"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Social Butterfly I Am Not

Growing up I can remember my mom describing my older sister as a social butterfly.  That was an appealing image to a little girl like me whose favorite word was glitter.  A social butterfly sounded pretty.  Besides, I spent most of recess time in preschool flapping my arms around being a butterfly.  But when it comes down to it, and when I'm mature enough to face the truth and be who I am, I am not a social butterfly.  Not even close.  I don't hate people.  But, given the choice, I'd much rather curl up with a book or a movie than be forced into a social situation.  Still.  I don't mind socializing with people I'm already comfortable around, but throw me into a crowded room at a party and I'm likely to retreat.  A cabin in the woods for a week with just my family, nature and some enormous stacks of books sounds like a dream vacation.  A cruise sounds like a nightmare to me.  Forced socialization, although with everyone being the newbie, maybe it wouldn't be so horrible.  Maybe.

Just some random thoughts.

Monday, June 27, 2011


The problem with having a kid with a medical condition is the complete "new parent" lack of knowledge that comes with it.  I've gotten to the point in my almost nine years (!!!) of being a parent that I'm some what comfortable with parenting emergencies/illnesses, etc.  But with Little Guy, I never really know so I end up calling his cardiologist and explaining what's going on so they can just tell me it's nothing.  This happened when Little Guy was starting to crawl and would crawl around all day like a mad man getting red in the face and sweaty.  Was this good for his heart?  I took him in and his doctor told me it was totally normal and if he was tired he'd stop and rest.  Two summers ago at my parents' cabin and a very high altitude in southern Utah he was having a hard time breathing so we took him to the ER and he had some breathing treatments.  With him, because of his heart, I take everything a lot more seriously than I think I do with my older kids.

The other night he went and got his blankey and complained to us that he got hurt, and the injured location was under his left armpit.  It didn't appear that there was an outside reason for this to hurt.  He told us maybe he was hungry and then laid down while eating a roll.  After a few seconds he was off running again, but with his arms folded tightly, sort of like he was hugging his chest because it hurt.  And he was still telling us he hurt.  So I called his cardiologist and spoke to one of her associates who basically said if I was really worried, take him to the ER (doctor speak for: they don't want the liability) but based on his last appointment (just over a month ago) he couldn't be having any problems this soon.  By the time I got off the phone, Little Guy was running around like normal claiming he didn't hurt anymore.  But anytime he comes to us sick or hurt especially if it's anywhere near his heart, we panic.

Usually his heart condition isn't a part of my everyday life.  He's a normal kid right now.  And healthy.  But every once in awhile it creeps in and I'm left panicking like a new mom with an infant who has a cold for the first time.  It's not a feeling I like.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


This summer we're visiting: West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.  Unfortunately they are all states we've already been to.  (See picture of Princess Sparkley's cool Girl Scout vest state patch.)  We almost got to go to Atlanta, Georgia for a layover on our flight from here to Las Vegas.  Instead, our flight is DC to LAX to Las Vegas.  Which is sort of funny because we're only flying into Las Vegas to make it easier for my parents (who live 1 hour from LAX) to pick us up and take us to their cabin in southern Utah.  After a week or so at the cabin, we'll be driving back to LA for the rest of our visit.  So we almost got Georgia, but not this time.

I'm super excited to be going to California.  We moved from there in September 2005 and the last time our whole family visited California was January 2007.  So, Jed and the big kids haven't been to California in more than 4 1/2 years.  I don't think Buddy remembers it at all, he was only 17 months when we moved and coming up on 3 when we visited.  Little Guy and I flew to California for a wedding in March of 2008 but that was still 3+ years ago, and he was less than two months old.  So, I'm excited.  Actually, that might be an understatement.  I'm WAY excited!  We're already making lists of the places we want to see, where we want to eat, things we want to do, people we want to see.  Woo hoo!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy First Day of Summer

My kids started their new summer journals yesterday.  We spiffed them up a bit with spray glue and scrapbook paper.  Princess Sparkley chose sea shell paper (anticipating hitting the beach later this summer when we get to go to California!!).  Buddy chose a bright sparkly blue design.  Little Guy chose Thomas the Tank Engine paper and I made him a little book with printer paper stapled inside.  My goal is to let them draw a lot, write a lot, and include a lot of photographs.  Which means I have to actually get prints made (or buy color ink for the printer) of some of our summer adventures.  There are also some great journal ideas here and here and here

Mostly, we all need to get in the habit of being better journal writers.  But also, Princess Sparkley needs to work on her handwriting and capitalization skills.  And Buddy needs to work on his handwriting and spelling.  Little Guy, is just enjoying drawing and writing so much lately that he'll probably have the most fun with this.  He can even write his own name all by himself, half the time he writes it completely backwards, but he's also our only lefty so maybe we have some kinks to work out.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

S'mores Pie

If you haven't noticed, I'm sort of anti the traditional S'mores.  Not that I don't love the graham cracker/ chocolate/marshmallow combo, it's just such a mess.  And sort of requires a campfire.  Today I came across this fun idea.

