Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Poppy!

Paul's grandpa had his 85th birthday on Saturday. We had a party for him at the in-laws. Paul's cousin Rachel was in town from Colorado for the weekend and it was great to see her. This was the first time she met Garrett.

The party went well. Rachel and I went to breakfast the next morning. I met some new extended family. Everyone loved Garrett. It was a fun weekend!

And a little fun fact that we figured out this weekend. On my mom's side there are 35 grandchildren and Garrett is the 35th great-grandchild, (we already knew that), and on Paul's mom's side there are 7 grandchildren and Garrett is the 7th great-grandchild. Cool, huh!?

Here are some pictures of the fun.

Meeting Rachel.Playing with Dad.The cupcakes and cakes I made for Poppy.The cutest baby ever, enjoying the party.Family pictures...well, some of the family.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The zoo post that's all about the stroller.

Before I was a stroller owner I heard from 2 different moms that as soon as you own one, or are in the market for one, you spend a lot of time looking at other peoples strollers. I thought it sounded crazy, and maybe it is, but I do it now.

We've stopped using the car seat attachment and have switched to the seat. Garrett loves being forward facing and seeing whats happening around him. I love the seat!

Our day at the zoo gave me more than enough stroller validation. I was really, really surprised at how many women talked about our stroller and how much they loved it. Paul even heard a couple guys talk about what a cool stroller it is. And I think one lady even woke up a couple koala bears because she was so excited about it.

I've seen a couple other strollers I like, and have even second guessed our choice a couple times, but after 5 hours of pushing it around, I felt good about it. It's the City Select Baby Jogger. It converts to a double stroller, so if we have another child while Garrett is still stroller age, it'll be great! It fits a car seat, a regular seat, or a bassinet. We almost bought the bassinet for it but I'm glad we didn't because the seat reclines at 4 levels and one of the levels is flat and ends up working like the bassinet would. You can do so many combinations: 2 car seats, 2 seats, a car seat and a seat, everything forward facing, everything back facing, one forward/one back facing, you get the idea.

The single car seat way. (when G was about 4 days old.)
The single seat way.And here are a few different combos. Our stroller is light gray. It comes in gray, black and red. I almost went with black but decided it might be too hot, and I think black fabric fades faster and looks old quicker. I knew I didn't want red, but I'm still a little worried about gray getting dirty. But, whatever. Baby stuff gets dirty.My only complaint about this stroller is that cup holders don't come standard. I kept forgetting to order them, but I finally did and I'm just waiting for them to come in.

So there's my unpaid plug for City Select. Any free stuff they'd like to send me as a thank you would be fine.

Also, San Diego Zoo stroller etiquette is MUCH better than Disneyland stroller etiquette. Just sayin.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

cars cars

My VW Jetta has been in California for almost 3 months. And it hasn't moved for 3 months. If you have a car that hasn't been driven in a month, let alone 3 months, you probably don't need it. Paul walks to work. (that flight of stairs he goes down is killer) So I have our Explorer all day. And I don't use it that much either. There are several places Garrett and I walk to during the day when we go out, and in the evening we're usually all together. If there was a situation where we both needed to be in different places at the same time, my in-laws have 4 or 5 cars and we could probably borrow one, (but it hasn't happened yet) and if I'm gone during the day and Paul has somewhere to be there's a couple company vehicles he can use.

I never thought we'd be a one car family, but I think we might be soon. At least for a while. My hope is that (and Paul doesn't know this) but I'm hoping that if we get rid of the Jetta then maybe toward the end of the year we'll trade the Explorer in for something bigger and eventually get a little old run-around car.

Now we just need to sell the jetta...sigh...I hate dealing with cars.

Also, I've decide to label my blog. I'm going through every single post I've ever written, and labeling it. I've been telling myself for about a year that I should start. But I never did. So now I'm going to do it. It'll probably take me several months, but I'm going to try. I've thought a lot about posts that I remember writing that I want to look up, or a recipe I posted that I want to make again and have no idea when I wrote it, etc. So that's my new project... Well, one of them.

And one other thing, Paul and I have had several conversations about making this blog (and Garrett's blog) private. The conversation started before we moved to California, and its just come up again the past couple days. If I do it, I will put reminders up for about a month before it happens so I can get everyones email addresses and invite you to be a reader. More thoughts and that later, but for now, don't worry.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

San Diego Zoo

Paul got a couple free tickets to the San Diego zoo that needed to be used by the end of March. So, yesterday morning we headed down and spent the day at the Zoo. It was so much fun. Garrett seemed to enjoy it too. We were there for five hours and we saw just about everything there was to see.Garrett's favorites were the elephants and the fish. He's such a people watcher so he was a lot more interested in watching other kids play and people walk by. But he was happy the whole time, so I'm not complaining!(Click the collages to make them bigger.)

