Thursday, June 29, 2006
Also wanted to share Camden's first school picture. I was so pleasantly surprised that he actually smiled -- he's at the stage right now that when he sees a camera, he makes very silly faces. I will have to try to get his class photo scanned so I can post that, too.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Steve is very busy with work, but enjoying his new job. His new responsibilities at the armory also keep him very busy...it seems as though he is working two full-time jobs now! I'm sure once the dust settles a little more, it won't seem so stressful for him (I hope). He's been getting out and running a lot, and is beginning to get in some mountain biking here and there, which is great. In his "spare" time, he's busy working on the house - - this past weekend he trimmed out the new kitchen window, and nearly completed the new siding on the kitchen. I'm sure Lew and Roberta are happy to see that, instead of the Lowe's wrap! I believe this coming weekend, he's planning to finish wiring the 3rd bedroom, insulate, hang sheetrock, etc. We have a new window for that room on order from Lowe's, so once that arrives I suppose he'll be hanging that, trimming it, and putting the siding up on THAT side of the house. After those major projects are done, we'll be hiring someone to tape and texture, and refinish the hardwood floors. A few other cosmetic fixes in the house, and, at long last, it will be done. I know this will be such a huge relief to Steve!
Camden continues to be obsessed with the movie, "Cars", and I believe he's talked his Dad into taking him to the movies to see it for a second time, this coming weekend. He has made some huge improvements in the "eating" department - - I'm afraid I created quite a picky eater. I think while Steve was away, I wasn't doing a lot of cooking, and got into the habit of fixing him what he wanted every night, so when Steve came back and I actually started cooking meals again, he would pitch a big fit every night, like we were attempting to poison him or something. I put my foot down last week (although my pediatrician told me to do this, long ago), and simply gave him what the rest of us were eating. I'm happy to report we are going into our second week of family bliss at the dinner table, with Camden trying all kinds of new foods, and rarely putting up any kind of fuss over it. Another huge improvement for Cam has been that he is now saying, "Excuse me, please" before interrupting, when Steve and I are talking. Mind you, he is still constantly interrupting, but at least he's found his manners! I'll take what I can get! I created a very simple "chore chart" for him this week, so we are going to start implementing that within the next few days. He's very much wanting to do everything by himself now, meaning, he does not want assistance at ALL. While I know this is a good thing, it makes me just a little sad to see him becoming more and more independent. Alas, that will only continue, and I know the best thing I can do for him is to encourage him!
We are currently "in the process" of purchasing our neighbor's home. The VA came out last week and appraised it, so now we are all waiting to see what they say. The Haneys' daughter arrives from Texas in a little less than two weeks to help them pack up, and it looks as though they will be leaving right around the end of July. We should know within the next two to three weeks when the closing will be. So much going on. It is causing me a small amount of stress, just thinking about cleaning out our house, moving, settling, and getting Camden ready for Griffin's arrival in less than 100 days, but I'm quite certain it will all work out just fine.
As for me, I'm feeling pretty good. I do have to say, this pregnancy is so much harder on my body than when I was pregnant with Camden. I think the first pregnancy is what really aggrevated my back condition, so being pregnant this time has been especially hard. I don't like feeling so limited physically, and I really don't like not exercising, but all of that is temporary, and I'm hoping by the end of the year, I'll be back in fighting form. Griffin is a fiesty little guy, and by the looks of me, he's going to be a bruiser, just like his big brother. I'm getting really excited for our next ultrasound on July 10th, so we can get another look at him.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Beautiful Baked Ziti (serves 12)
One package sweet Italian sausage, cooked as directed and cut into coin slices (*I used low fat turkey sausage)
8 oz. dry penne pasta, cooked according to package instructions
26 oz. jar pasta sauce
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. black pepper
10 oz. package frozen garlic bread, thawed and cut into 12 slices
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (*I only used about 1.5 cups)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 12 slices
12 fresh whole basil leaves
In a large bowl, mix cooked sausage, cooked pasta, pasta sauce, water, chopped basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and pepper. Toss gently. Place mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. Place 12 slices of garlic bread on top of the mixture and cover with mozzarella. Dip tomato slices in olive oil and place on each bread slice. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until heated through. Tuck basil leaf slightly under each tomato. Let stand 10 minutes to help set before slicing and serving.
