15 December 2014


I painted V's nails the other day. It was to help her keep her little fingers out of her mouth, and to distract her from a tantrum. And it was just too cute. She looks at her nails and says, "colors!" 

2014 week fifty

We didn't do much this week, as is documented in our lack of photos.

We got a big box, drilled holes in the side, and now have endless hours of entertainment ready for these two.
This week was full Christmas preparations mode. Cards came in the mail, envelopes addressed and stamped, boxes filled, boxes wrapped, cinnamon sugar almonds munched on all day every day. I had a couple days off this week and really wanted to get out and do different things. On Thursday I woke up feeling not at all hungry and not at all appetized by anything in our home. There is a little diner about a mile from my house that looks like a hole in the wall but the parking lot is always crowded, so I decided we would ride the bike there, have breakfast, and if V was spectacular go to the park on the way home.
I made sure that she had peed and pooped before we left, because even though this is unpleasant to hear about, it is ABSOLUTELY essential. The weather was perfect for a bike ride, but my tires were nearly flat so I was huffing and puffing to pull myself, my bike, the chariot, and V up the road. I thought I would throw up from the exertion once we arrived. It was pathetic.
This gross looking diner on the side of the road was packed at 9am on a Thursday. Packed! And everyone knew each other's names. It was as if I had stumbled through a portal to a quaint Southern small town. I loved it. I got an egg and sausage sandwich on white bread w mayo tomatoes and lettuce.  And it was small town diner perfect. [I may have pretended I was eating at Luke's :) ]
Then I made sure V peed again before we left. And happy and full we went to the park across the way.
V loves the park so much these days. She has no fear and will climb to the tallest slide and scream "Weeeeeee!" all the way down. Repeated 1,000x. We were enjoying the usual slide circuit for 10 minutes before she got panic on her face and whispered "poop."
We had to ride home on the bikes with no change of clothes to the tune of her crying, "poooooooop. poooooooop."
Ah. The Adventures of Toilet Training a Toddler.

But! When we are at home she is 100% in panties all day except nap and bed. And now, other than church, when we leave the house she is in panties. She does fine, but we have to use every store's bathroom at least twice while we're there.

And now we leave for New York for a few days where I'm certain all our hard toilet work will be eradicated. :)

08 December 2014


This is how we found her when we checked on her before bed. 

2014 week forty-nine

Vera vs. Yzma for The Box. Also, when you show V a photo of herself she looks so happy and shouts, "You! You! Yep! You!" to which I always reply,  "Yep that's You!" I wonder when she'll realize her names are not Veronica and You.

She is so happy she fits in this box!

She is so happy she fits in this box!

We do not like to share this box. Or at least, Yzma doesn't like the share this box.

Decorating Sugar Cookies to end my week of "First Week of Christmas Celebrations" Celebrations included listening to music, watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Reading our Advent Scriptures, Putting up our Christmas Tree AND Christmas Decorations, pulling out the baby nativity, and watching Christmas in Connecticut...twice.

PeriodicallyV will come up to me and ask, "Candy?" Before I have a chance to reply she'll say, "No...." And then repeat this interaction 10 more times.

I showed V a photo of Clint Eastwood (we have this book with a giant photo of his face on the cover) and I asked her, "Who is that?" At first she said "Jesus," but then decided it was "Grandpa." Whenever she passes that book now she says, "Grandpa! Bye Grandpa."

