Tuesday, August 29, 2006

popsicles and pizza

Kate got to try popsicles yesterday. It's back into the 100s again, so we put on the swimsuit bottoms and headed outside to make a mess. She started with carrots (I didn't want to feel too guilty about all that sugar I was about to give her), and then moved on to a popsicle. She liked it, of course. Lemon popsicle, yum. She also liked chewing on the stick when she had eaten all she would eat. For dinner we had pizza. I'm not sure how much she ate. She's doing this new thing where she'll put a bit of food into her mouth, chew it for a second and then spit it out again. She even does this with foods she likes. I dunno. So most of the pizza came back out again, except for the cheese. The girl likes cheese!

Ew, I think I got a mushroom.

We are off tomorrow on our trip to Portland and Seattle for 10 days. I hope to post updates along the way, but last time Kate slept in the computer room, which reduced my time spent on the blog, so we'll have to see. Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Tomorrow is Tim's and my 5th anniversary. We can hardly believe it's been so long, or that it's only been 5 years since we got married. We've known each other for 13 years now. I thought I'd post some photos of that fabulous day in 2001 when we got married at Willamette Valley Vineyards in Oregon.

Oh, here's a fun one from the year before: our engagement on top of the Space Needle in Seattle!

Photos from our first anniversary, which I spent in Silverton with Tim's family while he fought in Afghanistan:

Happy Anniversary, Tim!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

meat sticks are gross

Everyone's baby loves meat sticks. Gerber makes these hotdog-like sticks of well, meat, and all the girls I know tell me their baby loves them. Kate does not. I now have 3 jars (shoulda tried just one to begin with, huh?) of various flavors of meat sticks sitting in my pantry, and Kate detests them. She squeezes them out through her fingers, and plays with the skins. Ew. I have to give her credit: she will put a chunk in her mouth to try it, but then spits it back out. At first I thought we had a vegetarian on our hands, but we gave her pulled pork and she ate lots of that. She just doesn't like meat sticks. And really, who can blame her? They're nashty looking. And they smell like cat food. OH! Idea! I bet Starbuck will eat them! Yes.

We went to Anna's 2nd birthday party on Saturday night. Kate had a blast. And I am excited to see how she reacts to her birthday presents next month, considering she cried when I wouldn't let her play with Anna's gift before we went to the party. Most kids like the wrapping paper and boxes; I think Kate will actually like the toys. We shall see. But, the party: there were balloons (Kate loves them) and they had a giant kiddie pool in the backyard. I think Kate might have liked it better than our pool. Bonus. Coulda saved a few thousand dollars on that one...except it's hard to do laps in the kiddie pool.

Zoe, Kate and Taylor watch Stoner play with the doll.

Kate loves the pool!

We also got Kate her first pair of hard-soled shoes to get her ready for our trip to the Northwest next week. I talked to Tim's mom and she told me how she would take Kate's cousin Mykenzie on long walks down to the city hall and back when Mykenzie was about that age. Now, the city hall is almost a mile from their house, so I thought she meant that she would carry Mykenzie or would take her in the stroller. Nope. They both walked to city hall. So I found some shoes for Kate. They are so cute! Pink suede with little suede flowers. At first she had a lot of trouble walking in them because they are heavy and awkward when you're used to walking barefoot, but she is already getting better. Yesterday we put on jeans and her shoes and walked all the way to the end of the driveway. Not bad!

After many, many attemps to upload a photo of Kate in her new shoes, I give up. I'll try to post one later when blogger is more cooperative, if that ever happens.


Update: Not even Starbuck the kitty likes these Gerber meat sticks. Damn.

Friday, August 18, 2006

2 hours of jen in just 2 calories

Ha! This is a good one - thank you Andrea! - a slogan generator. Out of the UK. Very funny stuff. Ooh, I don't know about this next one. 'Just Do Kate.' Let's try that again. Ack! 'Absolut Kate'. What are they trying to tell me?! 'A Kate is Forever'. That's better. Heehee: 'If You Want to Get Ahead, Get a Tim'.

Better Ingredients, Better Jen

hot dogs, no thank you. i'll take more peas, please.

We had hot dogs for dinner earlier this week. This was my first hot dog since becoming pregnant, so I was pretty pleased for holding out till the 4th month. (For those of you who don't know the story, I first suspected I was pregnant when I was shopping at the commissary one morning and while walking down the relish aisle, thought, mmm, hot dogs.) Since I'm trying to slowly transition Kate from baby food to what I call real food, we are cutting up more of our meals to feed to her. Sometimes this works well, sometimes it does not. For instance, she has learned that she can squeeze some foods and make them ooze out of her fingers. She enjoys this immensely. Bananas and blueberries are her favorites for this trick.

But I digress. We had weiners for dinner, along with peas and carrots (because you just can't feel like you're being a good mom by eating cereal, peanut butter toast and chocolate chip cookies as meals everyday. Not that I do this. Really.). I cut up the hot dogs into Kate-sized chunks, and also put a few peas and carrots on her tray. She picked up the hot dog, put it in her mouth, and spit it out. She tried the peas next. She likes them because they roll around on the tray, and also because they are green. I think. So she tried the peas. Loved those. Ate every pea on her tray, found the leftover Kix from lunch in the corner of her tray and ate those and then looked at us like Okay, Mama, I'm done. You've got to be kidding me if you think I'm going to eat those weird hot dog bits. Not that I'm complaining. Not a bit; I just was amazed at her desire to eat vegetables instead of hot dogs.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

organized, focused, emotionally stable planner

According to the similar minds personality test, these words describe me. I am an ESTJ: extroverted, sensing, thinking, judging sort of person. I think that is probably about right. I am an "Administrator", much in touch with the external environment, very responsible, a pillar of strength, 8.7% of the poplulation. How they know that, I don't know. The part that made me give them a lot of credit was the 'favored careers/disfavored careers' section. It says that I would be good at:
  • supervisor
  • financial planner
  • business analyst
  • loan officer

These are all things I have done in the past.

And I would suck at:

  • poet
  • songwriter
  • art therapist (what the hell is that??)
  • art historian
  • travel writer (I think they are wrong about this, but maybe I would just like the travel part)

Thanks again to Katie for the blog idea.


I'm not totally left-brained (this is not a response to your comment, Katie!); I did somehow get some art genes. But I can't imagine doing something artsy for a living, mostly because I'm just not that creative to do it full-time, and that would stress me out.

Here is something I drew in high school:

And something I just finally finished for my sister:

For you ESTJs out there, this was a fun project that only took me 2 1/2 years. Check it out at this website.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


This is a fun website I found recently:


Type in an address and it will give you home values, a map and some home details. Kinda scary. They need to update their satellite image of our house: we no longer have that nasty chain-link fence around the yard, and we have nicer landscaping now.

My house I lived in while growing up is now worth $550K. Good GOD.

what does it say...

What does it say about us as parents that Kate's favorite new toy bin is an empty Pacifico beer box?

Or that we let her play after breakfast when she had Kix stuck to her butt?

On a different topic, we had the pleasure of hosting Uncle Bob (trucker Bob/racer Bob) for dinner on Sunday night, as he got a load of paper towels out of Oregon going to the local Costco stores here. Kate cried when she saw him, but it was probably because he's taller than Tim (and thus more frightening) and/or she thought she had a new babysitter for the night. Poor kid. Now Bob's on his way to Cheyenne - I'm sure that's a lovely trip! Enjoy!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Kate the magnet

Everytime we take Kate to the mall, other kids speed on over and cling to her. I don't understand it. Yesterday Jess and I took her to the mall to play and Summer (I know her name because her parents were sitting right next to me constantly saying 'Summer, be nice, Summer, be gentle with the baby, Summer don't hug her so hard, Summer Summer Summer. Kind of like Jeffrey Jeffrey Jeffrey from Bill Cosby Himself [Little Jeffrey. I remember his name, not because he said, "I'm four years old," but because Jeffrey's mother said his name all 2500 miles of the trip. ]) So Kate tried to play, but ended up just attempting to escape from Summer's 'love'. Then Kate discovered that there were bits of pretzel on the floor, right next to all the Cheerios that someone had spilled. Mmm. And of course, there were all the other baby's strollers and shoes to play with. So we didn't stay long.

Summer love.

Leave me alone!

Friday, August 11, 2006


I woke up at 2am with a great idea for a topic for the blog today, and I have since forgotten what it was. So I'm going to post some random thoughts.

First, favorites. Last night we had mexican food from La Parilla Suiza (so tasty) and it made me think that I should post some favorite things on the web and hope to get some favorites posted back either in the comment section or on your own blog.


I first made this pasta sauce a few weeks ago when we had friends over for dinner. Since then I've made it at least once, and everyone loves it. It's easy and sooo good! This one is from Giada DeLaurentis.

Simple Tomato Sauce:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.
Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.
Yield: 6 cups

Chocolate Gelato:

3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
8 ounces granulated sugar
10 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces sweet dark chocolate, chopped

Place whole milk, heavy cream, and vanilla bean and seeds in a sauce pot and scald. Remove vanilla bean. Whip the granulated sugar and egg yolks to a pale yellow ribbon state. Your sugar and egg yolks should be nice and fluffy. Add about a 1/2 cup of your scalded cream to your chopped chocolate in a bowl. Stir until melted. Place the bowl over a double boiler of barely simmering water. Set up a second double boiler. Constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, add scalded cream to your whipped egg and sugar mixture. Place egg and cream mixture over the double boiler and cook custard until it becomes thick and creamy. See Cook's Note.
Once custard is cooked, place the bowl over a cold water bath to cool. Gradually add your melted chocolate. Once custard is cool place in an ice cream machine and run as per manufacturer's instructions. Enjoy the love.
Cook's Note: It is recommended that the custard not be heated over 140 degrees F.
This recipe is also from the Food Network.


We love games and have a few that we introduce to anyone who comes to dinner at our house. The biggest hits:

Carcassonne - great because you can play with 2 people or up to 5, and it doesn't take forever.

Lost Cities - a new favorite. This one took a few times to grow on us. You kind of love it and hate it, but it's another great one for 2 players and now we just love it.

Apples to Apples - for those who aren't into strategy games, this one is easy and fun. Add some liquor and it's a riot. Great for a group of people.

Fluxx - this is a game that I think pretty much only guys enjoy. But since Tim thinks it's great, I'll post it. A few years ago we had the Schweatys and the Tweeters over for New Year's Eve and the boys played 'just a quick game'. Ever since that 45 minute load of boringness, the game has not been on my list of favorites.


Kate's favorites are the Little People, and her Dr. Suess book, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?

Since I'm hungry, here are some of my favorite local restaurants. Please leave comments on others you think are fabulous - it's nice to mix it up a bit!

Beyond Bread
La Salsa
Rocco's Pizza

Eclectic Cafe
La Parilla Suiza
McMahon's Steakhouse

Onto a different subject, Kate tried cottage cheese yesterday for the first time. She did not like it.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

nap face

Someone had a good nap this morning. It's always a sign of a good nap when you wake up with blanket imprints on your face that will actually show up on film.

Kate is still taking 3 naps a day on most days. I thought she'd be transitioning to 2 naps and soon to 1 nap, but she seems happy with 3. I can live with that.

After her 2nd nap, Dana and Eric came over to swim. Eric was a little tired when he got here, and Kate made him jump with one of her shrieks. It wasn't even a loud shriek this time! Then they played with toys, each trying to take what the other one had in their hand. Lucky for Kate, she can walk and outmaneuver Eric, so she won most of the time. Sorry, Eric!

Does that tickle?

See ya, I'm outta here.

damn. 5 more weeks to wait!

I didn't get an ultrasound yesterday. I did get to hear the heartbeat for the first time, though. My next appointment is after we get back from Seattle, on 12 September. We didn't find out if we were having a boy or a girl with Kate, and I don't know how I waited! I want to know now!

