Tuesday, February 22, 2011



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Happy birthday to me!

I celebrated my 28th birthday last week with my adoring family.  Aaron made a special dinner that’s becoming a tradition: fish tacos and mini Boston cream pies.  YUM!  It gave us a chance to bust out the deep fryer that Aaron got for his birthday last year.  And boy was that fish good!  Of course, our house smelled like a pub for three days, but it was definitely worth it.

Katie took all the photos that evening, and she did a pretty good job!


I’ve got an odd smile on, but maybe that’s just because I was so impatient to eat my taco.


Yes, Averi is totally naked here.  She wanted to wear her birthday suit to my birthday dinner.


Paul loves fish, so he was in heaven with this meal.  And no pictures of Katie since she was behind the camera.


And the mini Boston cream pies.  So very very very yummy.

I got very spoiled for my birthday, as usual.  Aaron’s parents got me a place setting of the Lenox Chirp china that I’ve been collecting:


My parents got a joint birthday present for me and Aaron: A Blendtec Total Blender!  I have loved using that thing.  It made my other wimpy blender run home and cry because it had a major inferiority complex.

I got several fun things from my sweetie, but my big present was a series of sewing and costume design classes!  I’m so excited about these.  He’s always so great at coming up with thoughtful gifts. 

All in all, 27 was pretty great.  Here’s hoping that 28 is even better!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What we’ve been working on


We had some of Averi’s friends over last week who are a few months older than she is.  After they left, Averi begged me no less than 5 times to use the potty that day.  Anyone who knows me knows that we’ve had a…difficult time potty training Paul.  To put it ever so nicely.  And everyone knows about it because I’m a complete whiner about it.  Between my should-be-potty-trained-two-years-ago-but-isn’t-quite four-year-old (how’s that for hyphens!), my separation-anxiety-riddled dog, and my toddler in diapers, I felt like pee and poop have ruled my life.  So the last thing I wanted to do was potty train.  Because let’s face it—potty training is miserable.  I think it’s the worst thing I’ve had to do so far as a mother.  Not exaggerating.

But Lando left that Monday.  So I don’t have to clean up his messes.  And Paul’s doing a million times better than he has in the past.  And I make him clean up his own messes (well, as much as he’s capable of doing).  And I hadn’t yet had the carpets cleaned.  And Averi REALLY wanted to use the potty.  So I relented.  I had sworn that I was not even going to try with her until she was at least three.  But you would think that I would learn by now never to swear about anything that has to do with kids.


(Just chilling, watching a movie and eating a snack.  How low stress can this get?)

And guess what?  It’s been the easiest ever.  We started Wednesday morning.  She had 2 teeny accidents while she was wearing underwear, so I took them off and let her run around naked.  And we didn’t have a single accident as long as she was naked.  NOT ONE.  So we let her run around stark naked for several days.  I apologize to all friends and neighbors, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  We started her in underwear this week.  And she’s been fabulous.  Very few accidents, and none at all today.  Now I will have a long stretch of time WITH NO DIAPERS.  NONE.  I haven’t had that in over 5 years.  There might have been a small stretch of time between Paul being potty trained and Averi being born, but since he was just peeing in his pants, it doesn’t really count. 

Averi, thank you.  You’re my favorite child at the moment.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time to think about gardening

Last year I was asked by several people to let them know when and what I was planting. It would also be good for me to start keeping better notes of what it is that I’m planting, so here’s a start.


(Transplanting some grasses. Love my hat? This white girl needs some sun protection.)

Last frost in Albuquerque is generally April 17. This means that there are a lot of things you can start planting in the next few weeks! Yay!!! So start thinking about your spring crops. It’s also a good time to get your plants started that you’ll be transplanting out later on in the year. I’ve tried growing my own seeds to set out, but I’ve had very little success. Our only windows in our house are north facing (except the one in my closet) and those plants don’t get nearly enough sun, even when I have a grow light rigged. And can I tell you how many times I’ve picked up plants off the floor and tried to rescue tender little seedlings after a rowdy game of who-knows-what? So no transplants for me, at least not in this house. I’ll just buy them at the store for now, even though it costs a million times as much as buying a packet of seeds. But now’s the time to think about them and get them going if you are going to be doing that.


(Carrots from our fall harvest)

Some spring crops to think about:

Broccoli—although I did not have any success with this the one year I tried. It grew huge and took over but never got any broccoli from it.

Cabbage—never tried this, since I figured it’s dirt cheap in the store. But could be fun if you have extra space.

Parsley—transplants can grow in the ground 5 weeks before last frost. I found it tricky to start from seed, so I just bought mine. Definitely worth planting a few of these, since you can harvest throughout the growing season and into early winter. I definitely prefer Italian (or flat-leaf) parsley over the curly variety for cooking. It has a much better flavor.

Peas—classic spring vegetable. Can direct sow 5 weeks before last frost.

Spinach—I love growing spinach. I’ve needed to protect it from birds when the sprouts are little, but it’s super easy to grow and tastes delicious.

Cauliflower—same story as with broccoli. Anyone know what I did wrong? Or is it just tough to grow in ABQ?

Lettuce—Another favorite. I prefer looseleaf lettuces to those that form a head since they seem a lot less finicky and you can harvest continually. Cos (romaine) lettuces and buttercrunch are especially great. I’m trying arugula this year as well so that I can make some arugula pesto.

Onions—I’ve never tried full-sized onions, but my green onions failed. This was probably my fault. I think it’d be really fun to grow some onions in a half-barrel. And I could do that in the front yard since rabbits don’t like onions.

Beets—I’m going to try these this year. I’ve heard that beet greens are fantastic in salad.

Carrots—I’ve tried a few times and finally had success last fall. They were delicious and didn’t take up much space, so I think it’s worth the effort.

