Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Giant Among Babies

My littlest one turned 3 months old this week. This baby — he is so accommodating, I couldn't ask for a better 4th child. He loves to sleep, eats well, and he is almost always happy. He even tolerates car rides, as long as the car is moving.


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And, he's huge! I think he wore his 0 - 3 month outfits once each. Now, he's in 6 - 9 month clothes, mostly because of his string bean torso. His arms and legs swim in his 6 month outfits, but his torso stretches them to the brink of busting open.


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In these pictures, he's wearing a 9 month outfit.

For comparison, here's a couple of pictures of his 3 year old brother in the same outfit, on his first birthday:


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Yep, they're definitely siblings!!


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Happy 3 months old, baby! Thanks for being such a good sleeper, and for providing the thorough arm workout!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Taming of the 'Do

"Uhh... I'm getting a LOT of hair in my comb..." said my hairdresser in a cautious tone. She was worried about me. I really am losing a ton of hair.

"Don't worry; I just had a baby three months ago."

"Oh!" She replied, "Okay, that makes sense! So what do you want to do with your hair?"

I had been debating that question all day. There wasn't anything wrong with the longer hair. But after her remarks, and with the knowledge that there was a baby at home that kept getting strands of it wrapped around (and around and around) his wrists, I decided to chop a good chunk of it off. Kind of like fighting hair loss with more hair loss.

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Here's a before picture. I didn't have the energy to set up a tripod and get a decent picture, so you get the standard mirror reflection in bathroom shot. I did, however, have enough energy to at least crop out the messy counter top for you.



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And here's the after picture, less 10 or so inches of hair:



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My hair doesn't wrap around the baby anymore! Or, at least, it doesn't get stuck there. And I think the hair loss is slowing down. My new hair wings are already starting to grow in. Ahh, the lovely effects of hormones. Gotta love it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

An odd day, time-lapsed.

Yesterday was one of those days that just isn't quite normal. There was just the right amount of peculiar to push it out of the realm of an ordinary day.

My 3 year old has a bad cold so the baby and I stayed home from church with him. He was super, super clingy. And my daughter injured herself on Saturday, giving herself a gash on her leg that needed six stitches — a first for one of our children. So she was feeling a little out of sorts, too.

She was at the top of a sloped driveway on her bike. She began to roll down the cement, but didn't grab the handle bars in time before the front wheel turned perpendicular and brought her to a crashing halt.

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Doesn't she look way too chipper to be getting stitches?

So the day was a little anxiety-ridden from the get-go. After church, my husband went to visit some families. He called me on his way home and asked if the kids and I were all dressed and ready to go.

"Why? What's up?" I asked. I had managed to get a shower in, in spite of the super clingy three year old, so I was ready.

"There's a structure fire just up the hill."

We thought the kids would love to see the non-drill version of what Dad does for a living. We quickly got them loaded in the car and drove to the fire.

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When we arrived on scene, we parked far enough away to not be in the way and watched the firefighters work. My husband grabbed the camera and got some pictures a little closer up, until a cop gave him enough dirty looks to encourage him to head back to the car.

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We watched until the black smoke turned white. I feel so sorry for the family that lost their house yesterday. And so grateful for firefighters and resources that kept the fire from raging up the hill through those trees and torching the community. It's been too hot and dry here.

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After the fire, we headed back home and prepared dinner. My little sick 3 year old crashed on a couch and took a much-needed nap while I made tacos. I looked at my husband and we shared the "oh no, that means he's going to be up forever tonight" look. But he clearly needed the rest, so we let him sleep.

Later, some friends showed up to borrow the paint sprayer. They're painting their kitchen cabinets. I know how that goes! Good luck, guys, I hope it turns out great!

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They hadn't seen our new home so we took them on a brief tour of the house and yard. The sun came and went behind the clouds forming above us. After a day of 102 degree heat, the moisture stolen from every source available down here on the ground floated away. It all regrouped into clouds in the evening. Very sticky weather.

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That night, we put the kids in bed and went downstairs to watch a few shows together. We got the traditional ice cream and drinks and settled into the couches. It's my favorite time of the day. Usually, anyway. Last night wasn't so ideal; we got to experience the ugly side of the nap my little man had taken. He would not stay in bed. He repeatedly crept down the stairs and ask for random things in his sad, cold-ridden groggy voice.

"But I need my hewitopter," he said. He had been comparing his helicopter to the one we saw at the fire. (By the way, helicopters are a hard toy to replicate a sound for. But he came up with a solution — he says 'num a num a num a num" really fast. It works!)

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At around midnight I heard him call for me again from his room. I sighed, got up off the couch and walked toward the stairs. I noticed light coming in through the front room windows. It looked like our neighbors were pulling around the cul-de-sac, flashing our windows with their beams. Except there was too much flashing. I paused, watched, then went to the windows. Sure enough, it wasn't headlights illuminating my dark living room; it was lightning. A lot of it.