So far the votes are 2:1 in favor of a girl. What. It's like y'all think Tim's a fighter pilot who will only produce girls!

I left Kate with Jessica yesterday while I went to the doctor, and she had fun playing there. She did fall and hit her head I guess, but that was outshined by her split lip that was caused by me tickling her when I went to pick her up. I don't remember if she has ever screamed so loud. Way to go, Mom. I was tickling her and she leaned forward into the table and smacked her lip - it's the first time I've seen blood on my baby. Luckily there wasn't much or I would have felt really bad.

Today is a lunch date to Baggins with Jess & Michele, then hopefully some pool time with Dana and Eric, if it doesn't rain. Dinner tonight is with Jess, Mike, Michele and Sean at La Parilla Suiza. Yum - Mexican food!! I'm just waiting for that craving to hit...

Monday, August 07, 2006


I have my next OB appointment on Wednesday and may or may not get an ultrasound that day. Just in case I do, I'm soliciting predictions as to whether we are having a boy or a girl. Let me know what you think! Some Chinese calendars predict a girl, others a boy. Of course, the one I used for Kate told me she was a boy, so I can't hold too much confidence in them.

Mr. Brown makes funny noises.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

thaaaat's nice....

Should I question the competence of the base vet here, who told me, after I asked, "Yes, your kitty Starbuck is a girl. She's beautiful!"? We took Starbuck in this morning to an off-base vet to get her spayed, and I just called them to see if she was ready to pick up. "Yes, Starbuck is ready after 3pm today. But, um, Starbuck is a boy. He was neutered today. I promise we didn't do a sex-change operation on your kitty." Yeah. My sister and I kept wondering....'she' seemed rather um, endowed down there. In any event, I guess the name we chose for him is pretty fitting, although the TV show character started out as a man and was changed to a woman, not the other way around. It's a good thing we didn't name him Sharon.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

how fun!

I haven't been out of the country (except to Tijuana last summer, but let's not count that) in over a year. That's pushing up against one of my goals since I lived in England a decade ago: after coming back to the States, I wanted to go overseas at least once a year. The year 2004 should probably count for a lot, considering all the traveling we did while we were in Korea, but now it's been since last March since I've been out of the country!

Here's a map of European countries I did get to visit, most of them back in the 1990s:

We were hoping to get to Europe next year, but I imagine traveling with 2 little ones will be challenging. Traveling with just Kate is interesting enough. We'll see if we can get to Germany in 2007 to visit friends...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

back to blue

Skies, that is. I think my sister and I are the only ones in Tucson who will miss the crazy rains we've been having for the past week. Tim walked into the den yesterday morning and said, "Um, some guy named Noah just went by outside. I asked if he needed a cat, but he already had some." Lucky Starbuck. But seriously, we have had anywhere from 1-2.5" of rain at our house every night for the past 7 days (I think it's 7. Maybe more. Eleven? Can't remember.). Usually monsoons hit in the late afternoon/evening, but we've been getting thunderstorms after 10pm, and usually for the following 8-10 hours. The other night it woke me up 5 times. Kate somehow slept through everything; I'm not sure how, because the thunder was loud. Tim let out about 3" of water from our pool yesterday, after having drained an inch the day before. But I like the rain! I think I like the change in weather. In Seattle in the winter I would always pray for sun, just a hint would be fine. Here you wait and wait for something other than blue skies and hot weather. Weird.

Driving back from errands yesterday I was amazed to see the Pantano wash raging. People had gathered on its banks to watch it. At first I didn't know what the heck they were doing. What are you staring at, people? There's nothing there. Then I saw it: white caps in the very brown water that matched the brown color of the wash banks. Huge water! The Rillito River (we do have a river in Tucson, it's just rarely full of water) overflowed its banks yesterday. Craziness on the north side! Anyway, we've had a lot of rain, and now it's gone and I miss it.

Kate is cruising like crazy. She used to use her push-walker to get around and then would cry when it got stuck against a wall: Mama, why won't it go through the wall? Now she navigates like a pro. I think it happened overnight.


She is also initiating peekaboo now. My girl's all grown up...