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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Emilia's tubes

Emilia had tubes put in her ears this morning. It all went well. We spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express in Garden City because we had to be at the surgery center by 7:15 a.m. Originally we were supposed to be there at 5, but an even younger baby needed surgery, so Emilia got moved back. This was good because we didn't have to get up so early, but it also meant she had to go longer before breakfast. She actually did really well all night. She was a little fussy before surgery but not terrible. After the surgery was another story. She was so mad! It took about 45 minutes for her to calm down. She went to sleep and stayed asleep most of the way home to Satanta. The whole procedure (check-in, pre-op, surgery, and post-op) took two hours. Emilia seems to feel okay and has been in a pretty happy mood. She even let Grandma Agnes and Leanne hold her this evening! Ella was very concerned about the whole procedure and kept insisting that Emilia was not having surgery.

Here are some pictures from the hotel room and the surgery center. The gown she wore was so huge it was funny.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A relaxing weekend

We spent the weekend having fun with friends. Saturday the kids played in our backyard while the grown-ups visited. The weather was cooler than we had expected, and it even sprinkled for a while, but it wound up being perfect. It wasn't too hot, and the kids had a blast.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Emilia update

We went to the Dr. Balazs, the ear, nose and throat doctor in Garden, yesterday. He said Emilia's ears looked okay, but he said that considering the number of ear infections she's already had, he would recommend tubes to avoid developmental delays due to hearing loss. She will get tubes on Tuesday morning. Everyone assures me this is a very minor procedure, so I'm really not worried. My only concern is that she can't have food or drink after midnight, and she usually nurses at least once during the night. I'm afraid we might have a rough night and a grumpy morning--for mommy and baby!

Visit from Faye and Peter

My aunt Faye and uncle Peter visited this week from California. Emilia seems to be warming up to other people. She let Pete hold her several times, which is pretty amazing for her.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Don't tell Ella...

Emilia loves to play with Ella's toys!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day

Here are some highlights of our Father's Day weekend.

Ella cannot keep a secret. At all. I didn't tell her I had gotten Ryan an iPod for Father's Day until the day before he opened it. She managed to keep her mouth shut until he started to tear the wrapping paper. Then, before he had even gotten the wrapping paper torn, she blurted out, "Daddy, it's an iPod." It was pretty cute.

We went to Rolla on Sunday. The church there is really small--there were about 40 people in church, and 15 of them belonged to our family.

Emilia continues to refuse to let many people hold her, but she does seem to like Chandler. She enjoyed playing with Chandler and Hunter on the floor at Grandma's.

Emilia also enjoyed swimming in the Rolla pool. I've only taken her to the pool in Satanta once, and she was not impressed with the water at all, but she really had fun in Rolla. She stayed in the pool for quite a while. When I held her on her stomach, she made swimming movements with her arms and legs. I'll have to take her to the Satanta pool again to see how she does.

Emilia has figured out how to do a one-legged army crawl, but she'll only crawl a short distance and only to get something she really once. She doesn't seem to realize she could use that technique to get all over the place. I'm secretly happy she's not quite crawling yet--it makes my life a little easier!

Ella enjoyed swimming in Rolla and playing with Ashton. They rode around in his little battery-operated pick-up and created a secret hide-out over at the church. She was so tired when we left Rolla. That didn't keep her from trying to delay bedtime once we got home, though. She had been in bed for a little while when she came upstairs and said there was water on her wall. We've never had water in our basement before, but Ryan was still a little concerned. He went down to check, and sure enough, the wall was wet. Then he realized the wetness started about half-way up the wall--right at Ella's height. When he smelled it, he realized it wasn't water. Then he saw the Febreeze bottle on Ella's desk. She's certainly creative, isn't she?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Recipe for a good morning

Rainy morning + sleeping family + hot coffee + NPR = bliss

Recipe for a good breakfast

Make some oatmeal. (Steel-cut or Irish is best, but I've been using just regular oatmeal lately. Stay away from instant, though. Instant oatmeal is revolting.)

Mix in some yogurt--I use Dannon Natural Vanilla.

Top with fruit (fresh or thawed out frozen) and toasted nuts.

Drizzle with honey.

You can mix up a big batch of the oatmeal yogurt mixture and keep it in the fridge. Then you just add your toppings when you're ready to eat. Or you can eat it right away. Yum!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Someday Ella will kill me for posting this

Ella and I agreed that she would take a bath or shower today immediately after swimming lessons so that her hair would be clean when Trena takes pictures today. Here's our conversation on the way home from the pool:

Ella: "Mom, can I just leave my swimming suit on when I take a shower?"

Me: "I guess, but won't that make it harder to clean your bottom?"

Ella: "But Mom, I never clean my bottom."

Ewww, gross! I hope that's not true. Guess it's time for a little more shower monitoring, huh?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Veggie Enchilada Recipe

I got this recipe from Glamour magazine. Usually I put spinach and mushrooms in my veggie enchiladas. This was a nice change. The magazine estimates it costs $29 to make the enchiladas (which they consider a real bargain), but I don't think it costs nearly that much--maybe $10. As usual, I didn't follow the recipe exactly.


2 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 Spanish onion, julienned (I used a chopped white onion)
1 red pepper, julienned (I chopped it)
2 C. broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped
1 12 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (I accidentally left these out--oops!)
3 C. mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 C. fresh cilantro, chopped
12 6-inch tortillas (the recipe doesn't say whether to use corn or flour; I used corn)
1 jar salsa verde (I used a little more than one jar--I like things saucy)


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Heat oil in a medium pan. Saute onion and red pepper about five minutes, until onion is translucent. Add garlic, and cook about one minute more.
3. Transfer to a bowl. Fold in broccoli, beans, 2 cups cheese, and cilantro.
4. Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with nonstick spray. (Mine was a little smaller than 9 x 13.)
5. Warm tortillas in a non-stick pan on low heat until pliable. Place 1/4 cup enchilada filling on each tortilla and gently roll. Place in baking dish. (I was lazy and made this casserole style. I tore up the tortillas, made one layer on the bottom, put the filling on top, and then did one more layer of torn tortillas.)
6. Coat with salsa verde. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Dot with sour cream. (I skipped the sour cream, but I'm sure it would be yummy.)

Optional garnish: Chop up and mix radishes, cherry tomatoes, jalepenos, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. (Again, I was lazy. I threw everything in the food processor. It made it more like salsa instead of a garnish, but it was really good. Next time I'll probably chop by hand to make it chunkier, though.)

Ryan hasn't tried this yet, but I thought it was very yummy!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Our weekend: the good, the bad, and the funny

Ella, Emilia, and I headed to Hays on Wednesday. On Friday morning, we went to Salina with my parents. Ryan joined us in Salina that afternoon after he finished teaching summer school. We spent Friday and Saturday at the Smoky Hills River Festival, drove back to Hays Saturday afternoon, and came back home Sunday evening. Here are the highlights of our weekend.

The Good

We ate lots of yummy food at Gutierrez's, Gella's, Taco Shop, and Jimmy John's in Hays and Martinelli's and the River Festival in Salina.

Ella and I had fun at Pottery Works, a paint your own pottery studio in Hays. Ella painted a plate and a mug and I glazed a mug.

Ella and I went to the Hays Aquatic Park on Sunday. It was a little cool, but the pool wasn't busy at all, which was wonderful. I can't count how many times we went down the water slides.

Emilia loved the River Festival. She loves being around people.

I got stocked up on products from one of my favorite businesses, Ozark Herbals.

Ella enjoyed watching a puppet show, listening to music, and getting her face painted at the River Festival. She also had fun playing on the playground equipment.

We had fun spending time with Grandma and Grandpa.

The Bad

All of that yummy food was not exactly waistline friendly--falafal, grebble, garlic fries, tempura fried noodles, funnel cake, chocolate covered bananas, caramel apples, and chile con queso are delicious but not particularly healthy.

We saw lots of people smoking with children in tow. We saw a person with an oxygen tank smoking. We saw a trashy mom with visable thong panties and tramp stamp cussing out her two year old at the porta-potties.

Ella threw a fit when she found out she couldn't take her plate and mug home from Pottery Works the day we made them. They have to dry and then be fired, so my mom can't pick them up until Wednesday. This was just one of many temper tantrums Ella had this weekend. You'd think she would have outgrown that sort of thing, but this weekend was filled with Ella melt-downs.

The Augmentin Emilia is on has to be refrigerated and causes diahrea, neither of which is fun while traveling.

My favorite jewelry seller, Art by Amy, wasn't at the River Festival. Luckily, I found her online today.

The Funny

When we got to the River Festival on Friday, we saw a Santa Claus looking man with a long white beard wearing tie-dye overalls. Ella saw him and exclaimed, "Look, Mom. A funny man!"

The next day, we walked by the bench he had been sitting on. Ella said, "Mom, where did the funny man go?"

Ella told Ryan we saw lots of hippies at the River Festival. He asked her if she knew what a hippie was. She replied, "Dad, a hippie is someone with bad fashion."

At Taco Shop, Ella got a Choco Taco. She tried it and said, "I like it.... but it's not really good."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Face painting

This is a picture my mom took in April. Ella spent the weekend with my parents and went to the circus in Salina. Since I'm on my mom's computer, I thought I'd post this picture of Ella with her face painted.

Ella, Emilia, and I are in Hays with my parents right now. Tomorrow we're heading to Salina for the Smoky Hills River Festival. Ryan will join us when he gets done with summer school. It should be fun. We go to the river festival every year and always have a good time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rainy day

Dancing in the rain....

leads to ...

falling in a puddle!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ella's haircut

There once was a girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad, she was horrid.

Ella may not have a curl in the middle of her forehead, but this nursery rhyme describes her perfectly. Yesterday morning I took Ella to the Howies so she wouldn't have to go with me and Emilia to the doctor, and she would up playing at their aunt Lisa's house all day. Leanne and Alex assure me that she behaved perfectly well all day, but that must have been all the good behavior she had in her. As soon as she saw me, she melted down.

She and Ryan had haircuts last night, and getting Ella to do anything when she's in a bad mood is problematic. Unfortunately, you can't just reschedule a haircut because of a bad mood.

As I took Ella to Liz's shop, she complained (and by "complained," I mean "screamed) that she didn't want her hair cut, that it was fine the way it was, that she was trying to grow her hair out, and how was she going to grow her hair out if I kept making her cut it. We finally agreed that Liz would trim her bangs and leave everything else alone.

After Ryan was done with his haircut, Ella hopped up in the seat and said, "Let's go a little shorter this time."

Liz explained that cutting her hair shorter would make it more difficult for her to grow her hair out, but she insisted. I don't really care what she does with her hair (as long as she doesn't cut it herself), so we decided to cut it a little shorter.

Liz finished cutting Ella's hair, and I was really pleased. The place Ella cut her hair this winter has almost grown out and Liz was able to blend it in really well.

Then Liz had Ella look in the mirror. That's when the real meltdown began. "I said I wanted it shorter," she pouted. "This isn't shorter. It's longer." She was acting like a two year old about to throw a tantrum.

We left without having Liz blow dry her hair (which is Ella's favorite part of getting her hair cut). I told her we would wait a few days and if she still wanted it shorter, we would go back for another hair cut.

Once we got in the car, she was all smiles. By the time we got home she said, "I just couldn't really see my hair in that mirror. I think it's perfect the way it is."


Does Emilia want panini?

Emilia loves to play with this cookbook with recipes for panini, bruschetta, and crostini. Is she trying to tell us something?

She's only had one dose of antibiotic, but she slept so much better last night!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ella reads

Until recently, Ella had been uninterested in reading to us. She's always been a little writer, and I've thought it was interesting that her writing skills were so far above her reading skills. Not that she was a bad reader, it's just that she could spell more difficult words than she seemed to be able to read, and she didn't really want to read books to us. All of a sudden, she's reading up a storm--real books too, not just the phonics books she's read before. Here she is reading to Ryan before bed last night.

The real reason Emilia isn't crawling yet

I took Emilia to the doctor this morning--she didn't sleep well this weekend and her nose had gotten congested again. We saw the nurse practitioner, who says Emilia has another ear infection--this makes four. Laura (the ARNP) said this is probably why Emilia's not crawling yet; the frequent infections are interfering with her balance. She also said it's time to think about tubes, so we have an appointment with Dr. Balazs, the ear, nose and throat specialist in Garden, to see what he thinks. Her appointment isn't until July 1--I wish she could get in sooner.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Summer thoughts

We're really going to have to get on a summer schedule. I think it will be easier once Ryan starts teaching summer school on Monday. Not sure why, but I find it easier to create and follow a schedule when he's not around.

We need a schedule to keep Ella occupied and away from the TV. She would watch TV constantly if we would let her. It bothers me that it seems like there's a real lack of quality programming for kids her age. (Maybe it's out there and we just don't get it?) I didn't mind her watching some PBS shows when she was younger, but she's outgrown a lot of the educational shows. She's really too old for Sesame Street and Word World now. The ones that probably are age appropriate now (Word Girl and Fetch) aren't really on at the time that she's watching TV (and we're too cheap to have DVR). So she winds up watching mindless shows (like Hannah Montana and The Suite Life) and shows that aren't necessarily geared for her age (Jon and Kate and What Not to Wear, along with all of the various freak shows on TLC like Half-Ton Teen and Mystery Diagnosis). Gone are the days when she couldn't work the remote and I had her convinced we didn't get the Disney channel. We need to set up some more firm rules about what she's allowed to watch and when she can watch it.

Our big TV (the free one from Ryan's mom's friend Pat Trahern) is slowly dying. It occasionally just turns itself off and refuses to come back on. We're just waiting for it to die, and then we'll move one of the smaller ones back up. In our ten years of marriage, we've yet to buy a TV ourselves (they've all been given to us), and I don't think we're ready to start buying TVs now.

Ella's doing really well with reading and math. I think getting in a schedule will help us work on those skills instead of her zoning out in front of the TV all day. I'm struggling a little with keeping her entertained and taking care of Emilia. It takes more planning that I'm used to. Emilia always seems to be napping when Ella needs to get to summer reading or wants to go to the pool. I'm sure I'll get it all figured out eventually.

Ella's enjoying the swimming pool so far. She's a good little swimmer. We went to Rolla yesterday, and Uncle Stacy got her to try to slide and the diving board. She loved them both. Swimming lessons start in a week, and she's excited. I've only taken Emilia to the pool once, and she was not impressed. We've also discovered that her skin turns pink after only a few minutes outside, even with SPF 60 sunscreen on. She might not be much of a pool baby this summer.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pizza Dough Recipe

from James McNair's Vegetarian Pizza


1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
1 envelope yeast
3 /14 cups flour (You can substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour for 1 cup of white flour if you want)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil


Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water. Combine 3 cups flour and the salt in your mixing bowl. After the yeast mixture has gotten foamy, add it and the olive oil to the flour and salt in your mixing bowl. Mix for about one minute with the flat mixing attachment (the regular attachment) until combined. Switch to the dough hook. Knead with the dough hook for about five minutes. If it's sticky, add the additional 1/4 cup flour. Put in a bowl coated with olive oil. Turn the dough to coat it with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double in bulk, about two hours.

This will make two 12-inch pizzas. Top with toppings and bake at 500 degrees for 12-14 minutes. I usually put cornmeal on the pan before I put the dough down.

If you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt, make a well in it, pour in the yeast mixture and oil, stir with a wooden spoon until combined, and then knead for 5-7 minutes.

This also makes great breadsticks. Top with minced garlic and olive oil, mozzarella cheese, and salt.

To make focaccia bread, increase the salt to 2 teaspoons and the water to 1 1/2 cups. Omit the oil from the dough. Let the dough rise for at least three hours. Generously coat a 9 x 13 pan with olive oil. Pour in the dough. Brush more olive oil on the top of the dough. Sprinkle kosher salt on top (and any herbs you want). Bake 375 for 30 to 35 minutes.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Top Five Reasons Emilia Isn't Crawling Yet

5. It's easier just to have Mommy carry you everywhere.

4. You try lifting that much weight off the ground.

3. She gets high-centered on her belly every time she tries to move.

2. She afraid that much exercise would ruin her curvy figure.

1. You can't crawl and eat at the same time.

Some pictures of the girls