Tuesday, December 7, 2010

holiday madness

As soon as I flip the calender to December, the craft-madness begins. I really couldn't care less about black friday and crazy deals all over town on the coolest toys... just make sure Micheal's is open late for those inevitable craft emergencies. :-)

Veronica asked me if I'd be filling my etsy shop with more stars, so here's my answer... if I know you (you've commented here, or I've commented on your blog, or you know me beyond the computer...) I am happy to sell directly to you at a discounted price (cutting out etsy and paypal fees) plus, I'll ship to you for free* because, well, I love you. Send me an e-mail (rek4acre @ gmail DOT com) and we'll work it out.

If we don't have an established relationship, cyber or real life, please contact me through etsy and we'll work out details there.

I have about a dozen stars made right now that you can choose from, but I have to take pictures in the daylight first... lmk if you are interested, and I'll post pictures of my inventory. Also,I can make stars to order - pick your wire color (gold, silver, copper) and your bead color theme (endless possibilities, really).

Sound good? :-)

* I'll ship anywhere in the US, but only one address per order for free shipping.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Andy's Grandma Dorothy turned 90 on November 19th, and while we couldn't afford to fly all of us out to Seattle, we were able to send me and Sasha. So Sasha LORRAINE got to meet Dorothy LORRAINE, and we had a blast. I got to meet so many of Andy's cousins that I had never met before. Sasha made people fall in love with her left and right. She's got skills, I tell you. I'm already bracing myself for the teenage years.

This is Missy, we've been facebooking for awhile, I was so excited to meet her!


The Birthday Girl loving on the Baby Girl.


My most favorite picture of Sasha. Ever.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints' Day

Today I was remembering this time last year, and wanted to share with you a beautiful part of my day November 1, 2009.

I sat at m y Grandma Marg's knees, as she lay in her hospital bed, with her in and out of knowing who I was, where she was, the year, or even the decade. I held her hands and, through my tears, I said the following prayer:

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.

When I reached the end we said, "Amen." together, then she looked up and said, "There is a light up there." In all the wandering her mind did, in and out of time and reality, her faith never wavered. How beautiful! To forget who you are, but know that He is there, waiting for you - incredible

One of my favorite days ever. One I'd re-live a thousand times if I could.

Friday, October 8, 2010

coughity cough cough

We've been coughing in this house since school started. On August 23rd. No longer sick, thankfully, but still coughing. Frustrating!

Oh, we may or may not be moving next summer. Cross-country. Again. Ugh. I'll keep you updated as I get real information, right now there is none.

And, if you've even wondered if a BlackBerry can swim, the answer is no. Sasha wanted to see how my phone would do in the dog water. It wasn't pretty. My service bar, that shows was network I'm in (3G, gsmt, etc.) actually said SOS. I kid you not. Had I not been so freaked out, I would've taken a picture. I'm pretty sure the SOS in this instance stands for Save Our Simcard.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Our family is growing!


'why aren't you running away from me? how am I supposed to chase you if you don't run away?'

Another canine has been added to the mix I call my zoo! (Did you think I was going to say we were pregnant? Nope, no plans for that in the near future, quite possibly no plans for that ever again. But that's really a different subject altogether!)

JoJo (fka Sophie - it did not fit, and she did not answer to it), a 4 year old female boxer, came to live with us a week ago. She's not as mellow as Dasiy Mae, but Daisy Mae is eerily mellow, and JoJo has a much more dog-like personality. And, she and Daisy Mae have the same coloring. They could be twins. The twins like Arnie and Danny in the movie. Daisy Mae outweighs JoJo by about 20 pounds. And JoJo runs laps around Daisy Mae in the yard. That 20 pound gap will shrink some, I think, as Daisy Mae does some running!

Her previous family had too much going on, and needed to rehome her. I, apparently, don't have quite enough going on, so here we are, 1 mama, 1 daddy, 3 daughters, 3 cats, 2 canines. Oh, and the worms. I have my worms. I don't know how many, though. Maybe I'm a bad worm-mama.

Oh, and according to her previous family, she doesn't like cats. (because of that concern, she came over initially to see how she reacted, if she was not cool with the felines, she would've gone back for them to find a different home) Turns out JoJo and THEIR cat didn't get along. Might be because JoJo would chase their cat, and their cat would run. Mine looked at her like she was a mild annoyance, and mostly ignored her. After a week, she's figured out that it's okay, but her first few days here, she would try to get the cats to look at her, and it drove her crazy that they wouldn't. And the whole not running away from her thing, well that really freaked her out.

We're still adjusting to life with 2 dogs, but adjusting in a good way.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

whiskey

"Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky..."

Not only does Lauren sing along to this song, but it's her favorite song. With as often as we listen to it, I wouldn't be surprised if Sasha says 'whiskey' soon. ;-)

We are doing sign language with Sasha, and ohmy, it's awesome! I didn't do it with my other girls because, well, I just didn't. But we're doing it with Sasha, and an added bonus is that we are all learning sign language. Really, it's pretty amazing to watch your baby (she's 12 months old) tell you she wants to eat, or that she wants more of something, or that the cat is nearby. Cheese, milk/nurse, apple, banana. All words she's signing, plus some others.

And, on the preschool front, I am enjoying teaching preschool. The one year olds are tough, man. But they are cute, and fun. I'm enjoying this age more than I expected to. Mostly, I figure, because the one year olds, while they do need a schedule, need less of a curriculum than the older ones do, which fits in with my style pretty easily.

Last week I made blue jello (blue being the color of the unit, along with the shape being triangle, and the theme being Texas) that we played with. I plopped jello in front of each kid, and let them just do whatever. Sasha wasted no time in putting it to her mouth. Suffice it to say, Sasha ate more jello than her 6 other classmates combined. Anyway, one little boy did really get into smearing it around on the table, and the other kiddos poked at it, not really sure what to do. We'll be playing lots with different textures (great for brain development!) throughout the year - any ideas are welcome!

Oh, and I'm doing signs with them, too. Eat is the one that some of them have picked up on.

We're doing dance class again this year, and I'm so excited to see how the girls grow and change from last year. The owner of the studio is their teacher this year. They are in separate classes, back-to-back, and the owner teaches each one. I had no idea before we signed up, but I'm glad. I feel like we lucked out, because the owner has such a passion for teaching little ones to dance. I'm very curious to see how Aubrey does with her, as she's such a free spirit when it comes to dancing. Or, well, anything, actually, but with dance it's just more obvious.

Starting to make Thanksgiving travel plans, figuring out where we'll go (because it's always been Deming, and now that no one is in Deming, it's not the place anymore) and what we'll do, and who can come. Some folks aren't feeling up for a big family gathering, and while part of me understands it, another part of me is saddened. Dude, we're still family. Makes me feel like, for some of the family, the old folks were the glue, and now that they're gone, maybe some of my relatives think, 'What's the point in sticking together?" Really, it makes me sad.

Lauren Elizabeth has decided that maybe Lauren is not the name for her. So she's requested that we call her L.E. I love it, and if she really takes to being called L.E., would you have her write it as L.E. or as Ellie? But then, also, there's a girl in her class called Lizzie, and Lauren/L.E./Ellie now would like to be called Lizzie, too. Since her middle name is Elizabeth, it's not really a stretch, but she likes it because then 'There would be two Lizzies. Wouldn't that be great, mom?' Anyway, I'm cool with calling her L.E. Not too keen on Lizzie yet, because of the classmate. Eh, we'll see.

Oh, and one more thing, to make this post even more random, have you ever had kalbi? Man, on man, is that stuff good. Korean bbq short ribs. Judy got it all ready and brought it over for Andy to grill. Yum! If you are so inclined, I'm tagged in a note on facebook, the note being the recipe Judy used. I'd go copy it, except facebook isn't loading well tonight. Poop.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

what's new, pussycat?

whoa whoa whoa
~~~~

Yikes, summer was way too busy! And fall is looking to be just as busy, but at least there'll be the routine of school, preschool, dance class, girl scouts to help keep us in check.

Aubrey started 3rd grade last week. Lauren starts preschool Tuesday. And Sasha will be in my class this year at Lauren's preschool, as I'm the teacher with the one year olds. (btw, for these little ones, it's really a mom's day out program - one year old is way too young for preschool! but we'll be learning as we play!)

Oh, and Sasha turned one on the 22nd. Weird, the past year went by so quickly, but at the same time, I can't imagine life before Sasha, seems like she's always been here.

Sasha is almost walking, but that girl will climb. Anything. Crap. Seriously, we're in trouble. In her high chair, buckling her up doesn't work. She squirms her legs right out of the buckle, even when it's so tight it's nearly cutting blood flow. So she doesn't sit there to watch the world go by, she stands there to eat (that stink bug!) while I keep one hand on her and eat my food one handed. (unless it's one of her favorite foods AND she's really hungry AND she's in the right mood, then she might sit. For 3.2 minutes.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I smell trouble

I am about to gush over some food. Really, really unhealthy food, that should never be consumed. But it's just so dang good. Anyway, that's my warning, in case you need to just close this internet window and walk away. Go grab an apple or drink a glass of water. Because otherwise two things are likely to happen. First of all, you may hate me when the cravings kick in. And second, your keyboard may become sticky with all the drool.

Proceed at your own risk!!! ;-)









Back at Christmas time I got a cookbook. This cookbook. Because I read her blog. This blog. And she is funny. Freakin' hilarious.

Anyway, I had read rumors online about PW's cinnamon rolls. And I drooled all over the photos of them in her book. And then, for the sake of my thighs (and hips, and ass, and waist, and arms, and, well you get it) I blocked the recipe, and the fact that I had the recipe so close at hand, out of my mind. I was successful for 8 months.

But I was in the mood to bake something, and whined to Andy that I wanted to try these, but blahblahblah. And he said something to the effect of, "Well just do it. Just try it. Stop talking about it and decide that you'll do it." (I love to bake, but hesitate when recipes call for 9 cups of flour - you know it's gonna be a crapload of cinnamon rolls, and what if you screw up? Like really screw up and can't eat them at all? What a waste!)

So I halved the recipe. And right now, as I type, there are 23 sweet, cinnamon-y, perfectly delicious rolls sitting on my stove, waiting for breakfast. There should've been 24, but, for the sake of thorough research, I figured I should consume one hot. You know, it wouldn't be fair to not try one piping hot, with ooey, gooey frosting dripping off it. Because then I wouldn't know if they were suitable for serving warm, let alone serving at all. And, as it turns out, they aren't that good at all. Nope, not at all tasty. Not one of the most divine culinary creations I've ever enjoyed. Nope. Not at all. So I'll just make sure no one else in my house suffers through one of these tomorrow morning.

Too bad the house smells so heavenly, I don't think they'll buy it when I try to tell them the cinnamon rolls were a flop. ;-)

(and, for the sake of your hips, thighs, ass, waist and arms, I am intentionally NOT giving you a link to the recipe. I'm already toast, but I figure maybe I can save you from my destiny. But if you insist on checking it out, "pioneer woman cinnamon rolls" might be a good start on google.

Monday, August 2, 2010

itching (oh, and look, it's Tree Huggin' Tuesday - been too long, eh?)

I've been feeling the craft itch, so I've been scratching it. And having so much fun doing so. And learning that my sewing skills might be pretty okay. Check out my latest fun - it's so super green, and so super cute, and so super easy! Reusable sandwich bags. I think I mentioned them earlier, but I know I didn't have a picture to share. Velcro, vinyl (or mylar - you can totally use a potato chip bag or some other silver-lined food bag - I had no idea until after I'd made these - talk about green!), scrap fabric, thread, sewing machine, basic knowledge of how to operate the machine. Oh, and scissors. Easy, peasy!

I'd say that Aubrey'll be the only kid in her school with reusable bags, but my friend Judy's daughter goes to the same school, and Judy's the Bubba to my Gump (or the peanut butter to my jelly, or the TweedleDee to my TweedleDum, or or or I think you get the idea), so Aubrey and Jacki will be the only two kids with reusable bags. Until their teachers and friends see how cool they are. Trendsetters, that's what we'll be calling Aubrey and Jacki. :-)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

tripping down memory lane

I've been tripping down memory lane this past few days. It all started when I happened upon a random stack of old photos. Like, high school and college old. So, not that old, but old.

There, in the middle of the stack, was my senior prom photo. I went with Jodie, a junior who attended del Norte hs. We were dating at the time, and though we were friends before and after, our 'dating phase' was just about two months long. But Jodie's the boy I think of as my high school boyfriend. The other boys I dated, I don't think of them as fondly. Not that I don't think of them fondly, but Jodie was extra awesome.

Anyway, I saw the photo, remembered how fun prom had been, and moved on with my day, not giving it a second thought. I didn't quite start tripping until the next day. When I got an e-mail from facebook that I had a friend request from Jodie. I had to laugh at the timing, because it had been years since I'd last seen that prom photo, and there was Jodie, wanting to be facebook friends.

So, now I keep remembering random adventures and crazy fun times. Oh, and as it turns out, Jodie is a talented, hilarious singer. Check out his music video if you want to laugh. And say, "eww!" at times. ;-)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Phew, look at all the dust and cobwebs in this blog!

*a-choo* Hey, it' s been awhile!

We had a great trip 'up north' to Wisconsin, with stops in Oklahoma and Missouri along with way. Oh, I miss Wisconsin folks. We saw so many good friends, it was wonderful.

And then we had our oldest niece, Marcelle (16) stay with us for a week. More fun, and more craziness!

So now we've been trying to settle back into being us, and it feels good. Still busy and crazy, because that's life, but oh, it feels good to be back to normal.

And, in other news, I've opened a site on etsy. Right now I just have some stars there, but once I figure out some details on my beaded garland, I'd like to sell those, too. :-) Feels good to get my craft on, I have to say.
I also pulled out my sewing machine and made a reusable snack bag (think ziploc, but no trash!). I LOVE it! Need to play with it some and see how it works before I get too excited, but it's looking promising.

So, how's your summer going?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

on the road again

Just can't wait to get on the road again....

We (us chicks!) are making lists of what we'll be packing, because in T-minus-4-days we hit the road, headed for Wisconsin.

My family has strategically placed themselves every 6-7 hours apart, which is incredibly convenient for us chicks, so we'll spend Monday night in Tulsa,OK with my favorite uncle, Tuesday night near St. Louis with my bro-in-law, sis-in-law, and the girlies' cousins, and then Wednesday we'll be sleeping in Wisconsin. Oh, I can't wait! We'll be there through the 4th of July, then come back in time to celebrate someone's 8th birthday. Can't believe Aubrey's almost 8.

So, I may not be posting much while we're gone, but I haven't been posting much lately, anyway, so you won't even know I'm gone. :-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

all changed up

a new title for my blog, even! the title is inspired by the way Aubrey signed her last letter to my sister, "love us chicks" - I love that, so I'm using it. Don't worry, she's been compensated for her creative inspiration. :-)

I couldn't crop my big old flower photo just right, so I'm living with the white border at the bottom and right.

Summer fun

Summer break has been full of sticky, splashy, crazy fun so far, and it's only just begun!We've gone splashing at the splash parks several times each week, with one day hitting two different splash parks - that was quite a day! We're frequenting the library, keeping track of what we read and participating in the summer reading program.
We're watching our garden grow. It's growing really slowly in this intense heat. I don't blame it. I'm surprised it hasn't yet shriveled up into dust. We're jumping on the trampoline, when it's shaded. We're hanging clothes outside to dry. Ahh.
We're sitting in our kiddie pool. We're feeding the birds (there were 3 blue jays in the yard earlier this week - so, so cool!). We're watching baby deer following their mamas.
But most of all, amid all the doings, we are just being. Being together. Being silly. Being sweet. Being loud. Being creative. And eating watermelon. Lots and lots of watermelon.

(by the way, I think watermelon photographs really well, don't you?)

Monday, June 7, 2010

under construction

I feel like changing things up on my blog, and I got started, but it's not doing what I want, and I've got dinner to make, sprinklers to run in, and diapers to change, so sorry about the mess.... it'll get fixed (specifically, the header picture - need to find a new one I like that I can make fit right!).

Oh, and a proud mama moment - Aubrey said to me, in the middle of doing jumping jacks and pull-ups, "Mommy, the healthier I am, the happier I am!" She figured that one out all on her own, at age 7. She's a smart cookie, I tell ya! :-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

another year older

Last week I celebrated my golden birthday, and I'm excited to be beginning my fourth decade. :-)

My big birthday gift is a chicken coop. Don't have it yet, but it should be done when we get back from our Wisconsin trip, then I'll get me some hens!

And, once that happens, instead of paying to go to the zoo, I might just start selling tickets for people to come to our zoo! But I've been thinking about chickens for awhile, and I am very excited.

In other news, Andy (and the laptop) were in Arizona for 5 days. Andy (and the laptop) got back today. Andy (and the laptop) were sorely missed. Andy keeps asking if I'm done on the computer. I keep saying "almost," all the while thinking, 'dude, 5 days without the computer. f i v e d a y s. I've got some catching up to do. Oh, and honey, I missed you, too. I promise.' No really, I missed Andy much, much more than I missed the computer, of course. And I'm glad they are both back. :-)
check out how the wind is blowing Aubrey's hair. And how the wind ain't doing a thing to Lauren's 'fluffy bun.' Mama and the hairspray developed a very close relationship on recital day.
And here is Aubrey not dancing. Silly girl, cute costume.

If it worked, here's one of Lauren's recital performances. She's watching her teacher off stage, even though she knows the dance, and I'm pretty sure she was told "stay on the orange X."


Friday, May 21, 2010

maybe I wish it wasn't the weekend

aren't weekends supposed to be when you relax? they should be. but when 2 little girls have a dance recital on Saturday, and company comes next weekend, and there's end-of-the-school-year goings on, and I'm subbing both Tuesday and Thursday next week (that I need to prep for), we'll be lucky to get a load of diapers washed, let alone sit and relax for a few hours.

oh, and I suppose the recital could be a bit relaxing, except I have helium hand syndrome. Ever heard of it? It's where, whenever some group needs a volunteer, those that suffer from hhs cannot keep from raising that hand. So I am stage mama for both of my daughter's classes. Not just one class, but both. Because the girls are in different recitals. The powers that be think it's good for siblings to watch siblings perform. They work really hard to make sure that big sis can watch little sis, and vice versa. so, we will be at the college auditorium at 9:45, for Lauren's 10am recital, ready for Aubrey's 2pm recital. and, if they pass out surveys about the recitals, you can bet I'll be letting them know that ONE recital would be less stressful for those parents (grandparents, doting aunts) that have more then one child performing. fortunately, there's no cost to watch the recital. unfortunately, they sell dvd's. $36 a pop. $72 if I want each of their recitals. ha. hahaha.

blogging cut short... whining 4 year old is having a meltdown....

I was like a kid

and it was like the candy store.

albeit a small candy store. but still.

