Sunday, December 30, 2007

Obligatory Christmas Letter and Happy New Year!



As we finish up 2007 and look into the new year, we wanted to share how the year has gone for each of us and how God has changed us these last 12 months. So often Christmas letters are all about what we have done, but really it's more important to look at what God has allowed us to do, and how He has changed us over the year. (Okay, I "stole" this concept from Pastor JD here).

Amelia- I started out 2007 as a bean-sized version in Mommy's belly and she selflessly gave me nourishment until I decided to be born in August. So far I really like it on the outside, although some days (like when Caley jumps on me) I wonder why I wanted to leave my home before this one. But the locals are pretty nice, Daddy is really funny and he tickles me, Mommy still gives me nourishment but I have to work harder than before. The little one, Caley, is my best friend. She loves me even though she can be rough. One time she climbed in my crib and it was a nice wake-up call, it made me laugh.

Caley- I'm not sure what I did to deserve to have my world turned upside down when Amelia was born. That was a big shock. I thought Mommy and Daddy meant I would get a new doll when they said Mommy had a baby in her tummy. But it turns out the world is pretty good on the other side. Amelia is really cool and I love to sing to her and play with her. She always laughs at my jokes and so far she doesn't steal my toys. Also this year I learned how to potty in the toilet and now I'm a big girl! When I potty in the toilet I get tattoos and they're really cool.

Addie- God changed me a lot this year, it's all the process of sanctification I guess. Having two kids is a lot harder, yet more rewarding, than just one. God has changed my heart on a few issues and (I hope) made me a better person, although I am reminded daily of how much I still need Jesus (thanks Caley). I've learned that being a wife and a mom are my primary callings right now and it's a relief to not have the burdening question of "what am I going to be?" Hopefully the momentum will continue!

Billy- video

Our hopes for 2008 are that God would continue to change us for the better and give us much for which to be thankful!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas--Jesus is born!

Merry Christmas! Thank you Jesus for coming to the earth in such a miraculous way and for allowing us to live and celebrate your birth! We had a wonderful Christmas and it feels like it's lasted many days because we did the Gerlach side on Sunday, our own little Christmas on Monday, and the Bales side on Tuesday. We also celebrated Uncle Davey and Papa Bales' birthday. Later Christmas day we hosted the Runyan and Noorda family and made cornish hens with cranberry thyme sauce, wild rice pilaf with pecans, and haricots verts (green beans) and red pepper.

Here's a little picture of how we celebrated this season.











video

Cornish game hen with double-cranberry and thyme sauce

3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound Cornish game hen, halved, backbone removed, rinsed, patted dry
1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup white grape juice
1/3 cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F. Blend 2 tablespoons butter, sugar, and 2 teaspoons thyme in small bowl. Sprinkle hen halves with salt and pepper. Spread skin of each with half of butter mixture. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add hen halves, skin side down. Sear until deep brown, about 4 minutes. Turn, skin side up, and sear 1 minute. Remove from heat. Transfer hen halves, skin side up, to small rimmed baking sheet. Reserve skillet (mixture will be dark). Roast hen halves until cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with fork, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon flour in small bowl. Add broth, grape juice, cranberry concentrate, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme to reserved skillet. Boil until sauce is reduced to 3/4 cup, whisking often, about 7 minutes. Whisk in flour mixture and cranberries. Simmer until sauce coats spoon, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer hen halves to plates. Spoon sauce over and serve.

Sauteed haricots verts, red bell peppers, and almonds

1 1/2 pounds haricots verts (or other slender green beans), trimmed

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-size red bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup almonds, toasted

Preparation

Cook haricots verts in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water to cool quickly and drain again.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers; sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add butter to same skillet; melt. Add garlic; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add haricots verts. Sauté until heated through, about 5 minutes. Mix in nuts; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl.


Wild rice and toasted pecan pilaf


1 cup pecan halves, chopped coarse
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and sliced thin lengthwise
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups wild rice (about 1 pound), rinsed well in several changes of water and drained
4 1/2 cups chicken broth

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small baking pan toss the pecans with the butter, the thyme, and the salt until they are coated well and toast them in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, or until they are crisp and fragrant.

In a flameproof casserole cook the onion and the bell pepper in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until they are just softened, and with a slotted spoon transfer them to a bowl. Add the rice to the casserole and cook it, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the broth, heated to boiling, and salt and pepper to taste and bring the mixture to a boil. Bake the mixture, covered, in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes. Stir in the onion mixture, bake the pilaf, covered, for 30 minutes more, or until the rice is tender and the broth has been absorbed, and stir in the pecans.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Amelia's rolling!

