Too Much Birthday?
Baking Day

Sweet Potato biscuits, Orange Cranberry cream scones, dough rising for Honey Oatmeal bread and Cinnamon rolls.

Sometimes I just can't stop...

I was wearing a black shirt this morning - it's now a lovely shade of charcoal from the enormous amount of flour clinging to it.

I'm having such fun....
What a Difference a Month Can Make
Amazing, isn't it!

Calling all Pregnant Women!
Hi, I'm Side of a Barn - formally known as Andrea. Do you see my belly in this picture? It is taking over the world. The United States Post Office is calling me, insisting that I register my "bump" with it's own zip code.

Oh, you think I'm joking?

The reason for this post is purely to satisfy my curiosity. I am interested to know how many of you who read this blog are pregnant. And I might need to know that there are others who feel like a large building with two legs instead of the woman they use to be. Empathy, sympathy, general commiseration - I'll take whatever I can get. Misery loves company. Or so they say.

So, tell me... when are you due? Do you know what you are having? Do you feel as big as I do?

I am so finished with this pregnancy. Last night I had the strongest urge to run into my bedroom and flop on the bed (yes, I'm still 5 years old). I actually started to move in that direction... I quickly realized that it would end very badly if I followed through on my urge. It goes to show you that somewhere deep inside I am still 125 pounds. That girl is just hiding right now. I'm going to find her... just give me a few months, or a year.
Birthday Morning
I have always loved capturing the first awareness of a birthday morning. I have a picture of each birthday morning wake-up for both Eve and Judah. For me there is something sacred about those initial few minutes. Judah spent his first moments sharing plenty of smiles, snuggles, and tickles with Daniel and I. We are so blessed by his life.

A Pampers Review
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a marketing company interested in sending me Pampers diapers and wipes for review. I was sent the Pampers Baby Dry diapers and the corresponding wipes which are called Swipers.

I already regularly use the Baby Dry Pampers since they are the only diaper I've found that stand a chance with Judah. I've tried several different diaper brands such as Costco's Kirkland, and Huggies in the past, but they just didn't work nearly as well. They couldn't keep from leaking on a very regular basis.With the Pampers, Judah only leaks if he has had an enormous amount to drink and it is an overnight diaper. And they smell great, don't they!

I adored the Swipers from the get-go. They were thick without being too thick, and incredibly soft, and cleaned very easily without me having to use more than a few at each changing. Another plus was the Swipers never felt cold to the touch. The Walmart brand, which I normally use, always does. I think it may have something to do with the water content of the wipes.
I was sad when the Swipers package was empty and I had to go back to using the Walmart's brand on Judah. I just couldn't waste the six packages of wipes I had left! The only negative I could find with the Swipers was the smell. I have always bought scent-less wipes but these particular Swipers had scent added, and it was strong. I eventually got use to it and found I liked it, but at first the smell was over-powering.
Truthfully, price is major factor for me in the buying of wipes. So, while I do love the Swipers , I will be evaluating the price against the amount of wipes I get. I am willing to pay a bit more for the Swipers, since I really loved them, but I may need a coupon to go along with them as well.

You'll notice from the image above that Pampers has made wipes and diapers that correspond with each stage your child is in. I felt like the Baby dry and Swipers went quite well together, so I would have to assume they put good thought into the other Stages pair-ups. I heartily recommend this product to all you who regularly have bottoms to change!

What kind of diapers do you like and use on a regular basis?
Happy Birthday Judah!
The last few nights you have insisted that I rock you to sleep.

"I 'ock", "I 'ock" you say, while pointing at the big brown recliner.

And I am more than happy to oblige. I couldn't care less if you are two or twelve. If you want me to rock you to sleep, you better believe I will.
Truthfully, it has been a balm to my heart. You curl your body up against mine, trying to find a comfortable position around the bump that is your new brother or sister. Your sweet breath caresses my neck while you fall asleep. And I sit there, rocking for as long as I want, just holding you. I know that having my arms wrapped around your little body is a fleeting stage. One you will soon leave behind.

