Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy House-iversary

Snow removal- welcome to home ownership

I just realized that today is the 5Th anniversary of home ownership. I had big plans for this post, but I am out of time today. While my family is out partying Saturday and I'm sitting with my feet up, I will scan some pictures and show you the amazing transformation of our little home.

While we feel a little cramped in this house, we love our friends and neighbors here. When the time comes to leave, it will be hard. We have a wonderful ward and our kids have great school friends and teachers too.

So, yeah for 5 years of not renting! Yeah for equity since we bought a HUD home before the boom and subsequent crash. Yeah for learning a lot about painting, planting, getting to mow our own lawn, feeling somewhat settled, not having a landlord, and so much more...

I might have to spell me street name anytime I give out my address, but we love our little "blue big house."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You nest your way, I'll nest mine.

So, I've beat the topic to a pulp, but this is my blog, I'll write what I want. I'm doing some self-analysis and observation here.

Since we don't know the gender of our unborn child, I have no desire to redecorate the nursery. First I have to figure out where I'm going to put the current resident of the future nursery- and the other kids, for that matter. Cross nursery off the nesting list.

I don't want to shop for too much baby paraphernalia for baby of gender unknown. That just means more work for me when I have to return half of it. I have a few outfits for each, diapers, wipes (finally) and a few other basics. Task complete enough for now.

I already mentioned my panic about hair detangler and toilet paper for the family. I also stocked up on kitchen garbage bags, laundry detergent and paper plates & cups and plastic cutlery. We're good there.

So here's what I decided my "nesting" has come to. Buy new stuff for the rest of the house to replace junk that was bothering me. Most of this happened in one eventful trip at Ikea.

I bought a new timer because I thought it was cute. I got my mother-in-law the same one in May and have been wanting one ever since. I'm starting to think the allure has something to do with its semblance to a can of Diet Coke. My old timer died the next day of a broken heart- I felt totally justified in purchasing this after the untimely death.

I really needed to wash the rug in my upstairs bathroom, so I bought a new one- not white this time. What was I thinking! When Jenna saw the new one she told me it sure spruced up the place- her words, not mine.

My toilet brushes & their holders could have used a good cleaning, so I replaced them. Same thing with the shower caddy.
I also went a little crazy with the cute napkins. Have you ever looked at the fun/cute napkins at Ikea? I felt like we needed special napkins for the upcoming birthday parties and baptism at our house.

I can't remember the other things I bought, but Jenna said it best.
"Wow, Mom. You are replacing a lot of things."
I felt like a new woman!
Yesterday I did have an actual burst of energy that may or may not have been nesting. Part of it stemmed from knowing that my Visiting Teachers were coming and my house was a disaster area. I didn't want to be reported to the RS pres as one in desperate need of an intervention (I'm not there yet) so I kicked it into medium gear. High gear hasn't been used for months. I even made a list of my accomplishments. I usually make to-do lists, but lately I feel like a failure when there is still more 'to-do' left than 'done' at the end of the day. I post my list for my own reminder that I accomplished a few things yesterday.
-Did my visiting teaching
-Ironed Tim's shirts and put away ironing board & iron- doesn't always happen on the same day
-Made Aub cut-off shorts, which had been waiting to happen for at least 3 weeks
-Cleaned front room
-Put away sewing mess, err, equipment
-Swept kitchen
-Vacuumed front room, hall, bathroom (too lazy to get the broom)
-Fed children lunch at a reasonable lunch time
-Loaded dishwasher
-Started laundry
-Three trips to the school to drop of and/or pick up carpools- all on time/early
-Made a super cute diaper cake for a baby shower
-Was clever enough to use disposable dishes to serve our gourmet dinner from Little Caesar's
-Had Family Home Evening
-Planned & typed the program for Jenna's baptism
-Made three loaves of banana bread, also for the shower
-Finished a book
-Fell asleep before 11:30 last night
That was by far my most productive day in a long time. Sad but true.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You can take the boy out of Sanpete, but you can't take Sanpete out of the boy.

