Saturday, June 29, 2013

a little of both...

In case you missed my diagnosis on instagram, it looks like I am suffering from BOTH a sinus infection and seasonal allergies. I know, you all were on the edge of your seats waiting for that information.

I waited 3 weeks to see a doctor because I always get the "well, it's only been 2 weeks-so it's probably a virus". It drives me nuts because with our insurance we pay for every appointment that isn't a well-check. So I wait and see if the darned symptoms will go away and if they don't I cave and see the doc...most of the time.  I went in to a new doctor today and was rather happy with his style. I'm also pretty sure that he's younger than me, which is a WEIRD feeling.

He prescribed me some antibiotics for the sinus infection and a steroidal nasal spray for the allergies. I should be feeling better in a week or so. It's been a couple days and I still wake up with terrible sinus headaches. Thankfully allergy season is supposed to be coming to an end in the next week or so.

I'm still not sure what the reaction to strawberries was, but I'm waiting to eat them again until after the seasonal allergies and sinus infection are gone. Then we'll see, but I'm REALLY hoping it was just a weird trifecta, or perhaps I just had a reaction to whatever the fields were sprayed with.

During all of this, Malakai came down with an ear infection. Poor dude was having more ear pain than he's ever experienced. Usually he barely notices when he has an ear infection and we just check it because of other extreme symptoms. This time it was the opposite, he never even had any cold symptoms. So, it was most likely from the drainage he was also experiencing from seasonal allergies. He is also on antibiotics, and has been on children's allegra for quite some time. I'm not sure if it did any good, but he doesn't seem to have so many problems during or after being outside.

Here's hoping we can go into the rest of summer without being sick or suffering from allergies. The weather has been gorgeous and I just want to enjoy it!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Malakai: the ring-bearer

Malakai is going to be a ring bearer next month for the 2nd time. The first time was for my sister-in-law, Kristi's,  wedding back in September. It was interesting, to say the least. I don't recall if I've blogged about it specifically, but I do know I've mentioned Malakai's aversion to clothing. Recently, that has changed some, but I'll get to that later.

So prior to Kristi + Nick's wedding my mother-in-law did a fantastic job prepping him for the big day. Months before hand she talked it up. She made his vest for the big day and his wearing it was our main concern. Not only because it was a piece of clothing (because that alone, was enough to stress him out) but it was a piece of clothing different than T-shirts and shorts.

Now, I do take some responsibility for his attitude toward clothes, I did let him frolic around our house in just his undies for a very long time. I mean...doesn't everyone wish they could do that? I digress. So, when it was time to get dressed, it became a fight. It did get easier as he understood that if he wanted to go   that he'd have to get dressed. He was still picky about what it was that he wore. T-shirts and shorts and occasionally jeans. 

We spent so much time focusing on getting him to wear the vest, that we did forget about the dress pants and button-up shirt. The day before the wedding we were preparing to leave our house for the rehearsal and dinner when Malakai threw the most epic fit about wearing a polo shirt ("buttons!"). He got himself so worked up that he was irretrievable. Then, the puked. He was that upset about it. So, we let him wear whatever he wanted that day and knew to be really careful about how we approached him on the wedding day. We were all a part of the wedding and couldn't risk getting vomited on before walking down the aisle.

After a lot of running around (literally), some tears, and a lot of angry birds graham crackers this is what Malakai wore...

{why yes, that is a yellow Avengers T-shirt underneath his vest}

see, he wore the vest. The rest of the outfit, not so much.

Things have gotten better since then and it got even easier after I made him a list of daily routines, that he started to call his "projects", 3rd on the list is to get dressed.

 He doesn't ask me "where are we going" or "who's coming over" when it's time to put clothes on. He just does it, a lot of the time by himself.

{look mama, it's red, your FAVORITE!}

However, when my cousin Valeena asked me if Kai could be the ring bearer in her wedding next month I was apprehensive. Not because I didn't think he could complete the task, but because I wasn't sure what she'd want him to wear. I warned her about last time and that I'd totally understand if she'd want to back down, but she didn't. So, for this wedding he is going to wear a white T-shirt (hallelujah!), dress pants, shoes, and suspenders- all in brown. I have the shoes, the rest we'll have to work on. I do however have blue suspenders. I can't recall if they were Ben's when he was little, or perhaps my younger brother Cody's. Either way, I decided to warm him up to the idea of them and he blew me away with how curious and almost excited he was about trying something new...

How precious is he in that funky little outfit. My husband threw out the word "hipster", which Kai immediately repeated over and over again. whoops.

