Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy

I love North Carolina. I love the trees that are EVERYWHERE, I love the green, green grass. I love the flowers. I love that when builders build, they take care not to cut down trees, and if they do, they plant new ones.

I love the weather. I love the blue sky and the sun. The SUN!

I love the traffic. I love that I can drive five minutes from my house and be amongst farms and another five minutes and come to a shopping center with plenty of parking and lots of stores.

I love the people. I love that everyone smiles and says hi and I love that drivers let you pull in front of them, and a safe distance between you and the car in front of you is regarded as a "safe distance," not an "invitation to please pull in front of me and see how close you can get your bumper to mine."

I love our house. I love that we HAVE a house. I love that we have lots of space, and a front yard, and a playset, and a cul-de-sac, and a driveway. I love that we have a garage!

I've been here four months now. Granted, I haven't sweated through a summer yet, but right now I don't ever want to leave!

Praise God for so many, many blessings.

Ball

Anne LOVES playing with her ball.

Uh-oh. Were did it go?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Surgery

We just had another visit to the ENT, and Brad has earned himself a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and ear tubes. Brad was on antibiotics for three weeks, and the ENT said he didn't think they would help, but he had to try before going for the surgery. Brad's tonsils are just huge--you can see them when he talks!

The doctor pretty much promised the sun, moon, and stars: that Brad's snoring would go away, his sleeping would be better, his hearing would improve, and possibly even his behavior (could be a result of fitful sleeping, but we'll see...). We haven't scheduled the surgery yet, but it will probably be around May 15th--I don't want him to have the surgery before his next visit with the neurosurgeon, which is on May 13th. I'll keep you all posted!

Candyland

When we were visiting Mimi in Louisiana, Joanna mentioned that she and Grace played Candyland every day. I realized that I didn't have any board games, and that it would probably be a good way for Brad to learn not just his colors (he really knows them), but patience, structure, and the art of losing. So I found Candyland and Chutes and Ladders on eBay. I think I paid $3.99 for Candyland (including shipping!) and maybe $5 for Chutes and Ladders. Gotta love the eBay!
So far we've only played Candyland, and I have to tell you: I've forgotten how LONG that game is. Every time one of us gets near the finish line, we get a card that sends us back almost to start. I notice they've also retooled the little spaces that you used to get stuck on until you drew a card of the same color--now you just lose a turn. Maybe they were thinking the kids didn't have enough patience to wait until they picked up that card. Frankly, I'm glad of the change--the game is long enough!

Monday, April 28, 2008

All Aboard!


You can't tell in the picture, but Brad is the engineer and Anne is the coal car, and they're getting ready to leave the station (for bed, that is!).

This one's for you, Aunt Lyndsey!


Brad is wearing his new "Grandma 'Jamas" and wants to make sure his pants are not falling off. Looks like the problem is solved!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Caption Contest!


I need a caption for this picture please. Some background: Brad has on my new sunglasses (thank you, Mom!), and he's sitting on my new sewing machine.

Okay, quick update on the sewing machine. Joanna's dresses have inspired me to try to make something for my kids. So I wanted to buy a sewing machine. But didn't want to spend money. Then I remembered: we've been part of a consumer research panel for 2 1/2 years now (can't say which one online--email me if you're dying to know), and we have not yet cashed in any points for participating in all that time. So I looked online, and sure enough, they had a sewing machine available for just about all of our points. So I ordered it and it arrived in a couple of days (it was supposed to take 4-8 weeks!). Very nice.

Anyway, what Brad is sitting on may look like my new sewing machine, but it's actually a train. And he's the conductor. And he's saying "Choo, choo! All aboard!"

Leave your caption in the comments!

Cinnamon Rolls

The. Best. I've. Ever. Had.

Doug enjoyed them so much, he has instructed me to NEVER make them again...

(we may have overindulged)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Grandpa and Anne


Aren't those sandals cute? I got them and four others in a lot on eBay--I paid about $3.00 per pair (including shipping). Of course, they're velcro and whenever we get in the car Anne is not happy until she's taken off both shoes (and any applicable socks). Just like her mommy--I keep telling Doug that if God had meant for us to wear shoes we would have been born with them on, but he insists my theology is flawed on this point...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Train


Grandpa and Brad take a ride on the train (it was too full for Anne and me).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pop Quiz


Okay, Ludovici kids. Who got Brad ready to go to Pullen Park that afternoon, and how can you tell? Leave your answers in the comments.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bagels!

It's official: the bagels are an unqualified success! They are the best bagels I've ever eaten, hands down.

I discovered the special process of cooking them that I'm now going to apply to my pretzels. My pretzels were so-so--they were a little hard and not very tasty. But I now know I skipped a very important part of the pretzel-making process, so tomorrow I'll make pretzels again and see how they turn out this time. Here's a picture of the lovely bagels:


I just made plain ones to start with, but you can top them with anything you want--or add ingredients to the mix (blueberry, raisins, etc.).

So what's the big special process, you ask? Boiling. That's right--before they go in the oven the bagels need to be placed in boiling water for 30 seconds on each side. Then they get baked for roughly 25 minutes. The boiling gives them the thick crust on the outside and the soft, chewy inside. That's where I went wrong with my pretzels--I just baked them and they came out rather hard. Next time I'll boil them first and I bet they'll be just yummy!

Monday, April 21, 2008

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Ah, my new bread machine.

What?

Oh, you thought this was a post about Doug? I do love him, too, but let me ask you this: can a Doug make a loaf of bread in 2 1/2 hours with no cleanup and no mess? Mm-hm. That's what I thought.

Let me tell you about the marvels of modern technology. No, wait. This wouldn't be the Baker Family Blog without a little finance talk thrown in. How much did this cost, you ask? Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy bread at the store? Actually, no, it wouldn't.

I found this bread machine on Craig's List for $25. That's right. $25. It costs roughly $.50 to make a loaf of bread in this machine (including electricity). It costs $2.50 to buy a loaf of bread at the store. After 13 loaves, this baby will have paid for itself!

Anyway, this thing is AWESOME! You dump all the ingredients in the machine in a certain order--basically, you put the water and salt in first, then your dry ingredients, and finally the yeast, so the yeast and salt/water don't mix right away--then you hit the timer and walk away. 2 1/2 hours later, you come back to fresh bread! And the best part is--when the bread bakes, it bakes away all the mess. There is really nothing to clean at the end!

So you have this machine that does the mixing, the kneading, the rising, the punching, the kneading, the rising, the baking, and the CLEANING all by itself (did I mention I like the self-cleaning part?)!!!!! What I want to know is this: why doesn't every household in America own a bread machine? If there's a catch, I haven't found one yet. Saves money--check. No mess--check. Delicious homemade bread--check.

So far I've made white bread, wheat bread, pretzels, dinner rolls, rye bread, and multigrain bread. Six down, seven to go! :) Next up: Bagels or cinnamon rolls--I can't decide!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Carousel

Anne just LOVED the carousel--it was her first time on it, and she had a blast going up and down and up and down.


Anne kept falling down--I see a summer of scraped knees ahead--but always picked herself up and started over again. She didn't even mind the blood, poor baby!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Caboose



Pullen Park has a caboose, which we had to check out, of course.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

And the boats, of course

I didn't let Anne go into the boats--I was sure she'd be up and in the water in two minutes! But Brad really enjoyed it. Something tells me we'll be spending a lot of time here this summer...


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Grandma and Anne

Anne and Grandma waved to everyone while we were riding on the train.

Big hugs!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Praise God!

Anne was just as good as gold yesterday in the eye doctor's office--we were there for 2 1/2 hours!!!! And she was very happy and played contentedly the whole time, without fussing. She even let the doctors do all sorts of things with her eyes without making it too difficult for them.

She has absolutely nothing wrong with her eyes at all--they want to see her back in one year because of our family history, but they are unconcerned about her. Thank you for all of your prayers!

Pullen Park

Guess where we are?! We're in Pullen Park! Mom and Dad used to take us kids to this park whenever we visited Oma and Opa. It's the first time I've taken Brad and Anne--what a treat to be able to take my kids! Despite what you see here, they LOVED it!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Wake up!


Anne and Brad always take long naps on Sunday after church, probably because we keep them up so long! Here she is, just waking up from her nap. And yes, that's Grandma, visiting us!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Joanna's Dresses

If you've enjoyed seeing Anne in these gorgeous dresses this week, you need to check out Joanna's eBay store. Joanna sews absolutely beautiful smocked dresses and pillowcase dresses, and she even took a custom-order for two dresses for Anne. I'm sure she would take a custom order from you, too. Joanna is at home with Grace, who was pictured in some pictures earlier this week.

I don't have a sister-in-law, but if I had one, Joanna would be it. She is amazing--she makes clothes, she bakes gorgeous cakes (if you're in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, give her a call), and it was a privilege to watch her with Grace while we were in LA--she is training Grace up to be a woman of God.

Anyway, check out Joanna's store, and remember, even if you don't have a little girl, the dresses make great presents!

Okay, too funny!

Check out the GirlTalk Blog. Just a sample:

The next "Survivor" series: Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks....Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment. He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care....

Just cute

Shhh, don't tell him I said this, but what a handsome dude!

This is another Creation by Joanna. I think this is Doug's favorite. Isn't the bow too cute!?


Everyone tells me Anne looks like Aunt Kelly. Sucking her thumb here, with her hair up and wispy and her head tucked down, she looks exactly like Aunt Kelly used to look.

Hmmm?


I can't remember now what he was doing with that pink blanket (it came with one of Anne's dolls). But it was obviously something very serious.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cutie


I saw a dress online that was really cute, and I happened to be sitting next to Joanna when I did. She said, it's cute, and I can make one like that!

She actually made an even BETTER one than we saw online, with a cute bow and gingham trim. Adorable!

Hello? Hello? Can anyone hear me?

Garage

Brad is really into garages right now. He loves to build garages for his trucks, and instructed me to take a picture of this one to show everyone.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quit Your Job Day

Apparently, today is Quit Your Job Day! My sister and I both quit our jobs today, though we didn't plan it that way. I decided to give my boss one extra day's notice, and she got a new job. Her current job doesn't give her ANY benefits--can you believe that? And her new one has TONS of benefits. It's a really good move for her.

What will I be doing? My new position is for a small family business. I'll be the COO and CFO of the Baker Family, under the leadership of CEO Douglas Baker. :)

That's right--I'm coming home! My last day will be April 30th, and then I'll be a full-time homemaker. I am SO excited--this will be the first time in 4 1/2 years of marriage and 3 1/2 years of motherhood that my focus will be exclusively on our home. What a privilege and blessing.

ENT

Okay, the real news about the ENT visit (booger-eating aside), was that he determined that Brad has "a lot" of fluid in his ears, that his tonsils are "huge," and that he wants Brad on Omnicef and Veramyst for three weeks (three weeks!) before he checks him again.

Usually doctors are very careful with what they say, but the ENT used the word "huge" three times in reference to Brad's tonsils. I'm thinking that's not a good thing. And he said the fluid may be affecting Brad's hearing.

So if the Omnicef and Veramyst don't clear all this up, we're probably looking at a T&A (no, all you Chorus Line fans, it's not that, it's a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy--sheesh!). Both Daddy and Grandma had their tonsils out, so it may be a fait accompli. We'll see.

Last Louisiana Pics

The kids loved, loved, LOVED this tunnel.

Papa Fred gives Brad a good twirling before bed.


This is Mr. Darcy. He slept with me for a little while.

ed. When we returned from Louisiana, we saw our friend D'Arcy at church. Brad confused him for someone else and I said, no, that's not Dr. H, that's Mr. D'Arcy. Brad looked thoroughly confused, and said, "He's not a kitty, mommy!" Then I was confused until I realized the source of his confusion! So now he doesn't call Mr. D'Arcy anything at all! :)

Poor Baby


No pink pajamas for Anne!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Our visit to the ENT

Doctor: ...and of course I'll...

Brad: I'm picking my nose! Look mommy, I have a booger!

Doctor: (looking half amused and half disgusted) Kids. Aren't they cute?

Mommy: Brad, don't pick your nose. Put it in the kleenex. I'm sorry doctor, please go on.

Doctor: Not a problem. So, I'll want to see him back...

Brad: (with glee) I ate my booger!

Doctor: (looking completely disgusted)...in three weeks.

Mommy: (hides face in hands) Thank you, doctor.

Story time

Mimi reads to Brad.

Now it's Anne's turn.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Mimi's House

Joanna made this very cute dress and bow for Anne. Isn't it precious?! She's working on two more...stay tuned for pics!

Brad, Grace, and Anne play together...Joanna and Grace came while we were at Mimi's and the kids had a great time playing with each other.

Papa Fred is very amused.

I don't remember what Joanna was saying, but it must have been very serious, because Brad and Anne are paying close attention.

The wonder that is Craigslist

I LOVE craigslist. I use it all the time. I used it to find a replacement for my old job in DC, I used it to find a job in NC, I used it to house hunt, I used it to sell old baby items, and now I've used to to get rid of two desks.

The previous owners of our home left three desks that we just don't have room for--one I had to smash and take apart to get out of the room, but the other two are intact and nice. They've been sitting in our basement, but with the pending arrival of the grandmother, we're on high-cleaning alert. So I told the good craigslist people that I had two FREE desks--they had to be gone by Friday. I posted that at 10:09am and had six responses by 10:34am, before I put a hold on the ad. Isn't that lovely? If you call the Salvation Army or Goodwill, they take two-four weeks to arrive. But with craigslist, the desks be gone tonight. Praise God for the internet! :)