'Muff'in Dome

A Taste of Christmas

The month of December flew by much faster than we wanted it to here. But there was much joyous anticipation of the Christmas season, followed by proper celebration.

We set up our tree on the very first of the month, eager to decorate for the season.

noble fir

We picked out a few new ornaments to adorn our tree, including a stitched house to remember the purchase of our first home, a flashy bbq to commemorate Steve’s favorite new hobby, and a wiry, red trike – Evelyn’s new favorite mode of transportation.

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While decorating the tree, Evelyn scared entertained us with her dancing moves on top of a box and played with her new nativity set.

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We were greeted with a snow day on the first Saturday in December (sadly, the only precipitation we’ve had all month). It was Evelyn’s first and she was thoroughly enthralled by it.

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That is, until she touched it with her bare hands. :)

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Evey didn’t get a chance to meet Santa last year so we took her to the Country Christmas in town to visit him this year. Aaaaaand this is how she felt about him.

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Maybe next year.

She’d much rather be held by Gram, but who could blame her. :)

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Evelyn and I attended a luncheon with her grandma and great-grandma (my mom and grandma) at a nice hotel downtown. We had a wonderful time dressing up and enjoying a lunch with some of our favorite ladies.

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The dress Evelyn is wearing was mine when I was her age and was made by my mom. My mom brought some photos of me wearing it to share (unfortunately, I don’t have a copy on me now).

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Steve and I stole a few moments one evening to drink egg nog together and decorate Christmas cookies. It was a nice at-home date.  :)

xmas cookie decor

Then there was the flu. (Which you don’t need to see photos of…..)

Christmas celebrations, up next!

Life Lately — Pumpkin Edition

We’ve been rather quiet here at Muffin Dome lately. My only excuse is this adorable toddler that I’m chasing around all day, refilling all the containers and cupboards she is incessantly emptying. ;)

Happy Fall!

 

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The little pumpkin cap on her head is one of my first knitting projects. I’ve been working on caps lately and they are turning out better each time. It was fun to dress up our little ‘pumpkin’ for a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick her very first pumpkin!

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We took a hayride out to the patch to pick our pumpkins. (I remember the same ride last year — it seemed a lot bumpier and I was afraid I was going to go into labor with our little darling in the middle of the patch!) We found the perfect pumpkins!!

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This was Evey’s first Halloween (she came 9 days after last Halloween). A few months ago I picked her up a sleeveless blue and white gingham dress at H&M, perfect for the warm summer months. Then, when she started walking, her first pair of shoes were red Saltwaters. A light went off one day when she was wearing the two together. She looks just like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. A perfect Halloween costume!! So it was decided way back in July what she would be this year. And she played the part just perfectly. Except she got an update to her wardrobe for the colder months ahead….red BOOTS! (Which she absolutely adores and asks to wear nearly every time we go out.)

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She couldn’t wait to get started trick-or-treating! She was tugging Daddy out the door the minute he returned home from work!

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Much more fun than eating the candy was playing with it, pulling it in and out of the bucket, laughing so hard she was cracking everyone up!

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Although, she did try out her first lollipop. :)

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Stay tuned…more to come of our Fall adventures later!

The Many Faces of Evey

It might be best to get Evey’s 9 month portraits up before she hits 10 months on Monday. Here you go. :)

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I was having a little fun with my new prime lens, taking some real close-ups.

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It was great for capturing all her fantastic expressions.

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I don’t know that she could handle a poker-face, but she’s good at the ‘stinker’.

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Fruit-tastic!!

When I was pregnant with Evelyn, I craved fruit all.the.time. Sure, I liked a piece of fruit now and then before, but I wanted some of that sweet fructose every hour when she was in my belly.

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Well, I’m starting to understand why.

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This girl can put away fruit like it is her job.

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I thought strawberries were her favorite {like me!!} but she’s been doing a number on the peaches lately.

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I don’t know if she just likes to roll with the seasons {that would be too perfect} or if she’s just not picky as long as she has a piece of fruit in her hand.

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On a particularly hot day a few weeks ago, I let her have-at-it with a peach from our tree. She was in ‘fruit heaven’ from the first bite to the last.

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With easy clean up in the kiddie pool. :)

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9 Months!

She’s been attempting it since the day she was born when she tried to stand up against the side of the isolette while the nurse was measuring her. We have an official walker on our hands, folks.

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{And very proud of her new, red shoes!}

balancing

She’s been very meticulous in the process. Making sure she had great balance before attempting the first step. Then testing out one or two steps, but carefully squatting and sitting if she felt she was losing her balance.

sitting down

careful sit-down

Knock on wood, we haven’t had any major spills. In fact, the only real bruiser she received was while she was speed crawling, her hand slipped out from under her and she took a dive onto one of her board books which left a little shiner below her right eye for a few days.

standing outside

walking outside

She’s headstrong but rather careful.

Her nine month check-up last week revealed that she’s a healthy 18 lbs. 14 oz. and 28 1/2 in. I no longer go to the gym as I get my workout lifting her up and down hundreds of times each day. :)

She’s quite verbal, saying ‘hi’ and ‘bye-bye’ at the appropriate times. She calls for mama and dada. When it is bathtime, she will say ‘ba’. When she’s finished eating, she states ‘done’ matter-of-a-factly.’ {And you have about 2.5 seconds to clean off her face and remove her from her chair before she begins yelling it.} She’s starting to imitate the animal sounds that she loves. She even tried the ‘e-i-e-i-o’ with Gram the other day when singing Old MacDonald together. And she attempted to sing ‘alleluia’ with us at church yesterday. {Of course, this happened when everyone else was done.} ;)

The music runs deep in her veins and it is obvious. In addition to banging on the piano, she now has her own xylophone which she practices on every day. I’ll start her off with a few scales and she beams from ear-to-ear.

xylophone

Her favorite singer is Raffi. We listen to his CDs an average of 45 times a day (okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much). {The songs also play on repeat in my head as I’m trying to fall asleep at night….} She’s a dancer like her mama and bops along to the music. Her wiggles are getting fancier each day.

We’re into unloading anything we can get our hands on, especially if it involves clothing or CDs.

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sorting laundry

She imitates the way I sort laundry and even has her own way of folding. It is rather cute.

We spend a bit of time in the kitchen where she ‘mixes’ and ‘pours’ with her own bowls, cups and spatulas while I cook or bake.

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And she is currently cleaning the floor with the kitchen towel. :)

cleaning the floor

Our social butterfly has really taken to outside adventures lately. She gets very excited saying hello to others, whether it be at the library nursery rhymes, swinging at the park, walking the aisles at the grocery, or relaxing at a coffee shop. She always seems to have a smile for everyone. {Even inanimate objects.}

chatting with the chicken

Oh, and this just cracks me up…when she has made a poop in her diaper, she crawls to the bathroom to let me know she wants it off her backside. That’s not where I change her but I guess she’s figured out that is where mommy and daddy go for that sort of thing.

Smart kid. :)

Hope, Surprises and Joy.

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World Youth Day is happening in Brazil at this very moment. Youth from ALL over the world have gathered in Rio de Janeiro for a week-long spiritual rally and retreat with Pope Francis. He arrived by plane to his home continent, beaming from ear-to-ear just the other day, eager to meet the pilgrims who have come to greet him and be with him throughout the week.

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We have a couple friends who are attending the pilgrimage in person. {Having attended two of these myself in the past, my heart fills with great anticipation and excitement for those able to attend. It is such a blessing — a true spiritual rejuvenation — for those who participate.} We joyfully sent them off with many well-wishes and prayers, anxious to hear their story upon return. As we watch and listen from afar, we “follow” in their footsteps.

pilgrim WYD 2013

Opening the week, Pope Francis spoke at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Apercida, entrusting the events to Our Lady’s protection and sharing these thoughts on the attitude of a Christian :

“I would like to speak of three simple attitudes: hopefulness, openness to being surprised by God, and living in joy….

How many difficulties are present in the life of every individual, among our people, in our communities; yet as great as these may seem, God never allows us to be overwhelmed by them. In the face of those moments of discouragement we experience in life, in our efforts to evangelize or to embody our faith as parents within the family, I would like to say forcefully: Always know in your heart that God is by your side; he never abandons you! Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts!….

Dear brothers and sisters, let us be lights of hope! Let us maintain a positive outlook on reality. Let us encourage the generosity which is typical of the young and help them to work actively in building a better world. Young people are a powerful engine for the Church and for society. They do not need material things alone; also and above all, they need to have held up to them those non-material values which are the spiritual heart of a people, the memory of a people….

Anyone who is a man or a woman of hope – the great hope which faith gives us – knows that even in the midst of difficulties God acts and he surprises us….God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel we have just heard. God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God! Cut off from him, the wine of joy, the wine of hope, runs out. If we draw near to him, if we stay with him, what seems to be cold water, difficulty, sin, is changed into the new wine of friendship with him….

