Sunday, December 28, 2008


Yeah!! Light rail came to the Valley!
We took the kids and went with a bunch of other people to ride it.

We lucked out on the westbound ride we were right behind the driver and got a great view!

Leigh liked watching for the train from the platform.

This will bring a lot of change to the Valley indeed!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I don't know what tipped her off, the fake snow or the taxidermist dream of a reindeer behind the red suited guy...

Leigh: "Mom, I'm afraid that the Santa at Bass Pro Shop is not really the real Santa."
(This is the man that she told her Christmas wishes, a tea set and new clothes for Baby, to.)

After thinking a little more:
Leigh: "Why would he go to Bass Pro Shop?"

I'm thinking that maybe he fishes in the off season and they give him a good deal on tackle for his time?
Then again, why aren't MORE kids asking this? Seriously? Bass Pro Shop? Santa?
Isn't this an insult to the very lives of his four legged means of transportation?

Maybe this is his way of buying the sleigh pullers 'protection' of sorts.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

AGAIN with the photos already!

Last year, I took a quick series of photos for the cards

This year, I wanted to attempt the same thing.
They were just as excited, but more experienced in this, pose-for-a-picture type thingy. They wanted in front of the tree again, the wooden bike of Carson's again, but wanted to pick out their own clothes.

Bryce and I were not outfitted for the occasion but managed to also sit in a few pics with them.

Then there were the seriously posed, solo shots.
Man my kids are getting to be hams...

I have been neglectful lately with blogging so I'll have to catch up everyone,

We had a fabulous vegan Thanksgiving!

Our menu included:
Three Sisters Stew, a traditional native American dish giving thanks for a bountiful harvest

Potato bread stuffing

Vegan green bean casserole
sweet potatoes
vegan pumpkin pie
cranberry pear apple relish

Even the kids were stuffed and ate the leftovers...once.

The day after Thanksgiving, we did the tree

and put up the outdoor lights. This is one of Leigh's favorite activities...along with: eating sweets, opening presents, giving presents and opening cards...

We have a lot of other stuff planned as the month goes on. Here we are 14 days away and the excitement is mounting. This truly is my favorite time of year, every year
seriously, I LOVE it.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I am loving me some Pink!

Stupid Girls


(the official video was a little graphic for me...)

and my favorite for the clarity of her voice:

Nobody Knows

And the first time I KNEW I loved her music (and loved Christina's voice also)

Lady M

Although, I wonder if my daughter will one day think I'm uncool for Pink....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ahh, it is still pretty warm here on Monday. My AP group had their annual Thanksgiving Day pot luck and there were two vegans this year!!
(Shout out to Jamie and gang!)

So I was able to eat more than just my own food.
The kiddos had a blast as usual and Carson had his own breed of fun when he discovered the trickle sprinkle puddle in the landscaping:

H figured out how to aim it just right and put the right amount of pressure on it to make a stream...
Here he is 'squirting' his buddy:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Win an Ergo!

Only one of the best carriers out there. This one is a cute embroidered version! AND it's organic!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

heat wave

You read that right, It was 88 degrees on Wednesday!
So we headed out to the zoo for the day.
We spent about 4 hours and checked it out.
The kids had a blast.
They watched the baby orangutan play peek a boo:

we actually got sunburned.

Carson had a blast, this is the first season that he has actually participated in watching and asking questions about the animals.
He was fascinated by the goats and their poop!
Here he was watching the clean up, He directed the zookeeper on where it was!

Anyway, we just went on our own, were gonna meet people but didn't so we were able to go at our own pace.
They played in the fountains

and trees

Leigh was glad to see the stingrays were back for the winter (they're snowbirds!)

They had new sharks and horseshoe crabs in with them too.
Thanks again to Gam for renewing our membership for us!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The next Ginger Rogers...

Or something like that..
Leigh had her tap dance recital last night and she was SOOO proud.
It was really fun to see what a group of 3-5 yr olds could remember after 12 weeks of dance.
She really likes Miss Diane. We're gonna stick with her.

Here she is with flowers that Daddy brought her:

That's her friend Fiona who is in a different class

Her she is with Carson who wanted to get on stage.

Her they are before getting started

And of course, I need to add the video also

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ash Wednesday

So yesterday was like the Ash Wednesday of Christmas...Yep 40 days away. Today we're under forty. I actually think that I may almost be done with the actual present shopping and am moving into the finishing stages. I do have some crafting to do; finishing a few gifts, making wrappings and putting my craft swap items that I made together.

I still LOVE this time of year. EVERY YEAR. I am looking forward to the next week of getting ready for Thanksgiving. This will be our first vegan celebration. In the past, we have had vegetarian but never vegan so I'm searching recipes, trying to put together the best possible meal.

The kids have been involved heavily in making their Meemaws' gifts. We have spent part of everyday working on them. (That's all I can say due to the readers of this blog....) Bryce and I have both gotten our gifts for the other siblings we have picked and I have either gifts or at least good ideas for the rest of our family.

I'll try to post pics in the next couple of weeks of the stuff we're doing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A new day dawns

We are on the cusp of a new era. The majority of the country has chosen to change what we have been burdened with for eight years.
I watched the acceptance speech of President-elect Obama with goosebumps on my arms. (It's worth the watch no matter who you voted for or supported.)
See it below:

I vote because not too long ago women couldn't vote and blacks couldn't drink from the same water fountain. That's how much our rights have increased.

The saddest thing to me is that all across the country, people voted to deny rights to another minority. So there is still work to do. Change can come slow sometimes. There are people working to move it forward now.
I am excited. I think there are great possibilities for the future and my children are living in an exciting time in history. I want to love our country. I want to proud to live here.
I wanted to write on this for a week now but have not been able to put it into words.
I'm still amazed.

**On a side note, I heard on the radio on election day that Bush had the lowest approval rating of any president in history last month (including Nixon the month he was impeached) Sad, but not surprising.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The first born

BOTH kids had so much fun watching (over and over again..)
the video of C on his birthday that L wanted me to add one of her at her Irish Dance class.

So, here she is!

She LOVES Miss Kathy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In just a couple of years.

Two years ago:

Ah, I can still smell the way he smelled as we lay in bed following his birth looking at each other. The midwives had left, the doula had gone back to her babies and Daddy had taken big sister to another room to sleep for the night.
It was just him and I.
He was newly labeled with his first name (middle took a little more time to decide on)
And looking at me alertly

Definitely in my top 5 moments in life..
Hours old, 1st time out of bed!

And so he grew

One year ago:

Still cuddly, eating cake proudly on Daddy's lap at the gathering of folks; "For me?" he seemed to ask with his twinkling eyes. What a wondrous day that was. Both Meemaws were there to celebrate.
You snuggled to sleep blissful at the end of the day.

One year old!

You woke a bit cranky, not really wanting to hear any "Happy Birthdays" until you were ready. Then it was like you realized the day was IT!
You sat up and said, "Blow out candles?"
We went to the kitchen and the excitement began.
You had a birthday breakfast of corn pancakes which you scarfed down!
Then we got out your 'new to you' classic FP Circus Train and lit the two candles on your birthday ring.
Sissy was more than happy to help with the blowing!

We spent the rest of the day 'C style'

Birthday ice cream!
You got many phone calls, one from a friend who I feel will always have a special bond to you...
Just that he is calling makes me goosebumpy. (Although, I did say something about bosoms or something BEFORE I knew who it was...)

Right after his phone call.

Ahh, your life is just getting started!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

IHOP follow up

I had a bad experience at the Fort Stockton, TX IHOP this summer and wrote a letter about it to the main office...

well, the next day (9/5/2008), I received the following email reply:

Dear Ms. B:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us concerning your experience at the IHOP in Fort Stockton. While it is always disappointing to learn that we have not lived up to our guest's expectations, it is invaluable to receive feedback so that we are able to continually improve our level of guest satisfaction.

We are sorry to learn of the service level and food quality you encountered at this franchised location. However, please be assured that the matter will be shared with the proper individuals to address your concerns.

I have forwarded your concerns to IHOP's Franchise Business Consultant for the Southwest region. They will contact the franchise owner regarding your recent dining experience in this restaurant. We are confident that the franchise owner or his representative will contact you shortly to better understand your concerns. It is our hope that you will once again allow us to earn your trust.

Thank you for keeping us informed.


Teara P.
Guest Services Representative
IHOP Restaurant Support Center

Now, more than a month later--nothing.
I'm thinking that the problem may lie WITH the franchise owner, not just his employees..
I just don't think that I would let my investment be so trashed. Then again, this restaurant is visited by a majority (I'm betting 90%) transient population so they could actually start over the NEXT day with a whole new clientele like nothing ever happened.
I'm sure this also makes it hard to find other employees also. Literally the only businesses in this town are hotels and restaurants.
IHOP is the only place that is open 24hrs.
Ft Stockton is in the middle of a vast expanse of nothing in west Texas. We actually had to visit a few hotels before we found a place that had a room even. There are a lot of travellers and one employee of a hotel told us that the oil companies rent out blocks of rooms for their workers for weeks at a time.

I guess I'll wait and see what happens...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Magic Garden

About 10ish years ago, we had a wonderful garden out back along our north wall.
We have talked about it since then. Trying to get moving on a new one.
While I was in PA last month, I decided that I was willing to get to work on a new one.
A bunch of friends lent their strength and talents to help us get it up and running.

First we needed to have a plan and measurements
We decided to place it along the east wall this time. Our north wall now houses a tree and a pretty big cactus.

Then we needed to begin by digging a trench to put in the beams for the bed edges.

Then we needed posts to edge the bed and sealer for the posts.
Bryce found a local company that provided soy based none toxic sealer.

After the beams were sealed, they needed to be cut and laid in the trenches , secured by re bar.

Next on the agenda is to get all the concrete chunks and rock out of the bed,

till the present soil and then add a load of topsoil.

Then, well, we'll plant!
We're still researching the vegetables we want to do this season...

Here's a little snippet from my childhood that has been inspiring (even though it is only marginally connected to actual gardening...):

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A bunch of mamas, a lot of jars with wicks, about 100 kids, some very sweet feeling beeswax, sweet smeeling scents and sweet looking colors

....And one homey comfy house!

I don't want to get anyone in trouble so let me just say that:
  • Someone I live near knows someone who is married to someone who might have a connection to "get stuff"
  • This stuff has recently, possibly, maybe but not for sure, included some things that might be able to be used to create scented gifts such as candles.
  • The said items were then driven across town, allegedly, to another, undisclosed location where they were put to use....
  • You didn't hear any of this from me though..
What to do with all these jars?

I bet we could make candles!

Wide assortment of styles

Rainbow palette of results!

Ahh, what a fun productive day!!
I started out thinking of gifts and now I want them all for me ;)

Oh, yeah, And there were only two minor injuries..

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

There oughta be a 12 step program..

...I love, I'm not embarrassed to admit,
(If you're near Phoenix, you know what I mean)
I am seriously down with OPP
It just makes me want to shake my head when I'm driving.
I had to slap in a Dead bootleg from the 80's and turn it up REAL loud to break away from the--
old school funk

Quick trip to Meemaw's

The end of September:

We were able to find some cheap airline tix and head out out Meemaws for a few days.

We packed a lot of fun into the short time we were there.
We celebrated cousin Morgan's 4th bday,
went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore

the National Aquarium has banned strollers, so they provide Kelty backpacks for older babies and Kelty soft front packs for babies.
I had brought the ring sling but wanted to try out their things too. Carson obliged.

The kids loved the 'columns of bubbles'

Carson got up close and personal with sea life

They got to see the dolphin show

up close even

We got to watch the volunteers feed the sea turtle.

They told the kids that the turtle was rescued from a pile of pollution in the bay and they had to take off one of his fins to save him. He eats 8 heads of lettuce, twice a day. All the rays and the sea turtle are fed and cared for by specially trained volunteer divers.

checked out Chocolate World (that place never gets old)

I spent many a hot summer day there with friends, violating the "Keep arms and hands inside car at all times" rule repeatedly...It was (and still is) free, UNTIL they suck you in at the end of the delicious smelling 'factory tour ride' by dropping you off in an insanely large pit of chocolate products...

Of course, I found out that most of the products that I grew up *loving* are not vegan, phew!
Apparently the "special" in the Hershey's Dark is milk chocolate swirled in...

It was really surreal to see my kids doing what I grew up doing. Again, a full circle thing I guess.