Thursday, September 30, 2010

School, Games and Noodles

 We had a bit of a relapse with school today but hopefully it is just temporary! Samuel has really been adjusting well the past 2 weeks, getting into routine and gaining confidence as a kindergartner.  It's easy to relax and forget that transition is so difficult for him to process and it doesn't take much to shake his feelings of stability.

The cuprit this time? A guest teacher. It wasn't even for his regular teacher (that comes mon or tues, unfortunately); it was his theatre teacher. He completely fell apart this morning before we left for school, crying over the slightest thing and just a mess:( His teacher let me walk him up to class since I told her he was pretty emotional this morning. She was really surprised, obviously falling into the same false sense of security that we have developed these past couple of weeks.

Sometimes we forget that he is only 5 years old! That's really not that old! Anyways, she was very sweet with him and I came back to give him more kisses after dropping off Zakkai. I know he'll be okay. He just needs to learn, with help, how to handle changes and transitions.

And it has only been 4 weeks since school started. I'd say my little/big brave guy is doing a great job! Oh and he read his FIRST whole book tonight!! :)
Zakkai brought home a game from preschool yesterday that he LOVES! His teacher made it up for him and they call it the "race game." We've played it MANY times with him the past couple of days:)
And this is dinner.
Good dinner.
Dinner that met with the approval of the main man around here and his sidekicks. As a matter of fact, Z said, "This is GOOD, mommy!" as he gobbled up his second bowl:) It really makes me happy when my guys are happy!

Chicken And Noodles
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4- 1/2 cup water
48 oz (or more!) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp italian seasoning

1. For the noodles: In a lg bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour. Beat together egg and egg yolks in a small bowl. Pour eggs into well and stir together. Add water, 1 TB at a time until mixture forms a ball. On a well-floured surface, knead the dough (adding flour) until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Divide dough into four equal parts. Roll out each portion on the floured suface to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 1/4-1/2 inch wide strips. Let noodles dry for 2 hours. Cut into 2-3 inch-long strips.

3. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot. Add noodles, chicken and seasoning. Boil gently for 12-15 minutes or until noodles are tender and broth is just slightly thickened. Serve plain or over mashed potatoes!

*My broth didn't thicken so I ended up mixing some of the broth with about 1/4 cup flour and stirring it back into the chicken and noodles to thicken it up a bit. SO good!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's Reading Time!!

Samuel is learning to read!! He gets LOTS (and lots) of homework from school and by the looks of it, they are really practicing their alphabets and recognizing words. Thankfully, Samuel usually likes to do homework!

He and I worked for about 45 min this afternoon on some papers and then he practiced reading a poem. You are hearing him read this poem just after he sounded out the words with Ben and I!

Way to go, Samuel!! (words below)
"I Need You"
Kittens Need Cats.
Heads Need Hats.
Balls Need Bats.
And I Need You.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tow Trucks N' Muffins

 I love fall! Have I mentioned that yet? :) It's been so nice to wake up to crisp cool air and wear long sleeves and jeans. The boys love getting in "cozy" jammies at nighttime and wearing sweatshirts when we go out. Homey, comforting foods and changing leaves, snuggling under snuggies (a must have!) and drinking hot chocolate...

Oh yes! I love fall!
 On Sunday after church we came home to find a big tow truck preparing to tow away a junky car that had been sitting in front of our apt missing a wheel. The second we got upstairs, the boys rushed outside on the porch to watch the goings-on very intently!
 I mean enthralled. Have I told you that Samuel says he "might" want to be a tow-truck driver when he grows up?:)
 I love the things that capture these boys' hearts and minds!
I have been searching for ways to bake up these delicious apples we picked before Ben eats them all (ahem!). My first apple pie of the season turned out beautifully on Sunday! Just in time to share with some wonderful friends of ours! I cut up enough apples to freeze a pie insert, too!

And then I decided we needed some yummy apple bread or muffins to grab for our early school mornings. This is what I found:
Turned out DE-licious! Ben and I may have snuck one tonight:)

Apple Streusel Muffins
3 cups flour (I used 2 cups white/1 cup whole wheat)
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet/tart apples are)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup milk (I substituted apple cider for 1/2 of that)**may need to add more liquid
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 TB butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 18 muffin cups.

2. In a lg bowl, measure dry ingredients together and stir with whisk until combined. Beat eggs in a small bowl; add milk/cider, vanilla and melted butter.

3. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until combined. (I found the batter to be very thick and added more apple cider at this point; probably 1/4 cup or so) Add chopped apples and fold in.

4. Fill 18 muffin cups. Mix streusel ingredients together and sprinkle liberally over muffin batter. Dot tops of muffins with tiny butter pieces.

5. Bake at 400 for 18 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

They smell awfully DELICIOUS when baking!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A New Week and Zany Zakkai!

Thankfully, we had a good start to our week today! Nevermind the drizzling rain this morning. Even driving in the rain is fun in our "new" Hondyssey! The boys accidentally helped us come up with that one. Samuel said something about our "Hodyssey" which made me laugh and then Ben and I very cleverly came up with "Hondyssey." We have way too much time on our hands...

Samuel is doing GREAT in school! With 3 weeks under his little belt, he was comfortable enough to line up outside with the rest of his class today. His teacher has been so sweet with him, hugging him in the mornings and taking the time to help him adjust. And he LOVES getting homework! I know, record this right? Let's see how he feels in about 10 years.... He gets stickers on a little card for turning in his homework and is so proud.

The only drawback? Homework for him is like homework for us, too! Man, I thought I was done with that stuff! Samuel does come home very tired after a long day. I feel so bad for him because you can visibly see his need to decompress. I have to remind myself to go slow with him and not bug him about what happened at school because he is extra emotional when he's so tired.

Whoever thought almost 6 hours of school for a 5 year old was okay?!

Anyways. Zakkai is loving' being a big kid. He discovered painting at preschool and comes home covered in paint every.single. day. Again, whoever thought white shirts for a school uniform was a brilliant idea for a 3 year old?! Someone with no kids, I say!

Thankfully it's washable paint and as soon as he gets home, he changes clothes and I wash his shirt in the bathtub. He has been bringing home the most vibrant paintings, filled to each edge with color. He very proudly hangs them on the boys' art wall!
Speaking of Zakkai....he has done quite a few....well, Zakkai-ish things lately! I have to write this stuff down so I can torture him someday, right?!

He really wants to be helpful, this little man. He hates to be told that he can't help with something but honestly, it's SOOOOO hard to let him help sometimes because I know it means a bigger mess for me! We had friends over last weekend and he desperately wanted to help mop. Finally, after Ben finished most of the mopping, we gave him a mop to mop the bathroom floor with. It was already damp and we figured he couldn't do much damage.


As I was rushing around finishing cleaning and cooking, I suddenly noticed it was too quiet and the bathroom door was closed. I opened it just in time to see Zakkai lift the mop out of the toilet and slosh it on the soaking wet floor! He was "helping" and it's so hard to get upset with him because he means well! I think.

So Ben had to "remop" the bathroom floor with bleach:)

And just the other day, Zakkai decided to "help" us clean off the porch and get rid of all the leaves that have collected on there. He brought a cupful in to show to Ben and Ben told him to throw them away. He did throw the first cupful away. But the second?

Ended up being flushed down the toilet. And clogging it up. And while the toilet was being flushed, he also filled my candle with water and our toothbrush holder.

Never trust Zakkai with water! Or permanent markers. Come to think of it...there are many things he shouldn't be trusted with!

He won't be getting a driver's license until he's at least 20.

Or 30.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apple Picking 2010

This year's favorite fall pastime:)

 The usual mouth-watering shot of our very favorite pumpkin and apple doughnuts! Our boys have very much enjoyed this delicious treat!
 My guys! These are 3 of the very best apple-pickers!
 The apple-baker and her little princes:)
 "I don't want to hold this bag, mommy!"
 Daddy lifting up Samuel to pick the juiciest apples!
 Zakkai was a little freaked out by all the branches in his face and opted to pick from safer ground:)
 Enjoying some freshly picked apples!
 The fruit of our pun intended!
Two happy boys! They had a lot of fun and the whole trip was made even more enjoyable as our first family trip in the "new" van! Ben even let me drive; wasn't that nice?! We love the space so much!

And I must say, slightly begrudgingly and definitely humbly, that the last 6 weeks of car-torture was actually good (sigh) because we wouldn't have been able to get the deal we got without all the experience we acquired. We learned more each time we had a car failure and even though it was really tough and discouraging sometimes, God saved us from buying some really bad cars and taught us a lot in the process. I love that we can grow through challenging times like this, holding tighter to each other and learning to keep our eyes on God.

I sure hope I get the hang of trusting Him before I am 90!

Friday, September 24, 2010


Apple Picking 2008
Apple Picking 2009

Apple Picking 2010

More to come tomorrow!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Today for the First time:

*We ventured out of Toyota land and into Honda world

*We said goodbye to our trusty, much-loved 4 door sedan

*We can relax

We bought a Honda Odyssey!!!!!
Please meet...Van. It has no name yet. Are you a car namer?

My beloved, protective husband, seeing how hard this was on me, took all the papers, left at 10:30am today and came back at 5:20pm with a "new" car!
I cried very happy tears when he called me! I am SO thankful to have this car business behind us!

And we get to take this baby out for a little Apple Picking tomorrow.

What a great start to the weekend!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Go Bucks!

My Three FAVORITE Guys!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Making Room..

If you know me or have read this blog long know I like to rearrange! Occasionally. The layout of our new apartment makes it much harder to rearrange anything because it is narrow and the rooms are quite a bit smaller.

Nevertheless! A certain someone joining the family soon has forced me to be very creative with furniture placement, especially in our room.

It all started very early one morning a couple of weeks ago when Ben and I were suddenly awakened by a strange noise. "What in the-" was quickly followed by a crash and we both sat up and stared bleary-eyed at the closet shelving which had just collapsed. Again.

Down came my wedding dress and basket full of material scraps. Down came all of my nicely hung, color coordinated shirts. Down came...well, everything! Of mine, that is. Nothing of Ben's!

And so for a few days, our bedroom looked like this.
And we slept out in the living room. But then my sister and her husband were coming to visit and we knew we had to do something! Ben reinforced the shelving in the closet while I started planning how to redo the room, since we had a couple new items of furniture on route from Ohio. Furniture for the princess, of course!

After much planning and thinking and reorganizing, Ben's dresser went into the closet to make room for the baby's dresser and my clothes went into some crate things that were here when we moved in . (I'm not lucky enough to have a dresser!) And slowly, Little Miss has taken over a corner of our bedroom.
This is where Ben's dresser used to be and now the baby's resides! My mom found this dresser on Craigslist and repainted it! My sister was gracious enough to transport it from Ohio to us:)
I found these bonnets online! Aren't they adorable?
My craft area which was covered in junk in the second pic above has been moved to the dining room to make room for this cradle which my mom and aunt found at an auction for $10! We found a mattress and some sheets and I am in the process of making a quilt. Speaking of, I should probably finish that....

It's still a little messy but at least she has somewhere to sleep and somewhere to put all of the clothes she is inheiriting from people!
All went well at my 34 week check-up today! Baby is good and strong, I am doing what I should and now we wait! I have to park at parking meters when I go to appointments and they only let you park there 2 hours max. Of course, my appt went just longer than that so as I was rushing back to the car praying I wouldn't get a ticket...I stumbled and almost fell. I landed sideways on my foot, which is quite sore tonight! And then as I was gathering supplies for dinner, Zakkai dropped a toy right on the same foot tonight. Ouch!

He felt so bad and immediately hugged my leg and said, "I'm sorry, mommy!!" He has such a tender heart lately:)

So here I hobble. And waddle. It's a beautiful sight.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The UPS stalkers

Hard to believe we are starting the 3rd week of school! You wait and wait for some upcoming event and then bam! It's here and gone. Time flies. I suppose I should remind myself of that when I think 6 weeks of carrying this karate lovin' baby sounds like an eternity!

Thankfully the weekend is over (how often do people say that?!) and we can look forward to some things this week. Well, one in particular. Apple Picking!! It will be so nice to get out of the city for the morning and be together as a family and each juicy, delicious, fresh-off-the-tree apples! Not to mention those pumpkin spice doughnuts and apple doughnuts. mmm....

Trying again for a van this week but always overwhelmed with the "what ifs." We are getting back in the saddle and all that with new strategies in mind:) Eventually we have to find one, right?! Let's just say that we'll be car buying experts by the time this is all over!!

Have I mentioned that I'll never be buying a car again? Just for the record.

We had an exciting afternoon of driving around chasing the UPS man through the neighborhood. Okay that sound a little crazy. I suppose I should back up a little! Ben has been, shall we say procrastinating, about returning a book from Amazon and it's due this week! We all went to pick up S from school and drove around looking for some non-existent UPS drop-boxes and then on our way back home I casually mentioned that you are allowed to hand the boxes to the UPS drivers.

And then we looked up and spotted the familiar brown truck speeding away in front of us! Ben immediately stepped on the gas and we took a crazy journey through the neighborhood, stalking the poor UPS man, laughing like crazy people. Well, maybe not so much the last part.

But it sounded good.

Anyways, he took it cheerfully and Ben was relieved of his burden:)

And we were entertained and had a delightful time.

And we obviously need a life. Or help.

Uncle T, Ben and the boys relaxing at Navy Pier.

Checking out the big yahts.

Practicing for a photo shoot? He's a cutie, that one!

Ciao for now!

Saturday, September 18, 2010





Catching Rain Drops



Chili and cornbread

Comfy clothes

Footsie pjs

Friends for dinner






Wearing Buckeye Shirts


Reading Stuart Little

Leaves Falling


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Scraps and Sleep

It was such a "fall" day today. It's nice to start cycling through a "new" wardrobe again! Isn't it that way at the beginning of every season? I can't wait to wear jeans again and jackets, cute sweaters and long sleeved shirts.....Till about February! :)

I get to cycle twice this year though. Through my very few maternity fall clothes and into (hopefully) at least some of my regular fall/winter clothes. Wishful thinking?!

This afternoon the boys cut out "quilt scraps" while I was cutting fabric for a quilt for baby E. Zakkai started cutting right away (he LOVES scissors! Scary thought, isn't it?) and pretty soon Samuel set aside his "homework" to do his own cutting.

Samuel cutting teeny tiny quilt scraps for his sister. And then for all of the kids in his class:)

My scary scissor monster "measuring" his scraps which he cut out for all of his friends, family, cousins, etc:) It was nice to have their company while I was cutting!

Today when I picked up this little sweet monster from preschool, I felt the urge to give him a big hug. I drove since it was just raining and as soon as I picked him up (I know I shouldn't be doing that but how much longer will he let me?!!) he squeezed me tight and said, "Mommy, can you carry me home?"

I said, "No, I can't carry you all the way home but I can carry you to the car!" And then 3 steps later I was at the car:) Right as I went to put him down and get him in his carseat, he squeezed me tight around the neck again so I spent an extra minute just holding him and smelling his sweetness.

He pulled back and put his hands on each side of my face and said, "Mommy, you're so pretty!" He never says stuff like that! He usually says something like you're NOT pretty just to get a reaction. He got another hug for that sweet compliment:)

Then later at naptime as I tucked him into his cozy bed, he reached up and touched my hair and said, "You have such nice hair, mommy." I don't know what came over him today but I'll take it!

And then because I slept so poorly last night, I fell asleep during Z's naptime, fully expecting my alarm to wake me up before it was time to get S from school.

It didn't.

I woke up at 2:06pm. School gets out at 1:45pm.

I was SO disoriented but immediately panicked, running into the boys' room, yelling "We've got to go! Samuel's at school!" I was racing around throwing my shoes on and rechecking the clock trying to clear the fuzz from my brain! Zakkai started crying, totally freaked out by my sudden entrance.

I threw his shoes on and we ran out the door, barely pausing to say hi to one of our landlords who was outside. I sped off so thankful that we now live 4 minutes away instead of 25! Ben called me only a minute later with a very hesitant, "Heidi? What's wrong?" For some reason the teacher called him and not me and he was so worried!

I slammed the car in park and raced Z into the school to find Samuel sitting quietly in his classroom with his bookbag on, holding his lunchbox just waiting for me. And of course, as soon as I started apologizing to the teacher, I started crying! Oh these hormones!

She was so sweet and said I had looked so tired earlier and everything was okay. She had kept things really calm for Samuel which I appreciated so much. I felt like such a horrible mother!!

Samuel very sweetly accepted my apology and seemed quite unaffected by the whole thing, thanks to Ms Mendez!! The boys thought it was pretty funny when I told them they had a "crazy mom!"

Zakkai said, "Did you hear that, Samuel? Mommy said she's a crazy mom!"

Yep, that's me these days!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I'm guessing that we are just in one of those growing seasons. Seems like we've been "growing" for the past 9-10 months! Can a girl catch a break here?

Once again, it was a no-go with the car. Everything looked great but that's why we always get the cars checked out by a mechanic (even though the dealers swear their car is the best thing since sliced bread!) Bottom line, Ben gets in the van today and it smelled horribly like mildew (never a good sign). They drove it up to us yesterday with the A/C blasting and opened all doors. Hmmm...cover up? And then it had transmission issues all of the sudden today. Inspection was a dud so my dear husband, ever trying to protect our family, said "No way, Jose."

I am weary beyond words. These past couple of months have taken their toll on me! I really have to look at what is in front of me and be thankful for the wonderful things I do have like Ben and my sweet boys and our new neighborhood, good teachers, etc. Not to mention, how much we are looking forward to meeting our little princess:)
I know soon we will look back on all of this stress and transition in our life and see all of the good things that were working behind the scenes that we just couldn't see yet.  That's always the way it is!
School is going well. We are having a much better week there! Samuel is getting used to the routine and is becoming great buddies with his teacher. He is so proud to be learning new things and LOVES showing me what's in his folder each afternoon!

Zakkai talked NON-STOP on our walk home from school this morning about the fire drill they had. Seriously, I was worn out from listening to him after a 20 min walk home and a whole recital all over again during lunch. I was practically begging him to finish lunch so I could put him down for nap!:) He was very excited to tell it all again to Ben....

I am LOVING my 2 hours of quiet Heidi time in the mornings! It is amazing to get home to.....nothing! I clean up from breakfast, putter around straightening up things, sit down and read...It is truly refreshing for me and renews my energy to pick up my boys and hear all about their busy day with new friends and fire drills and whatnot:)

My favorite verses these days:
"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed; for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him."
Lamentations 3:22-25

Tuesday, September 14, 2010



*Am 49 days away from my due date! Or 7 weeks if you will. It feels like I have been pregnant for a year now...

*Took a walk to pic up Z (as I've been trying to do most days) and I breathed in the fresh air and listened to the quiet sounds of the neighborhood and felt so content.

*Got complimented 3 times on being a cute pregnant lady, one time by a stranger! It's nice to get a compliment every once in awhile:)

*Went to parent-teacher conferences and came home with an armload of papers that I had to spend over a half an hour sorting, dividing, and signing. Then I gave up and decided to finish them later. Hopefully I won't forget...

*Cooked my first crockpot meal of the season! It was so nice to relax this afternoon for a few extra stolen moments since dinner was already prepared. Note to self: I must do this more often...

*Was so proud of Samuel for being brave and going to gym even though he was really anxious and teary. He ended up doing a great job and got a thumbs up from his teacher!

