I'm a little behind...

I've been catching up on old posts, so make sure you scroll down.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rabies...the foaming barking killer

Today Mason and Bree got their fifth and final rabies innoculation. What?! Rabies? Did my children get bit by something rabid? No, but they did pet my parents' dog when it was covered in saliva after being attacked by a pack of wild dogs that COULD have been rabid. So the saliva COULD have infected my kids if they happened to put their fingers in their eyes/mouth/nose (which, let's face it, is what kids do). So my parents took care of the kids' first four shots (and also got the shots themselves, incidentally), and Chad and I took them today for their last one.

Bree was in tears all morning anticipating the shot, even with promises of candy and picking out a toy at the store afterwards. Everyone at the hospital outpatient center was extremely friendly and helpful (although Bree burst into tears when the RN came out in her scrubs just to talk to us about and issue with the doctor's order). When I took Bree back, the nurse had set up the room with a TV with "Little Einsteins" playing (I know for certain this was just for my kids since there were no other people there), she did the shot quickly (most of the tears were tears of anticipation), and then another nurse brought her a little stuffed giraffe, which immediately banished the tears. Chad took Mason in next, and he came out with his giraffe too. And Bree said, "I was pretty brave. I cried a little bit, but then it was over quickly."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two hours at the zoo

Two hours at the zoo may not seem like much. But I think it is the perfect amount of time to devote to walking around looking at animals with six kids under the age of seven. In two hours at the Phoenix Zoo you can see monkeys, elephants, giraffes, reptiles, ostriches, rhinos, birds, tortoises, lions, tigers, gazelles, foxes, wolves, and so much more. Two hours walking trails in overcast 65-degree-weather is wonderfully invigorating. Two hours is plenty of time for the kids to wear themselves out so they'll sleep on the drive home. It was two hours well spent with my kids, my husband, Chad's parents, and his sister Sydney and her family who were visiting for the week.

"I get to make my own toy?!"

Step 1: Choose your animal. Bree went straight for the sparkly pink unicorn, and Mason pointed right at the monkey and said, "Oo aa aa!"
Step 2: Choose a sound. Monkey sound for Mason's, pony sound for Bree's.
Step 3: Wait in line (the place was packed!)
Step 4: Stuff your animal to the desired huggability, and give it its heart and sound.
Step 5: Give your animal a "bath" to get rid of excess lint.
Step 6: Take your new toy home to love!
Build-a-Bear Workshop courtesy of Grandma Wallace
December 28th, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009 in a Nutshell

  • Papa, Grandma, Uncle Adam, Aunt Heather, Chad, Megan, Bree, Mason, and Riley; all together at our house for Christmas
  • Delicious Christmas Eve roast beef (technically braised beef) dinner, with Grandma's delicious chocolate cream pie and lemon cheesecake desserts
  • Christmas Eve reading about the birth of Christ in the Bible and singing Christmas Hymns
  • Everyone opening new Christmas pajamas (in future I'll stick to homemade PJ pants only; that project was a little too big!)
  • Papa protesting the idea to watch a certain movie, and Bree subsequently telling him, "Papa, you're on the naughty list!"
  • Homemade cheeseball, fudge, and See's candy
  • Seeing Bree and Mason so excited Christmas morning because Santa came
  • Eating the traditional strawberry waffles for breakfast
  • Opening an embarrassing number of gifts; Mason's new cars, trucks, helicopter, and motorcycles; Bree's new toy kitty: Riley's hand-painted onesies from Heather and Adam; high-quality personalized steel water bottles and a pressure cooker from Grandma and Papa Wilkinson; a Wii made possible by Grandma and Papa Wallace; etc, etc, etc
  • Watching the kids play so contentedly and quietly with their new toys
  • Seeing a little toy car and Ariel doll join the Little People Nativity in visiting baby Jesus
  • Playing games as a family
  • Enjoying Chad's shortened work schedule, even though the hours he had to work both days were no fun
  • Hugs and kisses all around
  • Family, love, Christ, giving; the true joys of Christmas

Girls' Night Out


Bree and I went out just the two of us to see The Princess and the Frog at our new theater. She got to pick out any candy she wanted to smuggle into the movies, and she chose a bag of candy corn. She was all giddy with excitement, and the movie was very cute. Bree was jumping and dancing in front of her seat (thank goodness the theater was pretty empty and there wasn't anyone directly behind us) every time a song came on. It's hard not play favorites with my kids, but there are some things that are just for girls!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Real (Mall) Santa

