I've never roasted a full chicken before. So far I've rinsed it, brined it for an hour & a half, placed some garlic & rosemary inside, some butter under the skin on the breast, then trussed him tight. He's cooking at 425 degrees and soon we'll see how he turned out...

...two hours later...

OMG that chicken was soooo tasty!! I'm definitely doing THAT again!

It's difficult to determine what to be thankful for. There are so many angles one can view the world with appreciation. For instance, I am thankful the sun rises everyday and that the Earth functions the way it does with water in the oceans, changing seasons, abundant plant life, etc. That's on a very large scale. On a smaller scale, I'm thankful I haven't stubbed my toe today and I'm thankful to not be sick. But if someone asked me what three things I am most thankful for, I think I will have that lost-in-the-department-store look. Where do I go with that question? There's the stuff most people expect me to say such as I'm thankful for a loving family and two beautiful boys. awww! There's the stuff my friends might expect like I'm thankful for all the good times I've had with them in the past and for YouTube gems. My family is a mixed bag of folks with widely mixed views but one thing I could say to any family member would be that I'm thankful to have a wonderful husband who loves me and, again, two beautiful boys. But there's more to life than that. It's not as important, but I am thankful gas prices went down, that the weather here is pleasant and that someone invented washers. I'd hate to be stuck washing clothes all day like mothers did before they had washers. I could get by without a dryer, but not a washing machine. On the topic of modern inventions, I'm very thankful to have internet access and a cell phone. To my dad I'm thankful to be a tall person. Or perhaps I could go in reverse and say how I'm thankful things aren't a certain way. For example, I'm thankful George Bush isn't going to be President ever again and I'm thankful we haven't had a car wreck in years. (Murphy's Law predicts we're due any minute now that I've actually typed it.) There's even thanks for fundamental stuff that some people in other parts of the world will never have like clean water, plenty of food, a warm home and a decent education. That's why I don't know where to begin when asked what I'm thankful for. Right at this exact moment of typing this I'm thankful for fuzzy pajamas, a stool and my laptop- the three things I need to finish this blog.

Elliot is officially walking! He can go across the room, he practices all the time, he can pause to change directions and it's becoming his preferred mode of transportation. He also has bruises all over is head from bumping and banging into things. He needs a shirt with a pedestrian walking sign.

Yesterday evening we had a Polish invasion in our home. Rusty's family (the Polish descendant side) came over with sausage, pierogies, sauerkraut, and homemade pickles. We included potato bread, a Polish-esque cucumber salad and a cake from Henk's (a German/Polish bakery). We served 10 people: the four of us, his parents, his grandmother, his aunt & uncle, and his aunt's brother, who is also of Polish background. I was the only person without any Eastern European lineage. According to my late great-grandmother my family comes from Oklahoma. I guess we sprouted from the ground like tumbleweeds before rolling into Texas. Anyway, there was so much food we could have fed ourselves for days. Then at exactly 8 o' clock all Polish eyes tuned into the season finale of "Dancing With the Stars". Rusty and I learned our maximum capacity for feeding at our home is eight people. Luckily Elliot has his own chair and Anne was late so we didn't have a chair shortage, but in the future we know eight is our limit for a seated meal. We used every single plate, all our flatware plus some from our "nice set", every pot and pan, and a handful of wine glasses, and two rounds from the dishwasher. In the end, the kids slept solidly and we had a great time having everyone over.

Elliot is boldly taking more steps. He's standing longer in place and moving across the room (any room) just to practice his new walking skills. I don't consider him waking yet, not technically, but he's definitely working on it. He has a cold now too. Throughout the day his nose became increasingly runny. I hope the rest of us don't catch it.

Raymond won't be joining us for Thanksgiving after all. What a bummer. He has a cold but is considering a December visit. I was looking forward to watching the cats freak out about a dog in their territory. /evil grin

And now a haiku.........
Tile holds no heat
It takes the warmth from my feet
To bed I retreat

OU spanks Texas Tech... I'm crushed.

(At time of blogging the score was 58-14 in the 3rd quarter)

I have another website project possibly maybe. woo-hoo! An HOA president (not my neighborhood) contacted me via email inquiring about what I can do and what I charge. I'm hoping they go forward with me- the extra cash would be great!

