T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Organic Lemonade Recipe - Giveaway Reminder

If you need a reason to enter my 400th posting giveaway, here you go...

My favorite recipe for lemonade:

Mix all the ingredients (6 1/2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup lemon juice) and serve over ice, if desired. We use all organic ingredients so sometimes with the sugar being unbleached, it does have a tan hue to it. It might not look as beautiful but it tastes spectacular.

I also made organic strawberry jam this past week. If it tastes as good as it looks, then it promises to be wonderful. It is my most beautiful strawberry jam that I've ever made. I always get nervous that it will not set up to my satisfaction. However, we've been making some wonderful homemade vanilla ice cream and strawberry topping would make wonderful strawberry sundaes. 

This week's canning project - blueberry jam. I'll post photos when that project is complete. I also have a patchwork quilt that will shortly be completed and a crochet black cat for T Rex. It's been a tedious project. If you are familiar with crocheting and baseball then maybe you can appreciate my frustration with trying to keep track of doubles and singles at the game while trying to crochet. But my list continues to have items crossed off.

Don't forget the 400th posting giveaway will be closing soon. Thanks to all those who have already entered. If you have not, make sure you enter for a chance to win a set of glass straws from Straws by Carli with a storage case by Caboose Cloth. It sure dresses up my lemonade or my smoothies.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend Update...

It was a full week. 

Bebe Sister had a nice fall during library story time on Tuesday. Aside from a nasty-looking bump on her head and a bit of a black eye, she enjoyed her first bit of play dough. Luckily, Nana was around to supervise.

Poor T Rex had a high fever all week. I have a new, super cool Exergen thermometer so I was able to quickly and easily monitor his temperature. It stayed around 105 degrees F for four days, then dropped to 101. By day 6 it was around 100 and then he developed a rash on his neck and back. The rash progressed to the rest of his trunk and then to the extremities. By day seven he was nearly rash free and was without a fever for 24 hours. Aside from wanting to lay around and demanding lots of snuggles, he was a pretty good sport.

My mom was here to help for a couple days this week so I could get some canning, cleaning, and chores done. I am trying to prepare for T Rex Dad's vacation. It's actually a "stay-cation" but I'd really like for us to not have to spend his entire time off having a Soviet holiday. I also wrote out the list of remaining projects I hope to accomplish the remainder of my summer break - it is two pages long. Hence, my lack of presence online all that often.

We did watch a lot of baseball. My nephew's team was participating in a tournament just up the street about a mile away so I carted the kids in the bike trailer to several of the games. T Rex Dad joined us when he could. 

Ready to embark.
On base.
My brother-in-law offering some last minute coaching to my nephew, who was pitching, and the catcher. Yes, the photo was taken through the fence.
Some of that pitching action.
T Rex snuggling his Dad during one of the games.
Look at how this little girl took her daddy's arm during the game.
After all that excitement, we had to end the weekend with some quiet outdoor time. The kids enjoyed some garage sale finds from a couple weeks ago. Yes, our daughter plays with a lot of "boy" toys because of her big brother. But she loves it - tractors, cars, and she even had her first trike lesson this week too. But more on that later this week.

Don't forget the 400th posting giveaway is still going on. Go check it out and you could win something fun.

How about you? Did you have a good week?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


This is my 400th blog posting. It is a lot like watching the kids grow - where does the time go?

I began this blog as a place for family and friends to keep up on our lives. Along the way I started making new friends, as well as, reconnecting with friends of long ago. It really has been wonderful to be able to share a bit of our lives, document family events, and also learn with you.

A couple of you have been with us since the beginning. Others we picked up shortly after. And recently I picked up a few more after being deemed unintentionally "green". For quite a long while, our son's blog actually had more followers.

So what have we explored together?

You've seen multiple trips to the zoo, followed along with my nurse practitioner school adventures, read our birth stories, participated in my first ever blog event "Live and Learn", and followed along during my "Flats and Handwashing Challenge". There have been other postings where we shared news of our son's peanut allergy , and his pediatric strabismus. And canning season is fast approaching so rest assured we'll see more about that soon, too. You're listened to my ruminations as well as seen some of the emergency preparations we have implemented into our lives. And last, but certainly not least, we've had lots and lots about cloth diapers with a little bit of attachment parenting thrown in for good measure.