Radishes—tried one year and they were nasty and woody, but I think it was the variety I tried. I’m giving these another shot.

Swiss chard—never tried this, but it’s so pretty that I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve heard it’s pretty fail-proof. We’ll see.


(Pie made from the raspberries in our garden)

I’m putting my seed order in right now, and here are the varieties that I’ve selected:

Carrots: Nantes (seeds from last year), Cosmic Purple, Atomic Red, St Valery

Lettuce: Buttercrunch, Freckles, and a few variety packets I have from last year

Radishes: French Breakfast, Easter Egg

Beets: Early Wonder, Golden Beet

Swiss Chard: Bright Lights

Arugula: the variety isn’t named, but it’s supposed to mature in 38 days. Sounds good to me!


(Our square foot garden in early spring 2009. We’ve got wood dividers now, so it looks a little better than that.)

I’ll also go through my seeds and plant whatever peas and spinach I have on hand. And you can bet that I’ll be putting in several parsley plants.

I’m so excited to get a start on my garden this year!! What are you planting?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In what universe is this considered clean?

I don’t know if everyone has noticed (I’m not sure how you can fail to notice, actually), but dishwashers are no longer cleaning dishes.  Why?  Because some boneheaded politicians have decided to be everyone’s mom and ban phosphates from dishwasher detergents because they are thought to contaminate the water supply.  Not a bad idea, you think?  Well, they banned these when there is no commercially viable substitute available for phosphates.  New Mexico has not banned phosphates, but what company in their right mind will continue making, selling, and distributing two versions of the product?  It’s not a profitable strategy.  So now it’s virtually impossible to find a dishwasher detergent that actually cleans here in Albuquerque. 




Disgusting.  I used to wash my dishes on the normal setting with only the cleanser portion of the dispenser filled (no prewash needed).  Now I have to pre-rinse (never needed to do that before), completely fill both receptacles AND use the heavy setting.  And my dishes are still filthy.  So I have to wash all glassware by hand now, which uses far more water (and time!) than the dishwasher.  Net effect: at least twice as much detergent (more contaminants in the water and twice as much money spent), far more water used, and more energy, since the dishwasher runs longer and hotter on the heavy setting.  This is an environmental improvement?

You can still buy aluminum phosphate at Home Depot and Lowes.  So you’d better believe that we’re going to be concocting our own dishwasher detergent.  And we’re certainly not the only ones resorting to this.  Surely our home-brewed concoctions can’t be safer than the commercially-prepared cleaners made by chemists. 

I propose that anyone elected into office be required to take (and pass!) basic economics.  Any student worth her salt could discuss unintended consequences, and could probably list many of the consequences of this particular action.  But until then, ignorant but well-meaning (the worst combination) people will continue to be elected into office.  So I’m now off to research dishwasher detergents.  If you have any recommendations of detergents that still clean, please let me know.  And I hope that the politicians toasting themselves for this brilliant political move have to hand wash their own champagne glasses (although I seriously doubt it).

Friday, February 11, 2011

December 27 and 28: Epcot and Hollywood Studios

I WILL get this trip finished!  I WILL!

December 27: Epcot

This was a COLD day.  It got cold that Sunday, and of course we came to Florida completely unprepared.  We didn’t go shopping on Sunday, so we went early Monday morning.  That was a mistake.  Everything was gone.  The stores were completely wiped out of cold-weather gear.  Aaron needed a hat; all they had were about 7 rows of fedoras.  Seriously.  We managed to find some one-size-fits-all stretchy gloves (which don’t really fit all hand sizes, but it sufficed) and some hats and mittens for the kids.  Fortunately they had gotten Disney hoodies for Christmas, so we were able to bundle them up pretty well.  Paul was definitely NOT pleased about wearing tights, especially since they had pink and glitter stripes.  But we, being the mean parents that we are, forced him and promised him that no one would ever know.




We had a character lunch at Akershus in Norway, and part of the package was a professional photo with Belle.  Grandma and Grandpa got those photos, but the people at Disney are always nice enough to let you take your own photos.  However, the battery on my flash began dying, so my photos are (sadly) not that great.


Belle adjusting Paul’s pirate patch









Alice was our favorite.  She had way more personality than the other princesses.


The desserts at Akershus were quite delicious!  All the food was very good, actually.



December 28: Hollywood Studios

I didn’t actually take many photos here.  We were too busy running around trying to avoid insane post-Christmas lines.


I took this one while we were waiting at the Rockin’ Rollercoaster.  We bought the lollipops for the kids to compensate them for having to miss out on most of the rides that morning.  Let’s face it: Tower of Terror just doesn’t work for preschoolers.

We had another character dinner that evening at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian.  This one was definitely our favorite.  The stepsisters were HILARIOUS and the kids loved the food.  Definitely worth the $$$.


Averi was sitting at her high chair to eat dinner, and when the stepmother (or Lady Tremain, as we were supposed to call her) came by she began to cry.  We all assumed it was because she’s rather dour-looking, but we eventually realized it was because she wanted to be there posing with her.  She knew what she was supposed to be doing when the characters came around.  It was rather adorable.  It’s hard to tell in the photo, but she’s smiling through the tears.


They had a little dance in the middle of the dinner, and the kids all got to dance with Anastasia.



Love this pose.  I’m thinking of adopting this for all future group shots.



Ashley found her Prince Charming.  Alas, as is all to often the case, he was already taken.


Overall it was an AMAZING trip.  Scarcely a day goes by when we don’t here about some portion of our Disney trip.  In fact, we knew Averi was really sick the other week when she failed to mention the “Ween-the-Poon” ride for 24 hours.  But she recovered, and Ween-the-Poon is back in our daily vernacular.  Thanks, Mom and Dad!  We are already contemplating our next trip back…