So here's hoping we can get him to wear the whole outfit this time around. And hey- anyone have recommendations on where to get the rest of his outfit?... especially brown suspenders?

Thursday, June 20, 2013


One of my favorite recipes to make and eat is one I like to call "Enchiquitos". I adapted the recipe from one I found online nearly a year ago. I wrote down my changes, but didn't hang on to the original recipe, so I'm unable to give credit. These could be compared to the newly popular "baked taquitos" that are floating around the internet, but I surely prefer the name Enchiquitos. It's more fun to say and they are more of a combination of enchiladas and taquitos in my opinion.

Ben loves it when I make these...and honestly so do I. They are perfectly crispy on the outside but creamy and flavorful on the inside. I always try to make enough for him to have the leftovers for lunch the next day, he's told me that he's envied by co-workers on those days...which makes me very happy.

So, on with the details shall we?

1/3 Cup (3 oz.) Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup salsa
1 Tbs. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C chopped onion OR 2 Tbs. sliced green onion
2 Cups shredded cooked chicken (I cook up a frozen chicken breast in the oven a few hours prior)
1 Cup grated cheddar cheese
4-6 large flour tortillas
olive oil cooking spray
coarse salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare your bakeware by spraying generously with the olive oil cooking spray. Keep it handy, you'll need the spray again later. I use a 9x13 dish most often, but these can be baked on a cookie sheet.

First, heat the cream cheese in a microwave safe dish for 20-30 seconds to soften. If you have a pretty powerful microwave, try in 10 second increments. Mine's on the older side so I can go longer before making a splattery mess of things.

In a medium bowl combine the softened cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice (I use fresh squeezed), cumin, and garlic powder. Mix well. Next add the onion, chicken, and grated cheese. Combine well.

I prefer these with green onions, I really like green onions. I almost always have them around in a dish in my freezer. If you prefer white, yellow, or even red onions- take your pick or combine if you REALLY like onions.

Next, place about 3 Tablespoons of the mixture in the middle of a large tortilla. If you are using a baking dish you can make fewer enchiquitos and stuff them fuller, but I wouldn't recommend that if you are baking on a cookie sheet as the mixture will ooze out the ends while baking.

Spread the mixture out a bit and roll the tortilla tightly around it. Place it seam side down on your well oiled bakeware. Repeat until the dish is full, or you're out of mix. If you bake in a 9x13 dish and they are touching, the sides will be soft but the top and ends will be crisp. If you lay them out on a large cookie sheet with spaces between each one, they will be crispy all over- more like a taquito. I prefer to make them in a dish- enchilada style.

Spray the tops with your olive oil spray and sprinkle with the course salt. Bake (uncovered) in your preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are crisp and the ends begin to brown. Note that they will be done quicker if you chose to use a cookie sheet instead of a baking dish.

Be very careful before eating as they will be VERY hot inside. I've been too eager on more than one occasion and suffered a burned was worth it.

Serve with a side of sour cream and enjoy.

What's your favorite hybrid recipe? What's your go-to meal? I used to make a cheesy-chicken and rice casserole whenever a friend or family member had a new baby or was ill. Now I make Enchiquitos!

And, if you're in need of a way to reorganize your best recipes, check out Blurb Books cookbook options! We used Blurb to make our wedding album and I absolutely loved their book editor. It turned out beautifully, I would love to make a cookbook some day!

Monday, June 17, 2013

mystery ailment + a cleaning challenge

I've lost count, but  it's been close to 10 days or so that I've been waking up to terrible cold/allergy symptoms. What's odder still is that each morning is worse than the previous. I've never had an illness where I get progressively worse over such a lengthy period of time. It's miserable. It's also really obnoxious trying to figure out what is wrong with me so I can treat it and move on with life.

First I assumed allergies, all the discomfort was in my sinuses and the Willamette Valley is literally the worst place in the U.S. for seasonal allergies. I've lived here all of my life and didn't begin to suffer from pollen allergies until 5 or so years ago, but even still it was fairly mild. These symptoms are not at all mild. 

A few nights ago I woke with trouble breathing, my throat felt like it was closing up. I woke Ben up and we googled strawberry allergies. I'd been handling and eating fresh strawberries every day since I had gone picking 9 days earlier. I noticed that day I went that my mouth felt tingly after just a couple berries, which was uncomfortable enough to make me stop. I hadn't thought too much about it as I ate strawberries in my smoothies and ice-cream and made strawberry jam and sauce, until I woke up feeling so weird. 

Turns out strawberry allergies (like most food allergies) have a lot of symptoms and "levels" of allergic reaction. Some people get that slight tingly feeling so they limit their consumption but indulge once in a while, others break out in hives, and then there's always the extreme cases where you go into anaphylactic shock. It was hard to determine if I was having a mild reaction from too many berries, if I had developed a worse case of seasonal allergies, or if I was (am) just suffering from the worst cold I've ever experienced in my 30-something years. 

My awesome husband woke up the next day to scrub down the entire kitchen and freeze the remaining fresh strawberries. He's some kind of wonderful, that one. I've avoided strawberries for the last 3 days and haven't really felt any respite. In fact, I've still been waking with additional and/or worsening ailments. 

I'm now suffering from sinus pain/pressure, running and stuffy and dry nose and sinuses, headaches of varying types and severity, swollen glands and tonsils, sneezing, watery/itchy eyes, a sore throat (dry, scratchy, burning, tight) that has been worsening each day over the last 10-ish days, on and off ear pressure/pain, hot flashes, fatigue... and the list goes on.

{smiling through the discomfort b/c my boys were snuggly for 5 seconds}

Now I'm certainly not trying to whine about this, but merely communicate that I'm truly confused by what is wrong with me. In an effort to find some relief I've tried apple cider vinegar, local honey, Claritin, Benadryl (at night), tea, lemon, tons of water, resting, not resting and more. Nothing helps for long, or at all. I'm totally stumped. So I guess I'll just do my best to wait this out. Although if it lasts past 2 weeks I'll be sure to get myself into the Dr. to make sure it's not tonsillitis or anything that I should be taking antibiotics for. However, from what I've heard from friends it could be seasonal allergies and I could suffer this way into July! Say it ain't so!

I have been able to get a little bit done around the house in addition to the normal day to day. I'd been inspired by the Summer Simplify Decluttering Series by Ann Marrie over at White House Black Shutters. I did the first week's list of "what is good and what needs to change" and then took up a little decluttering each day.

On the first day, I started very small and just went through the kid clutter on the fridge...

Then I went after our desk, which is ALWAYS a problem...

I do admit, I still need to go through the "in process" and "to be filed" boxes you can see to the left. Another day's project for sure.

And here's what Ben did with the kitchen, which I affectionately refer to as "the galley"...
{He's a smarty and put away our coffee maker since we only use it for Small Group meetings, which are on summer break. I use a french press for my own morning coffee. }

Our BIGGEST project will be the garage. It's FULL of random projects and our laundry room is also in there. We had a garage sale a month ago and while we immediately go rid of 3/4 of the stuff that was left over, there is still quite a bit to be donated, stored, and otherwise reorganized. Then we also put in a new door from the garage to the garden area and that project isn't quite finished so all the tools and such from that are spread across a ginormous table. It's pretty scary in there and unfortunately I have to go through it to get to the garden, and in the midst of it while doing laundry each day.

Sadly I haven't done anything since Friday because I've been feeling so crumby and we kept pretty busy on Father's Day (I'll share our gifts to Ben a bit later). Tomorrow my mom is having surgery (yes again- nothing to do with her cancer, but please say a prayer if you think of us) so Ben is working from home to allow me to be with my dad during that. I'm hoping to feel better for that of course, and to get on with the decluttering starting Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Oregon Zoo Road Trip + College Pals Reunion

A couple months back some friends of mine from college and I got to talking about orchestrating a mini "reunion" of sorts. We hadn't all been together since my wedding in 2007 and it felt about time to see each other, meet the kids, and catch up in a more personal way than instagram photos and facebook updates. Portland was the most "central" for all of us and with the kids we decided on a trip to the Oregon Zoo.

After 2 reschedules and one person having to cancel, the rest of us and our families got together on June 1st. Ben and I decided that if we could swing it, staying over night in Portland the night before would work best. That way we wouldn't have to wake up at 5am to get on the road to meet everyone. While we had a ton of fun staying overnight with our newly-wed friends in their lovely home, we probably would have gotten more sleep at our place. Desmond is very particular when it comes to night-time sleep. He didn't get to bed until 10:30 and was up several times. Malakai had a cot next to our bed and was so stoked that he was out pretty quickly, although that was also 10:30 because he took a nap on the drive up.

Speaking of, our drive up was fairly painless. We borrowed my father-in-law's Tahoe for the storage space. Malakai slept the first half, we stopped and ate a picnic dinner outside of a starbucks and then piled back in. I had purchased Kai the soundtrack to Jake and The Neverland Pirates (which has been newly added to Netflix and he's obsessed) and he listened to that with his 1st pair of headphones for the rest of our drive.

{on our way!}

Desmond was happy to talk to himself for most of the ride. Except for the last 10 minutes of our 2 hour drive he kept yelling "WALK! Please?" -he was so totally done sitting.

We had a great time catching up with Reid + Carina, even though our kids were determined to stay up all night.
{Kai showing his TAG reader to Reid + Carina}

At the zoo Malakai was so excited he could barely contain himself. We tried waiting for our friends before going through the gates but he just couldn't stand it, so we went through and waited at the first exhibit.

{mountain goat, bears, and ducks}

Once Caity and her husband Trevor and their son Roman then Reid and Carina arrived we began to explore the zoo. The guys kept us on track with the maps so we were sure to see everything that was open. (Sadly we didn't see Zebra, Panda bears, Tigers, Gorillas and a few others). 

{{At the farm exhibit, seeing a cougar, getting help to see some livestock from Reid, checking out the Polar bear- who jumped in the water right in front of us!}}

Most of the pictures are of Malakai because Desmond was pretty exhausted. He fell asleep on the 15 minute drive to the zoo and would be skipping his nap to spend the day at there. He was fairly content to graze on his snack and watch the animals from his stroller. I did take him out for the animals that he had to be lifted high to see and to let him run around a bit.

 {Malakai checking out the lion, he claimed it was his favorite.}

At the beginning of the trip Kai had let us know he wanted to see lions and dogs. We thought we might see wolves (we didn't) but unbeknownst to us, there were wild dogs in the exhibit right next to the lions. Sadly, they were asleep so they weren't too exciting. He was still pretty happy about it. 
 There were a LOT of monkeys. Countless types in multiple areas of the zoo. Most of them were pretty fun to watch, Kai got close to a couple and really loved it. Desmond enjoyed saying monkey and pointing from his cozy spot in the stroller.

Malakai also enjoyed this random tunnel thing and both boys LOVED the creepy crocodile. For the entire time we were in there (which wasn't long because it was a muggy indoor rainforest) Des kept saying "a-die-oh" in an effort to say crocodile. I held him close to it, and he giggled with delight.

The bottom left photo of the above collage is Caity, Carina, and myself. The day was going fast and I knew we had to capture a picture of the three of us before it escaped us. I really wish we would have taken one of our whole group together!

My personal favorite was the sea lions. Malakai was enthralled and could have stayed watching them all day. These 2 sea lions, 1 brown and 1 white, were literally swimming the same lap over and over again. Desmond found a group of teenage girls that would giggle every time he danced he didn't even notice the sea lions.

 {Here's Des continuing his dance in front of a fish tank. Then stealing Roman's zoo-issue car/stroller.}

Last but not least was the train ride. We parted ways with Carina + Reid at this point and the rest of us piled into a train car together (again, I wish I had a decent picture of all of us but we were busy holding on to kids who wanted to wiggle around). The train ride is 25 minutes and we rode a real steam engine. Caity + Trevor's son Roman is really in to trains and was even more excited than my kiddos about this experience, it was adorable.

After SIX hours at the zoo we said goodbyes and we piled our stuff and ourselves back into the car. Both boys fell asleep before we even moved from our parking space...which was a problem because our next stop was the Nike Employee store. One of my best friends works in legal at Nike so she put us on the list to shop that day. It was a bit stressful because the boys were crabby but in the end we made out with a cool pair of shoes for Kai (our main goal) and a nice little jacket for me.

After that we found a McMenamins and ate dinner. We decided that now that the kids were happy and full we should let them burn off some energy before putting them in the car for the trip home. We googled and found the nearest park. It ended up being a disaster...Kai ran straight for the field near the play structures only to fall into a hidden swampy mess. He was covered and his bum was saturated. Ben took him to the car to clean up and I took Des to the play ground, but almost immediately encountered a giant shard of glass and called it quits. The kids weren't too happy about the short-lived trip but were tired enough to settle in for the trip home. Des talked to himself for nearly the entire 2 hours and Malakai passed out after zoning on his piratey tunes.

 The next day I took out a zoo passport we had printed from a site online (I've pinned it but don't have the energy to find it to link here). Kai was too excited to see the animals to care about this at the zoo, but loved thinking back on what we saw and drawing in the animals that weren't included in the book.

Overall it was a successful trip with our little family. We were so glad to finally get our kids up to the zoo, to see Reid + Carina's house for the first time, and to meet up with Caity and her family who we haven't seen since our wedding nearly 6 years ago! Let's hope it's not that long until we meet again!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

certified site

certified site