September 29, 2009


I had a hard time getting her to pose. She really wanted to watch Dancing with the Stars... Correction: she wanted to BE on Dancing with the Stars. That's my girl!

Many thanks to Sachia, Rebecca, and Deborah for providing her outfit. I wanted to eat her the entire time.
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September 26, 2009

New 'Do

I know it's kinda drastic, but something needed to be done.
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September 23, 2009

My new happy place

Mr SmartyPants and I decided to join our church choir several weeks ago, and during the second rehearsal, a fellow alto (who had already inquired where we live) whispered to me about a long tobacco trail that runs quite close to our place. She had to whisper because the director was working with the men at the time, and in my experience, altos aren't very good at keeping quiet.

I scoped out the spot our songstress told me about, and sure enough, it is close by, long, paved, and the scenery is gorgeous. This American Tobacco Trail (ATT) used to be a railroad system for transporting North Carolina's main crop, but through several ownerships and plans, it has recently been converted into a 22 mile-long trail through the forest. And it's only 1/3 mile away from our front door. I thought I would miss the convenience and "fun" of walking/jogging the 5K around the Rose Bowl, but now I have something even better. See for yourself.

Tessa loves to join me outside, but only if she has her nosh.

Yup. Right in the middle of the path. Based on prior experience I'd say there was a homeless person lurking about in the nearby woods. That's a favorite phrase on the panhandlers' signs at the freeway offramps here: "lives in woods". Do they get more money by proclaiming this tidbit? Is one who lives in the woods more destitute than one who "lives" in, say, a back alley? Because honestly, I'd take woods over the stench of an alley any day.

I love the sun dapples in this one. I also love the word "dapples."

Song time! "It's beginning to look a lot like AUTUMN!!"

I [heart] swaths of cheery yellow.

It's taken some getting used to, but I really enjoy that everything around here was just built up in the middle of a huge forest. When you look out our back sliding glass door, there's a small porch of concrete, a smaller strip of grass, and then BAM! trees. Loads and loads of them. This picture shows the backyard of a nearby house. The trail runs alongside a main road on one side (that you can't see or hear most of the time), and back property lines on the other. Someone here decided to break up the scenery a little for all the trail-goers.

This is what Tessa looks like after a few miles. One morning, she was sleeping quite peacefully until some obnoxious old crone screeched, "Oh look! Your baby's taking a nap!" Not anymore, lady, but thanks.

And my favorite photo of the day:

Moral of the story? Go to choir practice.

September 18, 2009

Creation Epiphany

Ted and I are fat. And we have a fat baby. Fatness is due to several factors, but the one at the top of my own list is enjoying pretty much anything that contains sugar. More specifically, sugar+fat = fat and happy.

Because we're packing more poundage than we should be, Ted forbade me from making any of my signature treats once we moved across the country. I guess he figured a new place would mean a fresh start. And I really really wanted to obey him.

But a pair of satin leopard panties doesn't change its spots.

Besides, my mind often hearkens back to an incredible talk from President Uchtdorf where he lauded women as unique creators in their own right. As I sat there listening to the talk, I remember thinking I didn't have any sort of talent where I am able to create something as beautiful as a watercolor landscape like Jana or as fun as a knitted Peanut M&M like Laura or as thoughtful as a cupcake care package like Jean. But then it dawned on me - I bake sweets and treats, and I'm not too shabby at it. So Ted, shut your pie-hole (hehehe). I'm busting out my mixing bowls and that fancy spray that has cooking oil AND flour in it, and I'm buying sugars and creams and flavorings by the bagful because Dieter F basically told me it was my divinely appointed calling to please palates with a little sweetness. If it causes a pound or two to creep into my pants in the meantime, so be it. True joy forgives many trivial vices.

That said, here's a picture of the latest: Glazed Lemon Crisps. Many thanks to my mother-in-law who had this recipe lying around. They were scrumptious. And I only had three.

Along the same lines, recently I also joined in creating one of the cutest and most delightful babies in the world, whose particular brand of fatness just means there's more to squeeze, pinch, and nibble on. Life ain't so bad!

First Day of Law School

Ted began his law school classes almost a month ago. What's my problem? Well, the answer is along the lines of "where do I begin?", so for now, I'll mention that my main one is procrastination.

Ted had a whole week to prepare for his first day of orientation, which lasted for the entire week preceding the first day of real classes. Since our movers got our stuff to our apartment one hour after we signed the lease and picked up our keys, most of that week was spent unpacking and organizing, which was great. He didn't have time to dwell on the harrowing times ahead.

He was given his first class assignment DURING ORIENTATION, due the following Monday. This is no syllabus-and-class-rules first day of school, people. The man was reading and writing all weekend and all Sunday night and into the wee hours of Monday morning in order to finish the assignment before he ever sat in a real class. I felt so bad for him when he crawled into bed at 4am and then right back out at 6:30. Where's the "justice" in that, law people?? He had a long and grueling day, so I made sure to dress Tessa in an outfit to help him remember his roots and bring a smile to his face when he came home. That and a kickin' dinner. Good food heals all ills.

So you'll understand why Tessa is adorable in this picture and Ted looks totally wiped out.

The good thing about writing about this a month later is that I can report that despite being a little nervous after the first day, Ted has handled classes pretty well thus far. He has only overslept once (but because of my mad California driving skillz, he only got to class two minutes late), hasn't missed a class session, and has diligently read all his assignments (and actually understands them, which is another matter entirely). He has found time to spend with his little family every day and every weekend, so all is peachy here in the south. Well, not ALL. We could do with friends and family coming to visit..

September 15, 2009

7 Month Old Rapper

Rhymzz strate from da crib, yo.

September 6, 2009

My Child, You Have Been Blessed

Since I'm on the "blogging-two-months-or-more-later-than-the-event" kick, I figured it was high time to record Tessa's first big day (other than being born and the day she learned how to suck on my boobs properly).

Tess was four months old when she got blessed. We wanted to do it the same weekend as Ted's graduation to minimize traveling, and as it turned out, it was a perfect arrangement, because both grandfathers and an uncle were able to be in the circle. They were joined by two of our great friends, Adler and Jamal, and the husband of another great friend, Chris. Here she is sticking her fingers through the beautiful blanket Grandma Becky made for her.

She's our child, so something was bound to not work out right.

My Aunt Marilyn wanted to hold her, but by the time we got to this point, she had drooled through her dress, so we had to strip her. And at such a young age!

I loved Ted's blessing for our little offspring. I didn't know what he would say, but he told me he had been thinking about it a lot. Unfortunately, I can only remember a few things, which I want to write down before I forget them all.

  • He blessed you, Tessa, to be a good older sister to any and all younger siblings your parents deem fit to give you.
  • He mentioned what a joy you are in our lives, and there's no other way I can describe what a light you are to us. You ARE a joy - an absolute delight!
  • He talked about your middle name: how you were named after your mother and your grandmother, and that his hope for you is that you will develop your talents as your namesakes have before you, and to give of yourself with a ready smile.
  • He blessed you with a sense of humor, which you will definitely need.
  • And my favorite part was when Daddy blessed you to have patience with us as your parents, since we're first timers. It hadn't occurred to me that you might need that admonition until he said it. I have a feeling you're going to have to deal with a lot of double standards growing up, and I shudder to think what you might divulge to your Primary teachers about us, but just know we'll be doing our best and that you have the most mellow personality for the family's trailblazer.

I apologize for the obscenities in this photo. I tried to cover them up, but they were out of control! The woes of nursing...

As we were taking our photos, Tessa started sticking her tongue out more and more. My dad usually subscribes to the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" camp, so we caught this moment on camera. Real mature, Dad. You're not going to win a fight with a 4-month old. I've tried.

A word on her dress. I bought a different dress (on sale!) for her blessing - a sweet little white eyelet lace dress with ruffled sleeves, not too frilly (I'm not an ostentatious sort of person). I told my mom I had purchased a dress for her (on sale!) and was very excited for how darling she was going to look in it.

A few days later, my mom pays me another visit and has in her hands the dress I was blessed in 32 years prior. I had no knowledge she still had not only the dress, but a blanket that I was nuts for during my formative years. The woman is a vault of many secrets.

So, not only was this a cute little dress, but it was handmade for me by my dad's nurse, who has been at his side as a medical assistant and friend for decades. She'd been through all the births of my 5 older brothers, and was almost as thrilled as my parents that they finally managed to birth a girl. So she got her Catholic butt onto a sewing machine and made the sweetest little dress you ever did see and gave it to my parents as a gift for the Mormon blessing. Suzette, thank you a million times over. Once again, you made an adorable baby even more so. Did I just call myself adorable? Yes. At one time, I was. And I have the pictures to prove the matter. If only we had a scanner...

I wanted to take this next picture to recreate a moment at my own blessing. If we had a SCANNER, I would have posted the actual picture (my mom was looking pretty smokin' hot, as usual). I was wearing the dress, sitting on Mom's lap, and both sets of grandparents were on either side. Of course, since my parents are classier than Ted or myself, they didn't have questionable nudy portraits of David and Venus behind them. Totally forgot those were there, but hey, Hav! Your legacy lives on! (They now reside in our guest bathroom, so come visit!)

The whole reason I remembered to blog about this day is because lately, Tessa's been drooling a lot more than usual. She's doing the same tongue-sticking-out that she was doing all afternoon on her big day, and I recalled that the drool baths resulted in a new tooth sprouting beside her first one. I got suspicious and pulled her top lip up and what did I see? Six tooth-shaped bumps on her upper gums, red and tender, but not causing too much pain, apparently. Just copious amounts of saliva. Which, on a baby, Ted says, is basically filtered water. So stay tuned for any new teeth news.

A word to Tessa.

My dear, sweet girl. I haven't stopped loving you since the second I felt you dance upon my womb in response to a chocolate overdose. Every day with you has been two big scoops of Oreo ice cream with chunks of brownie and banana on top. And your kisses are my whipped cream. I can't get enough of your smiles, your face pats, earring grabs, or nose sucks. My hair is still falling out from hormone shifts, so it doesn't help that you want to grab it and eat it, but I just laugh and let you because it makes you so happy. I love seeing your huge eyes take in the world, and I love that you look to me and your Dada as your safe havens when you're scared or lonely. I can only hope that never changes. I will love you for always, and I hope you love me right back, because we're stuck together for a loooooooong time.

Lots of hugs and raspberries,

The Cooling Rack

Baked goods are only half the story...