Saturday, January 30, 2010

Safety Tips

So we were reading our little "tips to grow by" sheet that our doctor gives us after each well visit. Most of the safety tips are of the "are you an idiot?" type (and yes, I realize that some parents need this) like don't let your child touch a hot stove.

But here is one we have violated many times (as evidenced by this blog) since he was like 6 months old!
"Keep your child away from tractors, lawn mowers and all0terrain vehicles. A child should never ride on a lawn mower, tractor, or an all-terrain vehicle, not even with an adult."

Yep, we do that....he's ridden everything and Uncle Billy even taught him how to START the 4-wheeler! He's also ridden in a backhoe, on a snowmachine...yes, this list could go on! I think the issue is that you have to SAFE about this, which we are. It's not like we let the kid drive himself around (which he'd love to do!).

Adam Shovelling Snow

Adam loves to help! As you can see he started out with Daddy's shovel and then moved to his own, but still had fun! He's addicted to snowballs right now as well. Adam doesn't care much for getting dressed - its boring to him, but he LOVES to help get dressed to outside! He tells you first "shoe," then "coat," then "hat," and finally "gloves." He even holds out his hands to help with the gloves! Today he even laid right now on top of his snowsuit - he wanted to go out!

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Last Few HI Pictures

As I said earlier, I got the last of Dad and Billy's pictures, so here a few last ones.
Cool tree!
Billy at the Pacific Aviation Musuem - whose he talking to?
USS Arizona
USS Missouri

Maternity Clothes Suck

Why do I say this? Well, first maternity clothes are something you only buy if you need them, so they are always expensive (as no reason to have them go on sale - if you need them, you need them....). This is very annoying as you only wear them for a short time (although most of us get at least two or more uses out of them...most of mine I bought when I was pregnant with Adam). Second, they are hard to find. Like I needed new underwear (which take quite the beating when your body is constantly changing) and I had to order online, which seriously is aggravating as it is hard to pick something like that out online. Third, the "style" is always changing and so you can't find something you like and buy more later (case in point, my jeans!). Fourth, manufacturers make them to last only a few months and they do - it seems something is always wearing out! I'm just annoyed as I had to buy new underwear and that my jeans won't stay up because of their blasted style as one of my "good" pairs completely ripped on my way out of church earlier this pregnancy so I'm down to one "good" pair even though I have a couple. My problem also is that I was pregnant with Adam in the summer....now its winter...so the capris I have are pretty useless at the time.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dad's Hawaii Videos

Dad did most of his videos in HD, which meant I couldn't put them here, but he got them converted and so I'm posting a few here now.
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More on Store Closings

So this Yahoo article talks about companies that are closing stores in 2010. Have to say they aren't big surprises. Waldenbooks/Borders Expresses are great, but compared to a "big" Borders, they hardly have anything in stock and with everything online now, it is so quick to buy it that way (and the prices are better). Ritz Camera also isn't surprising - we all have digital pictures and can send them in online at places like Wal-Mart quickly and easily.

New Recipes

I made two new recipes for dinner last night. Both were good, but one was a stand-out while the other one was only so-so.

We made Oven-Baked Herb-Crusted Chicken for the main dish. This one was very good and would make a great base for any chicken dish with the leftovers. I plan on using my leftovers (I didn't do the entire 12 breasts, but I still did more than I needed) for fried rice. Ray really enjoyed it and Adam ate some as well.

Modified from Robin Miller
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder [I didn't have onion powder, so I combined the onion powder and salt and used 4 tsp of onion salt]
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 (5-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Put all the spices in a large bowl and then dredge each breast in it, shaking off excess coating. [She used ziploc bags, but that seems like a waste to me...I can see why you'd want to in an industrial kitchen.]

Transfer chicken to baking sheet and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is golden brown and cooked through.

Serves 4 with leftovers for other dishes. [she always provides these recipes, I'm just going with my own.]

This came with a parsley oil sauce for it, which we made (I have it fresh in my aerogarden), but it was pretty bland and useless - we really didn't use it so I didn't post it.

To go with this we made corn risotto in the crockpot. I've made risotto in the crockpot before and it is very easy. This was also very easy and there is nothing wrong with it, it just wasn't special. You can always impress your guests you made risotto and they don't have to know it came from the crockpot. This is also a "quick" recipe for the crock pot - only 2 hours, so can be thrown together at the last minute as an additional side. It would also be very pleasing to kids as it is very simple.