Meanwhile we're working on updating our ringofsaturn.com site. I finished the homepage earlier this week and have a plan for the consulting page. Some day I'll add blinking lights on the key chain. I'll just keep updating the site one page at a time where needed.

I'm almost done Christmas shopping for my family except my in-laws. They usually give us an idea of what they're hoping for so I'm holding off for that. Rusty has one expensive gift from me and then some other smaller stuff. (I won't go into details in case he's reading this.) Joshua & Elliot got a play kitchen that they'll share. I may get one more toy for Josh but Elliot is all done. I also have cards that we need to sign, stuff & send after Thanksgiving. I love not having to rush for the holidays. Nothing makes me more hum-buggy than having the stress of shopping and feeling rushed.

One thing I really love about Elliot: how easily he goes to bed these days. All I have to do is lay him down and half the time he's content to suck his thumb to sleep, or he may fuss for a few minutes then quiet down. Even better- he usually sleeps the entire night without waking.

One thing I really love about Joshua: when he's in a good mood, he's so excited about everything. The timer went off while cooking which meant the meat was done. He jumped up and down shouting "Yaaay! It beeped! Dinner is done!" And he says the cutest things like "Daddy will shoot out the monsters from my room."

Bought one of Josh & Elliot's Christmas presents today- in full sight of the kiddos but Josh didn't notice. I'm stealthy! I think both will enjoy playing with it. It's a Melissa & Doug Cooks Corner Kitchen. It was less than some of the large plastic models but not the cheapest/smallest one either.

We celebrated Elliot's birthday today, a day early. He had a great time, our guests seem to enjoy themselves and his got his first taste of cake with frosting. yum! I made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and colorful sprinkles. This attempt at a homemade birthday was a much greater success than Joshua's first birthday, where my homemade cake turned into a bread brick. No, this was much better- not five star but close enough. We filled a baby pool with plastic balls for a ball pit. He and his fellow baby friends loved that. Josh wanted to play too but he had to wait until the other babies were gone. Josh spent the majority of the party playing with his friends upstairs and outside. Elliot got some new toys that he's very excited about and some neat clothes that I am very excited about, especially because he is quickly outgrowing his current wardrobe. Tomorrow is his proper birthday, November 17, and for that we're going to visit the pediatrician.

Joshua had a good day but he was a p.i.t.a. He peed his pants several times, even before the party; he had a hard time sharing; he had a meltdown one time when I tried to get him to go to the potty, which caused him to start coughing; he was into everything; and to make the night just suck he pooped in his bath.

in. his. bath.

with rubber ducks and toys floating everywhere and turds floating and a log gently rolling around in the deep end...

I was downstairs washing dishes when Rusty started calling "mayday" for immediate help. I took care of Elliot who was already out of the bath (thank God) while Rusty disciplined Josh. We didn't spank him or put him in time out or yell. Well, Rusty did raise his voice in anguish, but he didn't really yell. No, discipline was worse. In fact, Josh was asking for "time out please". Oh no. Rusty made him clean out his own poop from the bath. He was visibly grossed out by having to handle his own poop. Rusty said he gagged a couple times. Good! After that, after he was disinfected, I got him into pajamas and talked to him about being a big boy. "You'll be four years old in six months, will you pee your pants and poop in your bath when you turn four?"
"But I'm three"
"Then let's start acting like a big three and use the potty to pee and poop."
We talked a bit more and he apologized to me and Rusty. He knew he had disappointed us.

I pray that Elliot will be easier. please please please please please please please please...........

I get to go out to a party- yay!!

Then I'm up early to get ready for Elliot's birthday party- yay!!

Elliot has a shiny new tooth on the bottom. Another one seems to be bumping up on the other side of his first two. He had a low fever yesterday and again last night. He's also continuing to take a few steps, but not really walking yet. He's also moving towards one nap a day. It's nearly 2pm and if he doesn't nap soon, I may cry!

We have new pictures in our photo album, including ones taken with Josh's toy camera: www.ringofsaturn.com/photo

It's official- Elliot has taken a few steps today. Right now only two or three before he either plops down to the floor or lands safely onto whatever support he was aiming for. I won't say he's walking yet but that he's taken steps towards it. (yes, that pun was for you!)

