 1 bottle of formula at daycare.

9. What was your biggest failure? This is a weird one, but I think my biggest failure was not keeping Maggie home with me more often while I was on leave this summer. While I was pregnant, I had visions of keeping her home once a week, going on play dates to the zoo or the Lake, and we just didn't do that enough. I'm hoping to rectify that next summer by taking more days off for just us.

10. Did you suffer any illness or injury? No. We have all been healthy this year, other than Maggie's bout with Scarlet Fever

11. What was the best thing you bought? Technically, I didn't buy it because it was free, but I'm really digging my Droid phone.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Maggie, who has been such a great big sister! She took the hospital stay in stride and has not shown any jealousy towards Jessie.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Wiconi has decided that more things in our house belong outside. She will take any stuff animal outside to play. She will take dog dishes outside, dumping any leftover dog food on the floor as she goes. I don't know that this makes me depressed, but it is rather appalling.

14. Where did most of your money go? Where it always goes: taxes, the house, and daycare.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Our first backyard movie night. Rocky bought an inflatable movie screen and projector. We watched "The Towering Inferno", enjoyed a fire and some shooting stars.

16. What song will remind you of 2010? It's not well known, but as it was written by Maggie, I can't help but put this one here.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder? Happier. 2009 was a rough year. 2010 was really pretty good.
b. thinner or fatter? Thinner, though to be fair, I did give birth this year. I am still losing weight though and am fitting into clothes I never thought I would wear again!
c. richer or poorer? I think we are the same.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Scrapbooking -- I have a scrapbook for 2010 that I haven't even started. At least I have written in Jessie's babybook. And the blog will help me complete the scrapbook.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Watch TV. Though this time of year, I always feel like I watch too much TV. We are considering getting rid of DircTV. We have Netflix now (which ROCKS) and most of the TV we watch is on the local channels.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2010? It was a blessed Christmas!

21. Did you fall in love in 2010? Of course, we all fell in love with little Jessie. And I fell a little bit more in love with my husband.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Really enjoying "Community" and "The Big Bang Theory"

23. What did you do for your birthday? Some girl friends from church took me to lunch at Guadalajara and Rocky and the girls took me to Outback for supper.

24. What was the best book your read? "Ain't Gonna Paint No More"

25. What did you want and get? Healthy pregnancy and baby. A white Christmas. A Droid. Family visits.

26. What did you want and not get? A family photo

27. What was your favorite film? We saw 3 movies on the big screen this year. Rocky & I went to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" which was well done, though VERY long. We all went to see "Iron Man" before Jessie was born. It was the only movie we saw at the drive in this year. Maggie & I also went to see "Toy Story 3" in 3-D. I don't think the 3-D really added anything to the story, only $20 to the Disney coffers.

28. Did you make some new friends? Not necessarily "new" friends, but our friendships with our church group really grew this past year.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? That is really really hard to say. This really was a good year. I've been looking back through my posts for ideas of how to answer these questions, and I don't know that this year could have been more satisfying. I could have done without the hail storms and robbery. But we were still able to enjoy the fruits of our garden and we learned to keep the garage door shut. Even so, I don't know that without those things the year would have been Immeasurably more satisfying. Anything missing from this year .

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? Casual, comfortable.

31. What kept you sane? Wine.

32. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Usually this would probably be Brendan Fraser, but not sure I'd drop everything for him anymore.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? Healthcare Reform. On this issue, I am, apparently, a socialist.

34. Who do you miss? Nala.

35. What valuable life lesson did you learn? Trouble doesn't stick around. The best thing we can do with our lives is enjoy it and each other.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A New Toy

Yesterday, Rocky texted me and asked if I would like a Droid phone. Um, let me think YES. He then told me about this awesome sale at Best Buy: a FREE Droid (or similar phone) if your contract was up or if you were eligible for a phone upgrade, which I was. So today I met Rocky at Best Buy -- left the girls at home with Mom and thanked myself for taking a few extra days off this holiday. Now I'm having fun checking out the features and downloading apps, which includes a Blogger app! This is Frickin sweet. Sale lasts until Saturday so get to Best Buy if you'ce wanted a Droid or other Smart phone, but have been putting it off. Sales don't get much better than FREE.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Happens

The past week or so has been filled with Christmas events, including 2010-12-19 2010-12-19 002 0012 Christmas concerts that Maggie participated in, 1 in preschool and 1 at church. She did pretty good at the preschool concert, but despite her assurances that she would sing loud in church and singing in the rehearsal, she simply mouthed the words. She still looked cute in her angel wings. (videos will be posted later)

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Grandma Alana drove in on the 23rd and we were all able to just hang out most of the day Christmas Eve. Grandma brought a Gingerbread House kit and Maggie really enjoyed decorating it. She has asked several times when we can eat it. She may be the only one who partakes in eating it.

