Washing the dishes

It’s a chore everyone hates. We have never owned a dishwasher at Renaud Manor, but that is soon to change. It is our hope to buy one and install it before the baby arrives next month. To do it, I’ll be converting some under-counter shelf space into a spot for the dishwasher.

We’re still looking into different brands and models to see what we might get. Yoli wants something black, and we both want something reliable. Several Kenmores scored really well in Consumer Reports ’08 buying guide. But the problem with diswasher makers is that they change model numbers fairly frequently, making it more difficult to guess a model’s longevity given past history of older versions.

Anyway, if anyone out there has dishwasher stories to share, please comment here. I’d love to hear about recent dishwashers that worked really well.

Milestones at Renaud Manor

Some recent development milestones:

  • Jadzia can read and write! Last week she made up some valentines that we mailed out to family and handed to our neighbors. I spelled the names, and she wrote them out.
  • Ludi is singing really well, and she has quite a few songs memorized.
  • Josie is walking, and doing some talking and signing. Best of all, she is sleeping through the night — and she has moved into the girls’ room.

The tired and the wakeful

We’ve been tired lately, Yoli especially. Mostly it’s Josie who wakes up early and such.

But Ludi has also been waking up in the night. Sometimes it’s just that she doesn’t want to go to sleep, so we have issues with her getting out of her bed.

A couple nights ago, I came home and found Ludi sleeping on the couch. She had snuck out of her room while Yoli was washing dishes, and fell asleep there. Last night, Yoli heard her crying in the night. She was on the potty!

We are very thankful for that latter development!

In any event, these girls wear us out.

The mysterious Portuguese recipe

Speaking of recipes, Yoli has some recipes she’s been saving for almost 20 years. Many of them are hand-written or cut-and-pasted into a little notebook.

Last night she decided to try a recipe that she had wanted to make for a long time. The recipe was written in Portuguese, and it was called “Torta de Chocolate,” although it really looked more like a pie than a cake. She had found the recipe on the street back in Bolivia and had always wondered how it might taste. Now was her chance to find out.

(And yes, Yoli knows enough Portuguese to be able to prepare this recipe)

But there are always some monkeys to throw wrenches into things. In this case, the monkeys were named Jadzia, Ludi, and Josie.

All the girls wanted to be in the kitchen watching Yoli as she cooked. Ludi was standing on our step ladder, Jadzia brought in a stepstool from the bathroom, and Josie was just crawling and doing whatever.

When Yoli went to fetch a pan from the basement, Ludi sprang into action. She took Yoli’s good vanilla, and poured all of it into the mixture for the torta’s filling. The cap fell to the floor, where Josie eagerly picked it up and began licking it. Jadzia the eager spectator didn’t bother to call for help.

Suffice it to say that Yoli threw all three out of the kitchen, cleaned the mess, and continued cooking.

I got to taste the torta last night. It was very mousse-pie-like, but the crust was like a very firm cake rather than a pie crust. Very tasty, but it had enough vanilla flavor that it almost had an alcohol taste.

Today is the day

Yoli’s parents should be here late tonight.

This morning, I got the title to our “new” minivan: a 2000 Mercury Villager in really good shape. For those who care about such things, it is a dark green color. It should be of great service to us while our family temporarily grows to 7 people.

I still need to take care of inspections, etc. Hopefully it will be drive-ready Wednesday or Thursday.

As far as the house goes, we have made a lot of progress, but much remains to be done. I guess I better stop typing and get back to cleaning while the girls are still asleep!

Getting ready for visitantes

We’ve spent the last week slowly making progress toward getting ready for the arrival of Yoli’s parents.

A few things we’ve accomplished:

  • clean sun room
  • make curtain rods and hang curtains in sun room
  • make tentative deal for a minivan

Of course we’ve been doing other stuff, too. Today we hit the farmer’s market and bought some peaches (and soy candles). Later I took Jadzia to the library for a presentation by the Butterfly House about ladybugs, which was very good.

Yoli also wrote up a 4-page step-by-step guide for her parents on how to traverse the airports and airplanes from Santa Cruz to Miami to St. Louis. We hope they make it with no problems. Thankfully speaking Spanish is not an obstacle in Miami, and in St. Louis all they have to do is follow the crowd to the baggage carousel.

Tuesday night will be here before we know it. Now all we have to do is clean the rest of the house.

Blame it on work, or the girls, or whatever

I know the pace of this blog has been a bit slow lately. There’s a couple of reasons for that. The first is that I now work a four-day week. On those four working days, I have far less free time. The second is Josie and the girls. Josie has been quite fussy the last few weeks, and the harness has undoubtedly exacerbated that to some degree. When she’s crying, she only calms when we hold her a certain way and rock her, and it can be exhausting on nights where she won’t go to sleep.

But thankfully we’ve also had some really nice peaceful times with Josie. I think we are getting better at caring for her.

Of course the other girls continue to be demanding, too, always wanting to be in action, especially with the recent spate of warm weather.

One way to take care of everyone is to go for walks in Ferguson, which tires out the girls, and lets Josie sleep on my chest in the baby carrier. We went to the library and Walgreen’s yesterday morning, for example, and ran into a friend on our way back home.

Right now all three girls are sleeping. I’m enjoying a bit of time to import some video of a family history interview I shot earlier this week during my furlough from the Post-Dispatch. The subject is Mr. Richter, who is the only living first cousin of my great-grandfather, Frank Becker. A couple days after our interview, he had an operation to remove some cancer. If you think of it, please pray for his recovery.