Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Quick Soup Update

The Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice soup is even better left-over. It gets all nice and thick in the fridge overnight. Mmmmm. I will be very sad when it's gone.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Typical Tuesday


Daphne didn't take a nap today, so instead of relaxing in my chair with a book or some knitting, or getting some chores done, I got invited to a birthday party for Elephant Gerald (in the green chair). According to Daphne, he is two years old, and he wished for a box of frying pans when he blew out his candles. He plans to make pretend Lemon Soup with these pans.


In the high chair, you may notice a sort of Daphne-looking Cabbage Patch doll, courtesy of Aunt Kimmie and Uncle Marty. Her name, as stated on her birth certificate, is Anna Wanda. I call her Anaconda. Daphne calls her Anda-Wanna, and says her birthday isn't until Saturday.


Time to get back to the party. I am missing the cheese course. I think it's Gouda.

The Winter of Soup Begins


Soup 1
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
Last night I began the Winter of Soup with this Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice. Very good, and very easy. I used this recipe, and added carrots, mushrooms, and a little garlic. Next time I will use more rice, but otherwise I probably won't change anything else.

Big Wheel!


Big Wheel!
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
So, here it is. The Big Wheel. Don't you wish you could ride it?

Kev moved the seat as far forward as possible, but she can still really only go backwards.

Christmas was good. It seems like we spent most of it driving in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania goes on forever. Maryland, on the other hand, takes about 15 minutes to cross. The funny thing is, when you leave Maryland, there is a sign that says "Maryland thanks you for your patience."

Kevin turned 40 in NY the day after Christmas, so we all went sledding. In the snow. It was great. Daphne liked it, but was more interested in eating snow. One time, Kev and I went down together on my nephew's toboggan. It was so much fun...the sled just kept going and going and I thought we might end up in the Hudson River. It was one of the few carefree moments I've had in a long time. (Once I knew we weren't going to wipe out, that is.)

I got lots of nice gifts, so thanks to everyone. Daphne got some great stuff too. And we all pitched so Kev could get a new bike for his birthday, so there are going to be some fun bike-rides in our future.

Now that Christmas is over, it is time to buckle down and get some things done. I have a feeling I am going to know all the people down at the DMV by name before it's all over. There is a lot of stuff you have to do when you move from another state, and much of it requires about 10 forms of ID. Such a hassle, but it's gotta be done.

And the boxes. So many boxes.

And Christmas cards.

So, I better stop blogging and get some things done. I have promised the Peanut a walk today, as well as a game of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I guess the boxes can wait.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah. At last. Christmas is upon us. And I am DONE. Well, except for sending out Christmas cards, which I have had to just let turn into New Years cards.

This has been a difficult year, and a difficult Christmas, for a variety of reasons. But now I am ready to move on and look forward to all the exciting things that are going to be happening in the next several months. Big things, of course, like my parents and brother moving up here to join us, but little things too. Not the least of which is making soup for the Winter of Soup (I got a new Williams Sonoma soup cookbook for Christmas). AND I also FINALLY got my Easybake Oven (thanks, M and D), so there are going to be a lot of teeny tiny cakes in my future. And now that Christmas is almost over, we will be able to concentrate on unpacking and getting more settled. A day is coming when there will be downtime. And knitting.

I had a very nice Christmas Eve, and plan to have a fun day tomorrow. Daphne is all excited, so she'll be fun to watch. She's getting the Big Wheel I bought a couple years ago. Kev put it together the other night and I cannot tell you how badly I wished I could ride it.

I hope all of you have a really great Christmas. Gotta get to sleep now before Santa shows up...

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Winter of Soup

I have officially declared this the "Winter of Soup." This means that I am going to make a whole bunch of different kinds of soups this winter since we now live in a cold climate. I am a little worried because Daphne, who used to eat everything, isn't crazy about soup these days, and I don't want dinnertime to be a stressful event. Anyway, feel free to suggest a soup recipe that you like, and I will tell you if it makes the cut this season.

My favorite soups are:
Mushroom,
Lobster Bisque,
Chicken and Dumplings,
Split Pea with Ham,
the delicious Roasted Butternut Squash soup I had in NYC last time I was there,
Cream of Tomato,
and
Gumbo.

Also, I would like to include more goat cheese in my meal plan. Please make suggestions if you have them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Have Always Wanted a Banister


So, I decorated it. Perhaps this will satisfy the neighbors...



