*puesto de sol

...from my walk today - sighhhhhhhhhh


*more pink

No doubts as to whether or not we have a girly girl. She layered the pink skirts and tights and sweats and jewelry as it was opened, wearing it all right up to bedtime. She regularly announces that she's beau-ful and a princess :)

*feliz navidad

a sampling of some favorite moments:

[being here!]

[short-lived but very cute red Christmas ribbons]

[3 little munchkins watching Cinderella]

[so proud of her new backpack. goin' to s(ch)ool.]
[Christmas night: a vat of horchata] [silly brothers: click to see b.beauchaine's amazing expression]
[so so much family!]
[Christmas Eve - ultimate fusion dinner: stuffed tofu, green curry vegetables, chicken adobo, tabouleh, pear pie... so delicious] [c'mon vera, you can do it - 2 more bites!]

moments not captured on camera:

when Castro the cat caught a bird in the house which we disposed of outside. an hour or so after the ordeal I overheard Vera talking to him in the hall: "hurt him?" I peeked in on her and she was crouched next to the cat and the poor little dead bird.

when Vera would open an especially pretty or pink present and she would try her hardest to hide a huge smile

before our Christmas dinner with 25 gathered around - little Jakey's sweet prayer of thanks


*que lio!

Tearing out a bathroom, babysitting a good portion of my time, having a flood, a broken dryer and a sore throat/headache, writing Christmas cards, wrapping presents, grocery shopping and then trying to cook a turkey, pies, stuffing etc. all with a little friend to take care of results in this:

Can you imagine the rest of the house?  It makes me feel very ... overwhelmed.  Please also imagine the musty smell of drying carpets creeping through it all and the street-sized garbage can in the hall on the way to my room.  The easiest thing to do in this situation is to eat another piece of pie, take pictures and then make it all look a little better on picnik.com.  

*el barrio

You probably know that we love our neighbors.  We had a delicious Thanksgiving-like dinner tonight and it was so much fun - as any dinner with these guys is.  I made turkey and gravy for the first time by myself and I think it turned out pretty well?  It's crazy how much our 2 kids have grown in the last year. I remember holding Graham at last year's Christmas party: teeny tiny!   


*busy afternoon

I got a new charger for the camera and can take pictures!  I was feeling so lost without it.  

Vera helped me make a couple pumpkin pies this afternoon.  I let her use the little plastic egg beater from her kitchen and she was so serious and proud about it - very important she said.  I remember my mom letting me make scrambled eggs once with a little plastic blender and I still swear they were the best eggs I've ever had.

In addition to the plumbing crisis you might have heard about, our dryer is broken.  This is Vera peeking through the many clothes hanging around the basement:

Ben working hard in the bathroom. Can't you just hear the blaring Aerosmith?  He was so happy.  I wish his tool belt showed up in the picture.. pretty hot :)

[new window and framing]


*la artista

Vera got some new crayons [thank you friends!] today and actually drew something that looks like something on purpose!  She was so happy and proud and excited to show me: "Look Mom made balloons!!!" and then proceeded to draw some in every color.  I love watching this child develop :)

*2 horas

Vera, Jenny and I went on a fun, quick IKEA trip this afternoon.  Before we left the bathroom looked like this:

and now it looks like this:

bye bye yucky bathroom!


*all my by self!

2 new feats:

Vera can now put on her own coats and sweatshirts - every 3 out of 5 tries :)  The first time was a few days ago - she came out of her room having put on her coat, boots, hat and hot pink feather boa.  I wish I had a picture of her beaming face: SO.PROUD.

Also she climbed out of her crib a couple hours ago!  I'm so glad for the excuse to put her in a big girl bed... which I'm hoping will ironically help her to stay in her own bed all night.  I'm thinking when she wakes up we can kneel by her bedside until she sleeps again??  

I can put my coat on all my by self too!



Another major major highlight was seeing my good friends!!! Didn't get pictures of everyone we saw, and the ones I did get were taken by a 2 year old....

*los perritos!

A major major highlight going home was seeing Boone's puppies!!!!  They were so stinkin adorable and snuggly.  When we first got there they were just starting to play, doing little bunny hops and then falling over from the exertion, but by the time we left they had already changed a lot and were much more playful and active.  Seriously they were so cute!  Vera reacted differently than I thought she would - she just repeated over and over how cute they were, but didn't get down and hug and pet them, probably nervous about their sharp little teeth?  Anyway, if you live around Carson/Reno and want a puppy, let me know!


