Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fourth of July in Stephenville, TX (or should I say "All about Evelyn")

We spent four days in Stephenville, TX over the Fourth of July holiday and had a GREAT time. We flew out of Denver on July 3rd. This was Evelyn's fourth round trip flight and let's just say, she's a toddler now. She isn't bad but flying with her is a challenge. 


She might run through airport terminals and kick the back of the airplane seats but who could stay mad at this face? 


These three were pretty funny. They are all relatively close in age and will all probably be trouble when they get older! 


Evelyn loves outside so she was in heaven running wild all over Mayme and Grumpy's 43 acres of land. 


Having her first Dum Dum sucker at the Stephenville 4th of July Parade. 


Happy 4th of July! 


5 of the 6 grandkids. Not sure where MaKayla was in this picture. 


We hired a photographer to take family photos for Patty and Terry's 20th anniversary. This is us being goofy before the photographer arrived.  Evelyn has 4 top teeth, 2 bottom teeth and just this week at her first pediatric dentist appointment we noticed she has one of her first molars. She NEVER lets us see whats going on in her mouth so really, she could have had like 5 more teeth and I never would have known! 


This is her outfit on picture day. 


This picture is a great representation of what the long weekend was like; all of us in the pool cooling off! 


Two of the cousins had a virus the week of our arrival and on our flight back, Evelyn was running a fever of 102.6 (her highest yet). She stayed sick with a high fever, diarrhea and vomiting for a week after our trip. She was a sick little pup for sure but even when she's sick she's smiling as seen in this picture! We survived the virus and had a wonderful time with our Texas family!  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June (and yes, I know technically it's July)

June has been fun-filled and action packed. It's hard to believe we're coming up on the Fourth of July. I promised to blog every month and I just realized I am behind on posting a real entry for June ( a recipe doesn't really count in my book).

Evelyn is growing, absorbing the world around her and becoming a toddler. She is not a baby anymore. She's 16 months and hits the ground running each morning. I have taken her a few times to my sister Molly's pool and she loves it. She actually scares me because she thinks we don't need to hold on to her and she isn't crazy about the float we've been using. I have to watch her like a hawk but she does really like the water so it's worth it.


I am so happy that my sister relocated to Colorado. Look at these two. 


This is the cheap-y boat float we got that she does not love. It's pretty lame so I can see why. 


We got a beach ball sprinkler that we sometimes play with in our backyard. 



I am teaching her to wash her hands. She got rotavirus and it was horrible; lasted two weeks, she lost weight and we both were miserable. She gets a kick out of using her stool and teaching hand washing is important. 


She LOVES her dog. She's "brushing" Kali here. 


And she's pretty proud of herself!


This was on Father's Day. We had a nice family lunch and worked in the yard. 


She's enjoying her riding toys more. My mom bought her a handful of riding toys right off the bat and they've been sitting in the playroom because she was just too little to really know what to do. She's a quick study and rides this thing all over the house. 



Mat is working a ton and has started traveling again. Evelyn and I enjoy our summer days but I have to admit, we are in that tough age spot where most of the things we want to do are for 2-3 year olds and she's still too little. We take walks around the neighborhood and have playdates but I have found myself semi-bored these last few weeks. I know the saying 'only boring people get bored' but for the first time since becoming a mother, I do feel a little bored. She is already acting like she's in her Terrible Twos by throwing tantrums, not wanting to sit in her car seat, wanting to get out of the shopping cart anytime we go to a store and hitting. Yes, she is in the hitting stage. And it's mostly just me that she hits. She can speak clearer and her vocabulary is definitely expanding but she still has that frustration of not being able to tell me what she wants/needs (it's pretty frustrating for me too). 

We are actually flying out to Texas tomorrow morning and the whole family is excited. This is the first time all five grandkids will be under the same roof. We were all together last August when Aunt Tara got married but the family was scattered all over the DFW area and staying in hotels. On this trip, we will get to see the new house in Stephenville and overall, get a change of scenery. It should be lots of fun. 

We have a ton of happenings in July so check back in a couple of weeks! I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

We can't stop eating this salad

I recently found this salad recipe on Allrecipes and we've been eating it twice a week for the last month! I thought I should share it before we burn ourselves out:

Chinese Chicken Salad

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon hot chile paste
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
16 (3.5 inch square) wonton wrappers, shredded
4 cups romaine lettuce - torn, washed and dried
1 cup shredded carrots
1 bunch green onions, chopped

  1. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, brown sugar, chili paste, vinegar, and sesame oil.
  2. Grill or broil the chicken breasts until cooked, about 10 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Cool and slice.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large shallow pan with nonstick vegetable spray; arrange shredded wontons in a single layer and bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, wontons, lettuce, carrots, and green onions. Toss with dressing and serve.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May

Lucy is back home. 

About two weeks ago, Evelyn and I were driving down our street and he ran in front of our car. I could literally see all of his ribs as he sprinted in front of the car.  I got out and called for him but he was gone. He had been missing since March 24th and in that six weeks of time, we had lost hope. We do live in an environment where other, bigger things can eat him. I just kept telling myself maybe he was living with someone down the street. I didn't want to think of him our there scared and hungry. 

Unfortunately, that is exactly what he was. 

I printed off new flyers and went door to door down our street. I ended up meeting two new neighbors at the very end of our street and both of them had seen Lucy that day and days before. One neighbor found him eating dog food in her garage and the other neighbor said Lucy went to their sliding glass door every night and just looked in. She said he would run away anytime they approached the door. 
I got permission from them both to set up a live trap in their back yard area. We were determined to get him back home. 

That night Mat and I went out and set the live trap. We used a blanket our other cats had been napping on and put a bowl of tuna inside the trap. We checked twice that night before going to bed and he wasn't there. The next morning I came downstairs around 730am and Mat told me Lucy was back. Mat had gone out and checked the trap at 7am that morning and Lucy was curled up on the blanket sleeping. 

He was emaciated and had an injury on his hip. Some of his whiskers had also been singed. I didn't even want to think about how that might have happened. He came home on Saturday and I called the vet because we wanted to get him checked out. The vet showed that at his check up last year he weighed 12lbs and that day he weighed only 8. He got a rabies shot, dewormer and was negative for feline Lukemia/FIV. The injury on his hip was an animal bite that had abscessed but was on its way to healing. 

He's been back home now for a little over a week. He eats non-stop and slept for the first two days he was back in the house. He was exhausted and I'm sure didn't get a lot of rest while he was out being a crazy cat in the neighborhood. He's slowly gaining weight back and we are so glad to have our very first kitty back! 


You can see his back hip bones in this picture (gross!)


Poor cat was dying of thirst 


Both kitty and baby were freaked out at the vet 




Evelyn turned 15 months old this month. She has lost a total of 2lbs this year but the pediatrician tells us that's normal. She literally runs, not walks. She still doesn't love naps or bedtime and sometimes I feel like she's surviving on air. She is really tall and has thinned out a lot. My mom kept buying her 2T clothes but they are all too big. She's wearing an 18-24 month size now but already wears a 5 or 
5 1/2 shoe. Her almost 3 year old friend Emma wears the same shoe size! 


Here is little sassy in her new kitty jelly shoes


She loves going through her box of headbands 

I had a great Mother's Day weekend this year too. Mat cooked a special meal - crab cakes, steak, salad and I made an apple tart. Molly and Chris came over to eat with us. We had planned on working in the yard but believe it or not, it snowed on Mother's Day! Needless to say, we didn't do any planting or hanging out outside. I had a luxurious nap and Mat took over most of the baby duties for the weekend - that was a real treat. I also received one of the most special gifts ever. I had a Mother's ring made using a stone from one of my grandmother's rings.  My grandma gave me her star sapphire ring when I was 19 years old. My grandfather gave it to her on their tenth wedding anniversary. I have a friend in New Hampshire that is a jeweler and I contacted her to do the work. 


From the top left : my grandma's birthstone, her star sapphire
From the middle left : my mom's birthstone, my birthstone
The little guy at the bottom is Evelyn's birthstone 

I truly love the ring and it makes me happy to have all the important women in my life and my precious baby represented in one ring. If anyone is interested in their own ring (or any quality sterling jewelry), visit my friend's Website , she's really great.  

I hope everyone has a fun-filled Memorial Day weekend. Stay safe and I'll be back in June! 


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seattle

Mat and I took our first Evelyn-free trip. It was a four day vacation to Seattle. Neither of us had ever been to that city and it was a pretty quick flight from our house - an hour and fifteen minutes.
I knew it would be hard to leave Evelyn so when we were booking the tickets we chose to fly out at 8am from Denver. We had to get up around 4am to get ready and be on the road by 5:15am at the latest. It would have been great if Evelyn hadn't decided to wake up around 4:15am crying and wanting to be held. Luckily Mayme was here to take over. She split the babysitting time with my sister Molly. We are so thankful to have family living close to us and for also having the best Mayme ever!

Seattle was a little cooler than Fort Collins and half of the time it was cloudy. The sun did come out but I can see why people can get bummed out living in that type of weather year round. We packed clothes that we could layer and I bought each of us a new umbrella.

On our first night we stayed in a boutique hotel two blocks from Pikes Place Market. It was called Hotel Andra. The airport was a 15 minute cab ride to the hotel so we dropped our luggage and started out on foot. We initially agreed that we wouldn't rent a car for this trip and would walk everywhere. You can cover more ground in big cities on foot when you don't have to deal with traffic. Mat found a tour company that seemed cool so we booked two tours; our first tour was of Pike's Place. Our guide was awesome and we spent about 3 1/2 hours at the market sampling food, drinks, watching the guys throw fish and checking out the original Starbucks. We were scared these tours would feel like a canned experience but that wasn't the case at all.

We took a ferry out to Bainbridge Island the next day and also switched hotels. We moved a couple blocks down closer to the water (Elliot Bay) and stayed at a Marriott Waterfront. They had a great restaurant attached and a nice cocktail lounge to boot. Plus, the views were incredible. It was even chillier by the water but worth it. We had our second tour on this day and it was the Belltown restaurant tour. We went to five different places for food and drinks. We started at Local 360 and had fresh oysters and roasted beet salads. We moved on to Rob Roy for a handcrafted cocktail. The bartenders there even hand chisel all the ice cubes! We walked across the street to Shiros. Shiro is one of the top 5 sushi chefs in the world. He is in his 70's and his restaurant is first come, first serve and seats only 14 people. There isn't much of a menu and most people opt to sit at the sushi counter (if they are lucky enough to score a coveted seat) and dine on chef's choice. The restaurant opened at 5pm and by 4:50pm there is usually a line of at least 20 waiting. We got to go in right before 5pm, meet him and be served two different types of sashimi. It was a really neat experience. Our guide also told us about the movie 'Jiro dreams of sushi' and how Shiro studied under Jiro. Crazy names, cool story. The movie is on Netflix if you're interested. We moved on to an italian restaurant called Brezzini (I couldn't find a website for it, oddly). We had hand made/hand cut pasta with the most amazing bolognese sauce we've ever tasted. Mat and I don't love pasta but this place was fantastic. It made us want to make our own pasta actually! Our last stop on the tour was at Black Bottle for dessert. I should mention that on this tour there was our guide and one other couple; the couple was seriously George Costanza's parents. We were ready to kill the wife by the end. They were very Jewish, knew everything and talked about money constantly. It was gross. We basically ignored them the whole time. All in all, the tour was really cool and the food was really good.

On the third day in Seattle we were pretty tired after walking 10 plus miles each day so we tried to rent a car and were actually successful. We drove 60 miles north of Seattle to Mount Vernon and went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. We are so glad we were able to do this. The festival is an annual event that takes place from April 1st-30th and boasts 100 acres of tulips. Two of the nations largest tulip growers grow their flowers here. Photos will never do it justice. If you have the chance to go, you should.

We also did some shopping for Evelyn while we were there. I got her a boutique outfit and was finally able to visit the store Land of Nod. Its one of my favorite kids catalogs/websites and I was excited to go to the store and touch everything in person. We got her a princess doll with pink yarn hair on the trip. She loves it.

It was nice to get away but we are also happy to get back home and settle in with our baby and our little life!


Entrance to the market


Rows and rows of tulip bouquets for $5 and $10


Vegetables at the market


Elysian brewery in the Capitol Hill neighborhood


Mat's friend Derek recommended Rachel's Ginger beer. Fresh made ginger beer mixed with spirits of your choice. Mat liked it and it was a little too heartburn-y for me


Monkfish at the market


Gum wall at the Market



On our way to Mount Vernon  


Let the tulips begin 


Breathtaking 


Rows and rows growing in fields 


Tulips around a tree


This is part of big tulip circles that were artfully planted


Mat liked the double leaf ones here (yellow)


More 


The doll we bought Evelyn 


We are so happy to be back home with this smiling little face

Thursday, March 27, 2014

And then there were four

Lucy is missing. 

It's weird to even type it. We are definitely feeling his absence in our house and everyone is pretty sad. It happened last week. Mat was in Kansas and my sister came over to babysit Evelyn so I could go to my Gypsy Wife sewing class. I didn't get home until around 8:30pm and Evelyn was wide awake. We have been having sleeping issues with her (big surprise) and I didn't get her into bed until about 9:30pm. I was exhausted and did notice that none of the animals were in bed with me when I laid down. I was actually excited about it. Usually I have to share the bed with Mat, our dog Kali and one or two cats. Having a king sized bed all to myself was a treat! 

The next morning Evelyn and I woke up and it was business as usual. We were gone most of the day. We got home around 3pm and Mat got in from the airport around 5pm. He was taking the recycling and trash out for us when he came running into the house to tell me Lucy was outside. I was totally surprised to hear this because I know I didn't let him out and then I started thinking.....when was the last time I saw him? He is one of the two cats that normally sleeps in our bed and he didn't do that the night before. Mat tried to get him to come back inside but he was freaked out and ran under the neighbor's fence.  

Lucy has randomly darted outside before. He will run outside then get freaked out and run right back inside. He is a true scaredy cat. But he is also Siamese so he has attitude and will act like a punk. He had gotten out twice at our last house in Texas. But he always came right back. 

Mat and I called a neighbor over to watch Evelyn so we could go out and find Lucy. While she was babysitting, we corralled three other neighbors to help us in the search. We found him under a porch about three houses down. We had an elaborate assembly line of people coaxing him back into our backyard. We got him to come back to our house and even to go into our backyard. I closed the back gate as he ran into our backyard but he didn't stop and run into our backdoor. In fact, we have no idea where he went and we haven't seen him again. He's been missing now for eight days. It's literally as if this cat has vanished into thin air. 

We purchased a live trap and set it up around the area of the last place we saw him. We have blankets and tuna inside. It has snowed once since he's been gone and also dropped down into the 20's a couple of nights. He is a spoiled indoor cat that sleeps in a king size bed with his parents. We know he has to be freaking out. We can only assume he was overstimulated by the outside and that's why he ran past our backdoor. I put up flyers in the neighborhood. But we are planning to take the live trap down tomorrow if he hasn't shown up. 

We are sad and feeling the loss around here. Lucy was our first cat together and my first cat ever. Mat and I got him from my mom's neighbor in Tennessee back in 2005. We had just moved in together that summer and Lucy was our first baby. He was the test cat to see if we could be parents! He was also Mat's favorite. Mat took the news of this really hard at first but he's getting better now. Now I'm the sad one and also the one that is riddled with guilt over the fact that none of our cats wear collars and they are all front declawed. Even if someone finds him, they won't know who to return him to. It's not a good situation. We hope he just shows up on our doorstep one day but until then Lucy will be greatly missed. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

40 Bags in 40 Days

I am seeing posts about "40 Bags in 40 Days" all over social media. I was intrigued and started Googling because I didn't know what it was. Basically, you clean and purge areas of your home during the 40 days of Lent. You tackle small areas each day in an attempt to declutter, organize and clean.  Sounds good to me.

Here is a blog post from Clover Lane describing it all in greater detail.

My parents have been here for the last week so I did go through my closet, Evelyn's closet and my downstairs closet that's full of old decorations and stuff I just don't have hanging up in our house anymore. I gave things to both my mom and sister and also gathered two more garbage bags full for our neighborhood yard sale this summer. It definitely feels good to downsize "stuff" and have more breathing room in the house.

Happy downsizing!