Thursday, October 30, 2008

A yummy Halloween

We baked Halloween cookies earlier this week. Chloe had a blast, mostly because I gave her free reign of the rolling pin, cookie cutters and dough (not normal for perfectionist me). While the process naturally took longer than usual, it was quite amusing watching Chloe attempt everything on her own. She was reluctant to let me "help" until I told her she couldn't eat any more cookie dough. Not long after that she lost complete interest and had me finish the batch on my own.




Yes, they taste just as good as they look! Then again, I'm a sugar cookie fiend, and could eat an entire batch in a matter of hours.


Oh so proud of her pumpkins, kitties and moons!

It's been a fun and festive week, and there's still so much left. Tonight we're heading to our church carnival/trunk-or-treat, and tomorrow we're getting together with some friends for lasagna, more trick-or-treating and scary movies! Pictures of our "scary, not funny" spider to come.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some things never change... a child's curiousity of a pumpkin's inner organs.

Or better yet, the joy this father and daughter share in having created such a perfect tradition!

{Pictured above from left to right: Neil & Chloe - Oct. '06, Oct. '07, Oct. '08}


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In 24 days or less...

...I will have a baby in my arms! Here's the latest:

Had another doctor's appointment today. Despite the baby dropping a week and a half ago and the increase in pressure I've naturally felt as a result of it, I'm still showing no signs of dilation or effacement. Baby's head is down, and his/her back is leaning on my right side, which, I suppose, explains why I've been feeling kicks primarily on my left side and waking up in the mornings to a very lopsided belly!

We've decided to make November 21st our "deadline" for R/P's birthday. My doctor is going out of town the 22nd, and since I'm attempting a VBAC and he knows my situation and history, I am adamant that he deliver this baby! My due date is somewhere between November 14th and 16th, so this gives me about a week past that point to go into labor on my own. If, however, the 21st rolls around and nothing's happened, c-section it is! I am really hoping and praying that this baby decides to come on his/her own. I am wanting so much to experience going into labor naturally and seeing where that process takes me.

I am actually feeling great overall! I have moments where I don't want to be pregnant anymore, but all in all, these last few weeks haven't been so bad. And I have way more energy than it seems I should (or remember having the last time I was 37 weeks pregnant). As long as it's there, I'm going to take full advantage of it. Goodness knows I'll be lacking it soon enough.

We've had a fun week so far, carving pumpkins, baking cookies and planning out other Halloween festivities! I'll post on that when I get a chance. For now, this very pregnant mama needs some sleep!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Which one are you?

This is for all you Twilight fools out there. You know who you are!

I'm a Esme! I found out through Which Twilight Female Are You? Take the quiz and find out!

So, which one are you?


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkin patch paradise

Today Chloe and I spent our afternoon at a pumpkin patch in Pueblo. It wasn't all that spectacular, but Chloe had a blast, and that's the important thing. Whether it was running from one pumpkin to the next, chasing her own shadow or pointing out the various bugs on the ground, she was the happy, giggly Chloe I know and love. It's so easy to feel happy when she's happy. Perhaps I'm going overboard on the pictures - okay, I AM going overboard on the pictures, but I can't help myself. Call me biased if you will, but this girl is just too precious and photogenic for words.

pumpkin patch 1
Not two seconds after approaching the vast display of pumpkins, Chloe picked this one up. Even though it isn't the one she went home with, I had to snatch a picture.

pumpkin patch 2
So many choices...






No hayride was offered (lame), but we still managed to sneak a picture on the tractor.

And here's the pumpkin Chloe chose. She tried lifting it, but quickly realized it was a more appropriate task for Mom.

On our way out, Chloe spotted a litter of kitties and had to stop and say hello. I think they were just as fond of her as she was of them. When I told her it was time to leave, you would have thought Santa had died. I ended up having to drag her to the car, literally. This girl loves kitties! Too bad Daddy hates them!

Speaking of daddy, guess who just happened to be working in Pueblo today? As we were leaving the pumpkin patch, Neil was finishing a lunch appointment and had a free minute. We met up, and after Chloe had a chance to show him her new pumpkin (which she demanded to hold on her lap), we tagged along with him to a couple doctors' offices. Chloe immediately stole the hearts of many, and was quite spoiled during the twenty or so minutes we socialized with various nurses and other staff members. Chloe left the last office with a HUGE sugar cookie and two stickers! Definitely made for a pleasant drive home.