Here's a cute clip of Amelia showing off her new rolling skills! We didn't expect her to do this so soon, because Caley didn't roll over until 8 months or something. She was a little motor delayed, not that you'd be able to tell now! Enjoy! video

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Welcome baby!

It's been a few weeks but I still wanted to post a welcome to our new nephew Mason! He was born November 29 at 4:25 pm. This is Matt and Becky's 3rd child, and Bill's parents 13th grandchild. We think he looks like Teija in this picture. Welcome Mason! You are already loved by so many!


November 29 at 4:25 pm. He weighed 8 lbs 2 oz, 20 inches long.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

In Sickness and in Health


Saturday morning I (Addie) woke up with a stomachache and just felt awful all around. Around 1030 I got up and felt the vomit coming on, and woke up a few minutes later on the floor. Apparently I had passed out and hit my head on the floor! Thankfully Bill was there and helped me recover the rest of the day, all the while taking care of both kids AND cleaning the kitchen! Thank you Jesus for giving me the best husband for me. And he's a hottie too!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snowbabies

Saturday we got a big surprise when it started to snow! Caley was so excited and wanted to play in it and eat it. Last year she was more afraid of the snow than anything so it was fun that she actually likes it now. She made a snowman with Daddy and had a snowball fight. Amelia wanted to play too but her snowsuit was a little constricting, like Ralphie's little brother Randy in "A Christmas Story." Maybe next year she'll have a snowball fight with Caley and Daddy too.



video

Thursday, November 22, 2007

From the whole family


Because it's Thanksgiving, I feel obliged to post a "what are you thankful for" post. So here's ours:

Caley- Mommy, Daddy, Amelia, and Jesus
Addie- That Caley is potty training, that Amelia is healthy, that Bill is a hottie, and for coffee
Amelia- Mommy's milk jugs
Billy- Addie's milk jugs

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Caley's Take on Plumbing

While flushing the toilet, Caley waves to the water and "other stuff" and says, "Bye bye poopy! See you at church!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Facing the Fear of the Mirror


Up until very recently, I had a fear of mirrors (eisoptrophobia). Well, maybe not a diagnosed phobia, but mirrors (especially at night) really freaked me out. When we were first married and lived in the townhouse we had mirror on the wall. Then we made the mistake of seeing "The Ring"in the theater. In that movie there was a scary scene where the dead people were in the mirrors. That movie seriously haunted me for many years. Now even recalling it makes me have goosebumps (and it doesn't help that where I'm sitting right now there's a mirror behind me). Anyway, after that movie, I couldn't stand having that mirror in our room. So much that I would stay in bed even if I woke up to go to the bathroom, just so I wouldn't have to walk past the mirror. We eventually redecorated our bedroom in that house and the mirror had to go. But it still left me a little afraid of the dark, sad, I know. How old am I? When Caley was born I had to face my fear of the dark to nurse her at night, and slowly that fear is going away thank you Jesus.

Last summer our friend Melana had an awesome art show of art and mirrors at fantastic prices. We stocked up, and also got a few mirrors. Bill talked me into it, but I told him the mirrors couldn't be anywhere I might walk at night tending to the baby. So we put one in the dining room, and I think it looks really nice since I only see it during the day.

We got another big mirror and after a few weeks Bill put it in our room. I was very hesitant. He reasoned that it's been a few years and the mirror wasn't going to get me. So we started by turning it backwards just so I could get used to it. Then after a few days we turned it around and that's where it is now. I have to walk past it at night when I feed Amelia. I try not to look at it, and so far it's working.

Now the only rule is that we never watch "The Ring" again because then the mirror will have to go.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More blog happiness!

This blog is so fun!

For the grandparents, Amelia's new tricks!

video video

Monday, November 12, 2007

The weather matches my mood right now

It's rainy and cold outside and all I want to do is curl up on the couch and watch movies and fall asleep. I've contracted some kind of sickness and this day hasn't been the best. At least the girls are behaving well and I'm feeling well enough to be kind of normal. I did a load of dishes, which does more for my self-worth than you may think. I'm really praying that the kids and Bill don't get sick, with God's grace they won't.
I've been meaning to post the girls in their Halloween costumes. Caley was a Chinese doll and Amelia was a rockstar. We went to storytime on Halloween and all the kids were dressed up and it was fun. So enjoy these pictures!




Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Vocab a la Caley


spicy

1: having the quality, flavor, or fragrance of spice2: producing or abounding in spices3: lively, spirited4: piquant, racy; especially : somewhat scandalous or salacious <spicy gossip>
spic·i·ly \-sə-lē\ adverb
spic·i·ness \-sē-nəs\ noun


As used in a sentence by Caley:

"My poop is too spicy!"

