Monday, September 3, 2012

Try 2 Remember.

Happy Birthday Adam! You are two. You are two YEARS old. Remember when you were just this bump in my belly? You squirmed and kicked me and made my hips feel like they had been hit by a train.
Remember when you were born? Daddy and I drove to the hospital holding hands. I don't know who was more nervous. We knew something huge was about to happen, and we had heard rumors that this event would forever change us and our life. Oh, it so did. In the best ways. In the most amazing ways. 
Remember when I held you for the first time? You snuggled up on my chest with your body still curled in the shape of the womb you had just left. We spent hours staring at you and at each other wondering what in the world we were supposed to do with you. You were so small. So helpless. We were convinced you were made of glass. 
Remember when you came home with us? We walked into the house like zombies and you cooed and stretched out your hands to the sky, well rested. We took turns feeding you because you were quite the challenge to feed. We introduced you to your puppies, your room, your house, your family. 
Remember your first Christmas? You were the life of the party!

Remember your first tooth? Well, its probably best you don't.

Remember when you ate sweet potatoes for the first time?
Bananas were better.
Remember when you started crawling?
Remember our first very early morning trips to the park?
Remember our first family vacation? 
Remember your first steps? You teetered and tottered around and around. You practiced all the time. 
Remember your first birthday? You have so many friends and family! They love you so much. We had a huge party to celebrate your first year with us. 
Remember your first time trick or treating? You didn't quite know what to think! So, we decided to trick or treat at 2 houses and turn around to come home. Even kicking and screaming, you were the cutest monkey we ever saw!
Remember your first snow? We played while daddy sat inside too chicken to come out with us. We laughed at him and rolled in the snow. You fell a bunch because the snow was so high. But it just made you laugh huge belly laughs. 
Remember when we made big messes together? 
Remember when we took field trips?
Remember your first hair cut? Ugh! I do. I didn't want to cut those curls. 
Everyone told you what a pretty girl you were. Don't worry, I smacked them down. Mostly, it became a battle to comb it and wash it and we decided you might be happier boy if we chopped it off. I still have some of it. 

Remember when you became a big brother? We read up on how to ease the transition. We talked to the pros. We watched you march into the hospital room where your baby brother was waiting and give him the biggest hug. You took to brotherhood immediately and never did we see a jealous moment. Brother Matthew is so lucky to have you looking out for him. You give him your binkys, your toys, your food, your milk, your clothes, your blankets. You hold him so gently. You try to carry him around but I always stop you. You are so careful. You worry when he cries. You laugh when he laughs. You tell him stories and secrets. You are the first friend he'll ever know.
Remember how much fun we have in the kitchen together? You are such a chef! 
Remember when we tried potty training? Well, we're going to try again. I think the puppies might have you trained. Every time they go outside, you squat next to them and sign "potty".  If only grass training were an acceptable substitute to the potty chair… 
Remember when you were one?
Now you are two. 
And it went too fast. 

This two year old I know loves the words: No. Mine. Me. Big. 

He's a handful. He's fast! He's smart. He's kind. He's funny. He's my baby. 

He loves brownie pie. Barbecue anything. Milk. 

He watches Sesame Street and giggles at Elmo. He loves the All Aboard Potty Signs DVD and the train. He knows all the signs. 

He only wants to be outside. 

He asks where his daddy is all day. He pretend talks on the phone to Papa. 

He has a love affair with shoes and only will sleep if the shoes are on his feet. 

Oh, Adam. You're two! Don't grow up too fast. I don't think I could take it. 

Here's to the birthday boy!
 To the best little two year old a mom and dad could ever ask for. 

Mommy loves you, Adam. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Plumbers, Electricians, and Peppers! Oh My!

To quote my friend Daniel Christian who wrote  the song, "Worse":
 Things are gonna get worse before they get better! 
Of course, Daniel was singing about an uptight drama queen, and I'm referring to a kitchen remodel. 
I wonder if Andy sees the irony. 

The plumbers came this week and ran new pipes and drains. The pot filler pipe is in place. The pipes/drains for the sink and dishwasher are prepped. The fridge line has been capped. There's a new gas line just waiting for its home in my new range. 

Then, Matt Harris, the world's best electrician, came and held our hands as he walked us through our project. He helped map out where new outlets, switches, and more wires would go. He drew me a picture of where the pendent lights would look best. He ran a cable line to the corner end of the kitchen so that I don't ever miss a second of BRAVO or FOODNETWORK or SESAME STREET simply because I'm chopping peppers. The pendent light boxes are in! There are wires where there ought to be wires and he cleaned up the wires from where the wires ought not to be.

Here are a bunch of BEFORE and AFTER DURING photos. 

Remember when the kitchen looked like this:
Well, now it looks like this:
Those are the cabinets that Andy built. No toe kick yet but they fit!!!! GO ANDY!
Remember the breakfast nook?
And now:
The Before:
The During:

Below, is the old command center, AKA the place where everyone stores their junk. (i.e. purses, diaper bags, tools, broken rubber bands, chewed up paper, pennies, empty hand sanitizer bottles, keys with no  known coordinating door, no ink pens, broken pencils….)
And now:
I'm commandless. Better than commando, I suppose. 
I think things just got weird. Let's change the subject! 

