Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Friend Home Evening

So us mothers of this trio of troublemakers have decided to get together Monday nights for FHE. We all have husbands that work late and need to get in the habit of weekly family time with a lesson and activity. We all grew up in strong LDS homes, but somehow family night is hard for us to accomplish, so getting together with friends and sharing responsibilities should be the perfect thing to get us going.

I'm kind of a coordinator, times, activities, assignments. My job is easy in Utah because lots of places (libraries, museums, etc.) have events planned for families on Monday nights at 7. Last night was our second time getting together, this time for a magic show at the library.

I was pretty excited for the bunny.

After the show the boys ran around recklessly

While us girls had cinnamon rolls.

We feel good at the end knowing we can check something off our to-do list, got the boys (and girls) out to see each other and have fun, as well as having important teaching time with our kids.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Baby Teeth

I was surprised to find a bottom tooth cutting through about a month ago (at 8 1/2 months), number two came 3 weeks later. This time I did not cry. I discovered Eli's on his 5 month birthday and got teary over the fact that my baby was growing up already.

Both kids have been angels. No months of slobbery crankiness or middle of the night screaming fits from sore gums. Just surprise when the first pearly whites come in.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Married Into My Favorite Meal

I definitely appreciate fancy ingredients and expensive restaurants, but my favorite meals are the simple ones. A couple of weeks before Brian and I got married I went to meet his little Mexican grandma. The table was spread with all kinds of food, the American stuff, like pork chops and spaghetti, were apparently for me, although I didn't realize it at the time. I ended up only eating her handmade tortillas, beans, and chili. Luckily his aunt taught me how to make the chili and his mom showed me how to make her mother-in-laws tortillas.

I thought of her at the farmer's market last Saturday after seeing all the anaheim peppers and knew what I had to do. I thawed some homemade pinto beans, made the chile con carne and was about to be lazy and use store-bought tortillas, but could not after thinking about using such thin, dry, machine-made (aka loveless) tortillas on my beloved spicy gravy. Out came the flour and rolling pin and 15 minutes later we had over a dozen fresh tortillas. Such basic ingredients, beans, flour, two peppers, salt, and a pork chop. $2 and a happily fed family of four with leftovers for lunch.

And you've got to eat it like a Mexican, little bites,
not rolled into a burrito.

Esme loved the beans while Eli's eyes bugged at the site of tortillas.

We're Gonna Need A Baby Gate

I got the feeling I should check on the girl yesterday, whose favorite thing is when we put her down to let her explore. I had shown her the stairs a few days earlier and she just pounded them, not yet having the idea to climb them. Luckily she was just on the first step when I found her. I guess she wanted to figure it out by herself.

Eli was so clingy and cautious that we never needed to gate them off. Esme's much more independent and care free. Here he is at the same age:

Look at all those teeth!!! Esme just barely has the bottom two.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kids Will Be Kids, At The Beach

Thinking back and looking at pictures from this weekend, Eli and Esme picked strange activities to be their favorite. Well, Eli did a few normal things. Build a sand castle and even have a gentle one-sided water fight with Brian. But he was the most excited about finding the perfect reed for fishing.


And Waiting

Esme just wanted to pick shells, there were millions mixed in with the sand (obvious in the first picture), and eat them. This trip she didn't even cry at a mouthful of sand. I was so relieved when the cooler caught her attention and kept her busy with it's many ice cubes.

She also inhaled many raspberries. Plain and in the form of a milk shake.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Too Many Cooks

Eli was quite distressed the other day when he found Esme "eating" his kitchen. I made him share and assured him that she wouldn't actually swallow anything. I guess Esme will be the one to teach our little miser to share, because I don't know how to break him of his stinginess.
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Apricots Are For Cooking

So my friend Missy, who braved Wyoming with us, mentioned neighbors yards filling with fallen apricots. I practically invited myself to her neighborhood to pick some and she braved the mid-day heat and even watched Esme. Apricot jam and tarts are my favorite. But here's the thing, a raw apricot... I've only eaten one (from Trader Joe's back in June) that I didn't mind choking down. They're so dry. Something about cooking them makes them suddenly juicy and tart. I love it.

Too daunted to go through the process of making jam, I ended up turning the giant bowl full, now holding only a few stragglers, into a pie with a crumbly, cinnamon topping, clafoutis , pancakes, topping for pancakes, and a tart. Then I went to get our share from the farm a couple days ago and there was a giant bag of apricots! So don't worry if we look a little orange the next time you see us.