More Josh quotes:
Rusty: "Do you want a bath with bubbles?"
Josh: "No, I want a bath with water."

Josh: "Daddy, say no to mommy."
Rusty to me in a playful tone: "Mommy, no!"
Josh: "Thank you"

It may be too chilly on Sunday to do outdoor activities for Elliot's birthday. My back up plan is to move the party inside, including the baby pool ball pit. There's plenty of room in the living room if I move a sofa back. I know what I want to get Elliot for his birthday and can't wait to just go buy it. I even have a coupon for shopping at the toy store- w00t!

I love some of the things Josh says. Tonight he as telling me about our cat Merlin. "I heard him mauing and I got up and told him shhh." He says it just like he hears it, as in the island Maui pronounced without the 'i'.

Josh has a rash around his mouth. I'm not sure what it's from and several people have noticed it and commented. Maybe it'll clear up over night. We tried to put some ointment on it but he kept licking it. I'll sneak in while he's sleeping and put some more on.

Josh visited his pediatric pulmonologist today. He's healthy and doing fine with his "asthma". We're to be proactive in the winter months giving him low-dose puffs at night before bedtime. They measured Josh today- he's 36" tall and weighs 40 lbs.

Elliot is growing too. His torso is getting longer so many of the onesies labeled 12M are already tight. He comfortably fits in 18M shirts and onesies but he still in 12M pants. Just like his brother- bigger on top.

It's all the buzz. Last night's historical election and Obama's win for the White House renews my faith in democracy. I'm glad the guy I supported not only won but won by a large margin. I am interested to see well he does in office and anxious for all the changes he's been promising this year.

In other news, Elliot is growing a new tooth on the bottom row. It was making him exceptionally cranky so I gave him a bit of Tylenol and a teething ring from the freezer. That and some more breakfast made him a much happier baby! He's not walking yet but I've seen make a few lunges for things just out of reach.

The weather is shifting blowing in humidity, clouds, and cooler temps tomorrow. But it's still very pleasant weather. I'm walking at least a mile each day (yesterday I walked 2 miles) pushing the stroller or pulling the wagon. I'll keep this up until it's too chilly.

Argh! He's driving me nuts!

Sorry, I couldn't resist the reference to a pirate joke!

In all seriousness, Josh has been getting into trouble lately for 1) running away when he's called and 2) for refusing to do something we've asked him to do. The running away thing is easy to discipline: immediate time-out. I don't want this behavior played out at a crowded place, store or parking lot. But the refusal to do things is a bit trickier...

Here's an example. I asked him to go to the bathroom after his lunch. He said "I don't wanna to go" in a whiny voice. I told him he needs to go, it's time, go now please. "But I don't need to" he persists. I give in and tell him he has three more minutes then he has to go. Guess what happens next. No really- guess!

Yep! He pees in his shorts at the table!! I was foolish enough to let him dictate. He said he didn't need to go. I respect that he may have been telling me the truth because maybe at that exact moment he didn't need to go or maybe he had already gone and I didn't know it yet. I keep thinking that I need to give him an opportunity to prove that he can take himself to the bathroom when he needs to go without me telling him to do it. So far his batting average is horrible. So that's where I'm stuck. If I give in to his whining he pees in his pants. If I don't then it's a battle of the wills. And this resistance extends into everything! Putting on shoes, getting into the car, bath time, putting toys away. I respect when he says he doesn't want to do something then remind him he still needs to do it anyway. Here's what it sounds like:

Josh, please get in the car so we can go.
I don't want to.
Josh, please get into the car now.
Is that the wire for the e'ctricity?
Yes it is, now get in the car! Right now.
No! I don't want to!
Josh get in the car now or you can sit in time-out. Which do you want?
I don't want time-out.
Then get in the car!

wow, that's painfully accurate.

After a day of battles I feel beat!

Our Monster House on Halloween night.

Halloween was a smashing success this year. The house looked awesome, the boys were dressed adorably and we had enough candy to last until just after 9pm. Did I mention the boys were adorable? My mom came to visit for Halloween for a whole day and a half. It's never enough time when she visits. Maybe some weekend I'll get the courage to drive to Lubbock to see her.

Elliot was a lil' devil with black wings and horned cap.

Josh was a pirate! I got a decent full body picture with my mom's camera, but those pictures are with her.



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