I took a clownish photo of Michael. He said he would delete it. I said I could get it on the blog first. He said yeah, right - if I could download it to the proper hard drive and export it, then go right ahead. He should know better than to issue such challenges. This is the look I am going to get when he finds out. PS - Michael is making me a picnic table! Isn't he awesome?!
Every day, directly after lunch, or later if necessary, we religiously observe "Quiet Time". This gives everyone a much needed break after too much fun and the onset of the crankies. Usually Zoe goes down for her nap, then Jed and I pile into his bed for three books, a snuggle and a smooch. Then he stays in there with his potty and snack for an hour while I leave to do my blessed 15 minutes of couch laying and then catch up on Primary President Business. (Sometimes this turns into a nap for mom, but I figure if I can't stay awake for 15 minutes on the couch then clearly I need it.)
In the past, Jed has always had a baby-lock handle on the inside of his door so he could only come out by knocking. This has worked well for us, but we've decided now he is old enough, and responsible enough, to learn to stay in the room on his own. Yesterday I gave him a little talk as I left, but he still popped out about twenty minutes later. I led him back into the room and laid back down on the couch.
A few minutes later, I hear a rustling and peeked over the arm of the couch. There in the hallway stood a small figure with a garishly bright car-themed quilt thrown over his head. The quilt wholly encompassed him like a woman in a burqa. Slowly, almost silently, the small, bright ghost creeped down the hallway. When he sensed he had left the hall, he entered the living room and slowly, oh so slowly, the creature sank down, smaller and smaller, until he dissolved into a blanket thrown carelessly on the floor.
The truth is, I was impressed. The kid must have been spread-eagled under there, pressed so tightly against the floor that if I hadn't witnessed it I may HAVE mistaken him for a blanket! Perhaps my child has a future as a sniper. I had just finished nursing Zoe to sleep and at that point I was not going to wake her up for anything. So I just walked right past him and set her down in the basement.
When I came back up, the burqa-d creature was wandering around the living room, gently bumping into walls and furniture in a slow careen. When he heard me, the ghost collapsed, in soundless slow motion again, but before he made it all the way to the floor, I grabbed him and carried him bodily, still swathed in blankets, into the bedroom and set him on the bed. Still silent, he lay there without moving. The charade was still on.
I lifted up the blanket. Attempting to control my shaking laughter, I kissed him on the forehead and said "You need to stay in quiet time until your timer rings, ok?" He looked up at me and spoke, at last.
Grandpa Jed took a real shine to Zoe Ann. I think it was the combination of her pink cowboy boots with jeans. Or perhaps her voracious love for meat. But one thing's for sure, she can win any Montana Man's heart.
We are a pancake family. But, at my insistence, not just any kind of pancake. They must be sourdough, and they must be topped with mounds of whipped heavy cream. My children agree. Zoe has developed her own sophisticated method of pancake consumption. Every Friday, for Stanfill Pancake Morning, she puts on quite a show. She has kindly outlined her method for us.
Directions: First, coo, pointing at table, until a pancake is procured from a willing parent. Then, emit loud, punctuated screeches while flailing with pointed finger until a large, graceful blob of whipped cream is placed upon tray. Shove a large portion of cream into mouth with open hand. Smear on face. Then with open palms, energetically wipe whipping cream back and forth across tray. Examine hands. Reload palms with cream and then, with great enthusiasm and a wide grin, begin to rub furiously across belly. Chortle with glee. Pay close attention to lather entire chest and belly button area. We don't want to miss a spot! When belly is well coated, grab pancake. With two hands, place pancake on creamed stomach and wipe back and forth with a serious, focused gaze to keep giggling parents at bay. When pancake is coated with belly butter, shove entire pancake in mouth. Take twenty minutes to chew. Occasionally screech for more whipped cream. When finished, shout and flail until someone removes you from high chair. Then commence the post-breakfast activities, wrestling your big brother into submission.
Michael and I creep out of bed early in the morning, and sneak up the stairs, so as not to wake Zoe. We make our way to the living room, where we each take a customary position on our individual couches. We each pull out our scriptures and for a few quiet minutes, in the golden glow of the morning sunrise, we read. A pen scratches on the journal page, a sigh or mumbled thought. Occasionally, but not always, one will share a thought or verse. A peaceful stillness fills our usually boisterous house, and these quiet moments create a precious, perfect, and sacred beginning to my day.
We left Montana in Mom and Dad's white Subaru Outback, which they had kindly lent us for the time we visited in the west. Unfortunately, Mom and Dad were already in Montana when we realized that all was not well with the Subaru. As we drove along, the engine temperature needle steadily began to climb. By the time it became a real problem, we were already way up close to the Idaho/Montana border, which as you can see above is not exactly a heavily populated area. As the engine overheated, we had to open all the windows and turn the heater on high, roasting on an already hot day. The kids were sweaty, we were miserable.
