Wednesday, October 28, 2009

signs of the times

I'm pretty sure that autumn gets me in the baking/creating mood more than any other season. Christmastime may be a close second. The freshness in the air and cool temperatures fill me into a homemaking frenzy every year. Here are a few of the things we've done this season that just ooze fall/Halloween.

I've mentioned before that squash is basically my favorite food ever. I could eat it for every meal. I was so excited to try a recipe for squash soup, and let me tell you, this one did not disappoint. Aside from peeling/gutting/dicing the squash, it was simple to make. And the homemade gruyere croutons? To die for. (Though I did use swiss instead of gruyere-- just couldn't bring myself to spend 21.99/lb. for cheese.) Recipe found here. (Don't have a picture of the finished (blended) product, but this is while it was getting all soft and delicious.)

Oh the joy of fresh apples from trees. Almost nothing is more autumn-y, right? This batch came from a neighbor's tree, and I baked up a new (to me) recipe for apple crisp that turned out really, really yummy. Recipe here. (Again, this is not the finished product. Can you imagine an apple crisp without the crisp? No, of course not. This was just when the apples were getting all juicy with the cinnamon, flour, and sugar.)

My mom gifted me a few old Family Fun magazines that had some ideas for Halloween crafts that I loved. I always get ambitious with plans to create up a storm for holidays, but my follow-through sometimes is lacking. This year I was pleased because I have completed each project on my list. Here are two of them:

For family home evening one night we went out and found a bunch of rocks and then painted them orange. The next day I drew on the faces with permanent marker, glued on some sticks for stems, and voila! A happy little pumpkin family for your mantle (or in my case, bookshelf).

This was my favorite idea initially, but I have to say that the finished product doesn't thrill me quite as much as I thought it would. Perhaps because the fruit peels that are the facial features are continuing to curl as they dry out more (even though I dehydrated them in the oven and left them out overnight at the beginning), and they don't stick to the squash/pumpkins as well as I would like. But they are a pretty cute little trio when their parts are all on, and Baby G LOVES them (which perhaps accounts for some of the features falling off), so I am glad I took the time to make them. The green pumpkin that I used for the witch was the single offering from the enormous pumpkin plant that overtook my front flower bed (ironically enough, this was a random plant that sprouted all by itself (perhaps from a stray jack-o-lantern seed from last year?), and the pumpkin plant that we planted on purpose in the backyard failed to produce anything but pokey leaves).

This wasn't something I created, but it is fallish, so it counts. We love going to Oktoberfest every year and eating all the yummy German food. This year Baby G got his face painted like a pirate and he loved it so much. Please take note of his little bent finger acting as his pirate hook.

I first saw this idea months ago here. I filed it away in my brain to make when Halloween was near, and this past Sunday my mom came over and helped me whip up many dozen of these darling little ghosts.

I wrapped them up, added a fun tag (got the idea from the same blog), tied it with pretty ribbon, and then we went and delivered them to neighbors last night. Baby G really wanted to eat one while we were out and about, but I told them those ones were just for our friends and neighbors. "But I'm a friend and neighbor, Mama," he insisted. We played up the idea of how good it makes you feel to give treats to your friends instead of keeping them for yourself, and after the first two houses Baby G enthusiastically asked, "Can I give a cookie to EVERYONE?"

We were at Williams-Sonoma on Monday. Baby G spotted this frankenstein spatula and fell in love. Since we were with a grandma (my mom), of course it was purchased for him, much to his delight. It has quickly become his favorite thing. He sleeps with it and we have cooked pancakes and eggs for the last two nights just so he can help us "flick" them over. I don't think I would've thought we would've gotten our money's worth out of a spatula for him, but we totally already have.

And lastly, two little stories that you could kind of twist to make Halloween related.