Picture and recipe/idea from Shelly at Cookies and Cups.
She also has an older post for mini S'mores pies.

Kindle eBooks

Jed got a Kindle as an early Christmas present last fall (since he needed it for all the PDF articles he was reading for school).  We've mostly downloaded free or 99 cent books onto it.  Recently we've been given some Amazon gift cards for recent holidays and have branched out our Kindle purchases.  Right now, in preparation for flying to California and Utah for a month, one week of that time being at my parents' cabin with no TV, etc., I'm trying to find lots of books we'd be interested in reading to buy for the Kindle.  While looking around for cheap picture books (hoping to find some stuff for Buddy to keep up with his reading practice) I came across this:

As someone who LOVES candy, especially candy involving chocolate and peanut butter, I'm sort of intrigued by the idea of this book.  I might have to give it a try.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Love this!

I went to the grocery store the other day just to get a prescription for Buddy.  While dropping of the prescription, a couple went by pulling this grocery basket.  I tried to follow them for awhile so I could sneakily take a picture but failed at that.  Instead I went searching for my own basket.  I wish they'd had these in college when I never needed a giant cart, but carrying milk around in a handle basket was too heavy. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

High School

My dream last night involved hanging out with a bunch of the friends we (Jed and I) had in high school.  And then this morning, I realized that I graduated from high school fifteen years ago today!  I remember when it seemed like people who has been out of high school fifteen years were old.  Shoot, I still think that people who graduated fifteen years ago are old, I just can't believe how quickly fifteen years passed by. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Healthy "Ice Cream"

We tried out this banana "ice cream" recipe last night.  Bananas are one of the few fruits Princess Sparkley will eat.  And the only ingredients are frozen bananas, a bit of peanut butter, and chocolate chips (I'm leaving out the walnuts).  I made PS peel the bananas and chop them into one inch pieces.  I think I froze mine too long (the recipe says an hour but I just stuck them in there before dinner and didn't get back to them for awhile).  Plus, my food processor is teeny tiny so I used my blender instead... it ended up working, but I'm not so pleased with my blenders frozen fruit chopping abilities to begin with. 

The kids all ate it and thought it was ice cream.  It was yummy, very strong on the banana.  We liked it for a healthy summer treat.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A New S'More

Jed and Buddy were reading this book* together last week and I overheard the part where they described a S'More being made out of chocolate chip cookies and marshmallows.  Brilliant, I thought.

To make it simpler for the kids to create as their Family Home Evening treat, I bought this Nestle chocolate filled chocolate chip cookie dough.  I baked the cookies, removed them and allowed them to cool.  Then I flipped half of the cookies upside down, added a large marshmallow and stuck them back in the oven until the marshmallow looked soft and fluffy (maybe 3 minutes).  Then I stuck the sandwiches together and allowed them to cool for about 5 minutes.  They were still really messy... but yummy.  Although next time, I'll use a normal chocolate chip (not the chocolate filled ones, which were kind of gross).  If I liked the hard cookies like Chips Ahoy, those would probably work best because they aren't going to be all flimsy and warm like a freshly baked cookie is.  But they were good...

*Jed hated that this book was marketed as for new chapter book readers.  There were a lot of hard words that a first chapter book reader shouldn't be expected to read.  He gave up reading it WITH Buddy and just read it TO him.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Camping Necessities

On Jed and my recent camping trip, we borrowed everything from his sister except a tent and two sleeping bags.  We didn't even remember to bring our hot dog fork (the only other camping supply we own), but that was okay as she supplied us with everything we could possibly need. 

While on the trip, we were making mental notes of the things we'll need to own for future family camping trips.
  • camping stove (and pots, pans and utensils)
  • pie iron (because I want one)
  • camping chairs for the family
  • lanterns
  • better sleeping bags for two (possibly all three kids)
  • air mattress and pump
  • foam sleeping pads  (for the kids)
  • a screen house!!!

A screen house is high on my list.  Here we are sitting in it, reading books, remaining completely unbothered by bugs (which we could hear buzzing around trying to figure out how to get in).   The only bugs that made their way in were caterpillars.  We kept driving past other campsites where people were sitting in the shade versions of these, but without the netting to keep bugs out.  WHY!?!  This was completely awesome and made the camping trip 100 times more tolerable than it would have been otherwise.  Mosquitoes love me.  Bugs freak me out.  I came home completely mosquito bite free.  Yea!

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