Monday, July 30, 2007

No father?

This morning, I was visiting with a woman in our church and Elia was playing with her 19-year-old daughter. While they were playing, Elia asked the girl where her father was. The girl said he was at work and then asked Elia where her father was. Elia replied with, "I don't have a father..." She then followed with "... but I have a Papa". I hope we don't get into trouble with that one if she doesn't add on the second part sometime.

Here is a picture of Elia being the great big sister she is. I think I talk about this every time, but I just love to see them together. I hope I can continue to culture that as they get older. Ethan's not always as receptive to her love though. This was THE ONLY picture of the set where he looks content. In every other picture he was upset, but you would never know it. I love digital photography!

I don't remember Elia being this cute when she was pouting. Ethan has the cutest pout lip ever! I keep trying to capture it, but it is so fleeting. Here is one attempt. Don't you just want to kiss that face?!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

zoos, diving boards and cheese

So, we haven't posted anything in nearly a week! I feel like there is so much to tell. I don't know how we would go three weeks without telling family and friends anything that we were up to!
Jen's mom came up for a conference in Phoenix and Jen and the kids went over to Tempe to visit. It has been such a fun week, so we have a lot of pictures.

After spending Monday evening with Mom, I took Elia and Ethan to the zoo. We got rained on, but had a lot of fun. I think because it was so cool, the spider monkeys were so active and noisy! They make this tremendous noise with their throats! Elia loves the carousel, so at the end of our trip, we took a ride. Her favorite seat (the shark) was taken, so she settled for the dolphin, but still had a blast!

Mom had gotten this sucker when she checked into the hotel and had given it to Elia On Tuesday night, she had some of it after dinner and Eric had put the rest in a bag on top of the counter. This is how we found her the next morning: contentedly eating her remaining sucker while lounging on the couch. We have to be careful because we don't hear her get up in the morning sometimes and by the time we do she has gone to the bathroom, taken off her pjs, and gotten dressed. In this case, she had gotten her own "breakfast"!

On Wednesday afternoon, we went with the Thunderkids group (the other spouses and kids of Thunderbird students) to the local aquatic center. It was nice because although I had my hands full with Ethan and Elia (you are supposed to keep any kid under 6 within an arms length), there happened to be a family from church there with a couple of kids. Elia took right to the teenage daughter and rode the inner tube around the lazy river with her a few times. Then the mom held Ethan while Elia and I hit the diving boards. I wasn't sure how it would go, so I asked the lifeguard if I could be in the pool when Elia jumped, but he said "no". She still wanted to go, so I stood by the ladder. The diving board was a meter board (about 3 feet) and Elia jumped right in and swam to the side! I was so proud of her! She was less timid than kids twice her age.

On Thursday a bunch of the "girls" got together at Chucky Cheese. We all split the tokens and got away with a couple hours of entertainment for $2. At first Elia called it "Kucky Cheese", and I had just about given up on her being the Chucky Cheese spokeswoman! I didn't think calling it "kucky cheese" would be very good for business, but eventually she got it.

As the oldest, Elia sees to it that all the other kids are taken care off: Here, she's riding with Alivia...

... and here with Rachel. As you can tell, big sisterhood thrills her!

A final note, (from Eric) on Thursday while Jen went to a Primary meeting, I watched Elia. As she was sitting in her high-chair eating dinner she got this concerned look on her face and stated, "I'm having a bad day." It was hilarious! I asked her why, and she said, "Mamas coming home at six o' clock tomorrow. Yeah, I'm having a bad day." I don't think she knows what a bad day is. I know that she doesn't hear that around us just because we never verbalize it that way. She has become so observant of what people say. I guess I shouldn't say that she has "become" so observant, but that she is now able to verbalize her observations.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Super good pancakes

We had blueberry pancakes yesterday with our favorite pancake mix. We made this once as Christmas presents for people because it looks pretty in a jar because you layer the different colors. Now we don't have anything but these kind of pancakes. Plus because of all the different grains, they are so flavorful.

