Friday, October 31, 2008

a happy halloween

This was a low-key, very nice Halloween. We did not carve any pumpkins or put out any decorations, except a cute ghost with a spiral tail that Alex made at school.

We went trick-or-treating with some friends There was a light drizzle so we came home a little earlier than we otherwise would, but that was just fine with our 2- and 4-year-olds.

The evening was passed very pleasantly with Pumpkin Jack's ale, chocolate, several rounds of Scattergories and 3 mainly happy kids playing in the background.

Just a good night. Friends, family, a little candy thrown in.

Monday, October 27, 2008

going veg?

I can't believe it myself, but the more I learn about food production and the agriculture industry, the more inclined I am to eat less meat and more plants. Even more shocking is the sudden consideration of substituting soy and/or rice milk for cow's milk. What is this world coming to? I, who grew up loving all things dairy, no longer an enthusiastic supporter of the industry that brings me yogurt, ice cream, and cheese? No wayyyyy!

People are soooooo opinionated about food. Browsing vegan websites and books is interesting. I never knew eating dairy and eggs could be so evil. But there it is - animal cruelty, chickens with their beaks cut off, laying hens with their skins rubbed raw from pressing against the cages, cows juiced up on hormones and connected to milking machines for so many hours they develop open sores on their udders (that then drain pus into the milk, but that's OK because it's pasteurized!). Is all this for real or is it just the animal rights nuts' blowing things out of proportion?

Well, I'm not jumping off the deep end just yet. I reserve my right to eat animal flesh in healthy, sparing amounts when I feel like it. But I'm interested in trying some of the alternatives. Hey, I already know I like veggie burgers as much as hamburgers and they're a lot healthier. I've found a website ( that has recipes and nutritional information and I've been eating mainly "vegetarian" for the past week (except for the 2 slices of ham that I needed to "use up" because I had already bought it). So far I like eating all these fruits, veggies, grains and legumes, and I even like soy milk although it takes a little getting used to. The vanilla flavor is a hit with the kids. Bryan is willing to give it a try too, because Buzz told him his acne went away when he went off dairy. Hmmm. Anyway, the trick is to not replace the meat with a boatload of cheese and eggs. So far we're doing well but it's only been a couple weeks.

Anyone who has cool yummy vegetarian recipes, feel free to send them to me!

I'll post my favorites when I find them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

my dream commute

I just want to record for posterity that it IS possible. Today I had a near-perfect commute. After one stop (first light on Wasatch) I got every single light green from my house to work, even the left turn from Foothill onto Sunnyside. The entire drive took 18 minutes.

There was hardly any traffic on the road today. I'm guessing that means that UEA weekend (Utah Education Association, I think) must apply to the University too.

Not only did I have a perfect commute, I had my choice of parking spaces. The east half of the parking circle in front of Bldg 4 was EMPTY when I arrived at 8:18. I don't think this has ever happened on a non-holiday. I didn't realize how many people would be taking time off for this school break.

It sure would be nice if my commute were like this every day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

just stuff

Here's what's been going on...

Sam likes to sleep on the floor of his room, against the door. With his blanket around his head like a turban. He has decided his favorite binky is the one that says "Mute Button."

Alex ran too close to her trundle bed and bumped her shin on the iron frame - painful! I was telling her it's hard to see that frame because of the mattress and if we're not careful, we could stub our toes. She said, "Yeah, and if you were crawling you would stub your face!" :-)

We enjoyed a nice visit from my mom last week. She and I played one game of Scrabble and it was a close race. I was losing most of the time but I totally lucked out at the end with a 47-point word and won by 3 points. I should credit my mom for letting me use the dictionary, which isn't allowed in real Scrabble. Anyway, it was fun.

We had our first snow of the year on October 12. Today it was back in the 60's and beautiful.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

ha ha ha, I got her!

Last night I finally figured out how to get Alex back for her naughty screaming fits in the car. For about the last year she has discovered that she can get away with a lot of bad attitude and very disrespectful behavior while safely strapped in her car seat with me in the front. I've been frustrated because threatening her with a time out just doesn't seem to cut it - she will go on with her screaming, tantrums, whining, demands, and general obnoxiousness no matter how much time out she endures on arriving home.

Last night in the midst of her tirade she even yelled, "You're going to DIE." What the...? I ignored that but it was a scary thing to hear from your four-year-old. Maybe she's been watching too many Disney movies - ever notice there is never an intact "nuclear family" in a Disney movie? The main character is usually deprived of at least one parent at some point. Anyway...

I read a strategy in a parenting book once that suggested dropping your kids off a mile before home and making them walk the rest of the way. That will be beautiful once they are older, but as much as I would like some peace and quiet in the car, I just can't do it at this point. I am saving it though...

So last night, while enduring another ridiculous four-year-old rant, I rolled down the windows and that made her mad. She doesn't like the wind. She screamed and complained of being cold (it was probably 70 degrees out). I told her when she could talk to me nicely I would roll the windows up. She kept demanding (very imperially) for me to close the windows, alternating with more screaming and crying. This sounds really BAD, but up front I was smiling at FINALLY getting some payback for all the tantrums I've endured in the car! We were home before she changed her tune (and even that was only after a double time out in the car seat in the dark garage).

Speaking of time out, I've had to get creative with that too. She will spit on the floor or kick the doors or walls when she's in time out - not something I feel I should tolerate. When she does this I put her outside on the front porch - she's strapped into the high chair (good thing she's still small). Usually this calms her right down. It will be interesting to see what happens in the winter.

I feel really mean sometimes. It seems like she really needs to push to the point where she breaks down, and then she takes a long time to recover her equilibrium. Last night, for example, she went from full defiance mode in the car (first four minutes) to hysterical panic after another four minutes. (Being alone in the dark garage probably was scary.) I'm open to suggestions.

But for now, I am happy to found a trick to get to her in the car. I think it will help, especially as the weather gets cooler!