Friday, August 6, 2010

5 Years Ago

Thinking about it now, I must've been the most practical bride ever. My mom likes to bring up the other "bride-zillas" in the bride room of the temple that day. I'd actually shown up early for pictures before the 12:45 sealing and, because of space issues, had to get dressed in the cramped changing lockers. I did nothing special with my hair, no jewelry, and probably just the basic mascara, blush, and lip balm.

The night before I sat alone in my future grandmother-in-law's basement and trimmed and arranged 12 dozen red roses (on sale for $6/dozen) and a few yellow crespedia and pink dahlias. Luckily my roommate had shown me how to make a bouquet a couple weeks before with a few spray roses mixed in. Luckier I didn't let that same roommate take the pictures. I don't think she ever talked to me again. And luckiest, my friend Leilani's dad offered to take them for free. He's a saint. Truly. He drove down to Provo to take our engagements, met us downtown for my bridals, and took his whole family up to Logan for our wedding and I don't even know how long editing took. The more I think about it I should mail him a really big check, 5 years late.

Looking through the photos, my smile is much bigger and happier in the after-the-sealing shots. Hmmm... maybe I should go back and analyze Brian's face instead. He did have quite a time deciding to get married.

I don't remember much about the ceremony except looking at everyone's faces and feeling so much love and joy. The one regret I have, a fading memory and nothing written down.

There was no "wedding party" with bride's maids and such. Not even specific colors for people to wear. Looks like Brian's mom made arrangements within their side of the family.

We went on to Brian's grandma's house for the back yard reception. The one thing we splurged on was food. Of course. I should remember better since it's what we ate for the next couple days. Shrimp, cheesecake, chocolate-covered strawberries. When we met with the restaurant owner to pick a menu, we were about to walk out and he asked if we had other arrangements for a cake. I totally forgot!!! I told him chocolate and left the rest up to him. It was a happy surprise when I saw it and he'd even added some flower arrangements from around to make it beautiful for the official cake cutting.

Then we were off to Bear Lake. It's always fun going back, remembering the care-free, exciting days of young love. Like next week. We'll return with 5 years, two kids, and several extra pounds under our belts. It's been a smooth, happy start to eternity. We are best friends grateful for each other every day.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Celebrate the Everyday: The Park

A while back, when making that online photobook, I came across an idea that I love. There were tons of sample books to browse for inspiration, but this one, by an author (no wonder it looked so amazing) had simple stories and snapshots of everyday moments. I carry my camera pretty much everywhere, but usually whip it out for special occasions, the children's "firsts," and when other out-of-the-ordinary things happen.

I imagine, when the kids get independent, annoyed with me (and visa versa), and even move on, it will be the quiet, simple days at home with my two sweet babies that I will miss. We may say "remember that trip..." or "the day Eli balanced on his bike..." but those won't be the moments I wish I could be in again. Stories in the bottom bunk, the peace of nap time, lunch at the table, slow walks, answering all the "why mama why"'s, splashing in the tub.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe empty-nesters laugh at us 20-somethings with little kids and think. Ahhhh, no more butt-wiping for me... They're cute to visit, but luckily I can hand them back when they start to whine...

But I'm so attached and sentimental. I can see myself wanting them to live at home forever. I guess that's why the teenage years happen, it won't be as hard to say good-bye.

Anyway. Here's the record of an average visit to the playground. Recently I learned that Eli considers a picnic mandatory on outings to the park. Esme didn't care, she was happy eating leaves. Just the ones she could reach from the blanket. The prickly grass was the perfect thing to keep her from crawling off the blanket and into trouble.


Aparently her husband's peek-a-boo was funnier to me than Esme.

Like every other mom that gets a new DSLR, my friend (since 9th grade) Annette and I are both getting into photography. We met up for a picnic at a park in American Fork Canyon and, since we both brought our cameras, had a mini photoshoot. We both love the chance to practice. We used her camera, which is a bit nicer and had a telephoto lense (on my short wish list), and she afterwords played around with the images on Photoshop Elements (the other item on my wish list).

In my blog browsing I've realized what a role photoshop plays, making average pictures really look amazing. For now I'm content with my free Picasa. I'm usually happy with how they look straight out of the camera, but sometimes I crop or brighten. I'm sure the more I read Pioneer Woman and get to take classes my wish list will become a need list.

I was about to say I wish I had more time to practice, but I suppose I have time for the things I make time for. And as soon as I find the right class to take, hopefully I'll get out of the house by myself for a couple hours a week.