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Whoa! I didn't know Mom and Dad could sing!


We had a fun weekend! To celebrate Bill's mom's birthday and his parents anniversary, we went to a karaoke bar in Birch Bay. Bill and I were the only ones who sang though, but it was still really fun. We did a duet of "California Dreamin", and then I sang "Bette Davis Eyes" and "Forever in Blue Jeans" and Bill sang "Teddy Bear" by Elvis. The bar was small and we didn't know anyone except Bill's family so it's not like we were risking making fools out of ourselves and having people know us. Of course it helped that we also had a few drinks which made us less inhibited. Next time we'll practice our songs more so we knock the socks off of our fellow karaokians (that sounds too much like Kevorkian).




Thursday, November 01, 2007

You Might Be a Housewife...

if you like the "vacuum lines" so much you take pictures and post them on your blog.




Or maybe, in this case, "housewife" is a synonym for "insane."

:)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkins!


It was a busy weekend! We got rid of the hot tub! Maybe Bill will post about that sometime.
We celebrated my birthday a bit and did a little Halloween stuff too. Bill got me a digital camera
and some cool scrapbooking/cardmaking stuff. My parents got me some awesome teaching materials from Lakeshore and a pretty locket necklace. Sunday afternoon we went to the YMCA "Trick or Trunk." Caley dressed as a Chinese doll and Amelia was a little bunny. Caley got some candy and lots of little tattoos which will hopefully help her relearn to poop in the toilet! I spoke a little too soon in the last post, she's still learning. Thankfully though she's got the pee part down. Thank you Jesus. We also carved some pumpkins! Enjoy these pictures.

Caley and Captain Jack!!





Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Poop in the Potty, Poop Goes in the Potty...

Caley's trained! Yay! I'm sure she'll have the occasional accident, but for practical purposes she's potty trained! She finally picked up going #2 in the toilet on Sunday, then had an accident Monday, but on Tuesday went in the toilet three times! On Sunday when she went, I told her she'd get a surprise after her nap and it was making cupcakes and frosting them. She helped put the ingredients together, pouring the batter, and then frosting them. It was really fun and an educational activity too. After that we told her if she went in the toilet, she'd get to have a cupcake.
I feel kind of bad rewarding with food, but if that's what she needs to get motivated at first, that okay. Thankfully she normally only poops once a day.

So that's the exciting news in our house. She is growing up so fast, sometimes it feels like she doesn't even need me and Bill around to help her do stuff. Now if she'd learn to do her laundry (and mine!) and drive herself around I'd be totally obselete.




Amelia's happy about it too!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Update

Amelia is 1 month old today, and the past month has just flown by. I'm sure I'll be saying the same thing in 10 years, and I know it's cliche but time really does fly when you're having fun. Amelia is becoming a bit more predictable and we're all sleeping enough most of the time. I can't believe Caley is close to being 3, she amazes me in so many ways.

The new thing this week is potty training, which we've been attempting for the last year or so, but now she's finally getting it. It's like something has finally clicked in her brain and she's able to control her body more. On Sunday night this week I told her that Monday would be "no diaper day" and it was, until about 1pm when I'd had enough of her deliberately peeing in her training pants. I got mad and was very unChrist-like to say the least. By the evening I had calmed down and she had a few successes. So for the rest of this week when we were home she wore training pants and a diaper when we were out. I have tried to take her potty often, sometimes practically forcing her to sit on the toilet for the count of ten. We also have been really reinforcing when she does go potty and especially when she initiates. If she pees she gets a stamp like before, but after 5 stamps she gets to choose from the prize basket. Now we are starting to especially reinforce when she is dry. It's just seemed to click for her though, and it's about time! Yay for Caley! She may have a few accidents now and then, but at least the potty training is underway.



We visited Astoria last weekend for my parents 30th wedding anniversary. They had a big party and it was a lot of fun. They even had a cake just like their wedding cake. My aunt and uncle from Wyoming even came. Caley had fun playing with Jesse and she even went to a football game. Actually Amelia went too, and we got to see a movie! I was really nervous that she would get hungry and we'd get called out of the movie (she hasn't had a bottle yet) but she slept the whole time! Thanks Mom and Dad! By the way, The Borne Ultimatum rocks!In the words of my friend Kathleen, "Jason Borne is a badass". http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/bourne_ultimatum/

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Girls

I can't seem to figure out Shutterfly, it's not letting me upload any pictures, it just crashes. So here are a few recent pictures of our girls.
Caley has lately loved practicing to be a mommy...she reads to Ernie and Grover...

Gives them milk...

Then tucks them in for night-night...


Complete with Yellow Blankie!


She also likes to read to Amelia!



Amelia likes to sleep--a lot.