Anyone Want Popcorn?

New Nuke

We live in a very old house. The appliances are also quite old. It seems like they all quit working properly as soon as we moved in. The microwave was the first to die. It quit working within a few months of our arrival, and since then we’ve been using the small countertop model we were given as a wedding gift almost 12 years ago. Since we are in the process of fixing up the house to (hopefully) sell, we are replacing some of the appliances. Mark ordered us a brand-new microwave and it arrived today. He installed it with help of a friend:

It looks great, and it actually works!!!

Next on the agenda is a new refrigerator.

I had a half-day off work today so I was able to be home for Ben’s PT session. He had a great time laughing and giggling for his therapist for most of the session – he only became irritable towards the very end.

I had a late meeting for work this evening, so once again Mark was left to face yet another bedtime alone. Jonny gave Mark a particularly trying time: would you believe that after he had been sent to bed he went into the bathtub with his PJs on, and turned on the water??!? He came down to the living room, wet and freezing cold, to find Mark.

Mark changed him, took him to Isaac’s bed and sternly advised him to stay put. Must have worked – here they are now. Aren’t they cute? I’ll have to keep this picture to show them when they are teenagers! ūüėČ

Isaac and Jonny sleeping

The Case of the Missing Hearing Aid

Ben PJs 

Tonight as I was getting Ben ready for his bath, I took out his right hearing aid (the left had been removed earlier this evening for another reason).¬† I rested¬†it on the older boys’ bed as I got him undressed, ¬†got out his clean clothes and put these on the bed as well.¬† Ben enjoyed his bath as usual, but returned to find the big boys jumping on the bed.¬† I found Ben’s clothes, but¬† I couldn’t find the hearing aid anywhere!

I tore the room apart looking for it.  Hearing aids are expensive.  I even swept under the bed.  I unearthed all sorts of long-lost junk (that Jonathan was thrilled to see), but no hearing aid.  I had all but given up hope of ever finding it again. 

Finally, I brought Ben to sit with me at the computer.  You can see how cute he looks in his PJs tonight in the picture above.

I suddenly noticed something hard in the toe of his sleeper.  It was Рyou guessed it Рthe missing hearing aid!  I have no idea how it got in there.

Hearing Aid

I am just glad I found it before laundry day.

Pizza Night

Mark’s dinner last night was much better than¬†the flounder from the night before.¬† We had Butternut and Acorn Squash soup from one of the two soup cookbooks I (selfishly) got for him for his birthday last year.¬† The soup was excellent.¬† I brought home some leftover Panera Fuji Apple salad from the office.¬† What a great salad that is!¬† All 3 boys had a taste of the soup and liked it, even Ben:

Ben Soup 1Ben Soup 2

You can tell that Mark was feeding him because he didn’t put a bib on Ben.¬† Ben hasn’t quite got the hang of eating from a spoon, though.¬† He likes to lap things off the spoon like a kitty-cat, still does a lot of tongue-thrusting, and tends to spit out most of what we put in his mouth.¬† I suppose we just have to keep practicing.

Tonight I was tired and uninspired.  So we ordered a pizza. 

The Mighty Duck

 Mighty Duck

I had a great three-day weekend.¬† I did lots of housework on Friday and Saturday.¬† Of course you could never tell by our home’s¬†current state of messiness.¬† Mark very kindly did the grocery shopping for me on Saturday, while I just went to the butcher shop.¬† I bought some flounder which I plan to cook later this week.¬† Mark mentioned that fresh ducks were on sale at the grocery store, so I actually went back and got one.¬†¬†(The butcher said that they are a temporary item, just in for the Chinese New Year.)

I’ve never made duck before, so I used Alton Brown’s Mighty Duck recipe.¬† The recipe only looks complicated – it’s really not.¬† The only thing I did differently was to add a little Trinidad green seasoning to the original brine.¬† The duck turned out beautifully, with a perfectly crisp skin on the leg/thigh portions.¬† I think the breast could have been seared a little longer since the skin was so thick.¬† The flavor was wonderful – even the kids ate it up quickly and without complaint!¬† Oh yes, there was another substitution I made: we didn’t have chard so we used baby spinach.¬† I wouldn’t recommend it: baby spinach isn’t hardy enough and turns into soup!¬† We served it with plain jasmine rice and sauteed vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli, sugar snap¬†peas, carrots with¬†green onions and garlic.¬† I used a little of the duck fat to saute the veggies – sounds disgusting but it was GREAT!)

I think my next attempt at duck will be a Trinidad curry!! ūüėÄ

Ben has been doing great these days.¬† At church he stood up on my lap facing front.¬† Every so often I would dip him forward so that he was almost horizontal and he would laugh out loud!¬† At one time I considered taking him out of the sanctuary because he began cooing happily in a very loud voice, fortunately he didn’t do it for more than 30 seconds or so.¬† He’s such a cheerful little guy when he’s feeling well.

Here he is looking at the mobile in his crib being fed during this evening’s duck preparation.¬†¬† Just before I took this picture he was laughing and cooing at his mobile, but of course stopped when I went to get the video camera!

Ben Mobile

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Where’s the shovel? 

What a great Valentine’s Day!

First, Mark made me an amazing three-course candellight dinner last night.¬† He even got me the single best Valentine’s present I’ve ever received – a leather-bound, single volume, 50th anniversary¬†edition of my favorite book:

Favorite Book

I am ashamed to admit I didn’t get HIM a present.¬† Or a card.¬† ūüė≥

(I was wondering – does anyone else give presents on Valentine’s Day?¬† Are guys supposed to get presents, or just give?)

Then, this morning I didn’t have to go in to work because of the snowy, icy weather.¬† As you can see from the above picture, snow drifted all the way to the top of our steps and our snow shovel is frozen solid under all the layers of snow and ice.¬† Until the ice melts it cannot be removed except¬†perhaps with a¬†pickaxe.¬† Mark had to borrow the neighbor’s shovel to clear the walks.

Ben does seem to have a cold.¬† He took a long afternoon nap, and seems a little happier this evening than he did last night.¬† We’ll run the humidifier for him; maybe it will help him to sleep better tonight.¬† The older two are fine so far, and played WAY too many video games today.

Isaac has a 2 hour delay for school tomorrow, Jonny’s preschool is cancelled, and so is Ben’s OT session.¬† I just hope the roads are nice and clear tomorrow morning for the school buses and for me.

card1card2

Where’s that Early Spring I Was Promised?

Jonny Snow 1 Isaac Snow 1

We had yet another cold and snowy day.¬†¬†The weather forecast was predicting anywhere from 4 to 14 inches of snow, so our office closed 3 hours earlier than usual.¬† I actually got to come home at about 1 pm!¬† That’s the only thing that I like about snowy weather – I am still a tropical soul.¬† ūüėČ

Isaac’s school let out 2 hours early, and will be closed tomorrow.¬† All 3 boys went outside for a bit.¬†

Ben Snow

Ben wasn’t too impressed with the cold white stuff falling from the sky. (Good boy!)¬† We took him back inside promptly.

Jonny seemed enthusiastic at first, but lasted all of 5 minutes (a very short time considering that it takes 10-15 minutes to get him into his snowsuit, boots, coat, etc).¬† He begged to come back inside, saying, “I need some hot chocolate!”¬† (Good boy!)

Isaac is so far our only real snow-lover.¬† He played outside, and even had a go at clearing the sidewalk with his little snow shovel.¬† For some reason, we couldn’t find his sled, but he slid down the hill in front of our house without one.

JonnyIsaac Snow 2

Our office is opening at noon tomorrow, but that doesn’t affect me since I was scheduled to start at noon anyway.¬†

Mark actually decided that we would have our special Valentine’s Day dinner tonight instead of tomorrow, so he’s downstairs cooking up a storm.¬† Our plan is to put the boys to bed and enjoy our food in relative peace and quiet.¬† We’ll see how that goes!

February 14 update: Dinner last night was a smashing success, but I will let Mark tell all about it on his website¬†(hopefully he’ll have a chance to post today).¬† He definitely did NOT ruin dinner last night, and I think it makes up for Saturday’s incident!¬† In other news, our office is closed all day today because of ice storms.¬† The bad news is that Ben seems to be sick again.¬† He slept fitfully all night, and Mark and I took turns sitting up with him.¬† Thank goodness I don’t have to work today.¬† He did get a Synagis shot yesterday; maybe this was just a reaction to that.¬† I hope that’s all it was.

Benji-Ben Update

 Ben and Al

Ben develops slowly.¬† It’s almost like watching grass grow!¬† Nevertheless, he¬†IS growing and progressing albeit at his own pace.¬† Here are a couple new things he has been doing these days:

He has been deliberately waving both his arms¬†repeatedly up and down¬†to interact with toys and other people.¬† Tonight he was rubbing Isaac’s belly.¬† Isaac said, “Ben’s tickling me!”¬† (Sorry the photo isn’t better – I was trying to take it with Ben on my lap!)¬† He can bang on his little toy piano, but he’s not so sure he likes the noise.¬† He’s also starting to grasp objects, but still tends to let go after a few seconds.

Ben Tickling Isaac

He is tolerating floor time and tummy time much better these days.  Last evening he was giggling as I rolled him from front to back.

Tonight he was lying semi-recumbent on a pillow in Isaac’s room.¬† On his own he leaned forward, and in this photo he is actually propping himself up with his left elbow.¬† I think he is getting tired of lying down all the time.¬† He also has been enjoying his Bumbo seat more lately.¬†

Ben Propped Up

And last, but not least, maybe because of his Dad and older brothers, he has learned to blow raspberries!!!!