It was such a fun and carefree day, and one I won't forget. Sometimes it's these simple things that I need to relax a bit and not feel so caught up in the chaos of life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Birthdays and Baby Boys!

Today my brother celebrates 35 years! I love David for numerous reasons. He is sensitive and loving, hysterically funny, hard-working, incredibly talented, supportive, encouraging and always willing to offer advice or just a listening ear. From the time he met Neil, he's treated him like his own brother. And little Miss Chloe just thinks her Uncle D is the greatest! Wish we could celebrate your special day with a little Ahh Sushi! Believe me, I'm missing it these days. But I'm missing you a whole lot more!

Happy Happy Birthday, David!


And speaking of David's birthday (and birthdays in general), I also wanted to say a quick congrats to my two cousins, Misty and Heather who just became first time moms! Several months ago, I wrote
this post announcing their pregnancies. Heather was due today (on David's birthday), and Misty was just two days behind her. Neither made it to even mid-October, but both delivered healthy baby boys: Misty - 5 pound, 10 ounce James on September 29th; and Heather - 7 pound Jon Daniel on October 5th! I wish I had pictures of the babes, but since I don't, here's one of the two radiant mommies. I think it's appropriate that David - the birthday boy - be right in the middle. This was taken over the summer in my parents' backyard.

{L to R: Misty, David, Heather}

Congrats to all! And yay for two more Halliday boys!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Only when Daddy's gone...

Get Chloe comfortably settled in our bed (blankets, pillows, and six different toys surrounding her), turn on a movie, kiss her goodnight, and shut the door behind me, fully expecting she'll be out within a few minutes. No, this not part of our normal nightly routine. Only when Daddy's gone...

Suddenly startled by the creak of our bedroom door, I realize Chloe must still be awake. But how can this be when I haven't heard a peep from that direction of the house since kissing her goodnight an hour and a half ago? Well, whether she's been asleep or not, she's clearly awake now! And here she stands in front of me, bright-eyed, grinning and ready to make an announcement!

"I want a hamburger!"

You want a hamburger?
It's 10:00, kid!
How could you be hungry? And a hamburger of all things?
Why not a cracker or some apple juice - something we actually have!
And what on earth are you doing awake anyway?

Wait a minute.

A hamburger?


That actually sounds really good.

Off to "Old McDonald's" (in the words of Chloe) we go. Yep, I'm crazy. But I'm also pregnant and pretty much willing to eat at any hour of the day. And really, how often do Chloe and I make such spontaneous late night runs to Mickey D's? Only when Daddy's gone...

It occurs to me that Chloe hasn't said a word since we left the drive thru window. Upon a quick glance to the back seat, I discover the explanation: she's sound asleep.

Here's what Chloe will be eating for breakfast in the morning.

Recipe of the Week

Okay, so since I'm on sort of a freezer meals kick right now, I'm going to share another favorite of ours. So good and so easy, it's ridiculous! I have been waiting for pork roasts to go on sale for months now and finally found them for $1.88/lb. at Albertson's last week. Got this recipe from Amy nearly two years ago and have made it several times since. Sorry, no photos this time. I guess we ate it up too fast!

World's Best Pork Roast Rub
(for pulled pork sandwiches)

Rub ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt OR 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons onion salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

Additional ingredients:

  • 1 pork roast (any size and cut)
  • your favorite bbq sauce
  • french rolls or any sandwhich bread of your choice
  • sliced cheese, if desired

Combine rub ingredients; mix well. Coat the roast with the rub, and throw it in the crock pot. Depending on size, cook anywhere from 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. Remove roast, shred, transfer back to crock pot to soak up remaining juices, and add as much bbq sauce as you'd like. I generally leave it on "warm" for another 45 minutes or so before serving. Provolone, swiss or colby jack cheese make a great addition to these yummy sandwiches! I did a 4 1/2 pound roast earlier this week and froze half of it. The remaining portion, which we did not freeze, was gone within two days! So good!

This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups of rub. Chances are you won't use it all at once. Store remaining rub mixture in airtight container at room temperature (or in freezer) up to 3 months.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

From the mouth of Chloe...

I could fill an entire notepad with the hilarious things my daughter comes up with. Here's the latest:

  • "I'm 2 1/2, Daddy's 29, and you're 64!" (talk about robbing the cradle!)

  • While observing my obvious frustration with an uncooperative cd drive, Chloe sweetly asked, "Is it not uploading?"

  • "That's good spicy cheese! But it's REALLY spicy!"