I know not everything I write about is appealing or interesting to everyone, but the fact that you would read along anyway because it's about our lives means a great deal to us. We are grateful for all the friendship and kinship we've shared with you and loved having you along on our journey.

As a thank you for reading, I have two wonderful sponsors who have offered a giveaway to commemorate this 400th posting and our daughter's blog's 100th posting.

It's smoothie season around here. I've moved away from my morning protein shake and have now started drinking a morning smoothie. It seems that our daughter also prefers smoothies, too. However, I prefer for her not to drink from my straw (still trying to not introduce my mouth flora into hers - think cavity prevention) and using two straws every morning was adding up to a fair amount of wasted plastic straws. As much as I would try to wash them, often I was unable to get them as clean as I wished. After some searching, I found I kept hearing good things about Straws by Carli. I purchased two glass smoothie straws and have been extremely happy with them. Bebe Sister is still too young to use glass straws, but we've cut our straw use in half. This, once again, makes cents and sense . These straws are made of borosilicate glass which does not break easily, are dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe, and carry a lifetime guarantee! One lucky reader will win a set of straws made by Carli.

So where do I store my straws? My dear blogger friend Julie of Caboose Cloth made me a lovely glass straw case. Not only does it work wonderfully storing my straws, it also looks lovely on my kitchen counter-top! She has offered the winner a case for their straws.

This is the case Julie made for me. Lovely, isn't it?

If you'd like your own set of straws and a case, you have two options - purchase them through their Etsy shops (Straws by Carli or Caboose Cloth) or win them here. One lucky reader will win a set of Straws by Carli with a case from Caboose Cloth.

How to enter?
Mandatory entry - Leave a comment telling me what your favorite of the 400 postings has been or if there was one that was memorable to you.
Extra entries (Leave additional comments for each of the other entries):
- Visit Straws by Carli and tell me what type or color of straw you like that she offers.
- Visit Caboose Cloth and tell me what you would like Julie to make for you or like Caboose Cloth on Facebook.
- If you're a follower of this blog or any of our kids' blogs, tell us and you gain one extra entry.
- Follow us on Facebook.
(1 mandatory entry plus a possible 4 extra entries for a total of 5 possible entries.)
Giveaway runs through 11:59PM on June29th after which a winner will be chose via random number generator. Please make sure I have a way of contacting you should you win. Winner will be contacted directly and will have 48 hours to respond.

Once again, thank you for reading along these past 400 postings. Thank you for all your kind comments and gestures of support. And thank you to my sponsors. I truly appreciate your generosity and support.

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who participated.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day...

Of course T Rex Dad embodies all the classic and typical things that a wonderful father would - loving, supporting, giving, nurturing, as well as gentle and sentimental while still being masculine, tough, and strong. However, I would to share some of the other characteristics he possesses that make him unique to us:

Nap loving
Expert cloth diaper changer
Owie kisser
Toddler whisperer/wrangler - what ever the situation calls for
Expert story teller and reader
Star Trek/Star Wars/Star Gate loving
Pop-Psych expert
Photography loving
New food motivator (he can get T Rex to eat just about anything)
Star gazer
Driver of an 18-year-old WV Jetta
Speed reading (once clocked at 900 wpm)
Book loving (he still prefers the feel of real books)
Praying mantis loving
Emergency preparer
Watch collector
Bargain shopper
Sharer of home chores and duties
Toy repairer and battery replacer
Laptop builder and repairer
Aviation and space technology connoisseur
Topsiders wearing
Fort builder
M&M enjoying
Admirer of Jerry Pournelle
Science fiction enjoyer
Old style computer game player (Age of Empire, Perfect General)
Lover of mild summers and green foothills

To me, he is my "E". Think of a multiple choice question. "E" is often the choice one would select for "all of the above".

Thank you, T Rex Dad, for being our "E". We love you so much.

Here are a few more photos from our Fathers Day photo sessions. I have opted to let T Rex Dad decide which he wants for his desk. The second one is a favorite because there was a "stranger" on the bench right next to where the kids were at and look how T Rex is protecting his sister and she is hiding behind him. The last few are also kind of funny - you can see how tough it was to catch up with them. They were so excited to just run and play chase.

P.S. Next posting is our 400th. Fun giveaway to go along with it. Stay tuned and keep reading.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Where I've Been...

Why so long since I last posted?

Well, the kids and I have been diligently working on T Rex Dad's Fathers Day gift. 

