24 December, 2007

Hiding from a Band of Rogue Turkeys

It didn't really happen, but it WAS on a cartoon I saw just now.....but it had you going didn't it? Huh? Huh? Didn't it?

Okay, so I'm fully recovered from my illness and useless hospital visit. Since I blogged last, (which seems like an eternity and every day since, I've gotten up thinking 'Oh man! I better post something SOON!') we have been busy. B.U.S.Y. Between Christmas teas, visits to friends we haven't seen in too many months, breakfast get-togethers and the requisite Christmas shopping, we've been so busy that when I checked one of my email inboxes yesterday, I had 104 new messages (don't worry, I'm not that popular, it was mostly junk).

You can be assured that we've taken lots of pictures of the Little Goat and she is as cute as ever, charming the masses with her gummy smile and seeming love of strangers. I'm not sure if I'll post again before we get back to Maine, so just in case, we wish you all a Happy Christmas! We here at Casa J are looking forward to what next year might bring (including a host of brilliant blog posts courtesy of all of you) and pray that God will continue to bless you all immeasurably in 2008.

11 December, 2007

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

There's certainly nothing to get you in the Christmas Spirit like getting up at 4:30am after a crappy sleep (interrupted by a) a crying baby, b) a domestic dispute in the hotel room next door, or c) a combination of both), followed by nearly 11 hours of traveling and airport mishaps, followed by a two-hour car ride home and ending the night (beginning the morning?) with a trip to the ER.
What the???
First things first. Packing went quite well after we were able to borrow a (brand new!) suitcase from Holly & Chris. Our drive down to "Airport City" also went quite well (minus having to turn around to get the stroller we forgot; and minus the fact that I had two emergency bottles in the fridge waiting to go....that are still sitting in the fridge waiting to go). We got a few errands done in the afternoon, grabbed some dinner from Wendy's and relaxed in our hotel room. Then came bathtime with a sink that had no plug and we ended up using the coffee maker container to rinse off the Little Goat. We finally got the LG to bed and at two o'clock, the noise started next door. MUCH noise started next door. Yelling and swearing accompanied by slamming doors and a lot of foot stomping. But they got their's when the LG woke up at 4:30 and was rather fit to be tied. Har!

Getting ready...

I was ridiculously anxious and emotional before getting on the plane, but as God answers prayer, I ended up beside a very nice DOCTOR who works in "Airport City" and the whole day of traveling got off to a really good start! Lucky me, we got to talk shop and it sounds like we have the wrong primary care physician...we should be traveling three hours to see this guy! He was great. (It really is quite fabulous how many people want to help the woman traveling alone with an infant, two carry-ons and a stroller!) Unfortunately, my layover in Detroit which was supposed to be over an hour, ended up being barely 25 minutes and our arrival gate was oh, only on the OTHER SIDE of the airport from the departure gate. It was the fastest diaper change I've ever done, let me tell you! I think we were among the very last to board the plane, though there were a few issues with the clerk finding the appropriate valet tag for the stroller. When we got in to Minneapolis, they couldn't find the stroller so I had to go out of the secure area to baggage claim to hope it was there. Luckily it was there and the super-nice guy who had helped me make sure it got on the plane in the first place, walked me all the way to baggage claim to find it. So I got the stroller and suited up the LG for our hike back to security and let me tell you, security is no place for a woman traveling alone with an infant, two carryons, one stroller, a coat and shoes. I used FOUR bins for all the stuff, plus the stroller and those TSA people aren't the most helpful. Oi.

Through security, we started on our journey to the farthest reaches of the airport for the Minneapolis-Winnipeg flight. Part way there, I stopped to admire the Neutrogena and Motorola vending machines (yes, if you don't already own a cell phone, why not pick one up at the airport?) AND the iPOD vending machine. In all seriousness, an IPOD vending machine?! I grabbed some meager lunch and went off in search of the breastfeeding room. It was really nice and you could basically use it as long as you wanted. We hung out there for a while, then finished the trek to the departure gate only to discover that our flight was going to be delayed for an hour. The plus side was that 1) I ran into a girl that I knew of from college - her and her husband and THREE kids and 2) the airline guy came over to let me know he would pre-board me. Cool (except that some passengers with ants in their pants just can't seem to get out of the way for us pre-boarders)!

