*la fiesta

We had a little party here on Edie's birthday with a few neighborhood families.  It was really simple, but all the kids seemed to have fun!  Edie was so different than I remember Vera being.  Vera has always been very... exuberant and lively and so excited about her birthday.  Edie seemed to get more inward and embarrassed every time you said happy birthday to her!  She didn't seem into the party at all until my mom showed up with the cupcakes - she then sat at the table and looked at them until it was time to sing and eat :)  Afterwards, I think the chocolate got to her and she opened up a bit and played.  I imagine much of it has to do with the fact that most kids she hangs out with now are older than her.

Anyway... here are some pictures from her little party:

 my mom made the cupcakes - they were, of course, delicious!!!

 chocolate-frosting buzz


I made these felt penne, tomatoes, spinach and cheese for Edie and am a little proud of myself :) Only $2.80 and it was so easy!  Vera made her several adorable cards and a paper iphone

playing in the girls' room

a delicious and fun birthday lunch with Tia at Finca - it is fun to share a birthday [almost] with my little girl! Edie is opening her first very own laptop [my 'peeta!]


*me two!

What a fun age this is still... I think I've been writing that since she was 10 months old.  I guess I just love the discovering the world-learning-to-play-and-talk-and-understand stage!!

This 2 year old: 

... is in a bit of a shy phase with other people. It makes me sad they don't get to hear her true jabbering, energetic, silly little self!  They ask her a question and she just stares or says the answer super quiet to me.

... had one more well-visit with Dr. Katie.  It was pretty funny - she wouldn't budge and answer a single question. Dr. Katie did elicit one awesome giggle "looking" for her hands and then tickling under her arm :)  She weighed 23 lbs (12%) and was 32.75" (22%). 

... loves "la playa" book - a bilingual story about going to the beach.  We read it every day and I try to switch to the Spanish often :)  She also loves Dogger [please get this at a library if you haven't read it!],  Are you my Mother, Panda Bear Panda Bear [I hear her reciting this one to herself], If you Give a Pig a Pancake, Little Mommy....

... loves to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Super Why and whatever Vera watches, though thankfully she doesn't have a long attention span yet.  She'll ask: Gickey Mouse o(n)? Check? Doc 'Suffins o(n)? Check??

... is a pro at the iphone and has been for months. so crazy.  I try to keep it out of reach but she finds a way!  They both love the Toca Boca games..

... does not have [[yet]] the huge hysterical tantrums Vera used to have.  She does sometimes SCREAM at the top of her lungs and will pull hair, hit, bite scratch if she doesn't get her way.  She does seem a little horrified afterwards and gives a sincere sorry and kisses.

... sings her ABCs about 50% correctly and counts about the same - a lot of it is just mimicking her sister : )
... wants me to sing Cristo Me Ama and You are my Sunshine at nap/bedtimes.

... is a stubborn little eater.  If she loves it, she eats a lot. If she doesn't want it, she pushes it away and says you eat it!  She loves macaroni and cheese or any pasta dish, pancakes, eggs and ketchup, anything dipped in ranch, apples, choc iclee (chocolate ice cream), shablablas (strawberries), lummy logurt (yummy yogurt), booties (pirates booty)...

... still hides Puppy in the craziest places. Just now I finally found him in a cupboard- in a pot with the lid on. She will put him in the dryer, in drawers, zipped up in a couch pillow.  Whew it is exhausting.

**here's a link to when Vera turned 2



HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our sweet, cuddly, spunky, feisty, stubborn, silly, adorable little stinker of a 2 year old :)  Eden Violet Siu-Lan Cater, we love you SO MUCH and are so happy you are in our family!!!!


[this is from a couple weeks ago, but is one of my favorite pictures!!  
btw Melissa (aka Uncle Matty-lisa) designed her little Lucky Brand sweater!]


*big sister

This morning was quite a treat and I wanted to record it.  Vera has [[thankfully!]] been going to bed a lot earlier, and so waking up around the same time as Edie. This morning she got Edie out of her bed by herself, got her some milk in her blue tup [Edie's special blue sippy], got herself some cheerios and basically just took care of her little sister for about an hour while Ben and I slept in!!  I could hear her reading Pinkalicious and other books, talking so sweetly and just being an awesome, amazing, responsible big sister.  I only heard one scream out of Edie - I think Vera wasn't letting her have glee booties [veggie booty] for breakfast.  It was so cute!  Vera was so proud  :) 

They get to watch two shows this morning for being so good:


We have a vacant lot out behind our house and the girls went out to explore it for the first time yesterday.  It made me beyond happy to see them traipsing out with their baskets, ready to explore and collect "berries" or whatever else they could find under the cottonwoods.  I told Vera how I used to play in a lot with my best friend, pretending we were the Ingalls family - bears and panthers out to get us :)  I am so happy my kids get this kind of small town childhood, at least for now!