Corn Risotto
Modified from A Year of Slow Cooking

1 1/4 cup arborio rice
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1/4 of a small onion, minced [she originally used onion powder, which I don't have...I just used real onions]
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth [and I just used bouillion cubes]
package of frozen corn (16 oz)
1 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on taste [I just used the 1/4 and you could really taste it]
1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream [I used half and half]
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Put the tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of a crockpot, and swirl the rice and onions in it. Chop the garlic and add, along with the salt and cayenne pepper. Add the frozen corn and the broth. Stir well. Drop in a pat of butter. Cover and cook on high for about 2 hours, checking every 45 minutes or so. This is done when the liquid has absorbed and the rice is tender.

Unplug, and add the cream and parmesan cheese. Cover for 5 minutes, or until cheese melts completely.

Remodel Update

My parents' bathroom as of tonight!

Adam Update

Adam was in for two year well check up. He's doing great (as we knew!), but a little slow on vocabulary (which we also knew). He really now is finally getting interested in talking, , but wasn't interested in before now. He is 26 pounds and 34 1/4 lbs. So a big, healthy boy!

Bathroom Remodel

No, we aren't messing with our bathroom (thank goodness!), but my parents' (after 27 years....Billy was a baby and he just turned 27 yesterday) are redoing theirs. This the current progress - they have a shower back! Mom is getting sick of using the downstairs bathroom, so she's on Dad to finish up. You can tell Dad's retired - he's also replaced all their kitchen appliances this winter (all about the same age as well!). He's finally got the time to fix up the house behind what needs to be done now.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Puzzle

Adam got this puzzle from us for his birthday - as you can see, he has it figured out!

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Adam and his Tools

Adam adores all his tools. As you can see here (or hopefully you can), Daddy taught him how to use the wrench and he's trying!

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Mickey Helicopter

Adam adores Mickey Mouse, so this heliocopter is a new favorite. He can say Mickey, but it comes out "key."

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Adam's New Train Stuff

Adam got a few new pieces for his train for his birthday. A new tunnel, a new exacavator and then an airport that is "take along," which will be nice if we are going somewhere. He's getting so good with the trains!

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He finds eating the luggage from the airport funny!

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Is it Friday yet?

Seriously, this has been a horrible week so far and it had such potential! Ray nor Adam slept well on Sunday night (and it wasn't that Adam kept Ray up - Ray was already up when Adam got up). So we were all tired on Monday. Then Monday night Ray still didn't sleep well, although Adam was only up once and for a short time.

Then Tuesday I wake up, excited because it has snowed and so have big outdoor plans for me and Adam and start get sick....and sicker...and sicker....and because the pain was all in my side and back, I was terrified it was Andrew. So I call the doctor, then Ray, who comes home and says it is the doctors NOW or the ER. So we went in to my OB and they decide I have a bladder infection (or kidney stones....oh, please just be the first one!). Andrew was fine, though, thank God! Andrew actually has been moving well during all of this, which is very reassuring. But I spent yesterday in major pain as the medicine started to kick in and Tylenol (which is pretty much all I can take) did very little to help. Being pregnant, of course, I can't take anything that actually WORKS. I finally got to sleep last night about 1-1:30 and then Adam was up at 4 AM, for no reason. So Ray went up, but that didn't work, so I got up and got in bed with him for awhile (as my side had finally quit hurting by this point) and got him back to sleep. He did sleep in this morning and I'm not in bad pain anymore, but still not doing well. I'm just exhausted, slightly nauseous (medicine, not eating well, etc.) and overall just slow. So Ray, who had to take some sick leave yesterday, is stuck skipping class tonight as I can't manage until 10 PM alone.

So hopefully our week gets better....doesn't seem like it can get much worse! (knock on wood)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vat o' Animal Crackers

Do we really need THIS many animal crackers? We got this at Office Max (of all places) last week and guess who really wanted it? DADDY!! Adam is helping eat them of course (although he prefers salty to sweet) and knows exactly where they are, but it is Daddy who is obsessed!

Adam's Hawaii T-Shirt!


Adam's Trains

Adam is getting good with his trains! He pushes them along the tracks and even makes noise to accompany them. He does get quite annoyed, very quickly, when they don't go nicely! Then he turns into ADAMZILLA!

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Putting Away My Tools

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Adam is quite good now at putting his tools back in his toolbox! Well, when he isn't putting OTHER stuff in the toolbox!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Adam Logic

So we were coming out of a store this evening and Ray was carrying Adam and I was carrying what we bought (so exciting, a binder and tabs for the new class I'm teaching). Anyway, Ray puts Adam down to walk. Well, Adam starts walking and then wants what I'm holding. So I give him one of the things, thinking he just wanted to carry it. Well, no, he promptly gives it to Daddy. Then he wants the other thing I'm carrying, so I give it to him and again he gives it to Daddy. THEN he puts his arms up - he wanted Mommy to carry him and since her arms were full, his logic told him he had to move that stuff first! That made me laugh so hard! He knew what he wanted and just had to figure out the best way to get it - and he did!

