Thursday, September 27, 2012

Auf Deutsch

Andrew has a counting book that he likes to read over and over and over again.  This becomes rather boring for the adults, so we've been counting in different languages: French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian. (Note to self: need to learn to count in some Asian languages, beyond "Ichi, Ni, San...")

Today we did German.  Apparently "fünf" is the funniest word in the world.  Now Andrew is running around the house saying "fünf fünf fünf" and giggling.

The kid has, like, two words in English, and now he's speaking German.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins (altitude adjusted)

So, this seems silly.   This is a fantastic recipe from my childhood that I got from my mom (it originally came our of our church/school cookbook in 1991) and then I keep forwarding from email address to email address so that I don't lose track of it.  I would like to pin it to Pinterest, but... apparently it needs to be on the internet already.  You can't put the recipe directly on Pinterest.  LAME.

But anyway, here it is, on my blog, so that hopefully I will not lose track of it again.  And hereafter I will pin it to Pinterest.

Also, I finally got around to adjusting the recipe for my elevation (~7000ft), using Susan Purdy's quick and easy adjustment guide at  If you live at anywhere over 3000ft of elevation and would like to improve your baking, I can't recommend her book, Pie in the Sky, highly enough.  No pun intended.

Without further ado:

Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins 
(adjustments for 7000 ft altitude in parentheses)

3/4 c. butter softened
1 1/4 c. sugar (1c. sugar)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1c plain yogurt (1-1/4 c. plain yogurt)
2 c flour (2-1/3 c flour)
1 tsp baking powder (3/4 tsp baking powder)
1/2 tsp baking soda (1/4 tsp baking soda)
1 tsp salt 

Cinnamon Mixture:
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix together butter (softened), sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add yogurt; blend. Add dry ingredients and blend until all flour disappears. Use paper muffin bake cups or grease cups of muffin pan. Half fill the cups with batter. Sprinkle half of cinnamon mixture over batter. Then fill each cup with remaining batter and top with remaining cinnamon mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (22-25 mins at 7000 ft) or until golden brown on top. Makes 12 muffins.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Items of note

Somethings worth recording, in no particular order:

(1) TMI about potties, perhaps, but whatever.  Last night while getting ready for bed, Andrew signed "potty."  I figured he was just stalling (he's been doing that lately), but I want to be consistent about reinforcing the potty so that we can get on with that business as soon as possible.  Plus, I had to go, so I thought we may as well.  We headed into the bathroom and Andrew sat down on his potty while I sat on mine.  I said, "Listen!  Mommy is going pee pee.  Can you go pee pee in the potty?"  And he said, "Yeah," and then proceeded to go!!  I was stunned!  He hasn't been too much interested in the potty, other than a place to read books while mommy or daddy goes.  But now that I think about it, he's been making the potty sign after he poops his diaper, so maybe all the little pieces of awareness are starting to come together.  Maybe we're closer to big boy pants than I thought!

(2) After getting a little frustrated by the newborn schedule of eat-wake-sleep-change-repeat that I've been following with Clara, I decided to feed her twice before trying to put her down for naps.  Almost instantaneously we've had longer naps (1.5-2hrs instead of 20 minutes) and a earlier bedtime (thank goodness!).  Hopefully this will continue and we can ride through the four month sleep regression.  I think we're in it because she's dropped her long block at night.  But if this is as bad as it gets, we can handle it.

(3) Today, Clara discovered how to pull the ring on her bouncy chair that plays the music, and now she won't let go of that ring!  She just pulls it over and over.  My little girl is growing up already!

(4) I've been obsessed with searching out the details of my family tree, now that Clara was so honored as to be the 7th generation to receive this beautiful China doll while we were in Michigan earlier this month:

In tracing the doll's history through the generations, making fascinating discoveries: a doctor (not just farmers), Canadians (oh my!), and a branch of the family that can be traced to colonial Connecticut.  I can't seem to stop searching for this information - to the detriment of my bedtime.  Oh the things you can find on the internet!