We stayed at a hotel and came home this afternoon. We slept in, had breakfast at the hotel, Garrett and I took a nap, we did some shopping, wandered around a bit, and stopped for lunch on our was home. It was a great couple of days. Paul and I decided we need to do stuff like this more often. It's nice to get away!He's such an easy little guy to have around.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

games

I love playing games. My family is a game playing family. When we go on vacation we spend a lot of time playing games. And on Sunday evenings after dinner at my parents house that's what we always do. My grandparents, who live less than a mile from my parents love games too, and whenever we visit them it usually ends with games. My mom and I always buy new games at Christmas time, but we always seem to go back to our favorite 3 or 4 games, and they are all card games.

Playing games is something I didn't realize how much I'd miss. When my brother and his wife came to visit, we played games almost every night. I loved it.

I hope Paul and I, in the years to come, have a game playing family. It's a very inexpensive way to have fun and spend time together.

But what sparked this post was a friend of a friends blog. She was writing about their families monthly game night with neighbors and about how the adults play 'Settlers of Catan' the whole evening. Have you ever played that game??

I HATE IT!

I've been unfortunate enough to have a boyfriend, a group of friends, and a couple we had dinner with a couple times in Utah who LOVE this game.

It's so boring, and long, and confusing, and boring. And people who like this game REALLY like it and are so into building homes and roads, and having land and growing stuff, or whatever. I couldn't even begin to explain it. I have to re-learn it every time I play. But every time I've played, which is probably 7 or 8 times, I ALWAYS win. I don't even care about strategies. I watch the other players who are so into it and focus so hard on the smartest move. (Maybe that's why I hate it, no one talks or has fun because they are so serious and focused on their next move.) I always do what looks easiest, or the most colorful place to move, or grow or build. Or I try to make designs with the roads without a bit of care about what it earns me or where it gets me, and I take 1st place every. single. time. It blows peoples minds.

Now that I've written this, I'm making a public vow to never play again. Mainly because I hate it. But also because I'd probably lose now that I've talked about always winning.

This is a picture of the game. It looks boring, right?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The (boring) one about baby food.

I got a Beaba Babycook. I really love it. I've had it for almost a month, and I just used it for the first time yesterday. It's so easy to use.

I know I could make baby food without this little machine, but I don't know if I would if it wasn't this easy. All you do is cube the food, put it in the steamer basket, turn it on, and walk away. About 15 minutes later the steamer shuts off and the food is perfect. You dump it from the basket to the grinder, grind for about 10 seconds, scoop it to the freezers trays, and its done.After discounts and coupons I think we paid about $90 for it, but it'll pay for itself pretty quick!

This pack of Gerber food was a little over a dollar. I made 11 times this much food for $1.91, and mine is fresh and organic! I started with sweet potatoes and peas. I'm looking forward to trying other stuff. It also came with a recipe book that shows you different combinations of food to try. I'll get fancy in a month or so, but for now we're just trying one thing at a time every few days.

I will say though, last night I had a salad and I fed bites of avocado from it to Garrett for dinner. I'm looking forward to the day when he can eat what Paul and I are eating. Sometimes this feeding thing can be messy and time consuming. It's fun though.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zuppa Toscana, OG style.

I love The Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. I've started always ordering the all you can eat soup, salad and bread sticks. I always eat 2 bowls of soup and sometimes I ask for a 3rd and then I waste it. I just don't want it to end.

It took me forever to figure out what the green leafy stuff is in it and I hate to ask because I don't want them to think I'm trying to steel their recipe, but then I remembered that the internet exists and I can find just about everything I need. I found a recipe that I thought seemed about right. I learned the dark green stuff in kale. I'd never heard of it or seen it in grocery stores. Never looked, but never remember seeing it.

Last Tuesday we were at the Huntington Beach farmers market and a guy was selling it for a dollar a bunch. I bought it, found the recipe again online, went shopping for the rest of what I needed, and today I made it. And I'm really surprised at how close it is to the real thing! I love it! Here's the recipe, pictures I took along the way, and my own notes/changes at the bottom.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 Tbsp bacon pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale

1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.3. Add chicken bouillon and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.5. Add the heavy cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.

6. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!Sauté is a fancy word for fry slowly. I used minced garlic, I couldn't find pureed, I don't know that it matters. I used sausage links and peeled the link wrap stuff off before I cooked it. Next time I'll search until I find straight up ground Italian sausage. I used real bacon, bacon bits. I didn't want fatty bacon. I'm guessing the recipe means bacon bits, but at first I almost bought a package of bacon to cook. Check your potatoes, it says 30 minutes but mine were perfect in about 19. When I added the sausage at the end I got some orange fat residue on the top of my soup. Still yummy, but next time I'll probably lightly rinse it, instead of just letting the fat drain off. Pull the leafy stuff off when preparing your kale and throw the middle stem part away, I included the 2 kale pictures so you can see what I had as a "bunch" and also how I chopped it. I left the skins on the potatoes. I usually don't really like russet skins, but the OG leaves them on, so I did, and its yummy. Oh and I should say I tripled the recipe so Paul can take it to work to share with his co-workers tomorrow, that's why it looks like a lot. This recipe serves 6-8.So Yummy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

5 little ditties

1. I hate daylight savings. Always have. But I hate it more with a kid.

2. Garrett sleeps on his stomach now. I'm not a fan, but I can't stop him, he does it on his own. He seems to sleep better and longer. I seem to sleep worse and less.

3. Garrett played with a puppy tonight at a friends barbecue. It was so cute. The puppy didn't mind getting his eyes poked and ears tugged on. And Garrett thought it was pretty funny. It made me want a puppy. Nothing cuter than a baby and a puppy. If we had a yard it would be pretty easy for me to be talked into getting a puppy.

4. I'll be in Utah for a week-ish in 2 months. It seems like so far away. I'm a little homesick. It helps that Mara and Aron are coming to visit for Easter, and my mom and her 3 sisters are coming a couple days after that.

5. I gave up fast food for lent. Paul gave up "live TV". (wimp) Convenient for him, we have a DVR, and if that isn't enough, we just got Netflix for Wii tonight. It's pretty awesome, and it was my idea. I just wish I could make a cheese burger come out of my TV.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Utah Visitors and Utah Visit.

My brother, Scott, and his wife, Laura, came to visit for a week. It was so much fun to have them here! If I had to sum up their trip, I would say we shopped and we ate. My sister-in-law loves to shop and we spent a lot of time doing it. Antiques, clothes, decorations, more clothes... We also went to Balboa Island, Huntington Beach and Hollywood. We did Hollywood on Oscar day. We saw the red carpet, but we left before any stars arrived. We also spent a lot of the evenings watching TV and playing games. Such a fun week. I just love these two.
He loves the attention from Uncle Scott.All shopped out.What are you looking for G?!Loving the moby wrap."I'd like to thank the academy. But mostly I'd like to thank my mom for all the hard work she does for me..."It was weird going to Utah as a visitor. But it was a good trip. Garrett and I flew to Utah on Wednesday morning with Scott and Laura.Garrett did great on the flight. He slept during takeoff, ate and entertained the lady across the isle during the flight, and watched out the window during landing. I was a little worried about his first flight, but I didn't need to be, he did great.

Utah was full of time with family, friends, a new bed, and lots of baby boys.Hanging out with Uncle Dave.
Trying his first lemon at Applebee's. I'm so mean.
I spent an afternoon with Deborah and her brand new little man, Conner.Dad got to Utah friday evening and Garrett was so happy to see him.We had a barbecue with friends and we tried to get a picture of all our boys. Garrett, my little social butterfly wanted to hold hands with David and he was not having it. I love the faces on the boys in this little series of pictures.My mom made these fabric panels to fit in a room divider my dad and I built last year. I finally bought fabric and my mom made them. There are 3 total. I need to paint them and put hinges on them. I'm really happy with how they turned out. We also made a ton of dried fruit. Mangos, and peach, strawberry, and apricot fruit leather. Yummy and healthy.On our way out of town we stopped to see our friends, Matt and Dana, the best thing we got out of our bradley class. We spent 12 mondays with these two and it was so good to get to know them and become such good friends. And our little guys finally got to meet! They were born three weeks apart. I love their little J man, such a sweet little guy.
And if you made it this far, (congrats), I'll end with this video of Garrett getting scared and excited to see his dad. (Sorry its kind of dark.) Oh, and pics of our new bed coming soon.

video