Help, I need a title for it...

I finished, well- almost finished - an art project today.

I've been a potter, a ceramic artist, for thirty years. Clay is my art medium. I've done very little with brushes and paints and am in no way a painter. But I have been out of my pottery studio for almost a year now and have had a niggling need to do something besides bake and decorate cakes. So one day I bought myself some paints and started playing around with them. Around that time I read the newsletter from the gallery where I have been showing and selling my pottery for the last fifteen years. I saw that the February show is an open show with a theme (of square art) and I decided to use it as an excuse to experiment a bit. This is what I came up with in my spare time.

Samuel came into my studio tonight and I asked him for a comment on it. All he said was "I don't know what it means." 


How does he think that art should "mean" something? Mr. Dirtywrench looked at it, cocked his head and gave me that look that I knew meant I don't know what it means...

Okay. Listen. It doesn't mean anything. I am not going to scrape together some pretensions and come up with a high-fallutin' meaning for it. It is first of all a painting exercise and secondly a project that I did just for fun. It's a project that doesn't need me to labor in a cold studio with hazardous chemicals. I don't have to submit it to flames of intense heat and lose sleep over whether the results of my hard labor will be good or terrible. I get instant gratification with this project.

There is nothing original about the idea at all. This kind of thing has been done in fabric, in tile, and other media. I simply spent some time painting 12 x 9" canvas papers, I cut them into two inch squares and spent several days arranging them. The gallery might very well tell me to get that thing outta here. 

If they do let it stay in the gallery it needs some kind of a title. I need some help here. Does anyone have a good idea? I have one day to come up with something.


I grow old . . .I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

-T.S. Eliot

My "old lady" eyes
As much as it pains me to admit this, I need bi-focals.  I don't want them. I refuse to get them quite yet, even though I mostly certainly need them six months ago now. I am not going down without a fight, my friends.

This visual degeneration starts subtly enough.  Threading a needle becomes more challenging. Fine print seems even . . . finer. At restaurants, you start holding the menu just a tiny bit farther away. And then farther still, until you've nearly set it ablaze against the candle on your table. Yesterday I was shopping with my friend Becky and spotted some cute plates for kids.  I peered at the microscopic words on the back of the plate.  I held it closer to my face and then farther away.  I tilted it towards the light.  Finally, dejected, I handed it to Becky. "Can I put this thing in the microwave or not?"  She glanced at the back of the plate and then shook her (non-visually-impaired) head. "No." Damn her anyway for being nearly a decade younger than I am.

To be sure, there have been other signs that I am aging. I'll be 41 in a couple weeks.  There are the random bodily pains that show up unannounced and uninvited. I seldom get carded anymore, and then only by places that card anyone older than a fetus. I watch the news on purpose.

I may be marching unwillingly towards middle age, but let it not be said that I am a sidelines mom. I not only take my daughter to Chuck E. Cheese's, I play all the games, too (I kick ass at some of them). On Thursday I took her to an indoor water park (her dad had to work) and I rode every water slide with her. I take her to the park and swing upside down from the monkey bars. She and I are the first ones in line when a new animated movie comes out.  My mom says I'm a kid at heart. That is probably true. It's just that . . . this kid just doesn't want to admit that even though she can complete the obstacle course at the jumpity-jump place, she can't adequately read the back of a shampoo bottle.

I'll give in, I promise I will.  Just . . . not yet.

My Kitchen the Boulangerie

Whenever my daughter comes to visit everyone anticipates indulging in her hand-made crusty sourdough bread. She gets enlisted for the task of crafting it very soon after arrival.

Making artisan sourdough bread is a skill she has honed and perfected at home. She has read about and researched the science and techniques of it on her own and taught herself through the trial and error of baking countless loaves.

She makes a number of varieties of bread with the sourdough and uses it for pizza crusts and cinnamon rolls. Her brother's (and other's) favorite version is the jalepeno and pepper jack cheese loaf.

A couple years ago she conducted a sourdough bread making class here in my kitchen for me and my friends. I blogged about it here if you are interested in seeing the step by step process.

Though I learned to make it, I have not honed my skills because with all the practice it would require, I'd weigh about 400 pounds by now from eating the test loaves.

So every time Katie bakes these breadful beauties we find ourselves taking pictures of the process and the products.

Katie impresses me every time with her understanding of the science of the bread making process. You would think she learned her skill at a boulangerie in Paris instead of her own humble kitchen in Michigan. My sourdough starter had been neglected and her method of revival was to add water to the starter that had been used to soak organic raisins. This water had captured the natural yeasts found on the raisins and rejuvenated the dough sponge. Whoda thunk it?

