Sunday, February 28, 2010

conversations, lately

Dylan: Can I fill this with snow? *points to the Subaru's tailpipe*

Kate: No.

Dylan: Can I?

Kate: No. We will get sick.

Dylan: Can I?



Dylan: I want a different blanket.

Aaron: No, this is the special one you got while we went to the hospital to get Ollie.

Kate: You can take it to college!

Aaron: Or technical school, if that's what you choose.

Kate: But then you might live at home.

Dylan: *quietly gets under blanket and goes to sleep*


Kate: Hey Dylan, can you babysit Ollie for me while I take Snuffy out?

Dylan: *blank stare*

Kate: Well? Will you babysit?

Dylan: *starts to look agitated*

Kate: Oh, you don't know what babysit means? It's when someone comes and watches the kids when mommy and daddy go out.

Dylan: Oh, so I could babysit [girl in her class] while her mommy and daddy go to a movie.

Kate: Yes, I'm sure they would appreciate that.


In case anyone is interested in my cooking adventures, here are some recipes we've enjoyed lately. Right now I'm looking for recipes that aren't too ingredient or labor intensive because of all the wee ones, but I don't mind things that have to be tended to over a few hours since I'm at home a lot.

Cracked Wheat Bread from NY Times. No shortcuts on time--it took a whole bunch of hours with all the rises, but it was a really nice, filling bread. I froze one loaf and the other was gone within two days. Now the frozen one's gone too.

Bulgur With Swiss Chard, Chickpeas and Feta from NY Times. Delicious, filling meal if you like bulgur, chard, chickpeas, and feta. Which, luckily, we do.

We had this Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas from Epicurious this evening, and loved it. Plus it was pretty quick and easy.

These Potatoes. I've gotten good at frying potatoes nicely with little oil, but I wanted to try some different recipes. These came out great, while the ones from epicurious were terrible.

I've had a few flops, particularly with all the homemade veggie burgers from the NY Times. We made ravioli that I thought was mediocre, which means way more trouble than it's worth, but Aaron intrepidly wants to try making pasta again. I looked up quinoa recipes to learn how to cook with it and ended up with a stone soup situation that involved an elaborate butternut squash soup to go with the quinoa. Lesson learned--soup is not necessary to cook a grain. I have seven years of graduate education, you know.

Anyone have recommendations for recipes? Our go-to meals are burritos and burrito variants, homemade pizza, lentil soup, couscous with roasted veggies, those boil in a bag Indian dishes, and various veggie/noodle sir fries. Plus dinner for breakfast, I'm great at breakfast.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Some Olympic Thoughts, In Random Order

1) Don't leave me! Who will keep me company during the unfortunate baby-tending hours of 8-11pm? Besides my husband, who has, oddly, become a gym rat.

2) What is this Team Pursuit in speed skating? Did NBC make it up just to mess with us?

3) Have you seen the curling hats shaped like the stones? Can I have one?

4) I also want those mittens, but I'm not willing to get them on ebay.

5) If I were Lindsey Vonn I would have gone with a silver instead of falling in the super combined. Maybe that's what my racing career is over. Yes, that's right, I'm announcing my retirement.

6) Has NBC had sort of an amazing race-type feel to the coverage? Where you never quite know when things are live or what time it is or how many people still have to go? In the ski racing we got to be able to predict why they were showing a given skier--either they won, fell, were american, or were buddies with an american.

7) I'm nominating the bobsled announcers for worst ability to correlate their observations with actual performance.

8) Wasn't that cool in the women's figure skating that no one fell and they all skated well? Sort of more satisfying that way than when someone wins because someone else fell.

9) Isn't it weird that a racing sport like the short track skating is often decided by judges?

10) Ollie and I are also fond of the today show in the morning. It never ceased to be hilarious to me that every morning they made everyone get up at 4am to be interviewed. I also liked the segment where the NBC guy was tasting beer and the beer guy kept making him taste more and he kept trying not to. Also, the Brian Williams/Brian Williams story was kind of awesome.

11) Aaron: I always liked doing the bobsledding in the olympic games.

Kate : ?

Kate: You've been bobsledding?

Aaron: Well, yes, one time, but I mean in the games.

Kate: You see how that could be confusing? When you say "olympic games?" Because they call it that? On TV?

Aaron: No.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Honestly, we were jealous of all those other big storms anyway. It's snowed here every day all winter, but we haven't gotten a good storm before today. I think I'll call this one Snearthquake.