We had promised the kids a visit to Santa two weeks ago, but then I went into labor. We finally got a chance to go yesterday, and the kids loved seeing the real Santa. Mason can't talk much, but Bree eagerly told Santa what she wants for Christmas: a toy kitty (she originally wanted a real kitty, but I informed her that just wouldn't work out). Riley's not particular about his Christmas gifts. I told Santa all I want is a good night's sleep.
December 14th, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Little Helpers



11/29/2009

A baby story

My third baby's birth comes with a story, unlike the first two which were routine and uneventful. On Tuesday, December 1st I had my 38 week OB appointment scheduled, and our family had planned to all go to the valley together to do some shopping and see Santa at the mall while we were there. But I was awoken at 6:30 with contractions that were 5 minutes apart, so Chad and I left the kids with a sitter and headed to the hospital in Gilbert. We had packed all the bags ahead of time, and consulted my list to make sure we had everything we needed. On the drive there, my contractions slowed down, and by the time I got into triage, they were 10 minutes apart, and I was only dilated to a three. So they sent me away, and told me not to come back until the contractions were 3-5 minutes apart and I was "huffing and puffing." Is it weird that I felt really embarrassed? I felt pretty dumb that I went to the hospital when it wasn't time yet.

So, anyway, since my mom was watching the kids, we had the day to ourselves, and I figured that by doing some shopping and errands around town I could get those contractions going again, and the long drive to the valley wouldn't have been wasted. So Chad and I went to breakfast, Walmart, Kohl's, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Hobby Lobby, and the mall. We got some Christmas shopping done, Chad bought me some beautiful sapphire and diamond earrings in honor of our soon-to-be son's birthday, and I got some more yarn to crochet some hats that I sold at the Christmas Boutique at Country Kitchen. We ran out of things to do around 4:30, and my contractions, though still going, weren't getting any closer together. So we drove home.

Well, what do you thing happened once we were at home over an hour later? My contractions sped right up. Literally the minute we pulled into the driveway they sped up to five minutes apart again. I wasn't going to get over-excited this time. So I took a shower, and Chad and I went to the church building so he could play basketball with his buddies as planned, and I walked in the halls to make sure my labor continued progressing. By the time we left the church at 8:00 pm, the contractions were coming less than five minutes apart, and I was huffing and puffing. I was confident that it was time to go, and sure that triage wouldn't send me away this time. Well, as we were driving to the hospital, it quickly became apparent that we should have left earlier. My contractions quickly became long, frequent, and unbearable. My pain level surpassed the point where I had gotten epidurals with Bree and Mason, and I started to worry. I really wanted to make it to the hospital in time for an epidural. Then when we still had 10 minutes of driving ahead of us, I was fighting the urge to push, and I started worrying that we'd make it to the hospital at all. By the time we got the ER entrance, the contractions were so close together I couldn't even walk the 20 feet to get in the front door. The details are hazy, but I vaguely remember yelling in pain as I was quickly wheeled to a labor room, and I almost started crying when the nurse said I was completely dilated and there was no time for an epidural. But by this time I could barely fight the urge to push, and thankfully the doctor was there in a few minutes, and the baby was born a couple contractions later. I have never felt such pain in my life. Having a baby is always messy, but I at least felt like I maintained my dignity when I had the epidural drugs on my side. That was not the case this time. I screamed my head off, and it took all the nurses' coaching and everything I had to keep from freaking out, and focusing enough to push through the pain. I am so grateful that Riley came out quickly and easily, and it was over and I was recovering nicely before I knew it. So, now that I've experienced both, which do I think is better: epidural or natural?

Well, there are many pros with going natural:
  1. No scary big needle in my spine,
  2. No catheter,
  3. I could walk right away and didn't have to wait for the numbness to wear off,
  4. No nausea/vomiting from the drugs,
  5. No excessive IV fluids to cause extra swelling,
  6. No lower back pain that lingers for weeks.
Cons:
  1. Insanely unbearable pain.

In summary, the pros of a natural childbirth easily outnumber the cons. But I'd choose an epidural every time.