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Christmas Eve, we also joined our neighbor’s annual Santa party. Maggie was sure to tell Daddy that it wasn’t the “real” Santa because he was traveling around the world delivery presents. Plus we SAW him fly through the neighborhood. She was 2010-12-24 2010-12-24 001 026still happy to sit on his lap and tell him that she wanted a Strawberry Shortcake doll for Christmas. She got a Little House on the Prairie story book from Santa, which she and Grandma read before bed.

After the party, we went 2010-12-24 2010-12-24 001 018to church. Maggie decided she wanted to sit with us and thought the candlelight service was fun. Jessie wasn’t as impressed and we spent a little time in the narthex with baby John Seab, who Jessie seemed to want to eat, or at least just taste. Though it was fun to watch the 2 babies interact.

Back at home, we found Santa had left our stockings, so we took some time to see what he left and open the “stockings” that Grandma Alana had brought for us. Maggie was thrilled to see Santa knew she liked Zoobles. We agreed that Santa can be pretty smart.

Christmas morning, Jessie & I got up early, around 5:30 am. Well, Jessie got up early and got me up with her. She enjoyed checking out the the Christmas lights and presents.2010-12-25 2010-12-25 001 002 2010-12-25 2010-12-25 001 004

The rest of the family got up around 7 or so, and Jessie had fallen back to sleep. Maggie took some time to play with her new Strawberry Shortcake doll – Santa didn’t forget!2010-12-25 2010-12-25 002 001 2010-12-25 2010-12-25 002 006

Jessie liked her gifts, but really preferred the wrapping paper and ribbons. It’s been a long time since I’ve been around a baby at Christmas

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We all received nice gifts, Rocky got a telescope and Superman pjs and I got a new set of dishes and a nice fluffy robe among other wonderful things. We had ribs for lunch. And after lunch, Maggie got a final gift from Grandma Bonnie and Grandpa Mike: a princess yard card!! Maggie was so excited, she just kept saying “I like it!”

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It was a very very blessed Christmas. God bless us everyone!

More pictures on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Maggie-isms

I haven't had a Maggie-isms post in some time, but she gave me a few these past few days:

  • When I got Maggie up this morning, she informed me that it is still night. I reminded her that in the winter, it's dark when we get up (like it has been EVERY SINGLE MORNING for some time now). So she gets out of bed, goes to her window, opens the curtains, points to the moon and says "But Mo-om, when the moon is out that means you have to sleep!"
  • Last night, when I got home from work, Rocky, Maggie & Jessie were on the couch watching "Snow Buddies." In it, there is a "hip" puppy that calls everyone dawg and says "You straight up trippin" a lot. Rocky tried several times to get Maggie to say it as well. Finally, she says "You straight up chicken!"
  • Maggie walks into the kitchen, arm flailing and states "I don't know what I'm doing!"
  • Last night, while fighting off sleep, Maggie asked her dad "Do reindeer lay eggs?"
  • Last week, she asked her teacher, Miss Carole: "Are elves and reindeer real?" Miss Carole told her that yes, they are real and told us that Maggie looked VERY releaved!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes

A nice crisp Torrontes I.P. Salta from Argentina.  A little dry and probably much better in the summer, but I’ve been enjoying it this week.  I’m sure it will pair nicely with the pizza Rocky & Maggie brought home!

Per the label:

Crios means “offspring” and refers both to my children and my label of wines that display loveable fruit flavors and excellent balance.  Torrontes is Argentina’s uniquely aromatic grape variety and it shows its finest expression in the northern province of Salta where 5,000 ft elevation, dry weather, intense sun, cool nights, and sandy soils bring out its true nature.  It combines an intensely floral, citrusy aroma similar to Viognier with the dry, crisp taste of Sauvignon Blanc.  And no oak – just a lot of motherly attention.

