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Monday, April 28, 2008

Sweet Tracks


I love when I'm done skiing, driving home, and when I look back at the mountain I can see my tracks. This was my view back of the mountain today. I had to play with the photo colors and contrast to get the ski tracks to show, but there they be - right down the ridge into the south bowl of Pyramid. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. I must admit I stopped the truck multiple times to look back and admire the view.

After the blizzard of the last few days we ended up with 2 feet of new snow on Pyramid, and some of the biggest drifts I have ever seen. If you look closely at the photo you can see the new cornice at the top of the south bowl. I intentionally avoided this obvious avalanche hazard. Right now the snow is the deepest I have ever seen it on Pyramid. Patrick

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Davis' Birthday



April 30th is Davis' 14th birthday so we decided to celebrate early.
Brooks made a moist, scrumptious carrot cake-from scratch. It had coconut, mandarin oranges, grated orange zest in it along with the carrots. So yummy. Davis got to wear the birthday hat and we all joined in chorus (including Nora and Leo) to wish Davis a Happy Birthday!

Happy 14th Davis!

Zoya

Snow Storm in Kodiak




Right now we have big snow storm in Kodiak which has left Ella and Dicky unable to leave on time and Anne and Dan (and family) unable to get over to Kodiak. It is a full blown winter storm-high winds, lots of snow and poor visibility. Recipe for disaster for trying to get on or off of Kodiak Island.

What a great visit with Ella, Dicky and the boys we had! Highlights included baking with Brooks, skiing trips up Pyramid, watching Nora and Leo go after eachother and getting to know our nephews better.

Zoya

Photo:
Group shot this afternoon.
Nora and Stuey at breakfast this morning.

Kitewing Kodiak


video
Finally after days of bright sun and calm winds we got some wind and flat light. Dicky was ecstatic. So we took tele gear and the kitewings up to the ski chalet and hiked on up on the south side of the pass. It was not quite windy enough for Dicky's tastes but the wind was blowing up slope so it was quite easy to rip back and forth across the hill slope and slowly lose elevation. Nothing like the feeling of high speed and immanent takeoff!

Today we got even more wind and a blizzard! I love it. Winter is not dead. Patrick

Friday, April 25, 2008

Easter Egg Hunt at the Haakanson's


Last Sunday was an Easter Egg hunt at Balika's house-see photo attached. Nora was more into playing with Isabella's outdoor fake kitchen over hunting for eggs, but I think she understood the concept of egg hunting by the end of it. The day was sunny and brisk and there was lots of laughter had by the kids!

Zoya

Thursday, April 24, 2008

All's well that ends well...







Family get togethers are never without their share of drama and we had our share today. The air was thick with drama today in the Saltonstall family, but all ended up Ok by early evening. Kid and adult drama had subsided. No further details necessary...

Nora and Leo were doing well this evening until Nora BIT Leo-Leo was crying very sadly and we looked on his arm and there were big teeth indentations in his arm. Poor guy. Nora got a time out for that one, and her binky for the rest of the evening (much to Ella's dismay...).

Davis and Brooks enjoy playing croquet on the lawn. Our croquet set is tattered from much use over the years from our nephews. It is fun to watch them outside doing their own version of croquet. Most often a game ends with one of them coming inside saying the other one is cheating. I notice its not happening as much now that they are older, however. Another favorite past time of Brooks and Davis is throwing our empty bottles off the cliff. Our Cliffside road silica recycling program. :) Makes for good beach glass on Cliffside Road.

Its good to know that at the end of the day, family is family-and a good family we have. All's well that ends well.

Zoya

Photos:
I've been learning more about f-stops and shutter speed with my camera and I took these photos this week--

Leo outside yesterday
Davis and Leo
Zeke
Nora pushing Leo away this evening. Big time action shot.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Snow & Sun



Lots of snow and lots of sun. And that sun burns! Every night I've been waking up with a face that is on fire - so today I decided to use sun block. This may seem like a no brainer - and I know it annoys Zoya every time I forget to put it on, but I hate sunblock. Just seems so responsible or something.

