Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Potty Training Under a Year

This is the one where I talk about pee and poop. You've been warned.

The Sugarbaby will be a year old on April 3. Just before her 10th birthday, I had the idea to start putting her on the potty when I would go. This was inspired in large part from watching/reading "The Help" and also because Tesla developed a nasty yeast diaper rash from the rounds of antibiotics she was on. Because I liked to let her air dry when we were at home, the best solution was to put her on the potty and let her do her thing. This idea infinitely trumped the idea of covering the living room floor with fleece blankets. Not monumental messes, but nevertheless, trying to keep her in our nest of blankets was tough. It was also difficult when you have a small dog who wants to help out. Oh, sweet Guapo. ::shaking my head::

So began our adventure into potty training. 

 She's made the connection that the toilet is where she needs to go. She just sits there and concentrates and does whatever she needs to do, then will sign "all done" when she's finished. I slacked off when we were all under the weather, but started back up a week later. One Saturday morning, I forgot to immediately put her on the potty. I really had to go. It took everything in me to prep Mari's toothbrush with toothpaste, prop Tesla on the floor and hand her a toothbrush that has been prepped with water. I was seriously doing the potty dance! I left them by the sink and danced over to the toilet. Tesla, on the otherhand stopped brushing her teeth, crawled over to her potty, lifted the seat and was trying to climb up. I pulled down her pajama pants, took off the diaper, and propped up. In that moment, I was proud that she knew the routine and was ready for it!

Thus far, it'd only been in the mornings where we've seen routine success. In the evenings, it has been sporadic. I can usually catch her if we go immediately after dinner. The other evening, however, I caught her with a look on her face and rushed her to her toilet. We made it in time, too! We all danced and cheered for her going poo in the potty. Pretty silly, but simultaneously, monumental in her life. The Sugarbaby smiled proudly, while big sister did a potty jig, clapping her hands with a made-up sing-song. We gave high fives all around.

I'm not rushing the milestones by any means. We are taking cues from her. She's quite the observer. It also helps having a big sister. While she is building her vocabulary, pee/poo are not yet in there. Neither are the sign language signs.* Like I said, she's leading the effort. I know that potty training before a year can be done. A couple of my cousins were potty trained well before a year. I witnessed one first-hand! At 9 months, he took off his diaper, crawled and climbed up on the toilet, did his business, then put the diaper back on. He wasn't able to flush the toilet, but he knew what to do. I was impressed. I've read that cloth diapered babies are better able to tell when they need to go. I'm not certain about that. I think the kiddos do it when they are ready, regardless if they are age 9 months or 4 years. I can say, it is nice when they are able to go on their own. With all of the stomach issues we had encountered with Mari, it is comforting to know all of that works the way it should work and that she can take care it if all herself.  It's just as exciting when Tesla can do it, too!

How about you all? Any potty training tips, tricks, flubs?


*Her vocabulary so far....Her signs include: eat, more, all done, and shakes her head no. Her words are mama, maaaaa (mari), dada, do (dog), ca-ca-ca (cat), shhhh (fish), bu (book), baaabaaa (sheep), che-che (leche=milk), ma-ma-ma (mas=more). We are working on thank you and potty.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A is for Apples, Applesauce, Apples for Pie

For Monday randomness, I wanted to talk to you about canning. I recently discovered Doomsday Preppers on NatGeo. I don't normally like shows like that. Partially because I get freaked out at the thought of the end of the world and everyone running around fending for themselves. Also because, (Hoarders/Coupon Queens), it just glorifies the excess we have here in our country. Anyway, the particular group of shows I saw featured people who did canning. Canning is definitely a skill to have. Not just because you are being thrifty, but because you make the food and you know where your food is coming from. I may not have the land to grow food like I want, I do have the ability to purchase healthy, non-gmo produce. 

Prior to marrying and having a family, my biggest issue was what was I going to do with all of the extra food. There is NO WAY I could consume everything that comes with the cost savings of purchasing in bulk. Even having a family, I get a bit overwhelmed when I make large bulk purchases. I'm always looking for ways to share/split with friends or preserving foods. 

I had grand intentions of making a video of my canning process and capturing photos of the entire thing and quickly decided against it. No one has requested it of me and there are a bajillion others out there. If you are interested, I have some more fruit I could probably can, and would gladly capture the process if there was interest. Don helped me a bit, but I was really proud of myself for doing 95% of the work involved. Very, very exciting! If you want to try it, I will tell you, it is messy and sticky (with apples, anyway). You want to be sure to have your canning towels as well as a mop handy to clean up afterwards. I now know why there used to be rooms dedicated to canning.