Companies in Trouble

I saw this on Yahoo this morning - a list of companies in trouble. One that caught my attention was Applebees. We like Applebees, but I can see a number of reasons why people (including us) are choosing other restaurants and it has nothing to do with a need for store remodels, but rather a menu remodel. In our opinion, they are pricing themselves out of the casual dining market - their prices are too high! They've tried to compete with the $20 dinner for two idea that is popular right now (it is funny how once one does it, they all do, making it repetitive), but in my opinion where they need to start is the price of their sodas! Their price for a drink like soda is RIDICULOUS. All their prices have been creeping up and while you might not notice it on the menu, you see it on the final bill. If they want to put themselves back in the running, they need to lower prices overall or offer cheaper options.

There was, of course, an airline on the list. My biggest gripe with the airlines currently is baggage costs. Just raise your blasted prices $15 instead of charging us at the gate! It is ANNOYING!! I have several gripes with this issue:
  1. It lengthens wait for check-in (as many people don't pay online like we do). It also leads to problems when things are done wrong, like what happened to my parents in Honolulu - they couldn't do their boarding passes themselves because of a luggage screw up and had to wait several hours for a person to arrive to help them.
  2. It encourages people to carry on more rather than less (I see more and more people hauling baggage as a carry on and then wondering why it won't fit in the overhead!). This lengthens the time it takes to get on and off the plane and people are still bringing on the weight they are trying to cut. CHECK YOUR BAGGAGE PEOPLE!!! It is one thing to carry on work you are going to do in the airport/airplane or things you need while travelling (and I admit with a two year old, for us that is a lot and we try anymore just to bring his stuff and then a book each!), but don't carry on your clothing for a ten day trip!
  3. It falsely advertises prices as you have to look at the ticket and then compare luggage prices to get an accurate picture (which they are trying to do - trick you).

We just used Continental for Hawaii. We usually use Northwest (who I HATE - they have absolutely NO customer service) simply because they are convenient for where we go. I really liked Continental (aside from that they charge for luggage - see points above - and they didn't have a relationship with our island hopping company so we had to lug bags in Honolulu which with a two year was a MAJOR pain). First, their stewardi were very friendly and helpful. Second, they actually still serve food and drinks (and NORMAL stuff you can eat!) as part of your ticket price. Third, they do all credit cards for extra services (like headphones, movies, etc.) so that you don't have to worry about correct change. Fourth, they actually run ON TIME!! So anyway, if you can, I actually recommend Continental for travel plans.

"Ball Daddy Do!"

Last night Adam was playing with one of his balls (he adores balls) and it ended up downstairs (when under the gate). Well, Adam can't follow and Ray was in the bathroom and I was grading assignments. Well, Adam knew where the ball was and he wanted it back and he knew Daddy was right there (didn't quite get the fact that Daddy was busy!), so he kept saying "Ball Daddy Do!" - in other words, go get my ball, Daddy! And poor Daddy was trying to go to the bathroom in peace!

Outside is fun!

I try to make sure Adam gets outside every day as he loves it. So if its not nasty out, we don't have to go somewhere or one of us isn't sick, we go out. Well, right now we are in between snow and so what we have left is mostly hard or slushy. So not really fun for him. But today it is warm enough, what is left of the hard stuff is mostly getting soft, so he got to make some snowballs, his current favorite thing. We also have this little patch of ice on the back patio area (we have a hole that water drips through). Adam is fascinated by this! He can't figure out why it is slippery! The face he falls through the snow also confuses him - he's not sure why it is happening!

Potty Training Update

We have been half-heartedly working on potty training and had hoped to make progress over Christmas break (both of us home), but we were just gone too much. So we are trying to really push it now, but Aadm is definitely not interested. May just not be time yet. We'll keep it up for a bit longer and see how it goes.

I'm trying to hit the times I know he pees - like right after nap. So I got out the potty chair and had him sit on after nap the other day, but he was not pleased with this. Anyway, so I let him get up and rediapered him and went off to do something. I came back a few minutes later and Adam had completely shut the potty chair (put down the pee guard and cover) to clearly say I'M DONE.

Adam really isn't behind in this issue, but everything THINKS he is because he's so tall - drives me nuts! He is NOT three! Wearing 3Ts does not make you a three-year old!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Yah, its Recycling Pick Up Day!