You may or may not know that my husband is from a small town in Central Utah: Moroni, Sanpete County. A Sanpeter, as some say. His family has a farm where he grew up working with turkeys, cows, sheep and loving every minute of it (or most minutes of it). He would love to go back and we would move there if there was employment to be had. Perhaps Urban Planning wasn't quite the right degree...anyway...

Tim's amazing farmer skills have paid off in many ways. One very noticeable improvement to our world is the abundance of vegetation in my yard. For those who are familiar with my yard now, it was very different when we moved here. There was a tree in the front yard (paper-bark birch) and the quakies in the parking strip. Other than that, there was nothing but crappy grass. Tim has worked hard to cultivate our little garden of Eden. We have very poor soil (almost no soil), so the grass is still crappy, but our gardens are another story. At last count we have 18 trees, a row of rose bushes, 5 lilac bushes, currant bushes, a strawberry patch, irises, day lilies, various flowers in the front yard and vegetables everywhere. Another day I will share some pics of when we moved in and what we look like now- in 5 short years.

Another manifestation of the 'farmer within' is his desire to raise animals. Tim's dad managed the hatchery for Moroni Feed Company for years- from whence sprang your Norbest turkeys, folks. Tim is now on his second incubator & attempt at poultry hatching in our suburban house. The first was a tiny one where he hatched a baby quail. It was set free in our yard as a baby and I'm sure it lives on somewhere. (Possibly in the form of a neighborhood cat.)

That was a few years ago. Now Tim has a larger incubator (in addition to the wifey) and recently hatched pheasant eggs with the plans to release the birds at the farm for future hunting. We had 9 eggs hatch. Over the course of a few days we lost all but one. I blame the inexperienced attendant (me) who had no idea how to help the little things during their first hours. I found one stuck in duct tape on the side of the pen, one stuck under newspaper so it couldn't find the food, and on and on. Tim has been instructed that if he does this again, he has to take a few days of maternity leave when the eggs hatch. I felt terrible that they died off steadily. Maybe it couldn't have been helped, but who knows.

So, now we have one baby pheasant who is going strong and living in its spacious coop in the garage until it is big enough to take to the farm (shortly!!). When we come home and get out of the van, we are greeted with little peep-peep-peeps. We all listen for it and like it. Not so overwhelming as the thousand of baby turkeys all at once in the brooder coops at the farm.

Side note- those of my readers who know me as that "city girl" they grew up with, you can't imagine the things I have done with animals in the last few years. Those of you who are "country-folk" know that your experiences still far outweigh mine!

Anyway, back to the story. Yesterday, we came home from the grocery store and closed the garage. We listened for the peeping and heard it. As we were unloading groceries, I noticed the sound seemed louder than usual. As I went around the corner, Baby Pheasant had followed us into the house. Remember how I said it was in its coop? Apparently it has learned to fly or at least jump high enough to escape somehow.

We have been teaching the girls about idioms lately. For us "flew the coop" is no longer a figure of speech- it's reality.

We tried to catch it before it got back to the garage, but it was closer than I to the door. It hid in a corner of the garage for a while. I was worried that if we didn't catch it I might run over it next time I pulled out of the garage. We went back in the house and left the door open, hoping it would come in where we could get to it more easily. Remember, I am hugely pregnant and can't easily crawl around behind lumber and tables and other stuff stored in the garage.

A few minutes later, Baby P followed us back into the house and I let it come in far enough that I could close the door without smashing it. This time it was hiding behind the tv stand in the toy room. Aubrey worked to shoo it toward me and we tried all sorts of tricks to lure it into the safety of a little box. Not even Aubrey's bait of Cap'n Crunch was enough to get it into the box. On my hands and knees, squished between the wall and tv stand, I decided I just had to bite the bullet and grab the little peeper before it was hopelessly lost in my house.

A chase ensued. I caught Baby P in my hand- please, hold your applause. I was almost back to the garage and loosened my grip a bit and it got away. Again, I cornered and caught it, not loosening my grip this time, and carried it back to the coop. It wasn't pretty, but I got it.