The hospital stay at Mercy Gilbert was comfortable, and the nurses were very good. Sleep was hard to come by because I don't do well in a bed that isn't my own, let alone one that's lined in plastic. But the on-demand movies were awesome, and we watched a few while I either fed the baby or crocheted. I've been thankful that the recovery pain this time around has been minimal, and I'm feeling really well. And from the moment he was born, Riley has been a champion breastfeeder. Riley was circumcised yesterday, and then we were really ready to come home. My parents brought Bree and Mason to visit and to meet their new baby brother. They were so excited, and Bree was especially smitten. It's still surreal to have a third little baby. I have a family of five now, and I am loving being a mom to such beautiful kids.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Welcome Riley!


Riley Gray Wallace
born December 1st, 2009 at 9:41 pm
7 lbs. 2 oz.
20 1/2 inches

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let's go to the movies!

After four years of waiting, my town finally has a movie theater again! The original Globe Theater downtown was built in 1917, but burned down in 2005. Ever since we moved here in April of 2006, we've felt the deep deprivation of not being close to a cinema. Chad and I love watching movies, and although our home DVD collection is quite impressive, there's nothing like watching films on the big screen (not to mention that I crave that movie-theater popcorn). Hollis Cinema 4 (with the restored original marquee) opened last Friday night, and I got in line on Saturday to buy my ticket to see New Moon ($8.50, which is at least a dollar cheaper than in the valley). Unfortunately, it was sold out, so I had to wait until yesterday to see it.

I cannot express my excitement! Yes, I was excited to see the second Twilight film installment, which was much better than the first (a fact I attribute to Robert Pattison's absence for half the movie; sorry, but he bugs me). But the anticipation for New Moon's release paled in comparison to the thrill I felt at being able to drive two minutes to the our new theater only 10 blocks from my house. I parked on our main downtown street, took a few steps to the front door, and went inside to find a seat. The inside of the building was clean and new-smelling (not a common phenomenon in this town). The seats were pristine, the floors not sticky, and the arm rests were stiff as I moved them into place. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie all by myself, even if the other patrons in Theater #2 were a little more comment-happy than I would have liked. I almost forgot I was in Globe, and when I stepped out onto the dark sidewalk to get in my car, the thrill washed over me again and I couldn't help but grin as I drove the two minutes back home. I love our theater.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

False Alarms

Yes, I did have a false alarm Tuesday morning. I was awake half the night timing contractions, unable to sleep because they were painful, but perplexed because they weren't increasing in intensity even though they were five minutes apart the whole time! So I got out of bed, grateful that I had started packing my hospital bag that very day. And we had dragged the car seat out from under our house and washed the fabric cushions but not the actual car seat, which had all kinds of funky mold all over it from not being washed properly before storage. So there I was at 3:00am, spraying the whole thing down with 409. Then I had a little snack, and got back in bed to time contractions some more. They must have stopped/slowed around 5:00, because I fell back asleep, and awoke to the alarm with a quiet uterus.

I had my OB appointment that day, and Chad and I dropped the kids with a sitter so we could spend a fun day in town for our birthdays. Needless to say I was groggy and exhausted after being up half the night. My doctor said I'm two centimeters dilated, but that could mean anything. I am having intermittent contractions every day, so things could be moving along down there. It's frustrating. I know women go through this all the time, but my last two labors had obvious/abrupt beginnings when there was no question that it was time to go to the hospital (and when the hospital is over an hour away, you REALLY don't want to drive all the way there only to be sent home again!). Anyway, we're prepared for anything, but we'd really prefer the baby to wait at least another week. Preferably until after Thanksgiving. But saying that will probably jinx us and guarantee that he'll come tomorrow!

Incidentally, we still haven't decided on a name. I'm pretty stressed about it. We might be deciding in the hospital after we meet him. Our list includes: Riley, Preston, Grady, Ryder, and Grander. But we're open to anything if something else strikes us. We want something more unique than the top 20, but nothing super-weird. Why does naming a kid have to be so hard?

Monday, November 16, 2009

She's alive!

I think I'm almost 100% better. I had a nasty cold that knocked me out for a good week and a half. I'm just glad it wasn't the swine flu. But I'm finally feeling up to doing stuff again. Of course, the fact that I'm 36 weeks pregnant hinders my energy and mobility. I don't remember being this uncomfortable with Bree or Mason. I just feel huge. By the end of the day the skin on my belly aches constantly from the strain of supporting this baby when I'm in the vertical position. (I've almost gotten to the point where I'm ready to go into labor, except my parents are in London, so we'd have to make other arrangements for the kids, and I wouldn't want Chad, me, and the new baby to all have birthdays in the same week. So I guess I'll wait another week or two.)