*Mine browned a little more than I would have liked, so I gently set a piece of tin foil over the top when I noticed it was browning too much, and turned the temp down to 375 degrees. Also, I omitted the tomato slices for the batch that I froze, and will add them when I cook it.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
The turnout was amazing - - we weren't sure how many people would actually get up that early, but there had to be nearly a thousand people, young and old. There were probably about 25 balloons in all, and they were absolutely beautiful.
After we left the park, we headed for Hyde Park and had a lovely breakfast at Java Cafe, and then headed back home. We intend to spend the rest of the day relaxing and hanging out. The boys are planning to pitch a tent in the back yard and camp out tonight.
The Alpo Dog Food Can was Camden's favorite balloon
I have a bunch of other great pictures, but once again, Blogger isn't letting me post any more than I've already added to this post. I'll try again tomorrow.
Friday, June 23, 2006
I'm sitting here, having a bowl of cereal, enjoying the morning air and the silence of my home. Steve left early this morning so he could get in a mountain bike ride in the foothills, before heading into the office. I've got laundry in the washer, the sprinklers running outside, and about 50% of my housework done, so I'm feeling like I've actually accomplished something, and it isn't even 7:00 a.m. yet...yahoo!
I had wanted to post this picture a few days ago, but I was having trouble uploading pictures so I wasn't able. That's my father-in-law, Dev, on the left, and his good friend Bruce on the right, the day before they set off on their cross-country bike trip. My father-in-law is 67 years old, and he is pedaling (yes, I said pedaling) his bike from Washington state to Maine. Pretty amazing if you ask me. We have received a couple of updates and, so far, they are doing great. I think it is really inspiring to see these guys fulfilling a life-long dream.
On a side note, the brick house you see behind them is the house we are currently purchasing. I'm getting more and more excited as the days go by. On the same token, I'm heartbroken to see our beloved neighbors, Lew and Roberta, leave. I'm quite sure they are the best neighbors anyone could ask for. They are in their late 80's, and have decided that the time is right for them to head for Texas and move in with their daughter. I haven't really stopped to think about what life will be like without them around (probably because I am avoiding thinking about it). While Steve was in Iraq, Lew watched our house like a hawk, and helped me with so many things. They've lived here for about 30 years, moving here from Seattle, after Lew retired from the railroad. I have a feeling I will be quite lonely without them, and so I'm feeling a need to reach out to my other neighbors now and get to know them better, in hopes of filling the hole that will be left when Lew and Roberta leave. I'm going to miss them so much!
Camden and I don't have much on our agenda today - - I have some baking to do, and I probably ought to balance the check book. The temperatures are set to start creeping toward the 100's, and in my condition, I'm dreading it! The checker at the grocery store last night said, "You must be ready to deliver!" (I think she's the third person to say that to me this week), and when I replied that I wasn't due until the end of September, she simply said, "Poor thing!" Thank goodness for air conditioning, is all I can say!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I thought I would write a post about my beautiful niece and nephew. The picture on the right is my sweet niece, Violet Jean. Her parents are my brother Kevin and his wife, Rachel. She was born last October, and I'm sad to say, I've yet to meet her. I love getting pictures of her, which come frequently from my mom, Aunt Jean, and Rachel. She has the most beautiful hair, and she always looks so happy. My folks just love her to pieces, and love to spend time with her. I have to say, she is one lucky little girl to have her Nana and Papa close by, because they are absolutely wonderful grandparents. They are so great with Camden, and he loves them dearly. I hope that I will get to meet Violet in person very soon, and I hope that as the years go by, I'll get to spend lots of time with her.