"Honey! Come check this out!!" My husband came to the window, saw the lightning, then giddily ran for the camera. "Where's the tripod?" He called to me as I tried to help my 3 year old settle down again, hopefully for the last time.

He got everything outside and set it up to take 30 second exposures. The storm had moved on for the most part before he could get everything ready, but we still got some interesting shots.

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He came back inside and we browsed through the pictures. I hit the scroll button, and the whole day flashed before us like a short movie.

"Check this out," I told him. "You can see the smoke billow and the clouds move!"

Here's our day in motion:



It was an odd day!

Oh, and I got 10 inches of my hair chopped off. I almost forgot!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My failed 4th of July art project.

Not everything turns out like I hope it will.

On the 4th of July we set some fireworks off in our court. We used a reclaimed piece of wood from the entertainment center makeover to place them on.

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After the show, the board was set next to the trash cans for disposal. I walked past it the next morning, and thought "huh, that looks kind of interesting."

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Later, I asked my husband about the fireworks board. "You mean the one that looks kind of like a painting?" He replied. Apparently he had the same idea.

Here's the board:

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We decided that it would be cool to preserve the board by coating it in a clear gloss gel and framing it.

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I got the gel and began applying it. I quickly realized that the light ash that was creating much of the visual interest was going to come out looking more like black mud. And the gel was a little too thick. I had to smear it around quite a bit to get it to cover the surface, disrupting the distribution of the ash.

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Maybe if I had sprayed it with a clear varnish or something it would have stayed in place better. Or if I had removed the ash before applying the gel, and just focused on the burn marks. Lessons learned for next year.

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You never really know how something is going to turn out when you use this gel, since it goes on opaque. Here's the project, mid-drying:

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The final product:

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We'll still build a simple black frame for it and hang it, since it has time and place significance, even though it didn't turn out like we hoped it would. It was still fun to make it, too. I'll let the kids help when they're a little older; we could have a whole series of firework burn paintings over the years.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Grilled Shrimp Kebabs with Garlic Butter and Dill

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Jumbo shrimp were on sale the other day and just I couldn't pass them up. We had not eaten outside on our patio since we bought the house; the patio needed her maiden voyage. So, we put together some shrimp kebabs for tacos.

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Here's how we prepared these gently flavored butterflied shrimp skewers.

Ingredients:

1 lb raw jumbo shrimp (approx. 16 per pound), thawed.
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pepper and dill to taste

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Begin by rinsing the raw shrimp. If the big vein along the back is not removed, de-vein the shrimp. The ones pictured here came de-veined.

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Use a knife to split the shrimp down the back until you reach the smaller vein next to the shell. Keep the shell intact; it makes holding the shrimp in place on the skewer easier.

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When you reach the vein, remove it with the tip of your knife or your fingernails (ew, but it works!)

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De-vein all of the shrimp and then rinse them well again. Place the shrimp in a small bowl and brine them for an hour using 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

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Gently toss the shrimp to coat and mix the ingredients, cover, and place them in the fridge for an hour. If you're using wooden skewers, use the time to soak them for grilling.

When the shrimp are done brining, drain and rinse the shrimp well one last time.

Slide the shrimp on to the skewers and place them meaty side up on a plate.

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Add ground pepper and dill to taste.

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Microwave the butter and minced garlic together for 30 seconds or so, until melted, then baste the shrimp with the mixture.

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Heat the grill to medium. (All the grills we've owned heat differently, so this is more of a guideline than a rule...)

Cook the shrimp for about two minutes on both sides, or until they're just barely no longer translucent.

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You can serve them with taco toppings, including this Spanish rice and some guacamole and grilled onions and bell peppers (we put them on separate skewers, since they cook longer than the shrimp.)

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There's something so... right about eating seafood outside. Sitting next to the salty ocean is ideal, but the back yard will do in a pinch.

Not all of the children would try the shrimp. My daughter was a firm "no."

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My three year old, seen in the background there, was too busy vacuuming rice and beans.

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But my 5 year old was willing.

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A little hesitant, but willing.

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"But what this black thing right here? What about this green dot?"

"What do you think, honey?"

"...I kind of like shrimp!"

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

We interrupt this regularly scheduled July 4th recap to bring you a cute baby:

Now I've got you in my sights with these
Hungry eyes
One look at you and I can't disguise
I've got hungry eyes


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I just had to share. This is the look he gives me when he's about to eat. He also flails and kicks his legs out like he's riding a bicycle while making "oooh!" sounds. It makes me laugh!

This concludes the cute baby portion of this regularly scheduled 4th of July recap.

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Here's our day, in photos.

There was a parade in the morning, with the usual oddities thrown in:

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Rockin' the black socks:

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Captain America:

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What the...

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Because it's totally normal to have a full-sized cut-out of Sarah Palin and George W. on your girl's soccer team float.

People I love:

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After the parade we got some ice cream and then spent the evening with our fabulous neighbors. I love our neighborhood!

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He kept his helmet on and his ears plugged like that for the whole night. The helmet was to "protect his hair."

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I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July!


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