20 April 2015


I've been devouring books this week "These is My Words" and then "Caddie Woodlawn." When we went to the library I lost Vera for a few minutes. A laughing old man pointed behind this couch and said, "She's over here Mama." And then he instructed me to take a photo of her. 

2015 week sixteen

What Texas lacks in a proper autumn is made up for with the many numbered delights of a perfect spring.

I love to see our house when we drive up. The flowers and strawberries and blooming lavender and creeping sweet potato vine give me feelings that can only be described as through Anne's beauty loving eyes as a "thrill." 

Our raised beds are also coming along nicely.  V loves toddling around the garden while I weed. Sometimes she'll briefly enter the house and return completely naked. Enjoying nature the way God intended or something...

Happily scribbling away. Matthew was gone this week but brought back an assortment of crayons and finger paints (spoils of going to an arts and crafts convention) to a very delighted V. 

When I make Chinese food that tastes like this I wonder why I ever go to Panda or Pei Wei. RECIPE but I added celery instead of bell pepper (because I can hardly stand to say bell pepper without gagging during this pregnancy and the last one) and broccoli. It was so perfect. I wish I had more now. 

Yzma hurt one of her back legs and has been limping all week. So now she only lies down like a cat mermaid. 

Hardly 80 degrees and she cannot even control herself around water -ice cold or otherwise. She sees it and immediately asks for her clothing to be removed so she can play in it.

Happy Sunday Broken Toe. Vera was really disappointed that she didn't get to go to church -I'm disappointed that no one got to see how cute she was. 

So I guess I should just write about how I broke my toe, even though V was really cute this week and I'd rather rhapsodize over her making snakes with play-doh or the silly things she says to make me laugh all day long, or even the fantastic books I read that I loved to death. I really want to write about that. But here's a silly story that ends in a broken toe. 

It's our week for family dinner and we're also nearing the end of our grocery budget for the month well in advance, so I thought homemade chicken noodle soup would be satisfying and cheap (we calculated it out to be about $6 in total to feed 6 people hurray!) I was so industrious this morning. I made beautiful bread. The dough was so satiny and thick I had to pull Matthew in to look at it -to which one can only reply, "Yes, very nice..?" No one could have cared as much as I did. And then I made chicken stock from our building cache of scraps and carcasses in my freezer. And it was absolutely perfect. My plan was to make homemade noodles as well because I had a bit of semolina flour. Everything was going along swimmingly and Vera was asleep early so she would get a good nap before church!

I went outside to throw our food scraps on the compost and to empty the buckets and containers that filled with water during the "flood warning" rainstorm last night. We have a very handy table cover to protect our outdoor furniture, because I am determined to prove Matthew wrong that not all outdoor furniture turns disgusting. I will take care of ours, and we will eat outside EVERY NIGHT! Well, the rain cover was full of water. The cover covers the table with the four chairs pulled up to it and at each chair the seat was full of about 5 gallons of water where the cover sank down and pooled. Matthew was going to empty them for me but ran out of time on his way to a church meeting. So I decided to just finish up emptying the water pools. It's kind of an awkward job maneuvering the cover to let the water flow out. As I lifted the cover and tried to pull it up, I knocked a hidden (very) heavy outdoor pot in which we keep our citronella candle off of a chair the edge landed in the middle of my second to last toe. 

I immediately started screaming. I'm sure I used every ounce of scream I had. I don't know what I'll do if I am ever attacked, what kind of scream could I possibly muster if something falling on my foot elicited the worst scream I had? It made me pause to think that perhaps I was being a little dramatic and also I screamed just like this once when a cockroach ran over my hand. But really, maybe that one was warranted. I didn't want neighbors to get worried so I went inside but really could not stop screaming. So I went back outside and jumped in place crying. My first thought was, Vigo Mortensen broke his toe during the filming of Lord of the Rings. How on earth did he just keep on acting? Then I tried calling Matthew. Thank heavens that a) he did not have his phone on silent or turned off, and b) that he didn't turn it off on the first call but was able to receive my text that read, "Emergency." He later told me that perhaps this didn't qualify as an emergency. It was at the moment though sweetheart. I could feel myself starting to panic and I knew immediately it was broken. I didn't want to go into shock but for some reason I took my shirt off? Then I realized what I did and put it back on. I'm still not sure about that one. I did, however, have the presence of mind to pull the bread out of the oven when it was done. (Matthew called me a true pioneer with somewhat of a sarcastic twinkle in his eye.) 

Somehow V continued to sleep through all this crying and shouting. And when Matt got home he helped me ice and elevate my foot. Tylenol really did help. As did a bath and just sitting with my feet up. And I called 3 different nurses I know to make sure we did everything the right way. Matthew is a great nurse. 

And in the end, only Matt's dad was able to show up for family dinner, but Matt made the homemade noodles and I felt well enough to make the rest of the soup. And it was a complete success. 

Bonus Photo: V touches a dove that was released at a funeral. She then had to go touch all the doves and try to pry open their little holding chamber basket. "My touch the birds!"

13 April 2015


Sharing Goldfish and Raisins and keeping their toes out of the sand.

 2015 week fifteen

We spent a few days in Arizona with bosom friends.

They lovingly fought over the rights to this cozy chair. And V claimed every one of Stella's stuffed animals.

Sharing is easiest when it is food. 

Two of my dearest college roommates. I think a trip to Arizona should be an annual thing, don't you guys?

One photo of us all together before we ate ourselves happily sick on perfect Barros Pizza. 

"Animal" reads V a book. When we were driving back to Nicole's house, V kept pointing to the back where Amy was sitting and whispering to Lauren, "Animal. She's in the car! In the car!"  She loved listening to this book though. And kept telling us that she was "so shy" and that she needed to "hold on tight" so she wouldn't fall. We were crying from laughter.

Yzma has been limping pretty badly for the last few days so she spends most of her time lying around like this. In this sweet moment V decided to cover her with a blanket and snuggle up her baby, instead of trying to lie on Yzma herself.  Because of her limp, she has taken to sleeping under the compost tarp instead of jumping up behind the rain barrel. And this has made for a very smelly cat as of late. Compost cat.

Monday night V and I flew to Arizona to spend a few days with two of my very dear college roommates. Sadly Spirit only flies between Dallas and Phoenix one a day. At 1130 pm. And they only fly from Phoenix to Dallas once a day. At 1 am. Remembering this is giving me anxiety. As we were driving to the airport Matthew said, "Get ready for a miserable four hours." And from the back seat a little groggy bug said, "yeeeeeeeeaaaaah." But even though the flights were pretty fairly as bad as you'd expect at those times, it was so worth it to talk myself nonsensical for three days. It took about that much time to recover as well. :) And though I obviously had a perfect time visiting with two girls I love so much, Vera had a great time as well. She loved having access to all of Stella's toys and a toddler to run around with the whole time. She commandeered a few of Stella's stuffed animals and claimed them as her own. One day Vera and Stella stayed with Nicole's mom so we could go to the temple and that just sealed the deal for her. They played in the pool and played with bubbles and ate more candy and chicken nuggets than they could handle. :) For the rest of the day, and several days after she could not stop talking about "Paco" (their dog) and "bubbles!" and having "so much fun." One way I can get her to take naps is to tell her about the fun things we will do when she wakes up from a rest, "Go to the store" "Go to the park" "Have a snack." When we were driving back and I was prepping her to take a nap, she said, "Have a rest and wake up and have a Paco. So much fun."

It was hard to say goodbye, I could have visited for another 3 days at least, but we had such a great time. We ate so much good food, and not even throwing up in the parking lot beforehand could keep me from it. I'm still dreaming about that tortilla soup. It was really a perfect visit. Thank you so much friends.

06 April 2015


V got her first haircut! She was so still and patient. $15 later I realized I'll be cutting her hair from now on...
 2015 week fourteen

Happy lovely, (tantrum acquainted) springy, Easter, and General Conference week!
Wednesday Arboretum trip with friends. This is essentially what they did the entire time. V took an almost 3 hour nap that afternoon, bless her. 

At the arboretum, taken a little less than one year after the photo at the top of the page. She looks like a different baby.

And on this day I learned that I will have no need to take her to the zoo anytime soon. Petco was just as magical. As we were leaving I told her to say goodbye to the lizards and she squeaked out, "Goodbye lizards, I love you!" 

Feeding  Chasing ducks with Papa. She was way too friendly with the edge of that water. And the geese were absolutely terrifying. Anyone else afraid of geese?

Our lazy cat prefers lying down while eating. 

Sunday was going to rain so we did a little hunt in our backyard on Saturday in the sunshine. She has been training for this her whole life. One of her favorite activities is collecting treasures in a bucket or bag and toting them around. She has been reenacting the egg hunt in my house the last two days. 

The calm, soporific voices of General Conference even work on cats. I'm not sure how anyone could sleep through the impassioned voice of Elder Holland though... Yzma is just not as righteous. :) 

What a lovely week, even though (hey, have you heard?) there is a very angry baby in my womb and I am so sick. Even my wonderful, ever-patient husband has grown tired of hearing me complain about feeling sick. And Vera, sweet little not-even-two-year-old immediately says, "Mama feel so sick," whenever I tell her I can't pick her up or get off the couch. And maybe the internet can help me. It's not really even nausea. So what is this pain? Yes, I throw up periodically, but it is more like my stomach just aches. I am popping tums like I've never tasted candy, but after every meal (except breakfast, oddly) my stomach just hurts. It's cruel. Even drinking water hurts my stomach -which my husband does not believe. What is happening?

But, what a lovely week anyway. This is my happy story from the week. We have had a fair amount of rain and our rain barrel has stayed pretty full. Every evening I walk around my garden watering all my tender little plants from a watering can that I fill up from the rain barrel. And Saturday night my husband was making cookies and General Conference was drifting out our open window and I could listen to words about Christ as I was soaking each little plant. I saw two small asparagus shoots, so naturally I had to call Matthew out to join in my joy. And standing on our little back patio, holding hands, watching the dusk (and let's be real honest, the pollen) settle on our freshly mown lawn, I felt so happy. I didn't feel sick and the beauty of our tiny house and yard just struck me. My blueberry bush was covered in blossoms, the blackberry bushes had stalks of neon green new grown, my plum tree (laden with tiny green plums) was swaying in the wind of the approaching thunderstorm. Every stalk of garlic and onion was strong and the purest green. My hopeful potatoes were shaking their heads in the breeze that was dancing away the last of the peach blossoms. My lavender bloomed for the first time this year (finally!) and all the little plants we planted on my birthday have done nothing but give me a thrill every time I walk out on my (temporarily, darn you Texas!) jasmine-scented front step. My happiness in that dusk, standing with my husband watching the green of our home turn to grey in the night was so full, I never wanted to leave my yard or my home. Texas has converted me into an ardent lover of spring time. And this year, this spring, she is so glorious.

Funny words from Vera

V trying to shake my plants to death.
Me: V, you have to be so gentle to the plants and tell them to grow so strong.
V kisses the plants: Grow big and strong, I love you

She calls anything bunny shaped (crackers, cookies) "bunny foo foo" and requests I sing the song.

In the car I hear
V: Good morning toes! (its like 4 pm) I love you toes! (then kissing noises)

washee hands. wipee hands. wipee bun. washee hair. It's almost like she's saying "wash ye hands!"

30 March 2015


This little mama got stuck in our yard one morning.  Possums are so creepy. And apparently Possum and Opossum are the same thing. There is no difference. And neither of them hang upside down! I feel like my whole life has been a lie. 

2015 week thirteen

Happy Birthday to Matthew, the husband who buys you way better gifts than you could ever buy for him. It is surprisingly infuriating. :)

Matthew asked Renfros Salsa if he could take a tour of the factory for his birthday. They said no, but sent him a box of free salsa. So, still a win. :)

Spring bike ride. She is now fast enough that I can walk normally next to her.

One day she wanted to play in her pool. After she got bored of the water being in the pool, she started to scoop out cupfuls and pour it on the cat. Yzma didn't even move until she got some poured on her head. 

Then she got really bored of the water being in the pool and it was so much more fun to just pour it on the ground and play there. We played outside while Papa got a birthday nap. 

Beautiful girl. Waiting for Matthew's Chick-fil-A party tray (120 nuggets!!!) for his boys video games and chicken party. 

Hey look! A photo of me. All dressed for church in my "movie theatre seat print" dress. Can you guess who named it that? >:|

Happy 29th birthday Matthew. All he wanted for his birthday was a nap and a video game party, which meant he got to celebrate on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday he got sandwiches for dinner, Indiana Jones on Blue Ray, a surprise clean up of his car while we were at church by his little brother and a leather wallet from me (but his current wallet was impeccably made by his brother and will probably last forever so...).

We have been dealing with a lot of unnecessary whining lately and have been having a hard time knowing how to quell it without constantly shushing or telling her to stop or be quiet. Matthew and I have each developed our own ways to stop it.  When V is whining at me, I just say "Try again," until she suddenly stops whining and says, "Mama, can I have it please?" Or "Mama, can you hold me please?" Her ability to suddenly stop is slighting annoying because I wish the whining just didn't happen, but at least she is stopping.  When V is whining or crying over something unjustified, Matthew calmly tells her, "I'm sorry. You cannot cry out here. If you need to cry you can cry in your room. When you are calm, we would love you to come back out here." She immediately stops and says, "I'm calm." :) Silly thing.

Last week we made really delicious pork chops for dinner, but there wasn't going to be enough for us to both eat it for lunch the next day. I told Matthew he'd be getting the leftover refried beans but in the morning gave him the pork chop instead. When he got to work he was surprised and touched. He texted me, "love level: last pork chop." Yesterday for Matthew's birthday lunch I made him his favorite quesadillas with Renfro salsa, and the leftover half rack of dry rub ribs from Friday dinner, half a perfectly ripe mango, and a glass of Chick-fil-A lemonade. He dubbed it the perfect birthday lunch. Then he handed me the last bit of his ribs and check mated me with "love level: last birthday ribs." This is why we will stay in love forever. Happy Birthday wonderful Matthew.

23 March 2015


A sticky afternoon at the park.  I love those baby arms.
 2015 week twelve.

Happy Birthday to me!

V discovered she loves pickles. It is really cute when she tries to say pickles. These were leftover from our  St. Patricks Day feast that I did not get any photos of. It was too delicious to pause for photos. 

And sometimes she looks so small still. 

On this walk she kept asking, "What is that?" And I would say, "It's called..." Then I asked her, "What are you called?" And she very quickly responded, "Green!" But everything is "green" lately. Except when Matthew held up three fingers and asked her "What is this?" Then it was "Yellow." Obviously.

We were a pair of Waldos in a mutual activity of "Where's Waldo in Walmart." We camped in the toy aisles and I gave V a big yellow ball. In one hand she was clutching a gummy bear. She leaned down to pick up the ball and it shot right out from beneath her and she fell face first onto the floor. I felt so bad for her, but I couldn't stop laughing. Poor thing. Nothing a few more gummy bears couldn't cure. 

"Family Treat" night at Braums. A couple in our ward went on a cruise for the week, and deposited their several children at various homes. We were lucky to get to keep their oldest daughter. She was the best. V LOVED her. She is going to be so sad when she wakes up and her beloved, "Nora" (not her real name but what V calls her anyway) is gone. 

For my birthday we drove to drizzly Dallas to play around Klyde Warren Park and have lunch at the food trucks. The kids section was magical for V. There are so many water features. She was beside herself.

And she was also soaked through in about 10 minutes.

Haha, Cora is trying to escape being in our photo but instead she's just politely creeping off to the side.

Park two of my birthday was Matthew digging out the front garden bed of all the terrible soil and me putting in beautiful dark soil and landscaping plants. This weird child of mine insisted upon wearing this hat for the entire afternoon (and then at church on Sunday). Everyone at Lowe's thought she was just too much.  (I spy Cora trying to escape my photo again). :)

My beautiful new garden bed full of a a foot of deep black soil. Dear Matthew, best birthday present ever. Dear Vera, you are too cute digging in that garden. Dear Cat, why are you creeping in my window?

Speaking of too cute, am I right? Haha. I am such a cat lady. I love this furry wicked kitten.

Birthday cake with the most pathetic candle we own. Strawberry cake with whipped cream and fresh berries. Eaten outside on my birthday outdoor table. 

A quick story this week because I had too many photos. Much of this week was so nice and we spent a lot of our time outside (when it wasn't raining). I got a lovely outdoor table as one of my birthday presents and V loves to play on it. As I was fiddling around my garden she comes up to me and says, "Yogurt. Yogurt on chair!" What on earth? I look at her finger and sure enough there is a white smear. I ask myself, "Why is their yogurt on this chair? We haven't eaten yogurt out here." So I go up to the chair to inspect. It was a long sticky white smear of bird poop. Bird poop with a toddler sized finger streak down the middle. I am not aware if she tasted this yogurt before asking me about it. But I cleaned it up and tried not to think about it. Toddlers are gross. :)