And why am I so happy about this? Well, it always seems when you are in and out (like we were over the holidays) you are always missing your pre-scheduled things, which for us would be trash and recycling pick up. Trash isn't such a big deal since it is weekly and so normally you might only go a week and half without a pick up and we have a couple of extra large trash cans, so we can do overflow if necessary. But recycling (done by the city) is only twice a month and we have relatively small containers. Normally this isn't an issue for us - ours are full twice a month, but not ridiculous. But between missing days and extra boxes from holiday stuff, we had a TON of stuff and I even ran some down to the city recycling center myself (we have a drop off location as well) before we left for Hawaii. It just always seems that we miss the pick up days when we are gone - just luck of the draw, I guess, but it seems it always happens!

On a schedule?

Knocking on wood, I think we may finally be back on schedule for Adam. He had a good nap and then good night last night. We are done to minimial coughing, so again hopefully that is over with (I sure hope so....it killed me to listen to him and couldn't do anything to help other than hold him). He napped for about two hours today, which was his normal before all the stress of travel and holidays (he would completely crash and we'd have to wake him up after three hours....having too much fun!). The coughing then didn't help because he'd be so exhausted and couldn't sleep. Anyway, really hoping he's back - today he was acting like his old self (so running around like a maniac).

Well, off to convince Adam to fold clothes before tubber time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Errand Day

I spent today running some errands (gotta do it once a week it seems). Most were pretty straightforward except I had to go in more places than normal (drive up are a mother's best friend! Adam doesn't mind going in, but he definitely has a quota of the times he's willing to quietly get in and out of the car seat!). BUT the post office....slower than molasses! They only had ONE clerk open at 1 (so lunch time) on the day after a long weekend. Talk about bad staffing!

Another Rip Off

This one I've never done, but just thought I'd remind everyone. Machines that count your change for a percentage of it...just count your own change! It is easy to do and I think fun. I always roll mine and take it in the bank - most banks will even give your the rollers (certain ones....the GF branch of Wells Fargo....who I never liked....) to use!

US Figure Skating Team

Last year, Ray and I went to the US National's as they were in Cleveland. I was not pleased with the winners, Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, and never thought much of them. But I loved the second place winners, Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett, and really thought they should have won. BUT this year, they did! And McLaughlin and Brubaker royally messed up and didn't even make the US Olympic team! They were so over hyped and I think Denney and Barrett will do a much better job! Our second team is Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig, who did a great job this year at Nationals. I actually was also really impressed with Inoue and Baldwin simply because they are so much older and still can kick butt!

I'm current watching the men's, but I do know who made the team and there were no surprises there: Jeremy Abbott, Evan Lysacek and Johnny Weir. Lyascek won the world's last year and Abbott has been performing really well. Weir is always a wild card, but is still a great skater. Women's and Ice Dancing still to come!

My Cutie!

Adam's BOOSTER Chair!

We got out this booster chair for Adam! He prefers to sit at the table, but is a little too short. Actually this used to be mine or Billy's - Dad hauled it here from AK and repainted it.

Birthday Present from Aunt Maureen

Adam got this from Aunt Maureen today for his birthday - an AquaDoodle. It writes in water, so it only works on the pad - a great thing for our furniture and carpeting!


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Monday, January 18, 2010

What are they watching?

Dad just sent me this from from his Pearl pictures

Pictures Caught Up!

I have all my pictures now done from Hawaii. I still might get a few from Dad and Billy (haven't seen their Pearl pictures yet), but that's it.

Pearl Harbor

We stopped for 12 hours (long layover) in Honolulu just to see Pearl Harbor. We were very disappointed though, as BOTH the Missouri and Arizona were closed! The Arizona's boats were down for whatever reason and the Missouri was just finishing renovations. So we were only able to look around, not get on anything and then go to the Pacific Aviation Museum. As a note, since these are all different islands, if you don't plan on island-hopping and want to see something specific the layover idea is okay, but I think I would have preferred longer - overnight. As this was, it just meant we spent TWO days travelling with no real rest rather than one day. With a two year old, this isn't enjoyable. A lot of people go over to a specific island just for the day - I think I'd prefer that in the future and it seems rates are reasonable when island hopping.
Ray in front of Steadman trainer at PAM - President Bush (the first one) flew this
The Arizona
Ray and Jennie in front of plane like one from the Doolittle Raid
Ray in "lecture" mode under one of the planes
Jennie and Adam in front of a gun
Ray and Adam beside the harbor
Adam in the gun seat with Uncle Billy's help
Uncle Billy and Adam gunning away

Final Part of Trip around the Island

We tried to stop at the U of Hawaii astronomy museum/observatory, but we got there at 3:55 and it closed at 4, so we didn't get to see anything. That was in Hilo. We drove around Hilo a little. Then really, we were pretty much back to the volcano, so we pushed it back to the condo.