  • During my parent's recent visit, Chloe and grandpa were having a conversation. After a comment by grandpa about something inconsequential, Chloe said, "Well I'm sorry, but I just don't know what to say about that."

  • "I'm sick of tired!"

  • Twenty or so minutes after being reprimanded for helping herself to gum without permission:
    "I'm sorry!"
    Valeri: "For what?"
    Chloe: "For getting white gum. I was mad at you."

  • "Daddy, I want to ask you a question! This brokeded and you need to fix it!"

  • Absolutely out of the blue while walking through Walmart, "Mommy, are you fat?"

  • Valeri: "Do you want a fork or a spoon?"
    Chloe: "I need a fork, because the spoon isn't workin' very well."

  • "Does Mary Poppins have a gorilla?" (meaning "umbrella”)

  • Shortly after Neil arrived home from work one day,
    Chloe: "Go change clothes!"
    Chloe: "'Cause I don't trust you!"

  • “Daddy, you are NOT my mother! My MOMMY is my mother!”

  • "Look Mommy, I'm dancing my feet!"

We sure do love our Chloebug. Sweetness, sass and all!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Then and now

Pictured left: 35 weeks pregnant with Chloe; pictured right: 35 weeks pregnant with R/P. Same shirt.

Had a doctor's appointment this afternoon. All is well with baby. When Dr. Baer was feeling around to determine his/her positioning, s/he gave him a few good hard kicks. Can't blame the poor kid. I know I don't like being poked at! My cervix is still hard as a rock, which is good because Neil will be in Vegas for the rest of this week (on business), and is heading to Dallas next Friday to attend the sealing of a family he worked with on his mission. Not that I could even imagine going into labor between now and then, but I'll still be relieved when he's finished with his travels.

My next doctor's appointment is in two weeks, then they become weekly until I deliver! AH! Between that and our hospital tour last week, the reality that in a few short weeks I'll be meeting, holding, snuggling and loving on this baby is really starting to sink in!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Recipe of the Week

Another reason I love Fall? Comfort food that somehow tastes better when it's cold out. In addition to having that homey taste, this week's recipe holds sentimental value. It's my sweet grandmother's and she's been making it since I can remember. Several months ago I convinced her to share the recipe with me, and have now made it twice, including last weekend when Chloe and I had a tummy bug. Healthy, simple (other than lots of chopping) and delicious! Perfect for the fall season!

Grandma Martha's Leek Soup


  • 3 cups leeks (about 2 large leeks), chopped
  • 2 cups celery (about 4 stalks), chopped
  • 5 carrots, sliced, then quartered
  • 3 large potatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, stems clipped and finely chopped
  • 1 cube butter
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 5 quarts water
  • up to 10 beef bouillons
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter in stock pot. Add quick oats and sauté until golden brown. Add leeks and sauté a minute longer, followed by celery, carrots and potatoes. Gradually add water, 1 quart at a time. Stir, and start adding beef bouillons, up to 10 (start with 6 and continue adding more and testing until the flavor is where you want it - I always end up using 10). Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on medium low heat for 2+ hours. The longer it simmers the better. Also works great in a crock pot. About 30 minutes before serving, add parsley.

Tips from the chef:

  • If you have a food chopper, I'd highly recommend it.
  • Goes great with french bread and salad.
  • This makes a HUGE batch - you can half it or freeze part of it. I am planning to make another batch to freeze for when baby comes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Father daughter conversation

Tonight at dinner...

Neil: "Chloe, what does a spoonful of sugar do?"
Chloe: "Makes go down the medicine!"

This girl knows her facts! Quick, any guesses on Chloe's favorite movie?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Where does it go? Time, that is.

How is it already Monday again? The days are just flying, and I am never EVER caught up! To think I'll accomplish half the things on my Have-to-get-done-before-baby-comes list is just a plain joke! Oh well. A girl can dream...

Here's the latest:

Neil's back at work on the basement. He's made great headway and is crossing his fingers he can schedule the next set of inspections (framing, plumbing and electrical) by this Friday. We have already ordered drywall. Next it's just a matter of getting a decent bid for hanging it. Neil is about as handy as they come, but he also recognizes his limits, and is absolutely planning to hire out the hanging of drywall, mudding and texturing. It'd be great if that process was finished by Christmas, but we're trying not to get ahead of ourselves. Oh, if only money grew on trees! Next on Neil's 'honey-do' list is wainscoting in the nursery. Very exciting.

