Ice cream

I think I might just go on an ice cream diet until the baby’s born. Molly Moon has a blood orange ginger beer sorbet that sounds to die for. (I’m so bummed I missed their meyer lemon seasonal flavor.) I keep having visions of the model train that runs around the Mitchell’s creamery in Cleveland- where I met my ice cream cravings when I was pregnant with Scotland. Menchies calls my name every time I drive by. My frugality stops me from acting on these urges. The off-brand containers will have to do instead. Because, let’s be real, I have a baby girl on the way. We all know that the desire to buy other things, has increased as well!

New Foutz Rule

One of the largest take home messages I got from the Positive Discipline philosophy was, if it only works for a week- “Great! It worked for a week!” So who knows the duration of this latest success, but I’m reveling in it as long as I can.

There was a long period where dinner time conversation became a string of “I don’t like that.” “Do I have to eat this?” “How many more bites” and “I do wannit.” As any mother knows by the time dinner rolls around, if a hot meal has been prepared and presented and then received in this ungrateful tone, it’s hard to handle.

I was particularly taken aback by it, because this sort of pickiness was new in our home, at least from Scotland. I wasn’t sure where the sudden change in taste buds were coming from. All I knew was, I didn’t like it.

I took to saying “You don’t have to like you, you just have to eat it.” Which of course didn’t come off very sympathetic and didn’t earn many followers. But I have an abhorrence for pickiness. I believe the world would be a better place if people just ate what they were served and were grateful for it- both in terms of food and life in general.

When considering the question “How do I want to raise my boys” it struck me that the best way to know how to raise my boys was to look at the world and say “What does the world need?” (I also think this is a beautiful way to choose a career.) The world needs more gentlemen, more who are grateful and appreciative, more optimism, more work ethic, more thrift. .. I could go on and on. But the one that struck a chord relating to this post was- the world needs fewer people who complain.

So a new Foutz rule was formed.

No complaining at the dinner table. You can think it, but you can’t say it. If you do, you are welcomed to your room for the rest of dinner.

I proposed the idea to Tom and he was on board and presented it to the boys that very night. (Thank goodness it came from him, and not me, he practically walks on water in the boys’ eyes.) We had a few warnings the first few nights, but now- all it takes is the start of a groan- the “eye” and they clam up. I was delighted. That’s all I hoped for, a shift from dinner time conversation being taken up by “If you take three more bites. . .” and turned to “How was your day?” But the most delightful side effect is that the boys are now eating and liking seemingly everything I make! My boys are now requesting seconds of spinach salad with a balsamic vinaigrette! They scarf down romaine lettuce, and have welcomed the recent addition of many more vegetable sides at our meals. It’s really quite miraculous. Cooking has become more enjoyable, I don’t dread dinner. And I’ve been throwing together a green salad almost every night- because it no longer feels like a waste.

I’m right peachy about it all. Here’s hoping it keeps up!

 

Fall Staycation- September 2014

So I’m WAY behind in my blogging. So in order to get these pictures down for memories sake, here goes. Picture overload. Tom got a week off in September. We considered going somewhere like the Oregon coast, but I was so vacationed out and Tom was thrilled at the idea of just being home so we decided to stay home and staycation it.

On our way to the mountains trying our first Zeke’s Burger. We’ll be back! Yum!

Discovering caves in the root balls of enormous old growth trees

Barclay Lake

“Fishing.” We found some line and a bobber with a hook on the shore, attached it to a stick and he was thrilled! No fish needed.

Our mountain boy.

Lynnwood pool

Taking the Amtrak downtown- this was so fun. The tracks go along the water and it’s very picturesque, if you’re a local and you haven’t done it taking the train from Edmonds to Seattle was a real treat.

Then we stepped out into this gorgeous train station. Who knew this even existed? (Probably everyone else in Seattle.) I love surprises like this. Especially in ones hometown! I felt like we were in Europe!

Another thing we happened upon. A beautiful patio next in honor of the birthplace of UPS.

Red boots.

Amazing lunch at Il Corvo.

Butterfly exhibit at the Pacific Science Center.

Boating on Lake Union- ever trying to be frugal I’m always looking up free things to do in Seattle. In my search I discovered that with a Seattle Public Library card you can get free museum passes to a variety of museums around town. One of the free passes was a free 1 hour boat rental at the Center for Wooden Boats. It was so fun! We rowed around in Lake Union taking in the city from the water, watching the sea planes take off around us, and watching a huge yacht come in. Anders was NOT a fan of his life jacket. He screamed most of the time we were on the boat. You’d never know from the beautiful picture below. Thank you pacifier.

Scotland on the other hand, loved it. About half way through he decided it would be super fun to jump in and spent the rest of the time trying to convince either Tom or I do jump overboard. 

Typical grin

What’s a Staycation without delicious home cooked meals? (Especially when they’re prepared by your husband.)

