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Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I'll try to find a farm outside of town that is willing to take them...but otherwise we'll be having mini chickens for dinner sometime this fall.
Kelly knows how excited I am to finally get my much-anticipated bantams so she sent me a picture tonight. Aren't they cute? For now they are at her house but I should be able to pick them up on Friday or Saturday.We don't have names for all of these new gals yet, and we're open to suggestions! We'd like to keep the theme of foods that include chicken. (Remember, our current hens are Tikka Masala, Vindaloo, Noodle, and Tom Kha. We had a Nugget, but she turned out to a "he" so we returned him to the store since he was supposedly sexed before purchase.)
Here are our current ladies:And the eggs they lay:The bottom two are a bluish-green color from Noodle and Vindaloo. On the top are the brown eggs. Tikka lays the darker brown on the top right. Right now we get 3-4 eggs per day. Their ovulation cycle is longer than 24 hours so we don't necessarily get an egg from each every day. Some days we actually run out of eggs. Eddie usually eats two whole eggs for breakfast and if I do any baking we use a lot of eggs. Over the last few days, though, we haven't used many so when a nice Indian lady saw the hens in the front yard this evening and asked if I had any extra eggs to sell I decided to give her 6 for free.
Buy and incorporate compost into garden beds in the garden yard (2 yards minimum). Fix irrigation in the front yard. Till compost into new garden beds in the utility yard. Eddie and I already bought and spread a yard of compost onto these two new beds yesterday. They used to be lawn, but we decided to get rid of the grass because a) we don't like mowing or watering it, b) our dogs don't poop on the grass enough to justify having to mow and water it--which was the purpose of the turf in the first place, and c) my labmate bought a house and needed a lawn mower (so we gave him ours). (Problem solved! And now we have room to grow more edibles.)
- Have Dave change the old lawn sprinklers into drip irrigation line (I noticed a connector thing to do this at Home Depot last year).
Transfer compost to a new bin to aerate it and bury the fresh stuff that is on top right now (and attracting flies). Buy another bale of straw. Clean out the chicken pen. Put old floor litter into a compost bin and scatter fresh, clean straw on the floor. You can see how dirty the floor is from this picture, which I took yesterday: Finish our new chicken tractor (last coat of paint, staple on chicken wire, buy/attach two wheels, install water and food containers). Prevent Eddie from climbing up any ladders because it makes his mama a little nervous, even though he's able to climb down safely (so far). Go to Costco for milk and batteries.
- Replace batteries in all smoke detectors.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Teaching him to sit patiently on the kitchen counter while I cook or clean has been a god-send. We have a homemade learning tower that Dave made, but Eddie is still a little short to see everything that's happening so he prefers sitting on the counter.
When he wants to get up on the counter he'll stand in the kitchen and yell, "See! I seeeee!" meaning that he wants to be up where he can see what's going on. I make sure to let him taste everything as it is cooking. Sometimes he wants more and more and more tastes...and other times his face scwunches up, clearly indicating he doesn't like it. The other night I made some coconut milk/lemon juice salad dressing. He didn't like it until I had added some sugar, fresh mint, and grated ginger. Then he kept asking for more! That's why it is important to let him taste throughout the cooking process. Hopefully he'll learn all about cooking this way--just like I did with my daddy in the kitchen as a tot.
The obvious issue with letting him sit on the counter is that he could get hurt. After all, he's high off the ground and there are often sharp things used in the kitchen (knives, cheese graters, meat thermometers). I generally position him to my left, with a cutting board between him and the stove. That way when I am chopping veggies, the knife is in my right hand so he can't touch it. When I'm done I put the knife on the opposite counter where he can't get it.
He has only fallen twice--one I caught him and the other time he fell into the sink. He was reaching for something and the hand propped on the wet sink edge slipped. He was fine, but it was hilarious. Thank goodness the sink wasn't full of water!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
He had so much fun! Usually he only plays with big girls (2+ years older than him)...but there were lots of big boys at the party so he got to ruff-and-tumble with them. He played inside the Giga balls on the lawn, ran around throwing balloons and splashing in puddles, and being towed around in a wagon.
As usual, Zennie was a little doll. I think it is adorable that she'll wear cute headdresses without complaining. I can't believe it has been a whole year since she was born!
Bernie asked everyone to bring an unwrapped book to add to Zennie's collection. I found a book called David's Father. She's a little young for it, but I couldn't resist since the main characters are a girl named Julie and her neighbor named David. The story is pretty funny, given our names. I'm sure Mike and Bernie will get a kick out of it.
Anyway, after having such a fun time at the party, it was no surprise that Eddie fell back asleep on the car ride home...but of course it took until we got off the interstate for him to knonk out. Dave and I decided to have a Starbucks car date to let him sleep. Thank goodness for drive through cafes! We rarely get coffee out anymore so it was a real treat!
When we got home Dave snuck back into the house to finish attaching our headboard to the wall, while I sat in the car on the driveway while my tuckered-out 19 month old finished his nap. I got a few stares from passersby since I was wearing PJs and a bathrobe...
Did I not mention that Zennie's party was a jammy party? Yeah. I looked ridiculous. I almost wore foam rollers in my hair, too, but Dave thought it was over-the-top. He's probably right...I looked ridiculous enough.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Dave and I took Eddie to a post-op visit with Dr. Levin yesterday. After a really long wait, the doctor finally came in and said, "Wait? Is this really the little guy who had surgery only a week ago?" Eddie was charging around the room. I told him that he was back to his normal, super-active self only a few hours after surgery.
It was funny just how giddy and proud the doctor was when he saw the bulge of Eddie's newly descended testicle in the scrotum. The surgery really did work--we can see it! I told him we'd make to sure to call him in 20 years when Eddie gives us grandchildren so we can thank him again!
The only bad news is that Eddie can't have a proper bath for another three weeks. Three weeks! Ack! I thought we only had to wait two weeks, but apparently it is a whole month. Showering is a pain but it gets him so much cleaner than a sponge bath. And given how many changes of clothes Eddie goes through a day due to intense puddle and mud play, you can imagine how much he really needs a shower every day. Oh well, things could be much worse!
We will visit the doctor again in six months, by which time he'll be able to determine if the testicle has atrophied or not (let's hope not).
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Instead he was awake and poopy so I had to change him first. So then he was a bright-eyed chatter box in the car all the way to Sutter surgery center in Fairfield (30 minutes west of Davis). Luckily for me, the weird schedule that morning made him forget that he usually gets to eat immediately after his morning diaper change so he was in pretty good/normal spirits. That is, until we began the check-in process at reception.
We were the first ones there so our check in was relatively quick. I didn't have Eddie or Dave's social security numbers with me to process the insurance so I had to call Dave for it. Eddie got really upset when I wouldn't let him have the pen to sign the credit card slip to pay the remainder of our deductible.
Not even the fish tank would distract him. Poor kid was tired, hungry, and confused about what we were doing. The receptionist and I had to practically pin him down to put his wrist band on. I got one, too, and she hand-wrote "Mom" on it.
Luckily we were called back into the prep area almost immediately. Even though I told him how freaking adorable he'd look in the baby sized hospital gown and ridiculous hospital socks provided for him, Eddie would have NONE of it. So he remained pretty much naked until he was taken away for the procedure. But you know, that's pretty much normal for us anyway!
The only thing that kept Eddie remotely happy the whole time was playing with the blood pressure machine--he loved pushing the "beep beeps" (buttons), turning the dials, and chewing on the tubes. A nurse brought him a teddy bear from Good News Bears in Livermore. He didn't want it, but we brought it home anyway.
We got to chat with Dr. Levin, the urologist/surgeon, and then met the anesthesiologist. This guy was really nice--about 55 years old, super affectionate with me and Eddie. He even rubbed the top of my head when he said I reminded him of his own daughters and that Eddie made him miss his grandkids. I knew Eddie would be in good hands with him. A nurse gave Eddie an oral dose of Versed and we waited until he got drunk-like. At that point he didn't seem to notice when we did the hand-off to the anesthesiologist.
I went back to the waiting room and sat with my mom. Since Eddie's a minor, I wasn't allowed to leave the waiting room so my mom went out in search of breakfast. She brought us back bacon/egg sandwiches and a mocha for me (thanks Mommy!). I knitted and chatted to other people who were waiting for surgery. There was a lady my age nervously waiting her turn...she starting initiated a conversation with me by asking me if I had any "skin care concerns." I laughed and said "No, but maybe I should..." It turns out she's in aesthetic (cosmetology) school and is required to bring in 18 new clients for facials before she can graduate. She gave me her card. I told her I'd love to get a facial and that maybe my mom and I could come in to see her in a few weeks--and I mean it.
After about an hour, Dr. Levin came out to the waiting room and told me, "Eddie did great!" I was like, "That's nice...but how did YOU do? Since YOU were the one doing the surgery?" Haha. He explained that the testicle was a lot higher than he thought so the hernia ended up being "pretty big." He said it'd be another 30 minutes until I could go back to see Eddie in recovery since children often re-sedate on and off for about 45 minutes. He said "nervous mamas don't need to see that, even though it is perfectly normal."
Eventually I got to go back. Of course, I forgot to bring the bag of treats/toys back with me but a nurse later brought it to me. Eddie was screaming in the arms of a nurse. It was clear he still wasn't all "there." His five minute screaming/thrashing fits were broken up with equally long boughts of deep sleep. I just lounged on the gurney, held him, and tried to keep him from pulling out his IV. The anesthesiologist came back in and told me that this was "perfectly normal" even though it is probably really distressing for me to see it. I told him, "Hey, it'll pass. Normal is good!" He laughed and said he wishes all parents were as level headed.It took another 30 minutes before my babe was interested in eating. He'd not had anything since 7pm the night before and was probably nauseated from the anesthesia. A nurse brought him some apple juice to put in his sippy cup and he sucked that right down (this is only the third time he's ever had apple juice). Then he ate a few fishie crackers and sucked on a lollipop. I got him changed back into a clean pair of jammies and had the nurse review our discharge instructions.
I was told to give him over-the-counter pain medication, call the doctor if he hadn't peed by 4pm or if either of the incisions (scrotum or stomach) were red/hot/hard, no showering until Monday, and no baths for two weeks...and to restrict his physical activity for two weeks. Hahahahahahaha...yeah right. He slept in the car on the way home, snuggled with me on the floor for about 3 hours while we watched Ice Age and The Snow Man and ate "nacks" (snack foods like fishie crackers, pretzels, mini donuts, lollipops, etc.). By the time Dave got home he was back to his normal self: running, climbing, chatting non-stop. My dad took him on a romp around the neighborhood and he came back soaked from the waist down due to irresistible puddles.
That night we gave him a sponge bath on the kitchen counter and then put him to bed as usual. We did wake him up at about 10pm and gave him more ibuprofen. He slept just fine. The next morning (my birthday!) Dyani came from Livermore with baby Batiste. Even she couldn't tell Eddie just had surgery!
He's been waking up in the wee hours of the morning the last few nights, but I think it is because his size 3 nighttime diapers aren't containing his messes...I will move him into a size 4 tonight to see if that improves the mess containment and waking situations. With the exception of his second post-surgery night (when Dave changed him and gave him another dose of medicine), we've just let him fuss himself back to sleep.
We will have a follow up appointment on Friday to make sure he's healing properly. Keep your fingers crossed that we will get the go-ahead to have regular baths! I showered with Eddie last night and it was not pleasant. He does fine when we shower in any bathroom that isn't ours--he couldn't understand why we weren't just having a normal bath since that's what we usually do in that bathroom. I might just go back to sponge bathing him in the kitchen. It isn't as effective but it sure is easier.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Eddie's testicle retrieval and hernia surgery will happen tomorrow morning at 7:15. He'll be in good hands with Dr. Edward Levin so I'm not worried...just...nervous since any surgery is "major."
The nurse called me yesterday for the pre-op interview. She said he can't have anything to eat or drink after 3:30am...but to be sure to bring his favorite teddy bear or blanket to comfort him since he will be upset by the change in his schedule and not eating like he usually does. I pointed out that he has no "lovey" and that the only thing that can calm him down in the morning if he's upset is food or going out to visit the chickens. She laughed. I did not. He's gonna be MAD when he can't eat! Thank goodness he's not still nursing because if he wasn't allowed to suckle then he'd be REALLY MAD.
My parents are coming up for the weekend to be here for Eddie and to celebrate my birthday. Dave is home this week but he's in a water treatment course and can't come to the hospital so my mom will come with me instead. We have to leave at about 5:45 (ug) and will hopefully get back home by 11am. Since he's a minor I can't leave the hospital once we arrive. So my mom will probably be sent out to acquire some caffeinated beverages and food for me and her while Eddie's under the knife (a KNIFE! That's not something a mama wants to think about happening to her precious babe!).
Tonight I'll pack a bag of goodies for Eddie to have when he comes out of surgery--I'm thinking donuts, milk, cookies, etc. When I asked the nurse what his temperament will be like when he wakes up after the procedure she admitted that most little boys wake up MAD. She said the act like they've missed out on something and are pissed when they realize what's going on. Great. Hopefully his favorite treats will calm him down. I really hope they are no complications with the procedure, recovery, or anesthesia so we can go home happy. He's really into a photo book I made for him on Shutterfly--it has pictures of him with all of his family members and he likes to point to each person and say their title or name--so I will bring that along, too.
I'm supposed to keep him "calm" for a day or so post-op to let his body recover a little. However, if the pain medication he's taking work well then that'll be a hard task to achieve. If it isn't raining too much we might go to the zoo with some friends since I can strap him in the stroller and he'll (hopefully) remain contentedly still while looking at all the animals. (Wishful thinking, I'm sure.)
Wish us luck tomorrow! Prayers appreciated! I'll post an update tomorrow sometime.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Last year we made 60 pounds of sausage...ALL with Will's super garlicky Hungarian recipe. So this year we decided to make a few flavors.We started at 5 by cutting all the meat into chunks and then got people started on the grinding. The blade on Will's trusty hand grinder was pretty dull so we ended up using his new Cabela's brand electric grinder and saved the hand one for stuffing only. My labmate bought pork from the meat lab on campus (animals raised, dispatched, and sold on campus by students) for every one to share, Will brought 20 pounds of his own, and I brought 18 pounds from Costco so we could make our own breakfast sausage patties after the party. In total I think we ground 42 pounds of pork!
The doggies were super good the whole time...even though I know they were seriously considering stealing some meat!The flavors we made (and stuffed into casings) were:
- Will's family recipe (Hungarian--mainly paprika and garlic)
- Red wine and garlic
- Beer and chipotle dry rub mix Dave and I made a few years ago and still had in the cupboard
- Another one that had beer....I can't remember right now!
Once all the raw meat was being processed in the grinders, I sanitized the counter so we could prepare toppings for mini pizzas. I'd made 30 balls of pizza dough ahead of time, set out a Costco sized bag of cheese, and a pot of homemade pizza sauce (just let a #10 can of tomato puree simmer with EVOO, garlic, minced onion, oregano/thyme/rosemary/pepper/salt for a while). We wanted to have people build the pizzas inside and then bake them on the baking stone inside the BBQ so the house wouldn't get smoky. But--of course--we discovered that night that the regulator is busted. Dang. (It worked just enough that I could heat a pot of water on the burner to wash the meat-covered restaurant-sized cutting boards in the tub outside.) Ug, so now we have to replace the regulator...and if that doesn't work then we'll have to shop around for a new BBQ.
Having learned just how much smoke our oven produces when baking 20+ individual pizzas over the course of a night, we took the batteries out of the hallway smoke detector. We forgot to take it out of Lucas' and it went off, but thankfully it didn't wake our sleeping babe in the next room.
I just realized we also made a batch of vegetarian sausage since not everyone is a meat eater in our lab. It was really good...and if you didn't know it was vegetarian you could have convinced me it was made with finely ground poultry instead of wheat gluten.
- 2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 2 tbsp Bills Best Chik’Nish Seasoning or Spike seasoning mix
- 2 tbsp granulated onion
- 1 to 2 tbsp fennel seed, optional
- 2 tsp coarsely ground pepper, preferably freshly ground
- 2 tsp ground paprika
- 1 tsp dried chili flakes, optional
- 1 tsp ground smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 2 1/4 cups cool water*
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk together the water, garlic, olive oil and soy sauce and using a fork, gently stir into the dry ingredients. Stir just until ingredients are mixed. If dough mixture is too dry, you can add another tablespoon of water or as needed.
2. Scoop 1/2 cup dough mixture at a time and shape into logs. Place logs on piece of aluminum foil and roll up, twisting ends. Place sausages in steamer and steam for 30 minutes. Once sausages have cooled, remove from foil and refrigerate until ready to eat. After cooling, the sausages may feel a bit dry on the outside. Don’t worry, as they will soften and firm up considerably after chilling.
Monday, March 14, 2011
So here are the seeds I chose:
Tomatoes, which we will grow in the front yard in cages and/or on the ground.
Pole beans, which we will grow on our tomato cages in the beds where we grew tomatoes last year (gotta rotate for garden health!).
Squash and sun flowers for the front yard, along the driveway. Everyone who walked by our house last spring and summer would stop and smile when they saw our spaghetti squash and pumpkins. This year I will try adding sun flowers and some rarer squash varieties. Fun!
The cashier gave me two packets of last year's melon seeds (Iriquois and Honeybrook)...so I'll have to figure out where to tuck those in.
I'm hoping to find a few other gardener friends who'll be interested in swapping summer plant starts--I won't need all the seeds I bought but would like to also have a few okra plants.
We have an asparagus bed as of January and two half wine barrels where I have started lettuce greens. Both are on the north side of the house so I'm hoping to be able to grow lettuce far into the summer heat since they will be kept a little cooler than the regular garden beds.
But first I need to mix up some soil block mixture so I can sow my Petaluma Seed Bank seeds!
What are you planting this year?
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Weird...Google Maps currently has an old picture of our house, from a unique angle.
I can see our completed retaining wall in the front yard but no sod in the utility yard so (according to my old blog posts) that dates this picture as between May 11 and June 7, 2009.
Isn't it fun to see the evolution of our house according to Google? Or am I the only one who enjoys this type of thing?
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
- I don't like blogs that have auto-playing music on them. It interferes with my Pandora!
- fEw ThInGs BoThEr Me MoRe ThAn WhEn PeOpLe TyPe ThIs WaY oN tHeIr BlOgS--It isn't cute, clever, funky, or trendy. It is annoying, hard to read, and trashy. Yep, trashy. Just like skinny jeans: you'll wish you hadn't when you look back at your blog in a few years.
- Number 2 is only slightly more annoying than when People capitalize random Words while Typing. The only excuse is if you are German--those people give special recognition to all nouns, but even that's not random because it is for nouns only. But since most of us aren't German, please just take a little time to proof read before finalizing your text. This goes for blogs, posters, emails, etc. If you're not sure if a word should be capitalized, then it probably shouldn't be. The end.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
As of today, these are the new words Eddie can say. I thought about listing the ones he can understand, too, but there are way, way, way too many.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Since Saturday night we've had a family friend staying in Eddie's room so she can avoid paying for a hotel. Her first grandson was born last week and she's helping out the new parents, who live here in Davis.
On Monday we got a new roommate (for just this month probably)--his name is Lucas, he's from Brazil, and he's the new post doc in our lab. When I heard he was looking for a place to stay, I offered our extra room after Arek moved out. After emailing back and forth, he decided he probably didn't want to live with a family long term but that maybe he could stay for the first month, until he got his bearings and found some roommates or a single apartment. Having a new roommate is quite an adjustment, especially in this case. I got SO used to Arek's schedule and antics (he holed up in his room working most of the time, was pretty shy, and quite a night owl). Lucas is almost the complete opposite--he's outgoing and gregarious and plays with Eddie.
Yesterday Jonah came down with a stomach bug so Morgan and I had to cancel swap-sitting again. We haven't actually swapped for three weeks now (they were on vacation, then her mom was in town and watched Jonah, and now he's sick). Sigh...I just hope we can make it more regular come spring quarter because I'm gonna be b.u.s.y. with TAing and whatnot.
So today Eddie and I stayed home together.
With all the changes in our household lately, it was actually nice for me and Eddie to just hang out all day. We accomplished a lot, but none of it was "must do" stuff--just little things that were mostly for fun.
We started our day with a full breakfast like usual (Eddie ate two eggs, cereal, some banana, AND apple sauce). Then we fed the chickens, I ordered my Groupon-discounted Sunday paper subscription (coupons!) and dog medicine refills from 1-800-Pet-Meds, and then we planted some pansy seeds in a flower box. Eddie was very insistent that he get to scatter seeds, too. Next time I will give him some corn meal to scatter since he won't know the difference because his aim sucks. I'm going to have pretty flowers growing all over the place!
Our local library was just renovated and we've not been to the new digs yet. There was a "Mother Goose on the Loose" story and activity time at 11am for toddlers. So I loaded Eddie into the bike trailer and off we went. He was not happy that I made him relinquish his snack before we went into the library, but he calmed down when I gave him a toothbrush to chew on (don't ask...). He was sort of shy during the activity time, but he did get up and dance with the teacher a little bit. At the end everyone got a set of bells to dance with (parents included! woo!)...Eddie kept throwing his so we left early. I'd like to blame his behavior on the timing since it was right around his nap time, but he's in a "throw everything to see what happens to it or Mama's mood" phase. It's real fun.
We biked to Chipotle to use our last buy 1/get 1 free burrito coupons. I had to wake him up before I took him out of the trailer! Poor bumkin was so tired...but he did eat a bunch of burrito before we headed home. Luckily he stayed awake during the ride home, but later only took a 40 minute nap. I tried to nap at the same time, but it wasn't long enough and I got up more tired than I started out. Bleh.
After a diaper change and snack, we headed to Vacaville to sell our original double stroller at a consignment store (it doesn't work well for heavy kids). Unfortuntely they woudn't take it because there are some minute mildew stains on the label...so I'll have to sell it on Craigslist (where I got it), which is fine, just more work for me. We stopped at the hospital on our way home and got Eddie's blood drawn for a blood lead level check. He was a good boy and only fell apart briefly while the needle was in his arm. But once the lady handed him a couple of Nemo stickers he calmed down. It didn't hurt that I also gave him a Lemonades Girl Scout cookie, too!
When we got home I set out all the fixings to make mini pizzas for dinner, then we headed out into the garden yard to play with the chickens. Eddie was mesmerized by Vindaloo, who was taking a dust bath near his bedroom window. I have NO idea what he was saying, but he was narrating the whole thing. Dang, I wish I'd had the video camera with me to capture it!
The other chickens were busy eating all the worms I was unearthing while I turned the soil to plant more lettuce seeds. It was really annoying because they kept getting in my way--they are lucky they didn't get stabbed with the pitch fork. Once I got the soil bed nice and leveled with the rake, Eddie realized I was scattering more seeds and he fussed until he got to "help." I had to put the chickens back in the pen (except Vindaloo because she was still bathing) because they were eating all the lettuce seeds! After I covered the seeds with soil, we went into the front yard and planted the wine barrels with left over seeds from last year--I mixed everything together since I doubt most of it will germinate. I figured we'll get what we get (hopefully something will grow of the carrots, beets, butterhead, romaine, arugula, spicy mesclun mix, and Asian greens).
Then it was pizza for dinner, bathtime, lots of stories, and bed for Eddie! I know how lucky I am to be able to stay home with Eddie on days like this--not many people have this type of flexibility. We usually only get an afternoon alone together each week so having a whole day really was a blessing. That being said, I'm looking forward to getting some work done at school tomorrow!