Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Favorite Product

While at Costco the other night, we picked up a bottle of Panda Express' Orange Sauce (it's much bigger than what's pictured here- just think Costco size.) Anyhow, I've decided it's one of my favorite stand-by sauces. The first recipe I used it in was orange chicken- just cooked up a bag of popcorn chicken, tossed it with the sauce, and served it over rice. YUMMY!Tonight I made a beef and vegetable stir-fry, tossed with the orange sauce. It was DELICIOUS!

These days especially more than ever, I am on the lookout for quick and delicious recipes, and this one's a keeper.

Thank you magic Orange Sauce! You are delicious in so many ways.

All Clean

Here's my cutie all clean after her bath. She and her bear came into the kitchen to keep me company tonight while I made dinner. I love this hooded bunny towel.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


It has been brought to my attention that my blog has been eating my comments!!

It has happened a couple of times that when I go to click on comments to publish them, they disappear. SO, if you have been leaving comments that are not getting published, please do not take offense. They are just being eaten.

Candy's Fudge Drop Cookies

I've had a craving for these all week, and finally got around to making them today. This recipe is one of the many good ones from my step-mom's collection of which I have fond memories. It is now one of my favorite stand-by cookie recipes. The kids love them, and they whip up in about 15 minutes.

Fudge Drop Cookies

1/2 c. butter
2 c. sugar
3 heaping Tbs. cocoa
(boil together over stove 1 minute)

remove from heat, add:
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. oats (I like to use old-fashioned)

Mix quickly and drop by spoonful onto wax paper. Let cool to set.


There's always competition in the morning to see who can make it into Mom's bedroom first to hold Rachel. While I was pregnant I always said there'd be plenty of loving arms to hold this little girl. This picture, taken this morning, is no exception.

Sound Mind, Sound Body

I was at my hairdresser's the other day when I came across an ad in a magazine for Asics running shoes. The ad showed a picture of a woman running through a wall of water. She had words attached to her body such as 'fear,' 'doubt,' 'worry,' 'stress,' and the like. As she was crossing through the water wall, the words were being washed away from her. The slogan of the ad was Sound Mind Sound Body. I absolutely loved it and felt it captured the essence of why I run. My latest ambition is training for a 5K on May 15th. It is the same Folsom's Run with Nature that I did last year, only this year I am doing the scaled-down version. I think I'll be ready for another 10K next year.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Homebirth of Rachel Madison Hart

(you get the edited version)

Thank you Kaleem for capturing this day so beautifully for us.

Friday, March 26, 2010

This Face

As I was taking Rachel to bed last night, I looked down at her tiny little face gazing back up at me, and thought, "This face makes it all worth while." And I mean all of it. The woes of early pregnancy, the grueling task of labor, the complaints of my last post... everything. It is amazing how head-over-heels in love I can be with this tiny little person who's been in my life for only 3 1/2 weeks. If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Off and... Riding!

Forrest has always been good about teaching the kids to ride their bikes without training wheels at a very young age. I was thoroughly impressed when he took Ashlee's wheels off at age four, then along came Jacob, who he had riding without wheels at age three! Well, this past weekend was Noah's turn. As you'll see in the pictures, it wasn't an entirely planned event, but it worked out nonetheless.
Noah was doing jumps off the speed bump when his training wheels BROKE!
So Daddy did the only thing there was to do, which was to take them off.
Riding alongside Dad.
Building confidence.
ALL SMILES at the end of the day!

Good job, Dad, and great job Noah!


n 1: a stretch of turbulent water in a river or the sea caused
by one current flowing into or across another current

That is the word I am using to describe the way I feel this week. The post-birth high has well worn off and fatigue is creeping in like a riptide.
Three weeks is the amount of time it has taken for my body to fully realize the effects of little sleep and providing constant nourishment for a new person.
The mind is a little bit foggy. Before I had Rachel, I told myself that if I could just endure this time, it would pass, but now I am in the thick of it and looking for a way out.
I love time with a new baby, but I am more looking forward to a full night's sleep and a little more independence. I am not the type of person who does sitting easily, so this time is always a challenge for me. My patience grows a little more with each one, but it's still a struggle. I am a mover and shaker by instinct.
In a perfect world I would hold my baby in my arms all day, sleep when she sleeps, and have meals brought to me. But that is not real life with five children. Real life is cradling baby in one arm while pushing a vacuum with the other, or praying that Rachel will be content long enough for me to take a shower and put on make up.
Real life is knowing that there is never enough time, or patience, in a day. Real life is knowing that childbirth is a sacred, celestial event experienced in a mortal, terrestrial world. Real life is expecting that just when your baby does fall peacefully asleep on her own, your two year old will come barging in the door crying because one of her brothers just made her get hurt, and wake her up.
The author of a book I once read states that she believes hormones could be the bridge between the physical and spiritual world. That struck a chord in me when I read it, and has remained with me ever since. It would explain the elation a woman feels just prior to and immediately after giving birth. If that is the case, then I guess now is the time I am being released into a less heavenly sphere. Hormones in a mother, the same ones that are released in a "cocktail" to provide an optimum birth experience, decrease rapidly after birth and continue to do so over the six weeks postpartum.
I know all this and am okay with it, but sometimes knowing doesn't make it any easier. I know lots of moms who are a mere weeks away from giving birth, but as for now, I am in the trenches alone. This too shall pass, and I hope to be a better mother because of it. In the meantime, I'll continue to pray for just enough strength and patience to meet the demands of each new day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Opening Day 2010

