Milestones and Other Things

Our baby is now 18 months old and slipping toward being less a baby and more a toddler/big boy. It is awesome to watch and hear. There are so many new words and concepts: bus, big, owie (knees & toes are especially prone to these and he’ll kiss it better himself, thankyouverymuch), being sorry, poop, toots, ice cream, ho-pa (=hippo). He’s still into everything being “mine.” Our favorite example is from a few weeks ago at school where, upon drop-off, he found a plastic cucumber and stood in the middle of the room declaring it “MINE!” No one paid him any attention.

Our new baby just passed the half-way mark. This Thursday will mark 22 weeks. We’re just calling this one “new baby”** since we don’t and likely won’t know gender before the birth. I can feel new baby nearly every day, at least once or twice, which is a lovely and reassuring thing. Its been an uneventful pregnancy and I keep remarking that I feel better than last time, but it could just be that I haven’t quite hit the really uncomfortable stage yet and I may eat those words along with everything else in sight. Haha! Just kidding. Kind of.

**Still soliciting suggestions for boy names. Have a girl name locked down, but we’ll be in trouble if its another boy and may continue calling him “new baby” until he’s 5.

Here we all are at a recent wedding of two lovely friends–congrats Mike and Shayna! Thanks to Heidi for capturing the moment!

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We’ve been on the road a lot, collectively, lately. Ted went to Maryland, I went to Reno and then to San Diego and then we all went to Lake Tahoe and next week we’ll all go to San Diego. Its not even over after that. I’m wearing down the wheels on my suitcase.

Lake Tahoe was fun, though. Ben enjoyed playing on the beaches and in the water. He loved to throw rocks into the water and say, “Plop!” each time. We rode the gondola to the top of Heavenly and had lunch and ice cream in the cool mountain air. Perhaps best of all, we took a boat ride to a secluded beach on Echo Lake with friends and had a fun morning of swimming and playing (while battling biting flies and mosquitoes, but that’s not a huge part of the memory for me now). Ben is an awesome traveler and seems to transition pretty well between hotel living and home. Hopefully the trend continues for the trips to come.

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Atop the Heavenly overlook platform.

Atop the Heavenly overlook platform.

 

After-lunch ice cream treat!

After-lunch ice cream treat!

 

Playing in the water. I couldn't resist sharing the butt crack shot.

Playing in the lake. I couldn’t resist sharing the butt crack shot.

 

On the Echo Lake boat with new buddies.

On the Echo Lake boat with new buddies.

 

Things are good on the home front as well. We gave away one chicken (Ophelia the silkie, aka, the “poodle” chicken) because she was hopelessly broody. The remaining girls are doing chicken stuff–laying eggs, clucking away, begging for scraps. The eggs keep coming so I’m guessing they are happy enough. I’m starting to shop around for a coop-builder to construct a new coop before winter. The one we have now is cheap, flimsy, and way too drafty for a Colorado winter. More importantly, we can’t get in and out of it easily because its more “chicken-height” than “adult height” and if we’re going to stick with this chicken thing, we need a coop that’s easier to maintain. I’m formulating my “wish list” just like you might for house-hunting…now to find a builder!

The garden is growing like mad. I had to sacrifice a few kohlrabi to aphids (note to self, never grow a cole crop again. Aphids are gross and totally not worth the effort or space), we couldn’t eat enough lettuce to keep up (another note to self–next year, donate a row to a family in need), and there is at least one bunny (very small and hopelessly adorable) who has been nibbling on the peas and the carrots in the bed closest to his hidey-hole (the woodpile, I think). Knock on wood We’ve had a wet spring and summer–the sprinkler system has really only been needed for a few weeks–and everything is huge and beautiful, the neighbors are jealous, and I am rather thrilled with myself. I’ve been drenched in a couple of hail storms, racing out to cover everything, but that’s been totally worth it. Even the pathetic raspberries, planted by the home’s previous owners in the shade of several aspens, are producing a few berries, which I collect to augment my breakfast each morning when I go out to release the cranky hens into their run for the day. Look, here is the first zucchini! Oh the joy of the first zucchini! It can only be matched by the dread of seeing the last zucchini. Seriously, I have frozen zucchini from last year still. I only planted one plant this year, and it will be too much, I’m sure.

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I can’t think of a good way to wrap this up so I’ll just say, “bye for now.”

 

 

Tricks and Treats

Halloween is probably my most favorite holiday of the year. This year, the festivities and activities of the season have extended well into October: pumpkin carving, roasting the seeds, the best Halloween party ever (again!), and now just waiting for the actual day and trick-or-treaters to ring the bell. Here’s the season in pictures:

We got all gussied up for Tom&Ariel's best-ever Halloween party last Saturday. Ted was the chef from The Road Kill Cafe--"You kill it, we grill it!"--and I was road kill. More like the concept of road kill (see the tiny dead looking deer, raccoon, cat, and platapus sewn to my "road" outfit).

Sexy, isn't he? He won "best looking guy" with that face. And that faux-gut. That he would bump and bounce into me when upbeat music came on. I will probably never look at him the same way again.

The same gut came in handy later in the night when he got tired of holding both his beer and "Rocky" the raccoon ("Smells ffreesh," he'd tell anyone who'd listen. "I runned over it with my brushhog." My face hurt from laughing.).

Pumpkin carving!

One pumpkin had a super tough rind...power tools to the rescue!

I made this guy and we took him to the party. Angry owl.

And what is fall and Halloween without roasted pumpkin seeds. For the first time ever, I looked up how to make these. Three easy steps: rinse under cold water in a collander; 2) spread out on a baking sheet and let dry overnight, stiring once; 3) drizzle with olive oil and whatever seasoning you like and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown...and enjoy!

Oh my these were good. Pumpkin cookies with a cake-like texture and a fantastic cream cheese frosting. They were kind of a pain to make (custom cutting parchment paper, piping out batter) but totally worth the effort. There's a link below--follow every step!

The weather has taken a turn for the colder. Before it did, we picked nearly all the veggies in the garden (leaving only the cold-hardy swiss chard). We grew so many different varieties of tomatoes and all were so yummy--purple heirlooms, big yellow ones, juicy beefsteaks, and meaty romas. This picture says "end of summer" perfectly for me!

Those end of summer tomatoes joined some fresh herbs and lots o' garlic to transform into a beautiful, light tomato sauce last night.

Pumpkin Creme Pie recipe.

Hope you all have a fantastic fall!

Trick-o-Treat!