*hawaiian day

Hawaiian Day at school - Vera was in the top 5% for school spirit.  When we get to school, we always walk through an area where older kids are in line for their lunch. Vera always looks a little self-conscious and proud walking through - especially if she has her bike or today, her grass skirt. It's cute.  

a few classmates. yes this girl second from the right is the tallest in her class!!

they both love to walk along this bench... still so crazy to me that Vera goes to Fritsch!  
I didn't go there by the way, I went to St. Theresa's - we drove by the other day, such nostalgia! It's not yellow and brown anymore, for those of you who didn't know.  and there's a fence blocking you from entering the playground!  I remember going back with my friend, Marie, years later - incapable of believing how small everything was and how filled with memories!  Anyway, that was a tangent...


*la rutina

[sorry this may be boring.... just documenting lo cotidiano :)]

I feel fairly settled here now that we have a decent daily routine.  At first I was upset that Vera was put in afternoon kindergarten [when they had told me she was in am]- I had dreams of going for long walks with the jogger in the mornings, but it has worked out pretty well.

We have slow easy mornings - Edie gets up usually around 6:30-7:00 and she follows me around as I put the dishes away, get my mate and have a little devotion. She is so cute and chatty in the mornings: clea(n) up? ok!! you's mate? oh yeah! dat hot? oh yeah!!  I usually wake up Vera around 8:00.   A couple weeks ago I was getting so annoyed with her first sentence always being Can I watch something?  So I made the simple rule that she isn't allowed to ask that right away and I'll let her know when she can.  It worked!  So much happier all around.  I do let her watch usually one, sometimes two shows.  Her current favorite is Octonauts, which is actually pretty cute!!  We love the "dance break" :)

The rest of the morning is spent playing with Eloise, playing in their kitchen, coloring, reading [Edie especially likes Vera to read her Pinkalicious], running after each other, etc. We don't do many errands [not much to do and no money to spend anyway :)], and they are often content enough to not even need an outing to a park [ok I just re-read this - they are content most of the time. still our fair share of bickering/screaming/pulling hair/time-outs/spankings, etc. :)].  We walk Vera to school at noon and then come back directly for Edie to take her nap.  I immediately make mate again and try to have some quality alone time. She wakes up and plays a bit and then it's time to get Vera.

We met a little girl who is in first grade next door to Vera's classroom. Her family just moved here also and has Utah, San Diego and Seattle connections as well as a lot of the same interests. Vera and Greta get along really really well which is awesome! We usually walk home with them as they go our same way. Sometimes they play at each other's houses - I'm so glad she has made a good friend - she really misses her friends :(  Vera and Edie have been playing a lot more too which is really wonderful - Vera rarely even asks to watch TV in the afternoon anymore and hasn't played on the computer at all.  We also have another neighbor, Ariana, who comes over a lot. She is ten and kind of likes to be the mother :)  Her little sister (3) comes over too sometimes and they all have fun.  Neighborhood friends are the best! It really reminds me of our friends from our childhood - the Bardwells :)

That's pretty much our routine!  Ben gets home from the office [where he works some for my dad and also pursuing other jobs, working on dissertation revisions etc.] and we either make dinner here or go to my parents or up to the Lake.  We have only gone out to eat twice, for lunch.  Besides the no money thing, there is no Cafe Rio, Barbacoa, Chanon Thai, etc.!

It's kind of lonely, but not necessarily in a bad way.... like I don't really have much conversation with anyone besides my mom, but it's ok with me.  I feel like this time in our lives is maybe for us to just focus on our family. For me to really take good care of my girls, to make this emotionally difficult time a little easier for Ben, to spend quality time with my parents, have a good and simple routine.  I was cleaning the other day and heard the lyrics of some song in the other room: "simple as it should be" - it was a good thing to hear at the time as I was wondering what is the point of moving here.

ANYway.  here's some pictures...

 this is the massive tv my dad bought with the house and ben won't let me remove:

there's a mailbox on our way to school... we've sent out a lot of letters and have not received many in return! yes I am talking to you! and you and you! :)



I've never really experienced Lake Tahoe in the Fall, but I am finding out just how lovely it is!  It is perfectly pleasant, quiet, uncrowded, wonderful.  We have been up at my parents' house almost every weekend and just love it.  We jokingly call this time in our lives The Great Depression [happens Ben is also reading a huge book on the topic, besides the fact that he worked 8 years only to finish during a literal Great Recession], and then equally joke that having a lake retreat at our disposal doesn't really fit in the picture of  despair :)

This may have been the last warm weekend - though I guess in the Fall, you assume every weekend is the last!  Anyway, it was so nice up there - I felt all warm and fuzzy and happy inside: reading my book, having a beer with Ben, watching the girls play, spending time with my parents, finding pretty rocks...

I never tire of this scene - I'm sure I have at least a couple dozen photos of it:

not an exciting video, just capturing the peaceful mood. I do love how I was able to document how Edie answers every question with "I dunno!" and then the answer- in this case, Lake Tahoe: