Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Night

Palmer trick or treated at two houses on his first Halloween: Grandma Nancy's and Auntie London's. Nancy gave him a stuffed ghost and London gave him some biter biscuits. What thoughtful family members we have, giving a treat that our six month old son will actual be able to enjoy. This was the first time Palmer had tried a bitter biscuit; he absolutely loved it! He made an utter mess of himself. Needless to say, Palmer's first Halloween ended with a very soapy splash in the tub.


We were back to the house in time to pass out treats of our own. We had a laid back evening. I made chili and cornbread, and we just took it easy watching old episodes of Friends. I am ready to move on from Halloween. We celebrated it quite thoroughly, and I am relieved to no longer have Halloween candy in my house constantly tempting me to munch. Of course, it is now time to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas which bring even more delectable goodies!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vote

Last night we went to City Hall and voted early as a family. This is actually the first time Greg and I have voted. I've always felt guilty when election day came around and I was not registered; Greg has said the same thing. We barely made the registry deadline and so we decided to not leave the actual voting until the last minute. It was a great feeling to cast our ballots, to know we had a say, to declare what we believed in, and to set an example of patriotism for Palmer. We both voted for McCain. We feel his ideals and the Republican Party's ideals are more in line with our own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The End is in Sight

Today is my last day of running the daycare; I am so excited. I will miss the children, but it will be great to be able to sleep in with Palmer, not be confined to the house all day, and basically put my time and efforts into my own family and home. Yesterday Greg stayed home sick from work, and today Palmer is sick and needs to go to the doctor, so Greg had to stay home again. I can't help but think how much easier our lives will be when I am no longer tending children all day. I could have taken care of Greg yesterday, and he would have had a quiet relaxing home in which to nurse back to health. Today I would have been able to take Palmer to the doctor myself and Greg could go back to business as usual. Not to mention the fact that I would have been able to go back to sleep with Palmer this morning (he woke at 4:30 am and didn't go back to bed until 6:30 am, when the other children started showing up).

Next week I am going to start working twice a week at the local fitness center. I will once again be watching kids in daycare, but this time it will only be for a few hours and it will be outside of my home, which means more freedom for me and less wear and tare on our house. I also get to bring Palmer with me for no charge, so I don't have to worry about finding and paying someone to watch him, and I receive a free membership to the fitness center. Can you say sweet!? I'm really excited about this new job. It sounds just about perfect, and it will give us the little extra income we need to get by.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Guest Bedroom


I took pictures of our guest bedroom for an online contest and thought I'd share them here. This is one of the three rooms I have finished decorating in our home. I already posted Palmer's nursery, and I will post our Mexican themed kitchen sometime. Our guest bedroom is my favorite that we have done. It truly reflects my style: clean and crisp. It also has my favorite color scheme of black, white, and a muted color. I really enjoy decorating. I look forward to the day we can afford to decorate all the rooms in our home. I already have planned the majority of them, just need the funds and the time.

Boo at the Zoo and Ward Chili Cookoff

We had a long day on Saturday. We left at 9:30 am to go to Hogle Zoo's Boo at the Zoo. It was an absolute zoo! There were so many people there, and about half of them were wearing the same monkey costume that Palmer had on. I guess that's what we get for buying his costume from Old Navy. We had to park about a mile away and it was difficult to see the animals because it was so crowded. I don't think we will be making a tradition of going to it.

However, we did get to catch up with our good friends the Jennes. We walked around the zoo with them and then they came over to our house to hang out for a bit. We all played Mario Baseball on the Wii, and then Greg and Jake played a serious game without the handicap of having us girls on the team. It was great seeing them. Since they live in Provo we don't get together as nearly as often as we'd like.

That evening we had our ward chili cook off. The chilies that I tried were delicious! I love fall comfort food. Palmer was super cranky, probably because he's been out all day and missed two of his naps, poor baby. We did a small ward trunk or treat afterwards. In the past our ward had joined another ward who did it on Halloween night and the whole neighborhood came. We had 700 pieces of candy and still ran out! With just our ward it didn't break the bank and we could actually afford good stuff to pass out. This year we did tricks instead of treats: fake tattoos, bubbles, spider rings, and plastic snakes and bugs.