*el dia de gracias

ol' Sam Ward

As always we had a great time over Thanksgiving, this year with my family at Lake Tahoe and in Carson.  Thanksgiving itself was really really enjoyable - we didn't get the turkey in the oven until pretty late so it made for a nice long and leisurely afternoon of cooking, snacking, playing, drinking wine, etc. followed by the delicious dinner.  I love Thanksgiving food!!!  Vera had fun too hanging out with Olivia, Ivor and Eliot.  I love how every holiday or get together, she's more kid-like and can keep up with her cousins just a little better than before.  

So much to be thankful for!

Thank you JC!


*el otro

Did you know I have another blog?  My mind is always filled with most-favorite-ever food memories, and I wanted to write them down.  It's just for fun, but you're welcome to look too:

*bundled up

...we woke up to lots of snow! on our way to music class and then coffee garden this morning...



We got a Christmas tree yesterday and I couldn't stop wishing I had my camera.  Vera was sooo excited to go get it [though a little confused and disappointed because she'd thought we were going for a Christmas treat] and then sooo excited to set it up and decorate.  I can't explain the wonder that she showed in it all and the little bits of understanding that I saw light her little face.  I got a little choked up watching her walk around the tree, touching each ornament and shining Ben's headlamp on each light ["drying them" she said] -- oohing and aahing and saying beau-ful! so pretty!  We also have the sweetest book from the library right now - a watercolor-illustrated version of the Nativity story.  It's amazing to be able to tell her the story and see her understand little bits of it - like little baby Jesus sleeping in the manger.  It's been clear to me why it is so wonderful to be a parent - to see your child so happy, discovering beauty and the experiences of life.  That's all. I didn't have a camera to catch the action [a good thing I think], but I do want to remember it all. 



I left our camera in Nevada, so no Thanksgiving photos yet!

In home-like news, the last couple days Vera has amazed me with her *goodness*!   She cleaned up her whole little kitchen area perfectly without me asking, she's said oh!, ok! or I will! and complied [almost] every time I asked her to do something, went to get me the dustpan when I was sweeping, sat herself in time out when she thought she needed it, has slept in her own bed all night since we've been back and has had a good appetite - trying new things, re-trying old things she thought she didn't like etc.   Though she still has her daily meltdowns, the niceness has been nice.

At the moment, however, it sounds like she's throwing her animals out of the crib.  I keep kind of hoping she'll just climb out, so we can get on with the big girl bed.  Hmmmmm it kind of sounds like she just did, I better go check.................



Some random things about Vera at the moment:

*She LOVES pink, specifically light pink. For months now it has been a major part of our lives with her exclaiming at least 3X a day that Vera loves pink. If you offer her anything, she asks for a pink one? I never dressed her in a lot of pink and never made the suggestion that "girls like pink." I wonder how she came to favor it??

*Her latest favorite pasttime is perusing the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue. Look Mom, a pink bed!!!! a pink towel!!! loooook, stroooller a pink one! Baby one, sooooo cute!!

*She's only taking a nap or maybe two a week. She stays in her room for about an hour playing, reading and [sorry] going #2 in her diaper if I haven't tricked her into going earlier [long story].

*Probably because of the no-napping, maybe 2 year molars, terrible twos, whoknowswhat, she is in a major crying phase. The other morning she cried for about an hour after I started to help her get her arm out of her sleeve - which she wanted to do by herself. Another night she cried for just as long because I folded the washcloth she wanted to wrap her baby pig in. Tonight we turned her movie off for dinner and there was more of the same. And it makes me .very.angry. and it takes everything I've got to keep calm.

*I am amazed at her memory. She's constantly reminding me of something that happened months ago. Mom, 'member Eliot chased me? [last July]; Mom, 'member Adam? [the chef at my old job]; Mom, 'member Isabella? [little girl we met this summer]; Mom, 'member Snoofy's yucky beard? at the store? 'member dat? [this was today - I had no idea what she was talking about.]

*One of her favorite games is to call me Mommer. Then I say heeeeyyyyy don't call me that! and then she says it again and I tickle her. and then she'll keep it going, sometimes switching to Mommer Dommer! oh my.



I am getting so intolerant to cold! I want Summer back!! Seriously - I know it was over 5 years ago now, but living in San Diego spoiled me.

Anyway, I wanted to provide Ben proof that we braved the cold and took Boone to the dog park while he was gone.



Ben was in California for a wedding this weekend and we were both so happy to pick him up today! Vera kept saying Daaadddddy, my daaaaadddy. My daddy's fun!