Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to choose a Candidate.

Early voting is almost over!
I mentioned a while back that my Dad, Ira Hansen, is running for the assembly seat in district 32....and now I'm going to give you the world's best reason to vote for him:

This morning:

After I spent a portion of last night in the hospital for high blood pressure problems with this pregnancy, I was put on orders to stay off of my feet for a few days. My sis-in-law Ali was my nurse too! She delivered the orders from my doctor, and we both looked at each other like:
"Oh dear, who has time to lie in bed all day?!"

The problem: I was scheduled to watch Finnan today while she worked, Tyler is away taking his P.E. Exams in California, Grandma had a field trip she couldn't miss with Larissa, and Daniel is in medical school.

Who to the rescue?!!: The candidate.
Also known as Pop (to my kids).
He arrived this morning to pick up all three of his grandchildren,
during a hectic campaign season no less.

Shows the true measure of a man.

If he can clean up this mess, just imagine what he can do in the legislature.

Vote for Ira!

Vote for Ira!

Vote for Ira!

And tell your friends!

Click here to visit his website.

Monday, October 25, 2010

No such thing...

This is my soon to be "middle child". I hate that term though. There is nothing middle about her. Nothing remotely unworthy of notice, mediocre, squished in between, or unoriginal. No. middle-ish. anything. No sir-ee, not no-how.

My precious London lady.
The space she occupies in my heart is so big, so deep, and reserved just for her.

She had her first day of preschool today. Just once a week, in a co-op group with some friends. Lily's preschool is a little more formal, tuition and all, and London will do that next year. But for now I felt like she needed something of her very own. Dropping her off this morning, I felt more emotional than I even did when Lily started. But don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly sobbing myself silly: I'm saving that for the big dawg Kindergarten year.
Kindergarten = the end of my very happiness
Preschool a couple of times of week= a nice break

But Lundy girl never goes anywhere without Lily.
So, it was a big deal this morning.

We hugged our goodbyes...

And she went right on in...

Happy as a clam. Ready for her own adventure.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Parks and the Pukes.

The fall air has been so refreshing. I love nothing more than lounging on a blanket at the park. Lunch packed, book in hand, the girls playing on the swingset, cascading leaves dropping from the colorful trees during a quiet afternoon
= heaven.

Good thing we enjoyed that yesterday, because today we're a bunch of shut-ins with a serious case of the barfs. Bleh. Why does flu season have to coincide with the beauty of autumn?!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Because I've finally learned how to upload a video.

My Mom sent me this little clip this last spring. Every now and then I go back into my video files and watch it. It's such a short, simple little clip but captures an essence of what I love about my girls and more. My Lundy girl already talks so much more precisely now. I love to peek back at her gibberish. They are my smiles.

Monday, October 18, 2010

No, this is not my baby. But I do love her.

Meet Zoe.

Zoe Jeanene Volger.

Oh my, isn't she just precious?

She will be Ellie's friend.

And Lily and London's too, of course.
(London already excitedly squealed - when viewing the first text'd picture we received of her last night: "O Myyyy Gosssss! I wanna pet him...." No offense Zoe dear, she is still having pronoun issues. He/him/her/she/cats/dogs/humans/babies: they're all the same.)

Welcome to the world, Zoe.

You are just exquisite.

Quite the little celebrity. You have a large entourage,
all who have been very excited to meet you, little Miss.

And someday, I will tell you stories about your Mom.


I met her when we were 15.

I had braces, bangs, and big white sketchers.
She wore t-shirts with giant airbrushed eyeballs on them.

We were big dorks. And best friends.

We worked on cheers together late at night in her bedroom.

We cried to each other about our boyfriends.

We wrote each other notes of advice about such boyfriends,

as if we had a clue.
(We didn't.)

I fixed her hair one year for prom, after a stylist attempted to channel Martha Washington meets Jane Austen meets hideously tight bun and mini ringlets.

I called her frequently in college when I was homesick and sad.

I was on the other end of the phone line screaming after your Daddy proposed.

I was standing by her side when she said "I do".


And just nine months ago, I was once again screaming in the kitchen when they arrived to tell me about your pending arrival.

And I cried with your Mom as we both puked our guts out for the next three months.

And cursed our pregnant, swollen extremities.

And we talked

And talked

And talked

About everything under the sun related to you.

For nine whole months.

It seemed like eternity some days.

But today... I held you.

And remembered how gosh darn worth it this whole process is.
(I knew it was, and so did your Mom).

You are magical,
with the most perfect little features
and sweet spirit
and it was a pleasure meeting you.


Auntie Rae

You're going to like me. I promise.
{Because I'll bribe you with candy at an early age...shhhh, don't tell your Mom}.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Feast.

Papa Don's Birthday Dinner Menu.
{Because it feels good to cook for a good father-in-law}

Click titles for recipes.

1. Texas Chili Corn Casserole

{Part of a two in one meal series...starts with slow cooker chili recipe. Don't you love killing two birds with one stone? Or should I two dinners with one pot? Oh I am so clever.} Plus this one features polenta, and cooking with polenta makes me feel oh so 1) italian 2) cool.

2. Fresh from the garden salad.

3. Cornbread.
Use Jiffy mix... and be proud of it.

4. Pumpkin cookies
(again, but by special request! I told you they were yummy!).

And thanks for the emails/comments on the cookies - so good to hear from you peeps! Glad you have now embarked on a genuine love/hate relationship with these for the rest of eternity as well.

And on the subject of food, stay tuned for a book recommendation that will turn your food loving world upside down with guilt and misery and woe.

You do want to read a book like that, don't you?


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sleep deprivation.

This afternoon

Tyler: "I think I'm going to go take a little nap."


30 minutes later...

Engrossed with my cooking in the kitchen, I briefly paused and
came back to bedroom to find this:

Sorry Daddy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Charting the course.

It came in a flash, a bolt. A thundering epiphany. A revelation.

You know what you need, Rachel?
Do you want to know what you. really. need?

Scrapbooking scissors.

And a Chart.


The voice came as I was vacuuming a few weeks ago, shortly after an experience that easily illustrates my recent loss of control as parent. Jacob and Erica's reception at my parent's house had just wrapped up nicely. Tyler had returned from an out of town trip on time to be there, and my job of decoration and preparing everything had turned out well. Lily and London were primped and curled, twirling around the whole affair in their fluffy white flower girl dresses.

It was time to go, and Lily had just caught a toad in the yard with Pop. She carried it over excitedly in her hands and begged and pleaded to keep it. It was 9:30pm, well past bed-time, and toad keeping was just not an option.

"No Lu, can come back and catch it next time."

Enter earth shattering tantrum.

She collapsed, kicking and screaming in her white dress in the middle of the dusty driveway. She arched her back and attempting throwing Lily-punches as Tyler wrestled her into the car and I climbed into the driver's seat and hurriedly started the engine. Shrieking and sobbing, tears flying everywhere, she issued Lily-profanities in her loudest voice. Her curls were now a matte of tangles and sweaty heat as her red faced crinkled in fury.

I drove approximately a third of a mile, and just as her lungs had surpassed all humanly possible decibel levels, I slammed on the brakes dramatically and issued my command:

"Okay, that's it. Get out.
Get out.
Get out."

There was a brief silence. She looked back defiantly, squinting with her fluid filled eyes. Unbuckled all of her satin and chiffon and stood...


She proceeded to unlock her door, opening it to the dark night and vast landscape of lonely sagebrush. There was only a brief moment of hesitation behind her scowl and rosy cheeks, but she meant business. So did I.

"I mean it Lu, if you act like can't stay in the car. Get out."

Enter Tyler into the conversation.

Rae, what are you doing? Lily, just get back in your seat."

He hopped out of the car and went back to her seat to help her buckle, all while trying to console her cries. He explained everything was okay, and that she just needed to calm down and we would be home in a few minutes. I shot him the look of marital death.

You just broke the cardinal rule of co-parenting, buddy. You're being the good guy! The good cop! In front of our child, you are undermining my authority! How dare you! I think any expert would agree you have just made a serious please allow me to proceed with kicking our four-year old little girl in a pretty dress out of our car at 10pm to make her way alone in the desert.

He knew the look, and firmly responded,

"I know, I know, Rae...I'm not trying to go against you in front of them, but this is NOT how you should handle it. You know what she's doing? She's pulling a Rachel. She's tired, exhausted, and has lost a little control. You don't kick her out in the sagebrush. That's just not what you do."

What do you mean?! You've kicked me out into the sagebrush plenty of times.

{Okay, maybe not.}

She fell asleep in her booster seat minutes after we resumed our drive home.

He was right. So right. {dang}


I had been pulling too many "Rachel's" myself. With each push of the vacuum, motherhood's difficulty was apparent. I was tired, yes, and needed to regain control. So when my epiphany came, like manna from heaven, I was so grateful:

Exactly!!! I need scrapbooking scissors and a chart!

All Amazing Mothers have scrapbooking scissors and charts. This is truth. Call me crazy, but I challenge you to find a mother who has things under control who does NOT utilize these two materials. I've seen it first hand plenty of times. That one Mom who seems so. put. together. Her children say please and thank you and do chores and have never heard the words "Damn you all!" spewing from her lips. Search behind her scenes, and you'll notice there is always an element of color coding, chart progressing, sticker sticking, scrapbook scissoring going on. I swear.

I identified a few areas of aggravation in my life. And especially dealing with the children solo so often, as I had been with Tyler traveling, it was up to me to change the landscape of home. We needed a few simple rules. Cardinal rules. And, we needed a schedule. Nothing ridiculous and extremely regimented, but a general pattern that my children needed to follow. Morning and evenings were the most difficult. So I charted two separate posters.

We had a family home evening. We went over the schedule and the girls excitedly colored and decorated our kitschy little posterboard. We practiced and detailed rewards for following the schedule.
Side 1

Side 2

It is borderline freakish how these simple posterboards have changed our lives.

Our rules chart is wonderfully generic and awesome. I pretty much summed up three rules that I can apply anything too. For example, the other day when I caught Lily taking a pair of scissors to begin cutting up one of my favorite aprons, I simply asked,

"Lily, is that LOVING OUR HOME?"