I've been sneaking in a few other things like scrubbing and sealing the shower, organizing closets, and rotating clothes - our little Bebe Sister must be going through a growth spurt. And working out a lot to balance all the homemade ice cream we've been making.

And there was that small incident of acquiring malware on my laptop while searching for playhouse photos. We're hoping to build one for the kids before the summer is over. Thankfully, T Rex Dad rebuilt my machine and I'm back reading and surfing. Beware of Google images - that's all I will say.

But, back to T Rex Dad's gift. Bet your thinking it's going to be something crafty? Well, not really. He has been asking for a nice photo of the kids to put up at work. I thought that was a perfect idea. After all, I take hundreds of photos of the kids all the time. However, this time, I wanted to do a nice posed one with a lovely setting. Well, after three separate attempts in two different locations, this pretty much sums it up:

Yes, we all shed multiple tears. I cannot even imagine what my "good neighbor" thought or the folks on the path below. One of them glared at me when T Rex started whining that he wanted to hold a flower, too, and I replied, "Pleeeeease...can you just sit down." Probably thought I was performing some weird torture on the kids as well as myself. There was also the incident of Bebe Sister biting her brother because she was tired of holding his hand.

Photographing toddlers...not easy.

So what did we decide to do for him? Well, I had a great back up idea. Alas, another thing I am learning about toddlers - they cannot keep secrets. At our Fathers Day celebration for my father-in-law last night, T Rex asked his dad when he would get to give him "his coin". Upon minimal further questioning, T Rex spilled the beans about how we had all shopped for his gift and that it was a lovely silver coin for his collection. Nice...

Ah, well. At least we can sit around and tell stories about this in about 30 years. As opposed to the picture perfect posed photo that would have been replaced by another someday. And I do have a few cute photos. I will post more in the future.

Instead of smiling, they are giving their "goofy faces".

I am just a few posts away from my 400th posting. I am excited about it because I have a couple of wonderful Etsy shops that have generously offered to sponsor a giveaway in honor of this event. Stay tuned. In the mean time, back to chores and toddler chasing.

How do you get those "picture perfect" photos of your kids? Any tips or secrets you'd like to share?

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I know, I know - it seems like we are always at the zoo. And, well, we kind of are. However, we have a family pass and we try to go as often as we can. Plus, the kids have a wonderful time, as do I. Friday was a spectacular visit.

First, we made it just in time to feed the giraffes. This is Julius. I've fed him before but until recently, T Rex has been too affraid to feed them alone - until now that is. These are such gentle giants.

Then a trip to see the Penguins. They are T Rex's favorite. He had a great conversation with one of them. I'm making a separate posting for that on his blog.

We also have a new attraction that is happening for a couple of short months this summer - butterflies. There is an encounter area set up that we walked into. The butterflies were EVERYWHERE. I did not mind if they landed on me but was kind of creeped out when they would walk around on my back or head. Huge butterflies and such bright beautiful colors that I've never seen.

We were instructed not to touch them so when one landed right in front of Bebe Sister and I saw her going for the grab which would have most likely damaged it, I grabbed her hands (I did get a photo of it though). She was SO upset. I had to call for help to have it removed. Hence, I don't think she enjoyed the exhibit has much as T Rex and I did.

Then off to feed the sheeps and goats. I am always amazed that I will buy feed so the kids can feed them - at the barn that I used to board my horse, there was a goat that was such a nuisance. Once it was about to ram me and my horse kicked it across the yard. Now, I pay a quarter for a handful of feed so my kids can enjoy feeding the animals. Ironic, I think.

Interestingly, it took T Rex until he was almost 3 years old before he would feed the animals on his own. Then we took him out to see BlackBerry the horse and he fed her carrots. After that he had no issues. Bebe Sister on the other hand, this was her first time and she knew exactly what to do as if to say to me, "I've been watching all these months, finally I get my chance."

I have took a short video of them feeding. Look what Bebe Sister does - classic.

T Rex loves tortugas so he had a great time crawling around this shell. SO much bigger than the ones he baby-sits.

This is my favorite exhibit. We have a new colony of meerkats.

More crawling around - "a giant nido" (nido is the Spanish work for nest) as T Rex called it. This little bean just has to do everything her big brother wants to do.

Then time for our bagged lunch after which Bebe Sister took off her shoes and declared she was ready for nap time. So, back to the homestead for long naps while I made homemade ice cream. Love those bare feet.