On the left is my sweet little nephew, Banzer Pake. His parents are Steve's brother Rex and his wife Kasey. He will be one month old this week. He is just about the sweetest boy you've ever seen, and so happy. I feel so lucky that he lives just three miles down the road. I got to see him a couple of times this past weekend, and loved holding him. He is already growing so fast. I'm happy that Camden, Banzer, and Griffin will get to spend lots of time together. Just felt like showing them off, and saying how happy I am to be an aunt!
Monday, June 19, 2006
It is really hard for me to believe that Camden turns three today-- these past three years have flown by, it seems. He came into the world at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday, June 19th, via emergency c-section, after 34 long hours of labor.
Camden has changed my life so profoundly, and I'm quite certain there is no way for me to even attempt to sound eloquent in explaining what I mean. My love for this boy is beyond explanation, so I don't think I will even try to put it to words.
Camden is a sweet, affectionate, and smart boy. He loves matchbox cars. He can identify most trucks and construction equipment without a second look. He likes fig newtons. Like his mother, nothing makes him happy quite like a trip to Starbucks (mom likes a cinnamon mocha, Camden likes chocolate milk). He has his father's beautiful blue eyes and long eyelashes. He loves Thomas the Tank Engine. He likes to dig in the dirt. He likes to be naked. He loves books, and would let you read to him all day. He loves his dog Riley (sorry, Sadie). He likes to ride on Daddy's shoulders. Camden is a joy to know and love, and he brings Steve and I more happiness than probably either of us ever thought possible. Happy Birthday, sweet boy. Mummy and Daddy love you.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Steve finished Annual Training on Friday, so Camden and I are very happy to have him home this weekend - - it has been awhile! Steve's father arrived back in Idaho this past Wednesday, and his biking partner, Bruce, arrived yesterday. We will be heading down to Rex and Kasey's later this morning, to send them off on their cross-country bike trip.
Here is the cake I made for Camden's 3rd birthday, which we celebrated yesterday, so that Steve's dad wouldn't miss the celebration. It is "Lightening McQueen" from the new movie, Cars. I'm happy to report that Camden was pretty impressed. We didn't have cake and ice cream until 4:00 yesterday, so the poor kid spent the day asking over and over, "Can I have my cake now?" We also let him open his gifts yesterday. Tomorrow, on his actual birthday, he and I will do some special together - - maybe go to the zoo.
Here's Camden opening his Matchbox Car Cargo Airplane, from Nana and Papa. Please note that Riley never misses a gift-opening occasion. The poor dog loves presents. He is just holding onto the hope that one day, one of the presents will be for him. Whenever my parents come to visit, he knows that they usually bring a gift for him in their suitcase, so he will wait impatiently for them to hurry up and unpack, pacing frantically the entire time.
Camden is still sleeping as I type, but shortly we will head up to Rex and Kasey's house for breakfast with Dev and Bruce, and have a little send-off as they start their trip. I have additional photos that I want to post, but for some reason Blogger isn't letting me post any more than these two. I'll try again later.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Yesterday, Camden was again doing really well when he woke up, so we hopped into the car and headed to my 24-week OB appointment. Griffin is doing very well, and continues to kick like crazy. I don't remember Camden being this active in the womb! My doctor talked to me in a little more detail about a repeat c-section, so I feel even better about it now. My doctor is wonderful - - I feel so lucky to have him. After the appointment, I took Camden to the movie theater for the first time. The boy was impressed, to say the least. We saw the new Disney Pixar movie, "Cars". It was great! Those Pixar movies amaze me. Camden looked so cute, practically being swallowed up by the big movie seat, with a big bag of popcorn in his lap. We had a wonderful time.
Here is a recent picture of me at nearly 24 weeks. I feel gigantic, and was starting to think I would end up even larger than I was when I had Camden (we're talking LARGE). However, I was pleased to learn yesterday that I am 11 pounds lighter at this point with Griffin, than I was when I was 24 weeks pregnant with Camden. Phew! There's hope for me yet. I am actually feeling really good - - I've noticed in the last week or so that my back isn't hurting quite as much, and I certainly have a lot more energy, which I love.
Camden is home with me this morning, and then we'll head off to Boise to do a "trade off" with Steve, so that I can work this afternoon. That nasty stomach bug is still working its way through Cam's preschool, so we thought another day of R&R at home might be a good idea.
We received some great news last night - - my dad will be coming out for a two-week visit, July 31st-August 14th! See you soon, Papa!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Quite some time back, when Camden was just a little guy, I was out in the laundry room and wasn't aware that he was standing at the baby gate watching me fill the washing machine. As I slipped Blue Bunny into a hosiery bag and tossed him into the running washer, I heard the most blood-curdling scream escaping from my small son's lips. Blue Bunny was already wet, so there wasn't much I could do. I kid you not, that child cried for the next two hours, while Blue Bunny washed, rinsed, spun, and then tumbled dry on low heat.
Blue Bunny has traveled to Texas, Louisiana, and Maine. He has been on countless trips to the grocery store, Target, Startbucks, and everywhere in between. When I leave the house in the morning, I've been known to forget my lunch, my sunglasses, or my cell phone, but I never pull away from the curb unless Blue Bunny is with us. There have been a couple of instances when we have misplaced Blue Bunny, and utter panic has set in. It doesn't seem that Camden will be outgrowing Blue Bunny any time soon, and I'm just fine with that. I think I am as attached to him as Camden is.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
I'm sorry I don't have something a little more pleasant to write about this weekend - - we'll see what tomorrow brings.
The camera-shy patient
Friday, June 09, 2006
I'm happy to say we all made it through the night. Camden woke up this morning, bouncing off the walls, happy, hungry, and ready to play. Steve is back at annual training, and I think I've washed and disinfected the entire house at this point. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that neither one of us get what Camden had. So far, so good.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I'm not familiar at all with the sport of hunting - - have no interest in it, nor do I have any interest in knowing the details of this poor elk's demise. However, I do have to say that elk meat is delicious. It is extremely lean, completely organic, and has no gamey flavor at all. It is also nice to have various cuts of meat at my disposal, and I am enjoying cooking with it. So, if you find yourself in need of some elk meat, give me a call - - I have enough to choke a horse.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The weekend went by much too fast, as usual. Steve is in the middle of Army annual training, so he wasn't around during the day. Luckily, he has transferred to a company close to home, so he can come home in the evenings. On Sunday, Camden spent the night with his grandparents, and we went out in Boise again. This time, we tried the new restaurant P.F. Chang's, downtown. The food was good, but by the time we got home, I wasn't feeling well, and by morning, Steve felt horrible. Lucky for me, I felt fine in the morning. Steve stated last night that he'll never eat there again. That's okay, we're not too big on chain-type restaurants anyway, and there is a multitude of fabulous restaurants in Boise that we have yet to try.
I had a little time before I picked Camden up yesterday morning, so I ran to Target to take care of some birthday shopping for him - - he'll be turning three in less than 2 weeks now. Camden and I went shopping last Friday for his cake pan (he chose a "Cars" cake pan from the new Disney Pixar movie, coming out on June 9th). He also had fun picking out plates, napkins, etc. (for those, he chose a "Hot Wheels" theme).
The picture in this post is from when Camden and I baked cookies over the weekend. Yes, he is in his undies. He got out our aprons, and then proceeded to take off his pants. I asked him why he was taking his pants off, and his reply was, "I just need to." I guess he doesn't like to be restricted in any way whilst cooking. I'm amazed at what a great attention span he has for cooking - - he'll stay from start to finish. I think he is mainly interested in sampling ingredients, if truth be told.
Steve's parents head back east tomorrow - - they've been here since late April. Steve's father will fly back to Idaho next week, and then his friend Bruce will join him a couple of days later. Sometime on or around June 21st, they'll depart from Seaside, Oregon on a cross-country bike ride, ending in Maine in late August. This is something Bruce and Dev have been dreaming about for years, and now that they have both retired, they can finally do it. You can visit Dev's blog at: http://goingtopott.blogspot.com and follow their journey.