And of course home renovation. We’ve been wanting to open up our kitchen for a while, and finally decided to go for it. We know full well that it will stay “industrial chic” for a while, but that is A-okay. We LOVE the openness. Yes Tom usually does demo in collard shirts- He’s stylin’ like that. (Ok, no, this is an after work demo session.) The major projects during our Staycation were actually moving the washer and dryer from the kitchen to the storage room, and installing closet organizers in our bedroom. The first project was probably the largest project Tom has ever undertaken. It involved plumbing, HVAC, and electricity, the results are terrific, and a real quality of life improvement. No more baskets of dirty laundry in the kitchen. I was in charge of the closet organizers, and am quite proud to say that I installed them 99% myself. Despite the large amount of home renovation I’ve done, I’ve always been a bit shy with a drill. No longer!

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Today was as perfect a day as a day can be. In my previous post I mentioned I wanted to work on having more “family” time. Well check, check for me! Today fulfilled that desire in every way. It was near perfection: relaxed morning all together, walking in puddles with Scotter, wearing Anders in the ErgoBaby amongst great beauty, holding hands with Tom, longs chats in the car, good food, and flowers, flowers, flowers.  I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

I was there for the tulips, Scotter was there for the puddles.

I’ll admit I thought many times today- I don’t want to ever move from this place. In other wards, maybe Tom will get his way, and we’ll stay in Seattle permanently. (Note: The sun was shining brightly today.)

I also told Tom that maybe he ought to just be a general pediatrician so we could move to Skagit Valley across from these fields.

Tom took me to see the Butchart Gardens on our honeymoon. It’s probably the last time I’ve seen this many flowers in bloom and brought back many flashbacks to that lovely week. Babe, I feel a little deeper in love with you today!

Sigh! May I stand and take this in for eternity.

Something about those straight clean rows spoke to the organizer in me and brought such peace.

Local and Organic fare at Seeds Cafe in La Conner- may have been the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten.

My boys on La Conner boardwalk

Our newest little traveler!

Okay, is it just me, or was that one AMAZING day trip? This is what continues to shock me about Seattle- day trips as breathtaking as this abound! Our outing totaled six hours and I returned feeling like I’d spent a week in Europe. Oh Seattle, you’re pulling me in! (Devin, wish you’d chosen Seattle as your honeymoon spot now? (wink, wink!)

(We realized the camera battery was dead when we first arrived so these are all Iphone pictures. Tom got some other lovely ones, but I don’t have access to them- he’s at the hospital. Forgive me now, if I post more pictures of this loveliness later. As you can tell, I CAN’T. GET. ENOUGH!)

Phoenix Fun!

Last week, we got to spend a few days with my brother's family (and a few hours with my brother, Derek). It was great to see my neice and nephews. Scotter was so thrilled to have playmates all day- he was on their trampoline most of the time we were there. It was especially fun to see Caleb, since the last time we saw him he was just a baby. He has developed quite the personality. As Audrey said: “He's crazy.” When I asked if he was a “big boy” he said “No, I a baby!”

Scotter, Caleb, Anders and I went on a few fun scooter rides around “the neighborhood.” Both boys were quite confused by what “the neighborhood” meant. I think they were hoping for some new and exciting destination.

We met Derek for lunch at what many food critics consider the best pizza in the country. (I actually heard about this place first from my favorite cookbook “Gourmet” by Ruth Reichl. In an intro to the pizza dough recipe, she states that the recipe comes from Carl Bianco who she claims makes the best pizza she's had.) The pizza was truly scrumptious- best pizza I've had in the states. Better than the little pizzeria in Torre del Grecco?- the jury's still out!

I always love chatting with Ryanna. She's such a deep thinking, fun girl. We tried crackle nail polish together for the first time!

Though our visit was brief, and not at the best time for the kiddos or Derek. I was just so glad Scotter had a chance to spend time with his cousins. Ever since we've been back he keeps saying “I want some kids to play with.” We love you Phoenix Petes!

 

April 2nd means…produce diversity

My favorite fruit and veggie stand (Country Farms) is open!!! This morning I got apples, bananas, tangelos, oranges, grapes, grapefruit, asparagus, parsnips, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, celery and three kinds of lettuce all for 35 bucks. I could have got only four of those things for the same price at Costco and been forced to eat the same thing everyday! Produce season has returned and I couldn’t be happier!!!

Cheers!

I ran today. Only down the street and back, but I ran, and it felt great!

Tom has been on call for the last week and he hasn’t got called in once! That means we’ve had “daddy” home all week- unexpectedly. It’s been amazing. I’m going to chalk that one up to grace.

I bought two shares from bountiful baskets last week. We’ve been enjoying fruit salads and a variety of different vegetables at every meal. I love produce! I’m so excited that my favorite fruit and veggie stand opens up in a few weeks.

Our garden plot is de-sodded half way. Our blueberry patch. . . still on its way. (English Ivy, how I loathe thee!)

It’s been sunny and warm most of the week. I’ve been staying true to my rule from Cleveland: If the sun is out, drop everything and get outside! I’m a sunflower- that’s all there is to it!

We held FHE at the beach.

Tom caulked and primed the shed. Painting’s up next. Hopefully it will be dry now. Fingers crossed!

I’m having a serious run-in with the purging inclinations of spring. Why do I have so many clothes? Why do we keep all these books? Scotland doesn’t need so many toys. . . I never wear any of this jewelry. . . I think I’ll give all these hair accessories to my sisters. . .

Nursing is a beautiful thing, even if it does chop my life into two hour segments. Scotland is the dearest of boys and seeing him as a brother warms my heart beyond measure.

This morning as we ate fried eggs over parmesan crusted asparagus for breakfast, some french cafe music drifting from our speakers and a fire crackling in our pellet stove, Tom said: “We have such a beautiful life.” He’s right. Our hearts are full of thanks.

 

Visit to Grandma and Poppa’s

We just returned from a fantastic visit to Grandma and Poppa Pete’s place. Here’s a few pictures:

The main reason we came up was to hear my youngest sister Dantzel solo with her youth orchestra. She played beautifully, and I beamed with pride the entire time. She wakes up every morning at 5:30 so she can practice for two hours before school. Not many 13 year olds can claim that kind of commitment! I love watching Dantzi play because she has such spunk and personality. Her red dress couldn’t have been more fitting- she’s definitely a passionate player.

Feeding the chickens

Grandma presenting Scotter with one of his birthday presents

After seeing what was inside

Baby chicks! (To be kept at Grandma’s)

AND baby ducks!

(This picture perfectly captures, Scotter’s impish closed-mouth smile.) Scotter was thrilled with what he called “my birdies.” He would often slip into the laundry room, where they were being kept, first thing each morning to play with them.

We threw him a little birthday party while we were there. Dantzel made him a lemon meringue pie. His favorite part, I believe, was being sung to. I can’t believe my baby is three! (Tom and I are still yet to celebrate his birthday legitimately. Poor child. We’re just trying to get him used to the reality of life as a doctor’s child- all celebratory dates are flexible!)

Baby Visitors: Foutzes

A few days after my family left Tom’s mom flew in, and a few days after that his sister, Adrienne. It was wonderful to have them and all their help. They kept up the pattern of entertaining Scotter in the mornings while I slept in, and kept me sleep positive by letting me get a nap each day.

Pam was here over Valentines day and so got to join us in making sugar cookies. Scotter was enthralled with the idea of adding flour, and was constantly dipping his hand in the flour bin. He also got a kick out of rolling the dough and cutting out hearts. Mostly, he enjoyed “trying” the sweet and sticky dough. Needless to say, my original intent to share cookies with the neighbors was cancelled by the obvious proliferation of germs caused by Scotter’s help in the kitchen. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Anders was circumcised while Pam was here. As a result of the procedure, Anders was much more fussy and didn’t sleep as well. I hated seeing him in pain, and Pam was so supportive as we cared for him. (We stopped off at Bakery Nouveau on our way home from the procedure and Man! Their twice baked almond croissants are to die for! Just saying.)
It had been nearly a year since we’d seen Adi, so it was such a treat to have her visit. Her light hearted, happy spirit was contagious. Scotland immediately took to her, and I’d hear them each morning giggling upstairs. Scotland basked in her attention. Adi was always eager to hold Anders and gave him a love and attention that touched me.
Anders and I had our first big adventure to Pikes Market while they were here. It was rainy, but true to Seattle style I put Anders in the Ergo-baby, flipped up the canopy on Scotter’s stroller and headed out. We had some fabulous clam and smoked salmon chowder at Pike Place Chowder- it was far superior to Ivar’s in my opinion. We enjoyed the market and stopped into the original Starbucks for my coffee loving sister and mother-in-law. I was quite sore by the time the morning was over, but it was worth it.
Pam, Adi and Tom enjoyed a few highly competitive scrabble games via their ipads. Scotland was enthralled with the game, and always asked to play with Tom. (Perhaps a new idea for interesting him in letters!) We all enjoyed a few rounds of Settlers of Catan after the boys had gone to bed, which brought back many happy memories.

Another day, everyone but Anders and I headed out to Redondo beach and the Tamarind Tree restaurant. While they enjoyed walking along the boardwalk and watching Scotland splash in puddles, I enjoyed having a quiet day at home to get a bunch of things done.

Post-baby visits are always challenging for me because I prefer to be independent but the situation calls for reliance on others. My desire to be a proper host and yet my awareness of my own limitations always results in my being in a bit of a funk. Thankfully, Pam and Adi took me as I was. While I wished we could have gone out and done more, I was grateful for their willingness to make fun at home.