But I have re-entered the land of the living: hosting preschool, attending voice lessons, and trying a couple new dinner recipes. And tomorrow Chad and I are spending the day in town without the kids to celebrate our birthdays this week (and go to my weekly OB appointment). We're going to do some shopping with the birthday money from our parents, and see the new Christmas Carol movie.

And speaking of movies...the Cinema here in Globe is opening this Friday!!! I am super-excited to have a theater that doesn't take over an hour to get to--this one's so close I could walk there! (Not that I would; see paragraph one.) Chad said I could go see New Moon on Saturday for my birthday. So now I get to treat myself to a solo-movie viewing (love going to the theater by myself!), AND my first-ever professional massage this Friday. It's a great year to be turning 28.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Loving Cook's Country

I've gotten hooked on my new magazine subscription to Cook's Country (from America's Test Kitchen). I've heard great things about it from different people, and have had a chance to try several recipes. Chad's very supportive, and although he doesn't like everything I make, he will always give me his honest opinion. And if the meal doesn't turn out perfectly he'll say, "I'm just grateful that you cook for me. I'd rather have you try new things and have them be a little different, than have you not cook at all." So, what have we tried? In order as shown above: Southern-Style Skillet Cornbread (loved the texture and full cornmeal flavor, but unlike Southerners, I like my cornbread to have SOME sugar in it!), Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw (sweet, tangy, spicy, and no mayo), Texas Chili Con Carne (I actually added beans to this no-bean chili; amazing flavor), Cider-Braised Pork Chops (I loved this one; great apple flavor, and perfect texture: tender without being too soft), Creole Fried Chicken (reduced the spices by half for the kids and regretted it; fried chicken was a first for me--splattered oil everywhere!), Crispy Parmesan-Pepper Pork Cutlets (really yummy, and the kids gobbled these up, pepper and all!).
It's been really fun trying one or two new recipes a week. I think the best thing about this magazine is that (aside from being ad-free, and featuring"normal" food with accessible ingredients) it teaches you the reasoning behind the recipes' steps/ingredients. And I'm learning a lot about technique, and the purpose of different ingredients, plus there are a lot of neat product reviews in there too (I just stocked up on 99-cent Ghirardelli Chocolate Syrup Brownie Mixes because they got the best rating...you know, if you don't want to make brownies from scratch).
I'm really looking forward to trying a couple new twists on our Thanksgiving dinner. And maybe I'll have to try that Hot Fudge Pudding Cake...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another baby shower cake

I think I need to charge more...November 3, 2009

Preschool

We're a little late starting. It is November after all. But most of Bree's little friends are in organized preschool at the local schools, so I didn't have any mom's to organize trade-off preschool with. Until Calan tested too advanced for his city's free preschool. Yay for being too smart! So now Bree has a preschool buddy, and Amy and I are taking turns teaching the kids on Mondays and Wednesdays for 2 hours. This Monday was our first day, when we learned about cows, A, 1, and squares. We read books about cows, colored pages of A and 1, cut squares out of play dough, and made pictures of cows by pasting white and black squares onto paper. I was impressed by these 3-year-olds' attention spans. They're both still hesitant when it comes to coloring and attempting to trace and write, but that will come with time as their confidence grows. And I'm having fun too! Now when people ask if Bree is in preschool, we can say yes. Bree really does get excited about learning, and loves playing with Calan, so it's a win-win.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where'd you get their costumes?


Bree wanted to be a "pretty witch" for Halloween, so I figured I would make her costume so it would be exactly what she wanted, with the added bonus of it being sturdy enough to last. So I'm at the fabric store, looking at the costume material, which is all on sale, and I'm thinking I'm going to be a smart frugal mom doing the homemade costume thing. Oh no. I had to pick the most expensive material they had, and didn't realize how the yardage would add up until at the checkout. Oh well. I was really proud of how beautiful it turned out. And holy cow, was that hat difficult to make! On the up side, Mason's costume only cost me about $5, since my mom made the wig out of some craft fur, and I got the old clothes at Salvation Army for less than $1. So everyone loved Bree's beautiful dress, and when they asked me where I got it, I got to smile modestly and say, "I made it." (And hopefully she'll want to wear it again next year; I made it big enough on purpose!) But I have to say, that Mason got the majority of the smiles and laughs and "He is so cute," and "Did you see the little Frankenstein?"
video

