Saturday, March 28, 2009

Randomness

Here are just a few pictures from recent months that I like that I just haven't gotten around to posting. There are some shots from Grandpa Richard's visit, one from our ritual Thursday morning breakfasts, and then a bunch of randomness of cute kids. In the first shot Keller managed to get the lid off of his sippy cup and was having fun with his homemade water table. It is better than his other homemade water table...which is the toilet. He is our little dirty boy.





My first attempt at getting a professional looking shot.


Vera's favorite dog. He used to be Baboo, became Coopy, and now that she is 3 he is Cooper.






Vera, Grandpa Richard, and the two crazy dogs...Barney and Maddie. I watched Richard chase Barney up and down the beach trying to get his leash on. At certain points, Barney would scale the wall making me think that there is some part mountain goat in his DNA.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Joshua Tree

Camping with kids, one under a year, is a roller coaster of an adventure. J and I had not until last weekend attempted a camping trip with even Vera and so we were shocked at ourselves when we decided to grab both kids and head out on a four hour car trip to Joshua Tree. It helped that good friends were going and we were both itching for a mini-break from SB life.

Joshua Tree is an amazing park. Our campsite (Cottonwood) was a bit far from the action, but we took a little road trip to Hidden Valley, hiked, and had lunch. There is lots to tell, but the pictures will explain much of what went on.

This is our POS tent that I literally wanted to throw in the trash can as we left. Each and every time I tried to open the darn thing the zipper got stuck, fine at 4pm in the afternoon, a total nightmare when I am trying to pee at 3am in the morning without waking kids. Keller peaking out of the tent, adorable.

Next we have a prime example of camp life. Lots of eating, hanging out and when it got dark, socializing around the campfire at night. When possible we confined Keller to his highchair as the boy had one goal this trip...try to eat the entire desert as often as possible. Luckily, he was very content eating away in his chair, the fact that he gained 5 pounds in one weekend doesn't concern us.

At one point J corralled him in a ring of coolers only to realize after moving them that a scorpion was chilling under one of them...YIKES!! Which does bring me to the topic of bugs and snake warnings. Thankfully there were no snake sightings, but by the bathroom a very frank sign warned to beware of where you sit. All I thought of every time I peed was what if a snake came out of the toilet. Ridiculous, I know, but that is what camping does to me.

During our day trip to the Hidden Valley camping area, our whole posse walked a mile loop through some amazing scenery with the rock formations taking center stage. I love the photos of us walking, we look so insignificant compared to what saw. It was amazing. There was one minor snafu with Keller and a cactus that wanted to poke his eye out, but all in all very good.

The 3-year-old kiddos...to cute for words!

After the hike, each family went their separate way with some heading back to our camp and others to get gas. We needed gas so we drove to 29 Palms. There was lots of driving involved in the weekend. To get From Cottonwood to Hidden Valley took 45 minutes. To buy gas (and an ice cream sandwich or two), another 30.

At that point after the hike though, we needed some family time and I wanted to stop at a few more of the attractions of the park and so the drive was nice...well, for everyone but Keller. We made a stop and I realized that Keller has been sleeping on one of his toys in his carseat. I don't even know how I managed to get him buckled with the toy at his back. It made me feel so bad and he was so calm about it.

Back to the story, we were back in the car and after 30 minutes stopped at the Teddy-Bear Cholla Gardens. These are some dangerous plants. J was earning his Dad keep and carried both kids through the gardens while I took pictures. I was so engrossed in getting a money shot of the three of them that I came within a millimeter of a close encounter of the cholla kind.



Favorite picture of the weekend taken on the last morning of our camping trip when the sun was rising and the lighting was gorgeous!

As this was our first time camping in a long time there are a few bumps we need to work out. Next time I am bringing dish soap, hand soap, and more blankets. All in all a good first trip.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Station #12





Fireman...hmm...while at a fundraiser in Santa Barbara we bought Vera a lunch with the firemen at Station #12. First, I have to say that some of my most vivid memories from childhood are of my mom and her friend scoping fireman out in Merced or whistling at them from the car window. For kids, they hold a whole different appeal, which can basically be boiled down to a really cool and HUGE red truck.

Vera's adventure, with Dad along for the ride, started with a fireman in full gear to show the kids how he would look during an actual fire. The kids then toured the truck followed by he fire station. The fire station is basically a boy's club with ping-pong, a gym, twin beds in the dorms, and two refrigerators. The kids were eating their lunch when the guys were called away to an emergency.

The last picture was when Keller and I showed up. I basically included it so that I can show off my new hair color.

Just for Decoration


Talking on the phone while trying to feed Keller...multi-tasking fail.

Monday, March 16, 2009

After Work

J gets home after work (he rides his bike, which accounts for the spaceman outfit) and the kids are ready for some daddy time. This is what we do now.


video

video

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dolls Parade



Vera's birthday got extended once again when she received a present in the mail from our good friends living in LA. First, I have to start this post by saying that Vera is a kid that loves mail. (Yep, that is a hint if you feel like sending a note.) Getting a letter is like winning the lottery to her and you better believe a package makes the day. Recently my dad sent a letter to her. It just happened that the day that it arrived was one of those days where the kids and I were running around chaos style and we didn't check the mail. J got home and quickly grabbed what was in our box. I had to make him take her mail back to the mailbox so that she could check it the next day.

