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Say hi to Anne

Anne Muriel was born today at 5:39 P.M., weighing in at 8 lbs. 5 oz. and measuring 21 inches long. Labor and delivery went smoothly, despite being an induction. Well, it was mostly smooth from my point of view. I think it was somewhat less stressful than Nicole or Nathan's birth, but the whole labor/delivery thing freaks me out. The worst part was when the anesthesiologist was giving the epidural. That part took a while and was somewhat painful for Lauren.

Mary's Bread

This post is dedicated to my dear sister, Mary. She has five adorable, but picky-eater kids. She buys a bread that her kids would describe as manna. They eat it by the loaf at her house. When our family was at my parents house over Thanksgiving, I learned of this and was enlisted by Mom to help find a recipe that Mary could make on her own rather than buy.

Mary's Bread
Mary's Bread
Being the whole grains nut that I am, I could not condone a pure enriched flour recipe (which is what said manna contains). The ingredient listing was along these lines: enriched wheat flour, water, sugar, salt, yeast, potato flour. We tried to make something like that, but our first take tasted more like cotton than manna. I am pretty sure a bit of salt would have done wonders for it, but I think some whole grains could have added some more flavor too. The next thing we tried was the homemade buttermilk rolls recipe on the back of the Bob's Red Mill Potato Flour. But since that 24 oz. bag cost nearly $6, I thought we should try making it with mashed potatoes rather than potato flour. Sorry Bob. Anyway, the rolls tasted great. Lauren thought they tasted funny, but I thought they were fine. I am going to say any funny flavor was Mom's whole wheat or her powdered buttermilk.

Anyway, I used that recipe as a start for Mary's bread. It was oh so soft and very tasty. I figured this was as close to bread candy as you could get and still have whole grains in it. Anyway, I guess I have managed to sell my own brand well enough that my kids will eat anything that is labeled as "Daddy bread" and tell me it is delicious. This is the first step to making this bread. Talk it up. Let your kids know that Uncle Vernon slaved for days in a hot kitchen trying recipes to get the perfect one. You could even tell them that I baked a loaf to send you, but their cousins snarfed it up so fast that there was nothing left to send. Make them want the "Mommy bread". After you have them craving it, go ahead and bake it. There is no other smell like fresh baked bread. Even bread that tastes bad smells good in the oven. If it is something that your kids enjoy, you could have them help you bake it. This gives them a personal vested interest in the final product and should set a positive prejudice in their minds toward the bread. And if nothing else works, tell them it will make Uncle Vernon cry if they don't try it and like it.

Little picnic princess

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Princess Nicole
Of all things the media (read Disney) had to push upon the poor unsuspecting parents of this world, did they have to choose princesses? Sure, while some of the princess fairy tales have some redeeming value in the form of a good moral or something, that is not what is emphasized in all the princess glamor hoopla. Try as we did, we just could not shield Nicole from this one. They get you coming and going. All her friends are doing it. Nicole is our little princess.

As far as I can gather, Cinderella is her favorite. We have checked out several different versions of the story from the city library. I think my favorite was the one that was told from the point of view of a raven. I can't remember the title, but it shared a nice story of love and sacrifice by the ravens to make Cinderella a dress and finally give up their prized golden ring they found. I guess maybe I liked it because it took the focus off the princess. As a side note, Nathan is a fan of Cinderella too, though he calls her Cinderbelly. (In your head, sing the Cinderelly song from the mice in the the Disney version of Cinderella to see where that comes from.)

A dillar, a dollar, a dinosaur scholar

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Goin' Fishin'
We have a lot of ground to cover since Christmas. I suppose more frequent updates would alleviate this problem, but what would be the fun in that? I am just going to say that I have been very busy and that will have to suffice for my excuse.

A few weeks ago Nathan and I went 'fishing' with some friends at a local lake that was recently stocked with trout. I made a fishing pole for Nathan out of a stick of bamboo and a piece of small rope. While we didn't catch anything (not that we expected to with the gear we brought), we had a lot of fun. Enough fun that we went again a month later and brought Nicole along with us. Mostly, they just ran around chasing ducks and playing with the other kids while all the dads fished and talked. But it was really a nice relaxing way to spend a Saturday morning. Someday, I might even invest in some real fishing tackle and a license. Until then, we will just have to fill up on our imaginary fish. Or we could always tell the story of the one that got away...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!
It's a little late to send out wishes for a merry Christmas, but I hope it was anyway. But it is still not too late to wish everyone a happy New Year.

Not one, but two more holidays have slipped by without me so much as saying a word. I guess life has a stronger hold on me that I have on it. Grab life by the horns, they say, but they never tell you what to do if it has a death grip on you. Not that my life is out of control, but sometimes it feels a little chaotic.

