July 31, 2013

Harvest Time

Its takes two to carry this giant 5 pound zucchini. Tomorrow on my day off with the girls, I'm hoping to use it up with zucchini/banana/flax muffins, shred and freeze for later use and stir fry for dinner. Marcus brought this one home from a co-worker. I drove by some kids on the neighborhood corner with a lemonade stand yesterday and a sign that said "free zucchini". It's yum season around here!

Our garden is green and lush with lettuce, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. I'm hoping to spend some time making tomato sauce and canning tomatoes when they all go ripe in a few weeks.

The freezer is stocked with at least 20 pounds of blueberries and several jars of raspberry jam from berries that we picked at the local berry farm earlier in July.  Next up is picking blackberries for more jam and freezer desserts. Man I love summer.

July 23, 2013

Lexi at Three

Our Lexi is three now. She is easily excitable, super sweet and loves to have fun. It cracks us up all the time to see how excited she gets (jumping and squealing) over the littlest things. She also gets sad (usually when she gets sent to time-out) and tells us, "I'm soooo saddd right now". Then a minute later, "Mommy, I LOVE that dress!"

Lexi loves to give hugs and kisses and usually finds a lap to snuggle in wherever we are. One of my favorite moments is when I'm tucking her into bed (after she has frustrated me with dancing around naked instead of getting ready for bed) and she wraps her arms around my neck so tight and says, "I love you forever mommy." Melt.

The other day I was wearing a tank top and she noticed my bra strap. "What color is your brawd strap mommy?" "Beige" I told her. "OH! I just Loooveeee beige!" Really, her favorite colors are yellow and red.

She is a girly girl who loves dresses, jewelry and twirling. Twirling requires a tutu or a "twirly dress" according to Lexi. When she walks into my closet as I'm getting dressed she tries to pick out what I should wear and its always a dress or skirt.

Lexi's favorite things to do are read books, swim, paint, ride her bike (fast!), swing and dance. She does a modern dance, interpretive style that is pretty cute.

Lately she is testing limits, saying no and negotiating a lot so we are working on that. She likes to tell me, "Daddy said I could", "I will do it after Zara does it" or "Actually, I'm not going to do that." Clearly she is going to keep me on my toes!

Lexi has her mama's sweet tooth. She loves all fruit as well as anything else she gets treated to, especially ice cream and popsicles. Its hard to only get one popsicle - she always asks for another. Her current favorite fruit is cherries. She learned how to spit the pits into a bowl just like daddy.

July 7, 2013

Jim Creek Camping

We just got back from a great 4th of July camping trip with Peter, Lydia, Michael, Ben and two other families. There were 12 kids and 8 adults. I'm kind of amazed that there were no injuries!

We camped at Jim Creek Recreation Area east of Arlington, Washington. It is only open to those serving in the military so Peter was able to reserve the cabins for us. It was a great campground with a mountain lake stocked with trout, a beautiful creek, hiking trails, two big playgrounds, a snack store, basketball court and clean, hot showers. The cabins were a perfect mix of convenience and "camping". We had simple beds to sleep in, a mini fridge and electricity, but still made all of our meals without a kitchen and ate very well. We had bonfires every night with smores and only a couple close calls from small children holding large skewers.

Lexi was very excited to be out on the lake

Lexi playing in the creek

All the kids in our group

Many marshmallows were consumed

Sleeping sisters

July 3, 2013

Beachin It

A few weeks ago we spent Father's Day Weekend at the beach with good friends and gorgeous sunny weather. The Oregon Coast cannot be beat when the sun is shining. We relaxed, ate lots of yummy food, played in the sand and roasted marshmallows on a bonfire. As usual, we topped it off with a visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory on the way home. 

When I looked through our pictures, I noticed a lot of pictures of kids' backs. It must be easier to take their pictures as they walk or run away.  

July 1, 2013

Zara at Three

Our Z girl just turned three years old. She is smart, goofy, focused and so very sweet. Her favorite things to do are color, play "music class" (she is the teacher), read books, swing and climb on our new play structure, watch Daniel Tiger, shop with her play grocery cart with a list and help cook/bake in the kitchen.

Zara is loving preschool so much. She talks often about Teacher Denise and her friend Claire. She usually gets upset when I pick them up from school and tells me "I'm not ready to go yet." There is so much to do at school, she can't get enough of all the different Montessori jobs, playing outside and working in their garden.

Zara has a very long attention span and focus and will spend an hour coloring or doing any kind of art activity. She has a hard time stopping something before she is "finished" (she is usually not finished) and transitioning to something else.  We are working on that one. She thrives on routine, order and rules and can be unnerved if we deviate. I had to coerce her to cross our quiet neighborhood street the other day because she was so upset to be in the road when "only cars go in the road, we stay on the sidewalk!" I definitely do not need to worry about her running into the street.

Still a great eater, Zara will tell you her favorite food is eggs. Her other favorites are bananas, blueberries, mac and cheese, cheddar cheese and black beans and rice. We have a weekly produce box delivered to the house and she loves to see "what the farmer brought us" and asks "did the farmer bring us this peach? How about this plum?" The plums are a hot commodity around here lately. She is usually game to taste and try just about any food, but last month all three of us had to convince her to taste a bite of mango. She quickly proclaimed, "I LOVE mango" so we now remind her about the mango tasting whenever she doesn't want to try a new food.

The other day we had a conversation that went like this: 
Zara: Can I feed the fish? 
Me: No, they don't need to eat right now.
Zara: But they are looking for food. Me: They are always looking for food. I'm looking for food (pretend to take little nibbles from her arm)Zara: (crying) NO, I DON'T LIKE THAT. PEOPLE DON'T EAT OTHER PEOPLE. Clearly three year olds cannot take a joke.

Zara can get a little bossy - she really likes to know the rules and enforce them. It works great because her risk-taking sister can never seem to remember what the limits are :) Never one to miss a beat, Zara is really into backseat driving lately. She is either telling me "slow down, you are going too fast" on the freeway or "go faster mommy" on the side streets. I also usually get lots of advance warnings about any stop lights and what the red/green/yellow means. She also loves to ask me all the street names and whether we are turning right or left. Three is the sponge age for sure!

We love Zara so much. I couldn't imagine my life without her hugs. If I stretch my arms out, she will run into them, anytime without fail. She is so thoughtful, smart and inquisitive. I cannot wait to see who she becomes, but also wish for my little girl to never grow up.