Katie has been here only about ten days and has already baked twelve loaves of this bread. I ate about eleven of them. Not really. Only nine.

Yesterday she made a whole wheat variety and added flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds to the loaves.

I've decided my daughter is a keeper.
She's staying. I mean it.

Weekend update.

Kerri is really into the "I'm a big girl now" stage. She likes doing things by herself, sometimes with unexpected results. For example, yesterday morning, Kerri decided she was going to surprise me with breakfast. She brought me a plate with what she said was bread and butter. Except it wasn't. It was bread and sour cream. When I mentioned this to Kerri, her reply was: "I thought the butter tasted sour when I put my finger in it. I just thought the butter was rotten."

Kerri is such a big girl now, that she chooses her own clothes to wear out. She especially likes stripes. So yesterday evening, she chose a grey and red striped dress with a pair of bright yellow, green and pink striped pants. And orange and green striped socks. Her winter coat was not long enough to hide the clashing bright colors. But Kerri pranced about proudly with her bright and stripey outfit, and I have learned to ignore the stares and just smile.

While we were out, we picked up new phones. Our old cordless handsets had fallen just a few too many times in the last ten years. I knew it was time to replace them when my last conversation with Tia was spent mostly saying, "Can you hear me now?". And while we were at the best techy store, Kerri picked up a new Scooby Wii game. If Daddy and Kerri can get through the game without arguing, it will be a miracle.

So on this snowy Sunday, I am waiting for my yeast to rise. I am going to attempt to make pizza. Pookie has had his bath. Kerri and Daddy both have new toys to entertain themselves with. And all is good - if not peaceful - at our home.

Life with Kerri makes me appreciate our family time.

These are the moments.

When we decided to become parents, we knew there would be " the moments" when - for just a split second - we would wonder why we did it. You know, the first time they tell you they hate you, or want to move out, or throw a tantrum in the middle of a busy get the idea, right?

We also knew there would be "the moments" that would make every sacrifice worthwhile. You know, the first unsolicited hug or kiss, the first time they call you "Mommy" or "Daddy", the first time they tell you they love get the idea, right?

Well last night we had one of those moments. Daddy has had a very tough week at work, and was starting to feel down. Kerri surprised him last night with a book she made all by herself. It is titled, "Daddy is grate", and each page starts off with "Daddy is grate because...". (Kerri is just learning how to read and write, so we had to decipher a lot of misspelled words). On each page, Kerri listed a different reason why she thinks her Daddy is great. And each page made us smile, tugged at our heart strings, and lifted our spirits. Kerri was beaming with pride and happiness. I had no idea she was working on it, Kerri came up with the idea all on her own. Daddy was touched to his very core, and asked permission to bring his book to work. So he could look at it anytime he needed to.

These are the moments, folks. The ones that make that long adoption wait so worthwhile. The ones we dreamed of long before Kerri became our daughter. The ones that make you look at your child with pride and wonder, and happiness and love. Even if she thinks she is related to a vampire.

Life with Kerri makes every moment "grate".

Conversations with Kerri.

Kerri: "I am related to vampires."

Mommy: "How do you know?"

Kerri: (counting off on her fingers) "Well, we both like blood. And we hate the sun, especially when it is really bright in the morning when you wake me up to go to school. And we both hate garlic. And we have light skin. And I have sharp pointy teeth like a vampire does. And vampires have black hair. And I really like bats."

Mommy: "So are you telling me you like to drink blood?"

Kerri: "No, I just like to look at it. I am not a vampire, I am just related to a vampire."

Mommy: "Oh."

Kerri: "Pookie is related to vampires too. He likes to scratch us with his nails to make us bleed so he can lick it."

Mommy: "Umm, I am not sure Pookie is a vampire."

Kerri: "Just in case you should keep the garlic around."

Daddy: "Pookie is not a vampire, he is a werewoof."

Life with Kerri is batty sometimes.

Boy Stuff

Number One Grandson has been having some fun at Grandma's house too.

He didn't grow and change quite as much as his little brother did since the last time we saw them.
He's the same endlessly curious, questioning boy who loves scientific and historical play exercises.

What's really fun for Jonah is that when he comes to his Grandma's house he has playmates. Not his cousins...

....his uncles!

How many uncles and nephews get to play together as little boys?

Ten year old uncles can make pretty good baby entertainers too...

...introducing them early to the boy need for perpetual noise and motion.

kate's cravings

Goldfish, crackers, white bread, "sheetos" (cheetos), chips, and pretzels. She'll choose these over a sweet treat or a toy (sad, but true), any day.

So different from Tanner. I've never seen Tanner eat 1 goldfish. He's refused since he's been old enough to eat one. He won't eat crackers or pretzels and prefers a sweet treat.

Lately, he's been "teaching" Kate what's healthy and what's not....

"Kate, that's not healthy. Don't you want to grow big and strong?"

"Kate, you're going to get a stomach ache. You need to eat healthy food."

"Kate, you're not going to have very much energy. You need to eat healthy food like me and Elle and Mom and Dad" (he obviously doesn't see what Shad and I eat after he goes to bed)

Kate could care less about any of this. And I'm not too worried, because Tanner was the same way at that age.

Here's her recent favorite.....chips and cheese. It's a super complicated recipe.

Put tortilla chips on a plate. Sprinkle with cheese. Melt in microwave. Eat.

She learned it from her cousin Gracie. Thank you Rebecca. We really appreciate it. (can you sense my sarcasm?)

"My Strange Addiction"

Have you seen this show? It's like a train wreck - you can't look away. The program depicts everyday people who engage in offbeat behaviors like . . . eating foam couch cushions bit by bit or ingesting powdered laundry detergent (toilet paper, chalk, etc.). Some of the compulsions shown are truly horrifying (and many present some pretty serious health risks, too). The foam eater has consumed several COUCHES in her lifetime. I realize the show is meant to appeal to the sideshow watcher in all of us. Obviously it wouldn't bring in many viewers if it were called "My Mild Case of Generalized Anxiety."

Watching the show made me think about whether or not I have any addictions or compulsions. I do like Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi an awful lot. I have a pretty serious issue with Keebler Fudge Sticks. I cannot be trusted around them and therefore have not purchased a box in years (and even if I did, you wouldn't find them in my pantry because I would have eaten the vast majority in one sitting and then hidden the rest). I'm vaguely obsessed with chap stick/lip gloss/lipstick and like to have goop on my lips at all times. I've never quite broken myself of the childhood habit of jumping into my bed from across the room vs. climbing into it like a normal person.  You see, the monsters have excessively long arms and you don't want your ankles getting too close.

That's about all I can think of offhand, at least as far as quirks go.  It's not such a long list, is it? Of course, I can almost hear some of my friends adding their own observations to the list ("Claudia, how about that thing you do where you hold your breath randomly?") My husband would probably also add: my ongoing refusal to fill the ice cube trays and my habit of leaving soda cans in the refrigerator with only one sip left in each. Oh, and not putting the lid back on the vitamins properly so that when he opens the cabinet to get one, a vitamin waterfall cascades onto the floor.  However, I maintain that these are more or less acts of passive-aggressiveness and nothing more.

For some of the people on the show, I really think their issue (or perceived aberration) falls under the category of "personality quirk" and not an addiction.  For example, the ventriloquist lady is harmless at best and irritating at worst. One chick likes to dress up in a furry costume.  There is a whole segment of our population that does this; she's hardly alone.

Anyway, the "My Strange Addiction" series does serve to make me feel downright normal, I guess.  No matter how quirky I may seem, I can always fall back on, "well, sure, but it's not like I eat chalk."

Hello! I'm back. Ok, everyone had so many different views on private and public education. But, what I've realized is that I too have had a change of heart. What, you say - you who is always so firm with your decisions?! Yes, I have. Let me explain my thought to you. It's no secret (I don't think!) that I we are trying to leave the greater DC area (interpret northern Virginia - with a heavy accent on the "naawthen vaaa-gin-ya part!) so that we can be closer to the beach family. Yeah, that's right... .family.
What I have discovered in my house hunt is, not all schools are as stellar and fabulous as what we take for granted in northern Virginia. I know - shocking isn't it?!? Anyway, if we were to land in one of the three areas we are considering, private education maybe in the chicks future. ON the plus side, all the communities we are considering have a big Jewish community, and therefore have Jewish Day Schools. Yea. I'm all happy. Now on to my new obsession - Morocco!

Arugula Salad

Rebecca brought me some of this salad the other day, and 2 days later I was craving it, so I had to make it myself.

