Blog Archive

Monday, February 28, 2011

An Evolution of Eddie's Nicknames

In our family, the number of nicknames a person has is directly proportional to how much we love that person. So get ready for a looooooooooooong list.

In order:
  • Eddie
  • Eddie Pie
  • Big E
  • Biggest Man
  • Biggest Little Man
  • Biggesist Man
  • Lover Lump (since he's smaller than Dave, my Lover)
  • Edimus (sounds sorta like Oedipus...not that that's a good thing...)
  • Edimus Pie (our little song was, "Edimus, Edimus, Edimus Pie!")
  • Ediwadamus
  • Wadamus
  • Wada-mee-us
  • Edi-wada-weirda-mus
  • Edi-wada-worda-weirda-mus
  • Edi-wada-worda-weirda-walka-runna-talka-mus (we added a piece with each new skill he acquired)
  • Edi-moose
  • Wada-moose
  • Wonder Moose (Uncle Edward came up with this one)
  • Wada Dada von Moosen (his fake German name)
  • Wonder Moosen (another fake German name, pronounced Vonder Moosen)
  • Desitin Man (said in a sing-song voice like you would for a super hero flying through the sky: "Dun, dun, dun, DUN....Desitin Maaaaaaaan!")
  • WadaSeuss, as in Dr. Seuss. I sent Edward a picture of Eddie in his striped jammies. He showed it to Jennifer, who said Eddie looked like a Dr. Seuss character. She's right!
We regularly call him Wadamus, Eddie, Wonder Moose, Wada-mee-us, and Wada Dada von Moosen. (Okay, be honest we use most of these names on a daily basis.) It cracks me up that Cassie calls him Wadamus!

Our dogs have zillions of nicknames, too. But Eddie knows them best as "sister" and "brother," although he can say "Ruby" and I heard him say something that vaguely sounded like "Taters." This poor kid will grow up to think that he's a dog or the dogs are people!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nighty Night!

When Eddie is really tired, he put his hands back behind his head when we put him down in the crib at night. It is so cute.Lately he's taken an interest in his two dollies. One is a premie Cabbage Patch doll of mine from childhood and the other is a "learn to dress" type doll that my mom got to entertain him on the plane to France last year. Usually the dolls are somewhere random in his crib when I tuck him in at night. In the mornings he'll grab each one and I give them each a kiss on the cheek and then let them "kiss" him on the cheek. He giggles like crazy, it makes me laugh so much.

Then about a week ago he started looking for them before bed every night. So now I make sure to tuck them in with him under his blankets.

OH. MY. GOD. Isn't this so, so cute?(Yes!)

Another less-cute thing that Eddie has been doing in his crib is trying to undress himself. Considering his diaper is often much less than clean when I get him out of bed each day, this is not a good thing. I think I'll have to order some rear-zipper jammies pretty soon (or just cut the feet off his current jammies and sewing them back on backwards so the zipper is in the rear). Because I'm not interested in cleaning poo art off the walls...ew.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Schwind Baby Shower!

On Saturday I co-hosted John and Jessica's baby shower at our house (along with their friend, Stephanie). They will be welcoming a boy/girl set of twins in April! (I am trying very, very hard to NOT be jealous of them!) It was really touching to see how many people came to the party to celebrate them and their babies. Even my mom came!

For food we decided to have a personal pizza bar--so we set out a variety of toppings and premade balls of dough so folks could decorate their pizzas however they wanted. The night before the party John, Stephanie, and Jessica came over and we had a ball prepping all the food. Somehow, though, I completely forgot about buying drinks...oops! Lucky for me, Dave was nice and ran out during the party to buy some sodas.

We used our wall oven and pizza peels to bake the pizzas...we managed to do about 6 at a time using our pizza stone and a borrowed one. A couple of weeks ago we bought a set of six 6"x6" baking stones off They are pretty thick, and since they are separate you can use however many you want, in any configuration. Paired with our two pizza peels, people were able to make their pizzas at leisure and bake them whenever they wanted. Other than setting off every smoke detector in the house, it was a success! I think next time we'll bake them outside on the BBQ, though.
For games, Stephanie bought a variety of baby foods, removed the labels, and had us guess what they were. She banned everyone who has kids already, assuming we'd know which flavors are which. I got to play since Eddie didn't ever eat store-bought baby food. ...And having participated in the game I'm glad he never did. Yuck. I was completely stumped by what turned out to be bananas. Then we played gift bingo--people got to mark off items while the parents-to-be opened gifts. Stephanie also bought plain white bodysuits and let people decorate them with puff was cute! Jessica is an epidemiologist and a lot of her grad school friends make a rather dorky "epi" onesie.

Their cake was from the Solano Bakery and was so yummy! I wish I had snagged a bigger piece because the whole rest of the day I was craving cake.

Dave and I cooked up several different things using all the pizza topping leftovers: frittatas for lunch, quesodillas for dinner, and more personal pizzas the following day.

Eddie and Renee were the only non-fetal yet mobile babies at the party and they had a BALL together. It was SO nice to have an active friend around for Eddie because he left me alone for nearly the whole party. That meant I could cook, socialize, eat, and smooch on Renee. Of course, when he saw the smooching he did get a little jealous and insisted that I pick him up, too. THIS is why I don't have to go to a gym! Can you imagine how strong my arms would be if I had twin Eddies? Ouf!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Celebrating Baby Girl Bair

**UPDATED! I added a picture of the baby girl.**

My officemate at school, Danny, texted me at 4:38am today to tell me that his daughter was born about two hours earlier. Her name is Elia Noemi and she sure is beautiful!
To celebrate her birth, I made us a Hawaiian dinner, Argentine dessert, and Mexican beverage meal. 'Twas amazing, especially after a full day of fresh air!Back before Toa was born I was perusing a Polynesian cooking blog to look for recipes...Danny looked and pointed out Chicken Katsu as one of his favorite Hawiian dishes. So I made that, along with rice and macaroni salad. For dessert we had angel food cake and ice cream with dulce de leche on top (that's the Argentine part). And I had a Corona to acknowledge Danny's Mexican heritage. Mmmmmm.I considered making the dulce de leche myself (by cooking down regular milk or by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk) but got lazy and just bought a can at the store. I have no idea what I'll do with the remainder of the can (all 19/20ths of it, that stuff is super sweet)...maybe I'll stir some into my coffee this week. I had planned on making Spam musubi but just ran out of time.

Welcome to the world, sweet Elia!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Over and Over

There are some things that I can do over and over again and never grow tired of it: certain movies, songs, books, and foods.

Lately I've been obsessed with the song If I Die Young by The Band Perry. I like her voice, the lyrics, and that she looks like a blond Jennifer (Edward, are you sure that Jennifer doesn't moonlight as a teenage country singer???).

Other songs I absolutely love are: Down to the River to Pray, Whiskey Lullaby, Long Black Train, Blue Moon, and Sincerely Me.

I love the melodies in Down to the River to Pray, Whiskey Lullaby, and Long Black Train (and the stories of those last two ballads). I love turning the volume up LOUD and singing along (loud because I don't even want to hear my own terrible singing voice).

Blue Moon reminds me of my mom, since she introduced me to Oldies music, which was "normal" music to her back in the 1960s. Weird!

Whenever I hear New Found Glory (and Sincerely Me specifically), I'm taken back to the January I spent working in Cape Town at the Kirstenbosch National Botanic Gardens. I listened to this song over and over and over on my CD player while sitting on the beach after work, soaking up sunshine.

What songs do you listen to over and over and over...and why?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cookie Plates!

Life around the holidays got a little crazy with my heart procedure, family gatherings, cooking, traveling out of town, etc. so I didn't end up making "holiday" cookie plates for my coworkers, friends, and neighbors until mid-January. I've never made cookie plates before, but I sure love it when people give them to us. It was high time I reciprocated!

I knew I wanted to have a huge variety of treats and that I wanted to try new recipes instead of relying on my standard desserts. In order to avoid the insanity of too many recipes in too short a time, I divided up the work over several days.

Each night for about a week I made a double batch of cookies, rolled the dough into cookie-sized balls, and froze them. The next night I'd transfer the balls to a zippy bag. My friend, Kelly, told me to bake the frozen balls for an extra minute to avoid having to defrost them before baking. For the most part it worked great!

The night before delivering the 14 plates I baked up 28 of each type of cookie (and made the lemon bars). The marshmallows were made two days before. I used leftover paper plates from Dyani's wedding shower, florist plastic wrap from the Dollar Store, and yarn to package them up. Unfortunately I needed another roll of plastic wrap but since there were no other adults at home to stay with Eddie while I ran to the store, I had to make do. Each one was labeled with a holiday postcard. The plates that I would take to campus for coworkers or to friends' houses I loaded into a box and put in the car. I delivered the neighbors' plates to their doorsteps before work the next day.Fortunately or unfortunately I neglected to make us a cookie plate...but I still have dough in the freezer for each of the treats except the lemon bars so we can make cookies any time.

Projects like this are exactly the reason I shop at Costco: Whatever would I do without my beloved 50 pound sacks of sugar and flour? Or four pound packages of butter? Of course I could make do, but it sure would cost a LOT more.If you're interested in the recipes, I've linked or listed them below. In every case I used half whole wheat and half white flour (you know, to make them healthier and to cancel out the butter and sugar).

Homemade marshmallows

Spicy molasses cookies

White chip chocolate cookies--I formed the dough into balls and rolled each one in powdered sugar so they had a "glaze" when baked.

Oatmeal scotchies

Peppermint chocolate pinwheels--I used this recipe for the chocolate cookies and any standard sugar cookie recipe for the green/peppermint part. I added a few drops of green food coloring and peppermint extract to the regular sugar cookie dough. The combination of chocolate and peppermint doughs was reminiscent of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies (except that I baked them less so they were softer).

Lemon bars

3/4 cups white flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cups softened butter

Lemon topping:
6 eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup lemon juice
3 drops yellow food coloring, optional
Powdered sugar for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9x13" pan
2. Make crust by combining ingredients and the patting into pan. Bake 15 minutes until slightly golden.
3. While crust is baking, make topping. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, food coloring,and lemon juice until frothy.
4. Once crust is done, pour topping over hot crust.
5. Bake for 20 more minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool completely. Then dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares.

Over all I think the plates were a hit! Everyone seemed to like the variety, not to mention the arrival of treats after the holidays (see, being late can be a good thing!). Next year I will make some refrigerator cookie-cutter cookies since we have a sack full of fun cookie cutters. Eddie'll be old enough to "help" by then, too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Weekend Full of Cute Babies

This last weekend was so great! Saturday Dave let me sleep in and then we took a bike ride to get some lunch. The weather was SO nice so we took advantage and played outside a lot. An injured chicken showed up in our yard the evening before and I took her to the emergency vet on campus that day . The poor gal was really beat up--I don't know the details yet but my vet friend is going to tell me what the outcome was once the report is in.

I was supposed to attend my friend's birthday dinner that night at a fondue restaurant, but decided not to go when I realized how much money it was going to cost. So I made us a full Christmas dinner instead (yes, I know it is February). We had ham, greens, crescent rolls, and mashed yams with raisins. Our "small" family Christmas dinner ended up with so many guests that we didn't get any left overs! We loooooooooooooooooooove ham and were disappointed that we didn't get to eat left over ham (for omelets, pea soup, fried rice, etc.). So now we have lots of yummy ham. Anyway, it was scrumptious!