Dear friends, if we walk in hope, allowing ourselves to be surprised by the new wine which Jesus offers us, we have joy in our hearts and we cannot fail to be witnesses of this joy. Christians are joyful, they are never gloomy….Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us….

Dear friends, we have come to knock at the door of Mary’s house. She has opened it for us, she has let us in and she shows us her Son. Now she asks us to “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). Yes, dear Mother, we are committed to doing whatever Jesus tells us! And we will do it with hope, trusting in God’s surprises and full of joy. Amen.”

 

Beautiful words to bring to life in our hearts!

4th of July Highlights

I’m finally grabbing a few free moments to edit my photos from our 4th of July trip. (Yay!!!)

We had a great time celebrating the nation’s birthday with family over the long, holiday weekend.

with Gram

It was Evelyn’s first 4th but her cousin, Danny’s second, as he came into the world last year just a few hours before the day ended. Right on time to enjoy the fireworks! :)

So, rightfully, we celebrated his birthday, too, with some delicious angel food cake sprinkled with blueberries (his current favorite), strawberries and whipped cream.

Danny's 1st

tasting cake

The celebration couldn’t have been better than with Gram’s paella. Done al fresco, on the barbeque, it was as stunning as it was delicious. The seconds were nearly fought over.

Gram's paella

We enjoyed taking walks with Evelyn around the lake and breathing the cool mountain air. A nice break from the over-100-degree weather we’d been having at home.

Evelyn strolling

pretty toes

through the trees

sailing

We made plenty of time for play.

swinging

peekaboo!

splashing away!

momma and Evey

bubbles

sitting with Rocky and Grandpa

with Rocky

And rest.

asleep with daddy

Carseat Surfin’

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We like to call this one “Carseat Surfin’”. Never mind that I placed the car seat there to deter her from pulling all the CDs off the shelf. She climbed right in and began rocking the seat back in forth while STANDING. Thanks for giving Mama a heart attack, little one.

We may, just may, have a video up here soon of another new trick she’s learned — namely, WALKING(!!!). She’s been doing a lot of standing without holding onto anything lately, so we figured we’d encourage some movement too. Have we just opened Pandora’s Box?

 

The Peach Tree That Was (And Still Is!)

I woke up one morning a few weeks ago to find our 8 foot-something peach tree had crashed to the ground. Just the day before, I had been pinching their flesh, hoping for a ripe one soon. It seemed my hopes had literally been dashed to the ground.

fallen peach tree

We were leaving on a vacation the next day, so decided to leave it lying there for clean up when we got back. Although it was blazing hot while we were gone (on the verge of 110 degrees and above), the broken tree still maintained its green leaves and fuzzy orbs upon our return.

We left it alone.

Now, almost a month later, they’re actually ripening! I picked a boatload this morning (around 30!) and there are still more to be had (if I can keep them away from the blue jay population in our yard).

I made some peach jam with ones from the farmers’ market a few weeks ago. I’m eager to mix up some more and, this time, can it for later, to ward off those wintry peach cravings. Someone’s also been requesting a peach pie. ;)

Endless possibilities!!

Yummy Yogurt

We have a major favorite around here. It goes by the name of yogurt.

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I fell deeply in love with it after a few summers spent in France. Yogurt is serious business out there. Their yogurt aisle in the grocery store takes up the entire back wall of the store. It’s nearly as big as the cheese aisle. (And that is saying something!) Most French varieties come in plain forms, into which you are welcome to mix your favorite fruit, jam, honey, etc. inside. Most of the French enjoy this sweet treat after their family suppers. Not only is it a healthier dessert choice, it is chock full of good-for-you probiotics that ensure a good-working gut. (I don’t know about you, but I kind of think that is important.)

Stephen is particularly a fan of the Greek variety, leftover from his SoCal days, hanging about with the Greeks. It goes great in place of sour cream in everything from dips to baked goods to potato toppings. It has a sweetness all of its own but it is great to take it up a notch with his favorite adornment: honey.

I’m fortunate that even my daughter loves yogurt. In fact, it may be THE favorite food so far. She loves it plain, but is happiest when it comes mixed with a few strawberries. A girl after my own heart. ;)

I ran across this post the other day at Design Mom which reminded me of another reason I love French yogurt: the containers. We just don’t do packaging here like they do in Europe. Repurposing ceramic or glass jars is so much more exciting than those yucky plastic containers we’re left with.

Are you a fan?