I really am enjoying South American wines lately.  I have a trio of Californian and duo of Montanan – yes Montanan – wines to blog about soon.  I purchased the Torrontes at City Vineyard for $13.95.  I may have to look for more next summer.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hey Santa Claus! Hey Santa Claus!

Santa2010aWe got to visit Santa at the Gazette yesterday.  We got to meet Santa early as Rocky got to interview him for a video series he’s doing.  Maggie was very excited to help!  She helped Rocky get set up and even came up with some questions (see below), but got shy when Santa showed up and let Daddy ask the questions.  Jessie wasn’t too shy and enjoyed checking out his beard – which is very real by the way! 

Maggie’s party present is a Zhu Zhu pet.  We were trying to figure out his name, but couldn’t find it on the box.  Maggie asked me to read something on the box, which was the warning label.  She decided “Warning” is a great name for her new Zhu Zhu pet.  Jessie got some blocks, which she loves to chew on!

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Here is Maggie’s version of yesterday and her questions:

We take videos of him.  And I get a present from Santa.  My baby sister got a present too.  When we took videos of Santa, when it was over Santa was holding my baby sister then Jessie grabbed Santa’s beard!  I like visiting Santa.  But sometimes I have the best thing in my heart.  Like Christmas and God.  Even Love.

I tell Santa where does he live?  who makes the presents? How do reindeer fly?  What’s his favorite cookie?  Do you have a wife?  Why does Santa wear a coat?  Why does he wear boots that are big?  That’s it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Learning to sew

A few months ago, Grandma Bonnie brought us an old sewing machine. The only time it gets used is when she visits, and the last time she was here she showed Maggie how to use it.

video

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 183

On Jessie’s 6 month birthday (12/2/2010), she had her 6 month check up! She is around 15 pounds 10 ounces and 25 inches long. Right in the 25th percentile for weight, length and head size. Dr. Sorenson was impressed by how well she sits up and how she can get herself on all fours – which Jessie did for her when she was placed on her tummy. Dr. Sorenson could feel her teeth – I still can’t, but am really hoping they come in before Christmas so there won’t be as many sleepless/Orajel nights with Jessie. Maggie came along and got her flu mist, but Daddy took her into the waiting room while Jessie got her shots. I think it’s harder on us parents than the kids. Jessie got that look of disbelief and then pissed off during the 4 shots she got. Red face and all, which I don’t think I’ve seen since she got her shots at 2 months. She did calm down fairly quickly and slept while we had breakfast at McDonald’s. Daycare gave her a little Tylenol and she slept most of the evening, but I think she did pretty good.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trim up the tree

A cursory look at artificial trees sent us back to the Knights of Columbus Christmas tree lot at a nearby Catholic Church.  We headed out, just Rocky, Maggie & me, leaving Jessie in Grandma Bonnie’s 2010-11-28 2010-11-28 001 003hands.  Maggie was very excited to go out in the snow.  She picked out a 7 footer, fairly soft needles.  The kid selling the trees told us this tree’s branches are stronger for ornaments.  Maggie picked out the first one we looked at, which is fine.  They tied it to the roof and we headed back home.  Fortunately, it’s a short drive back home.

Rocky & Grandpa got the tree in the tree stand in the garage and I brought the ornament boxes up.  2 strands of lights were duds, so we have less lights, but Maggie & Taylor did a great job decorating the tree so the tree looks great.  Taylor was quite amazed at just how many ornaments we have.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

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What a blessed holiday!! Rocky’s folks came out for the weekend and brought 2 of Tammy’s girls: Amy & Taylor. Maggie was thrilled that 2 of her “cousin girls” were going to come to visit and that she would have someone to play with all weekend long.

It’s been really cold here and Thanksgiving was no exception. Rocky said it was supposed to be the coldest Thanksgiving on record here in Billings. I spent the day in the nice warm kitchen. Though I did chase Maggie & Taylor outside at one point in the afternoon. It didn’t take Maggie long to beg to come in. I think it took longer to get her into her outdoor clothes than she spent outside! We had a wonderful meal with our usual menu – though this year we had a Caesar side salad and savory sweet potatoes with bacon and red onions.

