Friday, March 31, 2006

Doesn't this make you hungry?

For a burrito, that is. Usually Olivia and Noah like to run around naked before and after their bath, but on really chilly nights they must be wrapped up. Do you like Noah wrapped up in the Hello Kitty towel? More blackmail material!

I think the name of our favorite burrito place applies here, Mundo Burrito. Whenever we get burritos from there, Olivia says, "this burrito is as big as my head!"

Veg Out Week

Sorry I haven't blogged at all this week. It's been a dreary, lazy week. Grandma L left on monday and Grandma R is coming sunday. It's rained more days this month than it has in March in over 100 years. We're in the dumps!

We've been keeping a little busy with our standard routine: school, playgroup, and bible study, but other than that it's looked a lot like this around here...

Well, actually Noah rarely looks like this, he doesn't slow down much when mommy is not holding him, but I think Olivia could sit like that in front of the TV as long as I would let her. Thank goodness for pre-school.

I figure a little down time for Noah and Olivia to snuggle up in front the tube together never hurt anyone though, right?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Why my blog, and I, have been so neglected

For the past 5 days Grandma L has been staying with us for a visit from Georgia. For the past 5 days Olivia has been attached to her and the phrase, "Grandma, play with me," has been uttered thousands of times.

Of course, I am not complaining. We got the car serviced, which meant I took Travis to work in the morning and picked him up in the evening, visited a pre-school for Olivia for next year, got grocery shopping done, and I brought a meal to my friend who just had a baby. And that was all on friday.

That is why I haven't had as much to blog about recently, I feel like I haven't seen Olivia in 5 days! I'm all but forgotten in her 4-year-old world. Apparently, in that world grandmas are better than rock stars. I ran into her once in the hallway waiting outside the bathroom while Grandma L was taking a shower and she said to me, "I wonder how long it will take grandma." As soon as she heard the water turn off she started knocking on the door.

Once Olivia stubbed her toe and I held out my arms to comfort her. She took one look at me and ran right to grandma for comfort.

Tonight she was in tears at the though of grandma leaving tomorrow. She said through the tears, "will we have time to play tomorrow before grandma gets on the airplane?"

What is so special about grandma play? I don't know, but at least I'm still number one in my little mama's boy's eyes for a few more years. Until Noah realizes how cool it is when grandpa starts visiting, I guess.

I'm predicting this week is going to be a long one as Olivia adjusts to not having a permanent playmate. I'm going to try to entertain her as much as I can and neglect chores. Fortunately, the other grandma is coming to visit in less than a week!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

March is pick-up month is Santa Clara, CA. This month, everyone who lives in my town gets a day in which they can leave just about anything on the curb with very little limitations and the city will take it to the dump for you.

This is the first place I've lived where this has occured, and it is very amusing for me to see the huge piles of junks on the streets around town. There is even a term for people who go around and salvage stuff from other people's piles, "dumpster diving." There is actually a regulation against dumpster diving around here; however, I did notice a lot more traffic on my street this week. And I live on the end of a cul-de-sac.

Tomorrow is our day for pick-up, so I took a few pictures to share of what my street looks like today. Click on the pictures of see larger versions of the junk piles.

The first picture is our pile with our next two neighbors' piles next to ours. We got into the spirit of things by throwing in a coffee maker, a honey-suckle bush, some agapantha bushes, concrete chunks, and some old rain spouts.

This next picture is a little farther up the street. You can see one large pile in the foreground and another in the background.

But I think the pile of our neighbor across the street takes the cake. There is actually a few large sofas on top of the pile!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Like Father, Like Son?

Noah was showing off his musical ability today with a 2 litre bottle and a plastic hammer. He looks just like his daddy when performing, doesn't he?

But let's not forget Olivia. Even though everyone says she is the spittin' image of me, she's got a bit of her daddy in her too.

But personally, I think both of them have more stage presence than their father.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A real tear-jerker

Who would have thought I would have had to investigate something associated with Sesame Street before letting Olivia watch it? I wish I would have because Olivia cried through the entire movie. I'm glad it was from the library and not something we bought.