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Keeping the tradition alive

October 26th, 2009

Suckers for Story Time

I've started taking Bree to the preschool story time at the library every Wednesday, and she loves it. Today they had a Halloween party where everyone brought treats to share. Bree and I decided to make chocolate suckers with one of those Wilton candy mold kits. Bree really got into squeezing different colors of candy into the molds. And even though she was excited to share with her story time friends, she was very clear that one of the witch suckers was for her.

"Homemade" Honey Buns

I'm a big fan of donuts. I'm also a big fan of cinnamon rolls. When I saw a certain episode of "Unwrapped" (those evil food shows!) that unveiled the technique for making those honey buns that come prepackaged, I had a brilliant idea: just make up some cinnamon rolls, then instead of baking them, deep fry them! Genius! So okay, I took a major shortcut, and used Pillsbury cinnamon roll dough to test my idea. But I'm telling you, you have to try this if you want the best of both the donut and cinnamon roll worlds. Just heat the oil to 350-375 (if you don't have a thermometer, you'll have to do a test roll). Flatten the rolls so they'll cook all the way through. Getting the oil the right temp is the trickiest part: too hot and the outside is finished before the inside. Not hot enough and the roll will absorb too much oil. It's best to use a deep fat fryer. Oh, and be sure to mix up some extra frosting so you can coat the rolls on all sides. Sooooo yummy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chad's Kitchen Skills


When we were first married, Chad's skills in the kitchen matched, and often exceeded, my own. I wasn't good for much more than heating up a store-bought frozen meal, or perhaps boiling pasta when we were in the mood for something "home-made." We lived on frozen chimichangas, hot pockets, and corn dogs. Then we got the George Foreman indoor grill, and we added hamburgers and hot dogs to our repertoire. Well, I've always loved baking, and as limited as my skills were, I could usually outbake Chad. But not when it came to Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. The trick to this recipe has eluded me, but not Chad. He has mastered the art of chocolate chip cookie baking, and he will often whip up a batch when we're in the mood for something sweet, when we want to take treats to friends, or when I need cheering up. He pretends to be embarrassed that word of his skills are getting around; he says the other husbands will hate him for raising their wives' expectations. I say, they could take a little lesson from Chad here!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mackenzie

I miss my friends from growing up in Auburn, WA. Now we all live in different places, and are at different stages in our lives. But I'm so glad we keep in touch with each other--thank goodness for the Internet and blogging! I loved visiting with Mackenzie this summer. She gets more beautiful every time I see her, and I admire her zeal for life and her success in her career and schooling. It was fun to introduce her to Bree, and also weird. It's so wrong that the last time we saw each other, Bree was a tiny thing in my belly. Our visit was short, but it was awesome to be near my beloved friend again. It better not be three years until our next meeting! 8/15/2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Our Vacation (for real)

First stop, Willcox! I wanted to see what Rex Allen Days was all about (he was a singer/rodeo cowboy who became famous, and the town has dedicated a weekend to him every year to celebrate all things cowboy). So we started out at the little carnival, and had a ridiculously overpriced lunch. But, on the up side, Bree got to ride her first ever "boat merry-go-round," and had her first taste of cotton candy. Both were a big hit. But, we were too tired and cranky to see any more Rex Allen sights, so we got on the road again to make it to our Tombstone campground (a stop for ice cream lifted our spirits too!). October 3rd, 2009.








We spent day two of our trip at Tombstone. I loved the old cowboy town feel, and all the cute buildings. We did some window shopping, watched a silly gun show, toured the oldest original building (The Birdcage Theater), and ate a delicious lunch. The kids loved the petting zoo, especially Mason. And we had a gigantic banana split at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. We visited the Boothill Graveyard at sunset, which was pretty neat; it was especially fun trying to keep Mason from climbing on the rock-covered graves. October 4th, 2009.
video


Our third day we toured the Kartchner Caverns, which was the hilight of the trip. We toured the beautiful visitors center, and learned about cave formations and the story of the men who discovered the caverns. The caves are so well preserved, thanks to those men and the Kartchner family, and the formations are amazing. The kids were even in awe, and could sense the quiet reverence in the caverns. They are an ancient testiment to the miracle of God's creative powers. October 5th, 2009.