With that said, I bought a case of apples. I had more than 100 apples to peel, core, and prepare. (Actually closer to 120.) The last time we went through this, I peeled and cored half of the apples by hand before begging my friend to use their apple peeler/corer gadget. If you plan on doing anything with apples, I HIGHLY recommend you get one of these guys! I can not stress enough how wonderful this little tool was. Another great canning tool is this book. So many wonderful, wonderful recipes in there!

Bianca's Applesauce (Mama loves sugar!)
9 apples peeled and cored. Boil for 20 minutes. Take off stove, let cool slightly. Puree in blender. Add apples to pot with a bit of the water from the boiling process. Add 1 cup of sugar. Stir and bring to a boil.

Mari's Favorite Applesauce (no added sugar)
9 apples peeled and cored. Boil for 20 minutes with a vanilla bean. If you don't have one, it isn't essential. Boiling in water is fine. Puree in blender. Add the apples to a pot with about 1/4 cup of water from the boiling process. Bring to a boil. Then can. *While I was canning, I sat Tesla in her high chair with 1/2 cup of this sauce after it had cooled. She gobbled it up and had another serving. She LOVED it!

Canned Apples for Baking
9 apples peeled and cored. Boil for 20 minutes with 2 vanilla beans. Add 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Bring to a boil. When the apples are mostly softened/cooked, bring away from heat. Scoop apples into wide mouth jars. Fill to the top. Pour syrup over the apples. Add vanilla bean if you are going for "pretty." I didn't add cinnamon to these apples because different pie recipes call for different amounts of cinnamon.

All of these recipes call for 9 apples because that's how many fit comfortably in my largest pot. ha! Obviously, if you had a larger pan, you can do more. I had to do many series of boiling/blending to get the amount for applesauce.

Estimated Summary

120 apples
40+ jars of varying sizes (wide mouth quart and pint, regular pint, 1/2 pint, and 4 oz)
4 vanilla beans
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups of sugar
4 tablespoons of fruit fresh
Gallons and gallons of water

1 large water canner
1 canning kit (magnetic wand, pair of canning tongs, funnel)
1 apple peeler
1 Ninja food prep
2 large stock pots
1 smaller pot
1 tiny pot
2 pot holders
2 trivets
4 kitchen towels
Timer
1 child carrier backpack --without this, Tesla would not have allowed me to work continuously. It provides great support and keeps a very curious child off the ground while working with hot materials. She loves being high up and able to see what I'm doing. (Thanks Sam for this awesome gift!)
1 mother-in-law on call to help you if you have any questions (hi Carol!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

hdmr: What's Your Number?

Valentine's evening, my beloved had to work his part-time job. Truth be told, I was TOTALLY ok with it because I'd been wanting to see What's Your Number? I'm an Anna Faris fan ever since House Bunny & Just Friends.


After an impromptu dress up session with my girls, I put the Sugarbean to bed early. Tesla and I hung out since she was insistent on latching herself to me. I popped in the movie, made a big bowl of the Indian inspired lentil goulash that Don made before work, had my vin cotto chocolate nearby, and settled in for a night of laughs.

This movie had some laughs, but overall, I was more than disturbed by it all. It isn't uncommon for Anna Faris to run around barely dressed, but some of her outfits were more than forced. I had a brief hint of hope for her in following her dream of creating these beautifully artistic sculptures, but sadly, they didn't develop that storyline. It was more centered and focused on her landing the guy (which, duh, it's a RomCom), but still. In House Bunny she elevated beyond the obvious. I was hoping for some similar magic here, but no. I didn't get that. I was more excited about my phone telling me the battery was dying than I was about watching this movie.
Sidenote: The port that allows my cell phone battery to charged has gone kaput. My phone died in the middle of this movie. I was paranoid, used my Google Voice Number to text and stay connected. Thank goodness for that. I am using my spare phone and it is JUST a phone. I can't believe how dependent I have become on my Smart Phone. I feel like someone has severed a cord. It's refreshing, though, to be disconnected. Truthfully, though, while I do miss my phone camera, it is great to have a break!
Anyway, if you have a free rental, then feel free to rent it. I was disappointed, but not completely un-entertained. Just not quite the barrel of laughs that I wanted.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

From our hearts to yours...Happy Day of Love! May you spend it with the one(s) you love the most, even if that is you, yourself.