Anyway, I used it today and also took these pictures of Lisa (bottom) and Dicky (top) ripping up the corn snow today on Pyramid. Still no wind - Dicky really wants to get the kite wings out (basically windsurfing on skiis) - but we need wind to do so. Hopefully we'll have some Kite Wing on Kodiak photos on the blog later in the week. In the meantime, I'm not complaining about the lack of wind and perfect skiing conditions. Usually it's the wind that makes skiing uncomfortable on Kodiak. Patrick

Pyramid





With the family in town we have been skiing every afternoon on Pyramid Mountain. Such a convenient place to go! Short drive, and you can ski right from the car. And the skiing is Great.

In the top photo Brooks strikes a pose ruining the family photo while Leo howls in the snow (not pictured). In the second photo America's top ski model shows off the form that has left her competitors in the snow (Brooks in this case). Third photo is of Dicky posing in front of the run we had just completed.

Finally, with such good snow you could hardly expect not to see others on the mountain. But yesterday we were still a bit surprised to find more than 50 Navy SEALs enjoying the snow (bottom photo). Needless to say, but we felt quite safe with our convoy of SEALs as we skinned up to the summit. It really was quite a site - big packs, guns and disciplined groups of ten or so doing their training. All of the SEAL recruits were quite cheerful and seemed to be having a good time in the sun and snow. It is heartening to know that these are the guys defending our country. Patrick

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nora Vs. Leo


The past day there have been some down right nasty fights between Leo and Nora. The funniest one occured today over the red pushcart. Leo and Nora both started screaming and quasi hitting eachother. Ella, Dicky, Patrick and I just looked at eachother and laughed. Maybe it was irresponsible parenting on our part to not intervene, but in many ways it feels best to let them duke it out. As long as there wasn't serious harm going on. The fight amounted to a lot of screaming, shrieking, tears and a mass of two kids crawling after eachother in the kitchen.

Zoya

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Family Ski



Family times here on Kodiak - Dicky & Ella, Zeke, Leo, Brooks, and Davis all arrived yesterday evening. Today Davis, Dicky and I went skiing on Pyramid. Weird haze in the air the last few days. The air quality and haze is similar to what we see during the summer when there is a fire on the mainland, or to when Mount Augustine erupted a few years ago. But no news on the radio about eruptions or fires. We are all a little worried that it is air pollution from China. Seriously.

On Pyramid the visibility and snow conditions left a little bit to be desired but we got in two runs and had a good time. Patrick

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Two Moms"


When Leo got off the plane this evening, his first words were "Two Moms?!" as he looked at me and looked at Ella. So cute!

Everyone made it in safe and sound- Ella and Dicky laughed as they got the same 10 year old rental van that they rented 2 years ago on their last trip to Kodiak. Some things don't change-and that goes for Kodiak rental cars!

Ella and the guys came over for a meal of Elk and potatoes then headed back to their B&B for rest. They were wiped out-but seemed to be doing amazingly well after almost 20 hours of flying. Ella said, "yeah, on the way here I remembered why we don't do this trip very often...". It is exhausting.

Sigh. Its so good to have family on the rock--and the weather forecast is good-knock on wood! :)

Zoya

Photo: Stuey wearing my childhood "Zoya" hat. Patrick decided that I should put it on if I'm in a bad mood-he,he,he

Idyllic Crust Cruising


Yet another picture of Elbow Creek and post about crust cruising. But it is justified. Crust cruising is like ice skating on land. It is better than downhill skiing because you are always on the go. Even the flats and uphills are exciting. And you can go anywhere. I rave about it because it is worth raving about. My average speed is greater than I could do on a road bike and I am not confined by trails. I flit through the trees, slalom down into the meadows, cruise the flats. I could rave on and on. .. .... Patrick

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mary Jane's latest high heels



Forty five degrees, sunny, and corn snow - the perfect day to try out the new AT gear. This was Mary Jane's first time downhill skiing on Kodiak, and she ripped it. Mary Jane admitted she was a little worried about buying her skiis so late in the season, but with all the snow we got this year she'll be skiing till the end of June. And I think it's the best time to downhill ski because the snow is so forgiving. Earlier in the season the conditions are generally more variable and tougher to manage. On Kodiak May is the optimum downhill skiing month. Patrick

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mike's Birthday & Getting Ready for Family



MIKES BIRTHDAY

Mike celebrated his 36th b-day with a meal of sushi and cake at our place this evening.
The meal was a surprise to Mike-earlier today Roxann brought balloons over, a German chocolate cake, party hats ready to go, candles primed for the cake.
After work, Roxann picked up a wonderful sushi and sashimi platter from the Old Powerhouse Restaurant. The spread of food was so delicious and the kids enjoyed the sushi as well!

We called Mike at 4:30 to come over for a happy-birthday-happy-hour and little did he know it was a birthday dinner! Mary Jane came over also to celebrate with us! Good times were had as, once again, the kids ripped around the house and played for a long time in the bathrooms. That seems to be the local hangout recently.

FAMILY VISITING

This weekend, Ella DIcky and the boys are coming for a week long visit to Kodiak! We are very excited---(the last visit to Kodiak Leo and Nora got a horrible stomach virus and Ella and I were pretty much trapped inside the house with VERY sick kids for a week. Needless to say, the visit wasn't as fun as we would've hoped.)

In preparation for Ella's visit, I am deep cleaning every corner of my house. (Ella is a very neat, organized person and I remember one prior trip where she organized the cans in our kitchen cabinets and put labels where things should go)

So with the upcoming arrival of Ella, I am getting spring cleaning done. I organized my pants into Khakis and jeans this morning...it feels good to pull out my summer attire, hang it up. Ella said she wants to borrow my clothes when she is here-one benefit of traveling to her twin sister's house-a complete wardrobe!

My sister Anne is coming in 8 days with Dan and their 3 girls. Can't wait to see all of them! It'll be kid playland here for a while. How fun. Its been 5 years since Anne has been back to Kodiak so it'll be fun to go to Ft. Abercrombie, hang out with the kids and just have time to chat. I can't wait! :)

Zoya

Photos

Mike with the platter of sushi from the Old Powerhouse Restaurant
Roxann and Mikes birthday cake.

Monday, April 14, 2008

50 Degree Weather!





WARM BREEZES
Today the temperatures topped at 50 degrees-finally spring weather here in Kodiak. Patrick has written many a post about "crust cruising" which is another word for skate skiing on top of ungroomed springtime snow. He is one of the few people around who have been excited about the long winter. I am personally ready for sandals, barbequeing, trips to the beach with the kids, an occasional warm breeze....not having to bundle kids up in 15 layers of clothing to go outside. Those simple springtime pleasures.

Today Mike brought Cecilia over after work and we all hung out on the yard. (Mike often brings Cecilia over and she can play with Steuy and Nora and we all enjoy a drink or chips and salsa before dinner. Its a good time. Roxann works until 6 pm so right around 6 Mike leaves to go enjoy dinner with her and Cecilia.)
This afternoon Stuey crawled around on the yard, Nora sorted pine cones into piles and Cecilia watched and followed Nora and Stuey in curiosity. Patrick rolled around with the dogs and Stuey would climb on top of him. Good times to be had in the great outdoors.

BABIES AND TRANSITIONS
As of this morning all of my pregnant friends have had their babies! Marias delivered her baby this morning. I am so excited for her and can't wait to meet her little girl.

It seems that my friends all fared considerably better with the older child adjustment after bringing baby home. Makes me realize how horrible our adjustment period went when bringing Stuart home from the hospital. I remember Nora crying for days and days and days. Nothing could console her. It was brutal. When anyone called, she would be SHRIEKING in the background and there was nothing I could do. Friends and family remember how hard this was to be part of. I'm so glad that my friends have had easier transitions than I had. It was one of the more stressful times as a parent-those first few weeks with Nora's sadness.

GOOD AND BAD RECIPES
Tonight I made my first truly bad new recipe. I found a carrot soup recipe from my Vegetarian Times magazine which is made in a Vita mix blender---you blend the carrots, garlic, chicken stock, ginger on high speed for 2-3 minutes and it beats it so fast it actually cooks it. It came out DISGUSTING. The garlic and onion flavors were too strong. It was the worst use of carrots ever. Patrick refused to even try it, which was a smart choice.
I need to give up on carrot soups. Whenever I see a carrot soup recipe I think to myself, "Oh, this one will be better than the last." NOT. Not sure why I try so hard with them. Patrick didn't even want anything to do with it before I made it. Smart guy. MIke Pfeffer was daring enough to try it. He didn't make it half way through his serving. He was quite polite about trying it and we all got a good laugh out of it tonight.

The most recent GOOD recipe was the chickpea taco recipe. It was so easy, healthy and good. It consisted of a can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) mixed with mushed up avocado, some lime juice, minced garlic, cilantro. Pile all of this on a small bed of a lettuce in a taco shell. Voila! Yummy taco. The flavors were amazing. Mary Jane can attest to it-she was here for that meal. The only problem is that all of us were hungry later on, so I think a side of vegetables or Spanish rice would've been a perfect addition to help complete the meal.

Zoya

Photos
Stuey, Patrick and Roxy on the lawn this evening.
Stuart cruising along the porch. Just a few weeks away from walking, perhaps.
Mike and Cecilia chasing Nora on the lawn.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

To Elbow Creek and Back


Crust cruised to Elbow Creek from the outlet to Buskin Lake and back in an hour and 45 minutes. Ok, not all the way to Sheratin Bay, but to the headwaters of Elbow Creek. And now that I have the route all figured out, if I did have 3 hours free time and conditions like today I could have gone all the way to Sheratin Bay. I left around 11AM before it go too warm and the crust was perfect. If I wanted to loose speed on the downhills it was a simple matter to throw in a snowplow turn. But now that I know the way so well I hardly needed to break - I just flew.

The photo is looking down the Elbow Creek drainage to Sheratin Bay with Elbow mountain on the left and the backside of Sheratin mountain on the right. Today I decided not to go too far because I was worried the crust would get too soft and my skiis would break through, bogging me down. As it was, by the time I got to Buskin Lake the crust was already getting soft and slow. Patrick

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sawyer's Birth

36 hours ago Sawyer James St. John was born to Katie and Matt St. John. At 9 lbs 12 oz, 22 inches, a full head of dark hair he is a cutie! How fun it is to finally meet this little guy who has been inside Katie.

Matt and I were by her side as she handled every contraction beautifully. Jeremy Larson was the delivering doctor, which was fun! He helped Matt deliver the baby! He has a very calm manner about him which goes over perfectly in a delivery room!

Watching Sawyer's birth was one of the most beautiful, amazing experiences of my life. Katie handled the contractions so well and she was so strong. I will be forever in awe of her and her ability to go through labor with such grace.

April 9th, 2008 is one of the most memorable days of my life!

Zoya

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bittersweet April




I think April is my favorite month on Kodiak. The snowpack reaches its greatest depth and the skiing is at its best. And yet I know it is all about to end. By the end of the month the skiing at sea level is done and I am pretty much limited to downhill skiing. By the end of May stuff is starting to come up in my garden. So April is both the greatest month and the month that marks the beginning of the end.

But I like to get it while I can, and the 'it' is pretty darn good this year. Today I skiied up the Buskin and was amazed to find more snow now than when I skiied up in early/mid March. Fantastic skate skiing on the crust. And bear tracks everywhere. It really is spring. I got home to find crocuses blooming in the yard - the end is near.

