Sunday, February 27, 2011

When life hands you lemons...

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You make lemonade.

But when there is a lemon tree in the backyard overflowing with lemons, you let them fall to the ground and let the kids throw them around as if they were balls. You cut them up and put them in the garbage disposal to make the kitchen smell good. You squeeze them and store the juice in the freezer.  But we've yet to make lemonade!

We decided to go out one afternoon and pick up all the lemons that had fallen to the ground. And there was a lot of them! The kids had a good time...
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By the time we'd picked them all up, Hunter was insistent that he get to eat one. I tried talking him out of it, but he threw a monster fit.  So I gave in. He took one bite, and gave the best puckered face I'd seen in a long time. He then took a napkin and started wiping his tongue, while repeating multiple times, "It hurts, it hurts!"

It was one of the highlights of the day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quote of the day...

Steve and I take turns putting each kid to bed. One night I have Hallie, the next I have Hunter.

I am no nonsense when it comes to bedtime routines. Books are read together in the family room, where we have prayer and songs. I don't give water at bedtime...ever. Steve on the other hand tends to be a little more lenient. He'll sneak back into the kitchen to grab water for Hunter, or I'll hear him singing songs to one of them. It's okay - he doesn't get to spend a whole lot of time with them during the day so he's always willing to bend the rules for them!!

Lately, every time Steve puts Hunter to bed he cries and cries. But not with me. Steve started to see this pattern and was wondering why Hunter doesn't try that on me. I told him, Hunter knows better, he knows I won't give in. Steve started to see the routine has it's advantages, they know what to expect every single night.

So the other night, Steve asked if I would be able to go in to Hunter's room with him and teach him how to put Hunter down for the night. I walked in their did some explaining and started walking out. Steve calls back to me, "Kara, don't leave me alone with him, he'll just manipulate me."

I laughed.

Too late!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BBQ love...

I love holidays. I love decorations. I love the traditions. They're just fun.

However, with all our stuff in storage, it's been harder to get in the holiday spirit.

When Hallie woke up on Valentine's day, Steve's mom wished her a happy Valentine's day. She looked around the kitchen and you could tell she was confused. She expressed that it didn't look like it was Valentine's day! Typically there are hearts hanging everywhere, cute decorated plates and mailboxes, but we had none of it. Lame, I know.

As if it wasn't bad enough that we didn't decorate, we also decided to spend the evening in for Valentine's day with the kids. So we cooked up some delicious kebabs for the grill, served with pineapple cilantro rice and some Brazilian lemonade...it was delicious. It made up for not having our cute table runner and plates! Kind of. Next year I'll make it up to Hallie!

For the kebabs, I took chicken cubes and wrapped them with bacon and put fresh pineapple in between them. Make them a couple hours before dinner and let them marinade in a teriyaki sauce. I always have to do some extra pineapple, because there is nothing more delicious than grilled pineapple!
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The rice is a key component with this meal. Although you can make regular plain, boring white rice, I do not recommend it. Lime cilantro rice with pineapple brings out the flavor of the kebabs much better. (Thank you ourbestbites.com!)

1 cup dry white rice, cooked in 2 C water.
2 T real butter
Juice from 1 large lime, or two smaller ones (taste as you go, I add a lot!)
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained. (You may want 2 small cans or maybe one large can)
½ - ¾ C chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook rice. As soon as it’s done, toss in the butter and stir to melt. Add lime juice, pineapple, and cilantro. Stir to combine, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

The brazilian lemonade was also introduced on the same website as the rice, but we have since altered it. I used to blend limes in a blender, adding sugar and water...yada yada. I then bought Simply Limeade one time. 

Genius. Much better, much easier! 

You take Simply limeade and add sweetened condensed milk. Yes, that is correct, sweetened condensed milk. It makes the limeade slightly milky looking. Shake it well. I tend to add several tablespoons, sometimes more. I like it sweet! Add as much sweetened condensed milk as you'd like, I don't think you can go wrong with that stuff. Granted, I also like to take spoonfuls of it straight from the can. It's that tasty! (This is best if served fresh, not as good the next day.)
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Toys...

When our temporary storage arrived last week, we had just a few toys, including their bikes/trikes/scooters delivered. The kids were over the moon because it had been months since they had thought about these things. It was more like a delayed Christmas, except for easier on the budget!