Other than no kitchen, life really is the same with the Dokulils. I've made Broccoli Beef from Also, I made a roast with carrots in the slow cooker and made mashed potatoes in the microwave. And you know what? Microwave mashed potatoes just might be my new go to way to cook potatoes. SO easy. FAST. And delicious! Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Last night, we had Stuffed Bell Peppers in the slow cooker. A friend/former student/now a college student (*sniff sniff*) gave me some green beans and greed bell peppers before she left for college. Instead of tricking Andy into eating a vegetable, he had a taste and then promptly hit DQ and made himself a burger on the grill. 
These had to have been the best stuffed bell peppers I've ever had! 
Here's what I did:

Stuffed Green Bell Peppers in the Slow Cooker
1. Cut off the tops of several bell peppers and scoop the seeds and ribs out. (I had a handy pepper scraper outer thing.)
2. Mix 1 lb. ground beef (I used ground bison) with 2-3 cups COOKED rice. (I used a long grain brown rice and I cooked it in the microwave! That link will send you directions for how to cook white rice in the microwave. Because mine was brown I found I needed to almost double the cooking time, but I honestly think either would be fine as its going to cook in the crock pot for awhile.) 
3. Add salt (a couple good pinches) and pepper and crushed red pepper and whatever else sounds good from your spice cabinet to the meat/rice mixture. 
4. Add in 1 cup of some tomato mixture. Diced tomatoes, rotel, crushed, whatever. (I used a cup of my friend, Ashely's, homemade marinara sauce!) 
5. Add in some grated sharp Cheddar cheese. (I always grate my cheese fresh because it just tastes and melts better.) 
6. Give it a good mix.
7. Stuff those peppers and set them stuffed side up (duh!) in the slow cooker. 
8. Top with more tomato sauce or whatever you used. (I gave each stuffed pepper an additional 2-3 T on top of tomato sauce). 
8.5 I had a bunch of extra filling - so I guess you could freeze it for another stuffing day… OR, do what I did and just dump it in around the peppers. 
9. Pour in 2-2.5 cups of chicken broth. (Just depends on how big your crock pot. I used a 6.5 quart-er for this and so I used closer to 2.5 cups.)
10. Turn the thing on and dinner's done! I set mine on high and it was ready in 4 hours. I imagine if I had used my smaller slow cooker it would have taken 5 hours on high. Most recipes say 8-9 hours on low. 

I loved the texture and flavor of these! I liked how it was skimpy on meat and heavy on the nutty, brown rice. Made me feel less guilty when I had seconds! But if you are one of those people who becomes invisible when you turn sideways - go ahead and use more meat and less rice. Whatever. It doesn't matter. It'll still be great!

Super good! And I guess its true - sometimes it really does take a village! Thank you, Laura, for the veggies! 
And thanks, Ashley, for the homemade jarred marinara! (And for holding my baby.)
And thanks Daniel for the quote that kicked off this post. 
And while I'm thanking people… Thanks for letting me have a bite of your ice cream cone, Laura. 
And Thank you Matthew for sleeping until 5am for the past couple nights. 
And thanks, Adam, for being such a great big brother and riding on the sidekick attachment that I bought you before jumping off and running away, making sure mommy gets her exercise as I leap and race after you before you can reach the street or the rocks or the neighbor's yard.
But most of all… 
Thank you Andy for destroying my old kitchen and building me a brand new one. With your bare hands.
Now… Get back to work!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Zippity Zoo Day

 You know I'm pretty lucky. I complain (probably a bit too much) about how tired I am because my 5 month old still gets up 1-2x almost every night to eat and my soon to be 2 year old has me running miles everyday. But really, I'm so lucky. I know it. I'm grateful. SO grateful.

I read this quote on Facebook once. I can't remember exactly how it goes… Or who to give credit for it… but its something like Thank God for the blessings you have today for they could be gone tomorrow.

My husband, Andy, doesn't have to get up 1-2x a night to feed the baby. He doesn't run miles everyday after a toddler. Most days he probably doesn't have to count to 100 in order to keep his patience. He probably has adult conversations throughout the day. He pees when he wants too. He eats when he's hungry. He sits when he's tired. He can set his pace for the day.

But he didn't get to go to the zoo on Wednesday! He didn't get to see the pure joy on Adam's face when he saw a crab trying to claw through the glass or the penguins jumping and swimming in the water, or the mama monkey nursing her baby monkey in the jungle. He didn't get to hear him say, "Oo-Oo-Oo" like a monkey. Or waddle like a penguin. Or make fish faces the whole way through the aquarium.

I did.

And it was so wonderful. It was like seeing the zoo for the first time through my son's eyes. We used to go quite frequently last year when he was a baby with Megan and her girls. But this time - he got it! He loved it. How cool! And how lucky are we!

Adam, Matthew and I picked up Gramma Heidi and met Megan, Brianna, Olivia, and Hudson at the zoo. 3 adults, 3 toddlers, and 2 infants. Too much fun!