We finally got into Winnipeg at 6:30, I grabbed a bagel and some juice at Tim Horton's and we headed home. So to sum up our flying: things went WAY better than I expected! The LG did GREAT (and by great I mean a little bit of crying, but mostly a LOT of sleeping), and we had superior seatmates on every flight and lots of willing helpers with our loot, including one girl who actually carried the stroller through customs when we got into Winnipeg.

Now we get to the 'fun' part. By the time we got into Winnipeg I wasn't feeling all that great, probably from not having eaten much all day and I was pretty dehydrated. By the time we got home, I was feeling so bad I wasn't sure I could get out of the car! Less than 40 minutes later, I ended up on the bathroom floor, shaking like crazy and trying without success to puke up anything. Then I was okay. But at around 2:30am, it started all over again, this time with actual puking, so my parents called our neighbour (a doctor) who suggested that we get to the ER, NOW. So Mom stayed home with the LG, who, bless her heart slept almost until we got home, and Dad took me to the ER, where we accidentally went in through the ambulance bay. Oops.

So after telling my story to at least four people including the receptionist, the doctor finally came in. I got the distinct impression that everybody thought I was way too coherent to be in any pain, but my mental capacity is surprisingly good under pressure. I was having the worst gut cramps EVER. I may as well have been in labour all over again. That's right. IN LABOUR. It was THAT. BAD. Now, if the doctor had looked like this:
I probably would have felt better about his skepticism, because, come on, look at him! But, though he was blessed with blond hair, blue eyes, AND a lovely accent....I was getting annoyed by his insinuations. Mostly, they were figuring I was having an anxiety attack. They ran my blood and urine and didn't come up with anything. Then I remembered my wild card, IBS, and that seemed to change his mind. He determined I was probably just having really bad cramps. So at least I wasn't dying, but damn that IBS. They gave me an antispasmodic shot, which helped the shakes and gut pain significantly, and sent me home with four pills that were supposed to suppress the cramps if they started again. And they did at about 9 o'clock. So MY diagnoses, is that 1) I was severly dehydrated yesterday, having forgotten my water bottle with the two milk bottles in the fridge at home and they never even started an IV (!), 2) I was, for whatever reason, having the worst gas pains in all of history, and 3) I probably ate something nasty that may have manifested itself as some food poisoning.
Whatever it was, I'm feeling MUCH better today. I spent all of yesterday in my jammies, feeling horrid and ate two pieces of toast, cut up into wee chunks, plus about a tablespoon of rice, and sipped lemon-water all day. Starting this morning, I could not get enough to drink! I was just so stinking thirsty! But I've already eaten a bowl of mac 'n' cheese leftovers and I haven't puked once today. Hooray!

So you'll see I only got out of the aforementioned Christmas baking by one day. This afternoon we've started in earnest. And now that I've been typing for nearly an hour, I really should consider going and helping in the kitchen again. *Sigh*

07 December, 2007

Two More Sleeps

Ahhh...the good old days of counting everything by 'sleeps'. We're driving down to the "Airport City" tomorrow morning bright and early. Well, early anyway, the sun might not be up yet. My flight leaves at 8-something on Sunday morning. For those of you who are the praying-type, I'd really appreciate prayer for our weekend traveling, particularly the Husband making the drive back up here by himself on Sunday and for the Little Goat and me spending the day traveling halfway across the continent to Manitoba. I have to say I'm feeling a little on the anxious side about the LG's first plane ride(s); I just hope she's mostly quiet and does a lot of this (sleeping, not almost picking her nose):

I'll let you know when I get there! Well hopefully. My Mom has a lengthy list of Christmas baking waiting for me and we're hosting a Christmas Tea next Thursday so my Mom's hair clients (did you know my Mom is a hairdresser? Maybe I've never mentioned it) can meet the LG. So provided I can sneak away for an hour, I'll let you know how the festivities go!

03 December, 2007

Fancy-Pants Birthday Man!