Back to my original thoughts...Vera received a belated b-day present and it was doll clothes. This prompted a fashion show and a fashion shoot. Baby Doll is in Vera's arms dressed in her new party dress, while Emma chills on her lap wearing an outfit received at Christmas. The cutest (in my expert doll clothing opinion) are the two onesies. Gabby is wearing purple and Mimi in the back is wearing the pink one. Yes, all of Vera's dolls have names and she knows them and will correct us if we get it wrong. Here is the kicker, if you don't for some reason realize that the name is going to stick or that you should have one as soon as you hand a doll to a child you end up with the before mentioned Baby Doll. That is her name and she is the original. Since then we make sure to have a name for her dolls. However, Vera still has the will to change them.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

8 Months - A Comparison


Here are shots of Vera and Keller when they are both about 8 months old. She looks younger to me, but they both have those big front teeth in a little itty bitty baby mouth. For how big those teeth look on Vera at 8 months they suit her quite well at 3 years. J and I both agree that they have the same eyes. I loved Vera's puffball hair. No matter how much we brushed it, it stood staight up.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pelmeni Time




For as long as I can remember my mom made pelmeni. When describing it to people I start off by saying it is a Russian ravioli or a Russian won-ton. Basically, it is dough with meat inside that you then throw into boiling broth to cook. It is eaten as a soup with butter, pepper and lots and lots of vingar added for flavoring. You know you have enough vinegar when after the first bite a little bead of sweat forms on your brow. Or, maybe that is just my family.

Googling it today, I came up with all kinds of fun facts, gotta love wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelmeni). My mom would sit down and bust out 500 of these little guys all while telling stories about when her family would make them. Aunt Steph, I would love to hear some of these again when you have the time! Sis and I tried to recreate the family moment this past weekend. Family - check, good times - check, 500 - YIKES! We ended up making around a 100, with both of us working hard and Vera "helping."

Mom's were always beef until she had me and then the recipe got basterdized. We have tried turkey, spinach, and now pork pelmeni. Sis and I made half beef (for her and B-i-L) and half pork for the Mazzetta family. Also, a brilliant idea of Sis was to dye the dough for the pork ones pink so that we could tell them apart. I hate running into a beef surprise.

The recipe is quite large and so we cut it down and used 2 lbs of meat.

Pelmeni Meat (from my Aunt Nikki):

(THE NIGHT BEFORE)

In your big giant bowl put 6 pounds of ground beef. In your blender drop 2 whole eggs, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 good size onions chopped up---Make an "onion milkshake"--pour over hamburger in bowl and mix with your hands!
Put into refrigerator overnight and let flavors blend. (Don't use lean ground been---the pelmeni come out dry and hard)

Pelmeni Dough:

Measure out 1 cup of eggs --pour into bowl and add 1 Tablespoon salt. Then, add 1 cup tap water and start adding flour until thick and noodle consistency---it helps to let the dough rest (covered-so it doesn't dry out) at least a half an hour.

You roll out your dough and use a shot glass to cut out small circles. Taking a small circle in hand, you stretch it out to about twice its orginal size. Take a small piece of meat, about the size of a marble, and place it in the center of the dough. Fold the dough in half (taco shape) around the dough and pinch the open edge with your fingers. Then, bring the two edges of the taco together to form a spaceship. It is totally clear now, right?

You place your spaceships on a cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer for an hour of so. When they are nice and solid you throw them in baggies and then back in the freezer for keeping.
To cook, heat some broth on the stove (beef, chicken, or veggie) and put the pelmeni in. When they rise to the top let them cook for another 5-10 minutes and then eat as a soup. You can add pepper, vinegar, and butter.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hmmmm...



We were at the zoo and took the obligatory picture of Keller's head popping out of a gorilla display...yes, the "Guess Who?" refers to the fact that we are part of the gorilla family. :) I wish we had thought to do this sooner with Keller. Vera's picture is from when she was 3 months old and Keller is closer to 8 months. Still, do they look alike? Do they look like siblings? Is it just that they are both popping out of a hole? And the big question, have J's fingers changed in three years. This is motivating me, I am off to find a picture of Vera from when she was 8 months to do a real comparison.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Siblings

Do you know how hard it is to get two small children to look at the camera while simultaneously looking like they are enjoying themselves...impossible. Yes, I know I should wait for natural moments where they are loving life and just two happy munchkins. Or, I could pose them and they still look adorable. It doesn't take too much posing these days, any chance that Vera has to get her little hands on her brudah is a chance she jumps on. She loves to have him in her lap or wiggling in her arms as she carries him from room to room.

I think the third picture is my favorite. She is squeezing him so close that her face is smushed up against him. Oh, and yes the dress Vera is wearing is my favorite. I think it has already shown up in twenty pictures of the family blog. I guess calling it a dress is a stretch, it is more of a shirt these days.