Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things I'm Dying to Tell You

1. I've been buying raw fresh milk from a local farm. It's THE BOMB. Also Mariah isn't allergic to it. She's allergic to store bought milk, but not raw milk. Explain that one.

2. We still have 5 chickens making their home in our backyard. One almost got eaten by a hawk....but didn't.

3. They're finally laying eggs! Three or four a day.

4. I made my own mozzarella cheese today and it's good!

5. I'm officially a freak! (deduced from the first four items I've been dying to tell you).

Ummmmmmm, also my kids are doing great. The house is great. I'm still homesick, but it comes and goes.

Pictures are coming as soon as I can find my camera battery charger. I've been looking [read: gazing aimlessly] for it everywhere. I have so many wonderful chicken pictures to share with you! Aren't you excited?!?!?!*

*Please refer to #5.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Winnie the...

Poo Poo

I probably should have corrected the kids the first time they called this lovable little icon Poo Poo, but I just couldn't help myself. They still think that's his real name......What?? some kids grow up believing a fat guy in a red suit at the mall gives them Christmas presents, let me have my fun.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Truth about Barbacoa

Have I told you the story about Barbacoa yet? I don't think I have, and since I just consumed my weight in barbacoa tacos following a very bad night and equally bad day I'll tell you it.

When Helmut and I were first married we used to drive down to Mexico at least once a month and spend the weekend with his parents. They would go out of their way to make Helmut's favorite Mexican dishes which soon became my favorite dishes, because while all food down there is much simpler in ingredients, it's somehow tastes much richer in least for me and my delinquent taste buds (a story for another time). Depending on who you're dining with the food may look strange.....scary even (because you know they do sell brain tacos and fried blood down there), but Helmut's parents are very picky in what they will eat and have never served me anything "weird" by American standards.

Our visits had gone on monthly for quite a while when they started to tire of making the same things over and over, so one afternoon before we were supposed to leave they brought in a precooked/pre-shredded meat, some fresh tortillas, limes, cilantro, and onions. I could tell they were a little nervous about feeding me this meat, but from what I could tell it just looked like some beef....and my gosh was it ever delicious! I ate and ate and ate until I was stuffed, towards the end I asked what it was exactly, they all avoided my eyes and Helmut told me it was goat meat. I told them it was the tastiest goat meat I'd ever had and I LOVED it.

Every visit for the next two years I specially requested that meal again to which they all politely declined, and not wanting to make my new In-Laws uncomfortable i quit asking for it.

Fast Forward through my pregnancy and Hayden's first year, and now I am halfway through my pregnancy with Mariah.... or I guess i could just say "3ish years later."-----

Helmut and I found a Mexican flee market on the outskirts of Austin and decided to spend the day looking around. At lunch time we made our way over to the taco stands and were trying to decide which kind of tacos to get. Unlike Mexican taco stands these places had the menu's in Spanish AND English. I'm just going to cut to the chase here, obviously you've figured out that there's a listing for the very literal translation of Barbacoa on there. It's Beef Head. BEEF HEAD. Like the whole head of a cow. I was really grossed out. I looked at Helmut and said "Beef HEAD?? LIKE THE HEAD OF A COW???" and he was all, "yeah, didn't i tell you that?(Guilty face). NO, No he did not. Oh well, at least I only ate it once.

Once his family realized that I knew what it was and still wanted it they began buying it for us again....once in a a treat.....pretty much just for me.

I looked up recipes for making it at home and all of the authentic ones include purchasing the entire head and removing the eyes, ears, and tongue yourself, then wrapping it in tin foil and steaming it for a million hours. I don't think that's going to happen anything soon, and reading that turned my insides to jello for a while, but I'm hooked. Lets say it's a twice a year treat....or since we found that authentic taco place in Round Rock it's more like a once every 6 weeks treat.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

First Names Take 2


First Names


Catch Up

The following few posts are of names my kids call stuff. None of these were prompted.

....Oh yeah, we're doing good. I finally got my computer to work again, let's hope it holds out for a little bit longer....or at least until we find some gold doubloons in our new backyard and can afford another Mac.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hello World.....or the 3 People Who Still Read This (I Heart You).

Okay, I know it's been a while. A really long while, and to be honest the thing that bothers me the most about not blogging is that I've got about a thousand chicken pictures backed up that I'm longing to showcase. I know, it's sad. Several months of not blogging and the only thing I care about is showing you chicken pictures. My gosh somebody slap me.

We are completely moved into the new house now. I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I'll get around to it eventually....probably when we're ready to move again. I have to say, after living here for a month, I'm in love. We were really skeptical about this house for a few reasons. One: it only has three bedrooms so Hayden and Mariah have to share. Two: there's this big awkward space right when you walk in the front door that we can't figure out what to do with and we definitely don't have enough furniture to put in it. Three: It has a smaller yard than our last place and we value a big yard. All three points have worked themselves out though. The room sharing has actually been quite fun for the kids. I thought having them share a room would be a sleep loss nightmare (for me), but Mariah is a heavier sleeper than I thought and has so far slept through all of Hayden's nightly strolls and potty breaks. The bonus room has turned into a temporary piano room/play room, which when we're having a good day is almost magically something from a movie, And the smaller backyard has proven that quality is better than quantity....what can I say, I appreciate mature trees and SHADE.

I don't have any pictures to display right now since per my facebook status I am out a computer for a while and am borrowing Helmut's to make this long overdue post, but hopefully something soon.

Also, we took the kids to see Toy Story 3 today and it was hilarious. Mariah didn't quite make it to the end, but Hayden was still jamming popcorn in his mouth as the credits were rolling. As far as scary goes, i don't think it was as scary as the first and will probably be my favorite of all 3 of the series.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Random Bad Flower Pictures (or Weeds)

Okay, I realize it's been a while since my last post, and you are maybe wanting an update on moving, house selling, life with chicks, the last 5 horribly embarrassing tantrums that Mariah threw, etc. But instead I'm going to give you a challenge:

Name this flower. What the heck is this? I saw it today in the backyard growing alongside all the dandelions. It looks like a really big dandelion.

For comparison purposes, behold a dandelion:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Conversations with a Three Year Old: The House

Hayden: "Mommy, what's that?"
(Pointing to a screw sized hole in the ceiling)

Me: "It's just a hole"


House for Sale: DIY Do or Die

The past three days we've been internetless or I'd have filled you in on the catastrophe that was our house. As you know we've had the house for sale for a week now. The second day it was for sale Helmut knocked off a couple of tiles in the shower exposing some ominously moldy drywall. That was the cause of freak out #1. When I say freak out, I'm really exaggerating, because while the mold was alarming, it was still easily fixed.

We both spent the entire day researching bathroom mold fixes DIY and came up with a plan. First remove all the tiles covering the moldy area. Second replace the wet drywall with backer board, and lastly, replace all the tiles and re grout. We began to execute our plan Thursday night after the kids went to bed. It took Helmut hours to clean off all the tiles so we could reuse them. Then he cut out the old drywall exposing......da da daaaaaaaaaaa (musical interlude), TERMITES. Crap.

I spent Friday lining up appointments with Termite inspectors to make sure that was the only affected area and to get it treated. By Monday we had a full termite inspection done which revealed only damage to the bathroom. Helmut was able to fix and patch the hole and now we are finally back in business. I just hope that seeing a gaping hole in the bathroom shower didn't turn away any buyers. Come on people you know you loved the house with the creepy bug infested bathroom. Nothing screams buy me like rotting drywall and the stench of mold.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Confession: Gardening

One time I ordered a "corner" garden from a magazine. I expected the
plants to come in pots and wondered how they could ship 50+ plants so
cheaply (free shipping). What I got were 50+ tightly bound roots in a
small box. I planted them dutifully following the instructions. Three
months later I was the proud owner of four blooming flowers.

Life Lesson #18: if it sounds to good to be true it is too good to be

Saturday, April 17, 2010

House Woes and Other Stuff

As of Thursday our house is for sale. As of Friday our house no longer looks like a gem. Now it resembles a fixer upper, scarry, not-gonna-buy-that-house, house. Why? In short, Helmut leaned over in the shower and a bunch of tiles fell off the wall. I don't think he even bumped them. We've lived in this house for 4 years and somehow failed to realize the shower wall was a rotted, wet, moldy, old piece of drywall. duh. Everybody knows that.....except us. I did notice a slight crack in the tiles, but i thought that was normal? I don't know what I thought, but after using the shower for 4 years and not having it implode, i figured it was okay. I figured wrong, and now we are committed to completely redoing the shower, or at least whatever is affected by the rot, which appears to be the entire back wall. Guess what else happened on Friday....our bid got accepted on the new house we're planning on buying...ha ha ha. Oh well. What can a person do.

Instead of moping around and saving our pennies to pay for the shower repair and the new house, and the old house, and whatever else, we decided to take the kids to their first theater movie. So we got up early this morning and went to the first showing of "how to train your Dragon." Hayden sat silently and still through the entire movie while Helmut and I juggled Mariah as she wiggled around, demanded to hold the popcorn bucket at all times, spilled half a bottle of water on her lap, and flailed randomly. There were a few moments I thought to myself "maybe we should remove this little menace from the theater," but neither of us wanted to miss the action, so we distracted her with more popcorn. All in all it was great.

To sum up this very dry blog: House>bad, Movie>good.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Battle of the Doll

Is it just me or are pictures of dolls totally creepy?

Soon after my abrupt career as baby shoemaker ended I started making (or trying to make) dresses for Mariah. For a little while it was fun, but I quickly realized that there is no way making clothes for her is cheaper than buying them. Plus the cheap clothes at the store are always cuter than the weird things i make her, AND they hold up better in the washing machine. So I stopped making her clothes and despaired that I would ever be able to make anything with my sewing machine than wouldn't actually lose me money.....until last week.

{Enter: the naked doll}

Mariah got a really cute doll for her birthday. It's called bath doll or something from Target. It came dressed in a little t-shirt and a diaper which Mariah promptly removed. In the months since Mariah's birthday we have fought an epic battle of clothed doll vs naked doll, with me repeatedly dressing the thing while she as quickly undresses it and leaves it lying around naked. A couple of days ago I was trying to redress the dolly without her noticing when I couldn't find the shirt or diaper. She must have stashed them somewhere when I wasn't paying attention. That night after she went to bed I had an idea. Why not make some doll clothes out of the scraps I had left from my failed attempts at .....everything else I've tried to make so far.

Three days later I'm finished. I think they're decent, if not a little cute. Certainly cuter than anything I've made for Mariah thus far. In case you can't tell what they're supposed to be, they're doll pajamas. I priced some doll clothes at target which go for 8.99$ on sale and 9.99$ regular price. These probably cost me .50 cents in materials, and 1 hour in time (only because I made my own pattern). So there, I finally found something that is cheaper made at home. Doll Clothes.

