Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Pleasures

We had a super fun weekend. I pretty much played the whole time and now I am left with a bunch of errands, laundry and cleaning to do through the week. Here's what we did:

What a Woman Wants Expo. My friend Celeste, who makes the cutest bows, had a booth at the expo and gave me, my friend Erin, my sister London and our friend Susan free tickets. We had a good time looking about and shopping a little. We also enjoyed some girly primping; London and Susan had some hair extensions put in (London had blue and Susan had red) and I had my eyebrows waxed.

Sleep. Palmer has been sleeping longer at night since we introduced rice cereal into his diet. Saturday morning he woke up at 8:00, which was already much later than normal and even went back to sleep after nursing. I went back to bed as well and we didn't get up until 11:00! I can't remember the last time I was able to really sleep in. Greg and I both really needed it. It felt wonderful!

Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. On a whim we decided to go to the circus Saturday night. We bought the tickets just a few hours before the show and they were only $10 a piece! We were a bit nervous to bring Palmer since he has been a bit fussy lately, but he did great. He really enjoyed watching the show! He took a half hour nap half way through then woke up and watched the rest of it. We really are so blessed to have such a sweet baby. Greg and I really enjoyed the show as well. It'd been years since either of us had seen the circus. We especially loved the elephants and the motorcyclists in the sphere. It was great fun!

Guy's Night. Since Greg isn't home very often our family time is pretty precious. But, I have been having some nice girly escapes at the expos and it had been a while since Greg hung out with the boys, so Saturday night I watched Palmer and put him to bed while Greg went to a friend's house. They, and a couple other guys, played the Wii. He had a really good time.

Church. I really enjoyed church this Sunday. We have missed a few weeks due to illness and vacationing. And with a stake conference thrown in there, I realized I hadn't taken the sacrament for about a month! I needed the spiritual uplift (and blessings) that come from going to church meetings. I received a lot from the lessons and have decided that I need to be more positive and more thankful. I've kind of been on a pity party as of late, and I really have no good reason to be so down. We are so blessed, and my complaining just makes the trials in our lives that much more difficult. I am going to try to focus more on serving others and less on myself. What would I do without the gospel in my life?

Davis's First Birthday. My nephew Davis turned one this week and we celebrated his birthday on Sunday. It was a devil/angel themed party, since he has his naughty and nice moments. As is tradition, he was given his very own little cake to devour and made a good mess.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Recipe - Cookies from a Cake Mix

I've had a recipe request. This is my go to cookie recipe because it is super fast, always dependable and applies to a variety of cookies. It is one of my mom's recipes. The first mother's day after my mom passed away, I made copies of all her recipes for my sisters and myself. I'll be passing down her recipes to my own children. They may not always be my most impressive recipes, but they are my most precious.

Cookies from a Cake Mix

1 pkg. cake mix
½ c. flour
½ c. oil
¼ c. water
1 egg
1 c. chocolate chips or other add-in

Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into balls on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

My favorite combinations of this recipe are: funchip cake mix with chocolate chips, devils food cake mix with peanut butter chips, devils food cake mix with chocolate chips, chocolate cake mix with mint frosting, cherry chip cake mix with chopped maraschino cherries, pecans and chocolate chips and carrot cake mix with raisins and cream cheese frosting.

By the way, this is my 100th post. I've never before been able to keep a regular journal (which is the purpose of this blog). Go me!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Four Month Pictures