Photos: Top photo is the view back from where I came - Pyramid on the left and Buskin lake (where I started) in the distance on the right. It took me only 35 minutes to get to where I took the photo. Middle photo is of Pyramid - I love that mountain. Bottom photo is of the damn crocuses - harbingers of Spring. Patrick

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mill Bay Views



Lately the weather has been superb. Clear with little wind and temps in the 20s at night and 30s by day. Cold enough at night to keep our snow around and warm enough by day that we can enjoy it. Today I took Nora on a neighborhood walk with the dogs. We stopped at Jenny's and then got down to the beach in front of her house. Nora enjoyed watching the dogs fetch sticks in the water. I also taught her to throw rocks - this drove the dogs crazy because they thought we were still throwing sticks. They'd snuffle around in the place the rocks landed looking for non-existent sticks. But for a while there we just sat, side-by-side, on a rock in the sun and enjoyed the view.

Today we also have been seeing whales off of Spruce Cape. I saw one spout and then his whole back showed before he dove. I handed the binoculars to the babysitter, and, of course, the whales never showed again. Patrick

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Herd of Happy Toddlers





MONDAY FUN
On Monday night, Mike, Roxann, Cecilia and Mary Jane came over for dinner. Just a random dinner get together-perhaps to celebrate the beginning of the week! :)
The kids all played together so well. We are seeing the very beginnings of being able to sit back for a moment or two and watch the kids chase each other around the house. They were a little pack of laughter, giggles and cries moving from room to room. Roxann was particularly excellent about chasing them around and doing disaster management when need be. Mike and Patrick sat on the computer watching the end of the basketball games and MJ and I sat on the couch while I ate lots of peanut M&Ms. Yummm...my favorite. Mike brought them over for dessert.

Cecilia is so sweet with Stuey. She would give him hugs and was very good to him. I believe Nora LOVES being the big kid in the group. So fun to see the dynamics develop.

As Patrick and I say over and over again...we're so glad people still want to be our friends even though we have kids! And we're so thrilled that people will come to our house, because it sure is easy for us with putting them straight to bed.

SECURITY BLANKET

Today Stuey perhaps adopted a security blanket. It is the sweetest thing ever-Stuart crawling around the house while holding on to his blanket. I LOVE IT!! The blanket is a knit blanket that my Aunt Barbie knitted for Nora when she was born.

I called my friend Alexis to tell her about it and she mentioned that the blanet may be a "transitional object"...often used with helping ease the weaning process.
I started crying. I don't know where the tears came from and I didn't know if they were of joy or sadness. I think both.

"...so this means Stuart may wean soon?" I asked Alexis.

"...Oh Zoya, I didn't mean to make you cry. No, not necessarily. Some kids find the transitional object on their own and some parents introduce one to give to the child while nursing so they associate the object with comfort. " She replied.

"No, no..this is good, I just didn't even think of his security blanket replacing me...and nursing." I pondered.

The thought of him having an item which will bring him comfort and with which he can sooth himself is exciting. On the other hand I had a moment of Stuey-isn't-as-much-of-a-baby-anymore which filled me with sadness. My little baby is more like a little guy. So mobile, verbal, expressive and funny. He really is turning into Mr. Personality. Even Patrick has lately admitted this. Stuey laughs a lot, plays peek a boo, claps his hands and does things to get me to smile....he is Mr. Charmer. I know-Every parent in North America says this about their son. It is quite cliche sounding. But it really is true. Thats more cliche sounding, eh?!!

This whole parenting thing is a journey-one filled with emotions, thoughts and feelings I never knew existed inside myself. To look at my little guy and his security blanket and be filled with so much joy for him as she crawls around the house smiling. I suppose my overriding feeling is excitement that he is becoming more independent and so much more interactive. Patrick said tonight he vividly remembers the security blanket he had until he was 5 or 6. He remembers bringing it with him all the time. I would LOVE to see a picture of him with his little blanket...