Sunday morning I got up, got dressed, loaded 12 quarts of honey into the car (along with a baby swing), and headed to Brisbane to see Dyani and Batiste. It was a really, really good day! Dyani is doing such a good job with her precious babe--he's absolutely perfect and thriving. I got to hold him pretty much all day long. We had a leisurely lunch, went on a walk, talked about everything under the sun (she picked my brain for parenting advice and I hers about how to better brush Eddie's teeth), made dinner, and just hung out. Sweet Batiste was definitely the highlight of my weekend. He's such a little doll. It's funny, Dyani is convinced that he's bigger than Eddie was back when she first met Eddie. But at three weeks old, Batiste has gained two pounds and is now the size Eddie was at birth. Ha! Brice was at the hospital for 24 hours so I stayed as late as I could so she wouldn't have to be alone too long. When I got home Dave was still up so we had a snack and then went to bed. While I was in Brisbane, Eddie and Dave got to play with Mike, Bernie, and Zennie. I'm glad they all had fun. The evidence of their fun is still in the house: orange tree leaves and a stray orange...I think Uncle Mike told Eddie it was a ball because he keeps throwing it around the house.
I wish I could have been there, too--Zennie is so freaking cute! Mike said he thinks she's so cute he could eat her...I said, "why not?" I kiss Eddie so much sometimes I want to suck his cheeks right off. So I think a little baby nibbling here and there is perfectly reasonable. Okay...I'm weird. But seriously...those Bower genes make some dang cute kiddos!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Manly Health Update

About two weeks ago Dave was bitten by a tick while up in Gualala. Everyone knows that ticks can carry Lyme disease, so it is always worrisome when you are bitten by a tick. Of course, sometimes people can get the disease without realizing they've ever been bitten by a tick in the first place. Some people get the trademark "bullseye" rash but don't end up having Lyme. Other people find no tick OR rash, and only discover they have the disease because of all the icky symptoms that emerge later.

Poor Dave fell into this last category of Lyme victims when he was a little kid. It took too long for the doctors to diagnose Lyme since most of the tests kept showing false negatives. His wise Mama knew what was wrong and kept persisting until someone did a different test that confirmed it (gotta be your own health advocate!). Years of antibiotics and pain followed. He seems fine now, but is eager not to repeat the experience. So his parents mailed the dug-out tick to a lab to be tested. Of course, they discovered too late that they had mailed it to an outdated address and weren't sure it'd get tested at all. So Dave went on a round of the only antibiotic he's not allergic to (thanks to Lyme he ended up allergic to most). Lucky for us, the tick was tested after all and was negative for Lyme. Woo!

Since the Lyme buggies never really leave your system, the possibility of a "flare up" of Lyme symptoms always haunts us. Fingers crossed that he'll be spared!

Moving on to mini-Dave: Eddie's left testicle never dropped on its own so he's scheduled for surgery in the middle of March. The doctor said there is a 10% chance that the testicle will atrophy (die) once it is pulled down into the correct position in the scrotum--all these lovely words on my blog today...aren't you glad you tuned in? ;) And yes, I'm sure that when Eddie is a teenager he'll be thrilled to know I wrote all about his package on the family blog. (You're welcome, Bumkin! I give you permission to write about me when I have hot flashes during menopause!)So there is a small chance that he'll have to live as a One Nut Wonder. Our keen doctor was quick to assure me that I don't need to worry about my future grandbabies because the loss of one testicle doesn't actually decrease fertility that much. The biggest concern will be the increased chance of testicular cancer since that one testicle has spent too much time up in his abdomen where it is a lot warmer than the tissue prefers. Isn't it crazy that the increased temperature can lead to cancer?

Since this is a "manly" health update post I won't report on my own superb health. =)

Monday, February 7, 2011

IHOP Cornmeal Pancakes

I have never been a big fan of breakfast. The foods are generally sweet, so with the exception of eggs dishes I never got too excited about this meal. In high school my mom and I routinely got into big fights over what to eat for breakfast--I always wanted to eat soup or a sandwich but she wouldn't let me because those weren't "breakfast" foods. I still think she's wrong...I mean, who cares if I follow convention? As long as it is well balanced, I think a person should eat whatever they want for breakfast. Two exceptions are IHOP's cornmeal pancakes and my dad's oatmeal pancakes with molasses on top.

I always thought that regular syrup was too sweet so I nearly always had molasses at home...unfortunately for me, though, most restaurants don't offer molasses. So I never ordered pancakes at restaurants.

That is, until I met IHOP's cornmeal pancakes. Edward introduced me to them while I was visiting him at UC Riverside several years ago. I expected them to be gritty, but they are not. They have "texture" for sure, but they are not unpleasant at all. I seriously fell in love with those pancakes.

When I was pregnant (read: adamant that I satisfy a particular craving immediately), Dave took me to IHOP specifically for these pancakes. But THEY HAD REMOVED THEM FROM THE MENU! I was upset and pissed off. We seriously considered leaving to go eat elsewhere. But, since I was pregnant, I was absolutely starving so we stayed (and ate a much less yummy meal).

From then on I lurked the internet for copy cat recipes. Many were close but most were an entirely different beast. Finally I found a good starting point and have since altered it to match my memory of the original and my preference.

They are more like a cake, given the amount of sugar and fat. I reduced both, relatively, from the recipe I found online. That's one reason I like developing copy cat recipes: once you know the ingredients (and how unhealthy some of them are, like excess sugar and butter), you gain the perspective of how much you SHOULD eat versus how much you'd LIKE to eat. These pancakes are a perfect example of that: once I realized how unhealthy they were, I decided to tweak them so they were less fattening and sweet. So while these pancakes aren't exactly like the restaurant version, they are close enough for me and my family.

So here's my version of cornmeal pancakes. It makes about 24 cakes, when using 1/3 cup of batter each.

Heat griddle to 325F.

  • 1 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cups buttermilk (or 1 cup milk mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Mix all ingredients and let the batter sit for about 5 minutes so the cornmeal can absorb some liquid. Cook about 5 minutes on the first side, until golden brown. Flip and cook about 3 more minutes, until golden brown. They are good eaten as-is or with whatever jam/syrup you like.

We always make a full batch and just freeze the extras in a single layer on a plate or cookie sheet. Once frozen, we put them in a zippy bag. This way it is really easy to get breakfast ready on workday mornings: microwave a pancake and slice some fruit for Eddie while his egg fries on the stove. (We usually also have regular pancakes, muffins, or waffles in the freezer, too, for variety.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Childproofing the Sink

Both of our bathrooms are equipped with standard-issue DIYer, prefab sink vanities, probably purchased by the last owner from Lowe's.

Right when we moved in we noticed a problem with the sink in the hall we knew would be an issue once we had children.

Can you see the problem?

There's no overflow hole! So if our darling child ever put the stopper in the drain and left the water on, there would be a flood. This a particular problem since we have laminate flooring in the adjacent hallway...and if moisture gets underneath that flooring, it will come apart (as in, de-laminate).

And as an experienced previous child, I know kids often do crazy things like forget they left the water on after they are done washing their hands...

Dave and I have discussed the options: to replace the sink or the whole vanity, to change to a corner sink so can open up the walking space in that part of the bathroom, etc. (See how narrow it is?)

Finally we just decided to remove the stopper mechanism in the drain since we never use it anyway.

Problem fixed, right? Nope.

Well, this morning Eddie discovered he could turn the water on in the master bathroom. He simply climbed up onto the toilet lid and was able to reach the water faucets. Dang. So I guess we will remove THAT sink's stopper, too. (And keep the door closed so he can't turn the water on in the first place...his short arms can only reach to the hot tap, which is another problem.)

His motivation this morning was the cup full of my and Dave's toothbrushes...he is OBSESSED with toothbrushes lately. I found him walking around the house with one in each hand.

The good news is that this house will be completely child friendly by the time the next baby comes along, whenever that happens!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Best Family Photo of 2010

My dad developed the last remaining sheet of film from our holiday photo shoot. This is the last and best photo he took that day. He scanned the film and used Photoshop to tone down the shadows behind our heads.

We're all looking at the camera! Thank goodness because about three seconds after this photo was taken Eddie turned around and barfed all over me (and Edward's slippers). Luckily he was in good spirits--and starving for a second breakfast!--right after he puked. His stomach bug lasted for a few more days but no one else got sick. I'm guessing he ate something nasty at my parents' house. Poor can almost see the upchuck gurgling around in his tummy. But that deadpan look of his is so cute nonetheless.