Sorry there is a lack of pictures to accompany this post; I accidentally deleted them from my camera.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spoon Feeding

You know that scene in The Incredibles where Elastigirl is feeding baby food to Jack Jack and making funny faces as she does it? Well, Greg and I both do this. No matter how hard I try to look normal while feeding Palmer, I find my face contorting to open-mouthed ridiculousness. And of course there is not a feeding that goes unaccompanied by my lovely singing of "Yummy, yummy, yummy, I've got love in my tummy," and "I like to eat, eat, eat, epples and banenes." In our home you get dinner and a show!

In all serious, Palmer is a great eater. I was a bit surprised because he is not a good nurser, but solids have come quite easily to him. (I do hope I can keep my milk, because he's really not interested in nursing now.) He eats baby food three times a day and goes through a jar of vegetables, a jar of fruit and a whole lot of rice cereal. He loves mealtime and "mmmms" and laughs as he eats.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday Amusements

For the most part this weekend was pretty casual. Friday and Sunday we took it easy at home, but Saturday we spent the day playing. Here is what we did.

Tracy Aviary. Greg, his mother Nancy, Palmer and I went to the Tracy Aviary. It was free this weekend to raise awareness of Proposition 1. We walked around, watched the pelicans feed, and fed other birds seed throughout the park. Palmer enjoyed the outing and even took notice of some of the feathered friends we came upon. It surprises me how aware he is of his surroundings at such a young age. We always think our outings will be just for Greg and I, but Palmer truly enjoys them too.

Feeding the Missionaries. We had the missionaries over for dinner. I served pork stew, warm rolls from the oven and brownies with chocolate frosting. They seemed to really enjoy the meal. They were both from Hawaii. It was one of the missionaries' very first week in the field. He was so excited and so positive. His enthusiasm was endearing. We had a pleasant conversation and they left us with a message of hope during trials.

Wall-E. We went to the dollar theater in the evening. Palmer did pretty well. I only had to leave once with him, and he slept through the second half. We really enjoyed the show. I thought it was quite clever; they worked in a lot of problems our world now faces. We were also impressed with how entertaining the movie was without much dialog. It was really cute and if your behind on the times like we were and haven't seen it yet, we recommend it.

Unfortunately, after our day of fun I woke up sick on Sunday and missed church. I don't know if it is because I don't often get much sleep or because I frequently have children in my home, but lately we are always sick! Just about every other week one of us comes down with something icky and spreads it to everyone else. I have the humidifier running nonstop in Palmer's room trying to prevent him from getting our colds. Thankfully, he only catches about half of them.

Recipe - Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

My parents were all about boxed and frozen cooking. Growing up on that kind of food has really turned me off of it and now I am all about making homecooked food. I make pretty much everything from scratch. However, I have always liked boxed brownies, and just recently have I found a recipe that I like even more. This is adapted from an old co-worker's recipe. She had the best homemade brownies I had ever tried and with a few adaptations, they are now even a bit sweeter. We served them to the missionaries this weekend, still just a little warm and they gobbled them up. Enjoy!

Brownies with Chocolate Frosting

brownies:
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c. melted shortening
6 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips

Cream eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in flour and salt. Mix in butter, shortening, cocoa and vanilla. Add chocolate chips. Spread into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool 10 minutes and then cover with frosting.

frosting:
3 tbsp. cocoa
6 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. milk
powdered sugar

Cook cocoa, butter and milk in saucepan over medium heat. Take off the stove once melted and add powdered sugar until thick. Put pan back on stove until frosting once again gets a little runny stirring constantly; don't cook too long. Pour onto brownies and spread evenly.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quirks

I've seen this on a few of my friends' sites and decided to do it myself. Here are six of my quirks.

1. Hand washing. I am a perpetual hand washer. I think it began in my nursery leader days and became a full blown obsessive compulsive habit when I started working with special need students. In the classroom I would wash my hands 10-15 times a day. I am the only person I know that visits the restroom to wash their hands before eating at a restaurant.

2. Alphabetizing. My house may not always be clean, but by golly it is alphabetized. My movies are alphabetized by title and my books by author. I am currently working on a system for my spices. I love that everything has its own specific place and it makes it so easy to find what I want quickly.

