Friday, November 19, 2010

PLEASE VOTE!

Okay, so I'm shamelessly going to ask you to do me a favor, once a day, for the next 25 days. As you may or may not know, my Triple Threat Coconut Cream Pie won the Washington State Fair Pillsbury Pie contest. Now, it's up against about twenty other contenders on Pillsbury's website for their "America's Favorite Pie" contest. If you win the most votes, you get a years' worth of Pillsbury Pie Dough! Yay.

Another portion of the contest, in which their staff and judges come together and judge each pie (made in their test kitchen), awards a $5,000 winner at the end of December. We need a new furnace pretty badly; I'm hoping I win just to put some efficient heat in our home. But the first part of the contest, where America votes--oh, it is a dream of mine to have those bragging rights.

From now until December 13th, you can vote once a day. You have to briefly register, then it only takes a few seconds to vote each day. I'd be so grateful if you'd do it for me! And quite frankly, I'm beginning to believe this is more important than the presidential election. :0)

Love you all! And if you love me AT all, I know you'll vote by following the link below. http://www.pillsbury.com/Products/Pie/refrigerated-pie-crust/Pie-Voting

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat


It's been a while since my last post--I know--but I thought I'd jump right in here with some pictures from Halloween. We weren't really going to do anything--I was positive the kids would go nuts "having" to wear their costumes. However, both of them practically begged to put the costumes on after having practiced for a couple weeks prior here and there.

And lucky for us and the rest of Seattle, the rain held off. We decided to stop by the few neighbors surrounding us and a couple of others down the street we've met. The kids were amazing; both walked the whole time, Gracie even held their trick-or-treat bag.
It was actually kind of sad to come home. I can't wait for next year!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

America's Got Talent

Anyone know how old you have to be to enter? I'm pretty sure Liam's on the fast track to his own Vegas show!

video

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bloedel Reserve


So a friend of mine through The Salvation Army sits on the board of this fabulous nature preserve over on Bainbridge Island. Her girlfriend's father donated his mansion and about 150 acres to go along with it many years ago; it's now privately maintained and quite a gem! Anyway, I got a membership (only $55/year) for my birthday, and can't get out there often enough!

It's about three miles of groomed trails, very accessible by stroller or wheelchair even. And the path is so flat, that even my two little toddlers had no problem walking as far as they wanted to. Although, with as big as it is, it's the first time Liam has ever asked to get back into the stroller. Funny.

Anyway, to all my Seattle people--go check it out! To all of our distant relatives, look out. We're paying a visit next time you come see us. :0)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Walker.

video

MMmmmm.





Summer Fun









Of course it's only been hot enough one day this year to play in our awesome pool (birthday gift), and Liam was much more interested in the hose than the pool, but whatever. The kids look cute regardless. :o)

Crazy Babies





So, brief update to those I haven't talked to for a while. Grace started walking the last week of June, and is already a pro. She's very pleased with herself and as she took her time, has a lot less spills than her brother did when he started in March.

This weekend, they both really took off with their first words. One each. Of course they do the "mama" and "dada" thing, but these are REAL words! Grace is doing "uh oh," and Liam is saying "Hi". SO CUTE! Grace can also meow and moo; Liam could care less about the animals except for when he has the opportunity to pull the cats tail or chase him around the yard.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our Kansas City Trip


Well, I'm STILL trying to gather all the pictures from our trip. Sean insisted we wouldn't need our camera charger while we were there--I thought, "Okay--he'll see." Of course, the first day I go to take pictures, the battery is exhausted. (I should have thought the above but brought it anyway.)

So, we gathered pictures from everyone else's cameras, but they wouldn't all fit onto on zip drive. We got what we could--need to get the rest. I had taken some cute ones on my phone, but in the meantime, Grace ate the phone and I can no longer transfer any data or talk on it. Hmph.
(At least) Sharon & Rita also had about ten things break or fall apart in their (LOVELY) home in the last two days we were there, so at least I'm not alone in the frustration.
All that being said, we had a MARVELOUS time! Every last extended relative on Sean's side, I'm sure, were more than hospitable and gracious. We ate well, we slept relatively well (despite Liam & Grace waking a few times each night), and relaxed more than I have in a year or better. I'm actually having a hard time getting back into my work rythym. Who needs it, anyway?