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A tricycle he had never even been on because he was still a tad too small last summer. He continued to load and unload different things into the back carrier, until he settled on a handful of cereal.
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Seriously. And when he tipped over one time he just about lost it. Some cereal fell to the cement.  There were tears, hands were thrown up in the air, I actually heard an exasperated, "Oh man!" He was comical.
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At first it took some time to figure the trike out. He could pedal backwards just fine, but he had troubles going forward which I remembered happened to Hallie as well. But that didn't stop him from making the rounds on the basketball court, pushing along with his feet. He would periodically check in his little carrier to make sure nothing had fallen out.
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Hallie was content on the plasma car, which is typically Hunter's favorite and she enjoyed ramming the back of his trike as she came up behind him. She would get the desired reaction every time!

We're just so happy the weather has been so beautiful so we can spend this time outside. I know summer is just around the corner and it won't be pretty. So we're taking advantage of bike riding weather in February!
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tender moment...

I was walking down the hallway tonight when I noticed Hunter's bedroom door open. Steve sat on one of the beds hunched over the crib looking at Hunter.

I sat beside him as we both continued our gaze in admiration.

It was a somewhat comical sight.

Hallie picked out his pajamas tonight which were quite small for him and I've been meaning to take them out of the rotation for sometime, but she insisted he wear them tonight. He then lies in a portable sized crib which he is growing out of too quickly but every time we move him to the big boy bed his sleep quality declines rapidly.

So there he slept. Looking like a misplaced giant. And as we watched him, a large grin swept across his face. I'm convinced he was dreaming of Woody from Toy Story because that's the new obsession!

It was a sweet moment. A moment I'm grateful Steve took so I could enjoy it as well. Hunter is growing up way too fast. And before long he'll no longer be our "baby". I'm thinking I need to steal a couple more of those moments from both my children more often.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Once Upon a Time...


Once upon a time, we  packed everything we owned in a U-haul and moved across the country. After several months of searching, we purchased our first house. It wasn’t in the best area…wasn’t updated…but it was affordable, and we were bound and determined to make it our home. I’m happy to report that after completely remodeling and updating that house, it truly felt like home.

But as much as it was home, it was time to move on.

A couple months ago we packed up 2 suitcases a piece and made our way to Arizona leaving everything behind in our house, everything in it’s place. I didn’t say goodbye to friends and I didn’t say goodbye to our house because I knew once we sold the house that I would have to come back. I didn’t know how long that would be, but it was somewhat reassuring knowing I had some time. I hate being rushed.

Not too many weeks ago it became apparent that selling our house was a very near possibility. Our inspection needed to work out and the appraisal needed to come through. In the meanwhile we scheduled our moving company. Fortunately, we were able to have a company come in and pack and disassemble everything, as well as move it and put it into storage for us. I just had to fly out and sort out some long term/short term storage and supervise the packing.

The thought made me anxious and nervous. So much so, that just the day before I was to fly out, Steve asked me about the trip and what I was looking forward to and what I wasn’t. The tears filled my eyes as I explained that I didn’t want to see our house empty. (I blame half the emotion on pregnancy, but the other half was real!) Call me sentimental, but I had a hard time when we left our place in Rexburg 5 years ago. The only difference was that Steve was right beside me, holding my hand with tears in his eyes as well.

I flew in Saturday night and made the decision to stay in our house, in my own bed, with my own pillow for two nights before the movers came and disrupted my stay. It was weird walking back into a perfectly clean and orderly home that still smelled like ours. It had been months but still felt like home.

I worked through many boxes in our storage area trying to locate things that we needed or might need in the next three months with the baby coming and I started making piles that would be delivered to our current house. We were informed that we needed to dig out both our trampoline and play dome or else they wouldn’t be coming with us. 
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So I trudged out into 2 feet of snow and started digging. In hindsight, probably not something a pregnant lady should be taking on, but Steve made it very clear we would not be buying another trampoline if this one didn’t make the move. That was motivation for me to withstand the snow and cold temps and I accomplished my mission!

I spent Sunday evening with some friends watching the Green Bay Packers take home the title of Super Bowl Champs which was a sweet victory for my last hoorah in Wisconsin. 
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Monday morning, three movers showed up. It was a cold day. Miserably cold. In fact the three days they worked on our house were some of the coldest days year to date.

Immediately, the house was chaotic and messy. But they worked efficiently as they emptied every drawer, cupboard and storage space. What would’ve taken me weeks to accomplish they were able to get done in a day and a half. I was more than grateful.

It was then tagged and moved to the truck, which took another day and a half. The beds were taken apart, the shelving units disassembled. They did it all.
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As they drove away from our home at 6 on Wednesday night I was slightly overwhelmed. Had they remembered everything? Would it all arrive in Arizona? How much of it would be damaged? Would they keep straight all the things that needed to go to our temporary residence? They weren’t gone 15 minutes when I realized they failed to grab two boxes. I chased the truck down to ensure they made the journey across country with all our other things.

I then scurried around cleaning. The fridge, stove, microwave, all the floors (which had been thrashed because of the snow that was tracked in), baseboards. It felt good to have peace and quiet with a little Pandora music playing in the background.

And as much as I would’ve loved to have spent more time with friends during my brief visit, I was kept more than busy with the house. Luckily, I spent some time Wednesday night with a group of girls. We ate. We talked. We laughed. It made me realize how blessed I’ve been to have such great friends.
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Before my departure on Thursday morning, I made one last trip to the house. I made a video tour of our empty house for Steve and I walked in and out of each room one more time. I was amazed to see how much had changed in the years since we first walked through it. A lot of time. Money. Labor. Frustration. Love. Personality. It told a story of who we are and what we liked.

It was not as hard as I imagined it would be.

Making my way back to the living room, one of my most favorite songs came on the Pandora station I was listening to. A song I had listened to so many times in that house. And then it hit. I slouched against the wall and cried. And cried.

I cried, not because we were leaving because I know there will be another home, but I cried out of gratitude. This home meant so much to me, and it served its purpose while living there and I was so grateful for that. Grateful for all we had learned and for all the memories that were created in that home. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
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I walked out and locked the door one last time. 

Yet another chapter that has closed in our lives. 
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Seeing all that snow, and knowing I was headed to warmer weather made it just a little bit easier!!




Friday, February 4, 2011

Birthday celebration...

With a birthday in between Christmas and New Years, it's hard to get excited about yet another party. Steve always does a great job about making it a fun and special day, but truth be told: by that point I'm worn out from all the parties.

We started the day with a trip to an indoor trampoline center with all the cousins who were in town. Wall-to-wall trampolines with kids jumping all over the place. Hunter got roughed up more than a couple times and Hallie hurt her leg. All in all a decent trip!
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Steve was able to make it home from work early enough for us to spend the afternoon together at the mall and he was a great sport.

Steve made me a delicious spice cake with cream cheese frosting and we had a scrumptious turkey and potatoes dinner followed by some presents.

Steve got a new little camera for Christmas (after all these years, he is still intimidated by the humongous camera I seem to have attached to my hip!) so now you'll be graced with photos from Steve. Not the best picture quality on the smaller camera, but hopefully an effort to capture even more moments!
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When Steve asked for a list of Christmas/Birthday "wishes" I willingly provided a number of things, and not surprisingly the list contained a number of tools. Big tools, small tools, power tools. I explained to Steve what each one was used for as he carefully wrote details on a small piece of paper. For Christmas I received a Kreg Jig; which I am more than excited to start using as soon as I'm reunited with my tools. For my birthday I received a Dremel tool. One might wonder what I would need this for, the possibilities are really endless. I've borrowed this from our neighbor countless times for a number of projects, and now I have my very own!!
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It was a good day and I was so happy to share it with the people I love!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Midwest Storms...

The midwest is getting hammered with snowstorms and I can't help but think of our family and friends as well as our somewhat deserted home in Milwaukee. Wisconsin has some beautiful springs, summers and falls but the winters can be downright brutal. I remember multiple times seeing the news, hearing the warnings and thinking to myself, "Can it really be as bad as their saying?"

Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn't.

But when the weather people were right, it was no fun.
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Milwaukee storm of 1947, 18.1 inches. Yowsers!!

Suddenly I would remember everything I needed at the grocery store and yet I wouldn't be able to get out of the driveway. My lovely neighbors would snow blow our walks multiple times during the day which I was more than grateful for because I don't like to be cold. But even worse than being cold is snow blowing in your face at 40 mph. Yes, it blew that hard.

The only advantage to these large snowstorms was the road conditions being too miserable for anybody to get to work so most everything shut down. Steve of course delighted in these days. He'd throw on some comfy clothes, pull out the "Coco-motion" and station himself in front of the television for a good movie. Of course, gearing up every two hours or so for yet another round of shoveling. They were typically very long days. But the sight out our front window was beautiful. The snow was beautiful and perfect, and untouched.

Hallie said, "Mom, I really miss Wisconsin." I was thinking maybe it was her bed, her toys, her friends...she claims she missed the snow. Seriously? She was the worst about it. I'd bundle her all up and send her out the door only to have her come back moments later because her nose was cold. But she still claims she misses it.

However, she's fully enjoying the wonderful weather we've been experiencing, and frankly, snow is the last thing on her mind when she's jumping all over the place on the trampoline!
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