Baby G has a Halloween shirt with a big bat on it that he has been wearing. A few weeks ago he asked to sleep in it. After he was in bed for about an hour he started crying. I went in to see what was wrong and he couldn't stop talking about how scary the bats were. I tried to console him, telling him that bats were nice and wouldn't hurt him, but he protested with tears and, "Bats are NOT friendly, Mama!" I tried to get him to take off his bat shirt so he'd forget about it, but he wouldn't. Anyway, he finally fell asleep and that was the end of it. The next day we were at Costco with my mom. Baby G was standing up in the basket part of the cart and was a little wobbly. My mom said to him, "You are scaring me, G," because of his unsteadiness. He gave her a puzzled look and replied, "I'm not a bat, NeNe!" I cracked up because it was so funny to me to see how his brain was working-- clearly if something is scary is must be a bat.

Last night Baby G woke up in the wee hours crying (this doesn't happen that often, I swear). I went in to hear him sobbing about the bugs that were stinging him. It was evident that he was having a scary dream about bugs, and he was insisting a gray and black spider had come in his crib and was in his shirt. I felt all around in his shirt and promised him the spider was gone. "The spider left?" he asked. "Yes, it's all gone." He sweetly and enthusiastically cheered, "Yaaayyyy!" and then immediately plopped back down in bed. Before I left he requested that I sing "I am a Child of God" to him, which I of course did. I had been back in my room for 20 seconds when I hear him calling out something to me. I go back in his room and he is saying what sounds like, "Up here. Up here." I thought maybe he wanted his blankets up higher on him or something, but he said, "No, Up here! Up here." Then it clicked. He was actually saying, "A prayer! A prayer!" I said, "Oh, you want me to say a prayer?" "Uh huh," he replied. I said a prayer and then went back to my bed smiling. I love LOVE that when he was scared and having a hard night the two things he wanted were "I am a Child of God" and a prayer. Oh to have the faith of a child!

Monday, October 19, 2009

weekly roundup

I take pictures almost every single day, but I only post about 20% of them on this blog. I like to keep my posts somewhat organized and themed, and it is hard for me to just put up a bunch of random pictures that don't have anything to do with each other in one post. But I've started to re-think my ways. I want to document more of our simple days. I already take the pictures-- I just need to write about them. So I am going to try to do a "Weekly Roundup" post here and there. Maybe they will happen often, maybe they will be sparse, but I am going to make more of an effort to chronicle all the little things that are going on around here. Starting now.

When my husband's dad was going through treatment for brain cancer he often wore those beret-type hats. We have many, many pictures of him wearing those hats, and whenever I see that style of hat in Baby G's size my heart flutters and I can't help but want him to wear it and be like his grandpa. Baby G has a couple of them now, and this past Sunday he wore one to church. He looked so handsome and sweet, and the whole day I could see parts of his grandpa in him. I hope the beret isn't the only thing those two will have in common-- Baby G is so blessed to have some of that incredible man's blood running through his veins.
Baby G insists on carrying his "Book of Mormots" to church like Mommy and Daddy.

Not sure where this face came from, but it makes me smile.

Love his hands in pockets and that his pants are getting flood-ish-- tall boy.

Our nightly routine lately consists of Daddy reading the books and Mommy singing the songs. When I came in the room to start my part (after the reading was done) Baby G was laying on J's lap, looking up at him and they were telling a "Sodo Story." I wanted to remember the way they looked, so I took a picture.

We had to run up Milcreek Canyon on Friday to retrieve the diaper bag that we had left there at a wedding a couple of weeks ago. If you know my husband (and son) you will know that of course we stopped to collect bugs and play in the river.
See Baby G over there in the corner fixing his "fishing pole" while J dips his net thing in the water to collect bugs? I love boys.
One morning last week J stayed home from work and took Baby G to a sporting goods store (to buy some shoes) while I went running with my neighbor. When they got home, Baby G was proudly wielding a real, metal, destructive bat. And J hadn't gotten any shoes. 
We went to a pumpkin patch (along with the rest of the valley) for family night. Baby G seemed to only like the pumpkins that were still green or rotting or really ugly, but we let him choose his own anyway. I love the mountains that we have as a backdrop. 

I had to include this one because it shows how Baby G grabs your face ferociously when giving kisses.
And lastly, this is one of those things that I didn't have any clue that would bring me such delight, but holy cow, folding these little boy underwear and piling them up to go back into Baby G's drawer filled me right up on Sunday night. J and I were folding a load of laundry and I couldn't help but go through and find all those little underwear and stack them up and just look at how cute they were. J thought I was a little crazy, and maybe I am, but doesn't this picture make you fill with happiness, too? It is the same feeling I got when I ironed a tiny church shirt on a Sunday morning for the first time-- something about the realization that I am living this life as a mama to this little boy. Little happy moments in underwear, I know, it's a little silly.

Friday, October 09, 2009

i'm having a really, really good day...

...and I think this is mostly why:
When I got home from my morning run/walk I found these two boys out in the front yard in cowboy hats and boots. I was laughing so hard at the basketball shorts (with paint stains) and boots combo that I couldn't even ask why on earth they were dressed in cowboy attire.
My husband was on the phone, pacing the yard like it was totally normal. I ran in to grab the camera and managed to get the boys near each other for a quick picture, and then they both went back to their business of walking in the front yard looking like crazies. I just laughed. I'm sure there was a reason for this get-up, but I never really did find out what it was (something about getting out a fishing hat, which led to Baby G wanting his hat, then the boots, then wanting Daddy to put on his boots, too). But why, really, were they in the front yard? Perhaps just to make the neighbors laugh.
I can't stop grinning about it whenever I think of it. Oh how I love living with these two people!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

dear friends,

Since I've kept you all in the dark for so long, let me answer some of your questions. To be honest, it has been easy to keep this pregnancy under wraps for so long because it hasn't seemed real. My husband frequently forgets I'm pregnant, and I kind of do, too. I have not been sick AT ALL. I kept waiting for that familiar nausea to start, kept bracing myself to wake up and feel miserable, but it hasn't happened this time around. People keep telling me that maybe that means it's a girl? (More on that in a minute.) But really, I have felt so, so great-- been able to keep working out daily, and most importantly, been able to chase after my two-year-old without any ickiness. One of my big fears about pregnancy number two was not being able to take proper care of Baby G because I was too sick and tired. I have felt incredibly blessed that that has not been the case at all. 

Secondly, it has been easy to hide (and forget) because I haven't really shown a whole lot. I noticed a thickening around my waist, but at my last doctor's appointment (16 weeks) I was measuring two centimeters small and had gained less than a pound. I didn't really show with Baby G until I was between 19-20 weeks, and I just chalk it up to being tall and having lots of room for the baby to hide. No worries though, in the last week I have popped out and here is the picture to prove it:
Pretty please try to ignore the smudgy finger prints ALL OVER the mirror from the shortest member of our family. I noticed them when I was taking the picture but was too lazy to go find the Windex. Sorry.
And then lastly, to ease your curiosity (though it won't, actually), we do not know if the baby is a boy or girl. And we won't. Not for another 5+ months. We have decided to wait and let this little babe come to us as a surprise and I am really excited about it. Before I got pregnant I just kept thinking about how thrilling it would be to wait and find out the gender at the moment of delivery, but I wasn't sure I could handle the suspense. Now that I am pregnant, it seems easy and natural to not know. I have had an ultrasound, have seen the baby and heard the heartbeat, but I feel content not knowing more. I don't feel the same rush and yearning to know it all with this one. It's hard to explain. With Baby G I literally had ultrasounds at least monthly (usually it was more like twice a month) at my dad's office, just to go take a peek. We'd get in the car on Sundays and go to the office to say hi to the baby. As excited as I am for this little one, I don't feel the same frenzied need to read everything and see everything and know everything. I just feel peaceful about letting it all happen as naturally as possible, with as little extra stuff as possible (including at delivery, but that's a story for another time). Anyway, I know most people think we are crazy (my husband is totally on board with this whole deal), but it feels right and good and we are super excited about it. I don't personally know anyone who is still in their childbearing years who has chosen not to find out the gender while pregnant, but my mom and other relatives who didn't have the option to know with some of their babies have expressed how completely thrilling it is to have the baby and then find out who he/she is. And it sounds too good to pass up, so we are going for it.