Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Story of the Little Red Hen (as it may have happened in a house like ours)

"I am going to make some bread," said Mama Hen.
"O-ray!" yelled Little Chick. (Because O-ray was the way Little Chick said Hooray.) "A-cookie! A-cookie! A-cookie!" Little Chick wasn't really thinking of cookies (at least Mama Hen didn't think so.) It's just that that's the way Little Chick said the word cooking.
"Oh no," thought Mama Hen. "I guess Little Chick wants to make bread too." So Mama Hen girded up her courage, took a draught of patience and began. "The first thing we need to do, Little Chick, is put this yeast and sugar is some hot milk and water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Mama Hen heated the liquid, she poured the liquid in the bowl, she added the sugar and yeast, gave it a quick stir and left the room. When she came back to the kitchen, Mama Hen soon learned that Little Chick didn't give a hill of beans of care about letting the yeast sit. No, he had dragged (or is it drug?) a chair over to the counter and was happily stirring the mixture in the bowl. Little granules of yeast littered the counter where they had dropped off his spoon.
"Dang it, Little Chick! Why can't you just listen to Mama?" Mama Hen bewailed. But then she thought of all those conference talks she has listened to about patience and about helping young children learn to work. She counted to three, took a deep breath, and said (very calmly), "Little Chick, if you are going to help Mama you need to follow directions. Now, do you want to help?" Little Chick responded "A-cookie! A-cookie!" which Mama Hen took to mean, "Yes I do. But no promises about my behavior."
Mama Hen tried to be organized and clear so that Little Chick would know what to do. "The next thing we need to do, Little Chick, is add a few things to the yeast. First thing is an egg." Mama Hen pulled the egg out of the fridge, cracked the shell, and added it to the yeast mixture. Little Chick promptly stuck his spoon into the bowl and began to stir. When Mama Hen yelled (none too calmly) "Not yet, Little Chick!" he promptly pulled it back out again and clenched it in his other fist. "Just what I need! Salmonella!" whined Mama Hen. But then she reassessed the situation (as any good mother does) and realized that the whole thing was really her fault. Why had she shouted in the first place? Was he really doing anything to mess up the bread? No! She yelled for no reason! She was always doing things like that! She was a terrible mother! She shouldn't be allowed to have Little Chick! Let alone make bread. And so, practically in tears, she picked up Little Chick and washed his hands all the while kissing his cheek.
When Mama Hen felt satisfied that all traces of Salmonella had been washed down the sink, she put Little Chick down and very, very calmly said, "Now we're going to add the shortening and salt. You can stir." Little Chick happily sloshed the salt around in the liquid. Then Mama added a cup of flour. On the first stir, Little Chick threw white clouds in the air. So Mama Hen said, "Let Mama have a quick turn, Little Chick." When she tried to take the spoon from Little Chick, he freaked out and tried to push her away. Mama Hen's self inflicted guilt trip of 2 minutes ago vanished away. "Do not push Mama," she said very sternly. And she took the spoon away and stirred in the flour all the while rolling her eyes at Little Chick's tantrum. Of course, Mama Hen's "quick" turn turned into a longer turn because she needed to add 2 more cups of flour. But by then Little Chick had calmed down and was happily watching her stir.
Next it was time to knead the dough, and this was too new and exciting for Little Chick to just happily watch the action. Mama Hen sprinkled the flour on the counter. Little Chick reached over and rubbed it around just a little. No harm, no foul so Mama Hen let him spread it around. Mama Hen slapped the dough down on the flour and started to knead. But oh no! Her arms were blocking Little Chick's view! He kept pulling on her left arm so that he could see the movement better. Once he got it down, he wanted to join in. So the action went something like this: Knead, like poke, turn, little poke, fold, little poke, knead, little poke, stop and add more flour, hand swipe across the flour, repeat whole sequence. While it WAS annoying it wasn't cause for another fight. However, in all honesty Mama Hen thought, "The next time I'm dumb enough to make bread, I'll also be dumb enough to do it in the middle of the night while Little Chick is asleep."

The End

And that is how it could happen in a house like ours.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Go Cougars!

Luke wishes Aunt Amber a safe and fun trip back to BYU!

Almost Got It

We didn't wrap any of Luke's Santa gifts, and we didn't wrap most of his other gifts either. Last year, he was totally uninterested in opening presents, so we just didn't bother with it this year. But some people brought Luke gifts, and Grandma and Grandpa mailed him a present. And all these were wrapped.

Luke did a little bit better this year. He gave the paper one big pull before he threw it down and went to play with his cars.

Maybe next year he'll actually open a present??