I think she got the recipe years ago as a couscous salad, but changed it up, added her own things and came up with this:

Arugula Salad

quinoa, cooked
figs (dried), chopped
goat cheese
raw walnuts, chopped

mix with:

1 part orange vinegar
1 part olive oil

spoon over arugula

It's really good. My only warning is that it might not be guy food. Shad eats EVERYTHING I make. All the crazy grain concoctions and vegan meals I sometimes provide, he eats happily. He said this one is "alright". That's Shad's way of saying he didn't like it. He wasn't loving the goat cheese.

As for me, I loved every last morsel.

Did I mention that my grandsons are in the house?

I think if you take a look into these beautiful blue eyes, there will be no need to elaborate on how much we are enjoying having this little guy around.

Why do babies have to grow as fast as a bad weed?

I have always said that you have to squeeze the babies more to slow down their growing.

I'm squeezing. I'm squeezing!

Two important lessons in one day.

Yesterday Kerri, Nana and I went on a power shopping run to the mall after school. Our first stop was at a children's store, where I bought Kerri some sweaters. Kerri wanted a head band, but I asked her to put it away. Unbeknownst to me, she hooked it onto my arm, over my coat. It blended in and I never noticed it was there.

While at the store, Kerri decided she wanted to use her money to buy a very small set of stickers - to the tune of almost 5 bucks. I did not talk her out of it, even though I thought it was ridiculous. Kerri used her own money, and Nana helped her count out her change. When the purchase was done, Kerri looked shocked. She kept looking in her bag and talked about how much the tiny stickers cost, and how little money she had left. Kerri learned a very important lesson - her first one that afternoon.

We continued shopping at a different children's store, and then realized the head band was on my arm and we had walked out of the first store without paying for it. I explained to Kerri that it could be considered stealing, even though that was never her intention. And a very concerned Kerri agreed we should go back and return it or purchase it - with an apology to the store. She sounded scared, and asked if I could do the explaining. I told her I would, as long as she apologized. The cashier was very understanding, and kept thanking us for returning it. I ended up buying it anyway, but Kerri learned another very important lesson.

So as we drove home to have dinner with Daddy, I reflected on our little shopping trip. Sure, I scored a few bargains on clothes for Kerri and had a quick outing with my two favorite girls. But what I did not expect was the valuable life lessons that Kerri learned yesterday. And that was priceless.

Life with Kerri is an opportunity to learn.

"candy bars"

About once a week, Tanner begs me to make "candy bars". That's what we've always called protein/nutrition bars around these parts.

I used to buy Cliff Z bars, for the kids. I know they're not the healthiest of things, but it's nice when we're on the go, or if I'm being really lazy.

So when I saw this recipe on The Little Red House blog, I knew I had to try it.

Here's the recipe (straight from her blog):

The Good Cookie

3/4c peanut butter
1/4c agave nectar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 can chickpeas, pureed in food processor
1 1/4 c rolled oats
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4c ground flax seed
1/8c wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2oz good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped

In a seperate bowl combine oats, flour, flax, wheat germ, baking powder and salt.

Combine pb, agave, and egg in mixer, and beat until well combined--about a minute.
Add vanilla.
Stir in chickpea puree until well mixed.
Slowly stir in dry mixture until well combined. Mixture will be thick.

Shape into a rectangle on a lined cookie sheet, about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle chocolate over the top.

Bake at 350° in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until cookie is set.

Spread out chocolate, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, and cut into bars. Let them cool completely before you eat them. Store in refrigerator to keep the chocolate nice and crisp.

*I add chia seed to mine. It kind of gives the apperance of chocolate chips in the batter. = ) And they're super healthy.
**Oh, and I ran out of chickpeas/garbanzo beans a couple of times and replaced them with cannelloni beans. Worked great. I actually like it better. HOWEVER, I ran out of both kinds of beans once and tried pinto beans. Wow. Tasted an awful lot like refried beans. I love refried beans, but not in a "candy bar". Don't try it at home.
***Also, we don't wait for them to cool before eating. Tanner likes them best warm.

They trick Shad every time he comes home and sees them on the counter. He grabs one (thinking they're yummy cookie bars), takes a bite, sort of gags, looks at the kids and says, "wow, these are great!"

Tanner loves them. And Kate likes them. So I say it's a winner.

How Do You Spell I Scream?

Continuing in the tradition of bribing the kids to do well with their schoolwork... scholars finally earned themselves another ice cream cone by getting perfect scores on their spelling tests. The only way to earn the ice cream is for every student in the school to get an error-less test. This ensures that they root for and help each other to achieve success.

Even in January our small mountain town sells ice cream.

I thought about getting myself a double scoop of ice cream doused with fudge and caramel in an effort to lose some of the weight I put on while exercising in the lap pool but I decided that would be too much effort.