Is this the beginning of my career as a doll clothing designer? Who knows. But it's certainly the start of something. At the very least Mariah's dolls will have clothing, whether she chooses to allow them to be clothed or not.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It was even cuter when he was wearing the hat. One of Hayden's favorite activities that doesn't include running.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life with Chicks: The Raddist Cage on the Planet

After the chicken eating contest that the cats held a couple weeks ago, Helmut took it upon himself to build the remaining chickens a cage to keep them safe. This also means they no longer take up a stinky space in our garage. I'm are the chickens.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Conversations with a Three Year Old: Pedestrians

This exchange took place in the car on the way home from the store one night. It's important to note that Helmut and Hayden couldn't see each other at the time.

(From the back seat)Hayden: wiping something from his eye,
"What's that?"
(From the driver's seat) Helmut: noticing a pedestrian,
"That's just a man walking down the street."

Hayden: pausing to think,
"there's a man walking down the street in my eye??"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spider Advice---->Help!

I just googled "are spiders attracted to certain people." You want to know why? The day we spent at the ranch with friends marks the 4th occasion on which I have found a spider resting on Mariah's shoulder.

When I was little my siblings got kicks out of watching shows like "America's Most Wanted," Kujo," "The Gremlins," and pretty much anything scary, so when "Arachnophobia" came out they were all over it. I must have watched it 3 or 4 times before I realized I didn't like watching scary movies. To this day I will close my eyes if I think something scary is going to happen....not that I'm scared ---->pashaw----> I just don't want to have repeats of those scenes playing over and over in my head when I'm trying to fall asleep...which is inevitably what happens. Anyway, that was also the point in my young life where I realized that I am absolutely terrified of spiders. For a long time after that movie I would double and triple check the toilet to make sure there weren't any in there, and I would always let the shower run for a few minutes to make sure no spiders would come out of the shower head.

I'll never forget the time I was walking with Helmut and Hayden on trail at one of the local parks when i began to notice all these freakishly large spiders living in the trees over head. There were hundreds of them....and FREAKISHLY oreo cookie sized. I contemplated blacking out, but the thought of laying under them was worse than the thought of sprinting to the car and hopefully out running their creepy spider intentions.

There was also that time when I was living out at Camp Eagle. I was heading back home one evening 6 miles into the 8 mile driveway when I spotted a tarantula crossing the road. So naturally I slowed down and let it go by.

Let this be a lesson to you parents. Don't let your kids watch scary stuff on TV or they may develop certain irrational fears.

Back to Mariah: Four times now I have found spiders on her shoulder. FOUR. Can anyone explain this?! I have NEVER found a spider on Hayden's person. DOES SHE NEED MORE BATHS? IS IT A BLOOD TYPE THING? Somebody clue me in so i don't have to keep flicking spiders off of her. All the stress from the spider flicking is also probably the REAL explanation as to why my diet is NOT WORKING......but that's another blog post.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Confession: Interpretations

Confession: Sometimes when Mariah talks it sounds like she's speaking in Russian. In those moments I really wish I had taken the time to learned to speak Russian so we might have a chance at understanding each other.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ranch Day

While our chicken was becoming cat chow we were off enjoying a day at the Hamilton Ranch. Thanks Carol, Henry and family for the fun times!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bonding Time

In truth, he's holding that stick in the hopes that he will be able to mesmerize Hayden into staying still for 2 seconds while I snap a picture.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Life with Chicks: One Down

Whelp, it has happened. The cats got one of the chickens and ate it for dinner while we were enjoying some time out with friends.

Before we left, knowing we would be gone for 2 or 3 hours I thought to myself, should I put these chickens back in their stinky box in the garage, or should I allow them the pleasure of a few more hours of fresh air?

Life Lesson #15: Better to spend a few extra hours in a stinky box than to become a cat snack.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Life with Chicks: Still Alive

We've had the chickens for a few weeks now, and miraculously they're all still alive. I say "miraculously" because last week Hayden tried to play softball with them and almost broke one of their legs. I actually thought he broke it because the bird didn't move for a few days, but now I can't tell which one got hit, so I think they're all fine.

New House Rule: No playing catch with the birds.

That said, the chickens are easy to care for, and hardier than I thought. Hayden has been quite rough with them despite repeated time-outs, spankings and conversations about why we shouldn't be rough with the chicks i.e. "they will die!" I realized before I got them that it would be a challenge to keep them alive around Hayden. He doesn't have mean intent, but he really likes to play rough. What I didn't count on though was how badly they would smell. I now know why birds are called Fowl. The stench emanating from our garage at this time can be described using words such as: Special, Unbelievable, Disgusting, and FOWL. I never realized they could smell this badly. I gotta say I'm really looking forward to getting them out of the garage in into the farthest corner of the back yard so I don't have to vomit in my mouth every time i feed them. Even I who claim little to no sense of smell can smell more of these birds than I ever cared too.

I wish it had been possible to buy full grown egg layers. That would have made my life much easier. But I guess this way Hayden is "bonding" with them.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Conversations with a Three Year Old: Garbage

Me: "Hayden, please pick up those raisins that you dropped on the floor and put them in the trash."

Hayden: "Okay!"

Me: "Where are the raisins?"