I love the way you love me Judah. Someday you'll figure out that I'm not perfect, but right now - to you - I am. The way you smile at me, the way you snuggle me, your laughter, how you ask for me when I am not near, hearing your little voice whisper "nigh, nigh" after I tuck you in to sleep, and a million other things about you... there isn't anything better in this world.
You are a sweet boy, Judah. You are my sweet, sweet little boy. I am so in love with you. Please... don't grow up anymore. But if you must, always remember that your Mama loves you like no one else ever will.

Happy Birthday Stud!

Pregnancy Brain
I wish I had something compelling to write about. But, I don't. I'm just really tired today. And still kind of skeeved out by the Roto Rooter man that came to my house this morning. He is creepy, very creepy. According to him, we have tree roots growing into our pipes for nutrition. Um, nasty. As my landlord said - that is about the last place she'd be going for nutrition.
Amen Sister!
I have also been battling a major case of the pregnancy brain - I totally forgot that my MOPS small group is responsible for the dinner tomorrow night. What if I had never remembered? Wouldn't that have been embarrassing! I shiver at the thought.
I did however remember to order my birthing tub and birth kit. I feel much better knowing those items are on their way. One month, just one month left, perhaps then I can have my brain back. Really though, I'd settle for a partial brain right about now. Anything is better than nothing. And nothing is what I am working with. It's not pretty.
Oh, and it's Judah's birthday tomorrow. I'm in deep mourning. How can he be turning two? Wasn't I just in transition wondering if I was actually going to survive his birth? Thankfully, Judah promised me yesterday that he'd be my baby until he was one hundred years old. Daniel tried to tell me that Judah only agreed to that so he could escape my arms and my kisses. I completely deny that reality and choose to substitute my own.

A Band of Titanium
I love this ring.... and all it represents.
We have leftover Kibbi for Daniel, hummus scooped up in Syrian bread for me. Sweet potato biscuits with turkey gravy for dinner and banana cream pie for dessert.... Leftovers never tasted so good.
A Love - Hate Relationship

It started out so good...

"Snow! Snow!"

Judah took about three minutes to actually touch the snow with his pudgy little fingers. He kept trying to touch the frozen flakes but he knew they would be cold. Finally he did and the tears flowed. My sweet boy hates to be cold.

"Do you want to go inside where it's warm?"

I asked him this question at least five times. Each time he said "Nooooo!" followed by more tears. He wanted to stay outside just as badly as he wanted to go inside. He was paralyzed in one spot; he didn't move the whole time. Finally, I picked him up. He buried his soft head into my shoulder and cried. He was so torn. And cold. But Mi-Mi placed his chilled hands under her arms and made everything better.

Mi-Mi's are good like that.
Say Hello to Tony
Mmmmm...Tony. He is - or should I say was - our turkey this year. We always name our turkeys, because we're kind of silly like that. Tony was twenty-five pounds of turkey goodness. Daniel, as the turkey guru ( he swears it's the massage he gives that brings the magic), prepares our man of the year on Thanksgiving Eve. "Tony" then proceeds to cook all.night.long. and

We ate at 5:30 this evening - Tony had aromified our house for eighteen hours. And he was awesome. AWESOME. Incredibly awesome. We have always made our turkey this way and it has never, ever let us down. The tenderness, flavor, and moistness is unbeatable. Your eyes roll back in your head. Anyways... Tony was great, but Eve was devastated to have to eat him. Just sticking the thermometer into Tony caused her intense trauma.

"Does it hurt him?!"

"Don't hurt him!"

Eating him brought an onslaught of

"Poor Tony..."

"Poor, poor Tony"

And you should have seen her face. Crushed is a good descriptor.

Our actual Thanksgiving day was relaxingly calm and fun. Well, until the last two hours or so. That's when things always get a wee bit frantic, but I wouldn't feel like it was Thanksgiving without that happening. It was a smaller crowd than I am use to, but a day and table filled with wonderful family and friends.

The food amounts were definitely not smaller and now my fridge is crammed. I just have to cook tons of food on Thanksgiving. It wouldn't feel right if I didn't. Although, I did let my family down in the pie department this year. I only made a banana cream. My mom, Gram, and Tarrah provided the rest. Usually I make quite a few different choices, but I'm 34 weeks pregnant. And tired. That's a good excuse right? I hope so because I use it a lot.