Here are some of the projects I'm tackling these days:

  • A bed skirt for Chloe (thank goodness for a helpful friend)
  • Painting curtain rods for the kids' rooms (finally got drapes for Chloe's room - now it's just a matter of hanging them)
  • Freezer meals (mostly planning at this point. The actual marathon cooking day probably won't take place for another week or two, when I'm a wee bit closer to my due date.)

  • Re-painting the kitchen. I know, I'm retarded. The yellow walls (which have a lime green tinge in a certain light) have just been bugging me too long.
  • Fabulous Friday stitcheries - 3 down, 2 to go (I'll take pictures when I'm finished).
  • Birthday banner (another Enrichment project that I started, oh, a year ago! Chloe's birthday is approaching, and just like every other silly thing I'm trying to do, I know this will be much less overwhelming to finish NOW rather than a month from now). Again, will post pictures when finished.
  • Tackling/organizing all those drawers and corners of my house that have over time acquired piles and piles of STUFF! "Throwing away" is probably a more fitting term for this "project" than "tackling/organizing". How does one acquire so much stuff anyway?
  • Helping plan a baby shower.

  • Rag quilt for nephew. Not sure it's gonna happen.

  • Chloe's scrapbook. HA! Unfortunately I'm such a perfectionist, that it takes me hours upon hours to complete a single page, which I then find reason to be dissatisfied with. That pretty much explains why I've only completed a handful of pages in her nearly 3 years of life!
  • Trying to finish the Twilight series before the movie comes out - what a joke! Any time I have a free minute to read, I quickly realize I'd rather sleep.

Then there's the every day stuff: cleaning the house, keeping up on laundry and dishes, trying to get organized, drinking plenty of water, not staying on my feet too long, etc. No one thing I've mentioned seems all that overwhelming, yet combining it all into a month's worth of work is another story. Maybe it's just me, but I never know where to begin. And it seems even when I plan things out just right, I still end up getting distracted or interrupted, preventing me from feeling fully accomplished at the end of any given day. It also doesn't help that Chloe's sole purpose in life, or so it seems, is to re-create messes I've just cleaned up.

By the way, don't I look hot in this picture?

In addition to all of this, I've been trying to get out of the house at least once a day. Chloe just gets bored so easily, and while I have plenty to keep me occupied, I feel like a horrible mother putting movie after movie on for her. It's hard to be motivated some days, but all too soon, my free (and fun) time with Chloe will be limited so I'm trying to take advantage of it while I can.

Speaking of Chloe, she's quite busy these days too... talking more than anything. She'll strike up a conversation with anyone who glances in her direction! While standing in line at the post office today, Chloe told the lady in front of us, "I'm 2 1/2! But I'm going to turn 3!" This girl is NOT shy! And once she starts talking, she doesn't stop. She's the queen of run-on sentences. Everything has happened or is so because of this, which happened or is so because of that! And on and on she goes explaining anything and everything that comes into her little head until she's out of breath, or until we politely ask her to stop talking. As horrible as that sounds, there have been a few occasions where it has been necessary.

She loves Loves LOVES talking to and caressing my belly. She's constantly pulling up my shirt and saying, "Hi baby! How are you?" and then smothering my belly with kisses. The baby almost always responds to her voice, and when s/he doesn't, Chloe quickly says, "Wake up!" and pats around until she has his/her attention. While she seems excited to be a big sister (if she even comprehends what that really means), I'm also noticing a more clingy and sensitive side to her. She definitely senses something big is coming. Perhaps part of it is all the talk about the baby and watching my body continue to expand. Part of it too could be that often when she asks me to pick her up or play rough, I don't have the energy (or ability). She's also made a very regular habit of coming into our room at night and plopping herself on the floor. It's pretty much every morning now that we awaken to her sleeping at the foot of our bed, blanket, pillow and all! Sometimes she'll wake me up in the night and even try to crawl into bed with us. But most of the time she just wanders in and goes right to sleep. It'll be interesting to see if this continues (or becomes worse) when the baby comes.

All in all, we are doing great. With less than 6 weeks to go, I'm definitely feeling the brunt of late pregnancy. I'm having strong contractions and feeling lots and lots of pressure. In addition, the baby has made it crystal clear that s/he is running out of space! I'm not sleeping well, but am still getting along okay. What choice do I have, right? Oh, if only I had ten times more energy and an extra six hours in each day! Some day I'll feel like I'm ahead. Maybe. Until then, here's to another crazy (and quick) week!