We loved sharing this vacation with the Lea family, and hope this is the beginning of a tradition of Lea/Wallace family vacations. And the trailer was a big success! We had reasonably comfy beds to sleep in, electricity and running water (cold running water, but still). We ate delicious food, and spent hours chatting and playing games. Thank goodness the trailer has the space it does, because when Mason and Bree got rowdy, it was nice to have a back room to shut them in! Little Zackary was a good sport despite the poking, prodding and squealing from my kids! They just couldn't resist such an adorable baby. I'm thankful for the memories we made together. Next time, Grand Canyon?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Vacation

I've been busy with other stuff this week, and I haven't had a chance to post on our awesome vacation last weekend with the Leas. So, I'm just doing something lame in the meantime, and I'm posting links to Jaime's summaries of Willcox, Tombstone, and Kartchner Caverns (she's a great blogger, and there are some cute photos). I know she has more photos of our family on her camera, and I'll have to check mine too, so hopefully I'll have another post in the near future!

Since we've been back we've enjoyed Story Time at the library for Bree, Cookie Day at my house (no one came, which was a weird bummer, but I'm sure they all had great excuses!:), sewing Bree a play dress as practice for making her Halloween costume, buying seeds for my winter vegetable garden (to be planted tomorrow), fall cleaning, and a great Mary Kay party last night (it's been like a year since my last one!). It's been fun keeping busy, and I'm working on getting together some friends and a preschool curriculum for Bree, so we'll see how that pans out.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's ready!

Tomorrow we're picking up our friends from the airport, and Saturday morning we're heading out with our remodeled trailer in tow! Please note the beautifully reupholstered seats, new flooring, and new blinds. Miraculously, everything is working, and it's ready to go for our maiden campout! (Okay, so the old ugly wallpaper still adorns the kitchen and bathroom, but I'll save that project for another time.) I am so excited to see our friends, to visit some great Arizona sites, and to experience something new with the kids, who are super excited too. Now let's just pray that we don't break down in our new used Suburban, that the A/C in the trailer doesn't break, that it doesn't rain all weekend, etc. etc. But, come what may, it'll be a blast just spending time with Rob, Jaime, and baby Zackary.

Fantastic Fondant!

Tuesday night I help put on a baby shower for a woman in our ward who is having twins after a long trial with infertility. I wanted to make a special cake to go with our theme "Two Peas in a Pod." I love the look of cakes decorated with fondant, but I don't usually like the taste. So, with the help of You Tube, and some tips I got from web recipes, I made an adorable cake with fondant decorations. It did take a while, but was so worth the effort. And best of all, it actually tasted delicious. I'm not one to make cakes from scratch, so I just bumped up the cake mix with pudding mix and an extra egg. And you can't go wrong with buttercream frosting! The shower was a big success with a great turnout. Congrats Michelle!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lion's Head

I've been on an Asian-craving kick lately, so yesterday I made a new Chinese recipe that Joanna introduced to me. I put my own spin on it after looking at a couple of versions online, and it's super easy. I think it turned out DELICIOUS, and love that I have recipe to actually use cabbage in. It's called Lion's Head because the meatball "heads" are surrounded by a "mane" of cabbage. The measurements aren't really exact; you just have to sprinkle the seasonings in to taste.

Meatballs:
1 pound mild pork sausage (or use lean ground beef or turkey if you want to go healthy, but you might want to bump up the seasonings)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup bread crumbs (these are probably optional, but nice if you've got them on hand)
1 egg
onion powder
ginger powder
*Combine ingredients in a bowl, then form meatballs (I use a medium cookie scoop) and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam:
1 1/2 cups white rice
1/2 to 1 head of cabbage (you could also use bok choy, which is more authentic)

Sauce:
1 can chicken broth
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vinegar
1/8 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
onion powder
garlic powder
ginger powder
*Bring to a boil in medium pot until slightly thickened.

When meatballs, sauce, rice, and cabbage are done, combine the meatballs and sauce in the pot. Put a bed of rice on your plate, pile on a "mane" of cabbage, and spoon the meatballs and sauce over top. Recipe serves 4. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I love to sing!

