Friday, October 30, 2009

For my husband

We have a joke around here that I spend more time creating schedules and plans then I actually spend putting them into practice. And unfortunately, that's the truth. I live for a crisis; in fact I often leave things til the last minute in order to create a crisis (not consciously, that is just what happens), but the day-to-day consistent stuff is a constant struggle. I have a feeling that it will be a struggle for ever.

I get excited about a plan I have, I do a superb job at it for around one week, then it fizzles out, time and time again. Come to think of it, I do that pretty consistently - start things I don't finish. Awesome. Just kidding. That is not awesome.

I don't know if there are other moms that also struggle with this. My attempts at routine and scheduling are not intense, yet somehow I cannot manage to stick to a plan. Most of my friends describe how their husbands have to tell them to rest and to take a break from cleaning and tidying up. I am pretty sure that has never (and will never) happen around here. I am especially conscious of this lack of consistency as I raise my children, as I alluded to here. If there are others out there like me (hello? do you exist?) I would love to hear how you combat this.
Here are some of my attempts at organization and scheduling:

I actually stuck with the schedule on top for about three weeks. Then I got sick, overwhelmed, and the thought of digging out of the hole I created for myself (example: laundry) was more than I could handle, so I gave up.

Because he loves me, my hubs knows when I need a little encouragement to get back on track with my schedule. Check out the note he left me this morning - it made me smile. He even gave me something to look forward to. Sweep, mop, then a cup of tea. (No, the incentive of a clean kitchen floor is not enough to get me going. I've been trucking along just fine with the floor exactly as it is, thankyouverymuch.)

But because I love my husband and because his note was so endearing, I followed his instructions and now I am enjoying my clean floors. And my tea.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

21 weeks

(Sorry I chopped off my head.)

I just switched doctors and I had my first appointment with the new one (who is actually our primary care physician) last week. Oh, the look on his face when I told him that with my previous pregnancies I had somehow (read: lots and lots of EATING) managed to gain 12lbs in one month. He tried so hard to not look dumbfounded and then said, "Let's try not to do that again."

Yes, sir.

I'm guessing that the chocolate chip cookies I made last week, the pumpkin cheesecake I made twice this week and the flourless chocolate cake I made at the same time was a bad idea, huh?

On the plus side (soon to be plus size), my maternity clothes are fitting wonderfully.

I promise, there's a point to this post

Both of our boys have 2 lovies that they sleep with (Chet hates that I call them that...though I am not really sure if there is another term for them. "Blankie-With-A-Head" just doesn't have the same ring to it. Any thoughts/suggestions?)

To be honest, I used to be totally freaked out by them and didn't understand why parents would choose to give those creepy looking headed blankets to their babies. But, then I had my own children and realized that I liked the idea of a washable blankie-buddy type thing.

Anyhoo, we picked out one of these Angel Dear blankies for each of them, and then a friend of Chet's gave each of the boys these super cute and floppy Silly Buddies, so they sleep with those as well. And since I have an intense desire to be completely equitable with my children (probably because my siblings and I tease my mom relentlessly about having a favorite child - hey, Nate!), I really wanted to be sure this new baby has both types of lovie.

Here are our picks for Hutch #3.


So, can you guess what we found out today?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kissy Kissy

This kid cracks me up. He has recently fallen in love with one of our board books. Every time he gets to the picture of the cat, he kisses it. And sometimes he also kisses the dog. And I laugh and laugh, so he begins to kiss each page in the book. So I laugh some more.

Here. Now you can laugh too.

Good one, Jay

Ok, so we never watch TV together, but yesterday was just one of those days. And it just so happened that on Jay Leno last night, he made a joke about Natural Family Planning being a new "green" option for birth control...yadda yadda yadda...but that if you use that method your pregnancy test will be blue.

We had a good laugh over that one.

In case you are wondering, we do not practice NFP. We have hoped to, and would still like to, we've just never made it very far. (Note to self: NFP + Adult ADD= baby.) Every single time I begin taking my temperature I have found out that I'm already pregnant. (19 days of high temperature...pregnancy.) Apparently the key to effectively using NFP is to take your temperature before you get pregnant.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some like it fried

First, a note to Oprah:
Why oh why, do you insist on talking in an awful Southern accent every time you are around a Southerner for even a minute? Please stop with the "Yeehaaaws." Yes, it made your show at the Texas State fair a misery to watch.

Yes, I kept watching, but only because most of it involved fried food. And I finally found a fried food I do not think I would try: fried butter. I am fairly certain the real name for that is "heart attack." A freshly fried Corny Dog, however...