Thanks for visiting the zoo with us. We hope you had a good time. We certainly did.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ten Years...

Ten years ago today, T Rex Dad and I were married. I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone by. The first six and half years were all to ourselves. It was wonderful. We did so many things together and really had time to get to know one another. Retrospectively, I was glad we had that time because now our quiet moments together are few and far between. We still find time for star gazing through the library skylights and snuggling on the couch - just not as often.

Ironically, when we do get to sneak away on a rare date night, we find ourselves looking at all the other families with their children and we miss ours. Still, it is good for us to have time for ourselves.

I could not even begin to recap the higlights of the past ten years. Let's just say, the two biggest ones are featured on this blog and on their own blogs. We feel truly blessed to have these precious gifts from above in our lives.

For our anniversary we have opted to purchase no gifts, only exchange cards. We're going to head out on one of those rare date nights, revisit the place where we were married, have dinner, and be home in time to tuck in our two young treasures. Honestly, I cannot think anything better to do to celebrate our ten years of marriage.

Enjoy the photos from our big day a decade ago. The resolution is not the best as these are old style photos taken with film and I have not scanned them but rather photographed them directly from our album. (We do own the negatives so no copyrights have been violated.)

A little tidbit on my dress. I really wanted to wear my mother's wedding dress but she was such a tiny young bride that my size 2/4 person could not fit into it. My sister took me shopping and we found a very similar dress except in size 14. It was on clearance which was great but it was going to be quite the ordeal to alter it. But, we did. That seamstress had me in for 5 separate fittings and it turned out great. My mom made my veil.

Look how young and well rested we looked...

When my sister was married, I was three. When I was married, her son was three. He looked too darn cute in his mini-tuxedo for me not to have a couple photos of us together. (Remember, he's the one who just turned 13 years old.)


My now brother-in-law loaned us his car as our "get-away" car. It was the best ride of my life driving through downtown with my veil blowing in the wind, waving my gloved hand and knowing I was next to the man of my dreams. This is probably my favorite photo in the album.

Happy Ten Year Anniversary, My Darling Love.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mr. Rogers...

Childhood was not my favorite time. For many reasons, but my parents' divorce when I was three was the biggest reason. They were married for 25 years. I always felt I was the impetus for the end of their relationship. Today I know better, but when you're three, understanding adult issues is obviously not expected.

My mom tried very hard to make my life a good one . She did an admirable job, I think. My sister, was a huge help as well. My sister did what she could, but lived thousands of miles away, was married, and in college. I had a tough time moving often from place to place, rarely with any semblance of stability . Looking back I know I suffered from untreated depression and likely acute anxiety. Even after both my parents remarried, it did not get any easier.

My step-mother and I did not get along. And I was actually scared of my step-father. (He was a former navy CPO - WWII era - so his voice always carried commanding tone to it.) My summers were spent in the Pacific N.W. with my father, and the rest of the year I lived in the deep South with my mom and step-dad. This, after having been born in the West. Confused yet? I was too.

My sister was always a positive influence in my life. However, she never lived close by. We corresponded often via mail. In an early letter, she suggested I start watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. She knew I would love the show and even suggested I write to Mr. Rogers himself. She said she used to write to him and that he always responded to every letter she wrote.

I took her advice. She was right, I loved the show and especially loved The Land Of Make Believe. "Daniel Tiger" was my favorite because he had a watch. And oh, did I ever want to be "Lady Aberlien" and live at the castle with the King and Queen! As challenges in my life arose, I would write to Mr. Rogers and share them. I remember telling him how I knew my step-dad made my mom happy but that I did not like him, however, I did not want to tell my mom because I knew it would make her sad. I remember telling him about the time I made my step-mom so angry she dropped a frosted cake on the floor right in front of me (it did not take much to make her mad at me). Once, I poured out my heart about the string of rabbit fatalities that I was having trying to keep rabbits as pets.

And you know what? He always did write back! I cannot remember exactly what he said, but I know it was something along the lines acknowledging what ever challenge I had written about, offering a bit of advice about it, and then always reminding me I was unique and special just because I was me. Let me tell you, just knowing that someone like him, someone so busy, would take time out his day to hand write a letter to me, did that ever make me feel special! The letters are long lost after too many moves, but I remember pouring over them time after time.