*Met some parents of my boys' classmates that are very socially awkward. It was....well, awkward to say the least!

*Became one day closer to becoming a Swagger Wagon driver! The dealership is negotiating and if our mechanic inspection goes well tomorrow afternoon....we shall hand over the keys to our trusty and much-loved Camry and drive home in a Sienna. Now for parallel parking a van....

*Had to refuse getting down on the ground to play cars with the boys because I was afraid I wouldn't get back up again...

*Realized I am way too excited about going apple picking in 10 days. I am wondering what that says about me...

*Am so thankful for so many things, including sense of peace just around the corner as things settle down a little more here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

And we're off....

To a better week!

This big kindergartner is plugging away, trying so hard to be strong and brave. He had such a great day on Friday but definitely needed the quiet weekend that we had! And so did the rest of us...
He is now afflicted with Z's cold which is making him slightly more grumpy. We walked into his classroom this morning and he hung up his bag reluctantly and then came to me and said, "I don't think I want to do this today. I'm not too sure about this..."

But his teacher saw that he was hesitating in saying goodbye and quickly told him she had a special job for him. Thankfully, there was no crying as we said our goodbyes. Maybe not exactly happy, but I'll take it!

Tomorrow may be a different story. It's gym day and he is NOT thrilled...
In other news, after a bit of a car hiatus, we attempted to visit another dealership today. We have, for now, given up on Honda as we have had 2 bad experiences, and instead turned to trusty Toyota. We had a really pleasant experience! The car we went into see turned out to be a dud but lo and behold, they had another one, different color, two cars down that we could look at. It was in better condition all the way around, hence it being priced $2500 more than the other. (also why we didn't look at it in the first place!)

We did some quick negotiating and test driving and appraising for our car and basically we stalled with a $900 difference between what we can pay and what they are offering. So, we shook hands  with Eddie and walked away in peace, knowing that if this is the van we're supposed to have, it will work out! We sure have put a lot of prayer into finding a car!

It was really nice to have such a good experience. We are getting to be pros at this car stuff.

Not that I want to go through this again.

For a long, long time.

Or ever.

As a matter of fact, next time I am going to pray that a new car miraculously shows up outside on our driveway with a big bow on it.

 That is, when we have a driveway.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Silly sick boy

Wow, 4 days of school down and we already have our first sickness. Sigh. I really really hope we don't have a winter like last year!

This little guy has a cold. He claims he is "very very sick." But I'm thankful it's just a cold after what he suffered through last year! He woke up in the middle of the night hoarse and my mind immediately jumped to potential croup and pneumonia (I may be in slightly hyper sensitive mode!) but he isn't as hoarse this morning, thankfully.

Sick or not, he's awfully cute! All of his toys are "very sick", which cracks me up! Ben pretended to snatch his pancake today at breakfast and he started to get upset until I told him daddy didn't really want his pancake because it has germs.

He nodded knowingly and said, "Yeah, daddy's just a regular guy. He doesn't want my germs!"

I love my little bright spot!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flying High

If you've read my last 2 or 3...or 7 posts, you'll know that it's been rough around here lately for many reasons.


This morning, I've just gotta say that....

I'm flying as high as a Ferris wheel:

Or sailin' like a speedboat...
Or, or.... just plain happy!

It worked! Samuel went into his class today with an actual smile on his face! Hallelujah!! He showed me where his bookbag hook was and greeted his teacher and gave me hugs and kisses and there were NO signs of tears anywhere! (from me or him!)

On my way out of the school after dropping Z off at his classroom, I stopped quickly, almost causing a traffic jam, because I spotted Samuel coming up the stairs leading his class line.

And he was happy!

No tears!

No screaming!

And some of the pieces of my heart that were scattered all over the school floor from this week actually jumped back inside. To stay hopefully.

And I walked back to the car saying, "Thank you, God! Thank you, God! Thank you, God!"

And all the people who have seen me crying the past 2-3 days were amazed.

And it was good.