Friday, December 28, 2007

Matthew's First Ten Years

Matthew turns ten years old this week! I've updated and improved his photo montage as part of celebrating his birthday. I am so thankful to God for His many blessings to our family over the years!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Notes

Christmas Reading:

Evan finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy in short order. Matthew received some Redwall books for Christmas which enticed him away from Middle Earth. I told him that he did not have to finish the trilogy, but he pointed out that since he's already read 600 pages, he might as well finish. He just needed a break. In fact, I spotted him reading The Adventures of Bobby Racoon by Thornton Burgess and Evan sped through four books from the Sugar Creek Gang. They have wide-ranging tastes!

Christmas Toys:

My dad commissioned Aunt Beth to play Mrs. Claus and procur a toy vacuum for Logan. We put batteries in the toy, but took them out again after Logan cried, "No, no, no, no, no!" every time it got switched on. He can make his own, non-threatening vacuum noises, thank you very much.

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James and I gave Evan and Matthew the joint gift of a programmable robot to their delight and to Logan's fright. The poor kid thinks that the bot is out to get him.

Christmas seemed anticlimactic to Sophie due to her parents' absentmindedness. James bought Sophie a bike which we meant to take out of the back of the van and hide. When I got in the van to ride to church Sunday morning, Sophie sweetly asked me, "Is that my purple bike with butterflies on the wheels?" Sigh. And Merry Christmas.

Christmas-Time Play:

The day after Christmas, the boys stormed the neighborhood, shoveling even the neighbors' driveways. Their motives were purely mercenary as they dumped the snow into our yard to build another fort. Last week, we watched on in disgust as someone in a white Toyota truck intentionally drove repeatedly over the previous fort that the kids had built in the center of the cul-de-sac. We decided that, as the driver didn't exactly check to see whether any children inhabited the fort before he worked his destruction, the kids should build all future forts in our yard... Even Logan enjoyed dragging a shovel around, while Sophie rode her bike in the snow.

Kids In Cupboards: 1970, 1999, 2006

Jam0001 Matthew 18
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fa la la la Loo

Friday evening, our family and nine other friends braved the cold to go caroling in our neighborhood. After singing at eight or nine houses, we sat by the fire, warming up with hot cider and popcorn.

Logan apparently liked the idea of caroling. We caught him the next day singing in a rather unorthodox setting...


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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Marvelous Milestones

Please indulge me while I muse over Logan's latest milestones. I'm his mom and this is my blog.

What baby book?!

Logan is 17 months now and a delight to our whole family. He is saying many understandable words, not strung together, but plenty of them. He calls James "Daddy" and calls me "Mom." Just this past week he started saying "Matthew" quite clearly. Today he examined the, um, shiny things on my shirt design --I have no idea what exactly they are-- and said " 'parkle." He likes to poke people in the face, saying "no'e" and "eye." Today he said "water." When he wants something, he knows now to say "P'ease." For awhile "no" meant yes and no, but he switched to saying " 'kay" for yes.

He certainly warmed my heart this week when he began giving us kisses. Real kisses, not just slobbers!

He climbs up on chairs, benches, couches, testing me to see if I'll let him stand on the furniture, then sitting tall as if he's thinking, "I'm such a big boy!"

The piano teacher even noticed Logan's singing recently, remarking that he bobs in time to the piano music, but also sometimes softly cooing along with his baby voice.

A week ago, James took the day off to run the gauntlet get family portraits (yeah, yeah ~ the first time since Sophie was 6 months old) and to take the family to the zoo. We arrived at the zoo in late afternoon and had the place mostly to ourselves, speaking of humans, of course. Logan rode in the Ergo on my back and stared open-eyed at animals that he had only been introduced to in books. In the feline house, a tiger paced back and forth next to the glass. I matched the big cat's pacing in front of the cage with Logan growling on my back. I like to watch the baby watching the animals! We spent the most time with the giraffes, observing the feeding time and laughing at the baby giraffes cavorting about the the cage. Finally, when evening deepened into night, we strolled through the zoo admiring the thousands of twinkling Christmas lights decorating the park. Frosty, but fun.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Please Give My New Recipe a Name Tuscan Country Dinner

...or I'll just call it Roasted Vegetables with Sausage.

(If my dad were to name this dish, he would list all the ingredients in the title, just to warn folks. I'm sure that I would veto that idea.)

I'm not generally creative with food. I cook from recipes, though I am adventurous enough to modify them. However, tonight I put together a new recipe on my own that I will definitely be cooking again:

Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg. chicken apple sausage (I like Applegate Farms brand the best.)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 pkg. bacon or turkey bacon (I used Hormel bacon that says gluten free on the label. Jennie-O turkey bacon which is also gluten free, would be another option if you have to concern yourself with such things.)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard or green chard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 yam
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2-4 red peppers
  • olive oil
  • dried rosemary
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Peel the yam and cut into bite-sized pieces. Fill a saucepan partway with water and bring to a boil with the yam. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10-15 minutes until yam is tender but not mushy, then drain.
  3. While the yam is cooking, break the cauliflower into florets, discarding the large stem, and cut the peppers into bite-sized chunks.
  4. Combine the yam, cauliflower, and pepper pieces in a large shallow roasting pan without the rack. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices to taste. (I did not measure spice amounts; just sprinked.)
  5. Roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. The vegetables will brown nicely. Don't be afraid of some blackened spots here and there. :)
  6. Wash and tear the chard, setting aside.
  7. While the veggies are roasting, dice the onion and bacon and fry in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Cut the sausage into rounds while the bacon and onions cook, adding the sausage when the bacon is just about done to brown it slightly.
  8. Add the chard to the skillet and toss with the meat mixture. Add the water. Cover and simmer for ~10 minutes.
  9. When the veggies are roasted, add them to the skillet. Mix well and serve. If your skillet is not large enough, add the sausage and chard to the roasting pan instead to serve.

This served our family of six. Let me know if you try this! :)

Christmas Program: Ukrainian Bell Carol

Sophie and Kristin:


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The boys did not play specifically Christmas music, but they performed their current piano pieces. Click on the thumbnails to watch the videos:

Mattpiano Evpiano

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Program: Lucy's Debut

Five-year old Lucy, daughter of Max and Nancy, played publicly for the first time last evening at our church Christmas program. I enjoyed her playing so much that I asked her mom for permission to post this video:


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Friday, December 07, 2007

Photo of the Day

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One afternoon this week, during Logan' nap, I read Shadow Hawk to Evan, Matthew and Sophie for two hours while they strung popcorn and cranberries for our tree garland. I usually feel humbuggy about Christmas goings-on, but we have decorated more than usual this year. We once again borrowed a pre-lit tree from my aunt which the kids decorated all by themselves. Their popberry garland added just the right finishing touch. After a short period of coaching, Logan learned to admire the tree with his eyes only.

Dropshots seems to be working again now. New video clips can be found in the sidebar ~ not stellar quality, but they do capture some entertaining toddler personality.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

German Ingenuity

James alerted me to this video, and I'm posting it especially for the enjoyment of my nephews among others.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Johanna's Wedding

Two Handsome Men:

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Relative Row:

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The Dashing Dad and Beautiful Bride:

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