(Sidenote: the guy who makes fried butter is apparently a frying genius and only has to work 3 weeks out of every year, during the fair. The rest of the year he spends dreaming of other things to fry. A professional fryer, if you will. Not to be confused with a professional friar. Anyway, if you see me with a deep fryer, don't bother me, I'll be working.)

I am curious about what you have tried that is fried. The extent of my weird fried things experience would have to be a deep fried pizza from the chippy (fish & chip shop) in Edinburgh. (It was goooood, in case you are wondering.) They did make deep fried Mars bars, but I never tried that. Ah, the regret.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Because I am insane

One of my best friends is moving, so we had a final girls' night last night. An awesome time, made even awesomer and crazier because we went dancing and stayed out until 1. Yes, 1AM. Yes, I feel like I got hit by a truck I am so tired today. (Thanks, Chet, for watching the kids!) We had talked about going out to dance for months, but unfortunately, it took something huge (like a friend moving far, far away) to get us to actually do it.

It was totally worth it - I loved laughing and being together. Thankfully, I don't have any pictures of the dancing experience, fun though it was. But here are a few of us at dinner and dessert.

Because I am notoriously low maintenance

There are so many wonderful fall flavors to enjoy, it's hard to know where to begin. My mom has always been a soup-and-bread kind of person and everything she makes is great. The thing is, sometimes soups take a lot of preparation - chopping all those veggies, browning meat, etc.

Since I like to keep it simple, this Butternut Squash Soup has become a fast favorite around here. Easy to make, not too much chopping, and delicious. And there are only 5 ingredients, so it's not going to break the budget either. What more could you want on a crisp, fall day?

So here it is. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup
(from The Joy of Cooking)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet:
1 medium to large butternut squash, halved and seeded. Bake until squash can be pierced with a fork (about 1 hour).

(I actually just throw my squash in the oven like a potato and roast it. My knives aren't very sharp and it is much simpler to cut and seed the squash once it is soft.)

Let cool, then scoop the pulp from the squash skin and discard the skin. (And the seeds too, if you use the whole-roasted option.)

Melt in a soup pot over medium heat:
3 TBS butter

Add and cook, stirring until tender (5-10 minutes):
2 large leeks (white part only), chopped
4 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger

Stir in the squash along with:
4 cups chicken stock

Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Puree until smooth.

Return to the pot and stir:
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp salt

Heat through, and serve with cilantro and toasted squash seeds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

19 pounder

Have you seen this? Wow. Imagine carrying a baby that size around inside you. It would literally be like me giving birth to Deedo right now. (I guess if you have twins perhaps it's not that much different in terms of weight.) But still.

Check out the video clip if you have a's pretty interesting.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Break Fun

Today we went to a local apple and pumpkin picking farm with the boys. Chet has fall break this week, so it was wonderful to do something together as a family (besides church!)
A few memories:

Deedo was crazy for the apples. He even tried to bite an apple while it was still hanging on the tree. Once he finally got one of his own, he wouldn't let go of it. Even if it was covered in dirt.

Sharks loved feeding the animals, completely without fear. He even reached into the cage to pet the camels. Last year he panicked. He also really enjoyed the tractor ride; last year, he screamed the whole time. It is nice to see the growth a year brings, even in something so simple.

My memories from last year were of a relaxing time, picking apples slowly and wandering around the pumpkin patch with Sharks. At that point, Deedo wasn't even 3 months old, so I carried him in the Ergo the whole time. Oh, how things have changed. Not so relaxing this time around. Very fun, but oh so different with two little ones to chase after and carry, though I'll be honest, Chet did most of the chasing.

We have a picture of Chet and I from last year, so I made sure to take another one this year. Turns out, Chet was wearing the exact same shirt both times. (Just to show our support for Niedlov's, even from afar.)

See? Same shirt! (This year above, last year below.)

And finally, the family picture. Once again, check out the difference a year makes.


(Alternate title: We're ready for bunk beds.)

Last night I went in to check on the boys before I headed to bed as per usual. First I checked Deedo, then Sharks. Except that when I went to check on Sharks, I saw this:

Empty bed. (That blanket used to be Chet's when he was a little whippersnapper. Awesome.)

I checked again by Deed's crib because one night last week, Sharks fell asleep on the floor right next to the crib. See that space between the crib and the wall? That's where he slept before. But not this time. He wasn't there. And I was starting to think that I was crazy, because we have a gate on their door so I knew he couldn't get out.