3. Too tired to go to sleep. I know this sounds ridiculous but I have the same sleeping dilemma as my five month old son. As most babies do, Palmer fights sleep when he gets too tired. Likewise, if I wait too long to go to bed, I can not get myself to sleep. I follow the same routine every night before I go to bed: go to the bathroom, brush teeth, clean mouth piece, wash face, take out contacts. If I am really tired it will take me up to an hour to get the drive to start my routine and I will extend the five minute job into a half hour.

4. Locking doors. I don't know why this is an issue for me because growing up we NEVER locked our door, even at night. Since my mom was handicapped and couldn't get to the door, and because she just had a super friendly attitude, everyone we knew just walked into our home (I recall a very embarrassing experience with a foreign exchange neighbor and me in a towel... I won't go into details). But now, I am paranoid about each door of our home being locked. I ask Greg every night before we go to bed if he locked the door and then most nights I get out of bed and check, just in case he said he did but really didn't.

5. Ranch Dressing. I love ranch dressing. I eat it on french fries, baked potatoes, chicken, pizza, sandwiches, and of course salads. It is a stable in our refrigerator that is just about as important as milk.

6. Themes. I have this drive to make everything in my life coordinate and revolve around a central idea. Every room in our home has a theme. Since Palmer's room in done in jungle animals I am drawn to jungle animal toys and jungle animal clothes. Every holiday has a theme that I decorate and give gifts around. I plan themed parties. I went through many themes that I wanted to incorporate into our children's names: colors, authors, family, religion, nature, syllables, phonetics, etc. Each one limited me and excluded names that I loved. I was actually stressed about which theme to go with, and Greg had to sit me down and give me a reality check. So, to make a long story short we purposely named Palmer without a theme that would correspond with the rest of our future children's names. I have to be honest, it still bugs me, and I do still try to work his name into a centralized idea that we can later use.

Haunted Village


My sister London and I took the kids to the Haunted Village at This is the Place Heritage Park. It is definitely for older children (although Palmer did crack up at the story telling witch) and it is so not stroller friendly (we both got a killer workout pushing the strollers around on the dirt/stone walk ways), but we had a good time. They had a lot of cute crafts (corn husk dolls, wheat braiding, candle making, etc.) and some fun activities (miniature corn maze, hay ride, haunted forrest, pony ride and a train ride). Palmer was wonderful! He just hung out in his stroller for a couple hours, smiling and sucking his thumb. I was very grateful for his pleasant disposition. Above everything else, I mostly enjoyed spending time with my sister.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Baby Model - Five Month Photo Shoot

I love JC Penney's Photo Studio! They do such a great job! Once again they were super fast, very friendly and very affordable. They even offered this great customer service during what could have been a disastrous photo session. We started with Palmer in his Halloween costume, but he just sat there like a lump because he was too hot. So we changed him into a regular outfit which he immediately covered with spit-up carrots. The photographer asked if I had a back up outfit, to which I replied that was the black up outfit. So, out of default, we decided to do pictures of him in a diaper. They came out so cute! And I know it's not just biased mom judgement that leads me to that conclusion, the studio even asked me to sign a release so they could display them on their wall. They said it would probably be hanging up next time we came in. Yeah, my son is pretty darn cute.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hollywood Halloween Party

London hosted a Hollywood Halloween party that we attended on Saturday. She totally went all out for this one; It was great! The invitation stated to come as a celebrity or a character from a movie. We went as Juno (no, that is not a "food baby", or a real baby for that matter, it is a bunch of towels, it did however bring back memories of pregnancy and I realized I am not quite ready to return to that large and awkward state) and Bleeker (with a pocket full of orange Tic Tacs to munch on through the night).


There was a red carpet entering her home with paparazzi taking pictures of all the starlets as we arrived. The house was decorated with movie facts and paraphernalia. There were scenes from The Wizard of Oz, Frankenstein's Bride, Snow White and Arachnophobia set up throughout the house.



London served mock tails. She had black and purple sugar to coat the rims of our glasses and lemonade and Sprite with special add-in flavorings (all with cute spooky labels), and ganishes: orange wedges and maraschino cherry picks.