I wasn't sure how far out into the street to shovel since the plow hadn't come yet this morning. I think this illustrates our street's plowing priority for you:

1: Highways
2: Major Roads
3: Secondary Roads
4: Coffee Break
5: Any Vacation Time You Need To Use Up?
7: No, Really, You Sure You Don't Need a Breather There?
8: Plow Repair And Routine Maintenance
9: Maybe That Husky Over There Could Pull A Plow? Let's Experiment!
10: Raise Venture Capital To Start Husky Breeding Program
11: Fail To Adequately Flesh Out Business Plan
12: Return Home In Shame To Live In Basement
13: Plow Our Neighborhood

I know it's a good one when I can cross country ski out the front door. Okay, it's the side door, we all know the front door is impassable from the clutter.

Dylan calls herself Winter Dylan when she has her full snowsuit on. I think it's akin to Fireball Mario. She threw herself in every snowbank on the block on our way home from school today. The mailman, who wades through the deepest snow in people's yards to walk the shortest distance, outpaced us by about 3 to 1.

Speaking of Dylan and winter, between her love of dancing, ice skating, and grown up girls, finger skating [sic][she also calls tofu tofood] is like some magical dream world she thought she could only imagine. She wants to know when she will be able to do the jumps.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Write about what you know

For a while there, Ollie was sleeping 6 or 7 hours at night. He's back down to 3 or 4 now. This is less good. We are more tired. And sort of dumb, from the tired. I would tell you a funny story about something silly I've done, but I can't retain thoughts for long enough to remember one.

I was starting to get a fair amount of work done and to work on some house projects. It's hard to go back to not getting anything done besides keeping everyone fed, exercised, and cleanish.

We've had all sorts of growth spurts around here. Both kids just outgrew all their clothes. Dylan and I went shopping in the attic in the bag of stuff that I had filed under "too big to ever fit" that now is just about right. She also clearly went through some kind of mental spurt, one that allows for more fun stuff, like in the video, but also for a more sophisticated kind of annoying. For one thing, she cannot STAND for me and Aaron to have a conversation that doesn't involve her. We've worked on not interrupting and not being rude, so now she stands there very sweetly and says, "Excuse me, mommy?" until I pay attention to her, then says the first thing that pops into her head so it appears that she actually had something to say to me. "I like your eyes" is typical. So she is managing to relentlessly badger me in a very polite way. She is just about able to go pick out her clothes and get dressed by herself, but a big part of this phase seems to be a complete inability to focus on accomplishing any useful task, in favor of such activities as twirling or staring into space or tailgating me as I go about my day. Plus the clumsiness. Good lord, the clumsiness. Preschoolers are crazy and weird. If we want to drive her nuts we just spell words she doesn't know and then refuse to tell her what we're talking about.

Ollie went through that cool 12-week transformation. He can string together multiple hours of being awake in a row and has cut out that evil evening screechfest and seems more comfortable processing food. He's cheerful and smiling most of the time provided someone is talking to him and I am within his line of sight. Constraining, but not too bad. He had his two month appointment, uh, a few days ago. Remember how no one could believe how much weight he gained the first month? Guess how much he grew in the past 8 weeks? Two ounces. I made some sort of squawk when the nurse told me his weight, and she was like, what? That's not okay? The two ounces? We decided it was probably a little fluky and not a problem, but I'm bringing him back for his four month appointment in 6 weeks just to check. He's still really tall (24.5 inches = 90th percentile) and his noggin is fine. He can't wait to get some actual food in his little food hole judging by the rapture on his face while watching us chew. Luckily for him they now say you can feed babies earlier instead of trying to go six full months. Coincidentally, I also can't wait to get some food in my food hole.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

He likes it here

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ollie, Three Months

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dylan's Greatest Hits

Let's see how many views we get on youtube with that title.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

yakety yak

After three days of Olympic spoilers, I imposed a media blackout on the house yesterday from noon to 8pm, supplemented with the slightly rude silencing of several people who tried to reveal the results anyway. Much better that way. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are acceptable.

Speaking of silencing, Aaron was jotting some things down on the grocery list this morning. Dylan likes to play with that pad of paper, and went and got it a few minutes later. "Hey! This says D-Y-L-A-N! Why Daddy write my name down? What word is after my name? What does M-U-Z-Z-L-E spell?"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

party on, bleisenblog

Are Presidents Day and Valentine's Day always back to back like that? I'm just exhausted from all the partying.

