October 28, 2009


I LOVE Halloween. This year, Halloween seems even more fun to me than it has the past few years; not because I didn't have fun before, but because of the anticipation. I know I mentioned this in a previous post, but the change of the seasons seriously gets me excited for the holidays!!

One of my favorite parts of Halloween (aside from all the great scary movies on TV) is carving pumpkins! I am obsessed. Seriously. We spent a couple of days this weekend carving pumpkins, and even though it took quite a while (it takes a bit longer when you have a little monkey to chase around!), I am seriously having to stop myself from running out and buying more pumpkins to carve!

N and A came over one day and we had a play date/pumpkin carving afternoon. I made pumpkin patterns for us of Audia and A's faces. I had read somewhere online that you can use wood carving tools (which thankfully I still have from my printmaking days at ASU!) to carve away the skin of the pumpkin so that you can have multiple shades rather than just the black-and-white style of pumpkin pattern, so I used photoshop to turn this:
into this: The carving part took quite a bit longer than I had estimated. N and I were laughing pretty much the whole time we were carving together because of how silly it seemed that we had decided to try to tackle such a project, especially while simultaneously watching our toddlers. But, a day and probably about 4 or 5 hours worth of carving later, I had this:

It turned out much better than I thought it would, and now that I've done one, I certainly have a lot better of an idea of how to make it work even better next year! Yes, that's right; I fully intend to carve a pumpkin with Audia's face on it every year until she tells me to stop. :-) Unfortunately, the squirrels ate her eyes even though we sprayed the pumpkins with red pepper spray before putting them outside. They'll stay in the garage until Halloween. Boy, am I ever glad I photographed them when I did!
We carved a couple of other pumpkins as well. What do you think?

Chris' pumpkin, side 1

Chris' pumpkin, side 2

Owl Pumpkin

Kitty Pumpkin

Our Pumpkin Family!

October 22, 2009

Lucky Ladies

If you know me pretty well, you'll know either by hearing about it, or by experience, that my dad is an amazing chef. He has always done all the cooking and baking in the house (unless you count mac and cheese or scrambled eggs, which my mom used to make when he was away on business), and he has always done it incredibly well. And it's not just me and my mom who think so; there is no bias here just because he's my daddy. Friends and family always rave about his cooking. He knows his way around the kitchen like no one else I've ever met in my life, and has always been a stickler for using fresh ingredients (a third of the time, grown by himself), and making things from scratch. I grew up incredibly spoiled in the food department (as well as a few other departments, admitedly).

When Chris and I started dating, we went out to eat a lot. I made dinner a few times; things I had mastered over the years after trying to replicate my dad's recipe's when I moved away. And Chris cooked once or twice, but for the most part we had pizza or take out or ate out. But when we moved in together, Chris started trying his hand at cooking more frequently, and me less frequently, and over time he became 'the cook' of our household. I do breakfasts and baking from time to time, but he is our dinner chef. And over the years, he's gotten really good at it.

Because of how gradually it kind of happened, and how I am used to having the man of the house cook, I frequently take for granted how lucky I really am that Chris not only is willing to, and enjoys, cooking, but that he has become such a good chef.

Since we are living with my folks for a while, Chris and my dad trade off dinner duty, and it has been such a treat! Now that Audia is eating solid foods, I am so happy that we are able to introduce her to such a wide range of good, healthy, unprocessed food. They say the key to getting kids to eat well is to lead by example and start young, and I can't think of a better situation for her to be in. Add to that the fact that she's going to also grow up with a father who loves to, and is great at cooking. We are two seriously lucky ladies!

Get a load of the Chicken Bacon Roulades that Chris tried making for the first time last night (and were DELICIOUS!!!):

October 19, 2009

Fun Weekend

Well, the weather has warmed up a bit, and we took advantage by having a delightful weekend with some great friends!

On Friday, we had a play date with N and A. A and Audia are so funny together. They were stealing eachothers snacks, and sharing toys. They are not quite to the stage where they actually play together but they are still a bit young for that, I think, and the social interaction is good for them. I have high hopes that they will be the best of friends one day!

On Saturday evening, we went with N, D, and A to Zoo Boo at the Como Zoo.
There were close to 200 Como volunteers in costumes ranging from wild animals to pirates to Star Wars characters. The girls seemed a little confused by all the people in strange outfits, but I think they had fun regardless, and of course we adults enjoyed seeing our little ones dressed up! It was especially fun to see the guy in the Darth Vader costume. When we were deciding on a costume for Audia, my mom thought it would be most appropriate to dress Audia as Darth Vader, but I think we'll let her decide whether or not she wants to be Vader when she's old enough to understand the silly story behind her baby shower cake. For now, this photo of us with Vader will suffice :-)

(I love how she's looking up at him as if to say "are you my daddy?")

On Sunday, we went with friends J and A to the Walker. I was shocked (and delighted) at how not busy the place was, but a bit disappointed in their exhibitions. It was fun regardless of the lack of neat-o exhibitions, though. Audia's favorite part was the sculpture garden. Now that she's walking, she's less fond of being carted around in her stroller, so when we finally set her down in the grass, she started running all over the place! Parenting a fully mobile child certainly is a different beast than parenting a partially mobile one, let me tell you! Especially when that fully mobile child is as willfull as our little monkey. :-)

October 12, 2009

Let it snow?

We had our first snow on Saturday morning. It was only a little, but enough to cover the ground. It was melted by noonish. Last night and this morning, however, we've had our second snow. And it's a lot. And it's 11 am and it is still snowing. It's the thick, wet kind of snow that makes it look like it's a lot deeper than it actually is. The sticky kind that clings to everything and makes you want to run outside and make a snow man right now!

On Saturday morning, I was in a bit of a shock at the sight of it. It's early for snow. By at least 2 or 3 weeks, based on my memory. But this morning, waking up to this:

And seeing how excited and curious Audia is when she looks outside (she keeps pointing and saying "Ess! Ess!" which is pretty much her word for anything that starts with the letter 'S' {shoes, socks...and now, snow}), I am less shocked and more excited. Seeing the fluffy stuff has awaken in me a type of excitement I haven't felt in 9 years. An excitement that I had thought had died with age and maturity (but apparently had simply gone into hibernation due to the warm climate I was living in). The early, bouncing, magical, wonderous excitement for the holidays!
Is it a little early, being only mid-October? Sure. I'll give you that. But I am simply excited that I have my excitement back! Growing up in a place that has seasons, I learned to anticipate things based on the weather, on the changing of the seasons. When I moved to AZ, I lost that anticipation. Every day pretty much felt the same. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years all came too quickly and were over before I knew it. They didn't feel like the holidays I remembered from when I was younger.
Don't get me wrong, I love AZ. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, so the 330-340 days of sun a year were fantastic. But I haven't had this deep-down, tingly, buzzing excitement about the holidays in almost a decade. And I think it's a decent trade off for the 6 months of winter we might end up having this year.

In other news, Chris got back from IL last night and boy, are Audia and I ever glad to have him back!! Audia's walking has improved so much in the last week, her daddy was amazed to see how well she's walking even on uneven ground. We had some fun playtime in the leaves last night in anticipation of this morning's snow. She loved having Chris set her in the middle of the big pile, and then throwing herself back so that she sank into the leaves. She kept doing it over and over again. When we finally went inside, she continued to point outside and sign 'more'. :-) She truly is an outdoor girl.