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Traditions

This was our family's first Christmas by ourselves. We did quite a bit of talking about the traditions from our own families and how to incorporate those into our combined traditions. There were a few things we couldn't mess with, like aebleskievers on Christmas Eve for me and crackers and a nice spread of cheese and summer sausage for Jared (also on Christmas Eve). We also read the Nativity story from Luke ch. 2 and the story of the wisemen in Matthew which was also a tradition practiced by both of our families.

But neither of us had many traditions for Christmas day. So we started some. It's strange that so many "traditions" are just what foods we eat. For example, we made kolaches for breakfast. Why can you not get those outside of Texas? For my next post, I may have to sing an ode to Southern Maid donuts and kolaches. But anyway...

We decided that we would have a tres leches cake each Christmas day for dessert. It would be the Savior's birthday cake.

We sang Happy Birthday, which both of us felt weird about. We've decided that from now on we would sing a more reverent song about His birth. Probably Silent Night, but we liked the candles and the reminder that we are celebrating His birth. Then we blew out the candles and presented a gift for the Savior. These gifts were promises. Mine is that I won't miss one day of scripture reading this year.

That Took Long Enough!

Luke has FINALLY learned how to tip a sippy cup.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Luke's Own Kitchen!!!

I have mentioned Luke's cooking fetish several times before. It really is his favorite hobby, and he has gotten pretty good at imitating things that we do and pretending to cook. Helping with the real thing would always be his definite first choice, of course.

This is Luke helping us make sugar cookies a few nights ago. I mixed the dough with the beater while Luke was eating his dinner. Jared had to wheel the high chair over by the counter. Luke would make the most excited faces every time I added more flour and turned the mixer back on. It's pretty much impossible to catch that face on camera, but it is my absolute favorite expression of Luke's. Luke stirred the dough while cookies were baking. I think he stood on this chair for over 30 minutes happily stirring away. It was the only good that came out of the experience because I tried a new recipe (instead of Mom's) that turned out to be a total flop.

The next day Luke wanted to use the mixer to "cook". He sat on the floor pretending to make cookies for quite a while.

Then he moved on to cupcakes

And finally he organized and made some soup.

Because Luke loves to cook so much, I was adamant that he needed a toy kitchen for Christmas. Jared was pretty apprehensive about it because he said they were too big and too expensive, but I found a great deal on a pretty small kitchen, and while Jared was in DC for an ADR competition, I bought it.

Last night (Christmas Eve night), the Sorrells came over to have aebleskievers with us, and after dinner Justin was so nice as to help Jared put the kitchen together. It was a beast of a project. Nancy helped too by hunting for pieces and getting each piece out of its packaging. With all of them working together, it still took almost 2 hours! I escaped the whole construction by cleaning the kitchen and making dessert.

We didn't get very many pictures today, but here are a few of Luke playing with his brand new kitchen. It was a big hit. He especially liked the play food. He would fill up a whole mixing bowl and then stir the food with a toy pot.

He also opened doors and put food in then took it out and moved it to a new location. That kept him occupied for a good amount of time.

But, you remember that whole post about retrospect and regretting teaching our kid(s) something? Well, I pretended to eat some food today, and made a big deal about it being yummy. After that, Luke started to gnaw the heck out of some of his food. He completely mangled one of his ice cream scoops. I'm telling you, he really clamped down. Jared and I kept saying, "No. No. Just pretend." But what do we know? We're just his parents. Apparently he'd rather develop TMJ than listen to us. Luckily most of the food is a lot tougher than the ice cream.

More pictures will follow soon.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa and Lights

We took Luke to Yankee Candle to meet Santa. I guess Santa smelled like beef and cheese (That's an "Elf" reference) because Luke hated him. But he loved the lights in Christmas Town.

Click on the collage to see a bigger version. The picture on the bottom right is almost as good as the one of Luke in his Halloween costume.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gingerbread Night

On Friday we had a get together with a few friends to make gingerbread houses. I used a little trick stolen from Debbi Herrera and made foundations out of cardboard. Then we used frosting to glue on graham crackers (except for the Sorrells who brought their own gingerbread!) and then decorated them.

Our finished product--

And now for the process

Putting on the roof

More roof construction (this is Sam)

Dustin and Heather getting started

Kathleen and Kyle debating their design

This is Justin making his fence-- Nancy was there too, but she was in the bathroom. 9 months pregnant is a pretty good reason to be in the bathroom-- a lot!

Danger is my middle name

I think we should definitely make this a tradition.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tag Junior

One of Luke's favorite toys right now is the Tag Junior he got for his birthday. At first he didn't know what to do with it, but now he's figured out how to angle it so that it will work and talk to him. His favorite things to touch are the sun in this book and the balloons in his Curious George book.

He feels so smart

Boys and Rocks

Over the last few weeks, Luke has discovered the joy of rocks. Last weekend we went to Sherwood forest (awesome name!), John Tyler's plantation. The tour was 10 bucks a person, so we just hung out outside the grounds and let Luke throw rocks into the stream for at least 10 straight minutes.