I had to climb up on a stool to put Baby back to bed and then work to alter the coop so there weren't any spots through which to escape. It was a very eventful morning. The whole episode took about an hour. I kept calling Tim to give him updates and ask his advice. He was trying his hardest not to laugh- not that he could do anything else about the situation while he was comfortably at his desk. I just kept telling him over and over (and probably louder and louder) I'M NOT A FARMER! I'M NOT A FARMER!

Yesterday was the summer solstice. It really was the longest day of the year in so many ways. Maybe tomorrow I'll blog about the rest of yesterday's adventures.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Helpful hint for stealth and subterfuge

Here's a hint for Lydia- who apparently doesn't know everything as we once believed.

* If you are trying to hide something from your mother- perhaps a pine cone she asked you to leave at the park, for example- holding it behind your back does seem like a clever plan. However, if your mother is walking directly behind you, your plan backfires.

Trying to cram it into your two-inch shirt pocket was also an admirable attempt. Playing innocent when confronted about it didn't work this time. Nice try, though.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Mystery of the Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

Our ward just published a 20Th anniversary cookbook filled with all sorts of yumminess from amazing cooks. There are also recipes from me- and recipes with my name on them that I have never seen/prepared/sampled. There in lies the mystery.

The first time I was browsing my new cookbook, I noticed a chicken recipe that was attributed to me, but I had not submitted. The more I looked, the more recipes I found that had my name but were not mine (at least 10). I apologize to whomever might have submitted them. I also want to warn you ahead of time that I had nothing to do with some of those recipes with my name on them. If you prepare them and don't like them, please don't send hate mail or toilet paper my house.

I can only imagine how this happened. I was not trying to poach any one's recipes or steal the spotlight. I am thinking that somewhere along the line, recipes that had been turned in to me by other people somehow were attributed to me. I was in the Relief Society presidency when the project started and we collected many of the recipes at Enrichment nights, which I was in charge of. That's the only explanation I have.

*By the way, props to the people who finished this enormous job in time for the 20 year reunion!

If you want to know if it is a verified "Corrine" recipe, I will give you a few things to watch for.

- If it involves chicken and a crockpot, it probably isn't mine. The only exception is the 'Italian Crockpot chicken' recipe. I take no credit for the others. I'm more of a beef girl.
-If it is for a dessert, yes, I have tried them all and have them down to a science.
-If it is at all fancy, it's not mine. (IE bacon-wrapped asparagus)
-If it has another person's name in the title of the recipe (IE Janika's Peanut Butter bars) that is also one I submitted. Most of my trusted recipes I get from people who are far better cooks than I.
One interesting exception to this is found on the very first page of recipes. There is a recipe called "Ann Purdie's salsa." I know Ann Purdie. I have no memory of sampling, requesting, possessing or submitting this recipe. I have no idea how it got there with my name (or hers) on it. I am partially brain dead, so I might have submitted it.

Again, I apologize if there is someone looking through the book and finding all of the recipes with some impostor chef's name on them. There are loads of great recipes from real domestic goddesses, so I recommend starting with those. Happy cooking!

Friday, June 11, 2010

What's in a name?

As we come closer to D day, I have been contemplating our name choices for this baby. Lydia is still adamant that the baby is a girl. The rest of us aren't so sure. Every time I have dreamt about this baby, it has been a boy. Some of those dreams didn't end happily, so I'm trying not to put too much stock in them.

How do you pick names for your children? How did you get YOUR name? I am named after someone that my mom knew and admired in high school. My name is frequently misspelled and/or mispronounced. Those are my starting points: a name with some significance, and a name that substitute teachers don't demolish the first time they see it on a class list.

I also have the baggage of knowing too much about name origins or meanings in other languages. I used to like the name 'Brady' until I took medical terminology and learned that is means "slow." I like the name 'Cameron' but after learning Spanish where 'camaron' means 'shrimp' and being short, I had to cross that off my list.

