Sunday, January 31, 2010

Typical weekend morning and an update on projects

Here is the start of my hardanger project.  We had class on Tuesday, and since then, I have completed the first assignment, well, almost twice.  I was pretty upset on Wednesday evening when I was almost done with the outline and I realized I didn't have enough fabric on the other end to even finish the design.  I was really annoyed, because the teacher told us exactly where to start (she even made me move my starting place in farther!).  It turns out everyone started pretty much too far in...I ripped and pulled out the stitches, and if I hadn't been at my MIL's, there would have been tears. 

But, I am enjoying learning this, and I am loving the varigated thread.  I am a little scared to do the wrong move and you are done!  So, we will have to see how that part goes.  I don't think that is a part you can do around Nathan...but the stitching I can, which is nice.  He plays cars and I can stitch. 

Below is the stack of fabrics for my raggy quilt.  I am making one for here at home, with the fabrics leftover from Karen's quilt I gave her last Christmas (2008).  Chris wanted it another foot longer than the other one we have in the family room, so I had to go and buy a few more fabrics.  The JoAnn's in Roseville is moving, so I got 14 yards of fabric last week at 65% off - spent around $37...which was amazing!  I was very excited.   

You quilt as you go with this one, so I am almost done "x-ing" all of the little "quilt-lets".  This is my third time making this quilt, so I am less fussy about how the X's look or the straightness of each square - especially since its something for us here. 

After that week where everything was melting, and then froze over again, my parents driveway is an ice rink.  It usually gets like that a little bit every year, but this year it was especially bad.  Nathan couldn't even walk from the car to the house without falling down constantly (I held his hand up, but I almost fell with him!).  Well, on Friday when I dropped him off there (my mom is watching him once a week now due to busy season) we fish-tailed at this really icy curve at the bottom of the hill.  Well, turns out my poor sister did a 180 in the same spot that same afternoon and completely crunched the front end of her car into the snowbank.  So, today we are going over to loan her my car for the week, so she doesn't have to pay for a rental.  So, we will be a one-car family this week!

Below are some pictures of Nathan and Daddy doing their normal Saturday morning routine:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Is the first tri almost over already?

Yes, it's finally out - baby #2 is on the way!  I can hardly believe the last 12 weeks are done already, but I am so thankful at the same time.  We heard the heartbeat on Monday morning (such sweet relief and joy!), and told family Monday evening. 

It's been an interesting 12 weeks, only the past eight have I felt "pregnant".  Being pregnant again is definately a different experience than being pregnant the first time.  I didn't even go into the doctor until I was 11 weeks along, not having the need to pee in the cup and be told "you are pregnant and to take prenatals". 

Its very similar to last time, so when I woke up sick, Chris yelled at me to eat, and it immediately helped.  He put graham crackers in my nightstand, which was sweet.  I knew I would suddenly be tired/exhausted at points in the day, and I was, so I took naps.   Long, sweet naps and Nathan would wake up before I did..and I would go to bed almost at the same time he did there for a few weeks. 

The one difference this time around is that I missing alcohol a lot more...I have been craving it, actually.  I take a sip every now and then, and it helps (or a sniff :-)). 

I also know that in six months, our lives will completely change in ways we do not yet anticipate, so its best to anticipate that we will not have a life for at least three months when that time comes while we adjust.  I think with Nathan I underestimated the amount of constant care he would need, and the lack of time I would have for myself (none!).  This time I feel more prepared to know that not only will the same thing occur, but it will probably be worse, as I have a little demanding two-year old.

I am debating sending him to daycare full-time once the baby comes, rather than removing him completely for four months while I am home.  I think it would be really hard on him not to have that stimulation, and if he does stay home with me, we can't go in "Mama's car" or "Play choo-choos" or "Play blocks" everytime he asks.  I have already started turning him down on his constant need to have someone to play with, and its been rough.  First he cries, then he gets mad, and yells, and then I make him do a timeout or go lay down, and then he is better.  

Due date is August 20th, so I can see already it will be an extremely hot August and I will hate going outside during the day.  The anxiety and excitement with being pregnant is here...and while I want to say "i wish things would go better this time", I feel like I can't say that, because Nathan came out just fine and it all turned out okay...even though I quite a hard third trimester last time. 