~~~~~~

Saturday was the start of the book sale at the library. All childrens books $0.50 a piece.

The sale was scheduled to begin at 9am, when the library opened. I had $20 to spend on books for Lauren's preschool. Another $20 of my money, for books for us.

There was no way I was gonna miss out on the best of the best of the fifty-cent books, so I was there at 8:45. And the parking lot was empty. Did I get my days wrong? Does the sale start on a different day? Why on earth are there not hoards of people?

The sign was still up on the door, announcing that it did, in fact, begin that day. So I walked around the block. And another block. And marvelled that the little coffee shop downtown isn't open on Saturdays. Of course, downtown was pretty dead, so maybe it makes sense that they are closed Saturdays. But I would've gone in and gotten some tea, had they been open.

Then I went and sat outside at the library. at 8:58 another lady arrives, and she just stands by the door. I join her. There's an employee on the inside looking at us. I ask Other Lady if she's there for the book sale. Nope, just there to use the computer. There's a book sale, huh? Umm, HELLO!!!

Finally they open the doors. I beeline for the children's section. It's pretty small, but I'm not discouraged. I am the only one there. seriously? Well I'm not complaining, but seriously? Maybe 10 minutes in, with my stack 10 inches high, a friend (who I told about the sale, thankyouverymuch) arrives. I keep adding books to my stacks - now there are two, each about 10 inches high.

Finally, at about 9:30, a few more people wander in. And see me add to my piles. "Ma'am, are these books you have set aside?" "Yes, those are mine." Had we both actually said what we were thinking, I think it would have gone more like this: "Ma'am, are ALL these books set aside? Really, you are buying ALL THESE books? Umm, don't you think you should leave some for the rest of us?" "Yes, those are mine. Book sales are serious events. Next time you better be here at 9. Don't you dare touch my piles, I bite."

But, as the crowd grew (to, umm, 5), I felt a bit self concious that my stacks were so high. So I left with 42 books. 25 for the preschool, and 17 for us. Never fear, though, I went back Monday and got 15 more for the preschool, and 1 more for us.

And, when we were at the library for story time on Wednesday, I didn't even let myself walk over near the sale shelves. I have incredible restraint, loads of will power. Just don't tell me about a book sale ever again.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

in response

April asked a question on her blog, and while she posed the question on her blog, I felt like I could better articulate my answer here, instead of as a comment, so here goes. (Her question is here, the brief version is "What makes you, you?" - but deep down, not on the surface.)

***** the short answer *****

Luck, determination, and awareness - or a lack of any of the above - make people who they are.

***** the long answer *****

So, jumping in, feet first... recently I ran across an article (can't find it, sorry!) that said, pretty much, so long as your child knows she is loved, your parenting style is not going to make (or break) her... as a very conscientious parent, I let out a big ol' breath when I read that. Because there's always a little voice, "Could you have handled that differently?" (that's the little voice on a nice day - my little voice has said worse at times!)

I had a conversation with my sister a month ago, and we really became aware of how 'normal' we are. Not just her and I, but some of our cousins. And we talked about the biggest factor seemed to be that we all knew we were really, really loved. Not just by mama. Not just by mom and dad. But also by our extended family of aunts and uncles, grand parents, great aunts and uncles. No matter the crap life has thrown at us, there's always been this group of allies/defenders/protectors (By no means is that the cure-all, but, to us, it seems like one possibility).

From the outside looking in, my childhood seemed pretty great. And it was good, but it definately looked better than it was. The way my parents communicated (or didn't communicate) was all I knew. Looking back, I think it was an unhappy marraige painted over to look happy. Though there was (and is) obviously love there. And you could argue that with dad being a cop, working crazy shifts, communication was hard. Understood. One parent was very quick to find fault in whatever the other parent did or didn't do, treating the other like they were incompetent. Luckily I began to recognize this, and early in my relationship with Andy, told him about this pattern that I was afraid I might inadvertantly copy. Didn't realize this before it kinda became habit to treat 'incompetent parent' the way other parent had. Broke that habit, fortunately, but it was tough. As for Andy and I, well this habit creeped in periodically, and since Andy and I were woth aware of it, nipped it in the bud quickly. Oh, and for the record, my parents seemed to have figured out their patterns and habits, and things are much better balanced then when I was a kid.

Kids are resiliant. Really, really resiliant. I'm sure some of my habits and quirks just happened, but others, I know, I got from my dad (a serious concern for others well-being, to the point of doing whatever I can to get involved) or my mom (a big ol' case of wallflower syndrome). That's fun, btw, the internal battle between wanting to jump right in and *invite a stranger to dinner because I know they need a meal* versus *smile and walk away, and maybe I won't have to figure out what to talk about with this stranger - it might get uncomfortable.*

And, a whole 'nother set of my habits and quirks are because I saw the way someone (usually a parent, sometimes a grandparent or aunt/uncle) in my life was and I either liked that trait or didn't like it, and chose (rather subconsciously, I think) to act accordingly.

So, what makes a good person, good?

As for friends who's home life was less than good, one friend comes to mind, and she turned out good, overcame some potentially big barriers. But guess what. She had love. A crazy mom, crazier grandma, physically absent dad, a whole host of aunts and uncles. And for all the craziness, she knew she was loved, and protected, and wanted. A healthy dose of self esteem, some close friendships were also thrown in the mix.

On the flip side, what makes a bad person, bad?

I'm speculating here, that someone not realizing they are loved (because Lord knows there are bad people whose parents did the best they could and really, really love their children) might be enticed to do bad things, as would, more obviously, someone who really wasn't loved as they should have been. Abused, neglected, forgotten - how easy to fall into patterns of selfish, distructive behavior if you know no other way.

So, I guess the short answer is, luck, determination, and awareness - or a lack of any of the above - make people who they are.

**** and, for the heck of it, the fun, not so deep answer ****

My mom's patience and brains (passed down from both her parents), my dad's compassion and generosity (passed down from his mother), my Papa Ross's case of the always right, never wrongs, Grandpa John's silliness and constant desire to learn about things, Grandma Marg's faith, Grandma Ruthie's crazy craftiness, Great-Grandma Susie's craftiness, Great-Aunt Ibby's Sure, use more glitter! attitude, Great-Aunt Alyce's grace and love of letters, Great-Aunt Mary Jane's love of books, Tio's desire to take care of the world, and the joy of baking, which cannot be credited to any one person. Those are just some of the things that make me, me :-)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Taylor the Latte Boy"

Have you heard this song? It's been around, but I haven't heard it until recently. Oh it cracks me up. I think I love Kristin Chenoweth. "Who'd have thought love could be so caffeinated?" hahahaha

Did I mention my bruised tailbone? It's been bruised for, oh, 2 months now. I have no idea how I bruised it, and it hurts all the time. Makes me feel bad for people with chronic pain, because this is mild, and really, it's not all the time. Just whenever I go to get up from sitting, or re-situate myself while sitting. Getting out of the car after a long drive sucks. Royally.

I've lost count of how many people have told me Sasha looks like a doll. Really, some have thought I was one of those ladies who carries around the life-like dolls. I have no problem with people choosing to do that - it doesn't hurt me, and if it makes them happy, then so be it. But, I happen to bring a real baby shopping. And, I have to wonder how many people think I'm one of those and that Sasha is one of those and they see us in passing and don't say a thing. Maybe all the grins I get from other shoppers are the, "Oh my, look at that lady, bringing a doll to the store, treating it like a baby. Just smile and keep walking. KEEP WALKING!" grins, versus your normal, everyday "Hello!" grin. Hmm. I'll never smile back at a fellow shopper the same again. ;-)

I've been readingThe Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel, and I like them! Classified as "teen fantasy." And I was about to tell you that it's a series of 3, but I was wrong. It's a series of 6, the 4th of which comes out later this month. Crapola. Because I thought I was about to finish the 3rd and be done. I hate reading series as they are released. Drove me crazy with Harry Potter. Driving me crazy with Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet. Loved that I didn't read Twilight until this past fall - I was able to read the entire series in a months' time. Anyway, back to the books. I was drawn in by "Nicholas Flamel" - he was in Harry Potter. And he really did exist. And, apparently, his grave is empty. Sophie and Josh are twins that turn out to have some awesome powers. When they meet up with Flamel, they then end up meeting all sorts of cool, famous people throughout history (really, most of the characters did exist) that some way or another became immortal and have been living among us all these centuries (or decades, or millenia). Lots of destruction, mythical and mystical creatures, glowing auras. I'm enjoying it more than I thought I would. But crap, I have to exercise my patience in finishing this series.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My internet conection is having a bad day. Crappiness. Hopefully it's worked the kinks out, it's annoying to have to reconnect every few minutes.

I've been slipping into crappy mood, by the way. Nothing to do with internet connectivity. I'm pretty sure it has to do with human connectivity. I don't have many friends here yet, and the ones I do have are not very close friends. Yet. I'm working on it. In the mean time, I've been the crappy, snippy version of myself lately. Deep breaths. It will get better.

And, I really, really miss my Wisconsin friends (in part, for sure, due to the lack of close friendships here). So the girls and I will spend a week or two up there this summer. I am very excited. I have a mental list of who we'll see, what we'll do. Need to make sure the most important folks will be around, and coordinate where to sleep when. :-) This completely scraps my plans for a west coast-ish wild and crazy roadtrip. And I'm cool with that. Wisconsin is the place both Aubrey and Lauren remember as home, so I want to keep them connected to that place and 'our people' there.

And, on the Sashafront, that girl is crawling everywhere. Everywhere. But she doesn't really like being on her knees, so it's an interesting scootish crawl, using her feet almost as much as her knees. She finally likes food, but it took over 8 months. And Cheerios. I delayed and delayed introducing a grain, for health reasons, but as soon as I gave in and gave her a Cheerio, now she's much more intrigued by food of any kind.

Oh, and the peaches. Millions of peaches. Peaches for me. Millions of peaches. Peaches for free. (Sorry, couldn't resist) The drive up into Aubrey's school parking lot is lined on one side with peach trees. We picked some of the yummiest, juiciest peaches I've ever had Saturday, and may go pick more again.

This weekend I'll be getting my composting worms. I'm very excited. Am I crazy to be excited about getting worms? Don't answer that. Anyway, they'll live in a big rubbermaid bin on the patio, and will be well fed, eating almost all our kitchen scraps. I heare they also like junk mail... so we'll try that, too. :-)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

fill in the blanks

i want a maid.
i can't get enough plum walnut yogurt.
i think batteries are a very wasteful necessity.
i think it's annoying to be asked "why" 6 times in a row, when I can no longer elaborate the answer.
i'm not sure i like swiss chard, but I'm gonna try it.
i'm hungry for some girlfriend time.
for cinco de mayo I looked at the calender, and said, "Oh, that's today, huh?"
i'm mad at the dog that thinks treats are buried in the litter box.
i'm glad that we've been able to camp so much recently (another trip this weekend!).
i'm nervous about sharing my blog with too many people.
i have long hair.
i need to find a yoga class.
i wish I could sit outside with my Wisconsin friends, talking about noyhing.
i'm excited to be making friends here in Texas.
i'm happy that the crafty bug hit me in time to make gifts for the grandmas and grandma figures this mothers day.

now you fill in the blanks. unless you already have. :-)

trying to find my groove

I want to be back to blogging, but I'm still drawing blanks as to what to blog about. So I'll try, and it may be a bunch of ramblings, but I want to get back into blogging somewhat frequently.

Our garden is going strong. It's small, but it's going strong. 3 whiskey barrels, plus a handful of medium pots, and one spot actually on the ground.

What's growing:

1 yellow bell pepper
1 yellow pear tomato
1 large red tomato
1 unidentified tomato
2 strawberries
1 watermelon hill (with 2 watermelon hills not sprouting at all - arg!)
3 cucumbers
5 green beans
lemon balm
sage
rosemary
dill

And, in recent weeks I've also planted:

2 petunias - sugar daddy petunias that Lauren just calls sugar daddies :-)
1 red geranium
1 lavender (not the herbal variety, just a plant called lavender)
1 jasmine
1 lobelia
1 rose bush
1 pecan tree

I'm having lots of fun in the dirt, and I hope that my thumb is somewhat green - right now it's too early to tell. But there are actual tomatoes growing on the vines now - good sign. :-)

One of our favorite foods here recently has been bean salad. It makes my heart swell when the girls want to take bean salad in their lunches. And, I am a dork. But I've worked really hard to make sure our kids like a variety of healthy foods, so it makes me feel good. Oh, and this batch of bean salad - all made from dried beans. I normally open up cans, but I had the dry beans in the pantry so I went for it. Is it silly that I was feeling intimidated by cooking dry beans?

Oh crap, I keep forgetting to get or do something for Aubrey's teacher for teacher appreciation week. crap crap crap.

But, we did do some crafting for Mother's Day. :-) Two super cute, easy-peasy projects that I'm hoping the grandmas will love. Painted towels and clay thumbprint pendants (only, instead of making pendants, we made window charms). Unfortunately, in my haste to get them mailed off, I forgot to take pictures. For the towels - some were floral, very similar to the example shown, and others had Aubrey's handprints, Lauren's handprints and Sasha's footprints. LOVE those! I need to make some of those for me. :-)

Friday, April 30, 2010

mmmmm yogurt

I love yogurt. well, today I love yogurt. it's one of those foods that I go back and forth on, because sometimes the texture just gets to me. but today I love yogurt.

have you checked out how much sugar is in a little container of yogurt, though? too much, I think. plus, well, you may guess that I don't like all the little plastic containers, either. I have issues. it's well documented.

so, my favorite treat these days starts with plain yogurt. here I can get fairly local (woohoo!) plain yogurt in a big glass (yipee!) jar. add in a spoonful of plum jam and a handful (or sometimes two) of walnuts. oh it's heavenly. and, since I control how much of what goes in, I've cut the sugar by more than half!

lauren's favorite yogurt is plain with a handful of chocolate chips. I know, chocolate chips = sugar. but, again, mama decides how many chips go in. sugar content there reduced by about half, depending on how generous I'm feeling with the chips.

the dog and cats like it plain. well, actually, they like it any way they can get it. good thing it's good for them, too?

by the way, Aubrey and Daddy are camping with girl scouts this weekend, it's yogurt for dinner tonight.

the house(s) that built me

Miranda Lambert has a song, The House that Built Me, that makes me cry every time I hear it. I could play it 12 times in a row and I'd cry 12 times in a row.

I grew up in Albuquerque. My parents are still in the house they bought about a month before I was born. Albuquerque is home, always will be. But it's not my only childhood home. The houses that comprised what we affectionately called "the compound" in Deming are my other home. 75 years ago my great grandparents bought a large brick home on about half an acre - for $1,500. When my grandparents married, my greatgrandparents gave them half their land, and a modest home, the plan for which was advertised in Better Homes & Gardens, was built.

My mom and her 4 siblings lived here, with mom & dad, grandmother & grandfather, Uncle Dick and often Aunt Mary Jane. Can you imagine being raised by so many loving people? Always someone around to help with whatever you needed, listen to your story, read you a book, tease you about your crush.

Anyway, my memories of these houses go throughout my childhood. Playing on the stairs as a little kid, with my older cousin humoring us. In the kitchen in the small house, making cream puffs with my grandma. The swing Grandpa John always hung on the pecan tree out back, and the patch of ground where the grass n olonger grew because we wore it away as we swung.
The neighbor's wisteria that hung over the alley, always in full bloom when Ali and I would spend spring break there without our parents. The spring break of my junior year of high school, making construction paper buttons to campaign for student body vp. Mary Jane's basil for Mary Jane's pesto.
It's where I learned to ride my bike. And where I learned to drive.
Playing 'house' with Ali and my younger cousin, Rebecca, upstairs in the old apartments. Decorating the Thanksgiving table with pilgrim and indian candles - candles that were probably bought for a dime 60 years ago, and that we never, ever light. Wearing over-turned buckets on our heads to protect from falling pecans as we gather the nuts our uncles shake from the trees.
But the front porch, oh the front porch - endless hours playing with Ali and Rebecca. The front porch was a pizzeria. A dance studio. A bakery. An upscale restaurant. An ice cream shop. Mostly, a place for sitting and dreaming and teasing and imagining.

Since I was a kid, I've always cried on the drive out of Deming, hoping that I was going to see everyone again. Driving out of Deming after Dick's service, I cried a more final cry. I didn't know which way to drive out of town - which route to take - because I couldn't decide what I needed one last look at. The large brick home is still in the family, but the smaller one was sold. I don't know how long the brick one will remain, but I'm not sure that it matters - I don't know that I want to start building different memories there. And I think I'm not alone in that thought.

When we went to spread Dick's ashes at the homestead, the same place Mary Jane's ashes were spread in December, I could feel their presence. Not just Dick and Mary Jane, but also Marg and Jimmy, and my Grandpa John who died 4 years ago. They were gathered there, celebrating.

The day after we spread ashes, Sasha was baptized in the church I was baptized in. The church my mom and her siblings were baptized in. The church my grandparents were married in. And I felt their presence there, again. Very powerfully.

I'm sure I'll be in Deming again, if there's anything the family needs to do to finish clearing out the house. But that chapter has effectively ended. No more 4th of July gatherings, fireworks in the driveway. No more Thanksgiving meals prepared in the 2 kitchens, with 30 people bowing their heads as Uncle Dick says prayer. I'm curious where our family is headed. We are incredibly close when we are together, but don't communicate much the rest of the year. Something we are working on.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

green hat

I love this green hat. Because it keeps my head warm when I'm sleeping on our campouts. But mostly, really, because it's cute. And soft. And green. Aubrey summed up camping perfectly this morning, "This is the life!" I agree!

I hope you are having a relaxing, enjoyable weekend!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fly away home

Tio passed away this morning. In his sleep, peacefully. Part of me knows God's Plan is perfect, that His reasons are good. But that doesn't make it easier. And I'm left wondering His reasons - though it's not my place to know and I know that.

I'm not upset that Tio passed away. It's what happens. He had 80 years here on earth, a good life. There's just been so much death so close together, and the pain of 4 siblings dying within 5 months of eachother, well it burns.

So I'm praying this morning. Taking deep breaths. And remembering Tio.

Monday, April 5, 2010

random-random-random

the 3 cleanest girls around.... for about 5 minutes. :-)

Awhile back I mentioned the sweet little boy we met at the park, who chatted and chatted and chatted to me. Upon learning that we both visit Deming, he asked if I knew Louisa. Yup. It's for sure now. I know his Louisa. Or he knows my Louisa. Whatever. It's a small world.

Louisa is a very dear friend to Tio, my great uncle. The last remaining siblilng of my Grandma Marg's. Tio is in the hospital right now. Dehydration, pneumonia, congestive heart failure. I'm preparing myself to go out there, but not loading up the car just yet. We'll see how he's doing over the next few days.

Our next camping trip is this weekend. I'm excited. Our goal is to camp every other weekend until it's too hot. We're gonna be expert campers, I tell ya! Or maybe not. It might get too dang hot here in Central Texas mid-May. ;-)

I'm going to be a preschool teacher next year. At Lauren's school. There's a room with one year olds - looks like I'll be in that room with Sasha.

Our new cat has been tough to name. So we've had him almost 2 months, and this week he's Frankie. But last week he wasn't. Sheesh. It shouldn't be this hard. At least the cat doesn't care what we call him.

I took my car in for an oil change today, and had the mechanic check on a few things. $400 later, my oil's been changed, and some problems that should have been noticed a year ago (when I dropped a crap load of cash at our Wisconsin mechanic's feet) were that much worse and have now been fixed. Ah well. Such is life.

Aubrey slammed a stuck bathroom door into her foot, breaking her pinky toe. Ouch. The brusing and swelling has been impressive.

Sasha thinks it's hilarious when Lauren runs screaming at her. Laurens loves running and screaming, so it works out.

The Easter Bunny was very generous to us this year. Maybe a twinge of sadness (when realizing that EVERY Easter of Aubrey's life, and Lauren's, had been spent with our WI family) prompted the shopping spree at the candy store. But chocolate covered gummy bears, candy legos and "Indoor Truffles," along with half the rest of the candy store, have been enjoyed.

I just read Fortune's Daughter by Alice Hoffman. It's been on my bookshelf for years. I have no idea how it came to live on my bookshelf, and I finally read it. It was really good.

We've been working on the garden lately. Most of it is in whiskey barrels. I have 3 barrels. It's a modest garden. But, it's a garden. Now I need to work up the courage to start vermicomposting.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sasha's first camping trip

We are camping this weekend. And hoping to do lots of camping this year. So far, so good. The nearly full moon and howling, gusty winds made it hard to fall asleep, but I slept hard, as did everyone else.
Chilling for a bit. It's a rare occassion that Aubrey will read to Lauren unprompted - melts my heart every time I see it.
The view from our tent. Ahhh.
Here's 'home' for the weekend.
It was C.O.L.D. this morning. Brrr. It is still March, so I won't complain about the chilly morning, just brrrrrrrrr.
And, of course, we have comedic relief whenever Little Miss Lauren opens her mouth. Today's gem, "Haha, I got my weenie wet!"
I hope you are having a great weekend. There'll be more pictures later. :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

recipes

Do you have a collection of recipes? If so, how do you keep them?

Andy and I each have our own favorites, and for a long time we each had a seperate binder, but now that we've been together long enough that we think this relationship will last, we've decided our recipes could comingle. Kind of. ;-) More like, we needed a small binder for a different project, and had a huge 3-incher itching to be used, so we decided to combine them. Sort of.

When the binder is right side up, Andy's recipes (all typed in Times New Roman 11pt) greet you, alphabetically, of course. Each recipe is in it's own sheet protector. When the binder is turned over and around, my recipes greet you. Still in the sheet protectors (that is really stinkin' smart!), but mine lack the anal retentive flair Andy's possess. Some of mine are hand-written. Some of mine are photo-copied. Some of mine are falling apart, after having spent years in my Great-Aunt Ibby's cookbook. Alphabetical order is out the window. And, some of mine, *gasp* share their sheet protector with another recipe or two. Shh, don't tell Andy's recipes. They may not take well to hearing how their neighbors live.

Most of our recipes have also made it to the computer (well, all of Andy's, seeing as they are all typed), and many also have a home in our e-mails. That's proven helpful many a times, when we've been visiting family and the in-laws want my cobbler, or my cousin requests that Andy make his pumpkin pie. Sure, we could (and do!) find substitute recipes online, but the recipes that we've saved are the ones that we've used again and again, and that we know work for us.

And today I'll be adding another recipe to my side of the binder. Granola bars. Oh my. You should try these. Really, you should. :-)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ah, the library

I love the library!

We try to go every Wednesday for storytime (skipped today, though, because of an awful cough that hasn't yet gone away).

I logged on to the library today to renew a book, and I learned that so far, in 2010, I've saved $294 by borrowing rather than buying. At this rate, I'll save $1200 for the year. That justifies a shopping spree, don't you think? ;-)

The book I renewed is Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire. Interesting stuff. And now I want to learn more about the real Johnny Appleseed. (When googling the book to create the link, I learned that pbs made a documentary based on the book. Have I told you lately that I love pbs?)

What are you reading?

Monday, March 8, 2010

and about the angels

We've all been fighting a cold... lots of coughing going on around here.

Friday night Andy, Sasha & I were laying in bed, watching a movie. (Inglorious Basterds - we loved it)

Andy started coughing, and couldn't stop, so he got up, hoping that he could clear out. He couldn't. He kept coughing, not doing much breathing.

Then he fell. Backwards. Stiff as a board, didn't bend his knees, twist around to try to stop his fall, nothing. All 240-ish pounds. Boom.

He blacked out. Didn't know he had fallen until he saw me, above him, with panic written all over my face.

He is fine, thank God. His head hit the side of the bed, scraping his neck along the bed frame. If he had fallen a few inches closer to the bed, I'm afraid he could've broken his neck. If he'd fallen a few inches farther from the bed, his head would've broken his fall.

The scariest moment of my life. I feel really lucky that I can say that, seeing as he's fine. (In lots of pain, bruised up a bit, but fine)

Tomato Soup

I love making soup, but have always been intimidated by tomato soup. And, honestly, I still am, in that I'm not ready to make it from tomatoes I pluck from the vine. But Rachael Ray, man, I love her. You know that, so long as you have the ingredients, you'll be able to make one of her recipes. Or, I know that I can, and feel like most people could, because she's very good at sharing easy, quick, real recipes.
Here's her recipe, with my modifications in bold parens:

2 (15-ounce) containers, chicken or vegetable stock/broth (preferred brand: Kitchen Basics) (30 ounces chicken broth, made from water and Better Than Boullion chicken base)
1 (28-ounce) can concentrated crushed tomatoes (organic crushed tomatoes - I couldn't find concentrated)
1 cup heavy cream
Coarse salt and black pepper
Fresh basil for garnish (I left off the basil only because I didn't have any)

Directions:
Combine broth and tomatoes in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. When soup bubbles, stir in heavy cream and reduce heat to low. Season with a little salt and pepper and simmer gently 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. With an immersion blender, puree soup. Serve bowls of soup with basil chiffonade and floating soup toppers (grated provolone, a bit of freshly ground pepper - delish!).

This soup is simple, easy, and so tasty. The flavor is more mild than Campbell's, but that doesn't mean there isn't depth of flavor. It means that there's no high fructose corn syrup. Looking at reviews, folks have switched the cream for lower fat options and have enjoyed the results.

Andy used the immersion blender just a bit, so there are some tiny bites of tomato, I love it like this. And, you could do this with a regular blender, just use your patience, as you'll be working with HOT soup.

blessings

#59 ~ homemade tomato soup. This soup is so yummy, it deserves it's own post.. I'll work on that.

#60 ~ long walks around the neighborhood.

#61 ~ nice old men (anyone, really, but most rececntly it's been an older gentleman) who talk to us on said walks around the neighborhood.

#62 ~ teensy, tiny wildflowers just emerging, reminding us that spring will be here soon.

#63 ~ angels watching over us (this deserves it's own post, as well... I'm on it).

#64 ~ book fairs. Oh my, I'd spend $100 before blinking if I knew Andy would never know. Good thing he's around to keep my feet on the ground - or close to it!

#65 ~ cucumber-lemon water. So refreshing and calming.

#66 ~ SmartDogs Synergy flip flop slippers - super duper comfy, I go everywhere in mine. And, ~$16 at Sam's Club (different style than the link).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

blahblahblah

My middle child is pretty much fearless. Not even a dash of shy, except when I am trying to introduce her to someone. She just began really talking with anyone nearby. Really talking, to anyone. About anything.

It all starts with, "I'm Lauren." If we are grocery shopping and there are busy people bustling around who don't have time to talk, that's where the conversation ends. And then approximately 2 seconds later, as another passerby passes her way, "Hi, I'm Lauren." "I'm Lauren." "I'm Lauren."

If a kind stranger has a moment, they will indulge Lauren with conversation, and as their reward for indulging her, they will learn that she is 4, and will remain 4 for forty more days. That Lauren is spelled L-A-U-R-E-N (this comes in especially when someone has mis-heard her and calls her Lori or Laura). That her baby sister is called Hotdog, or Sprinkles, or sometimes Sasha. That Aubrey is in 2nd grade. That Daddy is at work. That Mommy's name is Rachel. That we have a new cat named Skippyjon. That Daisy finished Lauren's breakfast when Lauren wasn't looking. That Oscar is a fat old cat. That Haley is crazy. That the moon was out this morning with the sun. That this is her new outfit, and that she wore it yesterday and the day before that. That pink is her favorite color and she loves Spiderman. That she has an Ariel puzzle. Oh, and the man in Batman's suit is not Bruce Wayne, but Charlie Lawlson.

It's dizzying. But maybe not, because she is 4, has a bit of a lisp and is missing her two front teeth, so it sounds more like: "blablahblahfourblahblahblahL-A-U-R-E-NblahblahblahHotdogblahblahblahsecondblahblahblahDaddyblah blahblahMommyblahblahblahcatblahblahblahbreakfastblahblahblahfat old catblahblahblahsunblahblahblahoutfitblahblahblahpinkblahblahblah spider manblahblahblahAriel puzzleblahblahblahBatmanblahblahblah."

Hmm, no, it's dizzying either way. Anyway, we went to the park today, and a little boy, maybe 9 years old, thought I looked like the kind of person who would listen and indulge him in his tales. So I learned all about the channel Animal Planet, and all the shows that he loves on that channel, and I got to watch him act out his favorites. And his aunt lives in Deming (where my Tio lives) and do I maybe know a lady that goes by Louisa there? Yes, I do, it sounds like it might be the same one (the one with the baby bison). And he used to have chickens, but they belong in the country, you know, so he doesn't have them anymore, but at the feed store they were selling baby chicks and they were this big, and others were this big. And on and on. He was very sweet, and I'm pretty sure that's how adult strangers view Lauren.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lauren's growing up so darn fast

"Look, mom, now I'm a man!"
the beard suits her, don't you think?

it's easier to just stick my tongue out next to her than photoshop a grin on her face. plan on seeing many pictures of my tongue in the future, because this girl is having way too much fun with the "stick your tongue out when you see a camera" phase. Except, of course, when she's all bearded up and manly.

this girl, though, will grin. it may be goofy, but she'll grin.


see, goofy. and Skippyjon. after a literary character we love.

the way Aubrey ended a postcard to her aunt. Love us chicks. I LOVE it!

and what's a post without a picture of Sasha Belle? she and Oscar are becoming the best of friends.

In a two day period, 3 friends had babies. 2 girls, 1 boy. Plus, our new neighbors have a 9 day old boy. When I mentioned that to Andy, he thought maybe I was getting baby fever. I don't know where he's been the past 7 1/2 years, my baby fever does not kick in while I still have a babe in diapers... we've got some time.

Marinara sauce is on the stove, the house is smelling so yummy! Andy wasn't here to make it so I got to put carrots in. I would've also added chopped spinach, but I'm out. Instead we'll have steamed green beans next to our spaghetti.
Happy weekending!

Monday, March 1, 2010

blessings

#49 ~ books that make my girls want to read more and more

#50 ~ new friendships growing deeper

#51 ~ a t.v. free week

#52 ~ in-laws that are going out of their way to bring me stuff from my Grandma's

#53 ~ taco night

#54 ~ lap cats

#55 ~ seed catalogs inspiring big plans

#56 ~ girl scout cookies

#57 ~ playdough

#58 ~ great-aunts that write letters

My March 1st Resolution

I commented to Andy last night that the past few times I've talked with my mom, she's been a little off. I joked that maybe she wasn't enjoying what I was talking about.

Andy replies with, "Well you do complain an awful lot. Maybe she's tired of hearing you complain."

My gut reaction was denial, then I wanted to (but didn't) say, "WTH??? How dare you say something like that!"

But after a deep breath, I knew that he spoke the truth, because Andy is incapable of lying. Seriously. Never ask him if your new jeans make you look skinny, or how he likes your new haircut (*ahem* he teased someone for close to a decade that her forehead was huge, she went and got bangs, and he said, "eh, you look better without bangs."). He's not trying to be mean, or even funny. He can't help it.

Anyway, so I'm resolving to be more positive, and complain less.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No way

It snowed here!

While you may have been lead to believe that I hate snow, I don't. It only appeared that way because winter in Wisconsin is way too long.

In Texas, snow is great. GREAT. Because it melts. Quickly.

We got 3 1/2 inches. School closed early. Built a snowman.* Had a snowball fight. School started late this a.m., which was completely unnecessary, but much appreciated! And, as I type this, I can see my grassy lawn.

*Mr. Snowman was apparently poorly constructed. While waiting for Aubrey to grab a carrot from the fridge, he tipped right over.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

lazy sunday

Ugh, I'm sick. Again. Seems like I was just sick. Anyway, Andy's been really sweet, taking care of the girls and letting me rest as much as I can. He took Aubrey and Lauren to sonic for lunch today, while Sasha and I slept. He asked if I wanted anything. I said, with a hint of duh in my voice, strawberry limeade. Bless his heart, he must not follow my blog very faithfully. He came home with cherry limeade. Not bad, by any means, and I am really enjoying it. But it ain't strawberry limeade. :-)

I'm mentally planning a grand roadtrip for the summer. Me, my mother-in-law, and 3 girlies. We want to visit all the old folks we can, and stop to see younger ones along the way. Maybe detour out of the way to see some younger ones, as well, but we'll see. If we could do my dream roadtrip, we'd be stopping in or driving through TX, NM, AZ, CA, NV, ID, OR, WA, MT, WY, UT, CO. 6,500 miles - just destination to destination - that doesn't include sight-seeing miles. We would see upwards of 30 relatives, and have opportunities to see lots of friends. Kind of dizzying, but boy, it'd be a blast. A summer full of memories. I can't even begin to calculate how long we'd be gone.

Potstickers for dinner tonight. Not the frozen ones, but homemade. I can't wait!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jamie Oliver's TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food | Video on TED.com

A must-see. Brought me to tears.

Jamie Oliver's TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food Video on TED.com

It especially got to me when the children thought that a beet was celery, and an eggplant was a pear. So very sad.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Healthy Kids

So, I am working on a 4 day curriculum on healthy foods for Lauren's preschool. I'm laying all my ideas out there so that I can remember them, and so that you can give me feedback and ideas, if you so choose. :-) The youngest kids are almost 2, the oldest just turned 5, and thye are divided into classes by age. And really, I'd appreciate hearing your ideas and suggestions.

Food Pyramid Project (FPP)
- The FPP for the littlest ones will be about identifying foods as fruits, veggies, meats, grains. Maybe some big cut outs that they sort.
- there will be a collage project with the older ones cutting out from grocery store sales flyers, gluing items into their group.

Healthy Snack Day
- this curriculum will coincide with the Mother's Day Tea - we'll ask parents to help their child pick one of their favorite healthy snacks to bring and share. There will be no cookies/cupcakes/sugary punch.

Thank You Card craft
- the kids will decorate a pre-printed card that says something to the effect of, "Thank you, ________ (we'll hand-write mom or dad or grandpa, etc.) for all the healthy foods you feed me! I am growing up happy and strong, developing good habits that will stick with me for life!"

Leafy Comparison
- we'll bring in varieties of lettuces and other leafy greens, and let the kids compare the shapes, sizes, colors, tastes

Some songs and poems:

Peanut Sitting on A Railroad Track - song

A peanut sat on a railroad track
His heart was all aflutter (pat hand over heart.)
Around the bend came number ten, (hold up ten fingers).
Choo-Choo Peanut Butter (pretend you are pulling whistle.)
Smack (clap hands together).

I Eat My Peas With Honey - poem

I eat my peas with honey;
I’ve done it all my life.
It makes them taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.

Little Carrots - sung to "Ten Little Indians"

One little, two little, thre little carrots
Four little, five little, six little carrotts
Seven little, eight little, nine little carrots
Ten carrots in the garden plot.

(this can be sung with different veggies, too)

Some books to read:

The Little Red Hen
Feast for Ten
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
A Bad Case of Stripes
The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food

Hopefully I can also post some info for parents, with healthy snack ideas, hints about encouraging eating veggies, etc.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bee mine

This year our Valentine's got honey sticks. Disguised as inchworms, "Inching along to wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day!" Or delivering a heart, "You're a honey!"

Hallmark doesn't make much off of us this time of year, but we like making it fun for the girlies. So we've got red heart garland (made from red Christmas wrap) strung up on the wall, along with assorted school crafts. Fun stuff!

I hope you are enjoying your loved ones today!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the never ending list

today my to-do list seems rather intimidating. so instead of tackling it just yet, I'll bolog about it, spend some time on facebook, maybe e-mail my sister, you know, all the important things. :-)

- finish cutting and hole-punching inch worms for the girls' v-day cards

- make Lauren's birthday banner

- type up minutes from the last preschool board meeting

- get to library to return books (hopefully in time to enjoy story time)

- sweep and mop

- dust the blinds and other rarely-dusted things

- run dishwasher, empty dishwasher

- draw up plans for Lauren's cake - make sure we have all necessary ingredients

Really, the list isn't that bad. Because I'm not going to dust. And there's a 99% chance I won't sweep or mop. But I am really hesitant to start on Lauren's banner. I have what I need, I know what I'm doing, but I've never done it before. So I'm unsure. And since I'm unsure on one item on my list, my whole day is looking crazy. C.R.A.Z.Y.

In addition, I'm grieving another death in the family - Grandma's brother Jimmy passed away over the weekend. That's 3 out of 4 of those siblings dead in 3 months. More C.R.A.Z.Y. (and I mean no disrespect by only mentioning in passing about Jimmy dying - I'm only trying to preserve my sanity, as there's been too much death too quickly.)

And did I mention we got our new cat? He's black, and all the 2 leggeds in the house love him. The 4 leggeds are coming around. He remains nameless, because Lauren's suggestions of "Blackey Raisin" and "Snowflake" were vetoed. Along with my perfectly acceptable suggestions of "Morris" and "Dante," and Andy's suggestion of "Casey" (that one sounds too much like Daisy and the dog was getting confused) and Aubrey's suggestion of "Ed." We're tossing around "Felix" and "Merlin."

Friday, February 5, 2010

I've come to realize

I copied this from April. Because I'm not feeling especially creative here in blogland. :-)

1. I've come to realize that my chest-size...isn't all that important, so long as I can feed my baby.

2. I've come to realize that my job...is the best job in the world.

3. I've come to realize that when I'm driving alone...something must be going on. That just doesn't happen.

4. I've come to realize that I need...to take me time more often.

5.I've come to realize that I have lost...

6. I've come to realize that I hate it when...I yell at the girls, but I still do it.

7. I've come to realize that if I'm drunk...I must be having a nightmare. I do not like alcohol.

8. I've come to realize that money...is a good thing to have enough of, but it doesn't make the world go round.

9. I've come to realize that certain people...are in my life only temporarily, others are here to stay, but that they all are in my life for a reason.

10. I've come to realize that I'll always...wonder, "what if?"

11. I've come to realize that my sibling...is awesome. Completely awesome.

12. I've come to realize that my mom...will always be here for me.

13. I've come to realize that my cell phone...can be ignored.

14. I came to realize when I woke up this morning...that I forgot to get Aubrey's folder ready for school.

15. I came to realize last night before I went to sleep...that I was getting to bed at a decent time, and I liked it.

16. I've come to realize that right now I am thinking...wow, I really need to mop. Maybe tomorrow.

17. I've come to realize that my dad...is cooler than I thought.

18. I've come to realize that when I get on Facebook...I have lots of fun catching up with folks.

19. I've come to realize that today...was a good day.

20. I've come to realize that tonight...could be a fun night

.21. I've come to realize that tomorrow...it's all up to me.

22. I've come to realize that I really want...to live self-sufficiently.

23. I've come to realize that the person most likely to respond to this is...n/a.

24. I've come to realize that life...is perfect. In a very chaotic, hectic, non-perfect way. :-)

25. I've come to realize that this weekend...could be relaxing. Or not... it is all up to me!

26. I've realized the best music to listen to when I am upset...Sugarland - Life in a Northern Town.

27. I've come to realize that friends...are sometimes so much more than friends. There needs to be another word.

28. I've come to realize that this year...is full of opportunities.

29. I've come to realize that my ex...was incredibly immature.

30. I've come to realize that maybe I should...throw away all the sugar in my house, because cutting back just ain't cutting it!

31. I've come to realize that when I love...I am loved back.

32. I've come to realize that I don't understand...intolerance.

33. I've come to realize my past...brought me here today.

34. I've come to realize that parties...need pinatas.

35. I've come to realize that I'm totally terrified...of one of my daughters dying.

36. I've come to realize that my life...is blessed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!

So Puxatawney Phil tells us there'll be another 6 weeks of winter, and he's only right 40% of the time? That works for me, bring on the spring!

The National Parks: America's Best Idea makes me want to load up the car and hit the road. And then I remember that there are so many beautiful places to see beyond National Parks. Especially if we can get away from all the concrete and asphalt. So once my sniffles subside, we're going to Miller Springs Nature Center - less than 10 miles away - all I need to pack are water bottles and snacks. Well, maybe a diaper, too.

Andy bought Food, Inc. and Food Rules last week, and we're both a bit more inspired, now.

Have you seen Food, Inc.? Must-see, if you haven't yet. It's good to know where your food comes from. And the family that really can't see how to afford broccoli and pears, so they hit a drive through? So very sad.

Food Rules is exactly that. Rules about food. Some rules are elaborated with a few paragraphs. Other rules need no elaboration. Like my favorite, Rule #20 -

It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car.

That's not to say I'll never go to sonic again, but, you know, I'll try to keep in mind that much of what will come in that brown paper sack is, as author Michael Pollan calls it, edible foodlike substances, and decidedly not food.

I'm working on a nutrition curriculum to bring to Lauren's preschool - one that will involve parents. I subbed there last week, and the lunches some of the one year olds were eating, it made me so sad. The Director is saddened, too. So we'll see what happens.

Tree Huggin' Tuesday

S'cuse me, I hab a cowd. *sniffle* *sniffle* *aaa-aaaa-chooooooo*

So I'm taking it easy today, carrying my dedicated hanky* wherever I go. Not a box of tissues to be found. And, sneezes loud enough to wake the baby. And the neighbor's baby.

*it's not an official hanky - it's a kitchen towel that no one else will be touching today, and it will be well washed before it dries another dish. :-)

Friday, January 22, 2010

ah, it's friday

Today Jillian Michaels kicked my butt. I am so out of shape, but I'm working on it. Luckily Sasha napped and let me do the complete abs workout today. Some days I don't even get through the 5 minute jogging-in-place warm up. And other days I don't even turn on the wii. I will be jello in approximately 7 1/2 minutes. I can feel it coming on.

Morning snack today is a smoothie. orange-celery-banana with a dash of cinnamon and brewer's yeast. yummy. I should do this every day. Or at least every other day. Definitely a nice post-Jillian Michael's butt kicking snack. :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tree Huggin' Tuesday

TakeOutWithOut

This is something I need to work on (*ahem* sonic strawberry limeade). Because, really, there are only so many things you can do with those styrofoam containers in the name of re-use.

I've got a cabinet full of pyrex lidded containers, as well as tupperware, of course... I bet you do, too. ;-) Also, there's room in my purse for a couple of cloth napkins wrapped around my own silverware.

EnviroRambo said it better than I am.... so read this, if you have a minute.

