Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Even my husband will admit that I was an even-tempered pregnant lady. I don't have any funny stories about crying about Panera not having the soup I wanted or similar silly situations. There was the night when we took the babies home from the hospital. They cried unless they were being held, so I stayed up all night holding them, with crazy tears running down my face the whole time. I couldn't have even told you why I was crying - I was thrilled to finally have two perfect, healthy babies, but I was powerless to stop. Wow. What a night that was. But before and since that episode, which must have been thanks to postpartum hormone changes, I've been pretty in control of my emotions.

Until we dropped down to one feeding.

The other night Ray was watching the last Star Wars prequel (the one where Luke and Leia are born) for, oh, about the 4 billionth time. When the Emperor gives the orders to assassinate the Jedis, I turned to Ray and said, "This movie is so sad." He gave me a confused "Okay..." By the end of the movie, I was full on crying. At Star Wars.

It's not just Star Wars. Everything seems extra sad now. Commercials... Today Show segments... weaning itself.

After their second birthday we'll drop the last feeding. And that will be it. Sigh.
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ham and Bean Soup

For Thanksgiving my mother-in-law made a ham, and miracle of miracles, Veda ate it - and liked it. A lot. (Remember that this is the formerly anemic child who refuses any and all meat.) There were plenty of ham leftovers, so we went home with a couple of freezer bag portions of the ham. But what to do with the frozen ham? Soup!

The problem with cooking these days is that it's practically impossible. If Linus isn't climbing the windowsill to chew on the pebbles in the potted plants, Veda is insisting on "helping" me cook - and by "helping", I mean trying to climb the oven door or reaching for a hot stove eye. Actually, both of those things (and more!) are probably happening simultaneously. So my cooking has been simplified, simplified, simplified. This is a recipe that's all about taking lots of shortcuts, but packing in lots of flavor. The kids love, love, love it, and I do, too. Soup is such a great lunch when the weather is cold, and it's one of the rare things that the kids will eat just about every time I offer it. Without further ado, one of our new favorite soups:


1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced   (or find mirepoix in the freezer or produce section at the grocery store to replace
3/4 c celery, diced             the onion, celery, and carrots)
3/4 c carrots, diced
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 c cooked ham, diced
15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cans mixed pinto and great northern beans (or one can of each) - do not drain
4 c chicken broth
2 c water
1 Tbsp Better Than Boullion Chicken paste


1. In a stockpot, saute the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in olive oil until the onion are translucent.
2. Add the ham, and saute until the ham begins to brown (caramelize) a bit.
3. Add the tomato sauce, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as you do so (deglazing).
4. Add the rest of the ingredients (beans through Better Than Boullion), stir, and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

When we run out of ham leftovers in the freezer, I'll probably try making this with Field Roast "sausages". Mmmm.
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Friday, December 2, 2011


This morning our family was happy to board the Three Rivers Rambler Christmas train. Linus and Veda are pretty obsessed with trains these days, so getting to ride on  real, live train was a special treat.

Waiting on the train in the chilly winter air was cold business. Thank goodness for puffy coats.

It wasn't long before the snacks got passed out. Teeny little Veda nearly ate this entire bag of cookies.

Me: "I love you sooooooo much!" Veda: "Down!"

The handsomest man on the train.

Here Veda is saying, "CHOO CHOO!".

Chicks dig the hat.

Who showed up on the way back? SANTA! Here Linus is trying to be brave while Santa hands him a little snowman.

After Santa visited, we got pretty sleepy. Thankfully, this resulted in less squirming...

... and more cuddling.

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