So, I have been working on projects, trying to get stuff done and wrapped up, and learning some new trades (as I mentioned, hardanger).   Maybe tomorrow I will take my sewing machine over to my Mom's and make some more progress on my raggy quilt.  I made quite a dent last weekend, but I still have work to do!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sniffles again...

Both Nathan and I came down with a cold on Wednesday, mostly sniffles, congestion, and coughing.  We are both better (Nathan keeps BEGGING me to go upstairs with him to find his fire truck...). 

That kid almost gave me a panic attack last night...Nathan and I were home alone, and he was in the sitting room and playing on the piano.  I was in the family room, and then Nathan was calling for me.  I walked over to find him ON TOP of the piano!   I ran over and pulled him down.  Why he climbed up the piano, I am not sure, but I think he was looking for that little button we kept on there to turn on the Christmas tree (which is down now, so I am not sure if that was it or not). 

He also got a step stool so that he can reach the sink and start practicing to wash his hands himself and brush and spit out the toothpaste.   Well, he just loves that little stool...carries it everywhere, turns on all the lights and ceiling fans, uses it to get onto the couch...pure trouble! 

I was pretty annoyed last night by men (in general, and at one particularily who hurt my sister...) so I had a fit of domestic-ness and made fried donut holes around 10 PM.  Now, anyone who knows me knows I am usually asleep at 10PM, having gone to bed much before that (lately I am not ashamed to say I am always ready for bed by 8, and in bed by 9.) so it was quite unusual (right Mel?!!).  I don't know why making fried donut holes made me feel better, but they tasted like growing up, my mom, and care-free days. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nathan the Gopher....

The other day I was making dinner, and I needed an onion.  The onions are downstairs in the basement, in the laundry room, on a shelf (still haven't purchased them in seven months--yae for gardens!).  Also down there are the potatoes.  I said to Nathan, "Nathan?  Will you go get me an onion?"  Nathan said, "yeah" and he headed downstairs.  The lights were off, no one was down there, and he always cries when he goes down there and its lonely and dark.  I stopped paying attention figuring he would be back in two seconds doing something else. 

So, you can imagine my surprise when he walked into the kitchen and goes, 'Here Mama' and hands me an onion.  I was so happy.  One, my little boy is growing up and becoming more independent, and two, Mommy didn't have to go get it --  weeeee!  I wonder if it's too early to start asking him to take out the trash...

Two nights ago he was so sweet to me as well - I had just gotten out of the bath after a very rough day (tears were involved).  I was laying by my computer but didn't have socks on my feet, and he came upstairs, saw my feet and proclaimed "oh no!", and then I watched him go into my sock drawer (how did he know that was my sock drawer?) and get a pair of socks and then he brought them to me. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Very First Car Accident

I was in a parking ramp going up to park my car last night around 5:45 (don't ask why I had to go into work that late, it is a really annoying reason...).

Suddenly, there is a car in front of me - I slam on the brakes, and am thankful, I do not hit the car as I wasn't going very fast (its a pretty busy ramp).  Had I hit the car, I would have smashed into the driver side door, so thank goodness I didn't.  But, the driver who was backing up, continued to back up, and turned his car into mine and *crunch*.

Of course, my car was worse.  All we could see on his car was a scratch - it was mostly his tire that hit my bumper, which, of course, is cracked and was falling off. 

He wants to get estimates and then see if we both want to submit claims...parking lot accidents are pretty much 50/50 apparently, and may or may not increase your insurance.   I find this all very annoying, as it wasn't a very big accident, so why should my insurance go up?  I wish I could have honked or backed up or told him to stop - of course, I had about one second, so I don't even think I had time to breathe after I stopped. 


Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's not worth it...

It has been slow for me lately at work.  The slowest it has been in a long time.

Yesterday I got asked to be on a project - the person who asked me asked late, that is, the project/training was starting soon so there wouldn't be much time to plan.  The training was either to be virtual or live for two days.  I was happy to be asked to be involved in something. 

Last night then I found out the training is Georgia, for three nights and three days, Wednesday - Friday.  Well, I don't typically work Thursday and Friday, so we don't have daycare.  So, if I do need to work, I have to make other arrangements or Christopher stays home.  So far we have managed very well, but this is just really short notice to get it worked out. 

I also hate flying, but I guess I will do it when I have to. 

Anyways, so last night I went to bed resolved to just figure out my schedule tomorrow (oh, and I would miss my first hardanger class, but hopefully that can be rescheduled).  Well, first, suddenly the person I need to talk to about this is non-responsive.  Second, I get this email saying I need to do pre-requisites for the training, starting today, and I am not at work today so I cannot attend.  Also, tomorrow.  Again!  Not at work! 

So, I dunno what's going on, but it's not worth it I finally decided.  I guess if I makes me look bad, it makes me look bad, and I am willing to do things for work, always have been, but now with a family, I can't just pick up and go. I wish it were easier. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Karen and I and the 54-day Novena

*warning - personal story tonight*

In November, Karen and I were both struggling with some things in our lives.  I was sharing with her my worries one day, specifically, I recall with my eye.  I've had difficulties with my eyes for years, and this year I had even more difficulty, with two incidents of something that starts with an "e" and causes my eye to hurt, become imflamed, red, splotchy, etc..  I had a recurrance in October, and into November I was still having issues with my eye.  It was very frustrating, and it drove me nuts when awake and sleeping.

Karen was also sharing some of her  struggles, and then, out of nowhere she said, "you should do a 54-day novena with me".  I knew of novenas (typically a catholic thing) and how its a set of nine prayers, but not of a 54-day one.  Sounded like a challenge, but what better way to spend my time than in prayer rather than in worry?  We decided we should do it. 

I started a day before Karen, and so my 54 days ended on January 5, Ephipany, which I thought was kind of neat.  I am happy to report that everyday I started the rosary (not only was this novena 54 days, it was also of the rosary), but I honestly cannot tell you if I finished it everyday. 

Specifically, there were two nights where I dozed night I woke up at 10:30 and started again, but then fell asleep again. I woke up at 11:55 in a panic and started spewing out memorized prayers in my stupor (probably not the point of the novena at all, but I didn't want to just give up!). I may or may not have finished.  I don't recall.  There was another night where I could not remember the next day if I finished or not. 

Karen and I both discussed how at first, we were both very diligent and took time to really pray when we did this...then, as the days went on, it sort of became mechanic.  The first 27 days you pray in petition...the next 27 days you pray in thanksgiving, no matter what the outcome was from the first 27 days.  We stuck with it even though we both felt like we were letting ourselves down a little by not getting 'into it' as much as we the same time, I think we both felt that God understood how human we really are, and expected as much from us.

I am always hesitant to share my prayers/praying with others - too often I have seen the looks, heard the comments, the judgments.  I would say 99% of the time, the worst comments come from those who are Christian - which I have always found so odd.  It seems that many Christians, especially those who consider themselves really Christian, have some sort of disgust with Catholics.  Either way, my relationship with God is very personal, so it does have an impact on you when people look at you oddly when you say you pray something like the rosary. 

During my 54-day journey, many things have happened.  While I won't share with you what I prayed for and if it happened, I will say that during the past 54-day period, I have received many blessings.  I simply cannot attribute them all to good luck or fortune, and during times of severe stress, there has been a voice to calm me which I know cannot be my own, and truly,  this is one of the greatest blessings to me. 

Unexpectedly, an afternoon off...

Well, Chris took Nathan over to Grandma's this afternoon because I apparently "need a break". 

What, a girl can't have a day where she doesn't feel well and is cranky? 

I took Nathan outside because he is an active child and needs to do active things; however, he hates walking in the snow.  He wanted to get his truck out, so he did, but he didn't want to drive it on the driveway which I suggested.  Instead, he wanted to drive it on the snow.  But, the snow is like 2 feet deep, more in some areas.  So, I put it on the snow for him.  Almost immediately, he became frustrated that he couldn't push his truck in the snow.

So, I told him I would do it for him.  He didn't like that and cried.  He didn't like walking and cried.  I was not about to carry him around the yard, so I made him walk.  That kid bawled all the way until he got to his sandbox, and then once we were done playing there, all the way back to the front yard. 

I wonder what the neighbors thought.  I just stood there waiting for him, telling him he could do it, and he finally did it.  But it was quite the spectacle. 

What I don't understand is, Nathan is a daredevil lately in the house - sliding across the kitchen floors...falling on purposes and rolling around going "whoa!  whoaaaaaaa!"...jumping off the couch onto pillows, jumping off the stairs, jumping off his bed, climbing on things, you get the point.  Yet, a little bit of snow, and he reverts to giving up immediately and crying. 

