Here we are!

Here we are!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

The boys like riding the schoolbus to and from school every day. At our bus stop, there are around 10 to 15 students that ride the bus. The bus driver this year likes to bring treats for the kids on Fridays like Tootsie Pops. Today he brought donuts for the kids on the way TO school (hello sugar!). Daniel took a maple bar, which is his favorite (mine too). When he got home at noon, he told me that he had a donut he wanted to eat (I thought he got one on the way home, but I didn't see it anywhere). So I told him to wash his hands first.

Me: "Where was your donut?"

D: "In my backpack."

Me: "Did you put it in your lunch box?"

D: "No, it's too hard to explain."

Me: "Did you wrap it in something?"

D: "No, I just put it in my backpack." (Imagine me with a frozen smile.)

Me: "What else is in your backpack?"

D: "Oh, just my folder." (Whew!)

Fortunately his backpack is fairly new, so there's nothing too ugly at the bottom yet. His backpack got a nice wipe-down today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tour of California at Shepherd and Minnewawa The boys and I headed out to watch the Tour of California go past. How can you NOT go see it when they are just a couple of miles away from our house? So we drove on Minnewawa as close as we could get and then parked and walked up a block to Shepherd. Front row view! Here is the front of the group. We missed getting a picture of the first 3 guys because they zipped by so fast.

The Amgen website has fantastic streaming coverage, so when they got close to Millerton, we left home to go watch it live and we only waited about 10 minutes. The whole time we were waiting, there were all the vans and video motorcycles zooming past. I think every CHP and police car in California was also having fun on the route. And then after about 5 seconds, it was over. So the boys didn't even have time to get bored. Well, Daniel said he was bored, but it may be "opposite day" today, so I don't know if he was bored or entertained. Anyway, I got to see Lance Armstrong up close (it was a blur, so I'm just telling you I saw him, really).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Taco Tuesday
Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday at the Neufeld house. We LOVE tacos! Most of the time it is ground beef tacos, but we also do chicken tacos, fish tacos, and tonight we had carnitas tacos. Yum! Here is what I did:

Yesterday we had slow-cooker pulled pork barbecue sandwiches. When you get a pork shoulder roast on sale, it is quite economical.

Put a big pork shoulder roast (or pork butt roast, great name BTW) in a slow cooker.
Quarter one onion and put in pot.
Add 5 or 6 peeled garlic cloves.
Add 1 cup beef stock (or make with boullion cube).
Season with salt/pepper.
Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred with fork and serve on your favorite bun with favorite barbecue sauce. Melts in your mouth! This goes well with coleslaw, too.