That was when I checked under the crib. And there he was, sound asleep.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Post-Nap Intrigue

First thing Sharks said when I got him up from his nap today: "Mommy, so I climb up there [his dresser] and fall and hit my tooth."

What?! Ok, son, how did you do that? Can you show mommy what you did?

"No, Mommy, can't show you, because it hurt my tooth." (He was totally incredulous that I asked that, as though I was asking him to hurt himself again.)

Then why do you have a bump on your forehead? (Still trying to figure that one out.) The only thing I can think of is that maybe he used the drawers as stairs to climb up the dresser, but how he managed to fall and hit his tooth (no evidence of any injury around his mouth) and get a goose egg on his head at the same time I have no idea.

Clearly he has been getting out of bed again when he is supposed to be sleeping. Did I mention that I ended up moving his bookshelf out of his room? I couldn't figure out the best way to discipline him for removing all of his books (yes, it happened again. and again.) and seeing as I am pregnant and tired, I opted for the momentary satisfaction of knowing those books will not be all over the floor after every nap. I guess he needed something new to do - hence the dresser climbing.

Second thing Sharks said after nap time: "Mommy, have a question for you. What is an ultrasound?"

Oh, boy. That little dude remembers every word he hears. I explained that it was how the doctor can check on the baby and take a picture to make sure the baby is healthy. He said, "Oh, I don't think so."

So I asked him what he thinks.

"I don't think anything, Mommy."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Great skills

The other day after naptime I went in to get the boys and this is what I found. Sharks had removed all the books from his shelf and carefully placed the plug-protector things in every space on the shelf. Right in the middle.

At first I was not thrilled, but he was so proud. He said, "Mommy, look at what I made." (Besides a mess.) "I lined them up." (Uh-huh.) I wasn't sure what to do, because we hadn't ever told him not to pull all the books off the shelf (that's Deedo's job around here.)

So I told him he did a great job lining up the plug-things and just laughed and took a picture. And told him to keep the books on the shelf in the future.

18 weeks

And the growing begins in earnest.
Also, any ideas how to get rid of a sinus infection while pregnant, other than antibiotics? I've been using the neti pot (somewhat inconsistently), taking vitamin C, and I just started probiotics. Maybe I'm doing all I can, I don't know. At this point, my face has been hurting for 2 weeks and my head for 3, and I am willing to try anything.

Friday, October 9, 2009

What we do on a rainy day

(The creativity of my title astounds me.)

Stand outside to watch the rain pour. (Don't you just love those chubby cheeks?!)

Come back inside when we get cold. Watch the rain some more. (Actually, the cold just got to me - Sharks would have kept right on standing out there if I let him.)

And then we have chai to warm up. Which Sharks insists on calling "chai-wallah." Totally my fault. I couldn't stop saying that after seeing Slumdog Millionaire.

We wait for the mail. Our mail carrier is a sweet lady named Ouida (pronounced weed-a) who always remembers the boys' names and stops to chat every day. One day she told me I better get myself some echinacea to help prevent illness. Which is true. Just not something I was expecting her to say.

And finally, nap time. Or, should I say, stand-at-the-window-and-watch-the-rain-some-more time. Because that is what happened.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Little did I know that when I said "sometime Thursday" I actually meant 11:54pm. Procrastinator that I am.

And the winner is: Amanda! I will head to the post office tomorrow to mail your tasty chocolate bar to you.

Thanks for participating, everyone!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This showed up on our doorstep

I had been having a hard week and was feeling sorry for myself one day during nap time when I heard a knock at the door. I thought the Fed Ex guy was dropping off one of Chet's super compelling Law textbooks or something.

But I opened it to find the most beautiful brand-new double stroller sitting there. Double! It could fit both of my children at the same time! I promptly burst into tears, I was so overwhelmed. I simply could not believe that someone had thought of us and was so generous to us in such a practical way. That stroller was exactly what we needed. I honestly had to leave it in the box for awhile so that I could calm down enough to open it. Every time I looked at it I started to cry again; I just couldn’t believe it! What a blessing!

It was especially amazing because for the last year, I only had a single stroller, so I had been carrying Cedar on my back every time I went for a walk, which was a fine solution until I got pregant. Now it is just too much for my back to handle.

So receiving that stroller was truly a huge gift. God is good all the time! And He knows just what we need and how to accomplish it in our lives, often through the use of others.

Just in case you were wondering

A Big Mac at midnight is not a good idea.

I feel like I need to detox.

(But it tasted so good.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We must be confusing

Have you ever used

It's a website where you can type in the names of the children you already have and it gives you suggested names based on the names you entered.