No one wanted to get up early for Black Friday shopping, though Rocky had to go out Thanksgiving night and at 3 am to get all the Black Friday Shoppers. I took Amy out about 9 a.m. and we hit Target, Big Lots and Wal-mart. We stayed in the Heights and avoided the worst of the roads and shoppers! And we got everything we wanted from the ads – and a bit more, of course. When we got back, Grandma, Grandpa & Taylor went out for their own shopping excursion. Rocky just slept all afternoon!

We had a quiet evening and Saturday. Rocky & I plan to enjoy a night out and we’re planning to skip church so we can go out and get a Christmas tree while the Grandparents are here to watch the girls. We are currently debating investing in an artificial tree. Hopefully we can find one that look real.

More pictures on Facebook.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Moon Set

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.

The snow clouds cleared out over night.  I noticed the full moon’s 2010-11-21 2010-11-21 001 001light when I was up with Jessie at one point.  She awoke early this morning (around 5:30-ish) so it was still dark.  In the house, we can watch the light changing, even though we really can’t see the sun rise. The temperature was in the negatives, even as the sun rose.  Rocky decided to shovel.  I looked out in the backyard and noticed the moon setting.  I don’t know that I have ever noticed the moon setting before.  The colors of the sunrise reflected on the moon with pinks and oranges, lighting the dark purple sky to blue.

More pictures on Facebook.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

First Snow of the Season

snow08We got our first snow of the season this weekend. Maggie was THRILLED. As she told me, she can make “snow men, snow dogs, snow cats, snow mice and snow angels.” She went out almost as soon as she got up this morning. She was only out for about 10 minutes or so when she decided it was too cold. We did get the dogs out for a little bit. We have some pretty whimpy dogs who did not want to be out in the snow. Though, when we got home from the movies this afternoon, Otis was laying out in the middle of the yard. Just when I think I’ve got them figured out, they throw me a curve ball.

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Do you see Rocky's hand in that last photo? He was throwing snow in my face as I snapped the photo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving, the plan

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Jessie's very first. The mood is set as we got a couple of inches of snow that appears to be sticking around -- teens and single digits through Thanksgiving. Maggie helped with the menu:

Apple Cider Brined Turkey
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Bacon
Some kind of salad with dried cranberries
Buns
Apple AND pumpkin pie

Tomorrow, Rocky & I will do the shopping and his folks should be here Wednesday evening (we're also going to Harry Potter!! and the girls will go to cousin Christy's house -- Maggie is SOOOO excited). I love this Holiday! I'm looking forward to the cooking, the smells, the football, the Christmas decorations that will come out of the crawl space. This really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 165

2010-11-14 2010-11-14 001 006 I can’t believe how big Jessie is getting.  A year ago, I was still a little in disbelief that another baby was on the way.  Only Rocky and I (and my OB) knew Jessie was on the way.  And now, here she is.  Probably getting close to 15 pounds, showing her stubborn personality in everything she does.  She wants to be mobile and has figured out how to get herself around as best she can by rolling and pulling herself around.  She can get herself up on all fours and will rock there a bit.  No crawling yet.  She has gotten a few rug burns on her nose and cheeks from rubbing her head on the floor trying to 2010-11-07 2010-11-07 001 003crawl.  She can sit supported and loves to sit up and bang on the baby piano.  She loves to play in her exersaucer, especially if she can watch Big Sister, whom she loves to laugh at and with.

We started Jessie on solids about a month ago.  She loves sweet potatoes and sweet peas.  She’s not quite sure what to think about the oatmeal and pears yet.

She is starting to work on getting some teeth and we’ve had a few sleepless nights.  She does sleep in her crib quite a bit, but every so often prefers to snuggle with Momma.

Tonight, she had her first story read to her by Maggie: “Dr Seuss’ ABCs”.  She giggled through most of it.

I scream you scream we all scream

When I was pregnant with Maggie, Rocky bought me an ice cream maker for my birthday.  I craved ice cream.  More precisely, I craved Malts.  The dry malted powder was impossible to find in Richmond, so I “settled” for homemade ice cream and chocolate malts from Dairy Queen.