I tried to turn it off when the villain stole Elmo's blanket and cruelly taunted him, but Olivia would have nothing of it. I thought maybe she would feel better after the happy ending, so I left it on. But before he got it back, he was kidnapped by Vanessa William's minions which upset her even further.

When it was almost over she finally opened her mouth to say through her tears, "no one wants to be friends with mean people." So I guess she learned some kind of valuable lesson, but I think the method was a bit too harsh.

I've learned my lesson, you gotta be careful about EVERYTHING you expose your kids to!

Watch Out Martha

Not exactly Martha Steward quality, but here are the curtains I made out of a decorative shower curtain for $9. It's something over the windows and it's cheap, the two things I was going for.

In the vein of waste-not-want-not, I used the leftover fabric to make a matching pillowcase. Here is Olivia trying it out, although it's for Noah's room.

It's not fancy, but it's done! Now on to taxes...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It's alive!

It's official, Travis has a green thumb!

Isn't it beautiful? Two week to the day since Travis seeded grass it's sprouting! I know it doesn't look like much in the picture, but after two weeks of staring at dirt, it's a lovely sight to us. I guess enduring rain every single day paid off.

And here are the cucumber sprouts from the seeds Travis and Olivia planted last weekend. When they are big enough and it's warm enough out he will transfer them to our garden. Oh yeah, and after he makes us a garden! :-)

My sleepy boys

(Click on picture for larger version.)

Noah peed all over himself, his jammies, and his bed last night. (Ok, and me too.) So I got us all cleaned up and brought him to our bed. I got up this morning to put the butter out to soften for our saturday homemade buttermilk biscuits and couldn't resist this picture opportunity of my two boys sleeping together in bed. Isn't the light perfect? Aren't my two gorgeous men even more perfect? It's not often that daddy is still in bed when I get up for the day!

Poor Olivia got to spend some time in our bed too last night. I came to bed after getting Noah asleep once and found her there. Later when I had to bring Noah to bed I asked daddy to take Olivia back to her bed and he said, "oh, Olivia is here?" Heavy sleeper!

Not a whole lot of sleep is going on these days, not as much as one would like anyway, but I have a feeling we will never regret it.

Now I understand

Travis had this Dilbert cartoon pulled up on the computer this morning. Fitting, so fitting. Now I know why he goes to work every day.

Friday, March 17, 2006

So, what is compact?

Today I went shopping at Smart & Final and had Noah with me so I was looking for the closest spot I could find. The closest spot was in the Compact spaces and was quite tight, but I didn't want to have to carry him far. I remember noticing and having an inner chuckle that I was parking between a pick-up truck and a mini-van. I would think that I was probably the only one of the 3 that actually qualified for the Compact spot in my Camry, wouldn't you?

Upon my return to my car I found this note on my windshield...

In case you can't read it, it says, "Thanks ALOT Try Not to Block some one else from getting into Their Car." Not only a mix of upper and lower case, but block lettering and cursive too.

Ok, I was over the line a bit, but would you have the audacity to park an over-sized car in a Compact spot and then leave a mean note to someone parking next to you in an actual compact car? Geez.

I had a good shopping experience anyway. I used a $5 off coupon for a purchase more than $25 at Smart & Final. They had our favorite salsa for Buy One Get One Free, so I stocked up on that, a huge tub of Breyer's Ice Cream, strawberries, buttermilk, butter, and it came to just over $25. Cha-ching.

How we stay cozy on rainy days

I loaned my favorite Cat in the Hat slippers to Noah.

I think I need to learn Steph's trick about Photoshoping out runny noses!

Olivia's imagination

I came in Olivia's room and she had her horses drinking water in the barn. This is probably typical play for a 4-year-old girl, but is her description? She told me, "the mommy and the daddy horses aren't letting the baby horse drink water because it is spicy."

I exclaimed, "Spicy water?!" Olivia explained, "yep, it's pizza water." To which I inquired further, "oh, the baby horse doesn't like pizza water?" Olivia thought a second before telling me, "she likes CHEESE pizza."