Akaka Falls: Part V

We stopped at these waterfalls. The trial was short (less than a 1/2 mile), but VERY STEEP. Still, it was well worth the effort. It was gorgeous back there! Very lush, very rain foresty. Specular views all the way around! There was a second waterfall back there as well, Kahuna Falls. We actually got there and thought Mom and Dad were already parked (we had two cars as we had 8 people) as we saw what we thought was their car (rentals and all)...turns out they'd turned around (been raining off and on although we managed to stay dry!) and then couldn't reach us....we finally all made it there!
Ray and Adam checking out the stream
The path from above!
Bamboo
All of us in front of Akaka Falls
Ray and Adam in front of Akaka
Akaka Falls

Scenic Overlook: Part IV

We stopped at this scenic overlook next - great view of the ocean!
The guys checking it out!
Adam seeing what is going on up here!

Train Musuem: Part III

Our next stop was this little train museum. Did you know Hawaii used to have a railroad? It was for sugarcane and did a little passenger travel! Hawaii used to grow sugarcane, but eventually taught themselves out of the market (taught other countries who then undersold them). Anyway, the train was wiped out in the tsunami on April 1, 1946 (came from the Aleutians actually) and never rebuilt. Before the end of the decade the entire sugar industry was gone. It was fascinating! Plus, Hawaii never used slave labor for their sugar plantations, rather did mostly indentured and it reads like a Pacific Rim culture list! Anyway, this is a small museum, but well worth the stop! They are also obviously working on a model replica in one of the other buildings.
Laupahoehoe Train Museum
They had a play train set up on the front porch for kids....Adam was in heaven!

Lunch: Part II

Our next stop was lunch. We found a small place, pretty good. What was odd here....Grandpa knew someone! Seriously, you can't take that man anywhere! Billy and I were with him and Grandma in nowhere Canada and ran into cousins! Well, here, we are just sitting down and someone calls out "Are you Benny Cottle?" Yep....someone he knew! It was a Bosch, so Mom knew her a little as well.

Trip Around the Island: Part I

We drove completely around the island on Tuesday. This is something I wanted to do as otherwise we spent the entire time in Kona, the "dry" side. This was fun as it is amazing just how different each side of the island is! I really liked the Hilo, "wet" side, as it was more rain forest - what I expected of Hawaii. There is SO much to see and so much change as you drive! This is completely doable in a day, but some of it is slow going because the speed limits are so slow and it is almost all one lane road (so you get stuck behind someone doing 20, you're doing 20). It helped that we'd already been up the volcano, so once we hit there, we could just hustle the rest of the way back. We made several stops, but you do need to keep going if you don't plan on this taking 12 hours! I think we did it in like 7-8 and we'd figured on maybe up to 10. The issue really is the speed limits because between stops - when you are just ogling scenery (pleasant in itself!) - you can't make time the way you are used to. It really is only like 250 miles around the island.

Our first stop was a beach a little past Kona.
Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad
Ray and Adam - Adam actually decided to check out the water on his own...we weren't planning on him getting wet...he had other ideas!
Walking back up from the beach
Checking out the sand - notice this isn't black sand...it was much easier to walk on than some of the beaches (probably just more traffic), which Adam liked.

Sand is fun!

My dad came and got Adam one morning before we even had him dressed (or sun screened!) for some fun in the sand!
Grandpa, you buried me!
Let's add some sand!


Adam

Love that grin!
I can turn on the fan!

Billy's Turtle

Adam's Cough

Poor Adam has a cough. He was sick before we left, but seemed to have beat it. But a couple days into our trip, he started hacking again at night. I think it was something in the air (and there are so many variables it is hard to tell what: the volcano, the wildfires or just all the tropical plant pollen/matter!) as they don't use AC so everything is very open, even at night. He wasn't really hacking during the day, just at night. Well, we are home and he is still hacking, so hopefully he recovers quickly. If not, to the doctor we'll have to go. Poor baby is having trouble sleeping at night or at nap (he really only coughs when he lays down)....which means we all are!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Waves!

We had one night of really big waves (the day that Billy got soaked in that video!)
Jennie, Ray and Adam checking it out
Jennie, Ray and Adam checking it out

Waves hitting the shore
Billy with waves behind him