Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Because I Haven't Yet

I know the election is more than a week past, but I just realized it hasn't made its mark on the Hotwheel Hacienda blog yet! Since this is a place I have to look back on the boys' lives, I would be remiss if I didn't have SOMETHING to note the occasion. So to keep things brief & concise I'm listing a few notes and a few photos - for posterity's sake, of course. 
(To my family who isn't quite celebrating like I am, feel free to skip this post!)

My Favorite Obama Family Photo:

The morning of Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 found me in a great mood and the boys in a foul mood. Despite this, by the time we got to daycare I had them chanting in a sing-song voice, "It's Inaugu-RATION Day! It's Inaugu-RATION Day!" Finn did a little jig for his teacher & class as we hung up his coat and backpack. The song stuck in my head for days. 

I really wanted to watch the Inauguration coverage live so I brought my laptop to the office to stream as I worked. Of course, the Internets were so overloaded the stream was constantly interrupted and I was forced to kick it old-school style. I watched it in the employee break room on a fuzzy TV, surrounded by friends & coworkers. We were so quiet you couldn't ignore the sniffles and could feel the underlying excitement in the room. I don't think I'll ever forget where I was when it happened. 

My Favorite Barack Photo:

So... it's done. It's only been a week and a day since, but some major changes have already come down the pipeline. This about sums up where my head is at:

Thanks to Major Beadhead for the video & photo links!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Finn & The Needles

When I graduated high school I had to get a series of vaccinations before I headed to college. I still saw the pediatrician that had been treating me since I was a baby, so this woman knew me and my family pretty well. Dr. Wauters was a tiny little woman who was compassionate, but didn't tolerate fools lightly. (After she was diagnosed with cancer my mom reported seeing her in her yard building a stone wall by hand. She was tough.) For some reason, I was so nervous about getting shots I had worked myself into an anxious frenzy that day, and was crying - actually weeping - over the anticipation of having to get them done. I was 17 years old for Pete's sake, and embarrassed to be crying in front of Dr. Wauters, but I just couldn't get a grip on myself. Drama, much?

I'm not scared of needles themselves, just the anticipation of needles. The knowing you have to endure them and dreading it. Once the needle is in, a wave of relief washes over me. Hey, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be is the immediate reaction. But, oh the dread! 

So it was with great trepidation I loaded Finn into the car and headed to his Four Year Well-Check at the pediatrician's office this morning. The Four Year, FOUR SHOT, Well-Check. I had been bracing him since yesterday. Finn hates being blind-sighted so I knew he needed time to turn things over in his little head. I told him he could bring his wallet with his Christmas money and buy a prize at the dollar store after the appointment - we chose to focus on that part. 

The nurse weighed him - 39 pounds. (70th percentile)
Measured him - 42 and 3/4 inches. (97th percentile)
Took his blood pressure - 97 over 71.

We talked to Dr. Cartwright about his nutrition (good milk drinker), how his arm is healing (looks good but will have permanent scar), and his social skills (friendly, rambunctious, normal boy). I talked to the doctor about the concerns his teachers have had and the things we're trying to do to address them. I showed him the books I've been reading and got his advice on their subject matter.**

We took a developmental test that had Finn draw a circle, match animals to their sounds, define household objects. 
A ball? ("A round bouncy circle.") 
What is a banana? ("Like an apple, but it's yellow.") 
A house? ("Where me-an-Eli-an-Mommy-an-Daddy live.")
He hopped on one foot, he followed prepositional directions (Put this paper on the chair. Now under. Now behind Mom. Now on top of the counter.) 

Then came what I had been dreading. The needles. 

I told him to be brave like Indiana Jones. He was scared, and said so. I told him we would go fast and it would be over quickly. He said "Okay, Mom" through his tears and lay back. He cried when each needle went in. It was done in less than 10 seconds. 

Thirty seconds later he was done crying and pulling out his wallet. He actually thanked the nurse on our way out. When we got to the store, he chose a bracelet for me first, a toy sword for Eli second, and an airplane glider for himself last. All on his own. 

This past weekend we attended a Kindergarten Open House at a school we wanted to see. And all I can think about is the blur of memories and colors and Finn-isms that Time leaves trailing behind us. 

** The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do by Peg Tyre.
The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life by Michael Gurian.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January's Favorite Things

I'm a bit dry lately on any post of substance, but I have a few things that have been rocking the Hotwheel Hacienda lately I wanted to share. Brace yourself for the excitement. 

Smart Balance Products

Tastes good, easy to cook with, and there are coupons in just about every Sunday paper for them. We've tried the tub butter, the 50/50 stick butter, the peanut butter, and the cooking oil. If you try it, be sure to use the stick butter when cooking - tub will just leave a nasty film in your skillet.

This Insurance Commercial:

Ever felt the insignificance of how one person could ever make a difference in this world? It's pretty cheesy, but this ad demonstrates how every one of us can do something each day to help the world be a better place. Word.

Spanish Clementines

Not to be confused with the Florida tangerines. These things are in season, and taste like candy. They have no seeds and can literally be peeled by a two year old. I know, because Eli averages four of these A DAY. They come in cute wooden crates and I found them at Publix for as little as $4.99 per crate. (I also saw them at another Public for $10.99 - not sure why the big price difference.) We're eating these as I type.

Leap Frog Fridge Letters

I first saw these over at Aardvark's house and knew we had to get them when she said Scout was actually learning how to spell just playing with them. The boys love them and LeapFrog even have a set that puts letters together to form different words.

Girl Talk's Feed the Animals album

I've blogged about it before but this thing won't stop being ridiculously awesome. Definitely Rated R, this isn't something you can play with the kids in the car, but you will revert back to obnoxious high school days on your iPod. The album can be downloaded on his website, and is priced as you see fit. I initially downloaded for free and played it so much I felt guilty and went and made a contribution. I can do an entire hour of elliptical machine or clean the whole house to this. For a preview, see the video in my previous post.

Scale Back Alabama

Yep, I'm doing it - with Sarah, and Amy & Sandy.
Our team name? With a blonde, a brunette, a redhead, and a man of mystery we could only be... Sandy's Angels. Our mission? 10 lbs. in 10 weeks. So far, so good! 

The Way Finn Dances to This Commercial:

That's all I've got for now... maybe the Muse will visit this week and I'll have something fantastic to post - like more lost poundage!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Life is Maintained

Life has been busy and I'm trying to stay on top of it all, hence the blog neglect. A brief few updates:

Potty trained. (YES!)


Doing the Scale Back Alabama challenge & working on library To Do list. 3lbs. lost so far, but probably just water weight.

Hotwheel Hubs?
The glue that holds us all together.

Grocery store challenge? (from previous post)
Success - it took one week and three days before I went again. It can be done!

I leave you for the moment with my favorite cardio music. I can seriously burn 400 calories plus if I do the whole album. You should try it!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Boy Briefs: The Chocolate Covered Potty Training Grocery Version

We're enjoying the last few days of our holiday break before heading back to the grind on Monday. In the meantime enjoy these HHBBs!

I've taken advantage of the down time and decided to buckle down on potty training Eli. When they say the second kid is easier it is SO true! The combo of Eli emulating his brother and ratio of PPTE (Parent Potty Training Experience) has resulted in only two accidents total so far. Today was five of no Pull-Ups, and we even braved the grocery store and nap time in big boy britches. I'm still putting him in Pull-Ups at night but he's usually dry in the morning.

Eli's been so proud of himself and excited to be a Big Boy. So has his Mamma.

Big Boy2
Contrary to the way this photo appears, Eli is laughing & smiling for the camera... as opposed to something else.


Just about every year, Caleb gets me a Chocolate Cadbury Biscuit tin for Christmas. It's one of my favorite things on earth.

I was sneaking a taste in the kitchen when Finn snuck up behind me.

Finn: "Mom, you sposeta SHARE. Can I have a cookie... please?"

Me: "Why is it you only remember the magic word when it involves cookies?"
I went ahead and sacrificed a biscuit to my eldest son. The reaction was instant and so very worth it.

Finn: rolling his eyes up in his head "Oh, MOMMY. Oh... this... has changed my life forever!"

That's my boy.


I always heard that boys eat lots of food, but I didn't expect that to start at the HH until Finn & Eli were much older. I was WRONG. We go through four gallons of milk a week, over 2 loaves of bread, a gallon of juice, 2 bunches of bananas, and a dozen apples. And this is just liquids and fruit snacks. I find myself going to the grocery store 2-3 times a week, and each time I inadvertently walk out spending more than I intended.

I blame this on myself. If I see something and we need it and will eat it, I usually get it. It's the girl scout in me I guess, but it can be a real problem when I pop in to get a couple ingredients for a recipe and walk out with $70 worth of groceries. So I thought I'd conduct a little experiment. Today I went to the grocery store and got $139 worth of groceries. I'm going to see how long it takes for us to eat this down without having to go back. Even if it means having something for dinner we aren't in the mood for, or isn't a particular favorite.

I've planned some meals for the week (it made it much easier to shop with coupons) and will try to stretch some meals out. Who know? Maybe we'll save some money & I can take the time I was spending in Publix and use it to do something productive... like clean, or laundry, or organize a closet. (Or sleep!)

Here are my dinner ideas: (listed here especially for Sandypants)
  • Beans, fried cabbage, & ham - ham leftover from New Years
  • Chili - using leftover beans
  • Sarah's Picante Pot Roast 
  • Taco Salad (made with ground turkey)
  • Salmon, spinach couscous, steamed broccoli
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • Asian garlic chicken with cashew broccoli & brown rice
  • Shepherds or Cottage Pie
  • BBQ chicken, green beans, baked potatoes
  • Leftovers and/or sandwich night
  • Breakfast for Dinner night

I think the key is to use all your fresh veggies ASAP then switch to frozen after we've eaten those up. We always have canned in the pantry but I use those sparingly due to the convenience factor (plus canned veggies have more sodium). I think I can make it at least one whole week before I need to go back to the grocery store for anything, with the exception of milk.

Especially now that I don't have to get those craptastic Pull-Ups anymore!

If you have any good "scrappy" meals you can recommend I would love to see them - just leave them in the comments.
Hotwheel Hacienda, 2008. All Rights Reserved.|Blog Design by JudithShakes Designs.
Graphics hosted by Flickr.