(Many thanks to Sapphyre Photography for capturing my gals.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Buffalo Chicken/Portobello Mushroom Pizza

February2012-12

This pizza was a hit! Not just with me, but everyone who ventured to eat it at the Superbowl Party we attended. It had the right amount of heat to it. It was incredibly easy (thank you pre-made crust) and quite affordable. For $20 (counting ALL ingredients to double the recipe...but I made them on separate days), I made two pizzas, which fed 5 adults and a couple of brave kiddos. We also had a tiny bit left over for a yummy snack! Adapted from this recipe at Spork or Foon. This is enough for 1 pizza.


BUFFALO CHICKEN/PORTOBELLO PIZZA
  • 1 lb package of chicken breasts
  • 1 large portobello mushroom
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot* sauce
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 package shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pre-made store-bought pizza crust
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet or pizza stone with parchment paper. 
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a medium-large saute pan over medium high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, and cook until cooked through, about 7 minutes.  Set aside and let cool slightly. 
When cooled, cut chicken into 2" cubed pieces. Slice mushroom into cubes or lengthwise. Put each one in a separate bowl that can be covered with a lid.
In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add worchestershire sauce and hot sauce and combine.  Remove from heat. Pour even amounts over the chicken and the mushroom. Cover and shake it up. Let marinate. (if you let it marinate longer, it really brings out the heat of the sauce, which is quite good!)
Place pre-made pizza on baking sheet or pizza stone.  Top with tomato sauce and mozzarella. Top with chicken on one side, portobello mushroom on the other side.

February2012-4

Place in oven and bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted, about 18 minutes.  Remove from oven. Top with blue cheese crumbles and celery. Serve immediately.

*I usually keep the Frank's Red Hot nearby, because I found myself wanting to add it to everything else. It was awesome and lives up to their slogan. he he

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Scary Seizures

In lieu of my HDMR, I'm going to write to address our evening last night. First of all, we are fine. Exhausted, but fine. Tesla was diagnosed as having a simple febrile seizure. Apparently it is common in 2% of the population. As it was explained to us, some kiddos have to do a "reset" when the spike in temperature gets too high for their brain. The brain triggers this reset as a defensive response. The child is not affected. No lower IQ, no developmental delays, no issues to the brain or physical issues. For the parents, you get the hell scared out of you and probably shed at least a gallon's worth of tears. Let's not even go into the details of the number of gray hairs I received.

Last night, after the Sugarbean's birthday celebration, I turned off the TV and went to sit in our little sitting area. Don was holding Tesla as she slept, Mari was in her room coughing up a lung. We were having one of our "dreaming big" discussions and were making plans for our home for the future. We were both commenting on how blessed we were. Our kiddos have been sick. This isn't a surprise. To hear Mari hacking in the other room was heartbreaking, but we were advised that it was good for her to cough up whatever she needed to get out. I heard her whimpering, so I went to check on her. The whimpering turned to full on wailing and she sprung out of bed and headed for the bathroom. She told me her mouth was on fire. I gave her water and started to pour out a small dosage of cough syrup so she could rest. Then I heard the loudest scream/shriek Tesla has ever made, followed by two very, very large gasps of air.

I ran to the office and looked at Don, looked at Tesla, and got out, "What happened." In his calm, but authoritative voice (which I still have a difficult time understanding because I'm used to panic and yelling), "Tesla is having a seizure. Call someone." I fumbled with my phone and of course, I struggled with it. I got 911 on the line. I checked on Mari whose "fire mouth" had calmed down. She rushed to my side and grabbed my leg. I started giving the details to the operator and grabbed Tesla. I held her close to me as her body convulsed. It was just twitching. Like a bug twitches before it dies. Her pupils were constricted so tightly as her eyes rolled around. There was nothing I could do. NOTHING. I did my best to talk to the operator. For 5 minutes she had that seizure. Worst 5 minutes of my life. I felt like I was trying to contain a gallon of water in my hands, but it just kept slipping out. I couldn't hold tight enough. I just talked to her. Kept talking to her.

Then the paramedics arrived. By this time, she had stopped. She came out of it confused, disoriented, then eventually, pissed off. She started crying and that was music to my ears. They examined her on a pillow on our kitchen table and she wasn't moving like she normally does. She just laid there crying. They told me that we were going to go for a ride, so I grabbed my things. Poor Mari staring at me, at us. "Mommy, are we going to the hos-table? Is Tesla ok? Mommy, are you sad? I'm sad! Mommy, don't leave me." I told her I was going to ride with Tesla in the ambulance. She was going to ride with Daddy and for her to go grab her shoes and coat.

The ride over was bumpy and full of fussing and irritability. I jumped at every twitch, afraid it would start again. She was really intrigued by the mobile machine they were using to monitor her. In between tears, I made small talk with the paramedics. Each of them had children. One of them had 4, his youngest daughter had just turned 6 months. In unison, they all told me it was ok and that they understood my pain.

We got to Children's and as they were unloading her, Tesla smiled at the paramedic. By the time they checked us in, she was cooing. When we were settled in the room, I changed her diaper. She had completely evacuated her system during the seizure. After some initial tests, I nursed her and let her sleep. She slept intermittently while we had several tests conducted, one of which was RSV. Mari watched TV and thought the whole ordeal, while scary, was fun. She liked the hospital and the firemen. For her, it was a nice birthday present and she kept asking if we could do it all again. Sorry baby, this is something we don't ever want to do again. Ever! It's been a year since we were at Children's, I hope we don't make this an annual thing.

Diagnosis: bronchiolitis. We need to suction her frequently, monitor the temperature and treat with motrin/ibuprofen, and if she has another seizure, bring her in. If she struggles with breathing, bring her in. If her temperature gets over 102, bring her in. We have a follow-up visit with our doctor this afternoon.

We got home before sunrise and after shedding some more tears, we all settled in for some rest. Thank you all for your kind words and messages, especially those of you who have shared your similar stories. Reading about them, then seeing your bigger kids, knowing they have grown up ok, are growing ok, brings much, much comfort. We are so very, very blessed. We will keep you posted as we learn more.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cuatro!


You looked over at me and with every fiber in your being, you insisted you were going to be 5. In your mind, you have been 4 for the past year. Well, I distinctly remember birthing you and yes, darling, you are turning 4 this year, not 5.

You are 35 pounds of mighty, happy energy. Your light brown, curly tendrils fall well below your bottom. You have long, graceful arms, ridiculously strong, lithe legs, and a 6-pack that will make any body builder envious. Your cheeks are the perfect shade of rose. Those beautiful brown eyes, so full of curiosity and compassion. You tell me every day how you are growing, then stand next to me to demonstrate how tall you've become. As of this very moment, you are about an inch above my hip, or slightly higher than 38 inches high. That gorgeous smile of yours lights a room!

Quite the daring soul who likes to explore, we often have fits of willpower when you push your boundaries. You firmly stand your ground. It simultaneously infuriates and makes me beam with pride. You are everything I prayed you would be and more.

You come up with your own phrases and mannerisms. "Mommy, I'm signing to you." as you flash the I love you sign. "Everyday I never..." is what precludes your objection when I don't allow you an extra serving of sugar, or anything for that matter. "Oh, never mind, sorry." Mari, you don't have to say I'm sorry for everything. Which you will reply your statement again. "Mommy, only comb my hair soft and gently. I don't want you to pull my hair, it hurts. Ok?" We have this conversation every time I have to brush your hair. I can distract you by watching a movie. Nowadays, you allow me to style your hair more and more. "Awww...that's so cuuute!" Any time your sister does something, you will say it is cute. This also goes for nice clothes you appreciate and good food...sometimes when things aren't necessarily cute.


The other day, we were over at our friend's house and you questioned where their dog was. It had been a while since we were over, so I was surprised you remembered. During that time, their beloved friend had passed. I just shook my head and tried to explain to you that she had died. You looked at me, processing the statement I'd just made, until you finally came up with your own conclusion. "You mean she was squashed like a bug and then went up to Jesus with Bisabuelo? And now Guapo doesn't have his best friend because she's in heaven, but everyday he can pray and talk to her because she's dead?" "Yes, Sugarbean,something like that. Only she wasn't squashed like a bug. She was just old." "Well, ok. But do they miss her? Is Guapo sad?" "Yes, darlin' they miss her and he is sad, I'm sure." "Well, we need to give Guapo a hug and some cake, but not too much cake because that will hurt his pansa." I just nodded and smiled. Off you went about your day. You are compassionate.

In dance class, there's a gal who is a bully. Like any other 4 year old, she will go off and do whatever on her own. The difference with her is that when she is bored, she will shove whoever she is near. She also likes to instigate. For you, this means she will either shove you or try to stand on your number instead of her own. This has made you not like dance class, even though you LOVE dancing. You have expressed this to me. You have asked to not go to dance class any more because of this. When that little girl went up to you to push you, she revved back and pushed as hard as she could. You stood there, not budging, holding your ground. You had tears in your eyes, but you refused to let her defeat you. You also refused to inflict pain on her, which I'm sure you would have preferred to do. I opened the door to give that girl a stern stare down (and rest assured, I plan to use my strongest and most effective words with her mother next week) and tried to reassure you. You did your best to focus on the remainder of dance class. You are tenacious.

Your belly laughs are every bit as infectious as they were the first time I heard them. We have counted at least 5 different types of laughs, each with their own level. At times, they can be out of control, but so easily to get caught up with. They can turn my mood from sour to whimsical just like that. It's tough to be an adult some times. You remind us to not take things so seriously. You are funny.

It has been said that your average 4 year old asks 500 questions a day. You, Sugarbean, are far from average. I don't have a counter, but from the moment you wake up to the moment you finally go to sleep, you are talking and asking questions. Why this? Why that? What does this mean? What does this do? How does that work? Where is this? How do you feel? Who is that? When will we do this? It's exhausting and awesome. Sometimes you ask the same questions over and over. Most times, what sounds like the same question is you repeating back the answer. You will later bring it up again, with the answer. In this way, you like to teach your sister and anyone else who will listen. You are very smart.

Speaking of your sister, almost every motion and action you make is with her in mind. If you get a sticker, you want one for her. If you get a treat, you will happily take a 2nd one for her (and eat it because she isn't big enough yet). If you have a special date, you want to make sure Tesla can join. You are a remarkable big sister!

Happy birthday, my sweet girl! Cheers to many, many more years of celebrations (and adventures!) and the goodness you bring. I love you!
Copyright Sapphyre Photography

Monday, February 6, 2012

11...would be my favorite number if 13 wasn't already my favorite

I was tagged by my blogging buddy, E, to do this list. I didn't have anything ready to post (must finish uploading photos), so this will take the place of my Random Monday post. 


First, I need to share the rules with you.  These are very important...
1) You must post these rules. 
2) Each person must post 11 things about themselves on their blog. 
3) Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer. 
4) You have to choose 11 people to tag and link them on the post. 
5) Go to their page and tell them you linked him or her. 
6) No tag backs.
7) No stuff in the tagging section about "you are tagged if you are reading this." You have to legitimately tag 11 people. <--aaack, I don't think I know 11 bloggers who would do this, but I'll tag them anyway.

(I, too, didn't know there was such a thing as legitimate tagging.  Lesson learned.)

11 Things About Me:
  1. I don't drink nearly enough water as my body needs. I know this to be true when I get massive headaches, agitated, or restless. I actually mark the number of glasses of water I've had at work on my calendar. I get excited if it is more than 4. absurd.
  2. I took one of those political compass quizzes online. I was almost dead center of the graph. I'm still trying to understand what that says about me.
  3. I get genuinely frustrated with all of this political talk, simultaneously, I'm happy to know such a diverse group of people.
  4. In my youth, I spent a fair amount of time looking in the mirror, practicing facial expressions for the day when I would have friends to use in actual conversation. Now, I don't like to look in the mirror at all.
  5. Additionally, I was quite a ham for the camera. I didn't mind being in front of it. Now, I much, MUCH rather be the one taking the photo. I don't know when that changed.
  6. I have a genuine desire to learn how to be a decent surfer. I don't live any where near a body of water that allows for constant surfing. I don't know how this is going to become a reality.
  7. I have an unusual fear of cockroaches. I also discovered that I'm allergic to them. (weird) If I have to kill one, it involves shrieking, yelling, gagging, profanities, and then, if successful, a different sense of satisfaction, combined with a healthy dose of icked-out-ness.
  8. I absolutely and completely do not like green beans in ANY form. I keep trying them and they just dont' appeal to me.
  9. Music is as essential as air and water. Can't live without it. (Do you have any recommendations?)
  10. A great cup of coffee and an amazing pair of shoes will lift my spirits. Then again, a nice word from a loved one or stranger is great, too!
  11. I'm having a love/hate relationship with my hair. I really want to chop it all off, but then I know I will regret it. I've told myself I'm keeping it until my friend's wedding in May. After that, I'm whacking it all off.
11 Questions from E:

  1. What is one thing you can't leave the house without? my phone
  2. Tell me the best place you've ever visited or vacationed. Rome
  3. You have to sing karaoke to save my life. What song do you choose? Moon River or I will Survive
  4. If you could change one thing in the past week, what would it be? listening more, talking less
  5. What have you been eating a lot of recently? vegetables
  6. If you were going to be famous for something, what would you want it to be? writing a great piece of fiction
  7. What is your least favorite chore? laundry
  8. If you had to live one place the rest of you life, where would it be? on a beach with electricity, wifi, indoor plumbing and central air with my family
  9. What shows do you watch regularly? The Big Bang Theory
  10. Do you have any big trips coming up? If so, what? Rochester, NY; Mackinac Island, MI; hopefully Costa Rica
  11. Who is your hero? I have many, but I would have to say My Father, My Mother, Maya Angelou
My 11 Questions:
  1. What is the single best piece of advice you've ever received?
  2. What is your favorite cake flavor?
  3. What was your most favorite pair of shoes?
  4. Where are you happiest?
  5. You have $100 to blow, what do you buy?
  6. What was your favorite birthday?
  7. Where is your next dining out experience?
  8. What goal/dream has gone unfinished?
  9. Who would you like to kill half a day with?
  10. What would you all do during that time?
  11. What song makes you dance like a crazy person?
My 11 people 
(let's be realistic, I won't have a full 11. If you can do it, great, if you can't, that's ok, too!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

DMA: John Paul Gaultier

Remember when you were little and you had big dreams? Were you lucky enough to have parents to give you the supplies you needed to live out those dreams? As you know, I spent my summers with my grandmother and the sound of her sewing machine humming is what would lull me to sleep during naptime. When I was Mari's age now, she handed me a large plastic needle and yarn. She told me once I was able to do that, then she'd give me something to sew.  When I mastered that, I was given an actual needle and embroidery thread. I was then instructed to hand sew a straight stitch, then different patterns. I had to prove my mastery at hand sewing before I was allowed to use the machine. I never threaded her machine. I did re-arrange all of her threads for her, categorizing them according to the color of the rainbow, then sorting them my individual color underneath. My job was to also help her with patterns. Cutting them out, laying them flat, pinning them for her, and then later folding them up without tearing and tucking them nicely back into the bag.

I drew many designs for my dolls. I drew clothes of what I wanted to wear when I was older. When I was 7, as a Christmas gift, I received from Santa this fashion template set. You could put down the template and "build" a wardrobe from basic pieces. You'd place a piece of paper over the template, run your large charcoal or crayon over it, and then your image would appear. You could then color it however you wanted. This was a nice "cheater" way of creating clothing, but I wasn't interested in textile design, but the actual design of apparel. By the time I was 8, I was happy to go to the grocery store with my mother just so I could delicately flip the pages of Vogue. We never purchased a copy. When we would go to the library, I would obsess over the clothing in the magazine articles. The advent of MTV and the supermodel had me fixated with all things Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington. They just knew how to wear clothes! I idolized fashion designers like some kids idolized sports figures. I cried the day Gianni Versace was killed. You see, fashion designers aren't the sort of people that you actually get to meet. It isn't like they are out and about at events where you can rub shoulders with them. Well, not at events for normal sort of folk. I had fashion week, and whatever coverage my cable news channel afforded. I would get seriously pissed if my father changed the channel when I was watching runway. Even if it was for a brief second coverage, I'd say, "No Daddy, go back!" I wanted to see the clothes. I HAD TO SEE THEM. I'll be the first to admit that I dated a handful of boys that were completely wrong for me, but boy could they wear the heck out of clothes! They knew how to dress and well, that was VERY important to me.

And then I grew up, chose a different path, and that part of me sat dormant.

I became a mother and my eldest started to play with Barbies. She asked for clothes for her Barbies. I started designing again. And I drew, and I drew, and I still draw. I've only constructed two pieces. I've been playing around with making her clothes too. In my spare time, you know. Then the Dallas Museum of Art brought Jean Paul Gaultier to Dallas. My jaw hit the floor and I was excited. I asked to go at some point during the exhibit. It closes next week on the 12th. Don, remembering my request, loaded up the girls and off we went to the DMA. I was beyond excited. At the front of the exhibit, you see the sailor stripes as I came to be familiar with him. How ever is it that I don't immediately associate him with the cone bras? ha ha

We went through each room. I read about each outfit. I appreciated the hours into the craftsmanship. Even Don was impressed! We were further treated when we saw the actual costume Chris Tucker wore in the 5th Element. Don said, that looks familiar. I thought, yes, it looks like something Nikki Minaj might have worn. Then I remembered, duh, Don wouldn't know that. I glanced at the sign and we saw 5th Element and told him. He nodded his head and was impressed. He also like many of the men's stylings that were shown. I admired every single detail. Each stitch, each bead, each feather...all of it. The sheer patience involved. I do believe motherhood has given me that patience.

Tesla was enamored with all of the people and seemed intrigued by the clothes. Mari wanted to walk around and touch everything and was more than discontent when I forced her to sit in the stroller the entire time. One time she escaped and was perched on a shelf with no display. She was just sitting there bored. The attendant immediately went up to her and told her that she couldn't be there. We received quite a few looks, actually, for having our children there. Only a handful of them were haughty. The rest seemed like they were happy to have them there. It was hard. I wanted to touch the pretty fabrics, too!

Oh my goodness, the accessories. All of the hats/headdresses, the shoes, the stockings/socks/gloves, purses, they were outstanding! It was so nice to see them up close and be able to gawk and stare at them for as long as I wanted. I found Mari stealing glances at the colorful socks. I left inspired, happy, and appreciative. My Sugarbean, she wasn't so much thrilled about it. I asked her what she thought of it and this is what she did. She is probably being shy, but I like to think that she wanted the focus to be on her clothes. ha ha



There are portions of the exhibit that could be construed as risque, so younger audiences need to be warned. I wasn't concerned because my child has seen me naked and knows what a nude adult female body looks like. And that was the extent of the nudity. She was unaware of the one sexually posed exhibit. A female mannequin had put a saddle on the male mannequin and was riding it. She was too distracted by many other things than to notice the more "revealing" clothing on a mannequin.

At the end of the night, she learned that "eye-candy" meant something that was pleasing to her eye and not real candy to shove in her eyes. ha ha

If you are local and appreciate clothes, then you should go check it out. I hope to sneak away one lunch hour next week and see it before it goes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

10 Months: Open Letter to Tesla

Dear Miss Tesla Jane,

Hard to believe it's been 10 months since you were born. Today, you have been out of the world longer than you were inside of my belly. It's tough for Mommy to comprehend. In those 10 months, you've have given us so much brightness. We've had to alter and juggle our schedules around, but it hasn't been much of a hassle.

The past week, you've decided to only wake once in the night. I think if you weren't battling the ear infections, you would probably be sleeping through the night completely. You continue to share a bed with us for now, but you are fully napping in your crib.

You have added book and pa-po (Guapo) to your vocabulary. The doctor says its a great thing that you can say books because well, obviously we read enough to you that you know what a book is. You also call magazines books. After all, they have pictures and words, right?

You can stand for a few seconds on your own. If you are in the mood, you will try walking with assistance. You are a great eater! You really go crazy for eggs and pasta. Like your sister, you love to rub your food-covered hands through your hair while you eat. I've often wondered why we bother with a bib, when you should be wearing a bonnet. The other day, when I picked you up from school. I caught you drinking out of a sippy cup! What a big girl you've become. I wasn't even aware you could do that. As a result, we have now begun to transition you away from the bottle and on to sippies.

Like a tiny Christopher Columbus, you now navigate your way all around the house. You love to roam between your sister's room, to the office, to the kitchen, and occasionally, we will find you in Guapo's cage. You are a huge fan of the kitchen, opening and closing doors and trying to pry open the doors that are child-proofed. Similar to your sister, you seem actively engaged when we are prepping our meals in the kitchen. You pay special attention to all of the gadgets we use, especially the mixer! You really do enjoy the Kitchenaid and the Bosch.

Bath time remains your favorite activity. You could splash for weeks in there if we let you. A close second is tower destroying. We play blocks together. You tolerate the stacking of blocks, but you really prefer to tear them down. I will piece together semi-elaborate towers of mega blocks (well, as elaborate as I can make them), especially gathering larger pieces here and there for better support. When I'm done, you stare at the tower, observe it, then hit it exactly where it would be most vulnerable. I don't find this at all a coincidence, seeing as how you do it over and over again. You will then proceed to tear the larger pieces apart until you have a pile of mega blocks all around you. At that point, you will look up at me expectantly, requesting that I build another. Which I will gladly do.

You have also discovered a love for the guitar. Strumming and humming is what you and daddy do. Big sister will dance as the two of you play. It's magical!