Yesterday was the big kick-off day for baseball season. This is Jacob's second year in the league, and we all love it. By request, he was placed on the same team as last year, only they've graduated from Tee-ball to Minors A (I am partial to the coach.) I have been thoroughly impressed with the sheer amount of volunteer work that goes into making each year a success.Jacob trying his hand on the rock climbing wall:
It really was a junkfest. The kids gorged themselves on cotton candy, ice-cream, and ring pops, and loved every minute of it.

I believe Ashlee made it to the top.
We ran into many friends there. Here is Ashlee with one of them:
This little girl slept nearly the entire time. I figure that even if she did wake up and cry, she knew she didn't stand a chance against the blaring music.
I believe one of the kids snapped this shot.
And me, sporting Forrest's shades.
Go RedSox!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

And the Beat Goes On...

Well, as is usually the case when a baby enters the family during our school year, the beat goes on. I fear that taking too much of a break will set the kids back in their progress and throw them out of the loop. I have worked too hard on getting them into a routine to let them fall off the bandwagon now. They were on more of an independent study the week following Rachel's birth, but now I am trying to ease back into some instructional time with them. The benefits of homeschooling are so rewarding that I don't want to leave them on their own for too long- I miss them.

Here is our youngest student in training:

This is what becomes of our dining room table in the mornings: a slew of breakfast dishes, cereal bowls, sticky, syrupy plates, school books, pencils, scissors, and papers.

Ashlee is working on memorizing all 50 states and capitals this year, and often times she'll include Jake in her drills. It's working, because he has quite a few memorized himself.

Our calendar and weather chart has been another one of our favorite visual aids this year. The kids are pretty good about keeping it updated themselves.

As for me, I love being able to bring my baby into the classroom. I'm sure she's learning through osmosis.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lovin' My Peanut

So I am just starting to get into the groove of using my Peanut carrier, and I love it! I took Rachel for a walk in it last night, and it was so easy to wear. I like that it is less fabric than the wrap, which always felt so hot to walk in. We made waffles with her in it this morning, and she slept, well, like a baby! She was actually snoring in this picture. I love you Peanut!

Current Read

This was my pick from the library yesterday:

Although I have never seen a single episode of Jon and Kate Plus Eight, I am thoroughly enjoying this book. I find it a bit difficult to read knowing that the happy couple has since split, but it is fascinating to get a glimpse into what life must have been like for two people who were handed a situation more trying than most of us could even fathom. Plus, it really helps me to put my situation into perspective. While reading this book, life with only one baby seems so... easy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

We started the day with a breakfast of green oatmeal. This has been our tradition for the past few years, and the kids really look forward to it.
Afterward we headed over to the library for story time. Here's the clan:

Post-story time in their clover headbands:

We came home for a snack: my homemade version of Jamba Juice's Peanut Butter Moo'd. Smoothies are a big hit in our household.

Especially when they're topped with whipped cream and chocolate.

Ashlee's was the first to disappear. I don't think her lips ever came off that straw.

We dropped Ashlee off at piano practice then headed over to the park. Who could resist the park on a day like today? We are definitely feeling the spring fever.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


You forget what an accomplishment a task like this is with a new baby.

Here are the four loads of laundry that have been staring at me from my bedroom floor since Saturday, waiting to be folded. Rachel was so kind as to nap in her bassinet long enough to give me the two free arms to do this. If I'm so fortunate as to be able to put them away I'll have room for the other four loads that are coming hot out of the dryer. Is this going to be my fate over the next several years...?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thank you Rachel

For doing this:So I could make this: pasta with artichokes, olives, basil and sundried tomatoes...
pan-seared sunchokes and artichoke hearts with herb butter...
marinated tri-tip...
sauteed baby broccoli and radishes...
garlic bread...
and a berry pie.
Meanwhile, the kids had fun making and eating chocolate bird nests (an early Easter craft.)

I am getting to the stage where I feel good enough to start easing back into some of the activities of everyday life. Today was our first day back at church, and it was comforting to be around so many familiar faces. Making dinner on my own feels like an accomplishment, especially when it's enjoyed with family (thanks Jeff and Barb!) I know I have a long way to go in my recovery and postpartum period, but it was good to have a day of "normal."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So Glad When Daddy Comes Home

Happy day! Forrest is home for the weekend.

The kids ran outside as soon as they heard his truck pulling up into the driveway.

This little one got about as excited as she could for her age. Forrest was surprised at how intently she looked at his face.

We're happy to have Daddy home. Even better, he came bearing gifts! He surprised us with Baskin Robbins. Honey, you know how to go after my heart...