Friday, September 18, 2009

Isaac's Birthday Party

We had a very simple party for Isaac's 6th: fill two hundred water balloons, plan elaborate games for the kids to play with said water balloons, and have them ultimately abandon these games in favor of pummeling Dirk with water balloons. It was great! Then we came inside and made pizzas and had cake. Although, after I saw how much fun they had with the volcano cake, and then playing with the leftover dry ice (carefully supervised and gloved by Dirk, of course), I think next time I will do a mad scientist party instead. I got the cake idea from It was a huge hit.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When Grandmas Attack!

Often, as my mom is leaving for work in the morning, Brody runs to her for hugs and kisses. She already has her lipstick on, so this is what he gets.

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Day of School

Isaac was really ready for the first day of school. He didn't ride the bus this first day, but did the day after that. I was nervous about it, but he was excited. Brody cried when we walked away from the bus stop, as he has several days since, because he wants to ride the bus, too. I answer the question, "Where'd Isaac go?" about three hundred times per day.

Handsome Kid.

Gigi trying on some of Tristan's sleepers. Silly Girl.

Sad Puppy. Yes, that pile of fluff is our dog. And if he is good, I might have him groomed someday soon. But for now, he enjoys doing his impression of a dust mop.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Isaac turns 6

Our family life is flying past at a rate I am not entirely comfortable with. A short list of things I adore about my first baby:

1. He loves the cartoon classics . . . the black-and-white ones with only music and very rough animation. We stumbled across these at my mom's house and he thought they were the coolest.

2. He is extremely tough and hardly ever cries. But that is not what I love. What I love is the face he makes when he is straining not to cry, and the hurried way he looks for something to distract himself. It is so cute, but when he does this, I feel sick in my stomach, like his time with me as a child is too short and he is already becoming a little man.

3. When he rides his bike fast, sometimes he says, "Mom! It's like I'm flying!" I remember as clear as anything when I was struggling to convince him that I was holding him, that I would not drop him, that riding a bike is the best thrill of a young life, that I knew he could do it. And now I'm crying. Shoot.

4. He loves dessert. He doesn't mind eating pretty healthfully, but he really gets enthusiastic about planning elaborate treats for birthdays, FHE, other kids' birthdays, etc.

5. I loved the look on his face a few weeks ago when he got off the bus after his first day of school. He was beaming about his independence and bubbling over with chatter about all the things I'd missed.

6. Isaac loves his peeps: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings. If they are related, they're in.

7. He says "pampcakes" for pancakes, and he always mixes up tomatoes and potatos. They are the only leftover language mistakes from his little years, and I love them.

For his birthday, he wanted to be Emperor for the Day. This meant choosing everything we ate and did. I had to trick him into choosing to have us all go to church, and a couple of other mandatories, but otherwise, it was all him. He decided we should have pancakes for breakfast, with faces built on them using all manner of processed sugar items.

Opening presents!

We threw a small birthday party the following weekend, which I will post next, but for our family, I made this cake. It was tasty; layered with thin layers of chocolate brownie and chocolate pannacotta, then wrapped with dark chocolate and topped by Isaac with canned cream (his favorite; the cake was all my idea but I convinced him that it was his by suggesting he might, as Emperor, want a cake that would go perfectly with canned cream. It worked easily, and I gained great insight into world politics) If you have lain awake long nights trying to figure out a way to get the absolute maximum amount of chocolate into a cake, then this is the one for you. I will post the recipe some time soon.

That yellow thing in the pitcher off to the side was Dirk and Isaac's attempt at a parfait, because "there ain't nobody ever said they don't like no parfait," and my boys are no exceptions.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hawaiian Festival

The City of Henderson has done it again. We went to a really cool festival which included lots of little shops and food stands, Polynesian dancing, bounce houses, and water fun. It was right in downtown Henderson and extremely well attended. The dancing was my favorite. It was so hot, though; the kids' favorite part was cooling off in the city's fountain. There was also a Japanese Doll exhibit in one of the buildings, so we ducked in there to see it and cool off in the air conditioning.

See? Rogaine really does work!

All of the dancing was amazing, but these guys stole the show.

