Wednesday, September 25, 2013

purple potpie...the accidental/delicous ode to lavender.

today was a great success. grandma (my mom) was out the door to work by 7:45am. anthony was out the door to work by 8:15am. i was solo with the babes from 8:15am-5:15pm and there were very few meltdowns. we had breakfast. the girls napped while i got nolan ready for the day. the girls woke up in the perfect amount of time to change them and go check out a house for rent. it NEEDS to be ours. sadly we are second in line, so fingers and toes are crossed. it is one cul d'sac away from the house that i grew up in until i was 18 years old, which is a little weird, but also kind of cool. right from the house, we headed to the library for new books, play time and story time. i met two new lady friends complete with phone number exchange (yes!) and may have found a new hair stylist who gives a mighty-fine short hair cut (yes, yes!). during story time, i managed to nurse both girls (individually and without flashing anyone) and get them both to sleep in ergos while nolan enjoyed himself almost the whole time (until it got a little rambunctious and loud and he decided we needed to leave). the clouds had parted and the rain had stopped, so we decided to leave the car and walk home. got home, had lunch, nursed babies, both girls fell asleep, nolan fell asleep, i cooked like a crazy lady...see below. the girls woke up. we read some books, changed some diapers and headed back out, luckily under clear skies, to retrieve the car, returning just in time for grandma to arrive home from work and for us to eat dinner. :)

this is where the purple potpie comes into play. :) when i was at the market on monday, they only had purple and rainbow carrots. i used the purple ones in the potpie filling. by the time i was finished cutting them, my fingertips were a bit grey. by the time the veggies had thoroughly sauteed, the pot had a slatey-purple hew to it. by the time it was finished cooking and served up on our plates, it was pretty bright lavender. if there is a holiday during which you celebrate by eating purple food and dressing in purple clothes, i now know what to cook! advent??

the adventure continues...

i've been gluten free (once again...pregnancy threw a hitch in things) for a little over a week. that doesn't really work with chicken potpie, so i decided that instead of making it in a pie crust, i would make biscuits for the fam and i would eat it by itself or maybe over some rice. to reduce the number of temptations lying around for me to drool over, i halfed the recipe. i have a history of messing this up and today proved no different. i successfully halfed the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and butter. i got all that mixed up and cut in and then... i added the full amount of milk (altered with apple cider vinegar to make "buttermilk") that the original recipe called for. doh! if i had my wits about me, i would have got out a second bowl and mixed up the other half of all the dry ingredients and then cut in the other half of the butter and THEN added it to the original soupy mess of a bowl of dough. apparently, my wits were elsewhere. the kitchen was an explosion. ingredients were rough estimates rather than neat, accurate measures and they were all added and mixed up and kneaded together at all the wrong times. i forged ahead, rolled the mess, cut them with a mason jar lid as i couldn't find my mom's cookie cutters and shoved them woefully in the oven with little confidence.

if that wasn't bone-headed enough, midway through this madness, i popped a (relatively large) piece of dough (many may find that gross, but i'm a sucker for dough and batter of pretty much any sort) into my mouth without a second thought. so much for gluten free. dough! (ha...get "doh"...oh dear, i'm a nerd) pretty sure flour doesn't make the cut.

but...when i started this, i told you it was a good day, so i'm pleased to announce that by some miracle, the biscuits were delicious (as i was told by mom, nolan and anthony and as i tasted for myself because as i already messed up the GFness of the day, i figured, why not? go big or stay at home, right?) and despite being bright purple, the potpie filling was super yummy. nolan even cleaned his plate without a fuss, which i doubted a bit when i put that purple goo in front of him. haha.

phew. thank you, pioneer woman for your wise ways...and thank you for not being offended (or maybe you would be, if you ever knew) when i alter your recipes.

pioneer woman's chicken potpie (sans pie) with my alterations:

3 celery stalks
3 medium carrots (perhaps not purple ones) - mine were smallish, so i think i did more like 5
1 large yellow onion
1/2 stick (4 tblsp) butter
1/2 frozen peas - i think i put in more like a cup)
2 cups cooked chicken - probably put in more
1/4 cup all-purpose flour - substituted arrowroot, great for thickening and gluten free
2 cups chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube - i omitted this
1/2 cup white wine (optional) - i omitted this
1 cup heavy cream - i used whole milk
1 tsp ground thyme - i think i used way less and added some dry rosemary
1 tsp kosher salt - i used sea salt
black pepper to taste

1. finely dice all veggies. i also added about 4 cloves of garlic, minced.
2. melt butter in large pot (or dutch oven, if you're fancy) and add all veggies, cooking until starting to turn translucent.
3. add chicken and stir to combine.
4. sprinkle with flour (or arrowroot, in my case) and let cook a few minutes, stirring gently.
5. add chicken broth and stir. add bouillon cube and wine, if using.
6. add cream (or whole milk, in my case) and let simmer until it is your desired consistency. she recommends about 4 minutes. i cooked mine a fair amount longer.
7. season with spices (i did this earlier and then added a bit more at this point).

i served it spooned over biscuits cut in half and with a big salad with more carrots and celery. it was awesome.

*to bake with a pie crust top, pour it into a large pie pan, cover the top with your crust and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (or until crust is golden brown) and filling is bubbly. let cool 10 minutes before serving.

when we walked into story time, nolan made himself a name tag. he wrote it all on his own. can you see it? N-O-L-A-N
front row, baby
not liking the noise. ironic really because he LOVES to be loud and sing REALLY loud all the time. hmmmm...
somebody woke up on the way home. haha. lilah trying to bust out.
sweet sissy lilah peeking
smiley girl
the clouds were so pretty. blue sky mixed with dark stormy clouds and big fluffy friendly-looking white ones.
scary potpie midcooking.
at this point, i was a tad hopeful that they had turned out, but wasn't sure as it was time to head back out the door, not time to be tasting yummy baked goods. :)
we got back home in what appeared to be just the knick of time! much less friendly skies.
purple potpie. no filter. haha. and yup, served on christmas dishes. that's how we do.
i was even able to round out the evening with a workout, some computer work, writing this blog and making bug a sign for his first day of school tomorrow (pic to come in later post). i'm one tired momma. good night.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

1,838,880 minutes...

*1,838,880 minutes...  or...

*30,648 hours...   or...

*1277 days...    or...

*183 weeks...  or...

*42 months...   or...

***3.5 years!!***

that's right! bug has officially passed the halfway point on his way to 4 years old! crazy talk. technically all those calculations are ten days off because he actually hit that mark on the 22nd of august (and i started this back then). and i'm no math genius so they may all be off. haha! but you get the gist. ;)

the year of the threes has been an interesting one. bug has had preeeeeetty much constant transition. :/ we have most definitely had our fair share of pull-your-hair-out-bedtime-can't-come-fast-enough days, but we have also had a whole lot of really freaking awesome days that i wish wouldn't end too. 

language has been HUGE for bug this year. he was seemingly a little delayed in this area, but man, oh man, when three hit, he just exploded! and now it seems like every passing day, his language develops more and more. there are still some letters that he swaps around and some sound combinations that trip him up, but i can understand almost everything he says and the real kicker, strangers can too! being able to talk to him and have him really know what he wants to say and be able to say it has made our relationship so much better. 

some of his favorite things to say are: 

*"let's have a conversation..."

*"that sounds like a great idea!"

*"i can do that all by myself. what a big boy!"

*"hi! i'm nolan. what's your name?" - followed by a glance and a proud smile toward mama.

*"i players______." - fill in the blank with any number of things that he should be doing...use the big potty, eat their lunch, wear big boy underwear, where sweatshirts when it is cold, listen to their mothers (wink, wink), pick up their get it. :)


*"can we go somewhere?"

*"so what we can do today?" - in that order. :) this is one of my favorites.

he is such a doting and loving big brother. he reads to the girls. he is ALWAYS loving on them if they are on the floor. he sings to them in the car when they are upset (frequently, as they hate their carseats). he LOVES to dance "with" them. he asks to hold them pretty much daily. he asks where they are and how they are doing, if he doesn't see them anywhere ( if they are sleeping in the other room). he brings toys over to wherever they are hanging out and sets the toys all around them. he alerts us to drool when they are sitting on our laps facing toward him and away from us. it has been so fun to watch their relationships change even in the four short months that they have been around. and i can't wait to continue to watch them grow together.

there have also been a number of big developments that sort of happened over night in the past month and a half that we have been in oregon. in fact, he has grown sooooo much since our move. he is basically a completely different kid. haha. 

he never wants to ride in the stroller, always wants to walk (read: run full speed and terrify me on busy street sidewalks). 

he plays independently for large chunks of even in another room!! it is kind of amazing. he sets up "parties" for his "friends" (stuffed animals) and "cooks" them all sorts of food. he has full conversations with his toys, giving them voices and all. sooooo fun to watch and listen to...while hiding out if sight. :)

he wears little boy boxer briefs. holy cow. one of the cutest things in existence. honestly, there were times when i never thought the day would come. we had watched videos, read books and had a little potty available for probably over a year. he has been in the bathroom with us everyday since...uhm...just about birth (or pretty darn close to it). we had watched his friends use the potty. we had talked about it 'til we were blue in the face. when we moved here, we started a super low-key sticker chart with the only reward being the sticker itself. :) we got him big boy undies. and then day he was all about it. no pressure. no epic battles, just good old fashion wait until he was ready. we still have night time to contend with, which apparently is pretty much strictly a biological when-their-body-is-ready sort of a thing that can take years (shout out to our family friend and urologist dr. chad for that jewel of information). and then there is the dreaded (and apparently terrifying) number two...but we are well on the way! yay, bug! oh yeah...and when he has to go, he goes in, gets the stool and his little seat set up, sits, does business, flushes, gets the sink stool set up, turns on the faucet, squirts the soap, scrubs, rinses, turns off the faucet, dries his hands and then picks out a sticker...all by himself. what a big boy. ;) 

he likes to help fold the laundry and does it more neatly than some adult men I names shall be mentioned. ;)

when he is eating and you ask him a question, he'll often say, "i'll have to tell you later...after this bite" and then chews. or if he is already chewing, he'll silently point to his mouth.  :) these ones make me especially proud. haha. though...he also frequently spits out bites that "taste funny" and plays with his milk, sometimes spitting it back into the cup (gross), so i'll take what i can get, but we have some room or improvement. ha!

the newest (and one of the most exciting) thing bug has been working on is going to sleep on his own. we have co-slept in some form or another since he was born. we (he and us) loved it most nights. then there were the nights when i swore up and down that "we have got to figure something else out. this isn't working!" sprinkled in here and there that we thankfully worked through. but now we have hit a point where he is really ready. since about last november, the routine went a little something like this: bath, get ready for bed (brush and floss teeth, coconut oil, jammies, etc), read three books and then lay there with him until he fell asleep. when i was pregnant, this was great as that was pretty much all i could do anyway. when the girls came, it was still ok for a while because anthony was home and when he wasn't the girls were pretty sleepy so they just went along for the ride. but sometimes he would fight it and hold out for over an hour and a half. now that the girls are a little older, laying in a dark room with him for ever just doesn't really work. and ironically, it got to a point where he would fight and fight sleep while i was in there, but as soon as i would give him a time frame, hug, kiss, tuck him in and leave, he would fall asleep within 10 minutes. i think that some of it was that it was time for just the two of us where he got just mama to lay next to him and he wanted to take each minute in (which is so sweet and kinda breaks my heart too), but he was going to bed super late (for him at least) and still waking up at the same early time in the morning and just losing sleep. so...we talked about it and he was/is clearly ready for a change. it is something we've been working on very slowly and patiently over the past month and then, just like with the potty learning, this week something clicked and we have had great success. i would say out of seven nap times and seven bedtimes in the past week, we are probably four for seven and six for seven. not too shabby!

it is funny. parenting is such an adventure and sometimes a bit of a roller coaster. sometimes you question the decisions you've made on how to parent your child. sometimes in the tough moments you think, "what the hell were we thinking?" but then when your kid makes great strides with big changes and it is done slowly and patiently and gently, and you finally see that success, it really makes all those questions and doubts just float away. waiting for bug to be "ready" for any number of things hasn't always been the easy thing to do. there have been times where i have been so incredibly frustrated with things. it hasn't always been the mainstream thing to do. it hasn't always been "approved" by our family. but i know more and more everyday, that the decisions that we researched and thought about and decided on for our family and for nolan (and now the girls) are exactly right for us.

happy (belated) half birthday, buddy! you are such an incredible little being with so very much heart and passion, energy and determination. thank you for being you. you have so many gifts that will serve you so well as you grow. thank you for teaching me to be a better momma and a better person every day. i love you so much. xoxoxox

bug's favorite outfit. dodgers jersey, baseball pants, angels hat and blue & red wellies
he is such an amazing big brother.
"hello, owl. meet owl. kissy"

silly boy
he is one of the best lego airplane constructors ever. this is him with his flight tower, airplanes and runway
he is such an observer. he is imitating me nursing the twins. apparently he has quads. :)

painting fun! learning about colors and mixing
my budding artist. :)
the kid loves to make handprints
nearly uncaptionable.
dirty, dirty baseball player in swim diaper (pre-potty learning). amazing.
check out the dirt 'stache.
training him up right. ;)
he LOVES going to the freddie's play land while i grocery shop so much that i have to sit around and wait after shopping to pick him up (it doesn't open until 11:00...what?! how helpful is that? don't all mommas go to the market in the early am??
big boy undies!!!
a quick stop by to visit gma's work and we found some dress-up play! :) future crossing guard.
across the parking lot from the library entrance is a little forest that he likes to play in. this is him running through the trees.
bug's first carnival ride and first trip to the fair! he had such a big day!
flying high in the sky on the spaceship ride
bug is also the most curious ice cream cone eater you'll ever meet. cuckoo bear.
not only is he a huge part of my motivation to workout, he helps me along the way too! xo
last year when we visited oregon, i could barely get him to jump into the wading pool. amazing what a year can do!
kick, kick, kick, kick!
his party on the patio. books are plates. coasters are pancakes...clearly. joined by his buddies, koala, owl, monkey, monkey and elmo. :)
proud big brother loving on alice
and with lilah bear
since this pic was taken, the open space on the page has been pretty much covered and doesn't count when we are out and about. so proud of him. pay no mind to the water marks. i assure you, they are just from water on the counter. toddler hand washing isn't the neatest experience.