I took Palmer to JC Penney this month because Kiddie Kandids is so expensive. I was really impressed! They were very friendly, extremely fast (Palmer didn't even have a chance to get fussy) and the pictures turned out great. I also paid about a third of the price. I will definitely be returning. Isn't he the cutest?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Palmer is teething and it is throwing us totally off schedule! He is on ibuprofen pretty much nonstop and he still has a few absolute meltdowns each day. He is not napping well. Last night he even woke up in the middle of the night, and I had to nurse him back to sleep, which hasn't happened in a couple months. I'm exhausted and I know he is exhausted. Yesterday I was struggling to put him down for his afternoon nap. He was screaming and fighting me. To give him a break from being cradled and rocked I laid him across my legs and let him dangle upside down a bit, figuring I'd soon try again to get him ready to sleep when he settled down. Crazily enough, he instantly fell asleep! Sariah was there and took these pictures as proof. Please forgive my disheveled appearance. It had been a long day and I had just finished the day care on top of it.
I'm not sure if hanging upside down somehow relieved some of the pressure in his ears from teething or if he was just utterly exhausted, but for some strange reason this worked.

I need to revisit Baby Wise. I'm not sure if I should adjust his schedule so he is napping and sleeping better or if this teething is just something we have to struggle through. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Scrapbook USA Expo

London and I went to the Scrapbook USA Expo Saturday. It is a tradition for us to go each year; we used to always go with our mom and we have some fun crazy memories from years past. This year it was just London and myself, but we still had a blast. We found a lot of great bargains, awesome crafting inspiration, ate a scrumptious lunch at Mimi's Cafe and in classic Mom-style, spent way too much money and shopped 'til we dropped! What happens at the Expo, stays at the Expo, right sis'?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Skinny Boy

Palmer's four month check up was today. He is 27 1/2 in. long - 95th percentile and weighs 14 lbs. 6 oz. - only the 17th percentile. He is one long skinny boy! (The doctor said not to worry about the difference in the numbers; it's just his bone structure.) He definitely takes after his daddy who is 6'4". It seems I will always be the short chubby one in the Hess family, which don't get me wrong, I wouldn't wish on any of my children. Greg has told me that he was teased in school because he was so skinny, but I can't help think that I would rather deal with being too skinny than overweight. Just my own little hypothesis there. So here's to skinny gangly boys everywhere! Lookin' good!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Palmer is a good baby and has been sleeping through the night for quite a while. For some unknown reason though, I can no longer sleep through the night. I wake every few hours and take about an hour to go back to sleep, if I can at all. Through the day I am exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open, but when my head hits the pillow at night I am wide awake.

A couple nights ago I was up pretty much all night. There was this constant clicking noise on the baby monitor and I could not, for the life of me, figure out where the noise was coming from. The few times I was able to tune it out and started to doze off, Palmer would cry. Each time I went in his room to check on him he had already gone back to sleep. Finally, at about 4:30 in the morning he cried good and hard. I went into the room to see him fast asleep, which was especially strange because I could still hear the crying on the monitor. That is when I realized that the children I tend had changed the channel on the baby monitor unit (they like to use it as a walkie talkie) and my receiver was picking up some other baby's cry. Sleep is very, very precious to me. I am willing to lose it for my own child, but I was pretty annoyed to lose a night of sleep over some random baby I don't know!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cunning Children

If there is one thing I have learned from doing day care it is that kids are dang smart. Seriously, I am amazed at just how cunning they can be. Whether it be to gain something they want, to get out of a punishment, or to inform you that they aren't fooled when you propose a game of "hide and go seek" to actually sneak off to the backroom and try to get some laundry folded. Here are a few cases and points:

  1. A little boy I watch made himself throw-up on my carpet to get back at me for putting him in time out.
  2. One day after getting especially dirty outside, I put the kids in the tub while I rocked Palmer to sleep. I was amazed that they were actually being quiet like I asked them. I went in the bathroom ready to commend them and saw that they had made toilet paper wads with the bathwater which were now smeared all over the tub and my bathroom wall.
  3. When I made the rule that they weren't allowed to have any food or drink outside of the kitchen they brought snacks and sippy cups from home packed away in a backpack. They waited until I left the room and quickly scarfed them down, leaving hot cocoa and crumbs all over the couch. They have also hid leftover snack food in their pockets, which upon discovery, claimed they were saving it for their dad.
  4. I sent them downstairs because they were stomping around upstairs. I told them they could play upstairs again once the baby was awake. Surprisingly, they agreed right away and went downstairs without complaint. Two minutes later I hear them on the baby monitor waking Palmer up.
  5. When I cut off the juice flow for one of the children (after 4 cups) she told her younger brother to ask for more juice and then she drank it.
  6. I told the kids to stop using their fingers to pick their noses because it was gross and it was making their noses bleed. Later that day a little boy came up to me, his nose gushing blood. I said, "I told you not to pick your nose," and he replied, "I didn't, I stuck this toy up it!"
  7. When playing at the park one of the children cut herself on a rock. On the way home she told me she was going to tell her mom that I took them to the park that day, where she found a knife that cut her.
  8. I told them that when I am feeding Palmer they need to play by themselves and only to come to me if they need something. He is difficult to nurse and is easily distracted. Every feeding they come to me and stare at me until and I ask them what they need. They say, "Ummm..." for a few minutes until they can think of something that gets them attention such as: a snack, a drink, a tissue, a movie change, the paper torn off a crayon or help washing their hands.
  9. They always ask for more food than I originally give them. I tell them they can have more once they finish what is on their plate because we don't want to waste food. They finish what I served, ask for more, which I give them and then they eat one bite of it and say they are done.
  10. My final example comes from none other than our own four month old. He is already working the system. Last night Greg was rocking Palmer to sleep. Each time Greg looked at Palmer he quickly shut his eyes. When Greg looked away he opened them. This continued five or six times until he eventually was too tired to open them again. Ha! A small victory for us adults, but a victory nonetheless.

When I think back to my youth I often reflect on how stupid I was. Where did this generation of child geniuses come from?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Not So Wise Guy, Eating Mush, Dinofours and Otherwise

What a full and busy weekend! We definitely partied it up at the Hess home. I'm starting the new week tired and not so rested, but it was worth the fun.

Friday night Greg and I went on a date. It had been a while since we had gone out and I was really needing some adult time. There weren't any movies playing that we really wanted to see, so we went to the comedy club Wiseguys. The main comedian was not funny at all. In fact, it was awkward even watching him. Greg was courtesy laughing and I was just staring at him with was I'm pretty sure was a look of absolute repulsion. The warm up comedians were funny though and it was still nice to get out of the house and spend time with Greg.

Eating Mush. Saturday we gave Palmer his first taste of rice cereal. He did pretty well with it. Greg feed him and I took pictures. It took quite a while to get a very small amount of food down, but he seemed to enjoy it. I'm wondering how I am going to fit spoon feeding him into my daily routine with the day care children. I will have to nurse him, cook for them, feed them, feed him, eat, and then clean up. Yikes! By the time I am done it'll be snack time and I'll have to do it all over again.

Dinofours. My four year old nephew, Trevor, was supposed to have his birthday party at the Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum last weekend but he had the stomach flu. Poor kid. He was so looking forward to seeing what he calls the "dinofours." My sister tried to schedule the party again the next weekend, but the museum was booked so she held the party at the Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park. It is a neat place, great for kids. We had a good time and Trevor was darling. We will have to go back soon when we have more time to really check it out.

Otherwise. We had friends over Saturday night and played the game Wise and Otherwise. It was great fun. We are big board game players and this one has our mark of approval. It's like Balderdash, but instead of writing definitions you write the ends to old sayings from around the world. We had some good laughs, and received some insightful pearls of knowledge such as this old Zambian saying: buttocks rubbing together... do not lack sweat. No, I did not make that up.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Recipe - Spinach Ham Pasta Bake

I tried a new recipe I took off a friend's blog and adapted it a bit to our tastes. It was really good! This will be the last cheesy pasta meal I'll be making for a while because my family is starting a biggest loser challenge, and I don't think this dinner would fit into our health and wellness plan too well. It was a good send off though. Delicious!

Spinach Ham Pasta Bake

12 oz. - 16 oz. pasta tri-colored rotini
1/2 of an onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced (I leave this out because I am allergic, but I would imagine it would taste good in it)
2 Tb. butter
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
8 oz. low fat cream cheese
1/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
8 oz. cubed ham
10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 c. of mozzarella cheese, shredded

Boil the pasta; drain. Preheat broiler. While pasta is cooking, defrost spinach & squeeze out excess liquid using your hands or a dishtowel. Melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes or until tender. Dust with flour and continue cooking for an additional minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring milk to a bubble and allow mixture to thicken a little bit. Then stir in the cream cheese, about half at a time. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and then add cayenne pepper. Stir in ham and spinach and remove from heat. Combine the pasta with the sauce, making sure all of the pasta is coated. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and cover with bread crumbs and mozzarella. Broil until the cheese is melted and the top is a crispy golden brown.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Blog Buddies

I love blogs! I love writing them, reading them, and stalking them. Seriously, I know it's not okay how much time I spend with them, but it is a great social outlet when you are stuck at home with kids all day.

I had a good laugh as I checked my friends' blogs, the three I just had a play date at the park with, to see that after hanging out we all went home and blogged. We sure are a technologically driven society. I make fun of my husband for playing the Wii over Wi-Fi instead of just going to his friend's house just down the street, yet I guess I do the same thing in a slightly less nerdy manner.

I wonder if it is wrong that I already know of a friend's friend before she is even mentioned, let alone, her spouse's name, her children's names and where they vacationed last month, because I hopped from my friend's blog to this so-called stranger's blog. I will admit it; I am a blog stalker. I can say this here, among friends (or possibly my own stalkers?), but I would never admit my addiction by commenting on their site, no matter how much I want to know where they received their stylish new haircut.

I, however, do know that I am not alone. I was able to meet up with an old friend, (another wonderful benefit from blogging, keeping in touch with those you would otherwise not see) who informed me that her friend loves my recipes. Oddly, this gave me a strange sense of accomplishment; I am cool enough to have a complete stranger be interested in my life, or at least my cooking. That says something, doesn't it? So I have determined that it is official... I am a big deal! I am significant, and all because I blog.

One of a Kind Names

I've always loved having a unique name and I wanted to pass that on to my children as well. Surprisingly, there are more Palmers in the world than Leras. I have met a few Leras, but have never even heard of anyone else named Palmer (which is one of the reasons why we like the name, besides of course, being inspired by the most awesome character on television ever, President David Palmer from 24). It's nice to know that Palmer and I are originals! Greg, sadly, is not.

There is 1 person in the U.S. named Lera Hess.
There are 3,051 people in the U.S. with the first name Lera.
Statistically the 3176th most popular first name.
More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Lera are female.

There is 1 person in the U.S. named Palmer Hess.
There are 6,102 people in the U.S. with the first name Palmer.
Statistically the 2397th most popular first name.
More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Palmer are male.

There are 135 people in the U.S. named Gregory Hess.
There are 674,246 people in the U.S. with the first name Gregory.
Statistically the 70th most popular first name.
99.77 percent of people with the first name Gregory are male.

There are 61,018 people in the U.S. with the last name Hess.
Statistically the 572nd most popular last name.
Famous people with the last name Hess: Jared Hess, Jon Hess
LogoThere is
person with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Are you an original?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Four Months Old

Palmer is getting so big, four months old. He is such a joy to be around! Everywhere we go people comment on what a happy, smiley baby we have. I am so blessed to have such a plesant natured little boy. He is so patient when I am tending other children. Today he waited happily in his crib a half hour after his nap for me to make it in there and get him and another half hour after that to get around to feeding him. Sweet boy. He's had a bit of a rough month with his first illness, but he's handled it well. Here's the skinny on Palmer at four months of age.

He has learned: to roll over, to pick up toys, to grab his toes and to lift his head and upper body out of his carseat (he is always trying to escape)

He likes: sucking his left thumb, being toted around in his baby carrier on daddy's chest, the older kids at day care (he laughs at them often), medicine, his play pen, watching TV (oh no, it's already started!), being tickled, and being held by mommy and daddy

He dislikes: binkies, long drives, the younger kids at day care (they poke and prod him), and nursing under a blanket

Things he does that makes us laugh: sing-songy cooing that goes on and on, big gummy smiles, and hearty laughs

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Bunch of Sickies

After a couple of days of bumming around and sleeping in, I am on the mend from my cold. Greg is still having a hard time getting over it. He was coughing so hard last night that he threw up twice. After he threw up the first time, he came to me with a pouty lip and said, "I spit up!" Funny but so sad. He called in sick today.

Palmer has been a bit fussy the past two days and yesterday afternoon he cried hard for a couple of hours, which is not at all like him. He's also been grabbing the back of his head and pulling at his hair. We finally figured out (with the help of Greg's mom and sister) that he probably had an ear ache. We took him to instacare last night and he did have an ear infection. I feel so bad for him. He was crying so hard at the doctor's office. We have him on antibiotics and ibuprophen. Hopefully he gets over it soon.

We are taking it easy today. I'm only watching two kids and I think we will just be watching movies and playing with toys. I hope I can keep them entertained in that way so that all of us can rest and mend.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Three to One Odds

This weekend was a pretty good one. I say pretty good because it was a 3:1 ratio of good to bad. Which, don't get me wrong, are good odds. I'm not complaining... too much

Good Stuff:

Farmers Market. I love the farmers market! We usually go to the one in Murray Park because it isn't so crowded, but since it had been so long since we attended, we decided to go all out and fight the parking and crowds downtown. We had a great time. Greg toted Palmer around in a baby carrier. Palmer loved the view and was happy the entire time. We bought some delectable goods: corn on the cob, big red tomatoes, grape tomatoes, green beans, jalapenos, watermelon, asiago cheese bread and lemon pepper goat cheese spread (once I tried it, I had to have it). We also went grocery shopping so our kitchen cabinets are practically busting open with food. There will be some good eatin' at the Hess home this week.

Mario Baseball. Greg and I are on a fairly strict budget and give ourselves $10 a week for personal spending. I usually buy clothes and scrapbooking supplies. He usually buys fast food and CDs. He's been saving his spending money to buy a Wii game and had just enough in time for Mario Super Slugger's release. It's pretty darn fun! We knew we would like it because we owned it on the Gamecube, and we like all Mario platform games. I don't think Greg will enjoy brow wax I'm planning to get with my money quite as much as I'm enjoying his purchase.

Good Food with Good Friends. I cooked for three families this week. We took two meals to family/friends who recently had babies. I do tend to cook a bit better when it's for others. Monday I made pot roast with peach berry dessert and took half of it to Greg's sister and her family. Friday we had mini meatloaves, baked potatoes, corn on the cob and caramel pecan pie, and took half of it to some friends in the ward. Greg's mom also came and ate dinner here with us that night. Saturday we had our friends, the Stewarts, over and we ate salsa chicken, (a recipe from my friend's blog, thanks Adrienne, it was great!) Spanish rice and leftover pie.

Bad Stuff:

Sickness. We are all sick with coughs/colds, even Palmer, which breaks my heart! Greg started getting sick last weekend in Ely. Palmer peaked earlier in the week, and mine hit me hard and full blown Sunday morning. We all missed church because of the nasty bug. Ugh! I hate being sick! I am glad that Palmer seemed to get over the bad part of the cold pretty quickly. I'm much more worried about him since his body is so small and fragile. We are keeping the humidifier in his room and bringing him in the bathroom when we take a shower so the steam can help his cough. I think his cough is pretty much gone now, but it doesn't hurt to be careful. This is the first time Palmer has gotten sick and since I'm a first-time mom, I've been a bit nervous about it. Is there anything else I should be doing to help my poor little guy?