We stopped in a teeny tiny little town in the middle of nowhere (Dubois, ID, pop. 647) for a while in hopes that the radiator was just low (and tried to make it fun by visiting the "historic site" which consisted of a site saying that some native Americans once camped several miles north of this spot. Not exactly historically meaty.) But when the engine cooled, Michael took a look and the radiator was full. So we were 6 hours from home and three hours from Montana, with nothing north of us and not much for several hours south. We didn't know what to do.
So Michael prayed for us. And we started to drive.
After a few minutes, the clouds moved in. Within ten minutes, we crossed the border and joyfully noticed that the outdoor temperature, previously at a rather warm 89 degrees, had dropped to 80. Our astonished eyes watched as the clouds kept rolling in and the temperature dropped like a rock. Within thirty minutes of our prayer, the outdoor temperature had dropped to 65 degrees and a cool rain poured down over the hood of our car. The weather stayed cool for the rest of our trip, and a mere twelve hours after setting out on a nine hour trip, we finally made it home.
Ha, I just typed that without thinking. Back to Montana. Home!
Vietnamese Spring Roll Salad A Michael 10/10 rated recipe Last winter, Michael and I developed an insatiable craving for the $3.50/each grilled spring rolls at the local Vietnamese restaurant. So before we single-handedly put the owner's children through college, I got on the hunt for an acceptable imitation. Tonight, after 7 or 8 rounds of experimentation in the last six months, Michael announced that I'd perfected the magic recipe. So I'll share it with you. Glazed Pork 1/4 c sugar 1/2 c water 2 t fish sauce 2 t soy sauce 2 T oil
Heat water and sugar over medium high heat until carmelized (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat. Slowly drizzle in 4 T or so of hot water and whisk until smooth and coats the back of spoon. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, and oil. Brush onto meat. Let sit 20 minutes and grill:
1 lb. pork loin, sliced into large 1/4 in thick pieces
Let sit for 10 minutes, then slice thinly. (Note: Don't dip the yucky raw pork brush into your glaze, just drizzle it on and then brush. Reserve left over marinade to pour over your salad because it is sooooooo good!)
Meanwhile, whisk or blend together:
Hoisin Sauce 1/4 c. hoisin sauce 1/4 c. peanut butter 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 T rice vinegar Water until consistency desired
This can be made as a salad, as lettuce wraps, or in traditional rice-paper wrappers. I love the idea of wraps, but the truth is they are so messy we always end up eating it as a jumbled up salad, anyway! This is our new family favorite, and pork is so cheap that when you add herbs from the garden it is a very inexpensive but tasty meal that satisfies the meat lovers, veggie lovers, and pasta lovers alike in our family.
Earlier this week, I decided we should all go get our Diptheria/Tetanus/Pertussis shots before we get into the Fall Sick Season. After a couple false attempts, I finally got us into a nearby county health clinic. Everything went well, except we all had a strange reaction: TIRED.
Zoe fell asleep in the car on the way home and slept for three plus hours.
I came home, fed Jed a quick snack and put him in quiet time. I laid down on the couch and woke up at least two hours later to a crying baby. Whoops!
Zoe and I peeked in an hour later at Jed, and this is what we found: He'd fallen asleep reaching under the bed to pick up a card. About 4 PM (this is FOUR HOURS after we got home) I went in to wake him up. He sleepily raised his head and handed me the card and said, in a tired little squeaky voice, "Mom, I want to play this game. I'm picking up the card...." and then his head thumped down again.
I carried him into the living room and set him in my lap for a cuddle. He started to scream and flail. "Mom! Mom! It hurts! Make it stop itching!" For a split second, I feared some sort of horrific vaccine reaction. But then I realized, no, both his feet and lower legs had fallen asleep on the floor. HA! Poor baby!
We all went to bed early that night, and both kids slept a big chunk of the next day, too.
Despite Indiana's insistence on staying above 90 degrees, our summer of fun has come to an end. My posting has been sporadic thanks to a pathetically failing computer that refuses to function unless the A/C is going full blast (Hmmm, sounds like my husband...) But it's working for the moment so here's a glimpse into our life right now.
Michael has officially started school again, in this program. He's super enthused, especially once he realized he'd be able to download his classes onto his new iPod Touch he's getting for his birthday. It's the perfect techy-nerd-artsy-fartsy degree for my man. He's in heaven.
Though she'd been taking steps for a while, Zoe decided on her birthday that as a one-year-old she didn't need to crawl anymore. Now she's a champion walker and even does this darling waddle-run when motivated by loud noises or tasty treats. She also learned her first word - "Wow!" - which she uses perfectly in context.
Now, she's a full-fledged toddler. No baby left there anymore. Jed sings and sings and sings the day away. He loves to read and often will sit in his bed for two hours at a time, reading through stacks and stacks of books. We're starting a little co-op preschool with a few other children next week
I just sit around, reveling in the darlingness of my own little family.
If you attended, please post your photos up on the blog so we can all have them in one place! If you aren't listed as a contributor, email me or leave me a note here and I'll add you. Or alternately, email you photos to me and I'll put them up for you!