Zoya

Photos
Me and Mike (the chefs-Mike prepared the prime rib and I prepared a cream spinach and meditteranean zucchini dish)
KIDS, KIDS more KIDS. Kids getting into trouble in the bathroom. BUSTED! :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

April Sunrises


Definitely spring - first bears coming out of their dens and now the sun rising out of the Ocean. Here on Mill Bay we get our best sunrises in early September and April when the sun rises directly out of the ocean. In the Fall ocean sunrises are a harbinger of darker days, but in the spring they mean that pretty soon it will be light all the time. As it is, last night I had to duct tape tinfoil over the nursery skylight so the kiddos could get to sleep. By the end of April we pretty much no longer have night, and you have to get up mighty early to see the sunrise. Or stay up REALLY late.

This is the sunrise that greeted Zoya and I this morning. Patrick

PS The entertainment of last night was watching Patrick put the foil on the skylight. The kids and myself laid on the bedroom floor and looked up at the sky at Patrick covered it with foil and tape. He made faces at us through the window and we were all laughing down below. At one point, he accidentally cut a small hole in the foil and before he fixed it, he peeked through it and only his eyeball was showing. It was kinda eerie...this eyeball looking down at us!! Zoya

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Kodiak's Grouse Mountain


A week ago today I was skiing high above Vancouver on Grouse Mountain. Today I was skiing on Pillar Mountain high above Kodiak. Here on Kodiak, we may not have the big city but the skiing and views certainly compare with what I saw in Vancouver. The ski run on Pillar Mountain actually measures about the same in terms of vertical feet as what was available at Grouse Mountain (around 1200 feet). But Pilar is pretty darn steep (like scary steep) and it's hard to beat the Kodiak seascapes. Now I guess we just got to import some of the Vancouver night life. But let's stay away from the big city commutes - I like eating dinner 1/2 hour after leaving work. Patrick

Saturday, April 05, 2008

It's Officially Spring - The Bears are out!




Today I went crust cruising on my skate skiis behind Pyramid and came upon the tracks of a bear fresh out of hibernation. I actually followed his tracks back to the ravine where he had his hibernation den. It snowed yesterday and froze up hard last night - so I know the tracks are from last night. I even found a tree that he dug a hole under and slept for a while yesterday afternoon (partially snowed in tracks leading to the burrow and fresh tracks out the other side). I also know where he is right now because his tracks lead up to a copse of spruce trees and did not come out. I did not attempt to follow him into the trees.

Directly after he took his nap yesterday he relieved himself, and from the placement of his feet he obviously had a hard time getting it all out. And no wonder, it was a plug of dirt and grass! He had not gone to the bathroom since last fall! Poor guy. Patrick

Friday, April 04, 2008

Crib Adventure


The other morning Stuart woke up at his standard 5:30 AM time...I nursed him back to sleep and went back to bed. Shortly after I was in bed, Patrick and I heard a ka-thunk noise and footsteps. Then silence.

ME: What was that?
PATRICK: I dont know. I think Nora got out of her crib.

Silence. We didn't blink an eyelash, just hoping she would go back to bed and not roam around the house.
We didn't hear anything more and went back to sleep.
At 8:00 am I heard Stuey cry out, so I went back to get him. When I saw Nora's crib it was empty. And there she was standing up with Stuey in his crib! She had crawled into his crib at 5:30 AM. So fun! They both seemed quite happy.
Patrick and I love the fact that they sleep together in the same room. Nowadays Nora won't go to sleep unless Stuart is in his crib, or on the couch nursing to sleep. He has to be in the room with us.