Everyone also brought a finger food to share. Here are a few of the most festive ones.


We ate, chatted and played Hollywood themed games. Greg and I each won a prize for our phenomenal acting skills (or more accurately for being loud and emphatic).

Here are a few pictures of other fellow celebrities who attended.

The hostess with the mostess, Zsa Zsa Gabor a.k.a. London

Dr. Evil a.k.a. Monte

Brittany Spears a.k.a. Sariah (notice the baby strapped to her ankle that reads "Oops I did it again!)

Fiona and Shrek a.k.a Betty and Dad (Shrek won best costume)

Will Smith (from Wild Wild West) and a Hippo from Fantasia a.k.a. Bobby and Susan

Geisha Girl and Kid Rock a.k.a. Shannon and her date Chuck

Thanks for a great party London; it was a blast! You should be in the party planning business... oh wait, that's right, you are!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wiggle Worm

It's been impossible to keep socks on Palmer lately, and he wiggles out of his diaper before we can even get the straps secured.

At night we swaddle him in a light blanket, place him on his back, then cover him with a fleece blanket and then his comforter. Everything is tight and tucked in as we have been advised. Often I find he has wiggled out of his blankets after waking. Since I wasn't watching any additional children today, I went back to sleep with Palmer after his morning feeding. When I went to get him after his nap I found him like this:



Yes, that is my little boy, out of his covers, on his belly, in the corner of his bed, only wearing a diaper. I stood there dumbfounded. Was I so tired this morning that I forgot to put his sleeper back on after changing his diaper? I did remember fiddling with the snaps in my half-consciousness. Did Greg undress him for some reason before heading off to work? I then lifted his covers to see his sleeper, lying inside of his still swaddled blanket. Palmer had not only wiggled out of all his blankets but also, amazingly enough, wiggled out of his sleeper! Is that not the craziest thing? He was so cold; I felt awful. How in the world am I supposed to safeguard against that? My sister suggested duct tape.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Exciting News!

Greg has been extended a promotion at work! Yay! He has only been there for a few months and they already promoted him. He now provides technical support to escalated and more complicated calls and is over the training of a few other workers. He will be working nights (he'll have to start going to school in the day) and weekends again, but it is worth it. It's so nice for him to work for a company that appreciates him and realizes his potential. It's been a while since he has worked for a company that truly values him. This also means great news for me... I no longer have to do daycare. His promotion comes with a lovely pay raise that covers our needs. I will be quitting the end of this month. I'm really excited. It will be great to sleep in with Palmer (7:00 am instead of 6:00 am), and we won't be confined to the home, and I will have more energy to clean and cook and exercise. Can you tell how excited I am about this?

The bishop talked to the ward about being more generous with our fast offerings. He said if we double our fast offering our income will double. We took on the challenge and we are already seeing the blessings from our Heavenly Father. It's amazing what a little faith, hope and prayer will do! We are so very thankful to a Heavenly Father who is mindful of our wants and needs.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Beautiful People

Just to be clear, these crushes are absolutely harmless and have nothing to do with any real emotion, so don't judge (you know you look too). However, Greg and I are secure in our marriage and will admit to enjoying a little eye candy once in a while.

My Hollywood Crushes:

Wentworth Miller (he is a more recent find), Ewan McGregor (long time crush) and L.L. Cool J (representing a little color)












Greg's Hollywood Crushes:

Scarlet Johanson (have to admit, she is beautiful), Tea Leoni and Andy McDowell (this last one surprises me a bit)













All of Greg's celebrity crushes seem to be the sweet girl-next-door type, while all of mine seem to be bad boys (which I have never gone for). I wonder what that signifies? Maybe I am a wild she-cougar underneath my conservative exterior, and Greg, well, I suppose he's just the genuine nice guy that he seems to be. Who are your Hollywood crushes?

Gardener Village


On Saturday we went with Greg's side of the family to Gardener Village to eat dinner and look at the shops and decorations. It was pouring rain, but we all still wanted to go, so we made an adventure out of it. The restaurant, Archibalds, is so delicious! The shops were charming and quaint. We enjoyed some treats at the local bakery. Since it was raining so badly there weren't too many witches stalking about, but it was still really neat to look at all of the decorations. The place looked great and we had a wonderful time.