During the Thanksgiving break, I had nice plans for a leisurely December. Then, we got a phone call saying that Lauren's grandfather had passed away. So she needed to fly to Utah for the funeral. Thus the first week of December turned a little bit hectic. Then I was asked to travel to Raleigh, NC for a few days for work. Thus the second week turned a little bit hectic. By the time I got back, I only had one more day before I was officially on vacation. Then we had two days to wrap everything up before we flew to Utah for a week. This was planned months in advance.

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving turned out to be a rather quiet one. Not that quiet is bad. Plans fell through and we spent the time together as a family. Because we didn't want 12 pounds of turkey left over, we cooked a four pound chicken rather than a 14 pound turkey. Yes, I know that is less than traditional, but it was just as tasty. We made chicken, stuffing, roasted carrots, and apple pie. It was all very good. And I think for the first time in years I left the table walking rather than rolling. I think it was because we didn't have salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, butter flake rolls, cranberry relish, carrot pudding, and all the other fancy fixin's that make up the traditional Mauery+Watson Thanksgiving dinner. If we have all those other yummy things, I would have felt the need to have at least one serving of each, maybe two. As it was, I did get to sample everything, and have seconds of stuffing. Mmmmmm.

Happy Halloween

princess and cowboy
princess and cowboy
We celebrated Halloween in standard young family style. We went to a 'Trunk or Treat' at the church a few days before Halloween. It was offered as a 'safe alternative to Trick or Treating on Halloween night.' I think that EVERY one of those kids there thought of it as another chance to get more candy and still went out on Halloween anyway. Oh well. The kids did enjoy getting dressed up and all the excitement. Nicole understood what was going on a lot better than last year but still insisted on holding a hand at all times. Nathan was much more independent and was prone to wondering off if we didn't keep ahold of him.

I'm not spoiled

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We were having dinner with some friends recently, and in an effort to get Nicole to finish her dinner, Lauren hinted that we might have something else to eat (i.e., dessert) when she finished her food. She plowed right past Lauren's hint and exclaimed, "A treat!" Her expectant response prompted one grown-up friend to say, "Wow, Nicole, you must be spoiled!" Nicole piped right up and replied, "I'm not spoiled, I'm a girl!" Looking into the brain of Nicole, I figure she was thinking something along the lines of "They just called me a spoiled. I am not sure what a spoiled is, but I know I am not a spoiled because I am a girl." All that happened in a split second and then she came back with her retort. To her, I figure, she might as well have just been called a boy. She knows she is not a boy, she is a girl.

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dscf3604
Nathan is growing like a weed. He is finally cutting his fourth first-year molar. He loves to eat, so this is a really great advancement for him. Like most one-year-old kids, just about everything goes in his mouth. Just the other day, I was sitting on the couch working on my computer when all of the sudden my foot was suddenly warm. I probably wouldn't have noticed that except that seconds later, the warm spot turned into a spot of sharp pain. I shook the pain off my foot and looked down to see an open mouthed Nathan with matching teeth marks on the top of my foot.

On his way to the Indy 500

Little poser
Little poser
If I get even a little bit behind in writing, Nathan overtakes me and suddenly I am writing about ancient history (relative time taken from a 11.74 month old). The little beast has taken to crawling everywhere, just like any little boy does. What is funny and worth writing about is that each little boy hones the crawling model to the point that it is the fastest mode of transport for him in his native environment. Nathan's native environment is about half carpet and half wood or linoleum. The carpet makes for easy travel while the wood and linoleum make for a slick crawl. Without training, Nathan adjusted the standard crawl to make it easier for him. We call it the tripod. Imagine this: Nathan on his left knee with his right leg streched out sideways; put both hands on the floor in front in standard crawling position; bring the right leg forward with all the weight on the other three limbs; bring the left knee forward with weight on the other three limbs; gallop the hands forward one right after the other. He does this at break-neck speed across all flooring surfaces. Granted, crawling on the carpet is slightly faster and he does sometimes go back to that, but most of the time he does the tripod.

When you know they love you

Chiquita boy
Chiquita boy
There comes a time in every father's life when he knows that his kids love him. Nathan let me know in a kind of bittersweet way. He has always been a mama's boy — if given the choice, he would choose Lauren over me any day of the week. Not too long ago, Nathan cried when I was getting ready to leave for work. While this is very cute and touching for me, it is also a little bit sad for him. The good part about this is that he is also excited to see me when I come home from work. That is every father's delight (I assume). Nathan has also taken to requesting more up time.

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