Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Emerging Bookworm = Happy Mama

Mia spends at least a cumulative hour a day in this lovely recliner accompanied by a book from a nearby basket. The fact that this is Mia's entirely independent activity of choice is so pleasing to her book-loving mama. Because it's the only time she will sit still, nearly all of the pictures I have caught of her in the last month are while she is deep within the cardboard pages of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (or its equivalent). Here are a few from the collection-
Reading to the "buh-buh"... very sweet!
"Mom, can't you see that I'm busy?"
Here she is demonstrating our high style sensibilities- an inherited night gown and Mom's SmartWools:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

C'mon Down to the County Fair!

Each year, the week after Labor Day, we get to enjoy the county fair. It is a fun tradition and always thoroughly entertaining.

Our favorite part: the animals...the kind that live in a barn (not to be confused with fellow fair-goers who tend to engage in barn-like activities...they are not as kind to the camera as this pig). What a cutie!

We are in love with the sweet Nubian goats and dream about the day when we can justify this hobby farm addition. I have romantic ideas of homemade goat cheese and goats' milk ice cream.

This was one mad mama cow. She kept threatening the little kids. She was surprisingly deft with that left horn. It could quickly find its way through the gate and only few inches from one's face!

Because Mia's hair gave her some height, we were able to sneak her onto the merry-go-round without any notice. She wasn't quite sure how to feel about it.
She was not shy, however, about letting us and everyone within a 40 ft. radius know when it was TIME to go. Poor grandpa is probably a few years closer to hearing loss.
One can always count on a cultural experience while attending the fair. Odds are, you may even be graced with a piece (or two) of exquisite decor on the neighboring vehicle and thus return home with an enlightened mind.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

15 Instead...

This is my 100th post and I am tempted to fill it with 100 of something, like 100 pictures of Mia, which I could easily do, but I will spare any potential viewers from my parental obsession and fill it, instead, with 15 pictures of Mia to celebrate this 15th month of her life!

#1 Just showing off her pretty curls-

#2 This supergirl loves to "dress up" already! She pulls mom's clothes out of the drawer and puts them on however she can. She had a little help with this lovely ensemble-

#3 Hangin' out at the lake with Aunt Arianna-

#4 Exploring one of this summer's many campsites-
#5 Sitting oh-so-proper in the tub (with a custom designed outfit to preserve modesty)-
#6 Just being silly!
#7 Finger painting with food colored yogurt...this makes for a fun clean-up!
#8 Giving a full-body hug to one of the many dogs in her life...
#9 Singing "la, la, la" on the back porch-
#10 Dancing with her favorite high-tech toy: a wooden spoon-
#11 Singing again in one of mom's sweatshirts again-
#12 Just about to read the all-time favorite-
#13 Putting all eight of her teeth to good use-
#14 This fearless fish cruised right into the chilly lake and only peeked back to make sure I was still behind her-
#15 Making one of the assorted animal sounds which usually accompany The Very Busy Spider

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Au Bon Pain (and Soup)

I feel so excited with the oncoming of crispy Autumn weather for so many reasons. One of them is the change in our dinner repertoire. During the summer we rely heavily upon our grill and fresh salads- nice, but not very comfy. The cooler months allow for a much cozier menu: soup and bread. I make some version of each pretty much every day in the fall and winter. Although some may argue the endless qualities contained in a good loaf of artisan bread, especially with the influence of current carb-less diet trends, I simply cannot part with it. More on that in a moment. First, let me touch on my reasons for loving soup.

-it is foolproof (for the most part) and I don't follow recipes well
-with just a few ingredients on which are easily kept on hand, one can create an endless variety
-it is a "one pot" meal...less clean up
-things can easily be disguised (this is a good thing if you are the cook)
-it fills you up inexpensively. My husband is always hoovering in the kitchen to make sure I am preparing enough food for his oh-so-manly appetite.
-it can be made any time of the day and still be warm. I am always worried about dinner getting cold with a spontaneous and unpredictable husband.
-it makes the house smell yum

I got this book last year, and have used it as a guide to know what flavors can be combined successfully. It is full of good stuff. It is vegetarian themed, but meat can easily be added.
Okay, a serious weakness regarding the bread I would make daily...and consume daily...mostly by myself is just that. Well, and that it would take hours to prepare and .25 hours to disappear. I have about three recipes that I would rotate- a regular soft honey whole wheat, an Argentine crusty bread, and an herbed focaccia. I would always use whole wheat, add flax, only use natural sweeteners, but my mass bread binge would outweigh the healthiness factor. So, here is this season's resolution- spend less time making it every day and more time eating less of it...every day. I fully intend to do so with help from Jeff & Zoe:

Monday, September 6, 2010


We are proud of the Dad! He is tough. During his 100 mile race, for which he was WELL prepared, he got lost...around mile 70...at 11pm...somewhere in the Cascades...in below 40 degree weather...wearing his skimpy (and sweaty) running shorts...and got hypothermia.
David isn't very keen on revisiting last weekend's adventure, but I'd say 7/10's is a hefty enough ratio that it deserves some credit!

Can you spot David in the starting line crowd?

Here he is at mile 33- smiling and happy! At this point, he was in 29th place (out of 132 runners). By the time he took the wrong turn, he had scurried his way up to 18th.

Mia was so patient waiting with me at the aid station for the Dad at 1 am in the cold, dark, forest. This is right before we started to get nervous and realize that something was wrong!

We are glad to have rescued you from the wrath of the mountains, Dad! Prepare for this vengefully returning racer next year, Cascade Crest! He is not going home again without a belt buckle.

(Outside of The Yellow Church Cafe in Ellensburg- our yummy pit stop. Beware of their "Heavenly Loaf" which will surely drag it's consumer down to a 3,000 calorie hell).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bow Wow Wow, Yipee Yo, Yipee Yay: An Ethical Dilemma

Winston is deceptive. Even from his beginnings and when set against his four brothers, he has played the role of the aloof and disinterested canine...until you turn your back. He is like the kid who pinches his sibling when no one is looking and then quietly smirks to himself as his sibling gets in trouble for causing a raucous. (Winnie is the one with the eye patch).
As he grew into the handsome man that he is, we always assumed he was the brawny, brainless accomplice to Isabel while she would shoulder the blame for all of their naughtiness. She seemed at least 50% more intelligent than him and is certainly the ALPHA dog in the relationship.
After COUNTLESS excursions resulting in $ vet bills, $ dog pound bills, lots of ruined plans and sleepless nights, we began to feel like the scale which weighs "my dog child" vs. "an animal which I pay lots of money to feed" was beginning to tip! We had realized that Winnie was actually the secret instigator in each of these incidences. Despite a shock collar, a chain link fence, an electric fence, and finally the last resort-a sharp parting with his manhood, he would still make his way through (when we weren't looking) and take Izzy with him to get into all sorts of trouble. Most of the time, we would discover Winnie's (Izzy would return home when she got sick of him) whereabouts on Craigslist or the pound's website. Once we'd get him home again, he would usually look something like this:
The prospect of a lone night in freezing temperatures wouldn't even slow him down during past winters. He would just shovel through the snow with his big mouth and continue to do what he does best:
Well, this summer as I was right on the verge of letting my exasperation get the better of my tender feelings for him, we discovered the solution: As Cesar the Dog Whisperer would suggest-"put him to work!" The Doggie Backpack. He now makes a fabulous trail running partner & we are so pleased.