[She was being coy and posing for the camera here, new for her]

Our neighbors were out of town for a week and asked if we'd collect the eggs from their chickens. It was so much fun peeking in the boxes to find the little gems! I loved it probably as much as Vera did. She, however, also fell in love with the littlest green one and would cuddle it, sing to it and put it to bed until I'd get freaked out about bacteria and hide it in the back of the fridge. I tried to explain that these eggs don't have little chicks in them because they don't have a daddy, but the first time she accidentally broke one you should have seen the look of horror and sadness on her face! I quickly reminded her there wasn't a chick in there and she surprised me by brightly saying, let's eat it!

I thought to post these pictures now, because I just read an article on CNN about the salmonella outbreak.

"Rodents, piles of manure, uncaged birds and flies too numerous to count were found by investigators at Iowa farms at the heart of the recall of more than half a billion eggs, the Food and Drug Administration reported Monday." from cnn.com

Ew! Please, neighbors, you can call on us any time to fetch the eggs! :)


*when she's good...

she's very very good, and when she's bad she's horrid!

I've used this old saying to describe Vera since she was practically born. When she's bad she's a feisty, stubborn, screaming, stomping mess. When she's good, she's spunky and funny and adorable and sweet and full of personality. Yesterday afternoon/evening we experienced the former - probably half my fault not feeding her enough and not putting her to bed early enough. But today -oh my- she was an angel! This afternoon she was jumping to help me in any way she could, saying "I will!" every time I asked her to do something, being snuggly and cute and fun almost all day, and then running to get her jammies on and have her teeth brushed, not stalling a second during bedtime [after sweetly praying for Amelia to feel better and for help for us all to "love to each other"]. Days like this are so needed sometimes! I wanted to eat her up. Lord, your patience for the other days!


Vera got this great sandbox for her birthday and sadly doesn't use it as much as I'd hoped. I'd imagined her workly diligently in there by herself while I worked in the garden or inside. The thing is, she needs a playmate! If a friend comes over she loves to sit in there and fill up the dump truck or make soups and cupcakes and ice cream cones, but by herself it usually doesn't last long. It's also been so hot. This was the other day when we had a fabulous cool breezed afternoon. I went outside, sat myself down and ordered some cupcakes. She served up a whole buffet, including one delicious milkshake made of salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard and sprinkles, mmmmm.

Related, my friend Jenny found some amazing posts about outdoor mud pie kitchens and I am in love with them!! Someday I would love to have this kind of backyard with fun little nooks such as these and these.

and then more corn husking... we are doing a CSA plus food co-op plus our own garden and are up to our ears in corn ;)



Rosie got Vera this great little word reading puzzle. She seemed real smart at first, knowing all the letters and apparently "reading" - until she got to these two. She doesn't know all her lower-case letters and it was hilarious the first time she did the hen one: k-e-u - chicken!!!


*the hula hoop

Vera came up with these new moves on our vacation. They've evolved a bit and are a lot sassier now, but I just uploaded this first version anyway. I have to try hard to not laugh or she might get mad and never do it again. She calls it the hula hoop:


*licuados de banana

My little sister first had the idea for these banana milkshakes this last January. Seriously I don't know what it is but they are .so.delicious. - just blended frozen banana, ice cream and milk. I've been pretty good about eating healthy lately and so it was especially amazing tonight. You should make one.

*la artista

Vera loves helping me make birthday and thank you cards - she colors in my drawing or draws one of her own and loves to put on the stamp and close and decorate the envelope. A fun little project we've done together for a long time now. I was really impressed today with her coloring job which wasn't monochrome pink and which was pretty well in the lines! She also drew a car for the first time - I think the shape turned out looking like a car so she added wheels, but anyways she was pleased with it. I love to see her skills developing in this area - I think with all her artistic uncles and aunts on both sides she has a good chance of being a little artist herself.


*unas fresas

I want to make these! Maybe if I post it here I'll do it.

*from here*


*pasta verde

I'm not sure if I've ever shared this, but I need to because it's one of my favorite staples.  It's from a Jamie Oliver cookbook that Ben gave me when we were dating - he knew me so soon :)  This is how I use most of the pesto that I freeze during the summer, but last night it was a special treat to have fresh pesto.  Also the green beans were from our garden!  The potatoes and garlic could have been had I planned better...  Either way it was a good batch, yum.  I can't wait for the leftovers today!

Pasta Genovese
pesto (3/4 cup or so? I don't know)
kosher salt + fresh ground pepper
4 or 5 small potatoes - red, yukon gold...
1 package pasta (he uses tagliatelle I use spaghetti)
1 big handful green beans
saved cooking water

Cut the potatoes into slightly smaller, even-sized chunks.  Boil in a big pot of salted water until they are pierce-able but not soft.  Add the pasta and cook until it has a little less than 3 minutes to go.  Add the green beans.  Just before you drain it all off, reserve some of the cooking water.  Drain everything and then stir in as much pesto as you like, plus a little of the cooking water so it's a 'looser' sauce, not so sticky.  Salt to taste and plenty of parmesan.  



I was talking to Rosie near the end of our looong vacation and looong car ride. She had the brilliant idea of letting Vera color on herself with a [washable] marker. Seriously this was the biggest hit ever - like way bigger than the jumbo princess sticker book or the new videos or the hello kitty candy bracelet that I'd thought would entertain her for hours. She was so tickled that she was getting to color herself pink and literally sang about it allll the way home :) I highly recommend it as that one last trick for that last 100 miles!!


*el maiz

I love this age of eager helpfulness! You probably can't tell here but she was very serious about getting this job done. She is also eager to help set the table, fold clothes, get my vitamins, weed the garden ... but extremely slow to pick up any toys.


*big sister

31 weeks - measuring at 33, sigh.

Vera is extremely excited about her coming baby sister.  We talk about the baby a lot, about how cute and squirmy and little and squeaky [vera's words] she's going to be, about how she'll cry sometimes and we'll have to be patient, about how we'll have to be sooo careful with her, about how much she'll love her big sister, about how fun it will be to change her diaper and dress her up in little clothes.  She's really adamant about one certain name [not going to share :)] and if we even discuss other names she gets really angry - I DONT LIKE THAT, I only like ____!  She loves to give my stomach hugs and kisses and pats and always asks if she's kicking me.  She often can't stay still long enough to feel the baby move, but I love when she does and I see the bright look of wonderment on her face.  It's a really sweet time and I need to stop wishing these last couple months fly by...

*rock creek

We had such a good time with Ben's family this year! We first spent a few days at a fun little motel in Bishop - playing in the pool, eating out, a trip to Manzanar [the WWII Japanese internment camp] and a beautiful fish hatchery and the boys up a "serious" 4 wheel drive to a mountain lake with huge trout.

The rest of the time we spent up in Rock Creek - fishing, hiking, eating pie [the store's specialty], hanging out in the cabin, etc. I wish I could say Vera was a little trooper, loving the outdoors and hiking through the woods. She would do ok in the backpack for a while but mostly wanted to go home, I'm tired, I'm cold, I don't like the mountains etc. :( She did like to pick wildflowers and rocks and pinecones and treasures [hehe, tjh] and would forget her complaining and have fun. She also loved to be down by the lake fishing. She loved to be helpful and bring people bait or help reel in a fish - it really made her open up and forget her shyness. It's frustrating and bothersome that she's not yet a total nature lover, but we have to realize she's just 3 and has plenty of time to learn to love to hike! When asked she said her favorite part of being in the mountains was being a ballerina - ayayay. Personally, I had an even better time than I expected to. I thought I'd be too big and pregnant to enjoy anything, but I actually was able to walk and hike a lot - at least several miles a day :) The Caters' friend, Teresa, came along and I had a great time walking with her and practicing my Spanish [when I got over my lack of confidence]. I loved watching Vera have fun with everyone and I loved getting to read my book - The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand [longest book I've ever read that didn't have me skipping sections]. The sleeping was horrible, but to be honest noone slept well at that altitude.

anyway, to the pictures....

at the motel in Bishop:

having fun at sushi:

bonding over art with Uncle Matty:
pie at the rock creek resort:
by the lake:

root beer floats:

the wildflowers this year were amazing:

more birthday. give me that pink present!!!! :

still fits somewhat in the backpack. how do you like the patagonia/nature inspired outfit she chose for herself? pink hat on pink stripes on pink flowers on pink dots:


on another note, Vera got into some wacky sleeping habits. I'm finishing this post now at 10am and she is still sleeping!!! I need to get her straightened out.... but then again it's so nice to have the morning to myself....


*we ♥ the sierras

more pictures to follow... but aren't those mountains and those colors and that sky just beautiful??


*el cumpleaƱos

...July 29 - at the lake...
good morning vera! how old are you today?

the cake ordered months ago: chocolate with pink sprinkles. also a tinkerbell candle and rainbow confetti made by olivia. the birthday girl was beyond pleased.

helping make the cupcakes for the non-chocolate lovers:
these are more my style :)
the balloons kept these three entertained for hours:

the little party - my mom, dad, liz, olivia, ivor, eliot, ben and I. my niece and nephews were really sweet and had a lot of fun helping to decorate and make it special. olivia even made vera some adorable paper dolls that morning :)
she also made bows for the 3 dogs:
I cannot describe the intensity of emotion here as vera opened these princess wands [that ben got at the grocery store 15 minutes before]. you need help opening it vera? nope, I got it! definitely one of the highlights of the day.



Relaxing now in a lovely air-conditioned, creekside motel in Bishop. Here's some snapshots of our time at Tahoe...

cutest bottom on the beach:


watching Shakespeare's Tempest - scared of the fish monster:

Who remembers and loves climbing the rocks at Sand Harbor???

Liz and I making empanadas:

It's definitely a different experience being at the lake with a child - gone are the days where Igot super-tan reading on the beach from 9-5, taking care of just me :)  I did get some reading in - first The Joy Luck Club and then I started The Fountainhead - both really really good and mostly enjoyed under the umbrella.  However, the best part of the trip [as usual] was watching Vera interact with family.  The first few days she was a little overwhelmed by everyone and therefore extremely clingy and whiney.  She slowly warmed up though to everyone and ended up having a great time trying to keep up with the cousins.  "Hey cousins!!" she'd call as she joined them on the beach or in the street to play ball.  She's the youngest by a couple years but thankfully didn't seem to notice even if she wasn't really part of the game :)  On the beach she was a bit of a girly girl and spent a lot of time "sweeping" the sand off her toes, but did let herself get dirty and was more comfortable going "steep" (deep) in the water as the days went by.  I loved the moments she just sat quietly scooping sand or letting the waves break over her legs.  The other highlight was obviously hanging out with everyone, especially dinner on the deck - though it was hard to exclude myself from the bottles of wine enjoyed, sigh.  I wish family get-togethers were much more frequent.