Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back to Normal (whatever that is!)

Today was Griffin's first day of feeling like his old self, and it was wonderful. The past week has been difficult - - so very hard to see our boy in so much pain and discomfort. That was compounded by the fact that the codeine did not agree with him, nor did the antibiotic, so he was a very unhappy, sick (running a fever through all of this due to a virus) little guy. He is now eating again (yay!), and he had some x-rays yesterday which showed that his teeth were not fractured, so that is a very good thing. I'm just happy to have my Griff back. I missed him.

Griffin did a lot of sleeping over the past week. This is when he fell asleep sitting up, while picking at his lip!

Here's what Griffie looks like when he is heavily medicated, has a swollen lip, and is trying to smile.

My sweet Camden and I did manage to sneak out over the weekend for a date

Steve and Camden built their own volcano

Griffin amused himself by taking lots of really bad pictures of me with my camera

Griffin finally started to rally, the day we took him to see his Auntie Kasey's baby chicks (this is what he does now, by the way, when I say, "smile for the camera!")

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rolling With the Punches

Hazy eyes, compliments of Tylenol with codine

I've had such high blogging aspirations these past few weeks - - lots of things swimming around in my mind that I want to write about, but, alas - - my life at the moment just hasn't been conducive to do much creative writing. What can you do. As you know, we've been suffering the ravages of some sort of super-human viral bug in this house, basically, for the past 5 weeks. The illness du jour for the past 7 days has been high fevers, runny noses, and a deep, deep cough. I don't want to go and jinx myself, but I feel more confident than ever that Camden is finally out of the woods and on his way to a full recovery. Thank goodness, because that poor boy has been so very sick.

On Tuesday evening, Griffin had an accident - - in a nutshell, he slipped and fell on the dining room hardwood floor and as a result, drove his two upper front teeth back into his gums. I wish I could draw you a picture to illustrate just how gory this injury is, but please just take my word for it. I believe Steve made mention that he hopes to never again see that much blood coming out of one of our children, and I'm right there with him. After a trip to the ER, followed by an emergency consult with a very, very kind and accommodating local dentist, we just have to do our best to manage Griffin's pain, and watch for signs of abscessing. Although there is a slight chance that the teeth could eventually work their way back down out of the gums, the more likely scenario is that the teeth will die, and will fall out prematurely, or will need to be extracted. My main concern at the moment is avoiding infection, and letting nature take its course. It is so odd to look at my wee Griffin Peter and not see his little front teeth (see sidebar picture for reference). He looks a little vampire-ish now, to tell the truth! To add to the trauma, Griffin can no longer suck on his beloved Binky, so the Binky Fairy ended up coming rather unexpectedly. This worked out rather well for me, but I didn't derive a bit of joy from hearing him cry so pathetically for his Binky during the first 24 hours or so. He also cannot drink from a sippy cup, or bite food. We are having trouble getting food into him - - I think he just hurts so badly that he is more afraid than anything else, but hopefully he will be hungry enough to try, soon. He has been such a trooper through all of this - - he is a tough little guy for sure. Every time he says, "Mummy, my teef hurt," my heart breaks a little bit, though.

Today, I am hoping to be able to get the boys out of the house - - they both need and deserve a break from all of this, and I think it would do Griffin some good to get his mind off his mouth.

On a completely unrelated note, stay tuned for a recipe for Boston Creme Pie cupcakes. Yes, cupcakes. I'm starting to think we could achieve world peace, if we all just ate more cupcakes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Favorites (and a bunch of other stuff)

Yesterday, I had big plans of posting about our St. Patrick's Day festivities, but someone made off with the cord to my camera (ahem...I think you know who I am referring to), so I was unable to download pictures. Last night, while drawing the curtains for the evening, I found it under one of the recliners, so, crisis averted.

On to the St. Patrick's Day fun - - Camden informed me on Monday that he wanted to wear a crazy hat to school on Tuesday, so we made this, courtesy of Family Fun.com:

If you have little ones, then you are most likely well aware of the wonders of craft foam. We keep a large supply of it on hand here, because you never know what you might need to create. I have to say, I was a little daunted by the instructions for this hat, but in the end, it wasn't hard at all, Camden loved it, and I've filed it away for future use. His hat was a big hit at school. If you've never been to the Family Fun website, check it out - - so many great crafts, recipes, and general ideas for fun with children.

On Tuesday, I spent a good part of the afternoon preparing a St. Patty's Day feast for my boys. I don't know why I don't prepare a corned beef brisket more often...it is so easy, and the smell of it simmering on the stove top reminds me of home and the "New England boiled dinners" that my mother use to make. I saw this recipe on Allrecipes.com, and it did not disappoint. I used my slow cooker instead of the stove top, and in the last 30 minutes of cooking, I added cabbage, red potatoes, and carrots. I also made some Irish Soda Bread, using this recipe. It was a little sweeter than any other soda bread recipe I've tried in the past, but I really loved the texture and flavor of this loaf. It tasted great the next morning, toasted and spread with some honey butter.
Irish Soda Bread

For dessert, I wanted to make some mint brownies - - I swear I've posted the recipe for them here before, but I cannot for the life of me find the post. Anyway, it is a Paula Deen recipe, and is basically a layer of brownie, a layer of buttery mint filling, and topped with chocolate. I was a little short on time, so I just used a pouch of Betty Crocker brownie mix, but I baked it in an 8" spring form pan, so that I could make a little torte. It turned out great, and was a nice compromise to making it all from scratch.

Chocolate Mint Brownie Torte

This week also found Riley a bit under the weather. I have to admit, I was pretty upset on Tuesday evening - - he was having a very hard time moving, he kept crying out in pain, and his general behavior was very out of character for him. I spent some time thinking about the fact that I often forget that he is pretty old (twelve!) - - and that I take for granted that he won't always be around. He's been a part of my life for such a long time that I really cannot imagine a day without him around. We paid a visit to our wonderful vet on Wednesday, and he is pretty certain that Riley has significant arthritis in his front right shoulder and elbow, as well as a bad ear infection. So, he's taking antibiotics for his ear, and that should clear right up. He also gave me some medication for his arthritis, and within 24 hours, he was like a new dog. It is amazing to me that a small, completely inexpensive pain pill made such a difference for him. The vet told me that it was time to start treating Riley like the old man that he is. On Tuesday, when Riley was feeling really awful, I happened upon Camden, reading books to him - - I'm so glad I caught a picture of it. Camden loves his pup.

As for today, we've had a little change in plans, because at 5:30 this morning, my boy awoke with a fever of 104 degrees. So I am in full-on nurse mode today, for the umpteenth time over the past few weeks. I suspect we'll be paying a visit to the doctor later today. Here's hoping Griffin can escape the fever part - - he's already coughing and wheezing though, so I'm not too optimistic, unfortunately!

Fever Boy

I tried a great recipe for Baked Tilapia With Lots of Spice earlier this week. It was really delicious, and super easy to prepare. I think the next time I make it, we will use it in fish tacos. I'm trying to make sure we have one meal centered around fish each week, so I'm constantly in search of great fish recipes.

I love this doll at A Foothill Home Companion, and wish I could get over my sewing machine intimidation.

I think I am going to take on this challenge next week. Anyone else?

I love this post about decorating a mantle (and using spray paint!) at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Happy Weekend!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Favorites

I'm guessing you are probably as sick of hearing about sickness in our house, as I am of being sick and/or having sick children, but, alas, I am down for the count with some crazy head cold/malady/flu. It has gotten to the point where it would be almost comical, if I didn't feel so lousy. Anyway, I've been banished to my bed for the day, so I figured I would do some blogging, pay some bills, and indulge in some reading.

One of my most favorite things about reading blogs is, being directed to another blog through a link. It can get overwhelming at times though, because there is so much great stuff out there to read. I love links though, and so I though I would start posting some on Fridays -- just a small collection of neat things I've seen and read over the week. Enjoy!

  • I love a good can of spray paint, so I just love this post about making an item your own - - it is amazing what a little paint can do!
  • Today, I'll be spending some time reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, for Simple Mom's Sound Mind, Sound Mom book club.
  • I often fantasize about doing furniture makeovers like this one. I'm guessing I ought to tackle the mound of unfinished "projects" I already have going, before I bite of anything else. It is still fun to read about, though!
  • I'm so happy that my dear friend Joy turned me on to this website - - I've just placed my first order, and am excited about how much easier and economical it will be for me to purchase the organic foods we want. Thanks, Joy!
  • I really enjoyed this post, at Chocolate on My Cranium.
  • I cannot wait to attempt this cake. Have you been to Bakerella's blog? It is a must-read.
  • This post at Soulemama got me thinking about my mother's blue tin, full of old buttons (do you still have that, Mum?). I use to love to dig through it when I was little.

And now, I must get back to my convalescing. I just tried to get Steve to come in and visit with me, but he declined, as his dish water was getting cold, he had to make some bread, and get Camden ready for school. Ahhh, the busy life of a homemaker!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cookies Galore

I'm pretty sure that you know by now, I love to bake. It's a good thing, because I am surrounded by boys. The Big Boy needs his sugar. If there isn't some sort of treat in the house, he starts to get twitchy. Then, there are the Little Boys. They are most certainly their father's sons, and they like their treats, too. This is my standard cookie recipe, which Steve claims I put an addictive chemical in, causing him to eat cookie after cookie, until he tells me I shouldn't make cookies anymore. The other day, the new issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food arrived in my mailbox, and, as always, it did not disappoint. Have you ever had the pleasure of thumbing through an issue of this magazine? If not, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a copy this weekend. It is full of helpful hints, beautiful pictures, and recipes that anyone can prepare. I think my favorite thing about it is that the recipes don't require special ingredients that I don't typically have on hand. I made the Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies (on page 105) a couple of days ago, and they came out really well - - nice and soft, and the boys love them. Last weekend, I made the Chocolate 'n Cream Sandwich Cookies (page 103), which are basically homemade Oreos. Camden especially loved these, and I had fun making them. So, I think we'll add both of these recipes to the "regular" rotation, to keep things interesting. I forgot to take a picture of the Oreos, but did manage to catch the boys eating some.

Did you see Oprah yesterday? I rarely miss it, because I watch it while I'm preparing dinner. I was especially excited to watch yesterday, because Curtis Stone was one of the guest chefs on a show about cooking on a budget. I just love Curtis Stone - - I'm pretty sure it is a combo of the whole man-cooking-thing, the Australian accent, and...he isn't exactly hard to look at. Anyway, I can't wait to make this pizza tomorrow night -- it sounds delicious.

I also wanted to show you one of my favorite things in my kitchen - - my cookie jar.

I found this at Anthropologie a few months ago...I think the original price was something completely crazy, like $79.99 (no joke), but I got it for $7.00 on the clearance rack. The great thing about Anthropologie is that while their regular prices are way out of my league, they have the absolute best sales, so it is fun to go there every once in a while to see what they've marked down.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Feeling Thankful

This morning, I am off to Boise to attend the annual Read to Me meeting, hosted by the Idaho Commission for Libraries. It is a two-day meeting, so I'll be there tomorrow, too. Among adults!! I'll have the chance to hob-nob with librarians from across the state, learn about early literacy outreach programs, grant availability, listen to some great guest speakers, and hopefully gather up a bunch of new ideas that I can bring back to my library. My husband has taken these next two days off so that I can do this, and I am so grateful to him for that (thanks, honey!). Although my position at the library is small, I'm hoping one day that it will turn into something more, and I'm glad Steve is helping me achieve that. While I am on the subject of Steve, let me just tell you that he was so helpful this past week. Camden was so very sick, I was sick...we were a mess, basically. Steve was in the middle of a training exercise and was working crazy, crazy hours, but found a way to come home not once, but twice, to help care for us. While this past week was not fun at all, I am glad to have times like this to remind me how lucky I am to have such a great husband. The fact of the matter is, Steve wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary these past few days - - he is a great husband and father all of the time. I am a lucky girl.

The household appears to be illness-free at the moment. We've had a day when the high temperature reached 67 degrees. Green grass is poking up on the lawn. Getting lots of rain. The tulips are coming up in the back yard. I dare say, spring is on the way. I'm sure we'll have a few more cold snaps here and there, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I believe. We are ready for spring!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Desensitized (Sort of. Okay, not really)

Remember when I told you about my completely irrational fear of vomit? Well, I dare say, if anything good has come out of the past three days, it would be that I am slightly desensitized now. One thing I dislike almost as much as vomit, is reading about it on other people's blogs. It makes my stomach churn, and then I feel like I need to run away from the keyboard and go wash my hands. However, here I am, writing about it on my own blog, so my apologies to you. My poor Camden has been sick since Friday morning. I thought it was all over as of this morning, when he bounced out of bed and proceeded to act like a lunatic all day. Alas, just as we were getting ready for bed tonight, he started barfing again. So, he's in a heap on the sofa until we make sure he is done for the night (please, oh please, let him be done). Then, I will tuck him in and say a little prayer that Griffin and I remain healthy. I cannot wait until Steve gets back Tuesday evening!
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