Today Amy and I did our musical number in church. It's such a beautiful version on the song, and it was wonderful to have Amy on the cello (we don't get to hear stringed instruments very often around here). If you want to hear our song, "I Need Thee Every Hour," click here to hear the recording from Sally DeFord's website.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Keeping busy

My life seems to go in busy/lazy stages. Up until about a month ago, I was in a lazy stage, to the point where a week would go by and I'd have nothing to show for it except a house that had not become a complete disaster. The kids and I would stay home, we'd watch movies or read, and I'd lay on the couch until Chad came home for dinner, sometimes bringing the takeout home with him.

Well, I've recently gotten my act in gear. We've been working on the camping trailer; having a camping trip date as a goal really keeps us motivated. I've been trying to be more social, getting Cookie Day going again and trying to get the kids together with their friends to play every once in a while. I've been better at washing dishes and actually cooking meals, and I've been especially good at keeping us supplied with fresh baked goodies (I've already gained 30 "pregnancy" pounds!). I'm really enjoying my calling as Sunbeam/CTR 5 teacher, even though it's a challenge. And, after talking and wishing for years, I finally started voice lessons again yesterday! Globe has been without a decent voice teacher until now, so I'm taking advantage right now while I can, and I'm loving it. Tomorrow I'm singing a beautiful version of "I Need Thee Every Hour" with my friend Amy playing the cello obligato. I'm also busy helping plan this month's ward social (a talent show) and a baby shower for a sister in our ward (I'm making the cake, and I'll be trying my hand at fondant pea pods).

I expect that in about another month I'll get hugely pregnant, and will go through another lazy phase. So for now, I'm getting as much done while I still feel like it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Am I really that big?

I only took pregnancy pictures with my first baby; I guess it's something I got out of my system the first time around. But since I'm ballooning at an unbelievable rate with this third pregnancy, I thought I'd better document it for posterity. When I talk to strangers or people I haven't seen in a while, they say, "You must be having that baby soon!" I then commence scowling and say, "No, actually I still have 3 months to go, thank you very much." At 26 weeks I'm feeling great, except for a little trouble with breathing and heartburn--you know, the normal 'my uterus is too big' symptoms. Heaven help the next person who says I must be having twins.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today so far

This morning Chad took the Suburban to the MVD to get it registered and new plates put on. He also discovered that it's going to take even longer to get the camping trailer title in our name (a long process that has to do with it being abandoned and then my parents giving it to us...I don't really get it, but I know it's a pain). We are trying not to be too bummed because it looks like we might not be able to take it camping as planned the first weekend in October. But we're plodding forward with renovations anyway.

Chad and I started laying the new linoleum tile in the trailer this morning, with the kids inside watching a video and the baby monitor on as usual. Well, apparently the time got away from us, the kids' movie ended, and they got hungry and restless. I heard them in the front yard, and sure enough, when I looked out the trailer window there they were. In the dirty wading pool with its couple inches of rain water and scum. And Bree was stark naked. I took them inside for a bath, and saw one of the kitchen chairs pushed up to the counter, and the box of donuts we'd bought at the grocery store this morning open. There were two less than there had been when I'd gone outside. Bree finally fessed up to eating two donuts after I asked her a couple times (we're really working on the concept of telling the truth).

So, with the kids fed (we did have an actual lunch, not just donuts), down for a nap, and Chad getting ready for work, I went back out to finish the linoleum. It is so exciting to see that old, awful yellow and brown patterned linoleum disappearing! So that's one more step completed, and we're ready to lay the carpet. I am tired and achy, but happy. Even though Bree did eat one of the my favorite donuts (didn't she know she was supposed to eat the ones with sprinkles?).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Suburbanites

After months of perusing Craigslist for used Suburbans, Chad and I found and bought one today! (I don't have a picture of ours, but this one looks pretty much the same, except our running board is black). We've survived with only one vehicle for 3 years now, so we thought we deserved it. Plus, we'll be able to fit our whole family plus a few friends, and tow our camping trailer. We were smart shoppers, and held out for a vehicle with all our requirements: 3/4 ton, big engine, 4-wheel drive, tow package, cruise control, rear A/C, and mileage that didn't scare us too badly. Thank you to Arizona State Credit Union for making our tiny loan possible (it is ridiculous trying to borrow money nowadays!) and for being so friendly. We'll actually have a car payment for a little while, which is wierd, but I'm glad we did it after talking about it and looking for so long. It is kind of scary buying a 10-year-old used car. It does drive great, but I guess only time will tell if that lasts!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Trailer Trashy?