Recently, our son has been having some problems expressing frustration. Mostly, when something upsets him he will just fling himself on the ground. I thought it was a good time to start talking about emotions and seeing if we can find more productive outlets for his frustrations. We visited the library, checked out a couple of books, and searched for videos. We found a Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood video about dealing with angry feelings.

Until now, we've been pretty firm about a "no TV" policy because Bebe Sister is not yet 2. (American Pediatrics Society recommends limited or no TV for children under 2) However, there is simply no way for T Rex to watch a DVD unless she is around too. So we made an exception. This was the man who helped me through childhood depression and anxiety after all...

They LOVED the show. It has been so delightful to hear my son sing, "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood..." And can you guess who is T Rex's favorite make-believe character? Daniel Tiger.

It has been a good outlet for discussing what to do when his sister makes him frustrated or when I ask him to do something he might not want to do (leave the park or eat his veggies). In fact, the other day when I walked into the bathroom after he and his sister had clogged the toilet with half a roll of toilet paper, he reminded me to "take deep breaths, Mama, like the slide whistle". (from the episode we checked out from the library) I still have much to learn so we're working on this together. But it's nice to have this Neighbor back in my life.

Thank you, Mr. Rogers'...you've touched so many lives with your work. But , I am most grateful you helped me with mine, and now my children's as well...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekend Fun...

Well, the weekend is barely half over and we've already had the best time. Here are some of the highlights...

Fair warning - LOTS of photos.

Yesterday the kids and I took the bike trailer to our local park for some playtime and a picnic. No one was there - delightful. While we were there, I received a phone call from a dear friend inviting us to the Greek Food Festival. Now, I'm not big on Greek Food but I knew that T Rex Dad loves it so we decided to load up the kids and headed out, especially since it was the first nice day in weeks.

Leaving our laundry drying at home on such a lovely day, we arrived at the festival.

It was no nice to get a warm sunny day for this.
At the festival there was complete chaos with the music, lines, food, and kids but it was deliciously fun. We ran into several people that we had not seen in years and the company we were with was wonderful. We really had a grand time.

This was the only photo of us we managed to get while at the festival. Not the greatest one of me, but at least you can see my authentic Greek blouse that I picked up when we were in Greece years ago.
 In order to get the kids to behave while we were there we offered a reward at a nearby jungle gym/park if they ate their food and stayed close to us. And indeed, they were very well behaved - several people commented how good they were - always makes parents feel proud to hear that. So, we were off to T Rex's favorite jungle gym.

As if this wasn't enough excitement, we woke up the next morning and took off early for my nephew's baseball game. Now he's on three teams so he pretty much lives baseball these days. And T Rex really loves baseball and is hoping to play one day, too. Once again, I told the kids if they were well-behaved, we could play at the adjacent park. And this was a huge enticement because this adjacent park is a really amazing one - several large jungle gyms and splash pad.

The game was really exciting. When we arrived the score was 1-1. By the final inning, my nephew's team was down 1-3. When he came up to bat he hit a single. He managed to make it to third base when a teammate bunted the ball. On that bunt, he came home to tie the score. He is so fast that is probably how he pulled that off. We were all so proud of him. They ended up winning the game 4-3. Exciting to the end.

Bebe Sister watching her cousin get ready to bat.
Batting - we sat right behind home plate at ground level.

On first, headed for second.
After he scored his run.
Cheers for Cousin.
Helping Auntie keep score.
Walking with Cousin to his next game - he has three total today.

The kids were well behaved during the game so they earned their time at the jungle gym. It was craziness and I was glad to have the extra help from my sis while watching the kids. She said she had a great time and I could tell this was the case. But she did remark that she did not know how I did it. My friend asked me the same thing last night while we were at the jungle gym - how do you keep up with two little ones? All I could say was, "Practice". We go to a lot of parks and do a lot of outings with the kids. We have become very efficient in the way we do things. And we stick to our routine. But mostly, it's all about practice.

Then, everyone came home to take naps. Well, everyone except me. As you can see, this is what I decided to do with my naptime. But now I'm off to read "Packing for Mars" at Jenners' suggestion. Stop over and check out her blog - she always has some excellent reading suggestions. And she can always make me laugh, too.
Bebe Sister snuggled up with her luvie blanket and her homemade blanket by Grandma N.

I hope you also have a wonderful weekend full of lots of fun.