Not only is today Ozzy Osbourne's birthday, it's also The Husband's birthday. And not only is it The Husband's birthday, it's also National Day of Disabled Persons. Not to be confused with...The Husband's birthday. Har! Just kidding! (No really, it's okay. He was just standing right here, read that, and kissed me. I think I'm okay.)

In honour of this, his 27th birthday, we had friends over yesterday (before the big storm) and ate soup and cake and watched the Little Goat spew forth what appeared to be an entire day's worth of stomach-contents....all with a smile on her face.

The Husband's birthday cake was this, which I was sure was going to result in both of us having to be ROLLED out of our house to the hospital for a stomach-pumping in the middle of the night - it was THAT rich. A fabulous fabulous cake, but just so stinking rich (if you ever decide to make it, cut down on the ganache by about 1/3, there was far too much of it)! And no, we did not adorn the cake with 27 candles.....mostly because we don't have 27 candles, but more because I'm anti-blowing-out-candles-on-cake. Instead, I lit a match and stuck it in The Husband's piece of cake. No word on the wish yet.

Today, presumably also in honour of the Birthday Man is the mass amount of snow which is presently falling at a very leisurely pace. It would have been the perfect day for walmarting since everybody around here makes a huge deal about these storms (which are really never "that" bad) and the store might actually be tolerable today; but we are at home, watching the snow fall, petting the cats, reading blogs and funny facts* and The Husband is making some of his fancy-pants bread. Fancy-pants because it requires a starter which is something I will never have the patience for.

So Happy Birthday to my Birthday Man. It's so good to have you home from work for a whole week. Better still to have had you with me for a whole 'nother year! I love you!

*For example: Did you know that in the Yucutan Peninsula, locals eat iguana tacos, "made from Gallina de Palo, meaning 'tree chickens'?"

01 December, 2007

You Should Bake This...

...and then eat it. Post haste.

We make this a lot around here in the Fall-time because it is FABULOUS. It's from the November 2005 issue of Everyday Food which is a great little magazine if you love food and you eat it everyday and you can swing the subscription $.

Pumpkin Spice Cake (as seen here)

1/2 c. melted butter, plus a bit to grease the pan
2 1/2 c. regular flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (OR: 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 3/4 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and
1/8 tsp EACH allspice and cloves)

2 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin

1. Preheat the ol' bakeroo to 350. Grease a 9-inch pan.
2. Blend dry ingredients (flour, soda, salt, spices). In a bigger bowl, whisk the rest together (butter, eggs, pumpkin, sugar). Add dry ingredients to wet, mix gently until smooth.
3. Turn batter into prepared pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbly crumbs on it. Cool the cake 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
4. When the cake is cooled completely, you can serve it as-is or top it with some variety of cream cheese icing (just none of that store-bought crap - really, if you can bake a cake, you can make icing).

Okay, so I didn't copy the recipe word-for-word. I'm quite sure Martha would never allow the word 'crap' to be used in any of her recipes, nor would she EVER refer to an oven as an "ol' bakeroo" (how scandalous!).

Also, when I make it, I try to healthierlyify it a little bit by adjusting the following:
  • instead of the 1/2 c. of melted butter, use 1/4 c. melted butter and 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (makes for a slightly moister cake too)
  • use anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 c. less sugar
  • use about a Tbsp less flour and throw in the equivalent of ground flax seed (this also gives it just a tinge of nutty flavour)
  • if you want to get really crazy, you can also throw in a couple Tbsp of fibre powder or protein powder without causing any noticeable damage to the cake; just don't tell your Husband because he might not appreciate the healthalicious quality of his dessert being in any way tampered with.
I'd give you a recipe for the icing too but the one I used last time was one I found online and played around with a bit and of course, never wrote any notes about. Oh! you can also make this cake in a Bundt pan or a loaf pan (but you'll have to bake it 25-30 minutes longer in a loaf pan and cover it with foil if it starts to brown too quickly). If you bake it as a loaf, it would taste equally as good by the slice, spread with homemade applesauce....but then that just wouldn't be quite enough calories for a pumpkiny treat, now would it? You decide.