Hayden: "I put them in the trash can in my mouth."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Egg Hunt

Today we made an offer on a house we really wanted.....and within hours we got rejected and they picked somebody else. I thought i wasn't going to care if that happened, but it turns out i took so many pictures of this ugly old house trying to decide if we could fix it, that i somehow got emotionally attached. So instead of talking about how bummed I am, I'm going to show you some pictures of the Easter egg hunt we went to at our church on Saturday.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Conversations with a Three Year Old: Meals

The Owl in the back is Hayden, the one in front is me, and no Karaoke during nap time is NOT MY THING.

Not only were we trying to accomplish nap time today while getting a new roof put on our house, but we were also interrupted by various things at 15 minute intervals for the first hour....i.e..bathroom, doorbell, doorbell, pounding...etc. ect. This conversation took place after we settled down again for the fourth attempt at a nap:

Hayden: "Mommy, can i have some breakfast?"

Me: "No, we just ate lunch."

Hayden: "I don't want lunch, I want breakfast."

Me: "You can have a snack after you take your nap."

Hayden: "OKAY!!!!!!!"

Me: After that I believe I admitted an audible growl, but i can't be sure.

He then spent the next 30 minutes poking my face, kicking the wall, and singing until Mariah finally woke up and miraculously he fell asleep.

Photo courtesy of Lolcats

Saturday, March 27, 2010

House for Sale.....Again.

We've finally bit the bullet and are trying to put our house up for sale again. It's been more than a year since our first attempt, and I have to admit I'm dreading it and have been for the entire year. In some ways it'll be nice to get this step of our lives over with so I can stop feeling like it's hanging around my neck with imminent strangleage (sound it out, and yes, i made that word up - take that spell check) about to take place.

Last year Mariah was a cranky baby, we had a realtor we weren't sure about, and a mortgage broker we were REALLY not sure about, and even a home inspector that we thought was pulling our leg a little. So, you can imagine when you put all those together along with the idea of purchasing a new home things might get a little hairy. Well they did. They got VERY VERY hairy, so we called it quits, took our house back off the market and then spent the next 12 months contemplating moving to Pennsylvania in order to be closer to family. There are several reasons why that didn't work out, but I'll save that for another post.

This year is different. We LOVE our Realtor, we TRUST our mortgage lender, and we've already dragged our feet so long that nobody could possibly be in this for quick money....i mean we're talking a year, that's a long time to wait for a commission.....sorry David. Next week we'll be putting our house on the market. We've already found a Money Pit that we can't pass up and are going to try and put on offer on. I'm not sure what it is about fixer uppers that attract me, but for some reason my heart falls hard for the orange painted trim, the early 90's decor, and the crusty paint covered rugs.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Conversations with a Three Year Old: Safety Gear

The past few weeks Hayden has discovered that Mommy and Daddy have names. He tentatively calls me "Kari" from time to time, and asks me where "Helmut" is. I have to admit that while I laugh it off, I also find it very disturbing. Something about having my 3 year old son calling me "Kari" feels really weird.

After dinner we decided to go for a walk and let Hayden ride his bike to burn off some of his "bad" energy (trust me, it was REALLY BAD).

Helmut: "Hayden, please take your bike out of the garage."

Hayden: picking up is bike helmet, "Daddy, you have to help me put on this helmut first."

Helmet, helmut....same diff.

Confession: Poultry

Confession: Every time the chickens fall asleep in the pen outside I think they're dead.....every time.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Diet Log: The Day After Day 5

In case you're wondering what happened after I left you last night, I'm going to tell you. I finished typing my last few sentences about guilt and despair and was poised to lay in bed counting my extra rolls until sleep descended upon me when Helmut came in and literally pulled my leg until I got out of bed and went to work out with him in our garage.

Two and a half years ago we set up our garage as a home gym. We were ready to get fit, at home, in the luxury of our own garage...never mind that the temperature in there is 100+ degrees in the summer. Week 1 went stupendously, I was down a few pounds and feeling GREAT, week 2 I found out I was pregnant with Mariah. Week two day 2 was probably the last time we used that home gym. I spent the next 9 months laying on the couch in between outings with Hayden and after that, labor, back injury, and lots of sissy whining.....which brings us to last week.....

I was having lunch with a good friend from church when we got on the subject of blood type characteristics. After that discussion I went home and researched the Blood Type Diet. What I found was many many unhappy participants who said it was a joke, and had been dis-proven as a myth, blah blah blah, so when I found the actual official website I was ready to laugh my way through the blood type descriptions and scoff at anyone gullible enough to actually trust that kind of blather. DUN DUN DUN. Then I proceeded to read an incredibly accurate description of myself, so specific at times it was scary. It was in fact so accurate that upon reading it I was certain that my mother and myself must share a blood type....that is, type O. The next day I texted my parents who confirmed my suspicions.

One of the more important and constructive things I took out of it was that when I feel like I'm getting grouchy, to go exercise......which finally brings me to yesterday. We went to the garage, cleaned out the chicken's box, rigged up some special lighting for them, then I got on the elliptical trainer and did 1 full minute of intense cardio before realizing it was 11pm and I was exhausted, so I came back inside and went to bed. Anticlimactic i know, but at least i didn't cheat on my diet!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Diet Log: Day 5 Doldrums

Yes, you read that title correctly. I'm back on the diet "horse." After taking a 6 month break....let's call it a break, I've finally gotten really REALLY sick of my waistline again. I tried starting up the diet about 6 weeks ago, and was doing so well I was just getting ready to blog about my triumphant 5 lb weight loss when we got invited over to a friends house for dinner. That doesn't sound terribly threatening....and indeed it wasn't until the hostess asked me to bring some Brie. Brrriiiieeeeee. Say that out loud in a breathy, sultry sort of voice. It's not as if I've never had brie before. In fact I'd had it several times and quite liked it each time. I guess I had never built up the temerity to buy it myself, and here someone was asking me to buy it and giving me an excuse to go looking for it. So i went to the grocery store and hunted until i found it, bought it, took it to the party, and enjoyed it on my crusty french bread along with some pretty spectacular Beef Bourguignon.

I happened to buy a whole extra cheese, so after the party the hostess handed me the extra cheese and I took it home and stuck it in the fridge. That was the beginning of a very indulgent 6 week love affair with brie. I'm not going to say how many wedges or different types of brie i tried in that time, because frankly it's embarrassing. Let's just say I'm trying to keep my grubby mitts away from the specialty cheese section until the last 10 lbs of weight are lost. Oh yeah, i gained back that whole 5 lbs in two weeks and added 2 more lbs before I finally realized that Brie slathered on french bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is not diet friendly.

Today is day 5 back on the diet and I've definitely hit the 5th day slump. Day's 1 and 2 I was patting myself on the back as the pounds were flying off, day 3 I figured the scale needed a break, day 4 I was not excited about the stop in weight loss, but not depressed. Then I hit day 5. Day 5 seems to be a real deal breaker for me EVERY SINGLE TIME. Three days of an unrelenting scale have put a frown on my face and a small chip on my shoulder. I hate it when the scale is mean, and let's face it, it's the scales fault. It has NOTHING to do with my chocolate obsession. I'm supposed to be exercising right now, to try and budge the scale, but I've decided to write this instead to make myself feel really really ridiculous in front of people just in case I am tempted to cheat tonight....which I always am on Day 5. So there you go. If you don't get anymore diet updates for a while it's because I've cheated and I'm really embarrassed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


17 Months old, enjoying the park....and savoring the dirt.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Rice and Beans Eating #FAIL

I've put off writing this post for a while because I feel like a Rice and Beans participant failure. I was so excited about the possibilities this month was going to bring to our family, the solidarity, the fasting from the world, the fasting from all foods in the "junk" category. I never thought I'd be a push-over-giver-upper. I began preparing our family for a month of just rice, beans, and assorted vegetables in January. We don't normally eat beans, not because we don't like them, simply because I didn't know how to make them. So in January I got some bean making advice and started making them for dinner twice a week.

The first time I made them Hayden ardently declared his dislike and refused to eat any of them. At first I thought he was being spoiled and would eventually grow to love them.....given time....and hopefully before the two months was up. I was grossly mistaken. Not only does he still not love them, he can barely stomach them. That makes two whole foods that my 3 year old can't stand, Beans and BRUSSEL SPROUTS. Who knew beans could even be grouped in the same category as brussel sprouts?! I mean, that's like comparing them to cabbage juice....which really just tastes like broccoli. Gah, some vegetables are rank. I digress.

We've gone from spoon feeding him the beans, to threatening him with imminent discipline, to watching him gag, and finally a grand ending about 2 weeks ago where he threw up after dinner. That's when I threw in the towel. Instead of solidarity we were getting stress, complaints, confusion, and finally barf.

I haven't completely given up. Mariah LOVES beans, and Helmut also seems to like them, so I'm still making them two or three times a week. I'm already looking forward to next year and thinking of how I can do things differently in between now and then to smooth the transition for the kids.

I feel a tremendous amount of guilt about this whole process. I know if we didn't have any other food available to us Hayden would probably learn to like his beans....or at least appreciate their value.

In spite of quitting early I have taken a few lessons out of this challenge. I do think I use food as a crutch, and a comfort more than I realized I did. I often let my daily menu dictate my mood, and happiness factor. I constantly "reward" myself with edible treats and make up for daily losses in sanity with coffees, chocolates, or CHEESE (did I tell you about my recent love affair with Brie?) All practices that I hadn't realized that I was developing and hope to curb quickly. I don't think their is anything wrong with treating oneself once in a while...just maybe not as often or as extravagantly.

Picture courtesy of Lahash. For more info on what Rice and Beans month is click here. For more info on the people behind Rice and Beans click here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Life with Chicks.....and by Chicks, I mean baby birds.

Did I mention we got some chickens? Just in case I forgot, here are a few pictures of the six new additions to our household. They are currently taking up a few feet of our garage space, but will soon be taking up residence in the backyard.

Reasons for getting chickens:

1. Eggs

2. Pest Control....apparently they love to eat fire ants and other "pestilence."

3. I always wanted to have some chickens....I would probably also get a cow if I had experience milking one.....and while were at it lets throw in a pony, heck our back yard is pretty big.