Speaking of the neighbors, here is a tree that lives next door. It is a ginko tree. Here is a story about that tree:

The day we moved into our new house, we went on the front porch to take a picture. We smelled something bad, and I thought it was dog poop or fertilizer. A few days later, the Verizon man came to install the Fios package. Every time he came near me, I smelled a poop/fertilizer smell. I thought maybe this was a guy with real problems! Then a couple hours into the job, he told me that he had been stepping on fruit from the neighbors tree, and boy, did it stink. Aaaah! Mystery solved! So, as it turns out, every fall, this giant tree sheds the smelliest fruit you ever smelled, and there is nothing you can do but go out there and clean it all up from the yard, but you have to be careful not to get it on your skin because it will give you ginko berry disease which resembles poison ivy and can make you very sick. I suppose we will just have to make do. Poor Kev was outside for two days picking up all that mess.






Finally, here is our Christmas tree. We let Daphne help put the ornaments on. It was stressful, but sorta fun. Nothing got broken, anyway. And the stockings were hung by the (faux) chimney with mantle stocking hanger things from Target, which I have also always wanted.

So, I got my banister and my mantle things. Is it worth the price of the stinky tree? I reckon so. But then, I'm not the one who had to clean up the fruits.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Turkey and Such


So, Thanksgiving was good. My parents were here, and my mom taught me how to make all the food. It really wasn't that hard, just a lot of work for a meal that lasted about 15 minutes. I shouldn't say that, I guess. We actually got four meals out of the deal, so it was all worth it. Plus, there was pie. You can't beat that. Above, I am taking the finished turkey out of the oven. I used a bag, and it was good. Below, is everyone waiting for me and my dad to stop taking pictures so we can eat. The centerpiece was Daphne's hand-turkey surrounded by pinecones from the yard. What would Martha think?



While my parents were here, Kev and I made a quick overnight trip to New York City to see the great Dave Brubeck at the Blue Note. The show was great. So glad we went. Dave Brubeck must be almost 100, but he could still play, and his band was fantastic. We entered the club just as he arrived, so I took a picture with my phone, but I can't get the picture OFF my phone without subscribing to some expensive service, so it doesn't do much good.



We took the bus from DC to NYC, which wasn't bad. On the way home, we got stuck on the New Jersey turnpike, though, and a 4 hour trip turned into about 6 hours, which is a long time to sit on a bus without getting up. Still, it was way better than having to fly.





Tonight was the annual Christmas parade in our town. It went right past our house, which was very convenient. We bundled everyone up and braved the cold, and enjoyed the parade, which featured a camel! I think even LarryFeathers, who is visiting this week, had a good time. Daphne loved it because the people in the parade kept giving her candy. I think she got more candy tonight than she did on Halloween.





For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to decorate my house at Christmas by putting one candle in every window. This year, we made it happen. We also bought a wreath for the door from a local farmer, and we have a groovy retro light-up Santa by the back door. Apparently I am going to have to step it up next year, though. One of my neighbors told me to relax and not worry about trying to decorate this year..."We know you're new," she said.

That being said, she, and all of our other neighbors, could not be more friendly. Everyone has really gone out of their way to make us feel welcome. I am looking forward to getting to know people. I just have to get through the holidays first. I have not even made a dent in my Christmas shopping. The holiday knitting I planned to do is just not going to happen. And it will be a miracle if I get my cards sent out on time this year. Oh well. There are more important things than all that.

So, I hope that you are all doing well and enjoying the holiday season so far. I will try to blog more, and I assure you there will be pictures the minute we get snow. Tomorrow, we're decorating the Christmas tree, and there will likely be Kerbey Lane pancakes. Not much could be better than that. Maybe if there's time, I'll get back on here and tell you about the Stinky Tree.
















































Sunday, November 23, 2008

Home Sweet Home


Here are a few pics of the new house. We finally got internet/phone/tv hooked up today. We're still swimming in boxes, but we've made progress and it's starting to feel like home. People here are really nice. They keep coming over with cookies and pies and baskets of stuff. I hope that eventually I will have time to blog a real blog. The next blog will probably be about Thanksgiving. I am cooking the dinner this year, and it will be my first time, so tune in for tales of kitchen disasters...






Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Day

Today we moved into our new house in Leesburg, VA. Pictures coming soon. It was a freezing cold day with flurries of snow, and now we are drowning in boxes, but the difficult times are over and we can begin to settle in and enjoy life again. We won't have any internet until they come hook us up next Sunday, so if you email me and I don't reply, that's why. Hope you're all doing well and staying warm. See you soon.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Time for a Blog


Helping Aunt Kimmie
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
I think it's about time I blogged a blog, so here goes:

First of all, a shout out to my good friends, Rob and Michelle...hope you like the pancakes!

Next, the picture there is Daphne helping her Aunt Kimmie feed my awesome little nephew, Jackson. He is a really good little baby. I think the Peanut didn't know quite what to think about him...she was a little nervous when she got close to him. But, she told me that she is going to have two babies, named Jackson and Jackson, so I think she likes him.

Things here are pretty OK. If all goes well, we'll be in our new house next week. There is a lot that has to happen, but things seem to be on track. I will spare you the details, but it has been very complicated and difficult selling our house and buying the new one. Nothing has really gone smoothly, but thanks to my good friend and real estate agent Anne, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, my family back home, who have been a HUGE help in too many ways to list, Kev's mom and dad, who drove all the way here to babysit so we could go house-hunting, my friends who have supported me through the whole ordeal, and Kev, who has somehow been keeping the wheels from flying off, I think everything is going to work out.

As soon as all parties sign by the X, I will post a picture of our new house. I don't wanna jinx anyting...

Over the weekend, we took a break from all this moving and shakiing to trek up to NY so we could see our afore-mentioned new nephew and hang out with kev's family. Daphne and her cousins are getting better and better at playing together, and they all had a great time. Kev's mom had lots of activities for them, including tie-dying shirts and making foam Christmas trees. It's a good thing, too, because it rained all day Saturday, and we didn't even leave the house. The drive to NY is long, but not TOO long, and it's very pretty. There are plenty of places to stop along the way. And we discovered that our new house is only one hour from Gettysburg, and a little over two hours from Hershey. We are never ever going to run out of cool stuff to do up here.

So, I am homesick, but hanging in. We have a play-date tomorrow with my nice knitter friend and her little boy. I can finally see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, and I know I will eventually feel normal again. Or something resembling normal, anyway. If there was only a way to watch the Mavericks...

Hope things are good with all of you. Thanks for sticking with me through the lean blogging.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Trick or Treat


Trick or Treat
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
Hope you all had a good Halloween. We enjoyed ours. Daphne was Dorothy, as you can see. It was a last-minute choice based on that was about all they had left in her size at Target. I am far away from my sewing machine, so I couldn't make her anything. Maybe next year. Anyway, we thought she looked pretty cute with her ruby slippers and pigtails, so it's all good. A nice lady that I met via a knitting forum invited us to her neighborhood for trick-or-treating, which was great because we didn't have to drag the Peanut all around this apartment complex. I can't wait to get out of this place. It is so noisy, and there are weird smells now and then.

Daphne's asleep, so I'm gonna go eat some of her candy now. She'll never know...

White House, The


White House, The
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
Today we finally took a trip into Washington DC. I had never been there, and I wanted to see the White House. There is a picture of it that I took today. Look at that lawn! On the roof, to the right of the flag, you can see a sniper-type guy. There were other guys walking around the grounds with big machine-gun looking guns. What a sad world we live in.

We went in on the Metro, which was pretty fun and easy. DC is nice and calm...not at all like New York City. I didn't hear any cars honking all day. There is so much to do that I can't imagine we'll ever be able to do it all. Today we just walked around and took the Peanut on the carousel by the Smithsonian. It was a really nice day. Almost hot, even.

Tonight we went for Indian food at a little place in the shopping center by our apartment. It was really good. Daphne even liked it.

Now everyone is asleep. I am trying to stay up late because the time changes and I don't want to be up at 4:30am. Curse the inventor of daylight savings time. Oh, wait. Maybe that was Ben Franklin. Hmmm...I usually like Ben Franklin. Oh well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Taste of Home


A Taste of Home
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
The other day we received a package from my mom and dad which included some of Daphne's toys and book, Kevin's favorite house-pen, and this stuff in the picture: my favorite coffee mugs with some coffee from Central Market, my milk frother thing, and some Kerbey Lane pancake mix. I have been enjoying my morning lattes since this arrived, and there will be pancakes in the near future. Thanks, M & D...we needed a little cheering up around here.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We're Here

Just want to let you know we made it Virginia. We are currently living in a corporate apartment with noisy neighbors, but it's clean and it will do for now. I miss my family and my friends and knowing how to get places without a map. Today we got a GPS, so that should make things better. I don't get much computer time, but when I do, I will blog more. I hope you are all doing well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cruel Cruel World

Just in time for me to move away, they opened up a Paciugo gelato shop a couple blocks from my house and an Oklahoma Original Fried Pie shop near my parents' house. I swear, if the New Albany Redmen come down here and bring Chicken and Dumplings, I'm not moving.