Off to work!
Sunday, June 04, 2006
My Nanny loved to cook, and even more than that, she loved to feed people. We use to spend Thanksgiving at her house when I was a little girl, and I think I can still hear her urging everyone to, "Eat more!", even when you were bursting at the seams. We also spent each Christmas Eve with my Nanny and Grampa. She would always make a ton of caramel popcorn balls, and everyone got to take a bagfull home with them (someday, I hope to get my hands on that recipe). My Nanny passed away in 1998. I'm lucky enough to have her original recipe card, in her handwriting, for her delicious Date Oatmeal Cookies. I treasure that recipe card, and the recipe. Steve loves these cookies, and Camden and I are baking a batch for him today.
1 cup shortening
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 teaspoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped dates
Preheat oven to 375. Cream together the shortening, sugar, and eggs. In a small bowl, add one tsp. baking soda to 8 tsps. sour milk. To that, add vanilla. Add all of this to the creamed mixture. In another bowl, stir together the oatmeal, flour, and dates. Stir this into the wet mixture until just blended. Drop by tablespoons full onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until they just begin to brown around the edges and the centers are cooked.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
This is Camden and I, nearly two years ago, in the town we live in. My Aunt Jean was visiting at the time, and she took this picture. All of those little green bushes you see are called sagebrush.
This is a picture of Squaw Butte (pronounced "beaute"), near our home.
This was taken in 2002, sometime in March. Behind us is the valley we live in. You can also see Squaw Butte behind us (I think)
Papa, fitting Camden for new shoes in Maine, last year
With my dear friend, Jen, in Maine last spring
Camden, checking out his Great Uncle Elmer's lobster traps, last year in Owl's Head, Maine
So there are a few pictures of Idaho and Maine, which should have appeared with my post on June 1st!
Thursday, June 01, 2006
When I think of Maine, I think of Mum, Dad, Kevin, Rachel, and Violet. Next are my other dear family members. Jen. Topsham. Popham Beach. The smell of salty air. That one wind in the road on the way to Searsport, along Route One, where you get a glimpse of the ocean and can't help but think: Perfection. Camden Harbor. Pine trees. Freeport. Portland. Lobster rolls. The Village Candle outlet. Christmas Tree Shops. Reny's (those are for you, Mum!). Running through downtown Belfast, early in the morning. Far too many great childhood memories to mention. I think my best experience, pre-marriage, was probably between 1999-2001, when I lived in the Belfast area by myself. That is when I learned the most about myself. Climbing Mt. Katahdin with Jen. Running the Beach to Beacon and realizing, I am an athlete. Okay, now I want to hop on a plane to Maine....
Now, onto Idaho. The first thing that comes to mind: Wide Open Spaces. Untouched land for as far as the eye can see. Sagebrush. Mild winters. Dry heat. The Boise Farmer's Market. The Cherry Festival. The North End. Vineyards. The Shakespeare Festival. McCall. Snowcapped mountains. The Boise Co-op. Lew & Roberta. Joy. My girls at the office. Rex and Kasey, and now, sweet Banzer. Starbucks, in downtown Eagle. The Scented Cottage. Walking in downtown Boise, on my lunch break. Shige. The thing about Idaho is, my list grows every day. The Oregon coast is next door. I can't wait to see it. So is Utah. I want to go there, too. I've recently begun to realize how much there is around me, that I cannot wait to see with my family.
I struggled for a long time with the fact that I live "so far away" from Maine. Recently, I've been looking at things in a much different light - - yes, my relatives and some of my dear friends are on the east coast. Is it hard? Yes. Do I miss them every single day? Of course...more than I could possibly explain. But there is also so much for me to be thankful for in Idaho. Beauty beyond description. An endless list of things to see, and places to go. Most importantly, a growing list of treasured memories I am making with my family. I've said it before, but I will say it again. Life is good.