I started to take a ballet class with my childcare money. I love it, let me just say. They started me in the beginning class, but quickly moved me up to the more challenging one. Because I took it for so many years, little things come back about technique that the girls in the class haven't learned yet, and sometimes I feel bad when we have to practice a foot movement for 10 minutes because mine was the best. But not that bad, because my foot movement was the best. :D

This last week as we were standing in line waiting for class to start the girls got brave and asked if I had been taking ballet long, if I was new, if I was going to keep coming. I told them, "Yeah. I took ballet in middle school and high school and a little in college." They all did a double-take and this tiny little Indian girl said, "What!? HOW OLD ARE YOU?" Curious to see how I look to prepubescents I asked how old they thought I was. The average age they gave was 16. 16! They couldn't believe that I had a husband, a toddler, and I was 25. But I thought 16 was crazy. Is this what they think a 16 year old looks like?! I suppose my smaller-than-average post-nursing boobs, and hormonal acne doesn't help to paint the picture of a grown woman, but really. Kids, I have bad news for you. 16 does not look this good. Sorry. It looks much weirder, and strangely proportioned, and way more insecure. Also, no 16 year old has these kind of foot movements. ;) 

01 December 2014


Family Photo outtake

2014 week forty-eight

Happy Thanksgiving week!

She is saying "Leaf!"
 Sadly, I did not get a photo of the girl cousins wearing matching pilgrim hats on Thanksgiving. It was too precious though, let me tell you.

It is so exciting to talk to Oma on the phone

As soon as we got home from church she flopped on the ground and squeezed the cat to her.

Here come the Christmas decorations!
I have a few stories this week.

I'll separate them into two categories: spiders and cats.


We have a tarantula. We've had it for almost 2 years now, but it is about 14 years old. I guess it is kind of neat. It never comes out of its terrarium and it eats crickets so it's not really that bad. After two years she finally molted. It was very gross (and kind of interesting I guess). But then I started to panic and begged Matthew to please, please, not hide the horrible carcass anywhere to scare me. He never did. But one day while I was finishing my dinner (shrimp. this is important to the story) he gets out the shell and starts cracking it open. It was the same sound shellfish shells make. It was horrible. I had a hard time finishing my last couple bites without throwing up. Because shrimp are arachnids just freaking like spiders. And that link was not lost on my gag reflex as I was imagining I was eating that tarantula.

One day Matt leaned over on the couch and said, "Hmm, thats a big spider." And then leaned back away. I, on the other side of the room, said, "Get it! Don't just leave it there!" So he begrudgingly got a napkin to get it and then DROPPED IT SOMEWHERE ON THE FLOOR! "Oops, I dropped it. Oh well. It's a good spider." ...


Yzma is insane. She hates to be petted, but wants to sleep under the covers with you snuggled up to your face, so she has easy access to lick your face in the middle of the night. She shoots into V's room if you open the door while she's napping to go in there and wake her up. She hates going outside, but if you force her she'll run away as fast as you can as if you were holding her captive.

But the worst is her affection for baby breath. Not the lovely flower, the actual breath of a baby. The daycare baby's breath, to be more precise. To date, the cat has stolen 3 pacifiers out of his mouth, while he was asleep and quite literally eaten the nipple. The other day I was feeding him his bottle and when I took it out of his mouth to burp him, Yzma jumped on the bottle grabbing hold and tried to tug of war with me for it. (I poured boiling water on it after that, don't worry). And once when the baby was holding his own bottle, I left for a minute to grab Vera, and Yzma took the bottle away from him, shredded the nipple, and then proceeded to drink the milk. I told her vet about this and he just called her clever and opportunistic. Opportunistic indeed.

P.S. she threw up all over our floor thanksgiving night. 3 guesses as to what was in her vomit. You got it, a pacifier nipple...

24 November 2014


This cabin was full of hands-on kid activities. Like this "raised bed" where you could plant/dig up wooden vegetables. But really it was for flinging dirt at each other as you try to wield the spades and hoes -you know. 

2014 week forty-seven

Nothing like a trip to a log cabin village to get you in the Autumn spirit.

Watching a demonstration of how people used to drill things. I felt like Arthur Weasely. I kept wanting to say, "It's amazing what these people would think of to get by without using magic electricity!"

In the school house. There was a printed set of rules for pupils and teachers. My favorite was if a man got shaved in a barbershop  his morals, intentions, and integrity would be called into question.

Outside the gristmill. 

Foggy morning at the park.

Drinking Mama's delicious soup as fast as she could. Notice the neglected spoon.

This week I have a recipe for you.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Before you get all huffy and look at me like I'm trying to get you to believe that quinoa kale burgers are the best, stop. Read the ingredients and make this soup. Or make it sometime when you're starving and all you have is a butternut squash that you bought with the best unfulfilled intentions and an apple. You'll thank me. And if you have a toddler or baby, they'll probably thank me too.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

1/2 apple peeled, cored, chopped
1/2 butternut squash peeled, seeded, chopped (roughly the same size chops as the apple)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth/stock/bouillon (I wont get on your case about which is best)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
drizzle of honey (optional)

Peel and chop your apple and butternut squash. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and add chopped onions, stir until softened but not browned 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash and stir around occasionally for about 5 ish minutes or so. Add apples. Stir around for another couple minutes. Add your broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until apples and squash are soft and falling apart. 5-10 minutes. Puree in blender or with an immersion blender (which I regrettably do not own). Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Stir in sour cream. Serve with or without a small drizzle of honey.

Conversely, you do not have to puree it if your husband, like mine, gags on pureed soups because they make him think of baby food.

Eat (or drink straight from the bowl) with hot crispy bread or crackers. A delicious and warm autumn soup. And a really great baby food. If you want to make this for babies you can omit most of the butter, sour cream, salt, pepper, and honey. They will love it.                                  

17 November 2014


Last minute mulch purchase to protect my plants from the 21 degree night ahead!

2014 week forty-six

Aaaaaaaand, it is suddenly winter here in North Texas.

At the mall, which is apparently Christmas heaven already. The entire time, "Light! Light! Light! Light!" Except in Old Navy when the tune turned to, "Dog? I no know?!" Some Old Navy's have dog mannequins, but not this one and that was Distressing.

Fall cleaning surfaces really fun toys like this cake-stand turned baby merry-go-round. Pardon the no pants, we were toilet training.

Going on a walk. She loves these gloves. I gave up trying to knit some that would fit her and not be too bulky. Michael's had these for $1, so whatever. At least the hat and scarf are hand knitted. Because I know you're all keeping track.

Another cold walk to avoid further tantrums. 

Happiness is your first Chick-fil-A, if you didn't know. 

It was so cold this week. I'm not even exaggerating! COLD! Like nights in the 20s arctic wind, highs in the 30s-40s, cold. We woke up to powdered sugar snow. In November! I love it. I listened to one Christmas album. That's all I could take before I felt the Thanksgiving guilt sneaking in. I love being bundled up and feeling real seasons. Bring on the coldest winter ever (according the the Farmer's Almanac)!

I have no good stories this week. But the other night I noticed Matt had pushed all the pillows to my side. I asked him why he was offering me so many. Apparently it's because I'm a "thousand-pillow wife." True love. :)

Everything froze so I stripped my cucumber and bean plants this week. We had homemade refrigerator pickles with our roast beast last night. Delicious.  I'll share our refrigerator pickle recipe.

1/2 cup vinegar (any kind, white or red are best)
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar (or apple cider)
1/2 cup sugar
tbsp pickling spices
fresh cucumbers sliced or whole.

Put the cucumbers in a bowl. Bring other ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over cucumbers, bring to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to eat.

The same pickling brine can be used for any veg you want. Really good for pickling onions for sandwiches.

I got crazy with fall cleaning this year and purged every counter, closet, cupboard, cranny. EVERYTHING was purged and cleaned. It feels so good and fresh in here now. Ready for winter. Pass the apple chips and hot cocoa now please.

As a note, yes we are "toilet training" but we've been toilet training her whole life, so all it means now is periodically she goes pantless when we're at home to encourage her to say something before she goes. Knock on wood, she has been dry for 2 whole days now and verbally telling us when she has to go! Hooray! My flexible goal is to be in panties by Christmas. We'll see.

Happy Monday, stay warm!