Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Baby lovin'

I'm occasionally asked how I think my girls will handle the
adjustment of a new baby in the house....

If their obsession with their baby dolls is any indication, I think they'll do just fine.
(We'll just be sure to avoid allowing London to drown the real one).

Monday, June 28, 2010


I'm a detail lover.

It can make a person crazy.

But really, life is in the details, isn't it?

I remember shopping with my Mom at Costco when I was a kid, and she told me I could pick a treat (the favorite part of any grocery shopping trip - you have to let your child pick a treat). I saw this bag of biscotti. Gourmet biscotti.

I didn't even know what biscotti was.

But I knew packaging. And this biscotti bag, let me tell you, was begging me to purchase it. My mom protested and couldn't understand my insistence on the biscotti. I begged and pleaded.

I got it.

Biscotti, chomped on solo... is really gross, especially to an eight year-old.

And yet, no regrets. I loved the details.

And to this day, my brothers will still open my refrigerator door and question certain purchases,

"Did you get this because you really like the actual product, or just because it's titled 'creme fraiche'?

Both. Duh. Inextricably linked. I like the name and therefore the product, then tried the product and was equally pleased it was given a good name. Duh again. Only hardy, dirt faced American pioneers would think to change its name to something as lame as "Sour Cream". It's cream, and it tastes sour. Sour. Cream. So straight forward. How boring is that?

In my house, the smallest, random details can bring the weirdest smiles to my face. Like my newly arranged cookbook corner,

Or managing a front porch seating arrangement without spending any money. I had this fabric on hand,

And these old chairs - Walmart purchases from when Tyler and I were first married,

And waaaa laaaa. Hardly a Martha Stewart seating extravaganza, but not bad.

And my beloved menu board, which I spiced up with some color, and decided to haul out my aprons for display....

Small changes, and yet they make me so happy. Funny. I asked Tyler what he thought of our cookbooks on display and his response was something like,

"Huh?...Uh, oh...yeah. nice."

Silly boys. They just don't get it. And yet, ironically, I think it's the small details about a girl they fall in love with. Don't be fooled, they get caught up in gourmet packaging just as much as the next eight year-old. Tyler loves our home just as much as I do, he just sees it as a complete picture, the same way he says he loves the way I smell like "Rachel" (which in reality is three splashes of Gap Dream perfume, a hefty dose of Mango Mandarin conditioner, and Downy softener).
We're all, admittedly or not, detail lovers.

Friday, June 25, 2010


The Sweet Life Presents:

Front Porch sittin'
Or somethin' like it.
(If we actually had a front porch)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two big announcements.

It's a Girl.

Yep, that's what the ultrasound tech announced to two very, very, veeeery surprised parents. I was convinced it was a boy. We had taken this supposedly 'highly accurate' gender urine predictor test and it was very much a boy on that test. HA! Not to mention that this time around I deal with so many unique pregnant oddities...weird taste in my mouth, obsession with insanely spicy foods, and...oh, what's the polite term?...a disturbing increase in various 'human vapors' that I was positive it was a stinky boy. But not so, she is a sassy devil! I hope she wasn't offended that my jaw was on the floor for a good hour post-ultrasound.
Now, after just a few hours...my mind has floated to girl-land again. Soft, cuddly, girl land. Three girls. Three sisters. Three little friends. Three coordinating (although mind you probably not matching) outfits.
Tyler has a lot of women to love him in this household, that's for sure. Mightly good lookin' women too, if I may say so.

And I have three daughters.
There's just something magical sounding about that.
Three beautiful daughters.
How could we be more blessed?!

2. I realized I never announced Jacob's engagement!!! What a historical event to miss!

Meet Erica, future wife and sis-in-law: awwwww, so cute.

Jacob is like a giddy school boy, and I'm so excited for them (but not wedding pics - which I will be 7 months pregnant for....why do my brothers always do this to me?)

Good things to come, that's for sure.

Now, if you'll excuse me...I have room decorating to coordinate, shopping to do, and names to mull over with Tyler. I'm having a minor obsession with the name "Clementine". Any opinions?


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Things worth remembering, a day uneventful.

*Lily roaming the house solo, talking out loud to her "fake" friends.

*Sunkissed, dried out swimmer's cheeks.

*Forrest in this awesomely doofy hat.

*Entering the pool area with the girls, where London walked straight to the edge, surveyed the handful of children playing in the pool and angrily commanded to them all (with a loud shriek), "Hey! Ged ouwt! Dis iss MY wadaa!"
(Get out! This is my water!)

*Finn. Finny boy. Finndoodle.
Had these photos sitting in my camera. What a face. We babysat him for a few hours last week. He was buckled in his carseat, all alone in the third seat of my car (the only place he'd fit) and as we drove he talked and gibbered in his raspy voice the entire way. I could just eat him whole.

*Rachel Ray magazine's current Jalapeno avocado bacon burger's recipe. Must try.

*Speaking of avocados, they're just not healthy when you smother two entire ones over a giant cheese quesadilla for dinner. Better wash that down with some Ben & Jerry's while I'm at it. I have no. idea. why Lily thinks a baby is growing in my hiney.

*London (just up from a nap), wrapping her pointer finger in the edge of her favorite blankee...her signature move. She always has to do this, it is so darn sweet.

*Band of Brothers - totally into it right now. Excited to curl up with Tyler and catch another episode. Perfect television to get me all sentimental and patriotic for the 4th.

*London being awarded her gumballs for pee-pee's in the potty.

*Lily exploiting the gumball incentive, and manipulating me with her batty eyes into giving her one for every time she goes to the bathroom as well. I think we're on number 8. Bad idea.

*I am happy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

From the mouth of babes.

"YeeLee did it." - London


This morning, Lily went about the usual morning routine and accompanied me into the bathroom while I finished getting ready and applying makeup. We're buds like that. It was early and she was still tired and sweet. We chatted softly and as I leaned in to begin applying my mascara, she gently rubbed the small of my back. Her hand moved south, and followed the outline my buttocks. She paused, furrowed her brow as her eyes locked in on the rotundas landscape, and with a voice of genuine concern remarked:

"Umm, Mom, I think the baby is growing in your butt."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

For the record.

Just waiting for Tyler to walk in the door...about 20 minutes to go. Enjoying a little quiet too, consequence of putting the girls to bed early after our bedtime story debacle (fighting over what story to read, how to read it, who will hold the book, what page we will must pause on for 20 minutes, what pages to re-read 40 times, who sits on the right side of Mom, who sits on the left, who sits in her lap, whose blanket is whose, hair pulling, screaming, Mom calling abrupt end to storytime. Aaahhh, what a brilliant solution).

I'm always excited for him to get home, and was thinking I should really record the sweetest thing he did for me last week...you know, so I'll have something to look back on and smile over when he gets a $350 speeding ticket while driving the California highways (hhmmm...cough...ahem...alreadyhappened...coughchoke).

Maybe it was my lack of makeup for two weeks, or the negative blog posts, or the fact that he had been hearing me using the words "motherhood" and "slavery" interchangeably during frequent phone conversations with my mother....whatever it was...it must have been screaming: Dude, your wife is falling apart. Like freakin' out.

He arrived home from work last week just as I was fixing a gourmet meal of la grille cheese & ensalada (yes, you can use different languages to make your meals sound better, duh). We sat and ate as a family together, and as I was about to get up and proceed with the usual cleaning and bedtime routine, he said,

"I'll take care of all this. You have a bath waiting for you."


Yes...a candle lit bath. Just waiting, begging for me to join in. I bathed for almost two hours - TWO HOURS - soaking in the relaxation while reading magazines and listening to soft music (and don't worry, I carefully monitored bath temperatures, etc). Heaven I tell you. Heaven. So perfectly timed, I hadn't even realized how badly I needed something as simple as that. By golly, the man knows me better than I know me-own-self. Or can at least smell me better than I can smell meownself. I floated around peacefully with the smell of fresh soap and bubbles, trickling water over my baby belly, and for a luxurious amount of time was was allowed to just be with my baby. Dare I say it, for a millisecond I thought it was rather beautiful...me in all my naked fertile glor....um, nevermind...well, my baby was beautiful anyhow.

Tyler returned just as I had pulled myself from the intoxicating bliss and wrapped me in a warm bath robe. As if this wasn't enough, he gave me the world's most heavenly back massage with lotions and all. After which I gave him...just kidding.

That's none of your business.

What a team player, that boy. Love him so.


Selecting shoes to wear to the pool...

Reaction to Mom's refusal to let her wear her black Mary Jane church shoes...enter tantrum.

In the corner....

"I not go schwimming in da wada!" anymore!

Now wait for it...here it comes....

The memory capacity of a 2 year old...

Good to go...in all her glory...
(When you have a belly and buns like that, they just belong ooozing out of a little bikini. I could seriously eat her.)

Enjoying Summer.
Or at least the few days of nice weather freakishly interspersed with Nevada's psychotic wind/cloud/rain storms. (Today is a bad weather day, so we'll be going to the library).

Such perfect days.

Wake up
Eat breakfast
Pack lunch
Head to pool
Return for nap-time
Wake up
Prepare dinner to Pandora's Glee Cast Radio
With the breeze coming through the window
carrying the scent of freshly cut grass
and barbecues lit throughout the neighborhood
Crickets at dusk

It doesn't get any better than this.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Easy week.

It was easy dinner week at our house. Tyler is officially in his last three weeks of class, and so a few nights a week I find myself husband-less. This usually tempts trips to fast food, but I've been pretty good about avoiding that. The following two are some of my favorite easy go-to's for dinners that are still super yummy:

Shallota Spaghetti:

Who knew the combination of caramelized shallots, garlic and pasta could make such a yummy dinner? It's great as the main course with a salad for vegetarian night, and can also make a super delish pasta side to a more hearty meal. Use whole wheat pasta, and don't be stingy with the shallots, the more the better in my opinion. And my kids love it too.

Nonna inspired Breakfast burritos:

*I don't know why this pic is so crooked. I also don't know why I photograph my own food.

Tyler's Mom, bless her soul forever, fed her sons better than any woman on earth. I have a lot to live up to. She makes a huge, huge batch of these, then arranges them into multiple burritos, packages them into big ziplocs, and freezes them. Each morning, for weeks, her son can grab a pre-assembled, frozen homemade burrito, pop it in the microwave and enjoy it's tasty yummi-ness. (I also have her to thank for Tyler refusing cheap deli meat for his sandwiches. :) )

Double/triple a batch like this, assemble your burritos and freeze them, and your hubby and kids can have breakfast (or lunch, or dinner for that matter) for weeks too.

You can modify it to make it as healthy as you want: whole wheat tortillas, egg whites, and turkey sausage are good substitutes for a more guilt free, nutritious breakfast. I also add avocado and fresh lime to mine (but don't add those if you're going to freeze them). Oh yeah, if you're also obsessively craving spicy foods like me - dump a lot of Chalula sauce all over the finished product.

You'll need:

*Cooked potatoes (optional - I just used leftover grilled potatoes we had from the night before and tossed them in)
*Can of diced green chiles
*Tortillas (we LOVE the homemade tortillas from Costco)

Toppings (optional):
*Grape tomatoes

Scramble sausage until well-cooked. Whisk egges with a little bit of milk, add green chiles, and scramble. Wrap in a warm tortilla, top with cheese and any other toppings of choice, and enjoy! Easy!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shift 3.

Last shift in perspective.

I can't go more than 9 hours with that angry post lurking in the ether.

I love my girls. I'm sooo, sooooo thankful for them.

What can I say, I'm a multi-tasker: I can be eternally grateful and miserably exhausted at the same time.

Larissa caught Lily a horny-toad yesterday. Lily has been DYING for any type of lizard to call her own. After a day of it suffering in a plastic container, I asked Lily as we laid together to take a nap if we should let it go back to its family.

"Lu...I bet it misses its Mommy."

"No Mom, it IS a Mommy."

"Then don't you think her children want her to come home?"

She paused in deep thought with her pretty eyes. Her hand was holding onto mine. I love her hands. Little and completely rough and calloused from extreme play and hand-washing after anything remotely "sticky" touches them. She sighed,

"Yesh. We can let her go home."

I smiled in relief, so glad to hear that even after our very bad day she could easily agree that Mommies belong with their babies.

I know I do.


Nevermind about that last post.

My kids are nuts. Certifiably outrageous. Little balls of spunk, spontaneity, and insanity.

And yesterday it was NOT PRETTY.

Oh yes, remember that last little "Cinderella" post? - the one detailing how much I love the little details of motherhood as manifested from the mess throughout my home? I kid you not, it was not two seconds after I clicked Publish on that post that I was punished endlessly for momentarily basking in self-triumph for my awesome "shift in perspective". Shift in perspective, ha. Within a few hours I was sobbing on my couch.

I know every parent thinks their child is gifted or has an unusually distinctive personality or is going to be the next President of the United States. And I think all of those things too, only my parental daydreams are always coupled with a firm realization that any channel transporting my children to success and decency as human beings can at any moment be dissolved into complete anarchy and blatant criminal activity. And the culprits trying to smear and destroy my progress are these little devils, these positively irritating, always have to have an opinion and objection to every darn thing under the sun children.
*Lily's signature pose. The only one of 15 other such poses I found even moderately appropriate to post on this blog. Where does she get this?!

An acquaintance (whose identity shall remain anonymous) was once introducing me to one of her friends, and stated enthusiastically, "This is Rachel...and she has the two wildest little girls ever." I think she even threw in a little manufactured laugh with a "they are soooo cute" to soften the blow. Excuse me if I'm mistaken, but there is an unspoken rule that I thought was completely mainstream...one that she had somehow missed...about how you can make fun of or criticize your own kin, but under no circumstance is anyone outside of that circle allowed to do so. I can call my kids crazy...but you can't call them crazy.

So apparently in the parental sphere, I beat you all in the "my child has a distinctive personality" (i.e. crazy) department. Or at anonymous acquaintance thought so.

Can you tell I've had a bad day?

First off, they never. stop. talking. Always always talking. And I love their talking...their silly sayings and their squeaky voices. But even if they're being cheerful, after driving around for an entire day running errands, can a mother get some quiet?!
They scream too, constant screaming. Happy screams, faking scared screams, "This is my favorite song on the radio!" screams, "No! This is MY favorite song on the radio!" screams, "Look at the airplane!"screams, "London took my pony!" screams, "Lily threw her shoe at me!" screams....SCREAMS SCREAMS SCREEEEAMs.

And we haven't even arrived at the grocery store yet. First, the battle of riding in the cart. London first insists that she unload herself from her carseat in the car herself.
"No I do it! I do it! I do it!"
After 40 minutes of not being able to unbuckle herself, I step in. She kicks and screams and cries her way to the grocery cart, where she refuses to stay seated in the cart's child seat.
"I wok (walk) Mom, I wok!"
We are at Winco. You can't allow your child to just walk around in Winco. They can be kidnapped, smuggled onto some black market, or have their feet chewed by the mice I assume are lurking under every fruit bin. So I take a shrieking toddler into the store crying and Lily, who begins asking
"Mom, can I buy dat?", "Mom, can I buy dat?", "Mom, can I buy dat?" "Mom, can I buy dat?"
for the duration of the entire. shopping. trip.
At Costco, we ran into a good friend who had her darling 4 month old daughter with her. I couldn't get in three consecutive words without being interrupted by my girls squealing in delight over the baby and asking,
"Mom!! AWWww, so cute....can we buy one of doze (those...i.e. the baby)? Can we buy one of doze? Can we buy one of doze?"

(***Are you annoyed with this post? Stop reading. It only gets worse and I'm mainly recording this in an attempt to punish my future children when they read it as adults.)

After we leave the store and head home, we enjoy a repeat of scream-ville while driving, as well as London's insistence that she buckle and unbuckle herself in/out of her own carseat (once again unsuccessfully, returning us yet again to tantrum time).

I unload all the groceries just in time to begin teaching piano lessons. London is put down for a nap (whew), and I had arranged for Lily to have a friend come to play with her so she'd remain happily occupied.

No such luck. She hit one of the piano students little siblings who attempted to join them in play in the backyard. She interrupted my lessons 15 times, got out of the naughty chair when I attempted discipline from a distance while sitting at the piano...and last but not least, ran away up the street barefoot and in her bumble bee costume.

A panicked piano parent came running into my house,

"Um Rachel, I'm sorry to interrupt, but your little girl just went running up the street. Would you like me to go get her?"

I faked control. "Oh nooo, no problem, I'll just go out and wave at her to come home."

I waved.

She saw me from the distance, turned in the opposite direction, and proceeded on with whatever she damn well pleased.

Right as London woke up, climbed out of her crib and came to me with her eyes crusted shut. Crying. What I had worried had been the onset of pink eye was now full blown and my baby was crying, blinded in boogers.

It took everything in me to not fall on the ground and cry. Right in front of the other parent.
My eldest is running defiantly amok up the street uncontrolled, my youngest is covered in snot and crying, and I'm 15 minutes behind in lesson time.
I muttered an apology for the delay, turned on a movie for London after cleaning her eyes, and finished the lesson.

After my student left I collapsed miserably on my couch. Cried and cried, and thought,"this is my life".

How's that for a "shift in perspective"?