I've been a little preoccupied lately with our most recent acquisition: a camping trailer. We got it for free, and all we have to do now is make it liveable (or, really just campable). As you can see, we've already started taking things apart, vacuumed all rodent evidence away, and disposed of mattresses, carpet, and hideous window coverings (oh wait, those are still there in these photos).


It's actually a really big trailer: 28 feet, so it's bigger than our family really needs, but it will sleep all of us when our family is full grown (or we can camp with friends--Tombstone with the Leas, here we come!). Diagnostics have been reassuring so far: the electrical all seems to be working, the A/C actually cools, and the water pump works. Chad and I know absolutely nothing about the technical side of maintaining an RV, so we've got to get a manual or something. But one thing I do know how to do is make things look pretty. So for the last couple days I've been working on reupholstering the futon and banquette. I got some great fabric for $3/yard, and so far I'm half-way done with the banquette cushions (Why do my ribs hurt? Some weird pregnant thing that happens when you hunch over all day?). Tomorrow we're off to Phoenix to pick up our carpet and linoleum tile, new skylights, new locks and door handles, new shower hardware, a few lights, a manual and some other odds and ends. We're actually having fun doing this. I can't wait to see the finished product!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The return of Cookie Wednesday

I don't know how many long months it's been since we had a run of successful Cookie Days. I REALLY missed it! Well, Joanna and Sarah not working right now, Mackenzie's baby boy is a healthy 2 months old, and Amy and I are no longer in the RS Presidency, so I figured there were no more excuses. I hosted today, and I really enjoyed having that sorely-missed girl time enhanced by sugar-filled treats! So check out our Cookie Wednesday Blog for the delectable details. And now, to finish off the left-overs...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A bi-racial encounter

When Jaime, the kids, and I were on our way home from Logan, we passed through Provo and stayed the night with my brother Adam and his wife Heather (We also saw my amazing friend Mackenzie, but I'll post more on that when I get the pics). That evening we all went to Applebee's for dessert. While we were waiting for our food, the manager came around to ask us how we were doing (that's Applebee's thing: the manager has to visit your table or you get a free meal gift card), and he happened to be black. Who would have thought that Bree's first encounter with a black person would be in Provo?! It's not like Bree has only seen white people in her life. Globe is a very healthy mixture of white, Mexican, and Apache. But Bree could only silently stare at the manager with nervous curiosity as he asked her if she was happy (head-shake "no"), if there was anything he could get her ("no"), if she'd like some free fries or applesauce ("no"). After he left, Bree said, "I don't like that guy. He's too brown." I know I shouldn't have laughed so hard at something so inappropriate, but I couldn't stop. With tears running down my cheeks I tried to get her to see things logically, pointing out how nice "that guy" had been, wanting to make sure she was happy, and that everyone has different colored skin. Later, after we had our ice cream, the manager came around again, and we all held our breath when he asked Bree if she was happy now. Thankfully, she nodded and smiled at him through her mouthful of strawberry sundae. Sigh, happy ending.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Water park adventures

When you live in a town like Globe, your kids are naturally deprived of fun things like parks that have interactive fountains and sprinklers. It was so fun to watch Bree experience something new and exciting. She keeps asking if we can go again. Who needs Disneyland?

Dance Performance

After flying to Vegas, Bree and I drove to Logan, Utah with my friend Jaime and her baby Zackary. We stayed with our friend Rachel at her sister's house, along with her mom and other sister, and their 8 combined kids. The house was huge, and our beds so comfy, and the kids had a blast playing in the huge backyard. We moms spent time scrapbooking and playing games. We had such a fun time, and really enjoyed the cooler weather. One morning, the kids put together a dance performance, complete with refreshments for sale. I was impressed at how long Bree followed the dance moves along with Rachel's four kids. Maybe it's time to enroll her in dance!

Bree loves to fly!

During our trip to Logan, Utah, I discovered that Bree is a great travel companion. She is easily amused by little things, so riding on an airplane was huge for her. She enjoyed a TCBY cone as we waited to board our plane. She wasn't a bit nervous to walk down the gangway and step through the flight door. She looked and laughed as we took off. Then she said, "Bye, Captain!" to the male cabin steward as we got off. What an adventure!
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