Or another day when London was acting like this...

"London, is that ACTING SASSY?"

Inevitably, a brief recollection of our
infamous chart comes to their minds...

And all is well. (Mostly).

So, if anyone needs to borrow a pair of scalloped scissors, I'm your girl.
I think I have about 7 sets. We've turned a new leaf in the past few weeks and I can't deny, they have worked miracles for me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Child Labor and Labor for Child

The past few days have been so delightfully perfect. A storm has settled into our neck of the woods and hasn't let up without dumping a few good glugs of rain and plenty of thunder. Talk about cozy. My pumpkin candle has been burning round the clock, we've lingered longer in our blankets, and sported fluffy socks all throughout the house. Feels lovely after all of the heat.

In preparation for Miss Elle, our carpets and tile were cleaned last week. Yesterday, the blind cleaner came and now the white blinds throughout the house could easily be mistaken for brand-spanking-new. Add to that my bizarre 4am episode of nesting last Saturday, in which I cleaned out four closets and the girl's playroom (amounting to 7 bags worth of Goodwill donations - how on earth do we accumulate so much "stuff"?), and I'm feeling so refreshed. The house is cozy AND clean. The to-do list is diminishing as I find myself more and more heavy at the feet. I plan on lazy dazying the next month before her big arrival. Which is strangely difficult for me. I don't know how NOT to be busy busy. Lying on the couch with my feet up feels luxurious and completely wasteful at the same time. But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Lily and London were put to work as well.

Scrubbing their art work...

off of all the doors throughout the house...

Today we will stay put, at home, other than a brief venture out to Walmart for a few items. I'll pull out our newborn clothes box and begin getting the dresser stocked and assessed. I'm sure the girls will squeal with excitement. London will beg to try they them on herself (as she did the other day until I finally gave in and let her attempt to wear a pair of size 6 months leggings), and Lily will plead that I donate a few outfits for her Fancy Nancy doll.

I also plan on making this Chili from Miss Paula Deen. Looks super yummy.

Picture of White-Bean Chili Recipe

A good, chilled October day.

Hope you enjoy it too.


And a special shout out to Pop-I: Happy Birthday! We love you.

Gamma, Pop-I and grandkids.
Picture taken Summer '09.

Hilarious. Despite approx. 20 people behind the camera
attempting to get the babies to smile,
this was the best shot.

I like it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Recipes.

The Good:

This morning. My children playing together. London in her beloved Care Bear outfit. German pancakes for conference. Having Tyler home.

The Bad:

Tyler leaving to catch his flight.
My oh my he's had to be gone a lot lately.
But I'm doing much better this time...which leads me back to

The Good:

Last night he indulged my special request for our date: dinner and a good float in the pool at the gym. Seriously, two people at 9:30pm at night in the Gold's Gym pool.
Ooooo laaaa laaaaaaa.
Actually it wasn't for romantical purposes. He shivered and patiently swam and waded with me as I floated and went on and on and on about how heavenly it felt for my body to be submersed in water. We discussed many things as I held on to his neck and he pulled me up and down the lap lane, among the most important was his ingenious plan to invent a home friendly tank of water that a pregnant woman can be inserted in up to her neck for sleep.
Watch out Bill and Melinda Gates, cuz Microsoft is about to get schooled as the world is introduced to


I didn't marry this brilliant Engineer for nothin'...which leads me back to

The Bad:

Forget the business trip Tyler, you are so much fun to be with.
I always miss you, my best friend.

Lily and I made our favorite Pumpkin Chocolate chip cookies to ease the pain of your absence...
which leads me to conclude with....

The Recipes:

German Pancakes
(special shout out to Joanie, who introduced them to us and we have since been mildly obsessed)

1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
6 eggs
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 415.
Melt the butter in a 13x9 inch glass pan.
Beat together milk, flour, eggs, and salt.
Pour in pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until it is a wonderful ball of fluff.

Serve sliced with butter and syrup, or your favorite combination of fruits and whipped cream, or nutella and bananas, or powdered sugar and lemon juice, or whatever your precious heart desires.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with
Rae's amazing Twist (i.e. orange icing).
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oil
1 egg

Mix together above ingredients. Sift and add to above:

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder

Dissolve and add to rest of ingredients:

1 tsp soda
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Orange icing:

1/2 cup butter
A cup or so of powdered sugar

Melt the butter and mix with the powdered sugar.
Slice orange in half and squeeze all the juice,
until you have a nice icing-like consistency.
Zest the peel into the icing.
Lightly drizzle over the cookies.

Of special note:
*I make half of the batch without chocolate chips. We appreciate diversity in baking.
*You can skip the fresh orange and just add orange extract to the above orange icing ingredients.
*When you are done, you will need to promptly hide the entire batch.
You will have already eaten 9 cookies and won't be able to stop until you feel like vomiting.
They are that good.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Check it out!

Hip hip hooray! I am a finalist!
I never submit anything for this type of thing.
They asked readers to submit any favorite mothering photo we have.
I gave one of London giving me a good smooch.

Head on over to Bloom and
Vote for me!
Vote for me!
Vote for me!
(And Lundy).