UPDATE: Today we went to get a fried pie, and there was a sign on the door that said, "Sorry. We are sold out. Please come back tomorrow." I guess I missed my chance.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Indiana Road Trip


Indiana Fall
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
Last night, my mom, Daphne, Jeff, and I returned from our big road trip to visit my family in Indiana. There is way too much to blog about, but the bottom line is, we had a great time. I got to do all the things I wanted to do (Zesto, Hubers, chicken and dumplings, apple dumplings, Fun Slide, Pizza King, etc.) and Daphne had lots of adventures. She was really good in the car and only had 2 major meltdowns in ten whole days away from home. She did manage to dial 911 at the hotel in Memphis somehow, but other than that, there were no major incidents. Please feel free to check out the pictures on Flickr...there are quite a few.

My biggest regret is that I was not able to meet the mysterious Fooie McGoo during my visit. He is supposedly a real hipster, though, so he is probably too cool for me and Daphne. Well, maybe next time, Foo.

PS. If you have never driven through Tennessee, I recommend it. It is very pretty.

Front Roll

video

During our trip, Daphne got to go to gymnastics class with her cousin Eavie. It was pretty hilarious. They put Daphne in this room with all kinds of colorful exciting stuff to climb on, and she went nuts. She mostly ran to a round pit in the back corner and dove headfirst into it. You can see it back there in the video. Then, one of the poor teachers would retrieve her and put her back with the group, where she would quickly squirm away and run off to the corner again. This happened at least 30 times. I promise. But, even though she didn't really follow the rules, she had a blast, and I never have to go back there and face the teachers again.

And on that Farm She Drove a Jeep...

video

EIEIO.

While we were in Indiana, Daphne got to drive a jeep at my Aunt Darlene and Uncle Marty's house. They live sorta out in the country. We got to see cows and horses, and pick tomatoes and peppers from the garden. Daphne got to feed the cat. But this jeep was the best part.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Breakfast for Dinner


Breakfast for Dinner
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
Tonight we had breakfast for dinner. What a treat. These are the Kerbey Lane pancakes I was telling you about before. If you are ever in Austin, please go to Kerbey Lane for the real thing. You will thank me.

Learning Lace - Latest FO


Lace 2
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
I knit this lace wrap for my mom's birthday. It was my first time doing lace, and it was pretty easy, but it took a long time because I needed complete silence so I wouldn't mess up the pattern. Now, I need to knit something easy that I can do while I watch TV in my corporate housing unit.

Anyway, I think the wrap turned out really good, and I hope my mom can find an occasion to wear it.

Pattern is from KnitSimple Summer '07, and the yarn is FABULOUS Blue Sky Alpaca/Silk. I think this might be my favorite yarn so far. Alpaca has never let me down.

This is How You Eat a Corny Dog

So, our family has been making the rounds, going to all the places we will miss the most when we move. On Saturday, we were displaced from the house for a showing, so we went to the great State Fair of Texas, and had a really good time in spite of the heat and the Daphne melt-down at the very end. I didn't blame her. The state fair is fun, but it is also a real beating if you stay too long. Anyway, there were all the usual things: corny dogs, the Fun Slide, the Texas Star ferris wheel, etc. And Daphne got to go on here first amusement park ride with no parental sidekick! It was a little viking ship ride that just went in a gentle circle, and she thought it was the greatest thing ever. Pictures on flickr if you wanna see. I will miss the fair.

Other places I will miss include the Arboretum, Cafe Madrid, Legal Grounds (coffee shop), Central Market, Studio Movie Grill and the Inwood theater (the one with the couches), the Dream Cafe (cheese grits), Mai's (#38a), Shabby Sheep yarn store, and on and on. Sigh.

However, there are a lot of cool new things to look forward to in Virginia. My cool brother-in-law, Pat, even sent me a list this morning that included a restaurant with flourless chocolate waffles, a whole store of pies, a place with cosmic bowling, and a corn maze, among other things. He also informed me that Vigiinia is home to four types of owls! So, it will be fun exploring the area and finding new places to go and things to do. Now, if we could just find a house.

Monday, September 22, 2008

LRHS Movie Review

So yesterday we went to see the Dark Night. Even though I liked the first one, I didn't expect much, but it was great. Heath Ledger was a perfect Joker. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Word of advice: Go to the bathroom right before it starts, and don't drink anything during the movie.

Four and a half (out of 5) penguins.

Another movie you should get from Netflix is "Lars and the Real Girl." It's good. I promise. I'd watch it again.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm an Aunt!

Welcome to the world, little Jackson Martin "Blueberry" R---. We can't wait to meet you!

All the best to Kim and Marty as the adventure begins. Great name, guys...much better than a boy named Sue. I can't believe we didn't guess it! Please send pictures soon...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Best Part of Cookie-Making

Morale has been low around the LRHS-HQ lately, so Sunday we took a day off from fretting. We made the Kerbey Lane panckes for breakfast, and they were really good. Not quite as good as the real thing, but they hit the spot. Then we had to vacate the house for a showing, so we went to the Arboretum and let Daphne run and run. She had a blast, and the weather was beautiful. Cool and breezy thanks to Hurricane Ike. It's sad that it takes a devastating hurricane to make the weather here so nice. Shout out to the people in Indiana (of all places!) who are dealing with a much more difficult aftermath. Anyway, later that evening, we made chocolate chip cookies, and as you can see, I had a helper who could not resist the spatula. I don't blame her. The cookies were good!

So, we are starting off the new week hoping we'll get some good news about finding a place to live. It's hard feeling sorta homeless, but I know overall, we have NOTHING to complain about. I shall do my best to stay positive. And chocolate chip cookies can't hurt!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Big One is Coming

There is now a For Sale sign in our yard. We are very sad. It might not be so bad if we actually had a place to live in Virginia, but so far, no deal. It is becoming difficult to have a positive outlook, but we will muddle through. There are, after all, no lions.

Meanwhile, we're hunkering down for Ike, which will probably just mean rain and wind for us in North Texas. I just got back from the grocery store, where milk and bagel supplies were perilously low. I think about half of Dallas was there, stocking up for the weekend. Hopefully it won't be too bad.

As a treat, I bought a box of Kerby Lane pancake mix. Kerby Lane is a place in Austin that serves the best pancakes on Earth. We will have those on Sunday.

A big LRHS Happy Birthday to Kim! Are ya one? Are ya two? And so forth. Woohoo!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Big Day


The Big Day
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
Today was the first ballet class. It was very cute, but chaotic as I'm sure you can imagine. Five 2-year-olds (and their mommies) trying to learn to point toes and curtsy (curtsie?) turned into five mommies mostly chasing five 2-year-olds around to the Nutcracker Suite. But we had a great time, and Daphne didn't want to leave when it was time to go home. Ah, these are the moments you never get back...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Three More Days...


IMG_0318_1
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
...until Daphne starts her little ballet class. We went to buy the shoes today and tried on her leotard. She tippy-toed all around the room. We will only get to go to a few classes before we move, but I can't wait. It's gonna be so cute.

Fun with Dirt


Fun with Dirt
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
We have been doing various projects to get our house ready for the market. Yesterday, Daphne helped me plant a little herb container garden for the front porch. She was a pretty good little helper. Our house looks better and better every day.

Meanwhile, things are looking a little bleak with the house we are trying to buy, so we may end up back at square one. Keep your fingers crossed.

It would be nice for something to actually go smoothly for once. I'm not holding my breath.

Anticipation

In a few weeks, Daphne and I are going with my mom and LarryFeathers to Indiana to visit my family and attend the greatness of the Harvest Homecoming. There will be apple dumplings, chicken and dumplings, a Fun Slide and Carousel, numerous trips to the Zesto, pizza from Pizza King, and general fun with cousins and such. I can't wait. Fooie and Mel, will you guys be in town? If so, we can take the kids to Community Park.

New Albany is a really good place to call your home town.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Stinkers


My Favorite Picture
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
Yesterday I took Daphne to an indoor playground. There were a couple "big kids" there (about 4 years old). Daphne boldly went up to them, and said "What are you doing?" And the girl said to the boy, "Let's go over here where SHE won't bother us." Then later, Daphne said to the big boy, "Do you want to play with me?" and the big boy said, "No" and walked away. I wanted to trip him. And his mom.

The Peanut is trying so hard to learn about the social world, but I can tell it isn't easy for her. She only wants to play with big kids, and they won't give her the time of day. Poor kid.

The whole thing didn't seem to bother her, fortunately. It was way more upsetting to me than it was to her.

Keep trying, little Peanut.

The Forgotten Birthday


So, I had a nice birthday and got lots of great gifts. Then I left town, and I've hardly had a chance to play with any of my new stuff. This French Press is the exception. I use it every single day. Good coffee is important.

Knitting through the Pain



During all the fretting that's been going on, one way I have kept myself sane is by knitting like a maniac. The three projects in this post were made for Kim and Marty's baby-on-the-way (whom Daphne has named "Blueberry"). It was tricky coming up with gender-neutral projects that I liked, but in the end, I chose the hat above, made with sock-monkey yarn, a nice alpaca cream-colored blankie, and a neutral cotton washcloth. If the baby is a girl, I think I'll probably make a small flower to decorate the hat a little and make it more feminine.




I actually did quite a bit of knitting on the plane, which along with the sedatives, seemed to help a lot in keeping me calm. I have a couple new projects in the works, which I will show you when they're done. I am learning a lot through all this, and becoming a better knitter, so that's good. I am already panicking about being 1000 miles away from my favorite yarn store, and my friend Emily who always knows how to help me in a knitting crisis.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Brave New World

OK, so here's the deal. We're moving. To Virginia. Things have been really chaotic lately and blogging has had to fall to the bottom of the priority list. But, it's nice to know I've been missed, and I will try to blog more.

In a nutshell, here is what has been going on: Kev got a job offer at the beginning of August for a full time postion doing rocket stuff for a company in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington DC. We had to make some quick and very very difficult decisions. We flew up to VA to do a whirlwind house-hunting expedition, which was stressful and defeating. The last day we were there, we found a house we both loved. So, after lots and lots of fretting and hand-wringing and going over and over the pros and cons, we decided to make an offer on the house and accept the new job. This has been really hard on us and on my family, who thankfully will probably be able to move up and join us in a year or so. Meanwhile, we went on vacation to New York. The whole time we were there, Kev was sick and I was sad, and we were trying to deal with real estate wheeling and dealing, but we managed to squeeze in some fun by hanging out with the family and going to the Dutchess County Fair for milkshakes and the Fun Slide, and we got to celebrate the upcoming arrival of our new neice or nephew, which we can't wait for. And the last night, Kev and I went to the movies. We saw Pineapple Express, which was funny, but not as funny as Superbad.

All of this happened over a 2 and a half week span. We flew to VA on a Monday, back to Dallas on that Friday, were welcomed home by the delightful aroma of a deceased Pancho under our crawlspace hatch, got up at 3:30 the next morning and flew to NY, and then back home 9 days later. That's 4 flights. In two weeks. And you all know how I feel about flying.

On top of all that, I turned 40, but I've hardly had time to catch my breath, much less dwell on that.

Since we got home, there has been more wheeling and dealing, lots of cleaning and packing and arranging for landscapers and fence guys and handymen, and Daphne has chosen this week to have a terrible two relapse. I think maybe things will settle down by Thanksgiving. That may be optimistic.

So, we are excited, sad, and nervous about this move. As much as I complain about Dallas, it has been my home for 30 years and I am going to miss it. And even though I know my family will join us eventually, it is going to be extremely hard to leave them. Please try to consider their feelings and be sensitive in your comments.

Sorry about the lack of blogging. I will do better. Next time, I'll try to post some pictures of something happy and/or interesting. Photos from our NY trip on Flickr if you want to see.

Thanks for being patient.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Break Time

Today is the last day of my 30's. I don't know really how to feel about that. I have spent the weekend celebrating with family and friends. It has been nice. Tomorrow, I begin new adventures in my 40's. Gonna lay low for a couple weeks, but I'll be back.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Weekend of Firsts (or WALL-E-HO!)



Once everyone stopped being sick, we had chicken soup. Go figure.

It was really good. Kevin made the dumplings. I always mess them up. But now I know the secret, so next time I will make them and they will rule!



Daphne has been really good lately. We decided to treat her to her first movie in a theater on Saturday, so we went to the 11:30 matinee showing of Wall-E at the great Inwood theater, which has changed me forever. Now, no other movie theater will do. The Inwood has big giant comfy couches with ottomans, so we sat in a couch-built-for-three with the Peanut anchored securely between us. She had her own little bag of popcorn, her juice cup, and PSB (Pink Soft Blankie), and she was ready. For about the first 45 minutes, she was completely mesmerized, probably by the sheer hugeness of it all. It was more fun watching her than the movie. Her eyes were glued to the screen, and now and then her little hand would sloooowly make its way into the popcorn bag and then to her mouth. It was so dang cute...she was like a little adult sitting there. Unfortunately, the movie was WAY over her head. There were no cute forest creatures or catchy songs. It wasn't very colorful. There was hardly any dialogue. So after the novelty wore off, the squirming began. Squirming isn't so bad, though, when you have a whole giant couch to squirm upon, so we made it through the whole movie without having to leave. The biggest problem now is gonna be taking her to a regular old theater. With chairs. We've set the bar too high.



Today we made Daphne her first root beer float. She loved it. She spent about three minutes drinking it, and then about ten minutes trying to summon every last molecule from the bottom and sides of the cup. I thought she'd cry when we finally took the cup away, but she was OK.

She got a root beer float because she ate all of her shrimp and "spaGARagus." I love my kid.



Tomorrow it is supposed to be 107. It is just not right.

Also, tomorrow I begin my last week of being in my 30's. Which is also just not right. I am not old enough to be 40.

Anyway, Kev got a wireless router thing, so I should be able to blog more blogs than I have been blogging lately.

Time to shut down for now...





Friday, August 01, 2008

Illin'

On Tuesday, my digestive system suddenly turned against me. I will spare you the details, but it wasn't pretty. There was a scary moment when I was so dehydrated that I almost blacked out while I was brushing my teeth. Blacking out is no fun. If it has never happened to you, you are lucky. It happened to me before when I was in the hospital right after Daphne was born. I got all dizzy, hot and cold at the same time, and everything started to get black and spotty. They had to carry me to the bed and use smelling salts on me. This time it wasn't quite that bad. I made it back to bed myself and put up my feet. But dehydration is nothing to mess with, man. Don't let it happen to you.

Anyway, I had to spend all day Wednesday in bed getting absolutely nothing done and feeling like I'd been hit by a bus. I couldn't even knit or read. Fortunately, I had my nice family to take care of me, so thanks to them I am doing much better now. I still can't really eat anything very substantial. And I am going kinda crazy from not having coffee for three days. Kev made some this morning and it smelled so good.

Now, I am way behind on things like blogging and returning email and chores and so forth. Sometimes I feel like I'll never catch up with my life.

On a completely unrelated note, I am seriously thinking about getting the lasik.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sick Day


Sick Day 1
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
Daphne and Kev are both sick. Daphne is starting to get better, so she's kinda having fun with her Sick Day today. I got out this hamper, and so far, it has been a pool, bathtub, car, washing machine, cage, and, in this picture, a beach chair. I don't know why we bother buying her toys when she can have this much fun with a hamper.

Kev, on the other hand, is NOT having fun. He is in bed. I will not take a picture of him. A sick Kev is not a pretty Kev.

Me and my Big Girl


Me and my Big Girl
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
Here is a Sweet Daphne moment. I appreciate those moments more and more every day, because they are sometimes overshadowed by Alien Daphne moments, like the other night when Alien Daphne threw her whole bowl of rice on the floor and thought it was funny.

This picture was from music class yesterday. It was the last day of class, and Kev got to go with us. One of the perks of his working from home. A couple more pictures on Flickr if you want to see...it was fun hanging out with Daddy and playing with the parachute.

I think one of the drawbacks to ME staying home with Daphne every day is that I take her for granted. It seems like I am always rushing around doing chores or whatever, and I forget to stop and just play with her or talk to her or give her my full attention. This morning at breakfast, I asked her if she'd like to have a conversation, and she said "Let's talk about Old Sesame Street." (We've been watching my Sesame Street Old Skool DVDs lately...so much better than the Over-Elmo'ed new episodes). So, we talked about Old Sesame Street, and we talked about the Olympics, (try explaing THAT to a two-yr-old!), and the magic of Velcro (much easier to explain...used the bibs as visual aids). It was good. She is a very interesting kid who makes interesting observations, and she's fun to talk to. I like her a lot.

So, I am going to make more of an effort to spend more time with her every day, actually paying attention, and not just rushing around. Maybe that will help prevent Alien Daphne from making so many appearances.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Warning: Complaining Below

I have been too lethargic to blog, or do much of anything else lately. I heard that it was 103 today. Last week, Daphne and I walked to the coffee shop for breakfast at 8:00 am, and got home before 9:00 already dripping with sweat. I just want to be able to ride my new bike, or take my kid outside to play, or go for a stroll. If the heat doesn't get us, the mosquitos will. How long until October?

To protest the existence of summer, I am going to knit myself a huge wool scarf. And perhaps a matching hat.

The berries haven't even been very good this year.

Sigh.

At least there are no lions. They've got Elf on the USA network. I think I'll go watch it and imagine it's winter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Popsicle that almost Wasn't

It's been a tough week at the LRHS headquarters. The sweet little girl in the picture disappeared last Monday and was replaced by a cute but defiant little alien, sent here to test our parenting skills and our patience by argueing, kicking, hitting, and being generally very poorly behaved. We are going the no-spanking route, and time out hasn't been very effective. She kinda enjoys it, I think. She sits there and sings or talks to herself and has a great time. So, we have to take away priviliges, and take them away we did! The poor kid had almost no fun last week, and neither did we.

Suddenly, Sweet Nice Daphne returned yesterday, and she was finally able to have a popsicle we made several days before (using our cool new popsicle molds I received from a very nice lady in Minnesota). Look at that face! She was good all day, and we all had so much fun.

All is forgiven, Little Peanut! I know it's hard to be two.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Spiral Scarf


Spiral Scarf 2
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
This is my latest finished knitting project, and I love it. I cannot wait until the fall so I can wear it. It is groovy and swirly and it matches my cowboy boots. Kev thinks it is "weird." It reminds him of pasta. It looks better in real life than in this bad dark photo. It is a nice sort of rust color, and it's very soft...made from baby llama yarn.

It is always very satisfying to finish a project. Now, on to the next one...

Pickles and Jam from Cheryl


Pickles and Jam from Cheryl
Originally uploaded by Tara H.
My friend Cheryl, the one who has the goats, gave us each a jar of home-made pickles and blackberry jam. I had the jam on my bagel this morning for breakfast and it was Deeeelicious. The pickles are for Kev. Pickles are one of my kryptonites. I'm glad the jar didn't break or leak on the way home from Mineola. I'd have had to sell the car.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Big Ol' Weekend



Hope you all had a good 4th of July weekend. Mine was action-packed. Friday, we went to my parents' house for the annual neighborhood parade. All the kids decorate their bikes and wagons, and ride up the street. It's pretty cute. Daphne loves to watch. This year, a big boy pulled his bike over to the side and high-fived her. She talked about it all day. There are more pictures on flickr, including one of my dad in his home-made admiral hat that is not to be missed.



Saturday morning, I headed to East Texas to spend the rest of the weekend with my good friends from high school. Highlights included sweet potato fries, antique stores, shrinky dinks, baby goats (above), and a delightful morning stroll at the Mineola Nature Preserve. The goats belong to my friend Cheryl, who has left her rock and roll lifestyle to become a full-on farmerette. She drives tractors and bales hay and has cows and goats and all that. It is pretty amazing. Quality time with my friends is rare, so I really enjoyed it, and appreciate Kev for taking care of the Peanut solo this weekend. They had a great time without me, going to the pool and watching movies and having popcorn and playing in the teepee. I should probably leave more often.



Downtown Mineola has several antique stores, and I scored some pretty cool stuff. I got this orange owl tin tea set from the 50s, as well as a family of the REAL little people for the Peanut, which she loved. If you know Kev's cousin Sean, check out the Little Person on the far left...it looks just like him. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to have Daphne playing with these.



Finally, I got this groovy tea towel from 1971. It was $1.99. How could I pass it up?



So, it was a good weekend, but I am glad to be home with my little family. I missed them.

Happy 4th of July. October just gets closer and closer every day...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Rocky Mountain, Hi!



Some people are beach people. I am not one of them. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of the ocean. It's just that I prefer looking at the ocean from a hotel balcony, or the deck of a ship. The beach is different. It has all that sand, and sun, and jellyfish. It's just not my thing. Give me the mountains any day.



Kev and I just got back from Colorado, where we attended a wedding. A beautiful outdoor wedding on the side of a mountain in Breckenridge. Did I mention it was outside? In June? and it was chilly! And there were no mosquitos! What a nice break from the heat of Texas, where I get bitten by bugs within seconds of stepping out my front door. In that picture above, there was snow right near us, and it was FREEZING! It was no place to be tromping around in flip-flops and a t-shirt. And it was GREAT.



During the trip, I saw two new birds to put on my list, which is always exciting for me. I saw the mountain bluebird in the top picture...Kev managed to get a couple great shots of him. I also saw the tree swallow, below. These tree swallows know how to have a good time. They swoop and dive and sing and seem to be having so much fun. It would be so cool to be a bird. We also saw a little red fox, but I didn't get a picture.



Besides the wedding, we had time to do a few touristy things. We walked around the town of Breckenridge, where there are lots of shops and restaurants. We saw this funny-face aspen tree:


And we ate crepes:




As I sat there with my crepe, next to the giant sign that says crepes, a lady walked up and asked me what I was eating. Pretty funny. That crepe there in my hand was GOOD. It was a S'mores crepe, loaded with chocolate and marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs. Mmmmmm. We went back the next day for more.



And, we rode horses. This was my first time on a horse, and it was pretty fun, although I don't know if it's something I would do again. It hurt my knees, and I got a pretty bad sunburn on my arms. And Caesar, my horse, was not the most cooperative. But overall, I enjoyed riding the dusty trail, and we got to see a lot of pretty scenery.

I think Colorado might be my favorite place. It's right up there with Maine. I was trying to think of bad things about Colorado. Here is all I could come up with:

  • It has a really dorky state flag.
  • The altitude gives you a headache for a couple days.

Even Denver is cool. It has a great downtown with a lot going on, and it's really clean. So, go to Colorado, be cold in the summer, ride a horse and have a crepe. You'll be glad you did.

More pictures on Flickr if you wanna see...