Zoya

Photo: Nora has lately taken to crawling like a baby after Stuart. :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Nora Word of the Week - "More Tea"


NORA PHRASE OF THE WEEK "More Tea"
The past 2 weeks, Nora has experienced a language explosion. It is quite amazing, as she puts two words together without cueing. For example, she now says, "Tea, peee" for "tea, please". Or "more mamma" or her rendition of "no, Stuey". Finally, I am starting to really see her language really pick up. For many months there, we were in a language doldrums, with fairly slow progress.
2 weeks ago I started her on fish oil supplements...this was from a recommendation of a friend's sister, who has a son going through similar speech delays. I read in the book, The Late Talker, how fish oil supplements have shown to dramatically improve language and motor skills in children where they are delayed. The fish oils help fill in the myelin which is lacking on the nerves in the kids with apraxia. They don't know why some kids are born deficient in the myelin.

In any case, I see big improvements and the tablets can only help her! I know my friends may think I'm "out there" for trying something alternative, but after doing the reading, it made sense to try it. I figured i'd give it one bottle of the supplements and if I didn't see any improvement, I wouldn't waste my money on another bottle. So far, I'm mightily impressed. The therapists today at infant learning said they see big differences in Nora's ability to put different sounds and words together. At times when Nora says more complex things, I just want to cry with delight. It is so wonderful to see all the little connections in her brain come together and see her be successful with speaking. At times tears literally well up in my eyes and I whisper to Patrick, "Hon, did you hear what she just said?". It is an exciting time for all of us.

TAGALOG progress
My tagalog progress has been slow this past month. Tonight I did my first lesson in weeks, and it went amazingly well. I remembered most of what I had learned in the past month. Phew! No major loss of knowledge from several weeks off.
At the clinic I am getting braver about speaking small greetings to patients. I LOVE the sound of the language. Tonight as I plugged along through the lesson, I was reaffirmed in my decision to learn tagalog as I get lost in tempo of the words....

NEW RECIPES
I am hooked on cooking new recipes. It is getting easier and easier to cook up new meals. Yesterday afternoon I went to Safeway with Stuey, picked up ingredients for several new recipes. After my arrival home, I made Sour Cream Rye bread, Spicy Stewed Potatoes with Spinach and Buttermilk and Ultimate Black Beans. The Rye bread was made in the breadmaker and had all sorts of cool ingredients in it like sour cream, balsamic vinegar, coriander...just delicious. I've definitely grown to like Rye bread more over the years. This was my first time making it.
The Spicy Stewed Potatoes and Spinach dish was made in the cast iron skilled-small cubed potatoes cooked for 15 minutes with tumeric and topped with spinach and buttermilk/cream. Good flavors with cilantro and chilis mixed in. It went fabulously with white rice and the black beans dish.
Stuey wasn't a fan of the black beans dish-I think I need to learn more about how to cook beans to reduce their gas producing properties. He was up every 3 hours last night with gas attacks. I was quite tired this morning.

BABIES, BABIES, BABIES...
No, I'm not pregnant!
3 friends are due with babies this week. My friends Marias and Katie are due today and tomorrow. And on Thursday my friend Julie is having a C-section in Anchorage. My friend Chistina had a baby girl over a week ago.
What an exciting time. These are second children for all 4 of these moms and I can completely empathize with the journey they are about to undertake in the next few months to come with toddlers and new babies. It is a hard time...my memories of Stueys first days at home are full of Nora walking around the house crying, me barely able able to function from exhaustion. Then it slowly got better. I think it didn't really get better for us, however, until Nora started speech therapy, as that helped us bridge the communication gap which was occurring and leading to much frusturation.
Many parents of kids with 18 month age gap said, "the first year is hard, then it gets easier..." I kept telling myself, just get to 1 year, just get to 1 year. And sure enough-its getting easier! We're through the worst of it. Yes, there are still hard days but the physical dependency of hard nights, non stop nursings are in the past. I'm glad to be done with the baby phase and I enjoy Stuart more and more every day as his personality blossoms. I enjoy the fact that I have energy for myself, my husband, my work...I'm finding a balance once again. Its been an interesting journey this past year and I'm glad I had Patrick to laugh and cry with. He definitely has a good sense of humor and helped us keep our wits about us during the more challenging hours.

Zoya