Saturday, December 13, 2008

reese cousin weekend

Last weekend our Reese cousins came to visit. We drove down to Egypt to Denver's Mecca of fine Mexican dining, Casa Bonita, in a snow storm no less. Katie was pretty enamoured with the cliff divers. Notice Alex's cheeks stuffed with sopapillas. It was nice to see that some things don't ever change - I'm pretty certain all the games in the arcade are the originals, from Ms. Pacman to the skeeball machines. Katie ended up sleeping up at Oma's house with Kat and Griffin all weekend - I'm surprised she made the transition back to her own home. Oma pulled the mattresses into the family room so they could all sleep together.

Oma was out of control on the projects and fun. Friday the kids made gingerbread houses - thankfully Alex was asleep for the candy and frosting fest, or he might have become cemented to some gum drops. My favorite quote from mom was 'How did I ever do all this?' This was after having all 4 kids for a sleepover - not anywhere close to 7! Alex slept in his own bed the rest of the weekend.

Saturday Oma took all the bigger kids to see Madagascar 2 and we met them at the Pearl Street Mall. We did not end up staying for the Parade of Lights, but we did get to see a peek of the Fairview Marching Knights setting up. Sorry Dave, your kids did not seem that impressed to see your old marching band. Opa's concert got skipped because everybody was too tired.

Sunday I arrived up in Boulder to see a paint studio had taken over the kitchen. Oma had cut out a nativity set for Kat, Katie and Griffin to paint, and found a number of other fun Christmas shapes to paint.

Griffin was a great sport and let Katie boss him around all weekend.

Monday Oma brought the bunch up to our house, where we were just going to hang out. Crazy Kat snuck into the kitchen to make nougat for some candy, and put Oma and CA Kat to work wrapping chews. No pictures of that adventure, but many of you will get to taste our efforts.

Kat and Katie had numerous tea parties and played games. Katie thoroughly enjoyed having two folks at her beck and call for an entire weekend. Hopefully they both survived as well and will want to come and visit us again!

Here is Oma at the end of all the festitivities. Everybody was a little worn out from all the fun, but I know she'd do it again in a heartbeat.

One more reason for you all to come back to Colorado!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Because I have the naive hope that I will eventually actually win a giveaway on the net, here's a link over to Design Mom. She's doing 12 giveaways for Christmas. Really cool stuff. Go take a peek - and if you win and don't want it, you can always re-gift to me!

christmas cards

If I were going to send out Christmas cards this year, this is what I would do:

I would have my friend Christine make a sketch of our family, instead of trying to get everyone to look at the camera with a decent expression on their faces all at the same time. I met Christine when I was going to school in Berkeley a million years ago. She is still the most creative girl I know. She can walk into a thrift store and in two seconds find a semi-decent looking item and turn it into something fabulous in the blink of an eye.

The only problem with Christine is that she lives in Washington and I live in CO, so the odds of us being neighbors again are pretty slim.

The decision to skip the Christmas cards for right now has made things much more relaxed around here. Maybe we'll go for Valentine's Day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

rental non-rant

I hesitate to actually state this out loud, but instead of killing us off this month, the rentals are going AMAZINGLY well. In November, our 2 best tenants told us that they would be moving out. One set bought their own place - we're happy for them, but I was also crossing my fingers that their closing wouldn't go through - and the single guy needed more room. The 2 bedroom just wasn't enough space for him and . . . whatever he needs space for. Your guess is as good as mine.

Every other vacancy we've had has taken a month to clean up after the old tenants and then fill with the new ones. A month with no rent. We were faced with a double whammy for December, on top of a potentially very busy Thanksgiving spent doing repairs and painting.

Both tenants left the units spotless and in good repair. All I had to do was get the carpets cleaned. We didn't even have to paint! For both units, the former tenants were out one day, and the new ones could move in the following day. You might be thinking 'whoop-dee-doo. What's the big deal?' I, however, am still in grateful shock.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Here's one of the main things I love about Colorado: A few days ago we took a walk around some nearby lakes.

This morning we woke up to SNOW! FINALLY!! Alex was loving it. I guess it's time for mom to go find some snow suits. Jeans are just not going to cut it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

two months of max

The Maxster is turning into a super smiler.
Seven is getting tired of sitting still for these growth shots, but I'm still slightly in charge.