Well, there may be more pictures later, is all I'm saying. Some of the best ones of the kids with their family members are still in cyber space somewhere. Here's a smattering of the rest.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

1st Birthday Pictures

Babies were everywhere! The little guy on the left with his mom and the little girl on the far right were Liam & Grace's roommates in the NICU at birth. Asa & Zoe are 22 hours younger; they're still pals. The little blondie in the white is one of Grace's best friends, Saige. They'll grow old together, I'm quite sure. The older girls are old neighbors of ours from South Park.
Me, Gracie, Saige, and Colter. . .I think, and Saige's dad, Clif. Alston and Colter are twin brothers who were also at the party. Yep, lots of babies!
My folks got to come help celebrate. Look how happy Liam and Grace are that it's SO COLD for their May birthdays!
Liam was NOT impressed with the whole eating cake in front of a crowd situation. Also note his signature bruise on the forehead. He pretty much can't go without one. Ever.
Grace totally dug the cake, or at least had fun trying to pick the polka dots off of the lady bug. Wait until I get the pictures up of their second birthday party in Kansas City. She went to TOWN!

So, I'm a little late in posting these. It's been busy. And now the kids are already 13 months old! Holy cow, put the brakes on somebody! Way, way too fast. My little babies. . .shoot, Liam's already RUNNING.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

One Year Pictures

I had to wait to post these until the Moms, Grandmas and Aunties got these for Mother's Day. Now that that's done--here's the whole shoot. Couldn't get either one to smile--of course. Liam was starstruck by the camera, and Grace--well, there was a stranger behind that camera! I still think they're pretty stinkin' cute! (Click on the link below to see them all.)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=218268&id=711591420&l=87d7df8eb9
Might I add that they've made me the happiest mom ever?! In case you were trying to figure it out--this is actually my SECOND Mom's day. Last year, they were about five days old and in the hospital, but regardless. I'm an old pro at this now.
And a special shout out to all the ladies in our lives, especially our moms. You've been great resources over this past year, as I'm sure for years to come! Love you ALL!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Elvis is ALIVE!

I've told a few of you that our new neighbor is an Elvis impersonator, but I'm not sure how many of you actually believe me. Well, here's proof.

My folks came up to help celebrate the twins' first birthday. I had arranged for George, er--Elvis--to come surprise my dad on the 29th, b/c it was actually his 65th birthday. I offered to pay him, but he only asked for a blackberry pie in return. Well, duh! I LOVE making pies! So George got his pie and my dad got his song.

I so LOVE our new neighborhood!




Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cheese

This is why we want to move out of town some day. I can just see Liam and Grace in a future story here. . . .

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/flatpages/video/mediacenterbc3.html?bcpid=30884189001&bctid=1581481526

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Racing

Okay, so Liam's lost nearly all of his baby fat in the past two weeks from some crazy residual stomach flu/diarrhea. Ugh. A pound and a half in a week, actually. So--disclaimer: I know he looks skinny here, but I'm not starving him! This is one of his favorite new "past times."

video

My Pretty Girl



Maybe I'm biased, but I still think she's one of the cutest babies ever invented.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New House Photos!


We finally closed and got the keys this past Wednesday, and moving day is April 1st! Our new address is: 19292 Occidental Avenue S. Seattle, WA 98148.


video

Monday, March 22, 2010

Corned Grace and Cabbage



So, after corning our own beef a few years ago, we both decided we couldn't possibly buy another precorned one again. The flavor and texture is so much better when done at home with love. . .sigh. I did sample a pretty good one at our local gourmet grocer, Metropolitan Market, but it still wasn't quite as "earthy" as ours. Problem is, it takes 5 to 7 days to marinate; I had thought it only took three (seems I mess this part up every year), so we didn't get to eat it until yesterday (3/21). While we were getting it ready, Sean decided to throw Gracie in the crock pot. She fit pretty well!
Corning Your Own Beef:
1 (3 1/2 -to 4 1/2-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
1/2 c. kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons paprika
2 bay leaves, crumbled
Mix the salt and spices together in a small bowl. Spear the brisket about 30 times per side with a meat fork or metal skewer. Rub each side evenly with the salt mixture. Place the brisket in a large zipper-lock bag, forcing as much air out as possible. (I actually insert a straw here, and suck the additional air out for a really tight pack.) Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cover with a similar sized pan, and weight with two bricks or large cans. Refrigerate for 5 to 7 days, turning once daily. Rince and pat the meat dry before using. Cook according to your favorite method, or do what I do:
  • After rinsing the beef, place in your (large) crock pot on top of a bed of large onion pieces from one yellow onion.
  • Top with four wedges from half of a large green cabbage (leaving core intact), three large carrots cut into 3-4 inch pieces, and about eight red potatoes, in 2-inch chunks.
  • Pour in one bottle of your favorite Irish beer (we use Smithwick's--Guinness would be too dark), a quart of low-sodium chicken broth, and enough water to come about 1/2-inch above the beef.
  • We cook ours on high for about two hours, then turn to low for another six hours or so. A fork should slide easily in and out of the center of the meat when it's done. Should feed six to eight, or provide leftovers for some great reuben sandwiches!

Or, you can follow Alton Brown's recipe below. He adds Saltpeter--acquired from your local pharmacist--which is the nitrate that keeps the meat red. Ours turns the same color most cooked beef does--a rosy brown, but is certainly not RED like most corned beef. I haven't tried his, but approve the recipe.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/corned-beef-and-cabbage-recipe/index.html

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Well, technically--the last name Battle is just as much Scottish as it is Irish--but Sean's mom is a Kathrens--which is very much Irish. I don't have a lick in me, from what I can tell, but when you have a red-headed boy named Liam Battle, you'd better celebrate! Grace is way too mild-mannered to really show the Irish blood--she definately takes after her mom's side of the family!














He finally got it!












We've been waiting, waiting, and waiting for Liam to figure out that the camera means "smile." Now that he's figured it out, he is such a ham!

Birthday Practice

I know it's still a month and a half away, but I can't help myself. There's cupcake places all over around here, and it makes the babes SSSOOOOO happy! Not like I do it all the time. . .

Needless to say, I do believe my two will be pros at the whole first birthday/cake eating thing. Can't wait!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw0G_h5Ayys

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyMFjn_02to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsIao4fJssw

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gracie & Daddy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj3neEe7spo

Little Angel

She's been doing this thing for several months now--I think it was her first way to mimmick me, but now she does it just to be funny, or when she's mad or frustrated. Usually now, every morning when I go to get her out of bed, she spits at me then starts her little shrugging game. It's so stinking cute. . . .have you ever just wanted to hug someone so hard that you're afraid you'll squeeze them to death? I have to be careful of that with little Gracie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAH5FcSF46E

The Little Guy LOVES Music!

This was in the beginning of his dancing phase, like--two weeks ago. He's progressed significantly since then.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY-WG2qQQ6Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l-FfYlpj4I

Kids at Play

I was having a hard time getting some of my longer videos to load, so I had to go through the YouTube route. Sorry--hope it works as well as it says it's supposed to. . . .This one makes us laugh every time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L1w-C0Qen0

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grace is FINALLY crawling!

She started this past Thursday, two months to the day of Liam starting. (He's nearly walking now, but she'll get there. . .) She's made a lot of progress in just four days, and has become much happier now that she can keep up--sort of--with brother.

video

They Just Can't Get Cuter!


Notice the outfit Grace is wearing ina couple of the photos. I bought it at least ten years ago, when I was sssoooo into Harley Davidson motorcycles. When I got it, I told my mom to hold onto it for the daughter I would have some day. I didn't realize it would have taken that long, but low and behold, Mom kept the outfit and Grace looks pretty cute in it! And, I finally got a few of Liam smiling, but not without flaw? One he's closing his eyes and mostly naked, another he's got food all over his face. . .I do believe we're making progress, though! And would you just look at those beautiful blue eyes!







Thursday, February 18, 2010

Babies Take a Ride

So, they take their first ride in the steering wheel shopping cart, and not only are they super cute, but Liam refused to let Grace steer her own wheel. Every time she tried, he literally shoved her out of the way. How do babies learn these things this early? It's fascinating to us the differences between boys and girls, when given the same opportunities, what they learn to do at such a young age. I am constantly surprised at their ingrained personalities.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ooof! The past five years kicked our butts!


And we're all the better for it. It's so hard to believe we celebrated five years today, and I'm so grateful to my husband for all he's done and been for me in this time. We've bought and sold our first house (made an offer on another one today--fingers crossed, everyone!), catered numerous events together, lost loved ones, cleaned out an enormous patch of blackberries at the ol' place and turned it into a fruitfull garden, fostered two precious little boys and had our hearts ripped out when they had to leave, two rounds of failed IUI's, I'm sure THOUSANDS of fertility shots that made me cry and made him cringe, one successful round of in-vitro with ONLY TWO EGGS!, and now two beautiful babies. (We could have done without their constant barfing for five months, but they're sure cute now!)

Not bad for five years, and we still love each other strong! We are blessed. Thank you to all of you who have supported us, believed in us, and encouraged us.