Finding all of this family information and records of times past make me feel a little silly about recording potty awareness and bouncy chair rings for posterity.  But I do hope that 200 years in the future, my descendants might find the minutiae of having kids still hasn't changed all that much, and maybe they'll enjoy having that in common with me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Beginning of September

Here are some fun pics from the beginning of September. 

Mommy and Andrew bake a cake

Buddies: Logan and Andrew

"Aunt" Maggie came to visit!

Favorite new game: daddy the horsey

First sips of (Mexican) Coke

We like our yogurt

sous chef

Cooking dinner with a toddler as your assistant is like having your own cooking show.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Three Months

Well, we did it.  We survived the "fourth trimester." The toughest quarter year of our lives (right? yes? why is no one agreeing?).  We have a girl with quite the little personality: feisty, opinionated, happy, very social and talkative, with a silly sense of humor. 

And thus closes out my second "pregnant year."  It's weird how happy I am to see the hair loss that means the hormones are all going back to normal.  

Happy 3 months, Miss Clara.

Andrew is demonstrating the "milk" sign for you.

Clara's First Camping Trip

Our philosophy on doing stuff with kids is to do it "early and often."  We hope that our kids will become good travelers and also that they will love the outdoors!  Andrew went camping three or four times last season as a baby, so we were eager to get Clara out there and try out our "camping with two" strategy.

We headed out to the Buffalo Creek Recreation Area south of Bailey, near where we go to cut our Christmas trees every year.  This is a really nice area with plenty of flat land, and lots of National Forest land that is eligible for freedom camping. 

To handle the two under two thing, we brought two tents - one for the girls and one for the boys.  We set them up a significant enough distance apart that a nightwaking by one shouldn't effect the other.

Andrew had a ton of fun exploring the surrounding area.  We brought some trucks to play in the dirt.  He is really becoming fun, and I am super excited to spend more time with him in the great outdoors!  He's so curious and full of the joy of discovery.  I'm really looking forward to this part of having kids.

So as the sun was going down and we started getting ready for bed, I realized that I had forgotten to pack Andrew's bottle of milk, which is the way he relaxes to get to sleep.  Oops.  We had a brief conversation about whether we should just go home at that point, but we decided to give it a shot.  There was about a 50/50 shot that once asleep, he'd make it through the night.  (Ah, optimism!)

I went to sleep with Clara, nursing her to sleep in the girls' tent.  I could hear Andrew over in the boys' tent for a very long time.  Singing, chatting, changing positions...  He finally wound down and dropped off to sleep around 10p.  So far so good.

In the middle of the night (2am-ish?), I was awoken by Andrew's cry from across the clearing.  Unfortunately, his method of getting back to sleep after a wakeup was also to have a bottle.  And unlike going to sleep initially, which he does happily, night wakeups are scared and upset affairs.  I ran over to the boys' tent and offered to switch places with Travis, to think that maybe Mommy had the touch to get him calm enough to go back to sleep after Daddy tried his best.  A few minutes later, Clara woke up to be fed, so I was nursing Clara and trying to comfort Andrew... and they were both keeping each other awake.

So that is how it came to be that we packed up camp at 3am and drove home.

We used to say that it counted as a night of camping if we made it until dawn.  Maybe with two kids, that criteria needs to be a little looser?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Little man

So this evening I said, "Let's go upstairs and get our jammies on."  And Andrew got down off the couch (and daddy's lap - his favorite spot!) and walked up the stairs with me. No cries of protest, no demand that he be carried.  After changing, he walked back downstairs to brush his teeth, picked out his own storybooks, and walked back to the office to give daddy a hug and kiss goodnight.

I am absolutely floored.  And pleased.  And in love with this big kid.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Before we knew that Clara was on her way, we knew that Air Force was going to play Michigan at the Big House on this weekend.  As good Falcon fans, and (one quarter of us) Michiganders, we simply had to go home for the game.  When it turned out to be the perfect amount of time after Clara's birthday to travel, we wanted to take the opportunity to have her baptized where she could be surrounded by generations of her family.

We flew a relatively simple DEN-IAH-DTW route, although, again, Andrew seemed too excited to sleep and had a really poor night of sleep prior to leaving that made the day fairly stressful because we were already tired. We hung out for a little while in the family room at the United Club in Houston.

It turned out to be the weekend of a cousin's wedding as well, so there were many family members in from out of town. 
Great Aunt Kathy got some baby time

Great Grandma Monna

Great Grandpa Arnold... while picking our nose

This photograph included to prove that Great Uncle Brad exists ;)
Grandma Joyce had borrowed a whole bunch of toddler appropriate toys -- it was awesome!  Andrew had a blast!

Great Aunt Kathy and Great Grandma Monna brought a very special gift for Miss Clara.  This china doll has been passed down since the 1850s through Grandma's family.  Clara is the 7th generation to receive it.  She is the first girl of her generation born on that side of the family.  We are proud and most honored to be able to pass on the doll and her legacy.

On Saturday, we headed to Ann Arbor.  We met up with our friends, the W's, who have season tickets at Michigan.  Because the Big House requires every person, no matter how small, to have a ticket to the game, I opted to stay home with Andrew and Clara.  I couldn't imagine that with two kids in tow, I would have enough fun to justify buying THREE tickets.  So Travis headed off with my parents and the W's, and we stayed at their house along with Miss Kate and her Grandma.  We ordered Olga's for dinner, which was a total blast from the past and super delicious.

The game was awesome.  Our Falcons played their hearts out.  It was one of those "in every way but the score" kind of victories.

Toast to the Host

Uncle Devin and Aunt Kathleen were able to drive up from Indiana.  Uncle Devin is one of Clara's godparents.

Mr. Andrew dressed to the nines for the occasion

Mommy and Clara got all spiffed up too.
The baptism ceremony was beautiful and deeply meaningful.  Pastor Paul (my childhood pastor) assisted Great Grandpa (Pastor) Larry in performing it.  And now both Andrew and Clara have been beautifully welcomed into God's family by their loving great-grandpa.  The W's came to be Clara's godfamily, along with Uncle Devin.  Other family members able to join us were Great Grandma Dolores, Great Grandparents Arnold and Monna, and Great Aunt Lori and Uncle Ian.

I got to sing "As for Me and My House" with my Daddy

The Spirit of God can be exhausting sometimes...



After church, was all went home for a lunch and fun party.  Great Uncle Loren and Aunt Kim and all the cousins were able to come by, along with Cousin Christie and Colin.

Noah, Levi, and Sam were practicing for their Ralph Lauren photo shoot. ;)

Andrew had fun playing with cousin Hannah in the pool.

Uncle Devin tries his hand at fussy time

Aunt Kathleen has the touch

Many people brought generous gifts for our Clara.

We wanted very much to get a picture with GGma Dolores and GGPa Larry.  Unfortunately, Andrew wanted to play croquet.

Quick handed mommy

And... now we're upset

See? This is all I wanted.
After the party wound down, Andrew was exploring the pool and fell in (oops), so Daddy joined him and they had a fun time.

At the airport on the way home, we could barely pull Andrew away from the window where he was watching airplanes and trucks on the ramp.

The flights home started out well.  Andrew was able to nap on DTW-IAD.  Even though it was short, I was sure that this would guarantee a good evening.  Unfortunately, our IAD-DEN flight was delayed by three hours (then ultimately cancelled), so we scrambled to get on the next flight with some harried time in the United Club, lost our upgrades, and had to wait an extra hour and a half.  All things considered, though, we came out pretty well, landing in Denver just after Andrew's bedtime so that he was inclined to sleep in the car on the way home.

He slept well that night, considering he was all worn out from a fantastic weekend of family and friends!