A couple of weeks ago, I purchased some half & half and whipping cream with the intention of making some ice cream.  My ice cream maker had a great easy no cook recipe using half & half, whipping cream, sugar and vanilla.  Well the days got away from me and we used up the half & half in our coffee.  I noticed earlier this week that the whipping cream was about to expire so made it my goal to finally MAKE ICE CREAM.

I searched through my cookbooks, but was unable to find my go-to recipe for easy vanilla ice cream.  I found a few cook versions, but I didn’t have all the ingredients.  Then I found what I thought was a no-cook version in my Betty Crocker cookbook.  I only read through the full recipe AFTER cracking the 3 eggs.  Oh well.  Then I found a true no-cook recipe online.  As I have a full quart of whipping cream to utilize, I decided to have a little Ice Cream Throwdown of my own, though I don’t expect Bobby Flay to take on this challenge!

So here are the 2 recipes I’m trying out.  Currently both are “cooling” down in the fridge.

Betty Crocker:

3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 t salt
2 cups whipping cream
1 T vanilla

Mix eggs, sugar, milk and salt in 2 qt sauce-pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just to boiling (DO NOT boil).  Refrigerate in chilled bowl 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally until room temperature.  Stir whipping cream and vanilla into mixture.  Follow directions on ice cream maker to freeze.

Allrecipes.com

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups half & half
3/4 cup white sugar
1 T vanilla

Combine whipping cream and half & half in a large bowl.  Slowly add sugar until blended.  Whisk in vanilla.  Refrigerate at least 3 hours (or as long as 3 days).  Whisk mix to blend and freeze according to manufacture directions.

I think the Betty Crocker recipe will be better simply because eggs make for a much smoother, creamier ice cream.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ladies Night!

Last night, I enjoyed an evening out with Liz, Chris & Alyssa.  We started the night at a fundraiser for the Rimrock Humane Society2010-11-06 2010-11-06 001 001They had wine, hors d’oeuvres and silent auction – though we lost track of the evening and didn’t get a chance to bid on anything. They served a chardonnay and a cabernet and of course, I don’t remember the label.  A glass or 5 will do that!  A preliminary report says they raised over $10,000!  It was a great way to show support to a wonderful organization.

The benefit was over far too soon, so we all headed to Walkers for another drink.  I enjoyed a Sauvignon Blanc, well 2.  The 2nd one was the one too many, but as I had a designated driver (Alyssa) and 2 sleeping children at home, I simply enjoyed the indulgence.

We all had a blast and enjoyed our much needed night out.  Now we’ll have to let the guys have a turn.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

A Halloween Weekend

 2010-10-30 2010-10-30 001 005We had a long weekend of Halloween activities! 

Maggie had a hard time deciding what she wanted to be.  Several weeks ago, she received a mermaid costume from her friend Caleb for her birthday.  Soon after that she decided she would be a “mermaid, princess, cowgirl, bright & shiny knight ninja.”  Then we went to Sam’s Club and she saw all the cool costumes there and changed her mind.  She decided she wanted to be a lion and Jessie should be a butterfly.  THEN Aunt Tammy came to visit and brought a Snow White and Cinderella costume.  Confusion set in.  She waivered back and forth until we told her she had several parties and could be both Snow White & Cinderella.  The Monday before Halloween, Maggie decided she really really needed to be a butterfly.  I explained there wasn’t enough time to make or IMAG0159 buy a new costume between Monday and her Halloween party at school.  So, she told me that it was okay, she would show me how easy it is.  She got a piece of paper and her crayons and designed her butterfly costume!  I did talk her into Snow White for Friday.  Which she told me “then, Mom, I will need an apple, pretty shoes and red lipstick.” (unfortunately we forgot an apple.)

Saturday, we met up with the Krieger's to Howl-o-ween at the Zoo.  Maggie & Olivia had lots of fun and were both very polite, saying “Trick or Treat” and “Thank You!”  Dylan enjoyed following the big girls and Jessie just loved watching everyone.

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Sunday morning, Maggie was Snow White at church, but decided to be a mermaid at the Halloween party in the afternoon.  Maggie had fun playing the games. We missed the parade, though, because Maggie was ready to get home and go trick or treating!

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Back home, Maggie was insistent that she finally get to wear a butterfly costume.  Daddy made her some antennae and I helped her put on her fairy wings.  She was very pleased with the results.

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Happy Halloween!!