Actually, we celebrated Presidents Day with a professional development day at daycare. I told you, nonstop partying. That just means Dylan was also home with me all day yesterday, which was fun because I could stop trying to squeeze in work around Ollie's naps and just hang out with her all day.

Daycare is much like supermarkets and department stores in their celebrations of holidays. It's always right on to the next one, with 1-2 months of hype preceding each. Dylan came home Friday with a shoebox stuffed full of candy, cards and stickers from the other kids. We got her a couple pieces of candy and a card featuring Dumpy the Truck (that was for Aaron also).

I ensured Ollie got to celebrate also by eating plenty of chocolate, which unfortunately is somewhat suspect in his ongoing digestive upset. Dairy's out again, as it was for Dylan, with a pretty noticeable improvement in his eczema and total elimination of his late night screaming. I slowly realized I had been down this road before. I have been contemplating breaking out my vegan cookbook again, but I've got a backlog of recipes I want to do so it will have to wait a bit.


Dylan has been toilet trained for a full year. She just about never has accidents due to a bladder of (stretchable) steel combined with extreme fastidiousness. We hadn't tackled night training yet because Ollie has got the waking me up at night thing covered for everyone. Yesterday, in a fit of diaper-eliminating, we took the plunge and told her to use the toilet at night, preferably without our involvement. I woke up at 1am to Dylan wailing and Aaron grumping around cleaning stuff up. I felt terrible because the toilet experiment had obviously gone terribly wrong, although I had a hard time imagining how since she had still gone to bed with a pullup. I learned around 1:30am that actually it was Indian buffet that had gone terribly wrong and was now staging an evacuation. So! Day 2 of Dylan being home with me is now underway.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

I went through the next round of Dylan clothes

This formula one uniform hardly got worn due to size issues, so it's fun to get to use it.

He can pull this one off, right? I have yet to actually put him in a dress.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

please, sir, i want some more

As long as I'm home with Ollie, I thought I might as well do some more cooking since he likes hanging out in the kitchen as long as I chatter at him. I'm usually more of a baker because then you end up with dessert instead of some casserole, but we all get a little grumpy when I limit our diet exclusively to sugar. Dylan and Aaron have thus been subjected to an endless array of dishes, with varying degrees of edibility. Mostly it's been quite delicious and I've learned how to use a bunch of new foods. Critically, I'm getting better at eyeing (spellcheck wants eying?) a recipe and figuring out if it will actually be three hours worth of work or require me to buy eight new spices or sacrifice a gerbil or the like. I've been trying to recreate my favorite Chinese and Indian dishes and I've been using a lot of the stuff posted on the New York Times website. I cannot, however, recommend their spinach/bulgur/mushroom burgers, and I would like to apologize to everyone involved for last night.

In the past we've eaten out a lot more, which is suddenly a lot less appealing what with all the children, and in the weeks after Ollie's birth we all wallowed around in the joy of takeout (including Thanksgiving...mmm) much more than usual. On one of our recent trips we were talking about what restaurant to go to. Dylan's contribution was a very cheerful, "I'm so happy you're not cooking, Mommy!" Whatever. At least I can make Ollie eat anything I want to, via myself. Actually that's not been such a wise move lately as I have NO IDEA what he might be sensitive to when something bothers him.

Monday, February 08, 2010

weird, there's still two children living in our house

Trying to get a decent picture of both childrens is a tedious and impossible task that I like to take a crack at from time to time, in case I'm feeling too capable or something. If I change my standard from "decent" to "both looking vaguely in my direction" I think I've succeeded masterfully.


On the local news this morning one story was that the New York Times knows something about the governor, something big, that will cause him to resign or not run for re-election, or at least break down weeping in public. They noted that they had been refreshing the Times website all morning, to no avail. Thank you, local reporters, for your diligent clicking on my behalf. Also, what is the story?! It's still not up as of 11am. I saw an equally vague one online about a whisper campaign, but with no actual content. Now you can all refresh with me the rest of the day. Click away.