You remain a cuddlebug to the extreme. You give these marvelous, strong hugs, and refuse to let go of your grasp until you've satisfied the full extent of the hug. I love it!

Happy 10 month birthday to you, baby!

I love you!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Over it

Finally took the Sugarbaby in to see our main doctor. We'd been hitting up Acute Kids because well, it was convenient. Since Tesla hasn't gotten any better, we needed a more thorough check of it all. After hitting her with the hard stuff (amoxicillin with augmentin), nothing. Duh, it's viral, right? Well, she was still having ridiculous fevers and now we have a yeast rash.

sarcastic: YAAAY

Luckily, we love our doc. She spent about 20 minutes assessing her, listening to her and interacting. She did warn us that if this didn't clear up, the next step would be to take her to an ENT. Not what we really want to do. This time around, we are equipped with a slight steroid, a different antibiotic, and some diaper creme. While I was waiting, a fever blister popped up. Am I stressed much? Possibly. I was given a prescription for that, too!

Now we wait. Ugh, I hate this time period where it seems like your kiddo is non-stop sick. I know we don't have it so bad. I know I should be grateful and I am. So grateful to have healthcare insurance. Beyond grateful for an understanding boss. Grateful for my partner who forces me to sleep. Oh and coffee, too.

How are you all feeling?

sidenote: We have had 70 degree weather down here. It's been glorious. I hope it isn't too much to ask, but I seriously, SERIOUSLY hope it lasts until next weekend so the Sugarbean's party is awesome! Putting that out there in the universe.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Weekend Cooking

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The week tends to be really busy for me. Often, I leave for work as the sun is rising and get home just as it is setting. Not bad, just the reality, especially during Daylight Saving Time. Don is responsible for cooking our dinners during the week, I'm not complaining, because WOW, he makes some delicious stuff! But the weekends...they are all mine!

On Saturday, we had picked up our basket from Bountiful Baskets and already I went to town meal planning. That afternoon, we hit up the grocery store to pick up supplies, and that evening, I whipped up some goodies. I also, busted out both mixers and made a batch of chocolate fudge cupcakes with store bought icing (the horror!!). It was an easy test run to see if I was able to make Mari's cupcakes for her birthday, which I can totally do.

STUFFED GREEN PEPPERS
3 green peppers
1lb ground chicken
3 cloves of garlic, diced
pinch of salt
a bit of pepper
a bit of cayenne pepper
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 large shallot, diced
1 cup sliced or diced mushrooms
1 tbsp butter

Heat oven to 350.

Slice your peppers lengthwise in half and remove seeds. I like to remove the extra bit of flesh around the edges, too, to have a larger "bowl" to stuff them in. I set aside those bits, chop them up and add them to my overall stove mixture/filling.

FILLING
On Medium heat, melt the butter. Add garlic, shallot, and onion. Now add your mushrooms and have them nice and brown. When that is starting to give you the right garlic/onion/shallot smell, add the chicken. If you want to cook the chicken separately, you are ok to do that. Combine chicken with your garlic/onion/shallot. Now add your seasonings and remaining pepper bits. Yummy! Cook it for a bit. I like to add about a half a cup of water at this point and turn my heat down low. Let simmer together for a little bit.

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Line your pan with a bit of olive oil. Lay your peppers flat and stuff with your filling. No really, stuff it really good! Cover your pan and cook for 35-40 minutes. Check on your peppers. Your oven temperature may vary.


Enjoy!

STUFFED MUSHROOMS


1 package of portobello mushroom caps (approx 6)
1/3 onion
1/2 large shallot
1 cup sliced mushrooms
4 garlic cloves (we do like us some garlic!)
1 tbsp butter
2 veggies sausage patties
shredded cheese

On medium heat, melt the butter. Add garlic, shallot, and onion. Next, add mushrooms and crumbled veggie patties. Add a half a cup of water and let simmer. Fill cleaned mushroom caps to the brim. Top with a bit of mozzerella and bake until cheese melts.

PETITE LASAGNA
I followed this recipe, which actually followed this recipe. Anyway, I went with it. I had some leftover meat and such from the stuffed green peppers, so I spiced it up with oregano and added my canned diced tomato. For me, because I'm doing the veggie thing, I filled them with my veggie sausage. Again, added oregano, a bit of red pepper flakes, mushrooms, onion, shallots, garlic.

They were so good, Mari asked for this to be put on the regular rotation. She was particularly fond of the veggie ones. Interesting. Oh, and I did not soak the wontons. They crisped up quite nicely.

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