4. Bug Allergy help - You all know how Mariah has a freakish bug bite allergy, where if left untreated the bites grow to the size of an oreo cookie, followed by insomnia and a wicked diaper rash. Last summer after a few of these instances we came across Apis Mellifica (a homeopathic treatment sold at health food stores), and our lives have been much less stressful. While this stuff works almost instantly on the bug bites I consider it a band-aid. I'm hoping that by eating the eggs of the chickens that are eating our bugs, she will be able to build up some kind of immunity.....if not, well then we'll just have plentiful free range organic eggs.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How to Make a Latte in 4 Minutes Flat

While we were on vacation my younger brother introduced me to this puppy. The Bialetti Mukka Express. It's a stove top cappuccino maker that also happens to be able to produce a decent latte. As soon as we came home I looked it up and took off to my local Williams-Sonoma to buy one. I'm convinced it will save me money in the long run, and if not at least I'll be able to drink my latte without having to drive somewhere to get it.

Since we're on the subject of Lattes I would like to send some negativity in the general direction of Starbucks. Starbucks, if you're reading this, for heavens sakes please make the bottle tops of your bottled lattes smaller. What the heck are you trying to pull using a humongous bottle top??? The only thing it accomplishes is to make me look like a moron while drinking. I either have to open my mouth uncomfortably wide to keep it from spilling, or take little sips while the top rim dribbles coffee on my nose. I have seriously avoided buying said lattes for that reason. Also: your coffee is too bitter. Roasted to burntfection.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Friends with Kids

Christina and I with our arms full of babies...and more to come (on Christina's end that is:)

Going Riding

Waiting for Grandma to get the horse ready.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Vacation Rants

Our mish mash winter clothing compiled of hand-me-downs and that crazy coat i bought 9 years ago in Austria.

Last night we returned from spending two weeks with my family up in Pennsylvania. That means two 4 hour airplane rides, 2 rides of 3 hours in the car, and 2 times we made it through airport security. Having just spent two weeks daily consuming my body weight in chocolate and whoopie pies, my thoughts are a little sugared out and uninspired. All this is due to change this week though as we embark on our Rice and Beans diet, and quit the sugar, caffeine, and whatever else completes our being for the remainder of the month of March.

That stated, let's talk airport security. Is it really necessary for my babies to remove their jackets and shoes to go through the beepy door? I mean, are we worried that they might be armed? or maybe hiding a switchblade in their shoes? Seriously, last time I allowed my toddler to carry a concealed weapon in his jacket I SPECIFICALLY told him he wasn't allowed to take it on an airplane. I'm all for safety, but i think we might be overdoing it.

Hayden, his Uncle Cody, and Maya watching a movie.

As for the plane rides, Hayden angelically watched movies, ate snacks and played educational iphone games (really really in he now knows all of his letters), and Mariah treated both flight's passengers to random scream fests, a few tantrums, a horrendous display of baby savagery where she scratched, kicked and bit me, and ended both flights with a shrug and some cute smiles.....Did I mention how she also covered every available surface with cracker crumbs, sticky goo, and toasted pumpkin seeds?......Sorry stewardesses. At least this trip didn't involve any explosive poops.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I have lots to say about our vacation, and more pictures than I know what to do with, but I'm so exhausted right now I'm not completely sure if I'm typing this update in my twitter account, facebook status or the actual blog. I hope it's the blog, because it would make a much too lengthy - TMI - status update.

More to come after I've had some sleep.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Camera

My birthday was two weeks ago, and since I think I've learned as much as the little 3 mega pixel camera in my iphone can teach me, I asked Helmut to get me a real camera as my birthday gift. He did as promised and allowed me to have my pick. The first one I got was a Fuji 10 mega pixel point and click digital camera. The pictures were just okay, but not much of an improvement from my iphone, so last night amidst much kicking and screaming (Hayden AND Mariah), lots of shredded paper (Mariah), and an iphone game distraction (Hayden), we managed to pick out a Nikon DX 3000. We did not do research, and we had LOTS of distractions so we're both really hoping this camera lives up to the price tag. It was 550$ at Best Buy, so it was the cheapest of all the much more professional looking cameras. This morning I took the kids to the park to try it out and have to say I'm liking it. Of course I have no more experience than a person whose taken 1,200 pictures with an iphone, so i really feel like a poser.....or the paparazzi. It reminds me of Julia Roberts cell phone in My Best Friends Wedding. The following are my three favorite pictures before the battery died....which was about 15 minutes and 15 photos. Next time I should probably try charging it first.

I should also probably properly clean my child's face before our next photo shoot. *guffaw*

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Conversations with a Three Year Old: Spanish

Helmut: "Hayden, dejame ponerte la playera."

Hayden: "No No, don't talk to me in backwards."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Entertainer

Is it too early to start teaching her to play? I think not.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

For Christmas this year Helmut and I decided to buy a joint gift for each other and the family. Since we don't have cable or TV, but we do have the fastest internet that money can buy (thanks to Helmut being a web geek) we got ourselves a small black plastic box that plays Netflix, Blu ray discs, and a bunch of other stuff that you shouldn't ask me about (because I don't know).

This allows us to watch Netflix directly from the web on streaming video.....or a bunch of other such words that I don't really understand. Netflix and I have a rather informal relationship. Since we've had the streaming video option, we've become rather intimately acquainted. It knows my likes, and dislikes. It frequently suggests I watch videos implying that I will absolutely adore them.....all based on it's rating system of course. I've rated about 100 videos from best to worst and now they've got my number.

A week ago I was on Netflix looking for some new videos to add to my list when i noticed this series from BBC that it insisted I had to watch. Normally I don't bother with TV shows, but since it was so positive I would love the tune of 5 whopping stars, i decided to give it a try. Yesterday's post was inspired by this past week of activity following the submergence into this new show.....So you must be wondering what it's about, let me sum it up for you:

Beautiful Scottish countryside
A Castle
Secret Passageways
Scottish Accents
Amusing characters
LOADS of Charm

Okay, I'm a grandma, but whatever, I can't stop watching. I'm so addicted I can barely peel myself away do anything. Lucky for me there are only 5 seasons.

It's called "Monarch of the Glen."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

10 Clues that You've Been Watching Too Much TV

1. You're on a first name basis with more cartoon characters than your kids are.

2. You find yourself utilizing the cracks in the couch as temporary trash receptacles.

3. Roughly 75% of your meals are eaten on the sofa in spite of the fact that the kitchen table is in the same room and located only 5 feet further from the TV.

4. Dinner conversation revolves around the latest reality tv show....and facebook.

5. a.You find yourself singing the theme song to: Dora, Thomas and Friends, Sesame Street and Curious George while cleaning.
b. you find yourself singing harmonies to the songs while they're playing.
c. you rewrite the lyrics for fun.

6. You relate life lessons to your child with frequent references to cartoon characters.

7. Going the get the mail is a huge ordeal and/or the biggest outing of the day.

8. Nothing EVER gets done.

9. You gain 20lbs without realizing it.

10. You're more concerned with Conan O'brien's carrier options than your own.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Workout Plan and Incidental Extras

Last week I went to the gym twice to attend some yoga classes for my back....and that's where my plan for self induced physical therapy met a road block. Both children and myself came down with colds after the second attendance and ended up staying home sick all of the second week.

Our sicknesses hit a peak a couple of days ago, when during the night Mariah woke up and cried and thrashed for two hours, I ran a low grade fever, and Hayden spent the night coughing and waking repeatedly. The next afternoon (which i think was yesterday.....but i've lost all track of time) my vitamins for the kids came in the mail and after 1 day on them we're all feeling much better, but not before yesterday's mishap.

When I was a little kid....aged 6, I witnessed a school mate having a nose bleed. I remember vividly freaking out quietly inside my head (because i was really shy) and thinking his brain was bleeding out his nose. Years later after being married to my wonderful husband for about 4 years, i found out that he too is afflicted by the infrequent nose bleed. VERY infrequent apparently because in our then 9 years of acquaintance and marriage i had never before witnessed one....which brings me to yesterday:

We had been hanging around the house, playing inside, watching cartoons and generally taking it easy when i decided everyone looked well enough for a walk to the mailbox. I asked Hayden if he wanted to ride his bike, to which he promptly said "YES." I then proceeded to use the restroom, change out of my pj's and fix my rat's nest (ugh, i mean hair) while he followed me around whining repeatedly that he wanted to "ride his bike." I was trying to keep my mouth shut and not explode from all the whining, so i didn't say anything. Instead I kept getting dressed. The next thing i knew he was standing in front of me with blood pouring out of his nose. I sat him on the sink and tried not to let my utter horror, worry and panic show on my face as i tried to hold a towel to his nose. He responded the way any strong willed 3 year old boy would: by screaming really loudly and thrashing about. I tried to get him to put his head back....because isn't that what you're supposed to do?! But he refused, kept screaming and the blood kept pouring out like Niagara falls. So i did what i thought would be best and made him lay down on the counter. That made everything 1000% worse, because now not only was he screaming and thrashing, but the blood was going down his throat and choking him and he was coughing it out of his mouth. Right about then i wanted to faint into a dead sleep and not wake up until the issue had resolved itself, but realizing that if I did Mariah would have time to consume that entire deodorant that she was munching on while we were having our little wrestling match i decided not too. Instead I finally got some sense in my head, pulled Hayden into my lap and sat on the counter hugging him, holding a towel to his nose, and explaining amidst the crying that "this is okay and it happens to daddy when he's sick too."

I'm not going to lie, seeing that much blood come out of my son was terrifying. He's a rough boy and is constantly covered in scratches, cuts and bruises from playing, but this was decidedly different. I now realize that I had better do a little research on nose bleeds so that next time it happens I won't feel so panicked. Kids can sense that stuff no matter how little of it shows up on our least mine can. Which brings me to:

Life Lesson #14 (approx.): Research hereditary illness before it shows up in your kids, so when it does make an appearance you'll know how to deal with it appropriately and without fear.....or at least panic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blogging for Posterity

Usually when I see adds on the sides of website pages I ignore them. In fact, most of the time I have blocked them out so efficiently that i don't even notice that they're there. This also affects my ability to notice normal human the one hanging over the toilet that says: "out of order," but today i noticed a small advertisement on the side of my blog that completely sucked me in.

A website that prints your entire blog in book form. WOW. NOW I CAN HAND MY BLOG DOWN TO MY KIDS AND GRAND KIDS. Generations of Granda's can see the goofy stuff I've written. YAY. Okay, I know I'm getting a little carried away, but i was hoping something like this would come along so i could keep a copy of my ramblings for Hayden and Mariah to read someday when they have trouble with their kids, because by that point i will have completely lost my mind and be of no help to them anymore. You will find me standing in the corner trying to muffle my laughter while their kids hurl themselves on the floor and throw tantrums, run away, fling food on the walls, scream, wipe cake all over their faces, step in poopy diapers, scream some more, and bring a level of chaos to life that they never thought possible. <---------all this from a woman who loves kids and tells every married couple they should have a should have a baby, seriously it'll change your life for the better.