1 C. white flour
1 C. wheat flour
1/2 C. quick oats
1/2 C. cornmeal
1/3 C. wheat bran
3 T. Sugar
1 T. Baking Powder
2 t. Baking Soda
1 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon

I usually make two batches of mix and add extra nutmeg and cinnamon and sometimes pumpkin pie spice.
Mix ingredients all together and store in a closed container. When you are ready, shake ingredients again and measure out 1 c. mix, add 1 egg, 1 t. oil and 1 c. milk. Stir until just moistened. 1 c. mix feeds Eric, Elia and I. We also use this for waffles. The wheat bran is the hardest to find, but you could always just put a little more of the flour or oatmeal and skip it.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Church Makes Me Tired

On the way home from church today Jen says, "I'm hungry." Elia then says, "I'm hungry." Jen followed up with an, "I'm starving." To which Elia replied, "I'm starving." Jen took it another step farther and said, "I'm super starving." Again, Elia replied, "I'm super starving." As the last expression Jen says, "I'm super starvin' marvin!" And of course Elia came back with, "I'm super starvin' marvin!" Well, as you can see, she wasn't even served her food before she collapsed in her chair. Sweet dreams.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Daddy's kids

I didn't have a picture of Eric on the blog, so I'm posting one of him with Ethan. Just like Elia, Ethan loves his Papa. What a wonderful guy I got as the father of my kids! :)
We joke sometimes that "your kid" is crying or "your kid" is making a mess. Here is where "Eric's daughter" is making a huge mess! Word to the wise for all those parents who think their child can feed themself: never turn your back on them or this may result!
Another thing that is funny about Elia is her drama. It seems like nothing is ever just good, but food is now "delicious" her swimming is "amazing" and disappointments get a lamentable "Oh, Dear"! She sounds like a little pint-sized adult! In only 1.5 months she practically will be -- well, she'll be three anyway.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chocolate Bread

Today was the first time Eric has been to the Cheesecake Factory (it was Jen's first time in 8 years)! He was even more excited when he didn't have to share (because Jen always wants him to share, but there were too many good things) but we did share a piece of Dulce de leche caramel cheesecake. Yummmy! We probably shouldn't have done this, but we just looked up how many calories are in one piece of this cheesecake. Any guesses? You are all wrong...1010 calories! Good thing Elia had a few bites. When they brought out the bread they had some dark wheat bread and white bread. Immediately Elia requested the "chocolate" bread. We gladly obliged. What a great first outing to the Cheesecake Factory!

Ethan's blessing outfit

Well, I snuck in some time to get some shots of Ethan in his blessing outfit. Next I will hopefully get some more of him and some with Elia too. We'll see if she cooperates.

I love this one because it looks like he is saying a little prayer.

What is he thinking?

I'm not sure why, but I love the little creases in his eyebrows

He loves to look at people and watch what they do.

Wide eyed: Do I look handsome or what?

Cute smiley boy.

His bow tie was too cute to resist!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy 3-months to Ethan

Happy 3-month Birthday Ethan! I wanted to just grab some quick shots of him as he turned 3 months! Doesn't he have such a cute smile? These days I never have time to get out my other camera, so for now these will have to do. I have been wanting to get some of him and Elia in his blessing outfit, I will set a goal for this weekend and post it so you'll know if I make it or not! :)

A little less baggy under the eyes and Chicken Curry

Some sort of miracle happened last night. Ethan slept from 10:45 until 2:30 and Elia didn't wake up at all! Maybe just posting the problem yesterday was recipe for the cure! Let's hope the trend continues!

Here is the recipe for the chicken curry that was just heavenly!


3 c. cubed cooked chicken (I used raw cubed chicken and the chicken was so tender)
1 c. chopped onion (I used rehydrated onion flakes)
1 clove garlic (or dash garlic powder)
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. cream of coconut (Coco Lopez or Coca Casa)
1 tbsp. curry powder (I used Green Curry paste)
1 tbsp. chicken flavor instant bouillon or 3 cubes
1/4 c. Realemon juice
Hot cooked rice
In large skillet cook onion and garlic in butter until tender; stir in flour. Gradually add milk; stir until smooth. Add cream of coconut, curry and bouillon. Over medium heat cook and stir until mixture thickens. Add Realemon, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add chicken (if using raw chicken, add 5 minutes earlier); cook 10 minutes longer. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Defiant girls and sleepless nights

I have only seen Eric for 30 minutes today when he came home for lunch. He has been gone for almost 13 hours now! In talking with some of the other students, it only gets worse I hear.
We broke up the day with a trip to the library where I selected another seven parenting books to try and figure out the puzzle pieces I've brought into the world and another bunch of books for Elia. My library bag is ripping... again. This is the third one I've ripped. I just get too many books, but no matter how many we get, we usually read them three times during the week until we hit the library again. Elia just loves hearing stories! I love reading to her because it is a rare chance to cuddle! Elia seems to be going through a particularly defiant time. Today, at the pool I asked Elia to please put her shoes on, but she said "no". One of the girls at the pool commented that she had never seen Elia do that. It's nice to know that Elia is cooperative enough that it seems like a rarity when she is defiant. And really, she usually is very helpful. Also today I asked her to please throw away a diaper for me (which she is usually very willing to do). She said "no". I then said "That's too bad" thinking that would entice her to help me out, but instead she just replied with "Yeah, that's too bad"! I think she is just too smart for me. Sometimes I have to give her options to do something or sit in time out because she is just pushing me. I'm pretty sure she is just competing for attention with Ethan, which is why it seems to be worse. I wonder if Ethan sleeping in our room (well actually, half in our closet) has anything to do with her waking up. Last night she came into our room seven times!!!!!! We have no clue what to do! Any suggestions? We put her right back in bed, but I'm not sure what else we can do.

OK, so I haven't posted the Thai Chicken recipe... I'm getting there. I haven't forgotten.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Amateur Bloggers

On Friday, Jen had one of our friends come over and introduce us to the world of Blogging! So here we our, our own life published for all to see.
Things are pretty normal around here. Though there were some exciting things (at least we think they are exciting) that happened.
For one, Elia has grown up 10 years this week! She now takes off her PJ's, picks out and puts on her clothes and puts her PJ's in the dirty clothes. Before, she would stay in her PJ's for a while, but now she gets dressed first thing in the morning. She is set on "matching" and once told us she couldn't wear these pink sandals with her outfit because they didn't match. She mainly chooses one pair of capri pants that are white with pink flowers and a coordinated pink top.
She wants to go to the bathroom by herself, get her own food, wash her own hair and of course swim by herself. Some of these experiences lead to disaster -- like when she went to the bathroom and watched too much so her pee squirted through the gap between the bowl and the seat, but it is fun to see her so grown up.
She has really taken the role of "big sister" seriously and considers herself in charge of reading to Ethan when he is in his bouncer, throwing away diapers, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, getting clean diapers and clothes out, and controlling pacifier use. She really is great to watch because she just has so much fun with him. She was born for this! When she can't be the big sister for Ethan she is happy to be the big sister for her red baby. This baby used to be Jen's and is the genderless, nameless baby. Elia is convinced it's a girl (note the hair clips), but just calls it "red baby."

I should also say that Elia considers herself the "big sister" for all the other kids we play with. She is the oldest and always wants to help by putting on shoes or holding hands (which most of the time they object to her helping). Last week at the pool she was helping her friend Sofia who is 3 months younger but about a half a foot taller by pulling her out of the pool. She would pull her up on the pool deck, grunting all the while and finishing her task with a "Whew" as in "Wow that was tough". They practiced this routine for about 20 repetitions! Elia also enjoyed playing for then transfering the headsets to Sierra so Sierra could listen to the music when we went over to a friends house for dinner.

Ethan is cute as ever. He will smile for 1 hour straight if I could think of enough things to say for that long. As long as someone is giving him attention, he is all grins, but you better think twice about walking away. It is so hard to capture him on camera. I see the pictures I take and they just don't look like the Ethan that I see in real life!

In Eric's news, he applied for his first job! It is probably too early for them to offer him a position since he won't start until at the earliest June 2008, but it is with the company he wants to work for and at least they know he is interested. He has already talked with them over the phone and gotten to know some of the people there.
Jen is working on marketing her newspaper column to airline magazines. It might be a long shot, but nothing ventured, nothing gained right?
In final news, Jen tried a super rich dish that got rave reviews from its critics (and it wasn't just Eric who tried it). It is a chicken curry. See the next post for recipe (that should keep you reading!)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jen's NH trip

Jen, Ethan and Elia went to New Hampshire for two weeks to visit her Dad and Helena. Elia calls Jen's Dad Grampy and Helena Ya Ya which is Greek for Grandma. Here is a picture outside the Children's Museum in Portsmouth, NH.

Ethan is all smiles and will smile all the time if someone is talking to him. It was in NH that he started laughing, though it sounds more like a little grunt.
At the Boston Aquarium, this fish was bigger than Elia!
One of Jen's favorite trips was to the Squam Lake Science Center. The whole place is sort of like a zoo in the middle of the woods. They have great exhibits and fun activities for kids and adults.
Elia measured her wing span against this bird silhouette.