And the names it suggested for us? Wow. I think the site must not have known what to do with our kids' names.

Golden, Hooper, Dovie, Crispus, Acacia, Frost, Alexander, River...and on it goes.

But when you add them together, it's pure magic. Let me introduce you to Golden Crispus. No one would ever make fun of that kid. Sheesh. Sounds like the love child of McDonald's and Hardees french fries.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back in Sickville - Giveaway 1

Most commonly heard phrase: "Mommy, Deedo has a booger!"

Second most commonly heard phrase: "Mommy, Deedo has another booger!"

Bring on the Kleenex.

So, since we are feeling miserable (again), I am going to live vicariously through you. Every time we get sick this fall/winter, you have a chance to win one of my favorites. Favorite what? you ask. Just wait and see. And don't go wishing sickness on us.

This time, I am wondering what do you do to keep your family healthy during flu season.

Add your comment for a chance to win my favorite chocolate bar (you can choose from Vigor, Tranquility, or Sexy.) If you have no healthy tips for me, well, go ahead and enter anyway. Don't be shy, this is chocolate we are taking about.

Winner of this AMAZING giveaway (Pioneer Woman's got nothing on me) will be announced sometime Thursday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Here's to hoping I have a girl

I just stumbled upon Shabby Apple. (Am I late to the game here and everyone already knows about this? That's what happened with my Amy Butler find...I was just a slowpoke.)

To be honest, the whole Shabby Apple website is pretty and worth looking at for the photography alone. I assume it is just an online store and it kind of reminds me of a more structured and personalized Anthropologie.

Every single piece of clothing makes me drool - each one is a piece of art. Like this for little girls and this for the ladies. But then, wonder of wonders, they also have maternity. Check out this gorgeous dress. Not exactly in my price range, but a girl can dream.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Very Versatile.

This is what I got when I typed in "blue maternity dress" on ebay.


I am having the hardest time finding a blue maternity dress (anything from royal to navy) to wear for my friend's wedding.

This is the look she is going for, so I have a lot of freedom. But still, I am struggling to find something I like.

(photo from the

I have looked EVERYWHERE I can possibly look online and have come up with diddly squat, unless I am willing to spend $200. I think you can guess what I think of that.

Any suggestions?

Friday, October 2, 2009


The task of the day was laundry. And because I needed a little encouragement, I emailed my husband:

Erin to Chet:
About to climb the housewife's version of a 14er...
14 loads of unfolded laundry.
*deep breath*
Here I go...wish me luck!

Chet to Erin:

Erin to Chet:
Only you!

Chet to Erin:
What? I mean that God helping you fold clothes in a speedy manner will mean that you will not get burnt out and thus you will finish the task before you.

On the other hand 'luck' will mean that 'luckily' a friend came over to help with the clothes. Of course God could use the means of a friend for speedy folding.

I'll be honest; I was hoping for 'luckily' a friend came over. I mean, look at this:
(Yes, that is a double bed covered in clean clothes.)
This is when you let everyone pick out 3 favorite shirts and 3 favorite pants and give away all the other clothes. Why have I never thought of that before?! Enlightenment!
But instead, I got my High Roller mug (a gift from one of Chet's former students - cause nothing says 'Chet' like a High Roller mug) of chai and my hip-hop documentary (cause nothing says 'it's laundry time!' like a chai latte and some krumping) and got to work.

See? All done. Phew. So for those of you with overwhelming household chores to do today - Godspeed! (And I hope a friend stops by.)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blanket Time

For the past few weeks we have been working on blanket time with Deedo, an idea I learned from a friend. I sorta kinda already did quiet time with Sharks (he sits on the couch with books and toys), but once Deedo gave up his morning nap, it was time for his turn. So, instead of a morning nap, now we start with a Bible story from this followed by 30 minutes of blanket time each morning.

It took about 2 days of consistent training for Deed0 to get it. I thought I was doing it for his benefit and it has been great for him to learn to be still and play with only a few toys at a time.
What I didn't realize was that it would hugely benefit our whole family too. Deedo is a very active little guy, constantly going from one thing to the next and continually getting into stuff he shouldn't. Now, when things get a little crazy or out of control, we have the option of a little blanket time to settle things down. It feels like a deep breath for all of us.

Chet and I have both noticed how much Deedo seems to like it - he rarely tries to move off the blanket at all these days. And he knows exactly what I expect from him, which helps bring a little order into the day.
What do you do with your kids (or by yourself) to restore a little calm to your home?