One of my favorite parts of the day, other than the eating - of course, was sitting on the couch while the guys cleaned up the table, put away the food, and did the dishes. This is the most awesome tradition ever started.
Another favorite part, I'd be remiss if I didn't include it, was where Daniel had to stand up in a feeble attempt to make room for the rest of his pie.... it didn't work, but it sure was funny. And I loved it.

What a good day, what a good family. What a good life I live.

So, how was your day?
My Husband

He's incredible.... I wouldn't be Andrea without Daniel. I am so thankful.
My Children
They are incredible.... I am so thankful for their lives
The Gap
I've got to say I am loving the fact that The Gap has upped their survey coupons from ten percent to twenty. Awesome! I always fill them out when I get the opportunity, but now it's really worth it. Go Gap!!

Oh, and by the way - they don't really expire even though they say they do. I totally love that.
Panic Attacks
I don't know why they always happen at night or why they even happen at all. Never before in my life have I had this issue, and I - just like everyone else - have had stressful times. But these panic attacks are new and they are scary. Really scary. Although I have never doubted that panic attacks are real and viable, I had no depth of understanding. Now I do. But I wish I didn't.

I have no idea what triggers them, I don't see a pattern in my life that would influence the onset of an attack. My life was a whole lot more stress filled two years ago and I never had one hint of a panic-filled night. Thankfully they are quickly resolved each and every time - I somehow wake Daniel up and he prays for me. They recede and I feel like I can breathe again, my heart slows down it's wild pounding in my chest. But, it takes me awhile to fall back to sleep for the fear of another one snapping me awake.
I would just like to know why. That is how I live my life, who I am - I find out the whys of things. Knowledge, for me, reduces fear. And if I can know the why then I can face whatever it is that comes my way. Even if it's terribly tough. I don't know why I am having these panic attacks and it really bothers me. But I do intend to find out - I will conquer them yet.

Now that I have experience, I have so much more empathy and understanding for the others I know who struggle with these attacks. What I don't understand is why there isn't more discussion about them. It seems to be somewhat taboo to talk about having a struggle in this area. Like you are a weaker person for having them. Which is entirely not true. I wish everything wasn't so hush-hush. And I wish I wouldn't ever have another one again.
Holiday Airmen
Dear Young Airmen -

I miss you this Thanksgiving. I miss looking forward to seeing your shy, yet happy and expectant faces coming through my doorway. I'll miss the bags of chips, and bottles of soda you bring to us as your part. I'll miss seeing the anticipation on your face of the homemade meal you are about to eat, and not hearing the small conversations you can fit in between your mouthfuls. I miss knowing that I'm going to have a table bursting full of lonely young men who have come for some comfort and good food. I'll miss the contentment I feel from bringing a little bit of home to you this holiday season.
I am always taken aback, although by now I guess I shouldn't be, by the amount of misconceptions people have about Recruiters. Most ordinary people get their information from the news and rarely are Recruiters put in a good light. Some deserve the bad rap, but all do not. Why does a minority have to ruin it for the rest of us? The labels used to describe a Recruiter... commissions, quotas, lying - I find it distressing, really.

No to a commission on each recruit, yes to quotas.

And, of course, I know there are plenty of Recruiters who lie - heck, every person lies at some point. But Daniel does not lie to obtain recruits. Whether preforming his duties as a Recruiter or not, he follows a moral code.

My husband is not your normal, every day Recruiter.
I wish I could make people believe me when I talk to them about Daniel. He's refreshingly honest, moral, forthright in his dealings, and he creates the best experience possible for all involved. He's a professional. And I am so proud of him.

It's not been easy for him to do this job, because it's not an easy job to do. Whatsoever. But he has always done the very best he can for his country.

I am so ready to be out from under the label of "Recruiter". I am ready to just be ordinary again.... there much to be said for just being ordinary.
Denver and Austin
I wanted to have a special nickname for Daniel, in order to find one I asked him if he were a city which would he be. He thought about it for a few minutes and said "Denver". I asked why, because that's what I do. He said it's a city you don't hear anything bad about, lots of sunshine and they like their beer. I thought it sounded right on.

We looked at an overview for the city, it said this - Embodies many diverse cultures and influences. Has some of the best beer in the country, yet they do not overindulge. Active lifestyle, an abundance of sunshine. Denver has a lust for life. Combines the culture and fun of a major city with a spirit of outdoor adventure. That is so Daniel.

He in turn asked me what city I would be. I had no idea... but something funky, yet quiet. I like to have fun, but I'm a good girl. He said "Austin".

We looked it up and it sounded solid - An Austin overview summed me up like this - A city with a heart and with a soul. Cosmopolitan, yet unpretentious. Quirky and far from ordinary. Trade in suits for something a bit more casual. Pretty much Andrea.

Then Daniel went and ruined my fun by finding a test you can take that will tell you what city you are. According to them I am New York. And he is Cleveland. Whatever. I like our hand-picked ones better. Now, I have my nickname for him - Denver. I think it's funny that we picked cities that start with the letter of our first name.

So, if you could pick a city that best describes you what would it be? And don't take one of those silly tests - you know you best!
See ya! And..... we're back
IKEA here we come!!

Talk about sensory overload! The place was mammoth. Gigantic. I've never been in a bigger store before. It was completely amazing. I can't believe I have lived so long without this store. How? I am in awe. There was an orange and red flower-ish, geometric lines-ish couch there that I wanted to hug and profess my true and undying love to. It was gorgeous and so "me". That, along with fifty-eight million, seventy two thousand and twelve other things, was what I wanted to bring home. But I didn't. Daniel said they wouldn't fit in the van. Party-pooper.

The bad things:

Judah wanted to touch, crawl over, and play on everything and was rather upset that the word "no" was used with regularity. The entire population of Canada within two hundred square miles was in this store, and some of them were rather rude. The cashier didn't feel the need to bag our purchases, and a lady talked down to me and then tried to railroad me while I was waiting my turn in the ladies room (don't try and pull that kind of crap with me - it's never a good idea - she learned that all important lesson yesterday). And I could see the germs stalking my children. I was the crazy lady with the hand sanitizer. Obsessive might have been a good term to label my liberal use of this glorious product. Did I over-use? Perhaps, but it made me feel better.

We ended the day at Sam and Tarrah's house
teaching our kids how to walk again after being in the van for so long, and eating delicious clam chowder with homemade bread. It was great kicking back with good friends. Today... Cleaning the carpets. Hanging stuff. Organizing the garage. Changing out doors. All the fun stuff we ignored yesterday.
When I crawled out of bed this morning I could tell there was snow on the ground by the brightness of our window blinds. I peered around the edge and sure enough... the ground was covered with millions of white flakes. My heart did a little leap because I knew how thrilled Eve was going to be when she spied the snow. I decided to wake the kids up separately so I could capture each of their expressions of excitement. Eve is old enough so she understands how much fun the snow can be - Judah wasn't really old enough last year to appreciate it. In fact, he was rather disgruntled by the whole affair.

An unhappy Judah in December 2006

But today he seemed to catch some of Eve's excitement, which was very refreshing. I am hoping that we'll be able to spend a lot of time outside playing this year. I've got my fingers crossed that Judah will be old enough to not care so much about the temperature... he hates to be cold. Always has. But, he's highly influenced by his sister, and she couldn't care less about the cold.
I have tucked away all their winter gear along with high hopes of having our greatest Vermont winter yet. I can see that I will be unearthing it sooner rather than later!

Judah's first snow sighting of the season


"Momma! I'm going to catch the snowflakes on my tongue! Like this..."

"Judah, this is how you do it. Watch."

"Like this!"
Eve's Novembers





I'm pretending that I don't have to go to Costco this morning.... I tried to lose myself in pictures.
It kind of worked, except now I want to cry. I miss the cute pigtails and the upturned nose.

Oh, little girls.... It's no wonder there are a million songs written about you.
A little blueberry, a little clementine and a little boy

Judah and what's left of his pre-breakfast, breakfast.

The Wheelbarrow
Judah has mastered the all important skill of doing the wheelbarrow.
Someday he'll win the race... I'll be wildly cheering him on.
Can I just tell you how delicious these animal cookies are? So, so good. I bought a snack pack of the vanilla cookies from the health food store on Tuesday(for the kids... of course). I was heading to the Salvation Army and I must bring food, you know. I don't know about for you, but here - having snacks equals quiet, occupied children.
I was happily shopping, answering a gazillion questions from Eve, and enjoying Judah being content when I heard a squeal.