Ok, it all makes sense now. (And yes, we have to work on our animals because I realize one of the horses is actually a cow.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Again, I have no idea when St. Patrick's Day actually is. It must be close though; because Olivia is coming home with pots of gold crafts, rainbow crafts, clover crafts, you get the idea. She even came home with this leprechaun hat and beard. I thought it was hilarious.

I am just so happy with Olivia's pre-school experience. She loves it and does so much more than I could ever have the energy to plan and do with her. It's just the littlest, simplest things. Crafts, songs, stories, playing, the list goes on and on. It's amazing what a 4-year-old has the energy to do in just 9 hours a week!

Who needs a toddler chair?

Apparently this was a good place to sit and leisurely eat the remainder of our apple fritter from Starbucks.

I got the camera to take a picture because he was originally standing on the open dishwasher door, not just sitting, but they turned out pretty cute anyway. The top of the dishwasher was one last surface Noah could not reach. I guess now I have to be careful not to leave anything on top when I'm loading or unloading, because obviously he can reach the top using the open door as a ladder. As a matter of fact, that is where he retrived the fritter from and why he was climbing up there to begin with!

BTW, I feel like I'm always picturing my kids in dangerous situations. I don't think there were too many knives or anything in there...

Arbor Day

I don't know when Arbor Day actually is, but we had quite the arborous weekend around here.

First, we picked up two trees from a friend of ours that didn't want them. Two trees sprang up in her planter with the iris in it. (We have to return the iris to her after removing and planting the trees.) It's beyond me where, but she told Travis which of these is the ash tree and which is the mimosa tree. There are two very unlovely views of telephone poles from our house I've been dying to hide, and I think these will do just the trick! And the price was right. Free.

Then we bought a plum tree at 50% off at OSH. Total impulse purchase, but at $11.50, if it yields a few plums it will pay for itself. It doesn't look like much, but it has 3 different kind of plum tree branches grafted into it to increase the chance of production. Yum!

AND we noticed our peach trees are blossoming! It must have happened last year before we moved in, because it was a pleasant surprise we don't remember seeing last year. I never did get around to spraying them for peach leaf curl this winter, but hopefully we'll still get some peaches this year. And this year I know how to skin and freeze them.

Our house doesn't look like much, but someone who lived here before was smart, we have fresh produce all year long. Avocados in winter, loquats in spring, peaches in summer, and figs in fall! And Travis is already planning our garden for this summer.

Here are the kids enjoying last year's peaches.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Olivia, flattery will get you EVERYWHERE

We were at church Sunday and Olivia and I ran into some ladies that we haven't seen in quite a long time. They were commenting, "This is Olivia? Isn't she so big/pretty/mature..."

Olivia, wanted to be part of the conversation, of course. She started patting my leg and saying, "And this is my mommy. Isn't she beautiful?"


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Olivia's Theme Song

Olivia's new favorite movie lately is Charlotte's Web that she received from her uncle and his girlfriend for Christmas. It contains a song that fits her perfectly. Here are some of the lyrics:

Isn't it great
That I articulate?
Isn't it grand
That you can understand?

I pop with perspicacity
I'm loaded with loquacity
My vocalized veracity is tops
Semantically each bit of me's
The verbalized epitome
My plethory of patter never stops!

It's wonderous and mystical
I'm hardly egotistical
Because of this linguistical aplomb
But speaking quite pragmatically
My self-esteem emphatically
Dramatically improved since I was dumb!

I can talk!
I can talk talk talk
I can talk!

You can probably guess the name of the song, and man, she sure can!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Ugliest Cake in the World

aka What Happens When an Engineer Bakes

This is what happened. I was making a Chocolate Mocha Cake with Coffee Icing for a potluck tomorrow. It called for two 9 inch round pans. I do not have 9 inch round pans. What I do have is a 9x13 inch pan. I did a few calculations and found that the area was close enough that I decided it would bake well.

(Included for the geeks at heart. Using pi*r^2 I found that one 9 inch pan has an area of 63.55 inches squared. Two of them yield 127.17 inches squared. Nine times 13 is 117 inches squared, close enough, right?)

I decided I would make the 9x13 inch cake a layer cake by cutting it in half and frost two 9x6.5 inch layers. Pretty good idea, huh? Um, no.

When Travis asked me what went wrong with my calculations, I told him that the problem was obviously in the cutting. You do not have to cut a 9 inch round cake. Apparently after cutting, the cake tends to crumble when attempting to frost it. Ooops.

What do I do now? Here is my proposed solution. First I'm going to melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzle the cake with chocolate. Maybe that will hide the appearance a bit. Ok, not so much hide, more camouflage. Then, when I get to the potluck, I will right away cut it in pieces and put it on plates ready to serve and no one will have to see it's current condition.

And listen what went into this cake. I splurged on the Organic Cocoa Powder for $5, from Trader Joes. Instant Coffee, from Trader Joes. Buttermilk, from Trader Joes. Organic powdered sugar, from Trader Joes. The flour, sugar, and all that was normal grocery store stuff, but there's a lot of good stuff in that cake. And to top it all off (literally,) Travis brought home some leftover Starbucks coffee from work today that I used for the frosting.

Believe me, this cake is good, I had a mountain-top experience tasting it. And then I go and make it look like that. What is wrong with me? I should have just left it in the 9x13 inch pan, threw the frosting on, and take it that way. So frustrating.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Olivia (and my) broken heart

Several weeks ago my family attended a potluck for our dear friends who are moving to Fresno. Their son, Caleb, is exactly Olivia's age. In fact, his mom and I met and became friends when we were both pregnant with our first child, and our due dates were one day apart. I ended up going into labor 10 days early, while she had to be induced after going past her due date. So it ended up Olivia is nearly two weeks older than Caleb. Needless to say, they've been friends since birth.

We had a nice time at the potluck and were getting ready to leave. I thought it would be nice if Olivia wished her friend well before we left. I asked her if she wanted to tell Caleb goodbye and that she'll miss him and thank him for being her friend. She walked right up to him, burst into tears, and repeated exactly what I said.

I was feeling horrible at this point for prompting her to say this and I and his mom asked her what was wrong. Through the tears and crying (and with no prompting from me this time) she said to him, "I just love you so much," and threw her arms around his neck. I had no idea she had such intense and sincere emotion towards her friend. But I shouldn't have been surprised since it was exactly what I was feeling about my dear friend moving away from me as well.

And here is the kicker. Our other close friends are moving to Idaho and their going away potluck is on saturday. I have no idea how I am going to break it to Olivia after last time, and how either of us is going to bear it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Spiced Raisin Apple Chicken

Inspired by Sunita. I can cook with curry too, kinda...

Here's the recipe. I highly recommend it. It would have looked a little more appealing had I used the golden raisins the recipe called for, but all I had was the black ones and in the picture they look more like black beans. Travis and I think it is good though; however, Olivia and Noah opted for hotdogs.

Hummus Will Do

I was getting dinner ready and had put some homemade hummus and pita on the table for us to snack on while waiting. When I turned around there were two of Olivia's little paint brushes in the bowl with the bristles covered in hummus. I normaly would be fairly sure which child had this bright idea, but today I was even more certain as Olivia had skinned her knees as school and refused to move from the couch ever since.

I just imagine Noah thinking, "Mommy, that's what you get for not letting me paint with Olivia." I'm glad I found it when I did, can you imagine the mural he could have made with that? And where?

Camera Update

We discovered that if the camera is fully charged it will work for a minute or two. Since we are engineers and all we figured it must be a battery issue and replacing it might solve the problem. That is on my to-do list. In the meantime, it dawned on me that maybe it would work while plugged in. Another duh moment. I tested my theory today, but alas, it still only worked for a minute or two before shutting itself off. So, maybe a new camera is in our future yet.

My dad even mentioned that they never use theirs. Hint hint...

The the point is that I will be able to provide occasional new pictures while we work on the situation if everything continues the same. Yipee!

Olivia's Noah-Free Zone

Now that Noah can climb just about everywhere, the kitchen table, Olivia's bed, our bed, Olivia doesn't have a place to do her stuff without a toddler messing it up. Usually they play quite well, but Noah is not quite as good with paint, markers, and scissor as Olivia is. Olivia also has a bazillion and one toys with microscopic parts she like to lay out in very precise ways, and Noah is more interested in eating them.

