Pregnancy Cocktail

I am sure this is in my head (this, to appease my husband who is sure I've gone crazy and asks intermittently, "are you going to be like this for the next nine months?" to which I lie, "no, the horomones are worse in the very beginning and at the very end.") but I've been craving things like crazy. Salty SALTY potato chips, cup of ramen, and SOUR SOUR SOUR things. These, all items I never crave- except maybe the chips. So tonight I set out to make a chilled drink to satisfy my craving, and here's what it contains:

3 cups water
1 can raspberry lemonade concentrate
1/2 cup straight lemon juice
lime seltzer water
lots of ice

Christmas 2010

This Christmas was a blast. Here are some highlights:
the benz. Jo was a little too scared (and short) to drive it alone, so Aunt Patty offered to chaperone for a little spin around the cul de sac!

Dancing a jig with daddy

My sad amount of pics from the Middlebrooks Christmas:

And oops- zero pics from Grandma Jo's or the Stephens Christmas-- and Jo wore a really cute dress too!! :(


Luke: an update

Since I post so often about Johonna & all of her remarkable milestones, achievements & vocabularic* advances, I figured I should maybe post some updates about Luke. So here we go:

1. Every year at Christmas, Grandma Jo fills a jar with M&M's. Everyone takes a guess at the total number of M&M's and whoever is closest wins them. Personally I have serious doubts that Grandma actually counts the M&M's. Anyhow, Luke told me last night: Watch this, I'm going to win. And guess what? He did. He guessed 817, there were 824 in the jar. Or so Grandma says...
2. Luke has had the same head and facial hair style since I met him- in 1996. I guess if ya got a good thing going....

3. Luke almost exclusively wears dark blue shirts.
4. Luke is currently watching the Blazer game AND reading the Economist. He really wishes I cared to read the Economist, he thinks it would bring us closer. He told me today: We could have the best conversations if you would just read it. I told him I'd read it as soon as he develops an affinity for coffee, the food network, and romantic comedies.
5. The other day I was trying to take a nap, and heard from the kitchen a distinct "tink-tink-tink" which I immediately suspected to be skittles dropping one by one into a glass bowl. My sharp deductive wit immediately drew a disastrous conclusion, confirmed as I flew from bed to kitchen to catch Luke picking out every red and orange skittle. He proceeded to eat his favorite colors and I'm left with a bowl of yellow, green and purple skittles that I just can't be motivated to eat.

6. Tonight Luke danced with Jo to the music from a Handy Manny toolbox. Jo got SUCH a kick out of it. As soon as the music ended she'd press the button again & throw her hands up to Dad in effort to bust as many moves as possible in 8 seconds.
7. Luke told me that if he had a blog he would call it "The Boss Hog Blog."
8. Luke has an uncanny memory when it comes to sports trivia, song lyrics, and movie plots.
9. Luke is excellent at telling funny stories. He can recount a funny commercial such that when you see it, you're disappointed because it wasn't as funny as it was when he explained it.
10. Luke's screen name for most things is "chickendinner" - as in "winner winner chicken dinner."
11. Luke is highly offended by the dog's noxious gas. Ironic, really.

12. Luke told me today that morning sickness is in my head. He said: If I told you to smell a flower you'd say, "oh that makes me sick." Which brings me to # 13...
13. Luke is a bit of a know-it-all.
14. My favorite mental picture of Luke (besides him 2 months pregnant gagging in a field of flowers) is him laughing with tears in his eyes at something his dad or brother said or did. No one makes him laugh like they do- and it is a hoot to behold.
15. True story: Luke's talking to someone while playing video games (a pasttime I dellusionally assumed he's "grow out of"). He must have just been asked, "How was your Christmas?" Because he replied: "Good. We've got my funny family [Christmas] tomorrow. We'll offend people by getting obnoxious & then laughing at the offended people." He's right though- there's usually an entertaining amount of obnoxiousness & offense at most Middlebrooks family get togethers :)

*vocabularic is not a real word, but it should be.



[muhl-it-ek-tuh-mee] noun: the act of removing an attrocious hairstyle from the head of your toddler, typically requiring force, skittles, and resulting in tears.


I didn't avoid cutting her hair for emotional reasons as much as from dillusional optimism that her hair would thicken, curl, and fill in. Unfortunately it did fill in- the bangs grew long, the tail grew long, but the sides stayed short. So we went to some ridiculously cheerful & expensive kid's salon in lake oswego (as milwaukie is apparently NOT a target market for an upscale children's salon).

The cost was $20 and worth it.

Jo got to sit in a car while having her hair trimmed, watch elmo, and received a lollipop and balloon for her troubles. Not to mention some purple glitter hair spray and a side pony.

After the initial tears were shed, the hair was cut, and my bank account debited, Jo decided she did indeed want to stick around & play. We sat for an hour in the waiting area, me on a couch, her in the driver's seat of a pink barbie escalade. Her grandpa found this particularly fortuitous, as he has ordered her a black mercedes benz power wheels for christmas, and is now 100% affirmed in his purchase. Jo didn't actually GO anywhere, but she liked to push all the buttons. I guess that's something that she at 19 months and me at 16 years had in common.

A Classy Affair

Jack & I discussed this today and agree: Michele & Casey hosted the classiest dinner event we've ever been to- much less been the guests of honor at! Casey & Michele hosted a bday party for Jack & I at their home in Beaverton last night. When I walked in the front door, Michele was wearing an apron (very domestic), Casey was drinking a beer (also very domestic) and the house smelled amazing. Rosemary focaccia bread, home made meatballs, a creamy pasta dish, stuffed tomatoes & Cesar salad were the fare-- plus some amazing cupcakes made by Abby. The drink assortment alone was staggering. There was a crudite platter and assorted nuts and olives. I'm not kidding you, it was the nicest dinner party I've ever been to. And the house??? Casey & Michele bought it a year ago & have almost completely gutted & refinished it. It is beautiful AND they had Christmas lights along the roof line- which obviously required the use of a ladder (my benchmark for a well lit Christmastime home). I love, love, love my cousins- when it turns out that the people you'd take with you to Pietro's when you're eight are the SAME people you'd like to spend your Friday night's with at 30, you know you've got a good fam.

PS: in two separate conversations with my mom & dad today, they each individually asked me the same question, verbatim: "Did your brother behave himself?" hee hee. No, he didn't, but that's why he's the life of the party :)


Thanksgiving was an all hands on deck affair this year. My mom's legacy has been her thanksgiving feasts. She usually plans for months, shops for weeks, and cooks for days. This year was no different, except that we acted as her minions, doing the potato peeling, running to the store, etc. Aunt Linda has been performing heroic and selfless acts of cleaning on our household, and so we were spared nearly all cleaning! The dinner turned out wonderful- my only regret is not tying people to their seats. You prep & cook for hours....and the meal is eaten in ten minutes. 15 if someone hides the gravy boat for about 4.5 minutes. Ah well- if they ate it fast it must have been good, right!!?

The kitchen crew:


my 'mart cookie

While I was gone tonight getting:
pizza (for jack & my b'day party tonight)
woodford reserve whisky (for jack's gift)
non-alcoholic beer (my plight for the next 9 months)
and tanning (b/c if I resemble any christmas character right now it is Frosty)

...luke taught jo some math...


160 lbs of CHICKEN

Last month I pre-paid for 160 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken breast. B/S Chicken is nearly all the protein we consume in this house, and it was being sold for $1.48/lb (STEAL) and to be delivered FRESH (aka recently slaughtered). The catch is that it is packed in cases of 40lbs, leaving the packing/storing up to you. I ended up taking the day off work to deal with this chicken. All too late I realized that maybe I hadn't thought through this very well:

That is 4 40lb boxes of chicken on my oven.
I prepped freezer bags of marinade, so that after I freeze the chicken & then later take it out to defrost, the chicken will marinade while it warms up:

Also I turned on cartoons for Jo, since handling a toddler with slimy germy chicken hands is not an option.
Oooh- this one looks tasty now doesn't it?

BAM: 4 hours later I've got twice as much bagged chicken as shown below:

So guess what I've been craving lately?


Speak Easy

Jo's got lotsa words lately. My top favorites are: APPLE, ELMO, and "OH PRETTY". Don't watch these videos unless you gave birth to a child who parented this one- otherwise it is probably not worth your time:

Two Winning Recipes

I made these two dishes last Sunday with dinner. They were TO DIE FOR. I'm not saying they're for everyone- if you like delicately flavored dishes these will bomb your tongue & you'll not take my advice ever again. But if you like balsamic vinegar & bacon...

Roasted Veggies:
I used a big aluminum cookie sheet & covered it with thinly sliced:
fresh garlic
quartered cherry tomatoes
baby carrots (sliced in half lengthwise)
red bell pepper
yellow squash
asparagus (big stalks, not scrawny ones)

Then I doused the whole thing with salt, pepper, olive oil, copious amounts of honey & balsamic vinegar, and a pinch or two of rosemary.

I baked at 450 for 45 min or so. I didn't stir. I let them get a bit black & the honey carmalized everything & the balsamic tasted divine. YUM.

Then I made The Pioneer Woman's green bean cheese casserole- http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/11/green-bean-casserole/
BUT I used maple bacon instead of regular bacon. And I don't know how much she calls for, but I used a whole pound of bacon & less than a pound of green beans. Do the math. That's more bacon than beans. It was AMAZING:

iphone backlog

I just uploaded all my iphone pics to my computer- here's the last few months in pictures:
Jo eating rocks at the Phoenix airport:

Airplane ride:

Precious, sweet, pink cheeks:

First time experiencing air-popped popcorn with butter & salt:

half a gallon of spilled costco salsa (lesson learned: you can wait the 10 min to get home to eat your salsa, fatty)

be still my heart...

Her absolute all time favorite book (thanks hannah!)

In the tub, enjoying what I call a poo-popsicle, which is frozen berries and prune juice to help get things rollin' for a sad, constipated toddler:

Another reason supervision is critical in the bathtub (that's her clothes in there with her):

Smooching Unca-Jack:

Halloween & jack-o-lanterns:

Thinking back to summer & warmer days:

Looking HIP

I Hate Halloween

Johonna's mother hand-crafted her an adorable fairy costume for Halloween. It took her four hours. There was literally blood shed while making this costume(two needles to the finger). Careful thought was given to accessories: wings, sparkle shoes, etc. Johonna's mother had high hopes for an adorable halloween with photos and grandparent visits and a trip to the church harvest festival. There would be candy and giggles and hugs. It was not to be. Here is how Johonna crushed her momma's halloween dreams:

miss this girl

Jumping GILLY bean

Gillian is a master tumbler:


Mad Ups

When you're 18 months old, jumping is akin to forceful standing- but way more exciting.

heihns in portland!

Last month Matt, Katie & Savannah came to Portland to introduce the newest Heihn: FINLEY!
Katie & her babes:
Matt & his eldest daughter & god daughter
Luke, his daughte & god daughter
Poor boys- WAY outnumbered by girls!
Katie, Christina & birthday girl Cassandra!
Lexee & her minions:

Happy Birthday Richard

This is sooo behind- but my nephew is now ten years old. Grandma made her first ever ice cream cake. Here's what they thought of it:
I like this one:
And this one too- I wish I could find a way to crop out the corona...but let's keep it real shall we?
family pic: