18 May 2015


Hey! We've had more rain! Surprise! Beautiful bright yellow mushroom.
 2015 week twenty

So much beautiful rain; so many toddler tears of frustration mixed sporadically with hilarious moments.

Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow? With swiss chard and spinach and carrots galore, and snap peas at every meal. :) And also 10 million roly-polies. 

I went to sell a bag of V's old baby clothes and as I was filling out paperwork she grabbed these Hello Kitty glasses and started strutting around proudly saying, "My wear glasses!" 

I know you're going to say I don't look tooooo pregnant, but this belly is nearly double where it was when I was 4 months with V. I didn't "have" to wear maternity clothes with V until 7 months; I've been wearing maternity pants or realistically just skirts for the last 2 months. 

V got a new swim suit "swim soup" for our trip to Mexico and as soon as we got home she very sweetly asked if she could wear it. She wore it (with an irreparable wedgie) for the rest of the day and nearly lost her mind when she had to wear actual pjs to bed. 

So excited about Grandpa's speaker that we borrowed. She kept trying to put money in it... Also, I broke down and bought her Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb after almost a month of driving past the library and her sadly crooning in the back seat "My ditty dum! My ditty dum at the library!" This little thing loves books so much. She loves pointing to the characters in books and telling me they are happy or so sad or "angreen" :) I'm not really worried about her ability to read other people's emotions. Also, in this photo she is wearing a pj shirt over her swim suit. She had been previously wearing a cape and sun hat in addition (and screaming in frustration because she couldn't figure out how to put on my sandals...) 

No photos from the weekend because we've in Mexico since Saturday. We'll be home later this week. Wish us luck that no toddler steps on a wasp, or gets bitten by a rattle snake, or stung by a scorpion, or touches a cactus, or gets whisked away in the 7 foot surf...

A brief story from this week. Thursday morning I had a pregnancy check up. It was a stressful minute or so lying on the table when they couldn't find a heartbeat. "Again, how can this be happening again? I am too far along to miscarry, aren't I?" Well, I'm not. But that's not the story. The story is that the baby was very much alive and shooting from side to side inside my uterus avoiding the sono wand. As soon as she would pin it for a second and try to adjust to get the heartbeat, I could feel it squirm away as fast as it could. We'd pin it again, and swish, wiggle away again. It was cute and funny, but I will not lie and pretend I had no sense of foreboding. Vera, my sweet, patient, (relatively) calm and obedient toddler would lie comatose in my womb just relaxing and posing perfectly for heartbeat checks. At only 4 months I can feel this acrobat frequently practicing. What is this child going to be like? Are we in for the "Matthew karma" I've been warned about since we got married? Also, still throwing up. Still. 18 weeks in. What kind of baby is this!? :)

11 May 2015


Vera has a very specific "I'm frustrated because I can't put this item of clothing on by myself" cry. This is how Matt found her after a few minutes of screaming. This photo adequately represents my entire week of being cooped up in the house with her.

2015 week nineteen

Another rainy green week. I'm starting to feel like we are living in the Pacific Northwest. Also, there is no end in sight to this rain. My garden is going to lose its mind when Texas weather returns to normal.

First round of potatoes from our garden. Disgustingly, I unearthed just about as many grubs as potatoes. And since we're on bugs, guess who has termites in their yard! But don't worry, we have so many ants that they have driven back the termite forces and have successfully stymied the rebellion.

Matthew made perfect ribs the other night. Sometimes trolling through imgur will really change your life. (I understand that that sentence is completely unintelligible to many people. It makes me feel proud, like I can speak another language.) In addition to this we had cornbread and coleslaw. And we would have had baked beans, but Martha was actually serious when she said they would take at least 6 hours to cook. Ours took 8. 8 hours for baked beans. We had to eat them the next day. After this delicious dinner, I promptly threw up for the first time in a while. I also threw it up again when I tried to eat it at lunch. And while I was throwing up Vera was yelling, "Mama! Feel so sick! So yuck!" and then tried to copy the sound of me vomiting. I'm pretty sure throwing up barbecue is a punishable offense in Texas. 

Fava beans. Beautiful pain in the butt to peel fava beans. To make...

This blurry but delicious Fava Bean soup. At the bottom of the bowl you put garlic breadcrumbs, chopped mint, chopped shallot, and chopped bacon.  On top is a dollop of yogurt with chopped mint. I did not throw this up. But Vera had to eat it by herself the next day because I could only stomach eating top ramen... Also, it tasted exactly like it was made from regular green peas. So, when I make this again, I'll go the dirt cheap route of frozen peas instead of fancy fava beans.

V loves to walk into the sewing room and announce that she is going to make a mess. One day she grabbed a piece of fabric and requested a dress. She was so happy with the result until the loose strings wrapped around her toe and her hair phobia took over in a fit of writhing and screaming, "sticky! On my leg! Sticky!!!!!!" Sticky is what she calls hairs. I don't know why. I only call them hairs. 

A hot sticky afternoon calls for reading books in your panties. Preferably the same book 3 times in a row. 

We went to a Mexican restaurant for a friend's surprise birthday party. We thought, this will be great! Vera loves chips and salsa she'll be so calm. No. A cement donkey outside will change the entire trajectory of your dinner with a toddler. It was all screams and tears and fruitless (albeit, very enthusiastic) attempts to escape the highchair -even feigning needing to use the toilet (1) -to get back out to touch the donkey. 

I had been feeling a lot better since I hit the second trimester mark. But then I ran out of my daily anti nausea medicine. I thought, well I'm feeling so much better, and I've been taking this daily for three months, maybe I should allow my body to recalibrate and not be dependent on this any more. Well, it's fine now, but all week has been difficult. We have had (glorious, I'll never complain about it but) sooooo much rain. Our yard is flooding. The cat has tried to regress to using my garden as a litter box because her other favorite places are puddles. Compound the rain, with the withdrawal of nausea meds and an unearthly obsession with cleaning and purging my house RIGHT THIS MINUTE, led to us being indoors all week. Poor V. She's losing her mind. Because it's been so wet, Matt has just been taking the car and we've been locked inside. So this week held a lot (a. lot.) of frustration for my poor wiggly toddler. Luckily, she loves play-doh and helping me clean, and reading books, so she can stay pretty busy, but I was experiencing some early nesting or something because every counter, shelf, cabinet, closet, and drawer got a stern talking to from me this week, and she got pretty much ignored. And now my house is clean and calm. And ready for another week (!) of rain. The loveliest part of this week is how much V made me laugh. Her sentences are getting more complex and she makes me laugh all day. Except when she spirals into frustration screams before I can even talk to her or intervene. Then I am not laughing,

Funny phrases from V:

We got to eat dinner outside one night this week. We had honey on the table for the cornbread. V had finished her plate of dinner and very politely turned to me and said, "Now I would like some honey, please." While she said this she was nodding her head trying to get me to say yes. When I started laughing, she said very seriously, "pah-wheeeeze."

She is trying very hard to ask for things so politely. Matt made popcorn the other night and without being prompted she walked into the kitchen and said, "Papa, I would like to have some popcorn, please." It was too much. So sweet.

She loves to count things. If she sees a photo of herself holding her giraffe she will count, "One. Two. Two giraffes!!!!" Her favorite thing to count is jelly beans and she requests them all day every day. So glad we finally finished off our bag from Easter. She is really good at counting jelly beans (by that I mean she will count higher than two) and she only says her colors correctly when it's jelly beans. Every other time, everything is always green. But with jelly beans she will proudly hold up each one, "orange. yellow. white. blue."

She rediscovered this stupid pink bear that I have. After she hugged it exclaiming, "Oh bear! I found you!" she turned to me and asked, "my bear haves nipples?"

She's been taking a lot more tumbles lately. After one such fall she kept reminding herself, "I fell down." And then later she brought it up again, "I fell down, hurta leg. Everybody falls down."

Matt had to change the sand in his spider terrarium so it was sitting on the floor (the terrarium, not the spider) and V comes up to lay down next to it. With her face against the glass she croons, "Hi spider. What are you doing? Are you walking on the ground? Giraffe, do you want to see the spider? Come here giraffey. Don't touch the spider giraffe.  Don't touch the spider." Sometimes she is such a sweet little mama to her toys.

Sometimes, however, she is talking to herself and I hear phrases that I say that I do not love her repeating. The other day she was playing with an ice cube in a bowl and brought it to the cat. "Drink the water, cat! Drink! *Loud exasperated sigh* Oh my goodness!" hm... time to reevaluate how patient my words are over here...

Happy Mother's Day. Matthew gave me the funniest Mother's Day card and a beautiful bottle of balsamic vinegar, and some snapdragons. I love them. I also really loved not having to make dinner or dessert. :) What I love most though, is that I get to be a mama. I love being Vera's mama so much, and I'm so happy to have another baby this year.

04 May 2015


Happy Birthday Vera! Thanks for hiding from me as you went to poop in your underwear at the park. 
 2015 week eighteen

We are now the parents of a two-year old.

A pretty little fungi growing out of my raised bed. A sign that Texas has been getting plenty of rain.

While I was getting everything ready for V's little birthday party at the park I turned around to see this little face lit up at the bounty of grapes she just found. She looked me square in the eye, started nodding her head, and informed me, "I have ooooooooooone grape." And then she stuffed her cheeks with the delicious little choking hazards.

The lady at Tom Thumb gave us this free balloon. I love the way balloon shadows look.

Lunch Park Party. I brought three trays of ham and butter baguette sandwiches (with jam or mustard for condiments, both incredible), pretzels, chips and salsa, pickles, carrot salad (the best and Vera loves it) grapes, and little water bottles. It was fairly inexpensive and I loved having so many friends eat lunch with us at the park. Vera wouldn't even go play. She just wanted to eat. Thank you everyone for all the books and the fun company!

The most modest photo I could take of V while she is scooping up water in a little cup and chasing Yzma around with it. The cat hates it, but also just stays on the sidewalk, so... 

She hates it when I push her in the swing, but Matthew can push her all day long. I love the special connection she has with her Papa. It is so precious to me. This special connection extended to church yesterday. Matthew was patting her bum really fast and as he made contact on one swipe she let out a huge toot into his hand. Then later she leaned over to tell him something and burped in his face. We were laughing so hard during the sacrament. 

Two small anecdotes and a recipe.

The other day Vera was playing outside and our neighbor was weed whacking or using a leaf blower or something else equally gas powered and noisy. Vera gasps and turns to me and whispers, "I hear a dragon!" She has no idea what a dragon is and I don't even know how she knows that word. And it wasn't a mistake. She continued to say it while the neighbor was finishing up his yard work.

She has been playing a lot of make believe lately. I love it. She will sing to her babies or tell them what they're going to do, or that they have to take a nap or have to have their diaper changed. It was the most precious thing when I walked in on her rocking her baby and singing "Sweet Hour of Prayer." She has been really interested in "going to work." She'll grab a purse filled with trinkets and announce, "Bye Mama I'm going to work!" I'll tell her to have a good day and she'll reply. "Have a good day! Come RIGHT back for lunch! Bye!" Her usual workplace preferences are "work with Papa" or "work at the airport." She's been really fascinated by airplanes and airports since our trip to Arizona. She asks me periodically if we're going on an airplane after naps.

French Carrot Salad

This is a really wibbly wobbly recipe. It's very difficult to mess up.

Carrots (as many as you'd like. Start with 3 or 4 regular sized carrots)
Very small bunch of parsley
Olive oil
Sugar (optional)

Wash and peel (if you're not too lazy like I usually am) your carrots. Grate into a large bowl. Finely chop up a little parsley and mix with your carrots. Add a good glug of olive oil (like maybe 1-2 tbsp) and a good splash of vinegar (maybe 1 1/2 tbsp or more, if you're like my husband and like your salad a little tart -as opposed to your women which you don't like tart at all.) Add a little salt and pepper and a sprinkle of sugar (or even honey) if you desire. Mix it up and taste it. Adjust seasonings to your taste.

Vera and Matthew can. not. get enough of this salad. Good way to use all your carrots that I only really ever use for soups usually.

27 April 2015


2015 week seventeen

I am never going to complain about rain after a few years of drought, but I can hardly keep from saying I am almost tired of it.

Vera's first finger painting. She loved it so much but continually wanted her hands wiped clean. Thank you Eco-Kids for the free sample Matthew brought home from a trade show. Every time V passes these pictures hung up on our fridge she proudly proclaims, "I make DOTS!" 

On this day, we tried to go for a walk three times. Three times we were four houses down the street and were suddenly soaked. It was probably the first day in my entire life that I was annoyed by a rainy day. No car + feeling sick + bored toddler + so. much. rain = I was a big complainer that day. After a day of being annoyed and complainy I always feel a little disappointed in myself. As soon as Matt came home and I was immediately in a better mood, I reflected, "wow. I wasted this beautiful day being unhappy." 

Our green green yard starting to flood.  And my poor little plum tree looks so bedraggled and weather-beaten.

We gave V two early birthday presents: Her play kitchen and these lovely purple shoes from her Oma. I am not the only one in love with these shoes. V has asked to sleep in them a couple times. :) 

On Saturday it finally dried out enough to get the lawn mowed and the chamomile harvested. This honey-scented handful will make the most delicious tea. Matthew is tired of the constant hum of the dehydrator. "That thing has been going all day!" 3 hours sweetie. 3 hours. 

Early birthday dinner with grandparents. Crouton in her mouth, cake on her plate, and everyone is singing to her: pure happiness. I used THIS cake recipe, and filled it with whipped cream and sliced strawberries and a little pile of toasted coconut on top. 

Some funny things that V says:

"Come on guys!"

"Goodbye Sweetie!"

"Talking on the phone to Oma!" Then she will tell Oma about how she is stuck in the car, or cleaning her room "Big Mess!" or "having a milkshake!"

All she does all day long is "Make a milkshake!" in her little kitchen and bring it to you. She's only had probably 4 milkshakes in her entire life. Clearly they made a big impression on her. :)

"Have a good pee/poop?!"

"What is that?" To everything and everyone. I feel a little caught off guard when she points to a person and says, "what is that?" I usually say, "A person... uhm a lady who works here."

"I do it a-self!"

She will walk into my sewing room, go right to the scraps basket and announce: "My make a mess!"

"My have a peanut?" She really loves salted peanuts.

me: "V, what color is this?"
v: "GREEEEEEEN!" -to everything. If we say "no... what color is it?" then she'll yell "Baaaaaaaah-looooooooooo" (blue)

I had this conversation with Matthew on Saturday after feeling suddenly very sick and needing to grab something to eat immediately:

me: Matthew, I hope you dont think that I'm making up being so nauseous just to eat tasty things.
matthew: I dont think that you make it up...entirely. I think you have a strong incentive to have access to all the berries you want. :)
me: Oh my goodness. How did I marry such a criminal?
matthew: I ask myself that every day. :)
me: Hmm. Have anymore quippy one-liners?
matthew: I don't know. Keep talking. :D

The other night our bathroom was full of flies. It was so gross. At first I only saw two. So Matthew got the gun (the gun that shoots salt to kill flies) and got them. As soon as those two were down we saw another one, then another one. They kept appearing! All told he shot about 8 flies. 8 flies in our bathroom. It was rather frustrating to think you are done and then hear more buzzing. I heard phantom fly buzzing all night. Probably the ghosts of the departed from the bathroom trashcan.

Happy 2nd Birthday Vera! We love having you for our baby so much.

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!"