Alex has moved from body-slamming hugs to trying to pick Max up. It's so cute to see how much he loves his little brother.

Dad and Max like to rock out to Guitar Hero. Too bad the music is so terrible for that silly game!

Katie and Max are buddies too.

Monday, December 1, 2008

'Tis the season . . .

The season for maximum torture for Alex has officially begun! We put up the tree downstairs at Oma's on Thanksgiving. Man did Alex's eyes light up when he saw those lights come out of the box!

The Christmas decorations went up at our house the day after Thanksgiving. Alex went down for a nap, and then woke up and saw tons of new things to explore. A tree with lights and sparkly glass objects, books with shiny covers, balls covered with glitter, an advent calendar with ornaments whose pockets are just within reach. All things that are accompanied by the word 'NO.'

Today I decided to complete the torture process: the candy advent calendars are now in play. Go figure - the concept of one candy each day might be a tad advanced for Captain Handsome. Luckily, his mother the genius left out a bowl with miniature Reese's peanut butter cups on the table that worked out just fine to satisfy his post-lunch chocolate craving. At least he put the wrappers back in the bowl instead of spreading them all over the table. The fun is just beginning! I haven't even tried to dip with him running around yet . . .

(In case you're wondering, the reindeer on the advent calendar does indeed poop out the candies - while singing, no less!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

thanksgiving is coming . . .

Thanksgiving is coming, so this naturally means . . . time to figure out the candy list for this year! The old standbys will be showing their faces - toffee, chews, dipped caramels - but I'm looking for some new truffle flavors. Or new candies to make in general. I really liked the raspberry truffles last year, so I think those ones make the cut again for this year. If you have any ideas for fun flavors - or new candies to try - hit me with them in the comments. Otherwise, let the voting begin!

image from Sweet Lu Cake Shop

Monday, November 10, 2008

more max

I've been thinking a lot again about the talk given by Elder Oaks in Conference Oct 2007 titled Good, Better, Best. Briefly, he talks about being conscious of choosing the BEST things for us and our families out of the myriad of good options out there. Whether or not you are 'churchy,' this is still good advice.

Somewhat ironically, I was thinking about this alot right after I had just posted about my new-found infatuation with a video game. Saturday afternoon while Katie and Alex were napping, I just relaxed with Max while he napped. I wrote a little, thought/day dreamed about stained glass projects I'd like to work on but won't for a while, read a little, and thought a lot. David may not believe this, but I didn't even tune into another new-found friend, the "Retro-Active' alternative music channel on the digital cable. And man is that a great music channel!

This is how Max and I spend Saturday afternoon. You can't get the full effect from that picture, but boy does that Max smell delicious. He hadn't even had a bath yet. It's too bad 'smell-o-vision' hasn't been perfected yet, because then you too would want to just gobble that boy up!

Believe me, I totally recognize the need for 'me time' in order to maintain what limited sanity I've got. And stained glass - and a variety of other projects - are part of how I do that - but I have really adjusted the amount of time necessary to stay 'being me' way down. I have been/and will be me for a very long time. These young versions of my kids will not last as long. Alex already looks like he should be driving a car. Katie talks like she's ready to start dictating her first novel. Max is already 30% bigger than when we brought him home. (Thank goodness I don't gain 30% of my weight in a month!)

I'm so grateful that I have the chance to stay home with them, and that I have a partner in molding them that thinks this is important too, and so he makes decisions/WE make decisions together so that that can happen. I'm grateful that Rog is always trying to find ways to spend more time together as a family; that he plays so much with the kids; that he feels a strong need and desire to hug his kids and tell them as well as show them how he feels about them. I love that he takes the time to include Alex and Katie in the 'man-tivities' already - knowing myself how much 'help' they provide sometimes.

That being said, I did have the parents bring up Guitar Hero Sunday night. I do still need to stand a fighting chance against Mark come Christmas! (By the way, Dad/Opa scored 25% and got booed off the stage on that same Poison song. But he did indeed try it!)

