I wouldn't touch them either.


*Rock Creek

:some favorites:

.in bishop.

.tubby time w/ lola.

.helping grandpop.

.posing w/ her pinecones.

.uncle matty.

.camelbaks: we have to get one!.

*el trail

We're home! Whew, we were gone a full 2 weeks and it's going to take a bit to get my head together. Obviously there's a million pictures to share ... here's a few to get me started. Vera was taking forEVER to get moving on the trail [we were meeting everyone else ahead to fish]. I finally gave up and decided to just enjoy and document hiking with a 2 year old:



I wasn't sure if I'd write about this here, because, well, it's kind of embarrassing. and humiliating. and maddening and unfair. But I think it's good for me to get it out - especially in writing [it's a long one: I guess we can consider it just a catharsis for me, not obligatory for you to read :)]. Because I have been turning it over and over in my head and am feeling a knot in my stomach that won't go away. Also this way I won't have to explain it a hundred times. So anyway, I got FIRED on Wednesday. I don't think I have ever been fired before and like I said, it's embarrassing.

So I walked in to work and my boss (who you might remember me saying is a bad bad person) sat me down and read a list of grievances. I keep thinking about this, and I truly believe that they were pretty much all false [I don't pay attention to details, I don't run food enough, I don't tell tables about the restaurant, I'm an insubordinate??]. The only one I can give him any credit for is that I can be timid at tables - which has been the case maybe twice when it was someone important and intimidating. I truly believe that I worked really hard and conscientiously at this job and I got the same impression from my customers. I don't want to go too into detail about my manager, but I will say that from the beginning I have never been treated in such a demeaning, condescending, you-are-an-ignorant-piece-of-shit manner. The thing is, it's such an amazingly wonderful company [the original market I mean] and he just does not fit in with the atmosphere of it all.

I've written a letter to the owner and am really not sure if I should send it. What would you do? I don't want to come off as spiteful at all, because I don't want to further alienate myself from such a great place [I mean where will I get my cheese??]. On the other hand, I really want him to be aware of how his manager acts. A person that will call a customer a "stupid f***ing b****" just out of earshot and [1/4 jokingly] told me he'd punch me "in the f***ing face" if I cut the butter on the wrong counter?

Let me end this happily. Obviously I believe God works everything for good. I am mad, my pride is hurt and I'm sad to not be a part anymore of such an awesome place, but I am also home with my family and away from an environment that was really affecting me negatively. I really want to move on and not dwell and just be thankful.

One thing I can be thankful for is that we're leaving tomorrow for the Sierras!!!!



Something that makes me happy lately: the little banner/flags that I made for Vera's birthday. The idea is obviously from SouleMama's book, and all but one of the prints came from scraps! Vera loves it too and exclaims, "made it Mommy!!" when she walks into the room :)


Ben and I had an amazing dinner out for our 5th anniversary. We went to a new fun restaurant and treated ourselves [along with a genrous donation from siblings] to an all-out feast. Wine, beer, more wine, caviar, tuna sashimi, grilled scallions, wild salmon + mushrooms, steak, chocolate mousse, some baileys, good sweet conversation and a nice full walk home. 5 years Ben!!! I love you and love to see where our life together is leading...



Vera prayed her first little prayer last night and I just wanted to jot it down. Ben and I read her a story and then said, "dear Jesus, thank you for Vera and Mommy and Daddy. Please be with our friends and keep them safe [some friends driving through to MT]." Without any prompting or suggestion, she went on to add: "Tank you Tio [our neighbor], tank you chicken, tank you barn, tank you horsey, tank you friendies."



*más de la fiesta...

All the little guys... this one reminds me of old birthday party pictures from when my siblings and I were little, where you recognize all your old lifetime friends, now grown up. I am determined to stay friends with these families even when we move away!