So, Olivia has been going in her room more and more and shutting her door to keep Noah out. This is ok with me occasionally, but it is a problem the more it happens because she does have the largest room in the house and 90% of the toys live in there. It's not really fair to Noah to not only be deprived of his sister to play with, but also of all the noisiest toys in the house!

This morning I got creative and decided to make one area of her room just for her. I moved her dresser, and utilizing it, and her bed, and a baby gate, we created her own little getaway from Noah! Her desk in is there so she can create to her heart's desire. Right away she started playing with cards, laying them all out in nice, neat rows, and there was no 1-year-old to come mess them up! A parenting success, if I say so myself. Olivia can play with her big girl toys by herself while Noah and I still have access to the rest of the room.

The only problem was how she was going to get in and out, if that would necessitate mommy every time. What if she was playing in there and wanted to get out and I was in the middle of nursing Noah to sleep?

Olivia solved that problem very quickly on her own. She climbed right in and out through the hole above the head of her bed! I can't wait until Noah witnesses that for the first time and tries to duplicate it on his own. Hopefully this arrangement will last a little while before that happens.

You found the mousepad where?

In the kitchen sink, of course. Our computer and out kitchen sink are at opposite ends of the house. Given, our house is small, but that was still quite a trip it made. The best I can figure out is that Noah observed Olivia take her plate to the kitchen sink after dinner. Then, when he found the mousepad he logically assumed that the kitchen sink was a good place for all flat, round objects.

He's becoming quite the mimic, which is good when he's helping me take clean silverware out of the dishwasher and handing it to me, not good when he is doing it to the dirty silverware before I run it!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Some thoughts on love...

I was just reading a great devotional about love and was reflecting on how much my feelings and views of the subject has changed in my life. Here is an excerpt from it:

"Although love can create intense feelings, love is not a feeling. It is a choice, an action, a way of behaving, a commitment. Love is sacrificing for others."

The theme of the devotional was that life is about learning to love. Now, you know that my feelings on the topic are influenced greatly by my faith, but I think that is a great purpose in life no matter if you share that faith or not. I can't think of a more rewarding mission in life than to understand and experience love!

Sunday, March 05, 2006


A large part of our backyard is covered in concrete. Much more concrete than we'd ever wish to have. Yes, we know we bought a fixer-upper. We are getting rid of it slowly but surely. We just completed getting rid of the first big chunk of it, from jackhammering and removing the concrete, to brining in dirt, to seeding grass and composting. And thanks to the rain we're getting lots of free watering. Grow grass, grow. Here are some pictures from along the way.

The before picture:

The first half of the concrete removed, 3 hours of back-breaking work for Travis and the 80 lb jackhammer:

The second half done: (Please excuse the lower half of my body in the picture, it was the best picture to see all the concrete gone. Also, I had to document that I actually helped. Travis was so exhausted after the jackhammering that I agreed to shovel up and wheelburrow away the remainder of the concrete chunks.)

Wow, look at all that concrete gone in only 6 hours! Just a little bit of trim to finish up, right? Wrong! Turns out those corner pieces are extremely deep and it's another day of several hours with the jackhammer for Travis.

Also note that we removed the row of agapantha as well. We figured we might as well while we were working there, no problem, right? Wrong again. These plants have the most intensive, evasive root structure I've ever seen in my life. We were singing "Little Shop of Horrors" as we tried to remove all the roots.

But NOW it's finally all gone:

Next step, receive 5 cubic yards of dirt to your driveway.

At this point I decided I would help out again since the shoveling concret went so well last time. I sent Travis on to Home Depot with the kids while I started transferring the dirt to the backyard for him. By the time they were back I thought my arms were going to fall off and I had hardly made a dent in the pile. Travis polished it off in no short order. Turns out he can fill the wheelburrow much fuller than me and actually push it, and shovel much larger shovelfuls. Ah well, I tried.

The dirt transferal and leveling was a full weekend job. Then only the seed and compost was left to do, and of course a protective barrier from the kids. And it's done!

Now we just wait 2 to 6 weeks for the grass to germinate. Travis pointed out that everything grows in CA, maybe it will lean towards the 2 week side. I hope so, 6 weeks of suspence will kill me. Grass better grow there after all this. Did I mention that the very first jackhammering started in July?

Some more various pictures...

The infamous jackhammer. It belongs to our realator who is letting us use it for free, which is one of the reason we are doing this ourselves. After nearly a year, I wonder if he still remembers we have it. (If you look closely you can see one of those deep corner pieces under the jackhammer.)

As this all progressed Travis decided to "fix" a few other things in our yard while he was at it. Firstly, in one spot right in the middle of the grass there was what appeared to me as a bit of concrete someone dropped there and let dry. When Travis tried to shovel it up he found it to be rathar deep and required the jackhammer to get it out, which extended 2 or 3 feet under the ground! Luckily he had some extra dirt and filled it right in sans concrete. He assured me grass is versatile and will soon grow right back. At least dirt is less of a hazard to the kids than random concrete potholes in the yard.

In another area in the yard there was a small dip right before the concrete (that is still there) begins. Already one of Olivia's friends from our playgroup triped and blooded her toe on it. Travis decided he would dig up the grass in squares, fill it with dirt, and replace the grass squares. Thank you This Old House for the idea. It actually went much better than I expected, until it rained that night and it all settled right back to where it started. Ok, maybe it's a little less than a dip, but a dip nonetheless. Lesson learned, account for settling. And we're definately testing the grass-is-versatile theory. Look closely and you can see the squares Travis dug up.

Next on the agenda... There is always more concrete to remove: (One of our favorite passtimes is studying the sections of concrete. Such conversations can be overheard as "Well, if we remove this piece, we might as remove this one," and "I bet this random piece in the middle used to be a planter and when the plant died they just covered it in concrete.")

And this nasty, old shed has got to go. Why someone would put a HUGE metal shed right in the middle of a backyard is beyond me. And there is electricity running to it, making it even more fun to remove. We're aiming for next year.

My musical family

I spent this morning traveling around the bay area for my family's various musical appearances. Well, only two of them, but I'm pretty proud of them!

First, it was up to Los Altos First Baptist Church for Olivia to sing with her pre-school class for the church at 9:30. They sang Jesus' Love is Sweet and Wonderful, including hand motions, twice. Then for the grand finale, they sang If You're Happy and You Know It... in FRENCH! Olivia did great!

Right afterwards I picked her up to head back to our home church, Valley Church in Cupertino, to catch Travis playing guitar with the worship band at 10:45 for the first time in a long time. They didn't let him rock out like they used to at the evening service, but it was still great since they did some of my favorite songs, Child of God, How Great is Out God, among others.

Sundays are so rejuvinating, being able to refocus on our maker and His purpose for our lives, and getting the added privilege of seeing my family reflect His glory is a wonderful honor for me!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Puppet Theatre of the Macabre

Last June Olivia was playing with her Potato Heads on the couch. I walk by and was a bit taken aback by the fact that there is a twisty straw emerging from the eye hole of one potato head and entering into the eye hole of another. I ask her what she is playing and she says it is a puppet show. A puppet show like I've never seen, that's for sure.

Ode to Caffeine and Chocolate

(Disclaimer: In case you haven't guessed, this post isn't really about the kids at all... )

This post was inspired by my two friends, Sara who is giving up caffeine for Lent and Shawnie who is giving up chocolate for Lent. I don't know how they do it.

Let me start by telling you about my week, or more accurately about Travis' evening commitments this week. Due to 3 different band practices, I have kid duty tuesday, wednesday, and friday from sun-up to sun-down. (Well, kinda. Tonight I let them stay up as late to see daddy when he got home, at 10pm!)

The last paragraph was not meant as a complaint at all. I love that Travis can use his musical talent to make a lot of noise, I mean, for ministry. I just wanted to illistrate why I depend so desperately on two particular substances, caffeine and chocolate.

My long day started when Noah got up before 7am, and was proud I had both kids up and ready before 8 to head to bible study at 9. Not an easy task for us night owls. Usually thursday mornings I get to sit and relax a bit (with my cup of coffee) while discussing the lesson with my girls. But not today. Today I had agreed to work nursery, which means Noah times 5. I wasn't exactly well rested by the time we left around lunchtime. And I didn't have ANY caffeine in my system yet.

Fortunately I had two Starbucks gift cards in my purse. I figured today was the day to put them to use as it was only noon and I was exhausted and had the rest of the day ahead of me with two energetic kids and no particular plans. I got a venti coffee of the day. Never was $1.75 better spent. Thanks Aunt J!

Noah fell asleep on the way home, and miracles of miracles, I got him inside asleep without having to nurse him. I don't regret moving him to a toddler bed one bit. Perfect opportunity to pour half the coffee into a mug, add sugar, and sip away the rest of the afternoon, warming periodically in the microwave.

But here is the best part, I put the other half of the coffee in the fridge for later. And about 5pm the perfect opportunity arose to use it. Noah goes down for a nap, (yep, before he's had dinner or a bath,) and I know it's going to be a late night. I fill a mug with Bryer's vanilla bean ice cream, pour the rest of the chilled coffee over it, and add a generous dab of Hershey's chocolate syrup, mush with a spoon until slushy, and I have the perfect treat to keep me going the rest of the evening. Olivia's favorite show, Dragon Tales, comes on at 5:30; and I have a lovely little rejuvinating coffee break.

Noah wakes up at about 6:30 and we don't really need to discuss the next 3.5 hours. Let's just say lots of pee on the floor (both kids) and unrolling toilet paper rolls (again, both kids) were involved. I did get dinner in them (leftover pancakes) and they got a bath. Mission accomplished. Thank you caffeine and chocolate!

Daddy makes his appearance at 10pm and we are all on our last legs. Noah waves "nigh nigh" to him and mommy gets him to bed while daddy reads Olivia a bedtime story and gets her to bed. Whew.

What do I do at this late hour? I realize I'm starving and can't go to sleep hungry. Plus, I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow too, and it would be nice to already have my caffeine/chocolate fuel ready to go. I've been craving cake batter... (Yes, I prefer to just eat the raw batter for a treat.) Unfortunately, I just ran out of cocoa powder, and when you can't have something you crave it even more. On the all-recipes hunt I go! Wait, I have cake mix, chocolate pudding mix, and instant coffee granduals. Yippee!

So, Sara and Shawnie, this is for you. My midnight blogging snack, Black Russian Cake Mix. I think I prefer the Chocolate Mocha Cake better, but you gotta do what you gotta do when you need your caffeine and chocolate. I don't know how you girls will survive the next 39 days, but I'll try to do my part and consume your share for ya. :-)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Who ya gonna call?

This was taken back in December, but I thought it deserved a re-surfacing. I turned around and Olivia, still in her pjs, had put on her green Pooh backpack and was holding a black nozzle from a sprayer that someone (Noah) had carried in from the garage. Somehow this odd mix made me immediately think of The Ghostbusters. I definitely felt more safe from super-natural phenomenon.

Aside: I know some might be wondering why my still-in-their-pjs kids are wandering around in the garage. Our laundry machine is out there, and I'm still amazed at how much laundry 4 people can go through and the time it requires me to spent out there.

Just Say No Noah

Call me an evil mom, but this picture STILL cracks me up. I seriously have to try not to laught out loud every time I look at it. Man, my kids are crazy.

Little Brag

Check out my new banner. I'm pretty impressed with myself, I added a picture of our avocado tree in the word "Guacamole." Mostly I wanted everyone to admire how I made the little branch with the baby avocado at the end look so lovely in the letter "m."

This picture was taken in July. Yep, this is what I have to do to get my digital image fix while we have no working digital camera in the house, manipulate 7 month old pictures in Photoshop. I told Travis that this little technique will come in handy when I'm making labels to put on my homemade preserves when I try to sell them next season. I don't think he was quite as excited as I was. Then I pointed out that all this productive fun I was having on the computer was 100% free, and he was a little more convinced.

I should add a tiny disclaimer that the "Fresh California" logo in the corner was a rip-off and not my creation.

My next goal is to get a little more color-coordinated like the other BIO girls who all have blogs laid out identically proportioned to mine. Thanks Allie & Angie. I couldn't have done it without ya!