I read that babies of 11 or 12 weeks spend 2/3 of their time playing with their hands. I keep laughing at Ollie because who spends 2/3 of their few waking moments playing with their hands? At least he's right on target developmentally.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


Since Dylan proved herself to be capable of sitting through a show when Aaron took her to see Annie, I brought her to a performance of School House Rock with her two best buddies today, as performed by 10-14 year olds. She was just enthralled with the kids. I was also enthralled due to: so much awkward in one room. They had lovely voices, but it was clear that some unseen puppetmaster was in control of all movements.

At intermission Dylan would. not. budge. Her friends went out to run around, but she was so concerned about missing the rest of the show that she could not be moved. At the end there was a Q&A with the actors, with the whole audience still seated. Dylan raised her hand and when the nice lady brought the mic over told them she loved them.


Speaking of Dylan, she is also moderately useful in shoveling the driveway. Aside from actual physical labor, the jobs gets done more throughly with her around as she has inherited the family compulsion (see: intermission) and will not let us go inside until it is done, and done right.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

dueling dummies

Did I tell you about the time when Aaron was supposed to fly out of Buffalo? But it didn't work out because he conflated the "hour it takes to get to Buffalo" with the "hour you're supposed to get to the airport ahead of time?" In fact, those are two different hours. Well, that's what happened, and it wasn't so very long ago. Thanks to his excellent live-in travel agent he still flew out successfully, although a few hours later and with more layovers (which undeservedly increased the number of frequent flier points he received).

The question Monday was, was that little incident dumber than my own actions of the day?

We sent our bags ahead with my parents, who drove down and picked us up at the airport. On the way back we had a few more things, so I sent one more bag home with them. That, it turned out, was the bag where I had cleverly stashed my house and car keys so I wouldn't carry them all around in my purse and lose them on the trip. As the shuttle pulled away in the airport parking lot in Rochester I suddenly realized exactly where they were. Aaron, keyless himself, asked me if this meant I was dumber than him before turning his thoughts to such tasks as getting the kids out of the cold, accessing our car, and entering our house. Luckily we have friends who both have a key to our house and are apparently not vital to their jobs. Whatever. The day was not a total loss as it involved the baking and eating of thirty cupcakes.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

the traveling circus returns

Having mistaken "harder" for "easier," what we thought was, now that we have two kids, traveling will surely be easier. And so we went out of town again last weekend, this time to Long Island for some family birthday parties. Dylan and Ollie got to hang out with their second cousins, who have cakes and Mercedes. We'll have to work on yielding to pedestrians.

Actually, Dylan's pretty easy to travel with. She thinks planes are the most exciting thing ever, and she's good for about four hours in the car. Plus, with the magical ipod we always have games, movies, and music, except for those unfortunate times when portable electronic devices are not approved for use.

Ollie still doesn't care where he sleeps, so he travels okay too. And he thinks he's a parrot and goes to sleep when I put a blanket over his head.

Check out our young recruit in action.

We devised a system of getting on the plane where Aaron went ahead with Dylan while I waited until the last minute to get on with Ollie. We failed to realize it was one of those walk down the steps, over to the plane, and up the steps again situations, so I had an unfortunate jacket-less wait at the end of the line in the 15 degree weather. Little did I know the plane had just come out of the hanger and wasn't that much warmer. Then I got on the plane, only to have Aaron and Dylan working their way towards me, muttering something about spilled orange juice. I glared at Aaron because this was eerily reminiscent of a similar unpleasant incident where my seat got doused with water while I waited to board with Dylan. Then I realized, wait, I have our orange juice. It was the adult couple sitting next to us that had doused my seat with juice while I waited to board with Ollie. I switched to glaring at them, only in my head.

The flight back was cool because 1) Dylan got to see the top of the Chrysler Building (oh yes, it continues) and 2) it was so clear it was like looking at a map the whole time. I could follow along by the shapes of the finger lakes, and we got to see Ithaca for a while. Here is Cayuga Lake.


Speaking of birthday parties, as I assure you we were earlier in the post, it's Aaron's birthday season again!

We've kicked off the proceedings with a full slate of activities, but festivities will surely continue all month and into next.

Monday, February 01, 2010

sleep deprivation; brain washing

Kate: Hey! I've had my shirt on backwards all day.

Aaron: I had my underwear on backwards all morning.


Adults, in car: ...blah blah blah...politics...blah blah...socialism

Dylan, looking up from the ipod: That is not a nice word!

Kate: Who told you that?! Was it someone as school?

Dylan: No.

Aaron: Was it Daddy Warbucks?

Dylan: Yes.