Must be a boy thing.  

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hardanger in 2010

So, I have signed up for a class with my MIL and two friends to learn hardanger! They have all taken a class before, so I am definately the newbie of the group.  Although, they say they have totally forgotten, but I am sure the class will jog their memories. 

I have taken a class on tatting before, and hardanger looks much more useful.  I am hoping it will be a good class and I can make something maybe for my mom and dad for their 40th anniversary this summer - wouldn't that be awesome?

Well, today is major cleaning day...I have taken down the manger scene, the small tree, and some other random Christmas stuff.  I would like to vacuum downstairs before Nathan gets up, but thought I would take a break to surf the web/blog here. 

Tomorrow will be even sadder, with the big tree coming down, now that ephipany is over.  The house always looks so dull, cold, and bare when the decorations come down. 

We are also seriously considering a major purchase tomorrow: a sleep number bed.  I have been sleeping horribly for months, sleeping in the other room, staying and moving to and from the floor, and apparently even pushing Chris out of the bed a few times (although I don't remember it, he swears I did in order to sleep in the only comfortable spot on the bed, the middle). 

Nathan went to bed at 1, so I probably only have another 15 minutes of freedom.  With not being able to go outside for an hour or so each day, he doesn't sleep as much. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Homemade Chicken Enchiladas - With Green Chile Sauce

So, for the past two hours (not including time to roast the chicken), I have been making and preparing things for chicken enchiladas.  These are amazing - courtesy of Chris' brother who resides in New Mexico, but to do everything from scratch takes a lot of work.  Here is how it goes:

Roast one whole chicken.  Remove from drippings.

With drippings, make a nice broth (i.e., add carrots and celery and peppercorn and bring to a boil and simmer and skim off fat and there you go). 

While you are making the broth, make about 3 cups cooked rice - brown rice works nicely.  When rice is done, drain and put on bottom of two 9 by 13 pans.

While you are making the rice, make your green chile sauce.  Now,  you can buy tiny cans of green chiles from the local grocery (but you will never have enough for this recipe unless you buy a ton), or you can look for a place online to get green chiles in bulk.  I don't know of any local store here in Minnesota that sells them. We get them from New Mexico, in this big tub, they are already roasted, peeled, and diced. 

So, you saute onion, garlic, and add oregano, and then add the green chiles and then add your chicken broth.  I like to simmer this down until the sauce is thick.  Depending on the type of chile you purchased, this sauce could be mild (boring!) or incredibly hot (yae!). 

Then, once that is almost complete, you take all the meat off the chicken.  Put it into a large pot with a half gallon of whole milk and a bunch of pepper.  Simmer until the milk is almost gone and the chicken is all shredded and pulled apart. 

When this is done, put the chicken into tortillas (large ones) and roll 'em up.  Place them in the pan with rice, put the green chile sauce on top, lots of cheese, and bake until done.

You'll need sour cream to eat these, to kind of cool off the chile taste, and we usually make some refried beans with it too...which also helps.  I throw some chicken broth in my refried beans too to make them smoother.

Cranky this morning...

I was going to type up a very interesting blog this morning...but, I have a bad case of the jealousies/crankiness.

 Mostly because people keep raining on my parade. 

So, I guess I am going to put up my umbrella, and get them out of my life as much as possible.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our basement is kind of cold....

All my sewing stuff is down in the basement.  I think I have posted the pictures.  But, lately, when it is -17 degrees out, the basement gets chilly!  We keep our whole house at 60 degrees during the day while we are gone, so when we get home, even though the upstairs is nice and cozy, its quite chilly downstairs.  Thus, I haven't worked on my sewing for weeks. 

I really want to, I would like to finish these dang four-patches that are currently my arch nemesis.  Mostly becasue they are boring and I have to do a  MILLION of them for this project.  Seriously, I think they should be banned.  Oh well I guess.

I have the night off, so my ambitious plans are:  four patches and Taco Bell!  Although, the Taco Bell would involve me going to get it, so that may not happen. 

Have I mentioned its cold out?  brrrr! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Biggest Loser

I am not obese. 

I am not overweight. 

I am in relatively good shape. 

Before I was pregnant with Nathan, I was overweight.  For me, that was at the highest, 164.  In college, I weighed around 130.  I always got mad at the scale, but never really did anything about it.  I just got mad after I got off it, and I would cut out a cookie here and then, but never did I truly adjust my diet nor exercise daily.  I looked at myself and I didn't look fat.  That must be how it starts for some people. 

Now I look at pictures from 2006 and think:  I was overweight!  Why didn't I do something about it sooner? 

So, now I am in decent shape.  Granted, I can't jog as fast as I would like, and I still haven't made it to a 30 minute 5K...but, I can do an 11 minute mile no problem, can bike for miles with a 35 pound anchor attached (Nathan), and wear size 8 pants and jeans again!  My normal weight currently hovers between 146-148, which,  is 18 pounds off my high (or would you say that's a low?) of 164!

So, when I watch The Biggest Loser, I eat.  I usually eat dinner, but then, for some reason, that show makes me eat chocolate. 

or cookies. 

or candy. 

or whatever I can scrape up that is delicioius. 

That is probably the opposite of what the show intends, but I know I will never be 164 again (unless I am pregnant).  I don't like the way that feels, or looks, or how it could impact my health (and my fear of things like diabetes).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Oh to live in Paris...

sounds romantic, doesn't it?

i am watching house hunters international and this couple is searching for an apartment - 430 square feet for $300K+!  Are they crazy?   (Answer: yes!).

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back to work...

I just finished grading my papers for a graduate course I assist with, but in finishing that, comes a sense of dread.  It means that the Christmas vacation season is officially over, tomorrow I go back to work, with long days and nights starting soon until April. 

Every year I think I won't be as busy as the last, or maybe, as out of control at times (although I manage my schedule much better than others, not once have I stayed until midnight or overnight).  But, this year, I am unsure.  One of my partners (bosses) is phasing himself out, which will be aggrevating training the new partners (bosses) on everything, and then just last week one of my staff people on my biggest project quit. 

Anyways, its January folks, its chilly, and I will miss spending these days with  my family and stuff.  I finally played Settlers - Chris taught Karen, Kevin and I on New Year's Eve - it was by far one of the most fun Eve's I have had in years...usually I find that holiday rather boring unless you are drinking and are bouncing off the walls, which, I guess maybe I have only done once, and then ringing in the new year is really fun! 

We are starting to lay down the law with Nathan, he has gotten slightly out of control post-Christmases, he is very bossy and has been sassing a lot and telling us "no" when we tell or ask him to do things.  I think its been a hard couple of days for him, but I am starting to slowly see some improvement.  Yesterday he was so upset because of something so silly I told him to go upstairs and lie down...a few minutes later I go to check on him and there he was, lying in his bed quietly.  A miracle!  He was much better after that.  Needless to say, he has been getting a lot of tough love and more spankings and time outs.  It doesn't feel good to get mad at him, but his behavior has to improve - and especially here at home, where it is the worst. 

Well, its Sunday, so I am off to pack things up for tomorrow and get the house organized and cleaned.  I think I will whip up a pot of chile for dinner since its so cold with the fresh chile powder Matthew and Fran gave me from New Mexico - its so much better from down there!


Friday, January 1, 2010

What were your best days of 2009?

On the way out to the lake this morning, Kevin, Chris and I were discussing what our best days were of 2009.  Its so incredibly easy to name the bad days...I can name five off without even thinking about it - but its more difficult to think of your best days...why?  I guess that says something about our culture, our attitudes, our focus in life...something that we need to work on changing....Anyways, some of my best days were that I can remember really aren't that exciting of things:

- Mom, Dad, Karen and Kevin coming for a lentin supper of McDonald's fish sandwiches and playing Wii.

- The day when I saw that Nathan's rash that lasted two months finally went away!

-  The day spent picking pumpkins with Grandma and then grilling chicken with everyone afterwards

- Nathan's face at the Minnesota Zoo this spring when he saw all the animals and was walking and running around

- Our trips with Nathan in the bike buggy

- An afternoon at Anne and Gary's, with Nathan and Gus in the pool, and the rest of us sipping beverages on the deck...I remember the day was just beautiful...

-The day Daddy taught Nathan how to drink out of the hose...

-The day my landscaping got put in and completed

- The day Karen and I took Nathan to the beach

- The day Lauren, Chris, Matt and I went to SuperDawg in Chicago!  Oh, and ate pizza in Chicago!

- The day Kevin, Dad and I went ice fishing

- The day I spent baking pies, canning, cooking, and just making things all day long by myself...