All the kids were loving the water element.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cathedral Rock

At about a month old, Tristan and I were ready to get out of the house. Risking ticks and whatever other perils the forest holds, we fearlessly ventured up to Cathedral Rock at Mt. Charleston here in Vegas. What a fun time we had, climbing around on the rocks and enjoying the incredible weather. We drove through a tiny little town, more like a settlement, and dreamed of what little shop we might open there to escape the world. They even had a library, though there were only a handful of houses and the main street was dirt. I forgot to take pictures of the quirky little place, so we'll have to go back soon. We had a picnic lunch, and Brody couldn't stop stuffing small rocks in his pockets.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Zucchini Recipe #2

Disappearing Zucchini and Whole Wheat Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

This bread is insanely good. No kidding. The children will sing songs in the streets about this bread. Probably because of those secret addictive chemicals they put in lemon pudding.

4 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 3.4 oz. package instant lemon pudding mix
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 c. milk
1 c. oil
3 T. lemon juice
1 t. lemon extract
2 c. shredded zucchini
1/4 c. poppy seeds
2 t. lemon zest

This is a basic quick bread: mix the wet stuff separate from the dry stuff. Combine and don't mix it up too much. Makes two loaves. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes in 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Do we really need lemon extract? What do we do if we don't have lemon pudding mix? Good questions, all. But Deb made it, and it was the best stuff ever, so I am not going to mess with the process. Happy baking.

Zucchini Recipe #1

Whole Wheat Zucchini Brownies
(brought to us by my wonderful sister Deborah)

½ c. cocoa
2 c. whole white wheat flour
1 ½ c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 ½ t. baking soda
2 c. shredded zucchini drained
½ c. oil
2 t. vanilla
½ c. chopped nuts

Sift together dry ingredients. Combine zucchini and oil, blend with dry ingredients. Add vanilla and nuts. Mix well. Spread in greased 11x15 in. cookie sheet
(batter will be very thick). Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

*Optional Frosting*

1 c. sugar
5 T butter or margarine
1/3 c. milk
6 oz package chocolate chips

Mix together sugar, butter, and milk. Boil 1 min.
Stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Spread on
cooled brownies.

*I never bother with frosting. I think it is better to sprinkle good chocolate chips over the top of uncooked brownies. They sink in a bit when baking and they harden for a delectable texture contrast if these brownies make it to the second day. 'Tis finally the season for Costco to carry Ghiradelli chocolate chips again. Stock up while you can, they disappear in January!

Tristan's Baby Blessing

Dirk blessed our sweet boy on Sunday. Uncle Doug and kids, and the Herrons came down for the big event, which was so wonderful. It was a weekend of great food and fun time with family. We missed Aunt Shannon and Hannah, who both had to work.

Sammy, Adam, Naomi, Dirk, Ben, Isaac, Grandma Ellen, Tristan, Brody, Gigi, Aunt Deb

Since Isaac and Josh's birthdays were only a week away, we had a mini party for them on Sunday afternoon, using Deb's now-famous Disappearing Zucchini and Whole Wheat Brownies. You would not believe how tasty these treats were, especially considering the name!

Rebekah with Pippin, who used to be her family's dog, and who she misses very much.

Gigi and Brody, who lately have become quite good friends, which makes a mother very happy.

Our family with the Averys: Jared, Josh, Doug, Jake, Rebekah, and Abigail.

Aunt Deb whips up her lemon poppy seed whole wheat zucchini bread -- amazing. Deb brought a bunch of zucchini from her garden and we put it all to good use.


We went to an outdoor concert here in Henderson on Friday night. It was a fun cover band who didn't take themselves too seriously. And, it rained lightly, which in the desert is pure magic every time. We were all having a great time, but the kids got antsy, so I took them to a lawn behind the seat and let them run around and dance. Ox got into running a loop on a cement wall that went the perimeter of the triangular lawn area. I was marveling at the athleticism it took for him to run and leap up to a higher wall at the corner. Then, he switched directions and what was an impressive leap up became a dangerous leap down and he fell badly. I saw the whole thing and I tell you it gave me nightmares. I grabbed him, blood all over, and my mom rushed us all home so Doctor Dad could fix him up. He was such a tough champ. This picture was taken three days later.