Sunday, August 30, 2015

Weekly update, August 30, 2015

Isaac and Collin were sick Monday, so Collin worked from home while Isaac discovered his first Calvin and Hobbes comic book and read for 2 straight hours.  He also discovered Collin's Simpson's comic book, which is what occupied him for the majority of those two hours.

There was a brief drizzle of rain Tuesday, but the double rainbows that followed were quite epic in scope (and I got to use my phone's panorama feature for the first time - whee!):
Saturday was the annual Revival Recital, a chance for us mommies who have given up our performance talents in the pursuit of child rearing to revive (as it were) our talents once more.  This was my third year participating, and while I wasn't originally planning to do anything for this year's due to having just had a baby, I couldn't resist the invitation to join a barbershop quartet singing Mr. Sandman.  It was especially fun because more women picked up new instruments this year than in years past.  One day I'd like to learn a new instrument and perform it at this recital. 
Before the Revival Recital on Saturday afternoon, we went to pick up our friend Robin from the airport.  She'll be staying with us for a week next week and also having her baby(!) in our home(!!).  It's a long story.  But before all that, we made a pit stop at a coffee shop/bakery/cafe called The Rose Establishment in Downtown SLC and got some treats.  Isaac ordered a rose shortbread cookie (he's so refined) while Sammy and Elinor split a giant chocolate chip cookie that was so delicious we had to go back and get another one.  The thing was huge (this picture is after we'd eaten about a third of it - it's about the size of my hand), redolent with little slabs of 70% bittersweet chocolate, and topped with a judicious sprinkling of sea salt.  It was everything a chocolate chip cookie didn't even know it aspired to be, and I can't stop thinking about it.  Perhaps another trip downtown is in order soon. 
Daisy started smiling this week!!  The whole family spends a ridiculous amount of time trying to get her to smile now.  I don't have a great picture of it just yet, but here she is a split second before smiling. (Does that count?)
Daisy has a slightly bulbous forehead.  One might even call it fleshy.
I love how she looks like a little villain plotting something evil here:
Elinor has been a singing machine lately. One of her favorite songs to sing is "Bicycle Built for Two".  She calms her little sister down by singing this to her and it pretty much melts all the hearts.
Also, she (sort of) knows her ABCs.
And finally, she is a goofball:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekly Digest, August 23, 2015

We spent the majority of this week battling sickness.  Collin started getting sick last Sunday with a cough and sore throat, Isaac caught it a few days ago with an added fever, I got a weird case of lockjaw yesterday, and Daisy got pink eye yesterday and is still working through it with the help of some lavender oil.  We're desperately hoping that we're at the tail end of it and the others don't catch this sore throat (or pink eye!).
Sammy started kindergarten on Wednesday!  He was super excited, especially to get to wear his brand new Hotwheels backpack.  Sammy has such a huge personality at home but is super shy at school.  Hopefully he'll make some friends soon.
We had our first of many girls-only outings on Friday while the boys were at school.  Ellie wanted to go to Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point, so I strapped Daisy to my chest and off we went to ride the ponies and pet the animals.

On Tuesday morning Elinor randomly informed me that she was ready to throw away her tag book.  She never used a pacifier, but as a toddler got attached to the tags on her stuffed lamb.  Despite regular washings, the tag and its surrounding area got unbearably disgusting and smelly, so we cut it off.  Then she found the tag on her blanket.  Same story after a few months.  Finally, she found this flannel tag book that had belonged to Isaac when he was a baby.  It has different textured (mostly satin) tags all around the cloth pages, so she had her pick of tags.  We started cutting off one tag at a time a few months ago, hoping to make the weaning process a little easier on her, but she was ridiculously attached to the thing.  So her sudden proclamation that she was done with it came as quite a shock.  I kept asking her if she was serious, reiterating the permanency of this decision.  She insisted she was done and tossed the book in the trash can herself.  (I secretly fished it out and washed and hid it, because we're chickens.)  Of course when nap time came around that day she asked for her tag book, but she was surprisingly okay with it when I reminded her of her decision.  She's been going to bed each night just fine without it, but naps have been more of a struggle.  We're thinking of dropping her nap times entirely anyway, since she stays awake bouncing off walls until 10:30 each night when she does nap.  Anyway, we're thrilled to say goodbye to the tag book and be done with this chapter of her life!
Daisy isn't a great sleeper.  She usually gets a couple of 3-hour stretches during the first half of the night, then spends the rest of the night waking up every hour.  It doesn't seem to matter if I put her back in the bassinet, the crib, or if I co-sleep with her - she just wakes up every hour from 4:00 on.  I've been going crazy with exhaustion, because she also has this funny habit of waking up within 20 minutes any time I lie down for a nap.  So to cope, I made this yellow cake with chocolate frosting late last night.  I've been fiddling with yellow butter cake recipes for a while now to make them work at high altitude (no matter what I do they always end up falling in the center - something that never happened when we lived at sea level).  Last night I finally achieved high altitude yellow cake nirvana!  The cake was perfectly risen, perfectly fluffy and buttery and moist.  I started with the yellow cake recipe from the Annie's Eats website, then increased the flour by 2 tbsp, used extra-large eggs, decreased the leavening by 1/2 tsp, and increased the baking temp by 25 degrees and just kept an eye on the cakes for doneness.  It doesn't look like much here because it was a simple cake made to satisfy a craving, but this is what triumph looks like:
And just for future reference, here's the recipe with all my tweaks:
Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pans
1½ cups + 2 T all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
1½ cups cake flour
 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1¾ cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups milk


  • Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Line the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Butter and flour the edges of the pans, tapping out the excess; set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk together to blend well and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared baking pans.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, ~30 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack and peel off the parchment.  Let the cakes cool completely before frosting

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Weekly Digest, August 16, 2015

Isaac started second grade on Thursday.  It was actually a little touch-and-go - Ellie and Isaac both got pink eye this week and we weren't going to let Isaac go to school if his eye didn't clear up but thanks to the magic of lavender oil his eye cleared up in no time.  
Ellie also has had a weird reaction to something this week - for the past five days or so she's been getting hives every day.  We've been giving her Benadryl and it's been clearing up each time but it's weird.  We think she may be developing some sort of reaction to Miralax, which she's had to take a few times this week.  Tonight she only had a couple on her leg and they went away pretty quickly so we're hoping that it's out of her system.
Speaking of allergic reactions, we've found something else Isaac is allergic to.  Maxine made this amazing meal on Monday which was made with green beans, potatoes, fresh herbs, and eggs all from our backyard.  Looks like there's another fresh herb (in addition to fresh dill) that Isaac is allergic to.
This week the boys wrapped up their swim lessons.  Sammy is still a bit cautious but Isaac is picking up all the different swim strokes and has been having a blast.  He says his favorite stroke is the freestyle. 
Last night I took the kids down to the County Fair in Spanish Fork for the Demolition Derby!  They were thrilled!  Except Ellie got a bit bored with it by around 9:00.  This derby ended up being a bit more brutal than the ones we're used to in Eagle Mountain.  Several cars were fully turned over on their backs and one guy was injured pretty badly.  They had to get an ambulance.  The kids had never been to a big fair before - they kept asking what all the amazing smells were.  Carnival food is the best - they even had deep-fried pizzas there.  It would have been fun to expose them to the world of deep-fried twinkies and funnel cake.  But we packed sandwiches, so...
Sammy and Isaac have been obsessed with Legos the past few weeks.  They spend hours every day building fantastic vehicles, "megaships", car washes, houses, you name it.  And a lot of them are actually way better than I could ever dream up.  They also invented something called a "Seep" - these are tiny robotic lego droids that cover their creations like barnacles on a ship.  I believe the Seeps control the vehicles and ships and might even power them as well.  I'm not sure.  This is not a Seep but Sammy was very happy with it and requested a picture.  And yeah, he's wearing his winter pajamas in the hottest month of the year.  Come winter he'll be demanding to wear shorts every day.  This kid is such a non-conformist.
Today I took the kids to Neptune Park.  Ellie's not used to going down big slides on her own.  She didn't want to go down this one but I convinced her otherwise.  You can really see the regret in her face in this picture.
Here's a picture of Daisy and then a picture of Elinor at the roughly the same age in the same outfit (well, Elinor was a bit younger than Daisy is now).  Because it's fun to compare our children to each other.  Who wore it better?  ;)
 And now, some random pictures of the kids this week.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Weekly Digest, August 9, 2015

Earlier this week we decided to move Elinor out of her room and into the boys' room.  It may sound crazy but we're going to turn Elinor's room into a nursery for Daisy for now.  Plus Elinor has been begging to sleep in the boys' room for months now so meh.   There have been some ups and downs this past week but for the past few nights the kids seem to finally be figuring things out.

On Wednesday my company rented out Boondocks for the evening and let all the employees get unlimited access plus $5 worth of tokens for each person.  We got 100 tokens!  We went crazy with them!  We even played the $2 Star Wars game three times.  It was fantastic.  The boys were so thrilled about the go-carts.  And then by around 8:00 the insane number of people plus tired kids started getting to us and we fled the scene while we were ahead.  But at least we porked out on pizza, soda, and ice cream sandwiches!

Some cute and not-so-cute pictures of Daisy: