25 September 2016


What a fun week we had. It started out with a lovely visit with Papa Bruce and Grandma Judy. I hadn't seen them in almost six years. V was won over immediately with the sparkly dress (though the lack of stuffed animals was hard for her to get over) and Theo was just happy with everything. 

2016 week thirty-eight

Thursday evening we hit the road to drive to Tennessee! A 12.5 hour drive is so tough for little ones. We gave them as many breaks as we could when we stopped for gas. Theo loved stretching his legs behind the wheel. 

When we finally go to the hotel baths and a diaper change were the first order of business. And apologizing to Matthew because I had been wrongly attributing the poisonous diaper odor to him for the last hour or so of the drive. Then V curled up in her own big bed naked with a burrito, an animal show, and her giraffe. 3 year old heaven.

V also got to experience the magic of watching a movie on TV. She was really frustrated with me because of all the "commercionals" and couldn't understand why I wouldn't stop them and just put her movie back on. Jumanji seemed to be playing on repeat this weekend so we caught various parts of it a few times. She loved the "scary game" movie. But then she had nightmares the next night, so maybe it really was a bit too scary. She kept frightfully asking, "What would happen to me if I went into the scary game movie? Am I going to be turn to a monkey?"

Theodore found a new best friend in the A/C unit. Periodically I would find myself sweating and go to find out that he had set it to max heat and max fan. He just loved the way it blew his hair and face though. Also, I found both knobs broken off of it at various times. I hope he didn't inflict lasting damage. Though he incurred lasting damage by toppling into something metal. The top of his ear was sliced along the ride and purple all weekend. Sad baby. 

The wedding wasn't until the evening on Saturday so we tried to do a few things around Knoxville, like tour this house from the 1700s. But sadly we were unable to do any of the things we wanted because of football. It was a huge college football rivalry game this weekend and Knoxville was a sea of orange from both teams. Matt was going a little crazy with all the traffic and the orange.

Hobbit baby.

This house was the Riddle house in my mind. I couldn't see it any other way. We didn't get to go inside bc it was closed for a different wedding that afternoon, so we just walked around the grounds for a while. I always think I want to live in houses like these, but I am too much of a wuss. I'd be seeing ghosts and spooks in every corner as soon as the sun set. So I'll just settle for visiting in the daytime. 

Since we couldn't go anywhere in Knoxville proper, we drove to the lake and went to eat at Sweet P's Barbecue. This was the best sauce I think I've ever had. But I guess I am more of a vinegar-type barbecue sauce over the sticky sweet kind anyway so probably most Tennessee barbecue sauce would be excellent to me. They accidentally gave us an order of banana pudding to which both of us thought, "yuck." But neither of us can let food go to waste so we ate it. We repented immediately for our distaste. It was not only good for banana pudding, it was just plain delicious. We almost took it back from Vera after we said it was for her. 

After we did all that we could do we still had 4 hours until the wedding, so we just went to the venue to hang around the grounds.

V and I ran around the hills and lawns.

And V made friends with a horse. 

They requested we didn't take photos of the ceremony to be mindfully present, but here are a few shots around outside. The beautiful brides finishing last minute prep. One of the brides, Hilary, was my first college roommate. I can't believe we've known each other for 9 years now! 

V fulfilled one of my life goals for her to be friends with Hilary's nieces.

Theodore was amazing and slept through the entire ceremony. 

V got served an entire chicken! She was thrilled. 

Theodore ripped my dress at the very end exposing me, so I had to run to grab a sweater from the car. I wish I had taken a photo with the Colgan ladies before I looked so frumpy. Also, I'm a bit disappointed to find all my photos so blurry. Oh well, I'm so grateful I got to be a part of this. Hilary, I love you. I wish you and Chelsea so much happiness and strength and love. Let's visit again soon when there aren't 100 other people who want to talk to you as well. I'm selfish and I want you all to myself for at least 8 hours, ok?

Home again, home again, jiggety jig. The best present I can give myself is a super clean house to come home to after a trip. It was so restful to just come in, sit down in a clean space and tackle the messy car later. Theo took his first steps shortly after we got home. V had her first 45 minute screaming tantrum that ended in a long hard nap shortly after we got home. 

"I'm just a dirty princess right down to my paws!"

"C'mon Mama. Let's ask the horses if we can pet them. And if they say 'nay' then we can pet them. That's how they talk. They say 'nay'."

"Look at the beautiful wedding girls. Her name is Elsie (it's not, it's Chelsea) JUST like ELSA! Isn't that crazy! It's so special. They are JUST THE SAME!"

Said to Hilary's sister with blonde hair, "Hi. My name is Veronica. Did you know that you have white hair just like Elsa? It's really just the same."

"Mama, I figured it out! Peanuts rhyme with Penis!" She's been really into figuring out if things rhyme lately.

"Aliens are called Elliot." Nope. She's never seen E.T.

"I just really want to take a grackle home and put it in the freezer."

"Make sure I don't pee in my pants!"

"Make sure I don't fall off my chair!"

"Make sure there are no wasps in my room. They might be hiding. But you can find it and you can CLENCH it dead."

"The wasp will go in the toilet and get water and poop on it's body and the poop will make it die."

"Don't let Theodore fall in. He will get poop on his body and die."

"Hooray! They killed that man!" I dont even know what to say... It was a cartoon. It was ambiguous if he "died", but still, I don't love that she shouted this. It was the voodoo guy from Princess and the Frog.

"Someday when I'm really big I can jump over trees and step over them and climb up to the top and sit there and not fall down. I'll be really brave to know how to do that."

Vera, "I like it when bunnies jump on my hand and I can bring them home. I just really like that."
Me, "Has that ever happened to you?"
Vera, "No. No small animals or big animals ever jump on my hand to take them home because I'm not a princess."

At the hotel one of the workers asked Vera her name, she promptly responded, "I'm Veronica Princess."

V also made friends with an older gentlemen in the hotel breakfast area. Every time he would try to read the paper she would run up to him to prattle on about something or other and then run away. It turned out he was going to the same wedding we were. He was so sweet and was excited to see her again. V kept telling me, "It's just my friend. That boy who is old is my friend."

19 September 2016


Theo has discovered the bike. He loves it. He hasn't figured out steering yet, but he can run pretty fast on that little thing. Occasionally he'll stop for a minute to dance and then proceed down the hallway. 
2016 week thirty-seven

My daughter. She cries at the sight of a mushroom or a shrimp on her plate but drank olive brine straight from the jar and requested spicy dilly beans and milk(!!) for snack this day.

Frida being naughty. She's technically staying in her bed (it's in our cupboard) but she's peeking out to try to sneak out of her bed while we're eating. 

Vera got her first ice cream from the ice cream man- who in our town pushes a cart covered in jingley bells. She calls him the jingley man. It had a spongebob on it and she asked me, "why does this silly cheese have a face? This cheese is so silly he's wearing clothes!"

Practicing writing the number two. 

She sat at the table for almost an hour with a cup full of brushes pretending to paint her face. She would beg to paint the face of anyone who walked past her. Poor Frida and Theo got a paint brush to the eye...

Theo pretending to text while I try in vain to get him to use the toilet. He pretends to text on anything he can hold in his hands. I can't decide if it's cute or repulsive. 

Handsome baby at a wedding. He'll be a year old next month. 

Vera pouting because we made her play outside. It usually takes 15 solid minutes of whining before she gives up and decides to enjoy herself.

Speaking of whining, this little one moans and sobs the entire time I cook dinner. If it's after 4pm and I'm in the kitchen he will start wailing and following me. Matt strung up the jumper outside on a tree and handed him balloons. He was happy for nearly an hour as I cooked. 


I've been listening to a lot of Roger Miller lately. "Dang Me" is one of the songs that plays the most. V thinks he says "Dangling" though and will walk around the house singing it. Ha. Her favorite Roger Miller song is "Can't Roller skate in a Buffalo Heard". She thinks it's hilarious.

V- "*sigh* Giraffey is just so beautiful."
Me- "I do not agree."
V- "Well she's very beautiful to me. She's so beautiful I have to just back up and squeal and squeeze my snaffy so hard."

"Mama, would you like chicken flavor green or chicken flavor black tea?"

Things she's said after playing in her kitchen:
"Oh good, my baconese are cooking so roasty!"
"I'm cooking fried cow skin with tomatoes. It will be so tah-licious."
"Hmm. I think my roasting chicken skin needs longer. I will put some flowers in it."

Mad at me for making her play outside, "Mama, you must NEVER EVER make me play out side. You're not allowed to make me play outside. I WONT play! You MUST NEVER put me out here alone." Uhm, mind your tongue little one.

The game she always requests Matt to play with her (chasing her with her giraffe) often ends up in nonsense screaming lectures by Vera:

12 September 2016


Vera at Bass Pro Shop (one of her favorite places) holding a toy fish. She wanted me to take a photo so we could send it to Grandpa Dean. 

 2016 week thirty-six

We went to Bass Pro to update Theo's possum. The one on the right is almost a year old now (can you believe it! Theo is almost a year old!) and is looking really ragged. He's sucked its nose into a foul brown point. The new possum will hopefully stay a little cleaner a little longer. 

Theodore is a very good climber. I found him on top of the guest bed after V was shouting, "MAMAAAA, he's being DAAAAAAngerous!"

Practicing writing Veronica's name. It was Matt's idea to teach her a song to remember the letters. 

Writing a note to her friend Julia. While she was writing this she kept saying things in a rude voice that were clearly directed at me. When I would tell her that's not ok she would say, "No, that's just what I'm writing in my letter to Julia." I think she thinks she got away with it. 

Mango seeds are the best for Theo! He will slurp down an entire mango before any of us have a chance to eat any, so I give him a few bites and then let him suck the flesh off the seed while the rest of of get our turn to have some. He looks so cute, like a little monkey, while he chews on it. 

Vera and Theo helping me make cinnamon buns. Frequently while I'm cooking Theo will come into the kitchen and sit on the floor crying and stamping the ground with his little heels, or throw the dogs water dish, or pull chairs or the dog gate down on top of himself. He is convinced that if I'm in there that there has to be something tasty that I can give to him. The WORST thing he does though is sidle up behind me and blow a raspberry on my calf! It is wet and sudden and it tickles. 

"I'm magic! Look I had a bun and I can turn it into a pony tail! I'm magicking my hair!"

"Rock a bye baby in the tree tops. When the wind blows the cradle will rock.
When the spell breaks the cradle will fall, and down will come baby cradle and all."

Every time we talk about the day "Friday": "And on FRIDAYS I eat LOTS and LOTS of fried rice." This has never happened.

singing to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle: Pizza Pizza Pizza Pi, Pizza Pizza Pizza Pi. Pizza Pizza pizza pi, dont you hushabye dont you hushabye.

"Mama, I really had to shave my whole body because I was SO tangley."

"Oh. My. Gosh! That is just SO amazing."

"These muffins are just SO tah-licious. They are the most tah-licious breakfast ever. We will never eat them again because they are just so tah-licious." I cant tell if she's trying to tell me never to make them again or not...

We started reading The Witches by Roald Dahl for our nighttime book. It is on the edge of being too scary for V. We have to reassure her that witches can't come into our house. Then I told her that Mamas have magic too. If a mama sings a good night song then the kids will be safe and protected the whole night. That helps a little but we have to tell her like 10 more times that witches cant come into our house because there is love in our house that protects us. She really wants to believe us but you can tell she's still a little bit worried.

Theo loves the baby pool because he's the perfect height to walk around while in his floatie. He zips back and forth across the pool so happy with himself. His favorite part is the little fountain in the middle though.

05 September 2016


Matt thinks my canning is getting out of control. I solved that problem by storing excess on top of the cabinets. Now we have space for at least 100 more jars, right sweetie?
2016 week thirty-five

Playing with "Magic nudles."

Frida the majestic.

We had a really beautiful overcast and windy day this week. It arrived on the day our crape myrtle donned her finest.

I took a lot of photos of the windy grey afternoon.

Can you spy Vera? She decided to "take a nap" during grocery shopping. "Take a nap" means squish a lot of produce. 

I'm in love with the rich late summer evening light. Here I am trying to keep my few pepper and cucumber plants alive. 

Theodore uses any book he can find as a sled to zip across the house. He can push a book with his hands while crawling with his legs much faster than crawling on all fours. 

Morning at the park. We tried going to the park twice this weekend so V could play with kids. Both times we had the park completely to ourselves. I guess everyone else isn't up and out of the house by 8am? Being up that early though means we get to take advantage of some fantastic weather.  

"Mama, can I have menu frosting weeks for breakfast?" Can you decode that? That's Frosted Mini Wheats. Haha.

V- "Can you please not call me bug?"
Me- "But you're my bug? You don't want me to call you bug?"
V- "But I kind of like to be your little spider."

"I just loooooooove my snaffy giraffey daffy." Said all day long. At least 300 times per day. 

"I just really want to eat the fish eyes." Said every time we pass whole fish at the grocery store or whenever I cook fish.

I found V playing in her room. She slunk out of her closet looking unsure and guilty. I asked her what she was doing and instinctually she said, "I don't know." Nonsense. I probed, "Did you pee in your pants?" "No." "Did you do something wrong?" "I dont know. No." "What were you doing?" "I don't know." Ok. So this was going nowhere. I asked if she was playing with her babies. "I don't know." Her fear of getting into trouble was starting to worry me. Have I previously been so unapproachable to her? So I went about my business helping get Theo ready for nap. And she came over to me and said she had her apron in her panties. Uhm, what? Ok. "Why is your apron in your panties?" "I don't know." GAH! A few minutes later she said, "I tried to put on the baby diaper but it only fits my baby." Then I got it. "So you then decided to make a diaper out of your apron?" Her whole face lit up with relief and she excitedly said, "Yes! I was pretending to have a diaper like my baby." I told her that sounded like a fun game and when I was little I liked pretending I was a baby too sometimes when I would play. What a silly little thing. It was an indicator to me though to try to make it easier for her to tell the truth by not making her too afraid of getting into trouble.

29 August 2016


So much style on our walk around the block. 

2016 week thirty-four

We were enjoying our "cool" evening outdoors. Theodore was especially enjoying himself -splashing in heaven knows what. 

The abacus is a fantastic slippery step stool to access the toys Mama tried to keep away from me.

"Mama, take a picture of me. I climbed this tree."

Visiting Great-Grandma and sharing a pocket full of princess stickers.

On Saturday we went with the cousins to Six Flags! These were Vera's first rides. She kept telling me after each one that she was a little bit scared but that she was brave and had fun. 

Matthew took her and her four-year-old cousin on the Pirate Ship! I wont even ride this thing! They were clinging to him crying the whole time. But when they got off Vera ran to me screaming, "I was so brave! I was so scared but so brave!"

Riding the sombrero with Mama. 

Pestering cousins on the train. I noticed something interesting getting off this train. I usually don't like shirts that have words or phrases on them. They very often air on the tacky side -like the shirt I saw first thing that morning that read, "Kill the Kardashians." I have so many questions about this shirt. Who thought of this? Why did they think it was something that ought to be put on a shirt? How is there a market for this shirt? What sort of message does one send when you wear that shirt? What sort of message do they want to send? And this shirt kept pricking me and making me feel annoyed and sad. Then I saw a little girl when I got off the train wearing a shirt that said, "There is power in being kind." Thank you little girl for wearing such a positive message. I know exactly what message you're trying to send, and I think I can guess a great deal about your character as well.

This was always my favorite ride as a little girl. V loved it as much as I do. Though I admit I'm probably too worried to ride the actual adult version of this ride. 

Last ride of the day. Look at those tired pink cheeks. I was so impressed by her that day. She walked almost the whole time, tried every ride she was allowed to, didn't whine or complain, and was generally just happy and excited. 


"There's an Autumn in our house. And I have to kill it. Don't go back there or it will bite your finger."

"Little Miss Muffin, sat on her tuffin eating some most delicious bugs."

She walked to me from the back of the house to randomly ask,"Mama, is Yoda a goblin?"

"Will you take a picture of me dancing to Ba Ba Bass?"

"Hmm, this animal kind of smells like...penguin...frosting."

V- "This is my tooty giraffe. Mama, I have a question for you. When Giraffey toots she eats her toots."
Me- "That's gross and that's not a question."
V- "Yeah, but she just likes it. She goes "plbbbbbth plbbbbbth and then nomnomnomnom. MmmmmMMMMMmmmm."

"When I was a baby I apposed to say grapsy drapsy and orangey dorangey and peachy deachy."

"I'm a strawberry orange mallow melon alligator purse today." Because this is what you are if you wear one red sock and one orange sock. Obviously.