This photo is not a very good indicator of the magnificence of this boy's smile - the photographer really needs to work on her lighting choices and 'click' times - but the Max-ster has officially started smiling on purpose. Opa claims he got some real smiles Sunday night, but it wasn't official until he did it for me. He's been smiling in his sleep for weeks, but that's not nearly as gratifying as having him look at your face and flash one at you!

And by the way -thanks to Julie for reminding me - I updated the album to include more pictures. The newest ones are at the end.


In honor of Julie - who is enjoying some nice spring days and probably getting ready for the summer at the beach - here are a few fall pictures from the backyard. It is November and we have yet to see any snow down here! (There is a chance of changing that today.) This first picture was taken Nov 1, and Katie is wearing SHORTS! Max likes a little more coverage, but he too was enjoying the 70 degree weather.

Please don't ask me to explain that ridiculous hat that Katie is sporting - I can't stand it either. But then again, I'm not 2.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

time travel

picture from imageshack

Well, Mag was right once again.

While Mag was out here visiting us when Max hatched, she took a night off from ‘baby dancing’ to go down to Denver and hang out with some friends. When she got back she said they had spent a good amount of time playing Rock Band. I had the passing thought ‘What the? Are you guys 14-year-old boys or something?’

Mag, I ask your forgiveness.

Thursday mom came up and watched the kids, so Roger and I dined and then cruised Best Buy. Rog was looking for some boring computer thing for work, when my ears picked out the tones of Billy Idol’s White Wedding off in the distance. So I went a wandering. Rock Band, huh? Well, let’s just see what this is all about. I am no good on the drums. But the guitar? I’M A NATURAL! Roger and I played a few rounds, and would have probably closed the store down but we didn’t want to kill off mom entirely.

Friday night we headed up to Boulder to hang out with Oma and Opa – WRONG! We went up there to play Mark’s GUITAR HERO! When dad got home, he asked what we were up to. Katie’s response: ‘Mom and dad are rockin’ out.’That’s right, Katie. I can still rock.

Roger was going to put Guitar Hero on his wish list, until I KICKED HIS BUTT! Even on some ridiculous song by Poison. POISON! Seriously? Yeah, I nailed it. I just tried the ‘easy’ level, but did try medium on a little Pat Benetar ditty and STILL nailed it! All those years of violin lessons paid off after all. I guess it will have to go on my wish list – maybe when we draw names for the Reese family people will be feeling generous. Or just do a combined present for Roger and I. It’s just a suggestion . . .

NOW who’s the 14 year old boy?

Friday, November 7, 2008

not deceptive and way more delicious

It's a constant guessing fest, trying to figure out what Katie will eat for a given dinner. What works one night doesn't work the next time I try it, and forget about vegetables. She shares more with her father than just physical characteristics!

A while ago there was a book released by Jessica Seinfeld called Deceptively Delicious. The deception is to puree a variety of vegetables and then slip them into 'regular' kid-friendly fare. I pureed a bunch of different vegetables and tried adding them to whatever I was cooking - for the benefit of both for Katie and perhaps someone taller. I haven't stuck to this very rigidly - partly for lack of remembering to throw something in, and partly because I need to figure out some way for her to actually eat a recognizable vegetable and not just trick her all the time.

Earlier this week I busted out one of the pre-made mac-and-cheese numbers I had made in anticipation of Max's arrival. Adding pureed carrot actually helps it look more orange - more like the natural version that our friends at Kraft market. Hit with Alex, not with Katie.

Last night I was just going for something she would eat. The solution: pancakes with mini-M&Ms 'hidden' inside them. Every few bites she ate, she scored some squirty whipped cream on her finger. Dessert for dinner? Sometimes it's just about whatever I can make work. There were apples and peaches on the side - does this redeem the meal?

Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween

Thanks to Oma for making our Mickey and Minnie Mouse costumes, and Aunt Pam for sending us the ears and enormous white-gloved hands. Katie has worn her costume everyday since last Saturday when she got to put it on for the Trunk-or-Treat at church. I did manage to talk her into letting me wash it on Monday - no small feat.

Here are a few things we've learned this week:

Katie loves her Minnie Mouse costume as much as she loves her 'nightgown dress.' At least we have one acceptable outfit for daytime, and a different one for evenings now.

Katie think that EVERYONE - mainly her brother - should want to wear their costumes all the time as well. This results in the 'battle of the ears,' as she 'helps' Alex with his Mickey Mouse ears.

Katie must frost her cookies ALL BY HERSELF, and the proceeds to lick the frosting off and then start again. Sometimes we just skip the cookie and go straight for the frosting.

Alex loves candy corn - the worst candy of all time - like no other. He went after the cookies already packaged in ziplock bags, trying to get at the candy corn. He likes the cookies purely for the candy corn - once the candy corn is gone, he's done.

Max makes an adorable skeleton, although I think he fills it out far too much already. I'm all for sleeping through the night, but he could stay tiny for just a little while.

Katie to mom: 'I'm glad that you and dad got married.' We are too!

The USPS actually works - sort of. I just received a package this week that my awesome friend Kari - this is something I've known for a LONG time! - sent back on Sept 10. This is good and bad - bad for Kari because she resent many of the items in the interim, and GREAT for me because now I have lots and lots of Trader Joe's treats to knosh on.

And, I CAN actually cook something with vegetables that Roger will eat! Linguini with a sauce made from sun-dried tomatoes, white beans and garlic. I skipped the olives because, hello, they're gross. Added some mushrooms. YUM! This recipe really did take only 20 minutes to make.

Linguini with White Bean, Sun-dried Tomato, and Olive Sauce
Makes 4 servings - Hands-on-time: 10 minutes Total preparation time: 20 minutes

(Mashing up white beans instantly produces a creamy pasta sauce – without cream – that's capable of binding together all the ingredients in a dish. Here I've [sara moulton] "beefed up" the sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and olives from the pantry. Of course, you could add any number of other handy pantry items – marinated artichoke hearts, canned tuna, frozen shrimp – or just toss in some leftover vegetables from the fridge.)

Kosher salt
1 pound linguini
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (about 6 halves), sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (scant 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup white wine (I used apple juice)
One 19-ounce can white beans such as cannelini, navy, or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
One 14 or 14 1/2-ounce can vegetable or chicken broth, or 1 3/4 cups Chicken Stock
1/2 cup pitted, brine-cured olives such as kalamata, chopped
Freshly milled black pepper
1 1/2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (about 1/2 cup)

Cook the linguini in the boiling water until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes; drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups cooking liquid.

While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the white beans and broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Coarsely mash the sauce with a potato masher or fork.
Add some of the reserved cooking liquid to the sauce, as necessary, to reach a creamy consistency; add the olives and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the sauce with the linguini and serve. Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, if desired.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Nice call, Mag. While Mag was out here, we went out to get some yarn so she could finish a project. Not willing to let her outspend me, I found a cool mirror and some picture frames to try and jazz up our naked walls. The mirror, however, had a gold frame. Not my style.

We hit the Depot for some help. I was thinking brick red, but Mag talked me into blue. I love how it turned out. It's funny how what I have pictured in my mind is rarely how things work out in the real world. Instead of a dark mirror placed horizontally on the wall to balance the room, now there's a vertical blue mirror.

Here are some of the frames. They ended up to the left of the mirror and the artwork executed by our German friends.

This little project turned out way better than anticipated as well. And check out the size of the paws on Alex. He's almost a year and half younger than Katie, but his hands are almost as big as hers, and his feet aren't too far behind!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Well, not really. I save Yoplait lids, and now we have this lovely M&M option for donating for a cure. These small do things do not activists make.

Roger picked up ONE of these gals at the grocery store last night for Katie. Because, you know, Alex isn't quite as into pink as she is. Notice that while the right hand is holding a pink ribbon for breast cancer, the left hand is holding a fan, which is activated by a button. The smart folks out there are already shaking their heads because they know what's coming. Roger didn't, my naive little friend.

This morning Roger presented Katie with this little special something. Alex noticed the button IMMEDIATELY. And went nuts. Understanding begins to dawn. Roger came up with a couple of solutions.

  • Sharing time. Katie and Alex can take turns. Mom could grab a timer and set it for one-minute intervals all day long, and the kids could trade off every time it beeped. (Because 1.5 yr olds are WAY into that.)

  • No one gets one. We could hop into our time machine and travel back 10 minutes into the past, to a world where no one has an M&M guy.

  • Dad could hop back over to King Soopers and grab another one.

  • While I agree that kids need to learn how to share, and also need to learn that they don't always get the same things that their siblings do - and THAT'S OK, as long as one sibling isn't scoring everything at the expense of the other - I'm not convinced that a toddler is old enough to get that. Maybe I just don't give Alex enough credit, because the 'scream fests' did stop - after 2 days of him getting to visit his bed all by himself every time the dolphin noises escaped his lips. Also, Alex is the one who showed Katie where the M&Ms live in these babies - she was happy to have another 'girl' to add to her collection.

    I guess I'm just a wimp. I invited Roger to take Katie on an adventure and go find another one to restore peace and order in my universe. Well worth the $4. And for a good cause to boot!

    Tuesday, October 21, 2008

    mr. max

    Our little Max is one month old already! He already looks so much bigger compared to just 4 short weeks ago. I read somewhere the other day that mother's love their daughters, but are 'in love' with their sons. Right now, that is completely true. I am simply enamoured with this little man. Perhaps because he reminds me so much of his dad? . . .

    Last week was a rough one without Mag here to help. There was a LOT of crying on Monday. Katie wore her pjs all day 3 days out of 5, and would have worn them more if her 'nightgown dress' had made it into the laundry. We made it to the zoo on Wednesday (the bears were TOTALLY active, Oma!), but otherwise Disney/Pixar was the rule of the day. Walking over to the grocery store is an entirely different adventure with 3. Our list got drastically shortened once we got inside, and I realized that my plan for getting everything home might have been overly ambitious.

    Winter seems to be settling in this week, so maybe we'll hit pjs 5 out of 5 days this week!

    Here's a little quiz: which one of these pictures is Max, and which is Alex? Too bad these kids look nothing like each other at the start . . .

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    fun with grandmother and granddad young

    (Somehow this post got lost in the cue.)
    On September 24th Grandmother and Granddad Young arrived at our house from NM to welcome little Max. It was great having them up here for a few days. Roger and his folks got to spend a day up in the mountains. We all went out to breakfast one day at our version of a Silver City cafe.
    Donna, Mag and I went to a quilt show, complete with my posse in tow. I'm sure I struck fear into the heart of every quilter there when I handed Katie and Alex some lollipops to work on while we checked out the booths. I got a few stage-whispered 'why didn't she get a sitter?' comments - I can only imagine the comments my mom got with her group of 7!
    Roger and Robert took Jethro - '63 GMC - to the dump. Robert gave Roger the secret key on how to make the truck actually drivable. I hesitate to suggest that I will be able to drive it, but it should be less of a workout for Roger now.
    Katie and Alex loved having her Young grandparents visit; they were both particularly smitten with the 'house on wheels.' With an RV, we might actually survive a trip of our own down south to Silver City!

    Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    fun with aunt mag

    (I'm pretty sure Katie is the photographer for this first picture.)

    Aunt Mag - more appropriately known about these parts as the 'baby whisperer' - returns home to CA on Friday. Here is a brief recap of her stay. There will definitely be a lot more crying without her extra arms to rely on. I am just not as good at 'wrestle mania' as she is! Here are a few of the highlights.

    Fabulous new hair cut and highlights from Sam.

    Katie and Mag making princess crowns. Katie sure has a thing for that glitter glue. Mag was able to control herself a little better.

    Katie and Mag sewing together.

    We hit the zoo with Uncle Tom a month ago, but according to Katie that was a 'long long time ago,' so we needed to go again with Mag. Being the queen of persuasion, she talked me into the merry-go-round AND the train. Maybe next time she and Alex will actually ride on one of the moving animals instead of the boring chariot.

    Today we hit the pumpkin patch. Much to Katie's chagrin, we did NOT have our costumes ready to do it up right. She managed to survive somehow. The kids had fun feeding the goats, painting pumpkins, and riding around in the wagon. Katie had fun in the bounce castle - once all the other kids left. Silly goose!

    Thanks a million Mag. The t-shirt doesn't lie!!!