Friday, January 15, 2010

fog

I'm in a fog. Ugh, no me gusta!


This week we made a menu, and stuck with it really well. Got next week's menu made today. I love that. So much less stress that way. Now if I could somehow convince myself to do something similar with housework (Mondays = clean the floors, Tuesdays = launder the bedding, etc.).


Oh, and I answered sonic's call this afternoon, and am enjoying a Route 44 strawberry limeade as I type. If I'm going to eco-sin, might as well super-size it, right? ;-)


Have you read the children's book, Flat Stanley? I have not, but we want to now. Our friend Sydney in Wisconsin read it in school, and she and her classmates each made a Flat Stanley to mail to a friend with an assignment: take Flat Stanley on an adventure (take pictures, collect brochures, etc.) and return Flat Stanley with notes of his adventure. Hopefully tomorrow will be nice and sunny so that we can have some outdoor adventures.


It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring..... and I want the sunshine, dangit!


One other thing - did I tell you Aubrey's Christmas Tree adventure? At my folks' house, my girls were sleeping on the living room floor with my sister. All in a row - Aubrey, Ali, Lauren. In the middle of the night Ali awakes to a crash. The Christmas Tree had fallen over. On top of Aubrey. Aubrey never woke up. When Ali hollered, "Mommy (we each still call our mom Mommy at times)! The tree fell on Aubrey!" my mom kept right on sleeping, while I bolted out of bed. The tree shifted in the stand just enough that it was never going to stand again, so we rotated the heaviest Christmas Tree ever* so that it would lean into the wall, not onto my oldest. After we got the tree situated, and confirmed that Aubrey was in fact still breathing (how can you sleep through that? she was buried by tree!), we discovered the ornaments that had found their way underneath Aubrey. So weird. No explanation for the falling tree.


*well maybe not the heaviest, but it was really, really heavy.


anyway, happy Friday. I hope your weekend is grand.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What the?

That's what I say, an awful lot. "What the?" or sometimes it's "What the hay?"

I didn't realized I said it so much until Lauren said, "What the?" At least I don't add assorted naughty words at the end. :-)

~~~

I love Conan. I'm kinda lukewarm on Jay. This whole mess makes me love Conan even more. Like Jay even less. And maybe that isn't fair, because maybe Jay is as much at the mercy of the Powers That Be as Conan is. But I can't help it.

~~~

I've been watching very little coverage on the earthquake, because I've got little eyes all around, and I don't want them to see too much. Also, I cry every time I think about the tragedy. I'm praying that everyone that is hurting may find comfort and peace, and that aid is quick and overflowing.

~~~

Tomorrow I may venture down to Austin. I 'm dying to find a true health food store, not a GNC-like vitamin store. As much as I LOVE small town life, there are some serious drawbacks.

~~~

I just started reading The Jungle Effect. So far, so good. I'm very intrigued.

~~~

Tonight we had eggs benedict for dinner. Followed up by lava cake for dessert. Mistake-o-rama, let me tell you. Too much richness, I have a belly ache. But atleast there's no lava cake left to make me sick tomorrow. :-) (We also had green beans and cantaloupe - some healthy food!)

~~~

I gave Andy so much grieve about him wanting to buy The Hangover, but I love that movie. It's hilarious. Not as vulgar as I expected. On a related note, one of Andy's long time friends said, "When I watched that movie, I kept thinking about Andy." Andy did not take that as a compliment. I laughed. And said a little prayer of thanks that he's grown up a lot.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

beat 'em or join 'em?

So, do we buy a minivan or suv? We aren't in the market this week, or this month. Maybe later this year. So, go for the more environmentally friendly minivan, or the safer suv?*

That's one of the problems with being environmentally aware. I'm leaning towards suv because of the safety factor. But then there's guilt, because I know our chances of being in an accidnet are pretty slim. Oy.

We aren't in the market any time soon - we're doing fine with what we have for the time being. I'm just dreaming. And feeling guilty about dreaming of a gas guzzler.

THAT's frustrating. I can't turn off my environmental awareness. Some days I just want to turn it off. But I can't. Or, I can, but as soon as I turn it back on (involuntarily, I might add) I feel bad about whatever I did while it was off. Sonic strawberry limeade in a big ol' styrofoam cup, anyone? What about Taco Bell in their handy-dandy plastic bags? Roadtrips are the worst for this, but it happens often enough without roadtripping, too.

Ugh. Now I want a strawberry limeade, but feel guilty about wanting a strawberry limeade. I'm a dork. Such a dork.

Anyway, what would (or did) you do? minivan or suv?

*to explain, in case you don't know... we are a family of 5. Most of the time we don't all 5 of us go out, but on the rare occassion that we do, we currently take 2 cars. We roadtrip a fair amount (the girls and I - we let Andy stay home and work, aren't we sweet like that? ;-) )

Tree Huggin' Tuesday

dispose the disposables

easy as it sounds... try to reduce your use of disposables. you can bring your own travel mug to starbucks, buy a loose bunch of carrots to peel, cut and put in portion-size reusable containers (instead of buying individual serving size bags of baby carrots), give cloth diapers a try, keep a real plate and silverware at work for lunches.

pretty much any time you drop something in the trash, ask yourself if you needed it to begin with. kleenex? a hanky would work well in most cases. a paper towel to wipe up that drip of coffee? how 'bout a washcloth instead.

Happy Huggin'!
Rachel

Monday, January 11, 2010

blessings

#42 ~ gingerbread house kits on clearance. we're gonna have some fun tonight!

#43 ~ Twinnings Lady Grey tea. I know I've mentioned it before, I'll try to not mention it again.

#44 ~ tabletop centerpieces created by 3 year olds. our current centerpiece is a pewter goblet holding clearance candycanes (nick jr, of course!) and two pheasant feathers. one of a kind, no doubt!

#45 ~ homemade split pea soup.

#46 ~ my nest planner. one of the things I asked for for Christmas. so far I love it. this week's menu is in there, along with the grocery list. and some crafty ideas, and a lofty to do list (mostly invloving the crafty ideas). :-)

#47 ~ $0.44 avocados.

#48 ~ my church. as Dorothy once said, "There's no place like home."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

wassup?

Ever want to blog, but just not know what to blog about? That's me. So, here's a jumble of crap. I mean, here are some wonderful insights and stories. Yeah, insights and stories.

Sasha spent the last week raspberry-ing all the time. It's so cute and fun. I love it. But tonight she entered the scream at an ungodly high pitch phase. NOT cute and fun, especially when she's cuddled up next to your ear.

Lauren is watching Star Wars, at her request. Return of the Jedi. She's loving it. Oh, and her new favorite song to sing is Yankee Doodle. THAT is cute. Much cuter than screaming "Buttman" all around the house. Thank you, Bart Simpson.

Aubrey is spending the night at a friend's house. Ahh, the quiet.... :-)

I want another feline. I need another feline. Not necessarily a kitten, but a shelter cat. I'm browsing craigslist (though really, I want a shelter cat). And, today at the bank, in the middle of shopping malls galore - not a residential area, there was a cat, sitting in the sun. I approached him very carefully, but he ran into the storm drain. Really, though, I know we can afford another pet, and there are so many cats (and dogs and other animals, I know) that need loving homes. Now I just need to convince Andy that he needs another cat.

I pulled my sewing machine out and made some cloth wipes. Just in time, 'cause, you know, Sasha is almost 5 months old. I have loads of excuses, by the way, for why it's taken me this long. Of course, I think I'm the only one really concerned, so I'll apologize to myself for the procrastination, and I'm sure myself will forgive me. I think so, at least.

All our Christmas decorations are still up. Maybe tomorrow they'll come down. Maybe not.

I recently got a blackberry. One of the cool features is that if you hold down the 'a' button, it capitalizes. Know what happens when I try that on the computer? 'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.' I think I've been spending too much time on my blackberry lately!

Andy just bought the winning lottery ticket. I know it's the winner because I told him he could only buy it if it was the winner. So we're golden. ;-)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my pressure cooker. Tonight we did short ribs, in beef broth. Freakishly tender. Mmmmm. Andy said that any food we eat tomorrow will be a letdown. I can't disagree.

Kettlecorn is some tasty stuff. Sam's Club sells Popcorn, Indiana brand kettlecorn. Popcorn, Indiana is based in New Jersey. And I might complain about the misleading name, but ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhmyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, this stuff is too tasty to care where it is made.

Hey, did you read this article about HM Clothing and Wal-Mart destroying and tossing clothes that didn't sell? So many people could benefit from those ruined-and-tossed-away clothes. Not to mention the waste. It kinda makes me sick. And sad.

Now, to keep my hand from finding it's way into the bag of kettlecorn again, I'm off to make a cup of decaf Lady Grey. My current favorite tea. Oh how I love hot tea weather.

toodles,
Rachel

PS - Lauren grew tired of Star Wars, now it's Tom & Jerry.