Recipe - Chicken Taco Casserole

I made this for dinner this Sunday (Rie, you missed out!). It cooked during conference and made our home smell of Mexican deliciousness! This is a great meal to make ahead because once assembled it can sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight.

Chicken Taco Casserole

1 pkg. small corn tortillas (I only use half of the package)
3 tbl. butter
3 tbl. flour
2 c. cooked diced chicken
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 c. milk
1 tbl. chili powder
1 small jar green taco sauce
1 small can diced green chilies

Cut or tear tortillas into bite-sized pieces. Line the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish with tortilla pieces. In sauce pan over low heat melt butter, add flour slowly until sauce is smooth. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Add taco sauce and chili powder. Take sauce off the burner once it has thickened. On top of tortilla pieces place a layer of chicken pieces. Top chicken with green chilies. Pour sauce all over the casserole. Top with cheese. Let sit in refrigerator 1-2 hours or even overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

By the way, when I was putting this together I realized we were out of chili powder. I made my own by mixing paprika, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano and onion powder (or you could use garlic powder, I don't because I am allergic). It tasted exactly the same as when I've make it with prepared chili powder.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Five Months

Palmer is going through some kind of intense growth spurt. He is eating nonstop and packing on the weight. The past couple days I have added 2-3 nursing sessions, one in the middle of the night, and one additional feeding of rice cereal. He is happy and healthy though, and we are very thankful for that. We love him so very much!

He has learned: to eat solids (rice cereal), pull off his socks, fit his whole fist in his mouth and to shake a rattle

He likes: mobiles, being upside down, walks in his stroller, sucking his left thumb and biting his right hand fingers, rice cereal, people crying, rolling around, his carrier, watching TV, his bouncer, baby toys, music

He dislikes: being in one place too long, little kids crowding him, pacifiers, laying on his stomach

Things he does that makes us laugh: huge smiles and laughs, constant cooing, scooting off our laps and pretty much wiggling all the time

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breast Cancer Survivor

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Greg's mother Nancy is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed while Greg was on his mission. The cancer was not caught as quickly as it should have been, and was quite progressed. She underwent chemotherapy and came very close to losing her life. We are so grateful that she did survive the fight. She is a beautiful person, inside and out. She is so very kind and gentle. She is a woman of great faith, and has kept that faith through many trials and hardships. She is an amazing mother to Greg and myself and spectacular grandmother to Palmer. We love her and are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Finding Joy in Sorrow?

We have realized that our son has a touch of morbidity in him. I know that sounds just wrong to say that about a four month old, but honestly, he does. He thinks it is hilarious when someone is crying. He has laughed at me when I have cried many a times. Last week, a friend was baring her soul to me and Palmer laughed at her as she wiped away her tears, and Sunday he laughed at the Bishop when he became emotional over something that was very serious and sad.

We've also noticed that he seems to laugh at disturbing things on television. Greg and I were watching a rerun of Prison Break, one where the main character's toes where being cut off (disgusting, I know), and I commented that it was really disturbing to me and maybe we should be more mindful of what we watch in front of Palmer. He then burst out laughing, so we figured he had no comprehension of what he was seeing, and he was fine. After last night's experience I now know that is not the case. I was watching the Biggest Loser and Palmer was being quite fussy. The show depicted a contestant and her trainer boxing. The contestant was just exhausted and didn't have any more strength to continue the workout. The trainer began to just pummel the contestant (which by the way, I thought was just an awful way to motivate) and the contestant started crying hard. This continued for a couple minutes, the trainer hitting and yelling, the contestant crying, not fighting back. Palmer stopped in the middle of a fussy cry and cracked up laughing. He laughed hard through the whole segment.

So I'm not quite sure how I should react to this strange phenomenon. I'm not worried that he will become a sociopath or anything. He is a very happy and very loving baby. He just has the quirky idea that it's hilarious when others are crying. I guess I can put a positive spin on it and say he is able to find joy when others only feel sorrow. Yeah, that sounds good, much better than my four month old son is morbid. We'll just say that.