We plan to continue the use of family names with this child as we have with our girls. They are all named (first, middle, or both) after family members- some more recently alive than others. Both of my grandfathers and their fathers were named 'Frank Henry ___.' While I would like to honor their memories, Frank just doesn't sound like a baby to me. (Ironically, two of those men were born in Canada, one in England, one in Salt Lake. Who knew it was such a popular name combination.) My grandmothers were Edith and Elsie, not my first choices either. Love you, grandmas! With names like Serilda & Dahlia on Tim's side, we're running low on choices there too.

Another obstacle we have is that Tim is from a small town. What's that go to do with anything? In a place where you know every one your age in half the county, you come to know too much about those same people. Any boy name we have ever discussed has been shot down because "So and so was like this" or "So and so did that." I'm convinced we have three daughters because we could never agree on a boy name. Our son Lydia would have been traumatized for life!

So, pending the arrival of baby 4, we are again pondering names. I thought I had decided on a few that I liked, but now I'm wavering in my commitment to them. When Lydia was born, she didn't have a name for three or four days. Luckily, I was in the hospital for a week, so there was plenty of time to think about it. Tim left the first name up to me, since we already agreed on her middle name. Looking back, I don't know that a person on narcotics and recovering from serious blood loss should be allowed to make such a life-altering choice for a helpless child. I might have named her after Nurse Brunhilda. Ever time Tim or my mom called to check on us, the baby had a different name. She was Lucy, Madison, Annie, and some others I don't recall. Eventually, I had narrowed it down to two names. When the photographer came to take her picture and told me she needed to write the name down, I told her my options and SHE made the final decision for me. Luckily, it turned out OK.

I now know why people are starting to sell naming rights like their kids are a sports arena. Names are a big responsibility and kids are expensive. Maybe I could cut a deal with Diet Coke...

Perhaps it's time for a contest. What would you name this child? Boy & girl options, please. (Despite what critics say, we honestly don't know the gender of this child.) Maybe the winner could get a cool prize, like a week with my other kids.

Let's hear your suggestions and maybe I'll even create a fancy schmancy poll for the sidebar one of these days.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A good omen for good brownies

I was looking through my pictures and found this one from back in April and thought I'd share.

I was making brownies (I think we were taking them to Gma & Gpa's one Sunday) with the girls. I poured in the oil first and then when I poured in the water, it made a smiley face. can you see it? I have no idea how to edit pictures on my laptop, so that's the best I can show you, but it was a good sign that yummy times were ahead. We tried to crack the egg where a nose should be, but it didn't work. This was enough to give us a smile for a while!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just like Laura & Mary

When we had our first corn on the cob of the season, my helpers were very exited to shuck the corn. I sent them to the porch with a bag & a pot and they had a great time.

They like to watch Little House on the Prairie on KBYU and have listened to all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books multiple times, so they told me that they were just like Laura and Mary shucking corn. If that makes them more willing & excited to help with dinner, I'll take it!

This is also what led to Lydia asking a few days later if she could help me shuck cucumbers. They picked the darnedest times to listen...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Look who's nesting, too.

So, I feel like I have accomplished a few things today: bought and am washing fabric to make a baby blanket, advanced the laundry, cleaned out a closet, washed my front door & put up a summer door hanger instead of the spring one. I think I'm just going to sit by an air vent for the rest of the day.

But wait, there's more!

What's that baby bird sound? That would be eight newly-hatched pheasant chicks in the incubator in my garage. Tim is nesting too! There are about 12 more eggs that may or may not produce, but we'll have a small bird refuge here for a time. Don't worry, they will live at the farm rather than my house. Turns out there IS a mama bird at my house. It's just not me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Food fetish

Lydia is her own little person with definite ideas of how the world should be. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in her food issues, I mean choices.

Coming from a broccoli hater, her love of broccoli and cauliflower boggles my mind. She LOVES vegetables, especially cauliflower & green beans. She could eat an entire can of green bean by herself. She likes corn, cheese, black beans, strawberries, tortillas, etc. She went through a 'no meat' phase, but that seems to be relaxing a bit. Her other great love is "shock-late." She is forever asking if we can make brownies.