This little ice cream shop has two display walls with photos of the unique class of people that enjoy black licorice ice cream....

...and the effect it has on their smiles.

I'll be happy if the ice cream continues to have an effect on the spelling test scores around here.

salad recipe

The "basic salad" (from the post below...I got questions in my email) really is basic! I feel like everyone and every restaurant has their own variation of it. My sister has one here. My version is usually whatever I have in the fridge. Sometimes I add celery, green onion, red onion, craisins, mangos, pears, etc (not all of those in the same salad...that sounds gross, but whatever I have that goes together). Really it just depends on what you like. But here's what I added this particular salad.

cooked red quinoa (you could use white also, but I think the red looks pretty, and I like the nuttier flavor better. just cook it up following the recipe on the box or if you bought it in bulk, cook it like you would white rice. i usually add 1/2 c cooked quinoa person. but if you're just starting/getting used to quinoa, add 2-4 T instead and work your way up)
fresh berries (i used blackberries, but you could use any other berry or halved grapes are great too)
caramelized nuts (i used to spend the time caramelizing nuts a couple times a week for salads. i got tired. now i buy a big bag of Kirkland Cashew Clusters with Almonds and Pumpkin Seeds from Costco and chop them up. much easier)
chopped apples
cheese (i used white cheddar with caramelized onion from Trader Joes, but you could use any kind you like)

Viniagrette (my sister Rebecca made it up)
1/3 c pure maple syrup
1/3 c + 1 T apple cider vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
salt and pepper

Mix maple syrup and vinegar together, and while whisking really fast, add the olive oil in a stream.

*A few notes on the quinoa. You have to have it cooked already, or you're never going to "throw it in" a salad, or soup. I learned about quinoa a little over 5 years ago, and was petrified to use it unless I had an exact recipe to follow. You really can add it to so many things, but I admit it took me until now to be brave enough to do it. I LOVE it. I cook up the whole box, spread it out on a cookie sheet to cool off and then bag it up in 1 cup portions and freeze. I pull one out before dinner or the night before and add it to salads, soup, and in place of rice for Mexican food, Indian food, Thai food, etc. Of course you can add it to so many other things, but this is about where I'm at right now. I think this week I'll try adding a bit to Tanner's smoothies. We'll see. But my point is, don't be a pansy like I was and wait 5 years and just DO IT. Cook up a batch and try it. Start small. Especially if you have a suspicious significant other or children. Add hardly any. See if they notice. See if the flavor goes alright with the recipe you're using. Next time add more. It's just a small way of adding in a perfect protien (meaning all the essential amino acids needed), a load of fiber and real whole food to your family's diet. Some times it may taste weird in a recipe, but most the time it will taste GREAT. I promise I'm not being endorsed by the quinoa companies. = )

Kate turns 4

Kate was frowning in almost all of her birthday pictures. The only reason I have the one above where she is smiling, is because her cousin was making her laugh. Why do you want to be sad Kate? We all love you so much. You have a happy life. Please be happy.

Kate informed me several times, that she didn't have to eat real food on her birthday and she was "only going to eat cake." I'm not quite sure where that came from. So here's what she wanted to eat. "Sheetos" and a 1/2 pink cake, 1/2 confetti cake, frosted with pink, and decorated by her with candy. (Oh, and 6 candles. She turned 4, but wanted to put on all the ones that came in the package.)

Although the cheetos and cake were tempting, I felt like something was missing. Maybe something fresh? Some protien? So I made the basic apple, cheese, nuts, greens and vinaigrette salad, but I threw in some cooked red quinoa. Why not? And tried and true grilled paninis....turkey, sharp white cheddar cheese, apple, and grainy mustard.

Happy Birthday Kate. We love you!!!

Growth Shpurt.

Kerri has a few loose teeth and one missing tooth, so she is lisping. Yesterday, she was on a non-stop eating binge. All day long.

I had just gotten home from the grocery store, and Kerri was going through the bags to see what she could eat. Daddy told her she needed to take a break from eating for a bit. And Kerri said: "I can't help it if I am in a growth shpurt!"

I think I said, "A what?!"

And Kerri replied, " You know, whatever it's called. I can't help it that I am growing and I need to eat alot."

G-d help us when she hits her teens.

Life with Kerri keeps me running to the store.


I've been feeling a little . . . unappreciated lately.  It's a common refrain heard from moms and wives since Biblical times, I'm sure. Normally I just suck it up and go on with life, but every so often I feel the need to hit the brakes and pout about it a bit.  I've been threatening to "go out for cigarettes and never come back," but this threat has been rendered largely ineffective, mostly by the fact that I do not smoke.  

No one seems to notice that clean underwear automatically appears in their dresser drawer.  Or that clean sheets magically land on their beds twice a month. Or that nutritious meals appear on the table regularly.

Apparently, I am the only member of our household capable of:
  • Emptying a backpack (and dealing with the contents thereof, such as school papers, wet snow gear, and stowaway Zhu Zhu Pets).
  • Cleaning the litterbox.  Cleaning anything, for that matter.
  • Buying groceries.
  • Letting the dogs out. Letting the dogs in. Feeding said dogs.
  • Keeping track of the school schedule, which includes late starts, early dismissals, and "closed just for the hell of it" dates.
  • Driving short people to gymnastics class. 
  • Keeping track of every birthday in our extended family and buying gifts for those occasions. 
  • Packing lunches.
So yeah, there are days when the burden starts to feel a bit heavier than I'd like. Did I mention that I also work full time? My other half doesn't offer to do more; he just tells me that the stuff I do is unnecessary (I maintain that the toilets do, in fact, need to be scrubbed from time to time). Am I a bit of a neatnik?  I suppose so.  I don't like clutter all that much. I guess my fear is that if I don't stay on top of the workload, I'll find myself on an episode of "Hoarders" while the guys from 1-800-GOT-JUNK are pulling 20-year-old newspapers and cat skeletons out of my house.  It's a slippery slope, people!

I know it's really my own choice that I like to keep the house neat.  It would just be nice to hear an occasional, "Hey, thanks."  When I was growing up, it didn't matter if my mom handed my stad a pickle sandwich.  He would say, "Aw, thank you, honey. That was the best pickle sandwich I ever had."

I was feeling a little frustrated the other day when the note below was slid under the bathroom door while I was in the shower.  I have to confess that while it would be nice to be both loved and appreciated, one out of two ain't bad.

Tanner turns 6

It started out dark. Way to early to start a day. But it was his day, so we started early. = )

Donuts and chocolate milk were on the menu for breakfast. Of course I wasn't about to get up even earlier to go to a donut store, so I bought boxed ones the night before. I cannot believe those are even on the market. Who eats those things?! Oh yeah, I did when I was a freshman in college. Powdered sugar donuts everyday for breakfast and washed it down with Carnation Drink mix. Classy. And I wonder how I gained that Freshman 15 (or 20 in my case....honestly. When I came home at Christmas my Mom had to buy me all new jeans) Anyhow, we had preservative-filled, no expiration date, boxed donuts for breakfast and my kid was in heaven. = )

All he wanted was "art stuff" for his birthday. The night before I asked him once more, "are you sure you don't want any toys?" He responded, "No Mom. I want art stuff. I love doing art. It's my favorite. " So "art stuff" he got.

He went to school, I brought cupcakes to his class, we came home and played. For dinner he wanted, "that really yummy pizza that's by Ralphs. Sort of by Ralphs. Not right by it, but kind of." He meant Dominos. So we had pizza and root beer for dinner.

He wanted "Dad's Cake" for dessert. Every Father's Day and every year on his birthday, Shad requests the same thing. A homemade ice cream cake, made with brownies, mint ice cream, oreos and hot fudge sauce.

Happy Birthday Tanner. We love you.

Where do babies come out from?

Yesterday Daddy was driving Kerri home from her Kung Fu class, and this is the conversation that occurred in the car:

Kerri: "I know why Mommy did not have her own baby in her tummy."

Daddy: "Why?"

Kerri: "Because she did not want the baby to be all dirty."

Daddy: "Huh?"

Kerri: "You know, babies come out from where you poo, eww."

Daddy: "That is not where babies come out from Kerri."

Kerri: "You mean they come out from your pee-pee?!! My pee-pee is too small!"

Daddy: "No Kerri. They do not come out from where you poo or pee. They come out from a special place close to there."

Kerri: "Are you sure?"

Daddy says the conversation took a humorous turn from then on, with Kerri asking if babies came out of mouths, eyes, noses, ears, etc. Mind you, Kerri knows exactly where babies come out from, since we showed her at the Museum of Science. And also at my GYN's office. She just likes to play "dumb" sometimes and gets a kick out of making us explain something she already knows the answer to. Or maybe she is just testing us. She has an incredible memory.

Life with Kerri is inquisitive.

Surprise Wedding

I had a fun wedding cake today.

The flowers were very simple. Just roses and orchids. The florist showed me what she was doing with the bouquets which included gold pins in the rose heads.

This wedding was a surprise wedding.

Everyone- all the family and friends- knew about the wedding.....

....the surprise was for the bride!


I dried the turkey wishbone from Christmas and pulled it out yesterday. Daddy and Kerri each made a wish, and then pulled. After a loud SNAP! that startled Kerri, Daddy was left holding the short end of the wishbone. So we told Kerri her wish would come true.

The happiness and huge smile that ensued was priceless. I think I should have many more wishbones just to see Kerri so happy with something so small and seemingly insignificant.

Kerri wished for a pack of pink chewing gum. And then she told us she knew it was either Mommy or Daddy that would make her wish come true. We agreed, and a very happy Kerri now has a toonie to fulfill her own wish.

Life with Kerri reminds me that it's the small things that make the biggest memories.


Why does that seem so much older than 30?

Last year wasn't a big deal. I was barely out of my 20s.

Now I'm in my 30s, which is fine. I guess.

Except that I'm noticing wrinkles.

I hear laughing. Through the computer. But stop laughing because it's true. I even had a sister admit that she had noticed it (on me) too.

It's in between my eyebrows. On my forehead. And my smile lines. There all getting a bit more noticeable.

Strangers used to tell me all the time what "beautiful skin" I had. No more. I haven't heard that in years.

All that being said, I'd never go back in time. I assume it's always like that. I look back at things I did and said a couple of years back and am pretty much embarrassed of myself. It's humbling to know that in a couple of years from now, I'll look back to this time, and once again be embarrassed. Is there anyway to avoid that??

Anyhow, I turned 31 last week and had a wonderful day.

  • shad let me sleep in, until he had to go to work (he had an 8am appointment, so the sleep lasted until 7:30, but I was still so grateful....cuz did I mention that the other day, Tanner woke up at 4:30am and did NOT go back to sleep. I woke up to hear him playing in his room. I said, "hey bud. It's still night time. You need to go back to bed. He started crying and said, "I can't. I tried. I'm not tired." He just kept playing all by himself until the rest of us woke up. So 7:30 is "sleeping in" at our house)
  • Kate went to preschool (day 2 of 2, and she's done now...she'd rather stay home with Elle and I....I'm down with that) and Tanner went to kindergarten and Elle took a nap so I had about an hour of uninterrupted time to myself. Happy Birthday to me.
  • I went to the chiropractor in the afternoon. I love the chiropractor. Not the actual chiropractor, Ron, but getting adjusted. If I could, I'd get adjusted morning and night. I also get a 50 minute massage included in my $20 co-pay. Yes. You read that right. And I try to take full advantage of it. If it works out with sitters, I go once a week. (it usually doesn't work out that way, but I try)
  • Rebecca made me dinner and cheesecake. Yum. She is the best cook I know. Honestly. It was like I was in a gourmet restaurant. She made apple sweet potato soup, a salad with greens, blackberries, cinnamon sugar toasted walnuts, roasted onion cheddar cheese (i'd never had it before. it's so freaking good. thank you trader joes. i am now addicted to treats and this cheese), apples and a homemade apple, maple vinaigrette. She made a chicken breast coated in pistachios, pepitas and rosemary. So good. And for desert....Chocolate Fudge Truffle Cheesecake. I've made it before. It pretty much takes a whole day to make. And it tastes like it took a whole day to make. It was so good. (oh yeah....the "eating plan" shad and I are on? we took my birthday dinner off. which turned into the whole day for me. which turned into a couple of days and then a week. happy birthday to me. again.)
  • a whole drive home from my sisters (1 hour away), talking to Shad, while the kids were dozed off in their car seats. Nice. That may have been my favorite part of the day.
I was spoiled. Thank you Rebecca. Thank you Shad.

Unusual Behaviors

The boys were so excited about going to the airport to pick up their sister, brother-in-law and nephews that they displayed unsolicited exemplary behavior for about twelve hours before. When they discovered that they still had to do school work on airport day, they got the books out and cheerfully did the next day's work before they went to bed! When they went to bed the night before the trip, they didn't get up even a single time for a drink of water. I didn't have to tell them once to stop talking as I usually do four hundred times every night. They were anxious to go to sleep so that the morning would come around as fast as possible.

And now we are having fun getting to know the newest addition to our family who has grown and changed so much in the six months since we last saw him.

Of course I spent a lot of time snuggling and holding my precious baby grandson but I was continuously untangling my hair out of his grasping fingers. I finally just put my hair up to keep it out of his hands. Turns out his mama has to do the same thing. But it doesn't deter the baby.

When Evan is tired he comforts himself by sucking his thumb. If he is being held he reaches around with his other hand to get a strand of hair of the person who is holding him.

I think it is sweet. Where do these behaviors come from?

there's nothing like it

fresh orange juice.

shad could care less about terms like....local, organic, free-range, sustainable, farm-to-table, cage-free, hormone-free, etc.

he's just not into it.

mostly because of price.

when i even mention one of the above terms, his eye brows raise and he responds with some comment like, "it's those hippie, oregonian roots" or "you and your mom" or "you and your sisters" = )

but this fresh orange juice thing....where we pick them that morning across the street. literally a few yards from our front door.

we bring them home, juice them and drink.

he's all about this.

i like to think he is "growing". that some of my "oregonian hippie roots" are rubbing off on him.

but i'm pretty sure i know the real reason he's so into it.

it's free.

free at last. free at last.

of training wheels.

I had no idea how wonderful it was to have your kid ride a bike without those dang training wheels. Here's a run down of Tanner's bike-riding history (cuz you're all dying to know):

  1. got the Lightening McQueen trike at age 2 and loved it. he could cruise like i'd never seen another kid cruise
  2. the tiny spiderman bike appears at age 4. he rides it, but definitely loses interest fast and still prefers Lightening McQueen.
  3. summer of 2009, we accidentally leave Lightening McQueen in Idaho. we are still mourning that little trike. every kid that came over, loved that thing.
  4. from 4 1/2 to 5 1/2, hates riding bikes. pretty much refuses. says it's "not fun".
  5. a few days before his 6th birthday, he learns ride a bike and it's back to the good ol' days. he loves riding. begs several times a day. could ride all day and night. did i mention how much he loves riding a bike now?
At risk of sounding totally and completely cheesy, I've never experienced anything quite like watching him ride a bike for the first time by himself. Seeing him ride off down our street, practically made me tear up. It was like watching his life fast forward thru elementary school, preferring friends over Shad and I, dating, driving, going to college, going on a mission, getting married.

I know. I know.

It's not that dramatic. But at that moment it was.

I also felt so so so happy for him. He wanted it bad. And to finally see him be able to conquer that bike was awesome.

I love you bud. Can you stay 6 forever?

What we did Wednesday.

Yesterday Kerri and I headed to the Children's Hospital. Her psoriasis is somewhat controlled, so the specialist changed her medication and decided phototherapy was something he would not consider until she was older (due to the risk of skin cancer). We apparently are doing all the right things, so we will continue with her skin care regiment and look forward to the Spring.

We also started a new asthma medication, so I had to send a warning to Kerri's teacher to be aware of any potential side effects. I highlighted them all on the pharmacy printout and sent it to school. The moms at the school bus stop had a laugh, saying the poor teacher was going to be watching Kerri like a hawk today. I did notice the medication made her more hyper. But we are used to hyper with Kerri, so that's nothing we cannot deal with.

Kerri now has two loose teeth again. She still has the loose shark tooth on the bottom, and now one of her top front teeth is wiggling. She complained that it hurt. She is growing up so fast!

Kerri is also making strides in Kung Fu. She is learning new hand forms and steps. And she is excited about the Chinese New Year Party her school is throwing in a few weeks. New kids keep joining the school too, and I have a feeling her class will be split up soon since they are outgrowing the space. She absolutely loves that school and her Kung Fu "family". And she gets a kick that she is the eldest Kung Fu sister, even though the majority of students are all older than her. They have to show her respect, and she demands it too. She makes a point of bowing to each of her classmates, and they must make eye contact, salute her by name and bow back. It takes an extra ten minutes when we arrive or leave class for all the bowing to happen.

Her new trick is to do push ups on her knuckles. Ouch.

So after a full day of visiting a hospital, her favorite restaurant, and going to Kung Fu, Kerri finally went to bed tired but happy. All by herself!

Life with Kerri is active.

the green smoothie



which =

Have I mentioned that Tanner lives on these? I got the recipe from my friend Stephanie and Tanner loved it. Once he got used to the smoothies, I snuck in some chia seed (nutrition found here). That way he gets a boost of healthy fats, fiber and a bit of protein.

Here's what you do:

1/2 can of pineapple with 1/2 the juice
a ton of fresh spinach
1 banana
chia seed

Blend. Give to your kids. Kick back and feel super good about yourself that they're eating all that spinach.