*la fiesta

I've been feeling in a lazy non-blogging sort of way lately. Not helpful is how our desktop is no longer accepting new photos! So I have to use Ben's computer [until I get around to cleaning out old files], which is obviously usually occupied by him, etc. Anyway I keep meaning to post about Vera's fun second birthday party! She's been obsessed with birthdays ever since Stella's in February [on long cartrips she likes us to sing a Happy Birthday to everyone we know] and finally had her own! She had specifically even asked for chocolate milk, chocolate cupcakes and popsicles when I asked what she wanted at the party. I am a bad bad momma and instead we had lemonade, white cupcakes with raspberry whipped cream - and apples and grapes to make me feel better about all the sugar - she didn't seem to mind :) We had just 4 of our best buddies [and parents of course] over as well as our neighbor and Ben's dad. It was so much fun! Vera looved being with all her friends at once and had such a great great time. What a fun stage this is :)

** I'm going to try to get some of Grandpop's photos because mine didn't turn out so well. ... and he got some good shots - like one of our little guests licking a cupcake off the pavement and Vera running around with a gift bag as big as herself over her head, or me licking whipped cream off my fingers :)


*la niña habla

Vera is talking like crazy and it is so much fun!  Ben's new favorite word of hers is "mines!" and mine continues to be her "-it" suffix: "Mama, quiet! e[very]body sleepit!" Here's a few of our other favorite words and phrases [though I can never remember to prompt them all when I have the chance]:

*snort! comes from the new/old favorite book,  Are You My Mother?


*paletas de coco


I've always wanted to recreate the delicious coconut popsicles I ate every.single.day during the month Kendra and I traveled through Mexico. I thought I would attempt to perfect a recipe, but to be honest, I've been a little lazy. The very first recipe I stumbled on through Google proved to be pretty good and I've been making a few batches a week. My favorite part, perhaps, is that we get to use the same molds/sticks that we had when I was little. Most are all chewed up - which I totally remember doing :)

Coconut Popsicles
I actually usually halve this recipe and it still makes a lot, but these are the measurements from the original recipe.

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar [or a little less. also, I recently bought some agave nectar to use instead and it's really good! I use a little less than what it calls for]
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups coconut milk, homemade or canned [I've been using canned. also shaved coconut from the bulk section at w.foods]
2 cups fresh (best) or dried shredded coconut

In a saucepan, combine the milk and sugar and stir over low heat for 5 minutes [with the agave nectar, I skipped this step] to dissolve the sugar; be careful not to scald the milk. Stir in the vanilla extract and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the coconut milk or coconut water, the shredded coconut, and the milk and vanilla mixture, then pour into your molds.

*cheese and cookies

[comte, delice de bourgoune (sp) and testun al foglie de noce]

I've been craving cheese, baguette and wine for dinner for a while now and we finally did it last night. I get a nice little discount where I work so I got some extra-special yummy cheeses, which of course called for my favorite extra-special plate from Granada and a dozen or so photos. I love cheese! After finishing up at home and putting Vera to bed, I walked down and enjoyed another lovely triple-cream and glass of wine with my neighbor :)

Our dinner was nice and uninterrupted because Vera just got a new fun gift in the mail from Auntie Carol - the Melissa and Doug cookie baking set!! Such an awesome and adorable toy - already occupying some big chunks of her time. While Ben and I snacked on our dinner, she lined up her animals for fresh-baked cookies:



... and I like this family photo a lot:

.. in case you're wondering, vera is covered in ice cream, chocolate, and dirt. and whatever we had earlier for dinner.


Another amazing family get-together at Tahoe. This year everyone was able to be there and obviously the highlights were just being together, hanging out, [drinking wine], watching the kids play and enjoying the most beautiful [to me] place in the world!!!

This year was a lot more fun with Vera being more independent and more social. Every morning she couldn't wait to get downstairs to see her cousins ["cousins, yayyyy!"]. She knew everyone by name [a mix-up here and there], and I loved how she'd say hi Uncle George, Hi Liz, Hi Ivor, hi We-we [olivia] whenever anyone entered the room. She was definitely positively influenced by peer pressure - they got her to eat her whole dinner, hold their hands walking down the stairs, go on the "big potty", and start calling me Mom in a very 8-year-old sounding way :) She also especially loved my mom and often preferred to be held by her, not me!


... Papa Sam ...

... she ate SO MUCH ice cream and cookies and junk food! she was in heaven ...

... Grandma! ...

... olivia, jamesen (katie?) and vera ...

... vera and tyler. she is obviously in awe of him, and was usually super shy. I loved when she finally opened up and colored with him - you could see how proud and happy she was :) ...

... painting toes with the girl cousins ...

... rough-housing with eliot ...

... la playa ...

... birthday girls ...

... hitting the piñata with daddy ...