Now here's where it gets strange. She doesn't like any of these foods mixed together. We can barely sneak in a broccoli/cauliflower mix. Even her love of chocolate isn't strong enough to cross this line. She will eat the center of an Oreo, but won't even nibble on the cookie. If you handed her a plain chocolate cookie it be would be gone!

We had tacos for dinner Tuesday night and she ate most of the toppings- each separated in a section of her sectioned plate. No combining needed. Tim offered to melt to melt her cheese on her tortilla. She gave him that 'why-would-you-do-a-strange-thing-like-that' look.

Yesterday I combined some of the toppings (meat, black beans, corn, cheese & tomatoes) in a bowl for my lunch. She came over to inspect my food. When she looked in my bowl, she was thoroughly disgusted, almost to the point of puking.

"Oh Mom. We don't mix our food like that," she reprimanded. Then she ran away to recover from her dry-heaves.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nesting- kinda/sorta

So my due date is officially two months from today- August 2nd. Barring a repeat of toxemia, I can hold this baby even longer. We have a bunch of August birthdays in the first two weeks, so I need to pick a day that will belong only to this child. Anyway...

I feel like I should be nesting, but I am still somewhat in denial that I will bring another family member into our spacious home, so I haven't done much (anything) about getting the house ready for the baby. I'm not even sure where we will put the child in the long run. I know he/she will spend a few weeks in the bassinet, so we'll worry about that later. This house was our two-year plan. We will hit five years at the end of the month. Another story for another time...

My version of nesting seems to be more like a mother squirrel hoarding nuts rather than a mother bird feathering her nest for the newest chick. I have been obsessing about weird things- Do we have enough toilet paper in the house to get us through the summer? Do we have enough hair detangler to get us through the summer? After those two necessities, we can get by with whatever else is on hand. I've also been frantically teaching Tim to braid and do other hair-do's that work on each child. He watches and goes "Uhh, ok." He doesn't share my sense of urgency on that one.

I am also pondering preparing a note book of maps and schedules since all three girls will start preschool/school within 1-2 weeks of the baby's birth. We were caught off guard with Lydia's early arrival last time and I hate dumping my life on my helpers without some preparation. Yes, I do worry about strange things, why do you ask?

Since we thought we were done having children after Lydia's birth 3 years ago, we got rid of most things baby. Luckily my sister was using our crib for her baby, so it survived the purge. A kind neighbor lent us a baby car seat. I have a few crib sheets that made the cut since they were on the toddler bed. That's about it. In an effort to be a less-than awful mother, I have been buying a few random things to have on hand for the baby. Today my big purchase was a bottle of baby powder. I know, monumental. Did I mention I'm in denial that the child will come home with us? I feel like my job is to give the baby a physical body, and I'm not convinced what will happen from there. That's a whole other story that I probably won't ever tell...

I did clean the top of the stove quite thoroughly this morning and we deep-cleaned Jenna & Aubrey's room on Saturday. I hope that counts for something. That's nesting, right? Maybe not. I guess that's just housekeeping, but we'll take what we can get!

I have also been neglecting my blog. As you might have noticed (if anyone is still reading this), my thoughts are quite scattered and rambling is a big problem these days. Poor Tim gets sporadic phone calls throughout the day about things that have little relevance to my life and ZERO relevance to his. What a sweet, patient man! What a blessing he is in my life!

Anyway, if you come to my house, please look past the piles of coloring books and crayons. Step around the library books that were dumped out of the bag (hey- points for taking them to the library at all) brush the crumbs off the chair and have a seat. Enjoy a Diet Coke with me and I'm sure I've got some chocolate hiding in a cupboard that the kids can't reach. There's plenty of time for housework and nesting next week.

Maybe I'm not a mother bird or squirrel; maybe I'm the grasshopper thinking that winter will never come...


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