For carnitas, take remaining meat and save for the next day. Strain liquid from slow-cooker and save. The next day: Place shredded pork in a baking pan and pour 1/2 cup milk over. (I know, sounds weird). Bake at 325 for 1 hour. Stir/scrape meat off pan and pour 1/2 cup of reserved meat broth over. Every 15 minutes, repeat the scrape/pour process until meat is crispy to your liking. Season to taste and serve in tacos! Muy bien!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day Aren't spur-of-the-moment, last-minute plans sometimes the best? We usually don't do anything special for Valentine's Day because we can't stand the crowds or cheesy romantic meals at restaurants. So when Karen Ray called to see if we wanted to come over for dinner, it worked out great! She made yummy chicken parmesan and for dessert we had chocolate mousse with vanilla sauce and rich coffee machiattos. Then Tim got out his mandolin and Dan got out his harmonicas and they goofed off a little before it was time to head home.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Stubborn Son
Last night I made soup for dinner. It was good soup if I do say so myself, as did Tim and Michael. Daniel is our picky eater and wasn't interested in the soup. He is probably better described as a stubborn eater rather than a picky eater. It's all in the motivation. We usually have to hold off giving him a 2nd serving of things like bread or pilaf or corn (his favorites) until he finishes the "real" food first. So last night he wanted another biscuit with honey and we told him to eat more soup first. Actually, we have to tell him in more specific terms, like "eat 5 more bites first." And he usually tries to bargain his way down: "how about 4 more bites?" So we play this game just about every day ("if you don't eat 5 bites, then it's going to be 6"). He knows that if he doesn't eat his dinner, we will save it and heat it up for him when he wants a snack later. He even acts like a martyr when he finally eats his dinner (at 8:00): "Fine, I'll EAT it... (sigh)." So back to the soup. Last night, he had about half his soup left. By half of it left, I mean like 5 green beans and 2 bites of ham. We don't give him very much because we know what he does. And we also don't force our kids to lick their plates clean. But we do make them eat enough to get nourishment. Have you seen our skinny kids? They COULD use a little meat on their bones. But I digress. So Daniel really doesn't want to eat any more soup. I know he is not full; I know he is not sick; I know he is being stubborn. So we clean up dinner and leave him sitting at the table. He knows he can quickly gobble up a handful of bites and be done with it, but he doesn't. After an hour (!!) I heat up his soup again and he takes 2 bites of ham. He still doesn't want to finish it. So Michael starts practicing his guitar and I pick up a book to read. Daniel just sits at the table.
Me: "Daniel, all you have to do is eat those green beans and you can be excused."
Daniel: "How about just one green bean?"
Me: "No, all the green beans, and if you can eat more than one bean in a bite, it will be just 4 bites."
Daniel: "But there is a tomato in my bowl."
Me: "You don't have to eat the tomato."
Daniel: "How about one bite?"
Me: "If you can eat all the green beans in one bite, then that's fine."
Daniel: "Oh, all right."
So after TWO hours, he finished his soup. We even had fresh brownies waiting for him, but that wasn't a good enough motivation. How can this kid be so stubborn that he would choose to sit at the table for 2 hours rather than just go "gulp, gulp, gulp" and be excused??

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dental Implants
Yesterday I had my 2nd implant "installed." Or do you say "implanted?" It was a lot easier than 3 months ago when I had my tooth surgically extracted with a bone graft. They have to wait 3 months for the bone graft to turn into real bone and then they can do the implant. So, like I said, this is easier; my cheek is swollen (picture a cartoon monkey) but at least all my teeth don't hurt like before. I can chew pretty normal on the opposite side. Yesterday, for some reason, I was not as doped up when I came home and my mouth did not stay numb all day as before. This alertness was nice, but had to be sacrificed for the Tylenol/Codeine pain relief. Today, ibuprofen is the drug of choice, but I think I'm secretly looking forward to tonight's codeine-induced sleep.

In my previous post, I mentioned my aversion to needles. Here's my IV story from yesterday: I get to the surgeon's office a few minutes early and try to stay calm while waiting. I have complete confidence in the surgeon and trust him totally. The assistant calls me in to the room and starts checking my blood pressure and heart rate. Calm, stay calm. Then she gives me the release form to sign, which says that I'm going to have my #6 tooth extracted, a bone graft, and a dental implant while under IV sedation. I correct her and say that obviously I have already had my #6 tooth extracted and also a bone graft. I'm trying not to get nervous. She leaves for a few minutes and then comes back with a corrected form. I sign the form. Then I'm waiting and waiting and trying to stay calm. Finally the dr. comes in and gets my arm ready for the IV. I do really good when I don't watch and ignore the "pinch" of the needle. (They always say "small pinch" right before they stick you; why is that?) Because I was trying to ignore the whole needle thing, I forgot to remind him that my right arm always has trouble with the veins (I have agonizingly learned this during the past 10 years). So after 3 or 4 "small pinches," I'm trying not to pass out and manage to mumble "you did my left arm last time." He feels really terrible about this and says that most people would be screaming at him by then. So I try to look away as he moves to my left arm (which took about half a second for the IV) and I see the blood on my right arm and the assistant getting a needle ready. And that is the last I remember.

Now during my needle-distraction, I asked lots of questions while the dr.'s hands were busy. I found out that about 90% of wisdom teeth extractions are done under IV sedation and about 50% of dental implants are done under IV sedation. The reason most people don't do the IV sedation is because they either have a severe aversion or they physically can't be sedated. At my appointment 3 months ago, the dr. tried to distract me with questions about the election. Did I think there were going to be any surprises? Did I vote? etc. I asked him if he liked his job. And he gave me the best answer. He stopped and said "I love my job. If I had the choice to do it again, I would absolutely do the same thing." Whew! What a relief. And then I was asleep.

I can't wait to see my x-rays next month. The implants show up bright white on x-rays and it's interesting to see how deep they really go. I'll try to bring my camera and see if I can get a picture. Almost makes me feel like the Terminator or something. Cool!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Catching Up
Michael: Michael recently ran for student body office for the position of Safety Commissioner. I still don't have a good idea of what this all entailed, but since there were 5 students running for the position, I knew there was a good chance that a defeat wouldn't bother him too much. It was a great experience for him; making posters, writing a speech, and then giving a speech to his school. The girl that won is such a neat girl, so Michael was happy for her. Michael also turned 10 last month and had a Wii birthday party. He had some friends over to play video games and our house has never emitted that level of volume before (I even asked our neighbor about it). I had no idea 5 boys could make that much noise. We gave Michael a guitar for his birthday and he is already learning so much. The guitar comes much easier for him than piano does. Can you guess who he takes after?

Daniel: Daniel is new territory for a 6 year old. He is so funny and frustrating; such a constant contradiction. He wants to be so independent because that is what they teach in kindergarten, but he doesn't understand that he has to obey when he gets home. "I'm gonna get some marshmallows." (His favorite food.) "No, Daniel, it's almost dinnertime." "Well, I'm just going to have a few." "No, Daniel, you need to obey." "But it's just a few... waaaaaaaa." Sigh... And then he can be so funny. This morning we were lounging around in our jammies (no school today) and he said "MOM, why do you still have your jammies on?!" "Well, Daniel, YOU still have YOUR jammies on..." and then he just laughed and laughed at that. Saturday, Tim and I went to the $3 movie theater and Daniel asked why they were going to Nana's house. So I teasingly told him that we wanted to go have fun without him. Any other day, he would have laughed and joked right back, but yesterday he started to cry. Sigh... Like I said, constant contradiction. And it doesn't help that he is so cute without his two front teeth; try not to laugh at a 6 year old when he is trying to be serious. Today he wanted to wear shorts so bad, and when he asked if he could wear short pants, I told him sure. Fifty two degrees is plenty warm for shorts!

Tim: You can catch updates on Tim's blog, but the most recent family news is his truck. It has a hole in the radiator. And while his truck is not exactly family, it does put a strain on our hectic life with one car. If it was nice and sunny, this predicament would not be an issue, but who wants to ride a motorcycle in the rain?

Tracy: After Thursday, I will have implants. Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun... I already have one implant and the next one this week will make it two. My #6 tooth (or lack of) will be getting a nice titanium post pounded into my upper jaw. Three months ago, I had that #6 tooth surgically removed and a bone graft put in. But the worst is over and hopefully this will be nothing more than an inconvenience. I actually heal pretty fast and my tolerance for pain is surprisingly (shockingly) high. Except that I don't handle needles very well. Did you know that in high school I actually half-way fainted in Biology when we had to do blood typing? I had to dive for the girls' restroom to heave. And I had to drive an old truck to my tiny country high school? And I just don't dance or do well in sports? And I would prefer jeans or sweats to fashion? Hmm, who does that sound like? Yes, Cindy, I am in fact a Bella! Go to Cindy's blog to see who she is. By the way, if you are considering the vampire movie, just say no! They should have paid ME to sit through that. Stick with the books.