Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Car Fort

My kids love to play in the car while it's parked in the garage. I know what you're thinking: "Is this code for, 'we're homeless now and living out of our car, aka 'clubhouse'?" But no, it's just their favorite place to play. They've been out there for the past twenty minutes while I've been cooking dinner. When I go check on them, they tell me to go away, so I do. That's one command I will always follow.
When I was a kid, I was always facinated with little spaces. The best birthday present I can remember was a green vinyl umbrella that I used for playing house, propping up fort tunnels and accesorizing my favorite purple mini skirt (My waist didn't quite catch up to my legs until I got to college). The tighter the space, the cooler the fort, I always thought. Unfortunately, that hasn't quite translated well into adulthood. I'm pretty sure that small spaces are not desireable for living with toddlers, and that real houses are better than car houses. I'll let you know if my mind changes on this matter, but for now, that's the way I see it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Little Witches

We had our ward Halloween party last night, and I took a few pictures of the girls in their Halloween costumes. Alli decided last week that she wanted to be a witch, based on a song she sang in school called "I'm a little fat witch, my name is rose" sung to the tune of "I'm a little teapot." My sister in law, Alicia, let me borrow these costumes that her girls wore two years ago for Halloween. She added a lot of the pizazz herself, so they are quite fun.

At the party we had chili and played games at the church. Then our bishopric had a pie eating contest and the only sad part, for me, was that I didn't get to shove my face in a huge pudding pie as well. After all, the dessert was all gone by the time I made it to the front of the line. Shoot. Maybe at my Grandma's party this year there will be a pie eating contest...I've always wanted to be ear deep in whipped cream and yummy pie, but it just hasn't happened for me yet.

Our friends, Rick and Lorien, are in China this week getting their little boy after years of paperwork and spending money hand over fist on adoption necessities. They toured the Forbidden City and the Great Wall yesterday, and flew to Lanzhou today, I think, to pick up Luke. We talked to them for 2cents a minute on skype the other day. It was so cool because it didn't even seem like they were on the other side of the world. Technology has come a long way since I was in China almost ten years ago.

We talked for free over the internet then as well, but there was a three second delay and it was hard to hear. It would go like this:

"Hello?" "Oh, Hi"
"How are y...What? Oh, yeah Hello."

After a few exchanges like this, the person on the other end would feign a technology malfunction and hang up in frustration.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Witching Hour

We spent the day scavenging for witches at Gardner's village Saturday, along with about a thousand other people. It's our tradition every October to go pick pumpkins at a pumpkin patch, while also taking advantage of all the scenic backdrops so advantageously placed round about the pumpkins. It seems like the best pictures of the year come from this day, and thus, it's very important for posterity. This year, however, I bought pumpkins for .09 a pound at the grocery store. I saved like $8 on pumpkins, but then I thought, "Oh no! The precious photo-ops." Instead, we took a bunch of pictures at Gardner's Village, and, though they aren't as festive, they'll have to do for this year.

In reality, Ty and I have not been great at taking pictures to document the fun things we've done as a family. It seems like the camera always has a dead battery, or gets left at home- like on our honeymoon in Maui...that still irks me. But on this particular day, I was prepared. I charged the battery, put the camera in my purse the night before, and spent time doing both my girls' hair before we left.
It was quite a lot of work, actually. Alli hates having her hair touched, even to brush it, and I had to endure several stages of a temper tantrum just to get her to put her hair in pigtails so she could decide later to just wear a hat.
And I've decided something. When you do all of that work, the entire experience is about stopping to take another picture. That was the day. It was lots of fun, but I think it would have been even more fun without the camera and with disheveled hair. Sure, people might give each other disgusted looks at the macaroni scum sticking to my kid's faces and hair, and we wouldn't look like the fairy tale family that we totally are when stopped in front of the tea parlor by old work acquaintances, but then I ask myself, "Do I really care?"

Yeah, sometimes. But I'm going to stop beating myself up about our lack of family photo documentation. At least we're out having fun, and in my memories there is never any macaroni scum anyway.


These are just a few snapshots we took for people on missions, who will not be named, who keep asking for more pictures... And here is Maddie making her "grrr" face.

It's hard to make this one act seriously, but at least this isn't one of the many where her upper lip is sticking out.
And that's my pretty girl.
I hope those of you who know who you are, are now satisfied. (And keep on doing a great job preaching the good word.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ode to my Garden

Our yard has served us well. It's big and grassy, and it has a full grown tree in the midst of it, (which habitually loses gigantic limbs with each new wind storm). Some said we should remove it when we were building, but I love it, even with a few less branches. The problem, really, is our lack of neighbors. We have none. Not on any side at all. What that means is weeds and bugs, which have deadened big sections of our grass. Even still, as Frost said, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall."

But one thing has outperformed all of my expectations and become the new love of my life, next to my family of course. That thing is my garden. I planted last spring, and it grew stuff, to my surprise. I weeded it and watered it and fussed over it, and eventually, I loved it. I've noticed that about a lot of things in life. The more work you have to put into them, the more attached you get. Like my kids, for example. Who knew?

Here is the tomato box, which held way too many plants for the space. (Like I said, my expectations were initially low.) I have pulled boxes and boxes of tomatoes off these plants, and each one brings me unadulterated joy. This year, the foods of summer came straight from my own backyard. Bruschetta. Panzanella. Tomato Caprese. It seems like you can never have enough of Mozzarella cheese, vine ripened tomatoes and basil during the summer months.

This is a Caprese I made the other night. You layer the tomato, mozz, and basil, and then sprinkle liberally with Salt, Pepper, and EVOO. If you have a penchant for balsamic vinegar, which I really do, then sprinkle some on top. If you're more in the mood for bread, chop all of this up with some artisan bread, cubed, and let it marinate for about 30 minutes for a quick Panzanella. Sometimes it's the crunch I'm after, and I make bruschetta instead, so I can toast the bread and eat it that way. In any form, you really can't go wrong. Well, as long as there's Balsamic vinegar somewhere in the mix.

I was so taken with my ability to produce food, that I even canned some tomatoes, so as not to see them go to waste. That is not a process that I relish, but it's still fun to have the sauce. It reminds me of, yes, my garden, and how much I still love it.

Then there were the peppers that were supposed to be red, and the snap peas that blew out of the garden and replanted themselves inbetween the boxes in three seperate locations...Those plants actually produced more peas than the one in the box. Maddie, it turns out, will eat next to nothing, but loves peas from the garden. Occasionally I found the odd tomato lying on the ground with two little rows of teeth marks, but she didn't catch on to the taste of tomatoes. Oh how I love to garden.

And I already know just what I want to do next year...