Here is the website that I found :

If you know of a better website leave a comment and tell me about it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tiny Texan

Texan, born and bred (kinda).

Thanks Aunt Becky for the cool new cowboy boots.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Hayden and Mariah's favorite outdoor companion, "Fake" Jack.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Gym

After I had Mariah I developed a bulging disc in my lower back which caused me 3 months of unbearable agony and then another 3 months of less dramatic pain before finally healing. Since then I've re injured it 3 time fairly recently where it took a week to re heal. After much google supplied research and a few conversations with friends I decided that the best way to fix this issue and only way to really prevent it from happening again was to start doing yoga and Pilate's a couple of times a week. So far everything I've found suggests that as the only possible non surgical solution, and as I am VERY anti back surgery (it comes with extremely bad odds, very bad reviews and heck, I'm a total hippie when it comes to medicating, surgery, etc.) I'm going with it.

Today was Day 1 of my new stretched out lifestyle. I pushed myself hard to get the kids ready and out of the house by 10am and down to the YMCA. I dropped off Mariah who screamed and cried huge crocodile tears and ushered Hayden into his class where he nervously joined the other kids playing with trains, and took my very very guilty self off for a few hours of therapeutic yoga.

I'm aware that since my kids aren't used to being babysat very much they are often tentative, semi-unhappy and sometimes scream for a few minutes in the beginning when we leave them with strangers. With that in mind this morning I packed a half-full carton of raisins and a sippy cup for Mariah to be used by the staff as a consolation bribe, should the crying exceed 2 or 3 minutes.

I came back from Yoga 90 minutes later to find Mariah playing with the empty raisin container. I picked her up and started putting on her jacket, politely asking the girl behind the counter how she had done. The words she spoke struck a certain amount of horror into my being:

"The raisins really helped with the crying, she ate like the whole thing."
(lets say 6-8 adult servings)

Holy frijoles woman are you kidding me?! You fed her the WHOLE THING?! Do you have any idea what happens when you feed babies raisins??????? My gosh I though a small handful would suffice. That's what I should have said, instead what came out was freaked out eyes, an awkward smile and a nice "thank you."

Three hours and one nap time later Hayden and I were the unhappy witnesses of a pooped up bed, pants, shirt, and a diaper full of whole undigested raisins. It didn't end there either. A few hours later....more raisins.

I haven't been a fan of eating raisins since I was a little kid, but now I am even less so. In fact, I'm fairly certain it will be years if not decades before i put another raisin in my mouth. When leaving a snack for you child with a caregiver, give implicit directions on how they are to administer it. Lesson Learned.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cats Welcome

Cat Village

Finally a good usage for all those unused moving boxes.

Last year we decided we had outgrown out little house and started looking for something bigger. We packed up all our extra stuff and put it in the garage, then put our house on the market. LOTS AND LOTS of drama later, we took our house off the market and decided to wait for a while. We have yet to re list it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dream Crusher

You might be wondering what happened with my sewing projects or more specifically the baby boots. For a while there I was a sewing maniac. I had morphed the original boot pattern into something wonderful that i think people might actually buy instead of scoff at, and then i began looking for a more durable type of fleece.....and that's where i ended. Not because a more durable type of fleece is impossible to come by, but because according to the CPSIA JKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ regulations, fleece is banned. Only materials that are natural (cotton, wool, etc) are allowed to be used without being tested. So if you know anyone who would be willing to put wool boots on their babies, send me an email.


I should probably clarify something from the last post. My vanity is very small......meaning I really only have a small amount of readers and I get depressed if even 1 person is missing for the day....okay, maybe not "depressed" but i shuffle around looking at the ground for a while wondering why i have to write such a silly blog.

So before you start getting blog envy and boycotting my blog thinking i have thousands of readers, you should know my entire happiness depends on each of you coming and reading pressure.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Spying on Your Readers 101

Hello Internet. I've missed you old friend. I know it's been a while. Lets just say I wanted to take a holiday vacation, but I'm back now so let's get right down to it:

Instead of writing about something you all probably want to hear about, like what it's like taking a 3 year old and a 1 year old on an 8-10 hour drive to Mexico and back, or how we brought in the New Year amidst very questionable machine gun fire, or how many tacos i was able to consume in 6 days, I'm going to write about something off the wall. Something I noticed happening with increasing rapidity while i was gone: How many woman got duped by the target brand pregnancy test during Christmas.

If you blog and have any vanity at all you probably have some sort of analytics program set up. I'd like to say I'm "above" this, but sadly its not true. I revel in the amounts of readers I get, and feel like a rejected loser when nobody comes around. For those of you unfamiliar with what an analytics program does, it tells you how many people came and read your blog, where they came from, and if they does not give names and addresses so you can stop sweating. Three reasons I have this program:

1. My vanity
2. My vanity
3. So i can make sure my blog and pictures don't get used in a profane way somewhere on the Internet.

It's for this reason that I noticed a sudden rise in popularity over the holidays. Suddenly without trying i became an overnight Internet sensation....okay, not really. It turns out the holidays are a good time to take a pregnancy test.....and also a good time to freak out about it. For once it wasn't me doing the freaking out.

I realized today that Mariah is now older than Hayden was when I got pregnant the second time....I should also tell you that I held a very adorable 3 day old baby last week.....I looked dreamily into her sweet little face and thought "I can definitely do this again...." while Hayden and Mariah smashed her little toys and screamed in the background.