Squeals are not always good.

Eve says to me " Oooh! Look at this Momma!"

I looked down to see her holding up an animal cookie, with two more animal cookies, all attached by a long hair - a hair that is baked in.

Can we all just pause a moment and say a collective "Eeeeeewwwwww!!!"

I quickly removed the cookies from Eve's hand and tried not to think about the ones I had eaten just a few minutes prior. Eve was oblivious to the grossness of the cookie train. I was not.

I promptly called the customer service at Barbara's bakery after putting the kids down for a nap. They are sending me a coupon for a free Barbara's product, which is very nice. I just wish that I could get the image of the "animal cookie hair train" out of my mind's eye. Blech!

So the T.V. thing....
I have to say, right off the bat, that this was a personal decision for our family. We don't judge or push our ideas on anyone else... ever. We really believe you have to do what is right for your own family in all areas.

What I didn't anticipate when we stopped watching t.v. was that people would look at us so strange. It's like we are crazy or something. "But, what about the news!" they ask. We have the internet - who needs to watch the news on t.v. The poor sales person at DirecTV just couldn't understand that we didn't want t.v. anymore. She was entirely confused at our call to end service. They still call us and send us offers to come back. It's been over two years now.

The reason Daniel and I decided to omit the t.v. from our lifestyle was simple - we missed each other. We would put the Eve to bed and then watch t.v. until it was time for us to go to sleep. It was pretty boring.

Another thing we noticed, was how easy it became to adopt the talking patterns and lifestyle habits of the people we watched on t.v. into our lives and marriage - in minor ways of course, but we didn't really like to see those little reflections in ourselves.

So, what do we do now?

We love to read, we love to talk, and to just be with each other. We do dishes together at night. If I am washing he'll sit on the counter next to the sink and we chat, vise versa. Some nights we go sit on the couch and hang out, we quietly talk or just sit next to one another. We also love to play Yatzee, or War - basically the only card game I can play!

I must say that we still are able to watch some shows that we love. We just watch them on Daniel's laptop. ABC has a a ton of full show episodes on their website. We watch Dancing with the Stars just like everyone else in America. Except the commercials are only 30 seconds long. And we have to wait until Tuesday night instead of watching it on Monday. No big deal.

I admit - I really, really miss watching football. I loved spending Sunday afternoons hanging out with Daniel watching the pig skin fly. But for us, taking t.v. out of the equation was a really good decision for our marriage and family life. It simplified our lives, brought us closer, and freed up a ton of wasted time. And, it was really easy. We unplugged it.
The Birthing Pool aka The Psuedo-Drug
It's that time... time to line up the birthing tub. It always make this whole birthing process seem that much more real. And kind of scary.
With Eve's birth I wasn't nervous, scared, anything. I just wanted her out. Then I had her and found out how much it hurt. With Judah's birth I tried not to think about labor too much, I simply begged God to let it be quicker and easier. His birth was much quicker - I don't know about the easier part. This time, my birthing prayers are very specific.
Labor is not fun. I wish I didn't have to go through it, but I do. And the water, the gloriously warm water in my birthing tub, makes it so much better.

For the past two births I have used this tub and it has worked out great. But wicked expensive - as in nearly 400 dollars. I don't know why we weren't smart enough in the beginning to just buy a tub flat out. It would have paid for itself by now.

Looking this time, I saw that the company we ordered through for Eve's birth has a new pool called the Birth Pool in a Box Eco

This birthing pool is only $150 which is so much more reasonable. I am a little skeptical, but I think it will be fine. I just don't do change well.
The tub I used for Eve and Judah took forever to fill up and I was pretty desperate to get it in by the time I actually could. It would be nice to have a tub that didn't take quite as long to get to the usable point. The description on this one says two people can be in it at the same time - this is an absolute must as I have to have Daniel's support.

Poor guy, last time I think I nearly killed him. Actually, I don't feel too bad - He can't just do the fun stuff, you know.

So, I'll think on this pool a bit more, because that's what I do, then I'll buy it. And I'll feel better, knowing that I have something that helps to relieve the agony.

I'm so dramatic, but it's the truth - isn't it?

I just want to skip to the part where I am holding my new baby. Anyone know where the fast forward button is on labor?
So Close Yet So Far Away
How can this baby be as close to me as humanly possible - inside of me - yet I feel as though this little life is incredibly far away. It's impossible for me to actually see the face of my child but I can feel every movement. I look at my belly and I long to see - I have so many questions that I desire to have answered. Waiting.....
You've Got to be Kidding Me!
I just want to say that I am super excited for Christmas! More so this year than any previous year in my adulthood. I don't know if it is because we have the baby coming, or because the kids are at a really fun age for the holidays, or maybe it's that I'm really still just a kid and Christmastime is magical for me.

With that being said, I was completely thunderstruck by what I saw while driving the other day. I actually saw people in a truck hauling their Christmas tree on home. I totally looked around at the drivers next to me and couldn't understand why their mouths weren't hanging open like mine was. It was November ninth, just for the record. November ninth! Ummm, apparently those people know a little trick or two, that no one else knows, on how to keep a Christmas tree alive for nearly TWO months! I just happen to think that is crazy. Anyone else want to be thunderstruck with me?
PBS for the First Time

Friday night found us in the great city of Boston. We love Boston - it is such an exciting city to visit. We, along with our friends Sam and Tarrah, attended a concert - the David Crowder Band - it was very fun but seemed abnormally loud. The theater was quite small, maybe that had something to do with the volume. The kids, well, Eve had a blast. Judah slept through at least half of it, amazingly enough. Our unborn child rolled around in my womb the entire time which was extremely painful - I don't think it knew what the heck was going on! It was probably thinking....Why am I vibrating! This was Eve's second concert but Judah's first - we had awesome seats and were able to see everything so well. You know, thinking back, I don't think I attended my first concert until I was a teenager!

When we go to Boston we always stay at Hanscom AFB since it is super, super cheap. We stay in the TLF (temporary living facility) because you get a full kitchen-with plates, cups, pans, everything- you also have a full livingroom and dining area plus a separate bedroom with two queen beds. This type of room works great when we bring the kids. And for 47 dollars! In Boston!

Saturday morning found us relaxing and taking it easy after a late night (as in a midnight bedtime for our children - they were absolute angels). I found PBS on tv so the kids, along with Daniel, watched a couple of shows. Because we don't have tv, this was a very exciting time for Eve and Judah! I think if Sesame Street had been on they would have flipped their wig! It made for nice relaxing hour of packing and getting ready to check out of our room.

All in all it was a nice trip - the car ride wasn't bad and the kids are so resilient. I loved seeing the hotel stay through Eve's eyes. Everything was EXCITING! and NEW! and SPECIAL!, right down to the kleenex box next to her bed. It really couldn't have gotten much better for our girl than that - tissues next to her pillow. Life is so much better lived through the eyes of a four year old. It truly, truly is.
The Penny

I found a penny in the parking lot of the library at Hanscom AFB today - I always keep my eyes open for pennies because they make Eve light up like a Christmas tree when one is found. Her simple joy is pure delight to me. After I handed it to her and watched her gush, I realized just how sad I am going to be when lost but found pennies don't thrill her anymore. I'll probably still be picking up pennies from the parking lot when Eve is eighteen just hoping to see that special smile of hers....

Why must we grow up?

Thursday Recipe - Linguine and Ham with Cheese Sauce
This is such a delicious dinner. I am a lover of pasta in any form, but this meal is one of my favorites, which is why I made it for my birthday aka the day calories don't exist. It comes together really quickly, thankfully, since I basically salivate from the time I toss the onions in the butter to cook!

Linguine and Ham with Cheese Sauce

1 8oz pkg linguine
4T butter (I used 2T. butter 2T. oil)
1 small onion finely chopped
2T white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
2 cups milk (I used whole)
1+/- cup frozen peas
1/2 pound ham - slice into strips ( I got mine from the deli)
1/2 cup swiss cheese shredded

Over medium heat cook the onion in butter, until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until blended. Cook for one minute. Gradually add milk, stir until thick and smooth. (this takes quite awhile, causing me to panic every time thinking it won't thicken. It does, but it's just not a real thick sauce.) Add in peas, ham and swiss cheese. Stir until heated through and the cheese has melted. Serve poured over your cooked pasta.

The delicious non-calorie laden Boston Cream Pie Daniel (and I) made


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