On Wednesday we went to the Governor's palace at CW. Bet you can't guess what Luke did there.




He would have stayed there all day, but his hands were turning red from the cold. So we put his mittens back on and took him to the Governor's green to play ball.

It turned out that Luke was much more interested in the garbage cans than he was in the ball. During mid chase he'd change course and start yelling "Yucky!" Then he'd race to the garbage can and throw rocks into it.

I remember Ethan being superbly entertained by rocks as well. It must be a boy thing.

I finally saw a celebrity!

Jacob Black

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Like a Sheep to the Shearers

Luke's hair was really getting out of control. My mom gave him the last 2 haircuts, but as she is far away in Texas that wasn't an option this time. I didn't trust myself with the scissors, and since Luke HATES having his hair cut, I convinced Jared that fastest is best.

So we buzzed his head.

He was really good during the whole ordeal. He squirmed and fussed quite a bit, but he was actually still and quiet for some of the time too. And he didn't cry. I was expecting him to scream at the top of his lungs, but I think he's actually worse when we brush his teeth, and that happens every night.

Of course, Luke is still a cutie after his haircut. The only sad thing is that Luke doesn't look like himself anymore. He's someone else's little cutie. Probably an army sergeant's kid.

You Know the Drill

This is Luke in the time out corner. We sit him down in there and then count to 30 (for the first time) or higher for the second, third, etc. time that he did the thing he's not supposed to do. For all he looks so sad in this picture, he's actually just posing in the corner for a blog shot.

I wanted a picture to go along with this story. I mentioned below that Luke was sent to time out several times for pulling ornaments off the tree. A little later that morning, Luke went over there and sat down and started counting "One, Two... One, Two" over and over. What does he think? That time out is a game? He must be related to a hockey player.

O Tanenbaum

Mom and Dad Herrera sent us a Target gift card for Christmas. We cheated and used part of it early to make our house more Christmasy. A friend of mine gave us an old tree, but we didn't have any ornaments, etc. We were so happy to get them! Thank you, Mom and Dad!

Luke loves the tree. His favorite ornament is the pink one with blue dots to the left of the "Cowgirl Up" ornament. He calls it ball, and the first morning our tree was up I think he went to time out 4 times in under an hour for pulling it off the tree.

I made the bow that is on top. We had originally bought a star, but it was too heavy for the tree.
Luke likes to run up to the tree and sniff it. It doesn't smell like anything, but he's really into sniffing things lately. Just one more way that he's like a little puppy.

Hope all of you are having fun getting into the Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Po Po, Get Low!!!

Overall I would not claim to be a great driver. To be honest, I don't think I'd even claim to be a good one, but I've never hit a person or even an animal, and as deceiving as the HUGE scratch and dent down the driver side of the car may be, I've never even been in a real accident. Rubbing into a concrete pole in your own parking garage doesn't count as an accident, right? AND I have a perfect driving record. Not even a speeding ticket.

However, I have been pulled over 3 times in my life, the first of which may be the most humiliating event of my life. But as not many people were there to witness it (just Jennifer actually) I'd say that it probably can't compare to standing outside dressed as an alligator during a fire drill in high school. But anyway, here's the story. I had my license for only a few weeks and Jennifer and I were out some night (can't remember where we were going) when a policeman behind us turned on his lights. I was in the left lane and in order to get out of the way, I moved into the left turn lane. But then I panicked and decided I'd better move to the right after all. So I cut across 2 lanes of traffic (cutting off the cop on my way) to get to the right. Wasn't I surprised when the cop pulled up right behind me and got out of his car. I rolled down the window and he came and stuck stuck his huge Magnum PI mustache and 10 gallon hat inside my car and literally yelled, "Have you got a clue to life?" My response (after thinking inside my head--How should I answer? How should I answer?) "Um...yes?" I don't think he believed me because he questioned my knowledge right then and there. "What do you do when you see flashing lights?" My response "Move to the right." His very LOUD response-- "Yes! Move to the RIGHT. Not swerve all over the road." Okay, my bad. Then after cussing me out for a few seconds and a minute long rant about how women shouldn't be allowed to drive he went on to tell me that he was on his way to a stabbing victim when I cut him off. Okay. So then WHY IN THE WORLD DID HE STOP TO YELL AT ME? So I say something along the lines of, "I hope the guy's okay." Well, I don't think Mr. Po Po liked that response but he told me he'd let me off with a warning and then he got in his car and left. So while the whole episode proved that I'm an idiot, it didn't hurt my record.

The second time is hardly worth mentioning. I turned out of a Sonic parking lot without turning on my lights. As soon as I left the parking lot I realized that my lights were off and turned them on. A police officer pulled me over and came to my window to inform me that my lights hadn't been on. Okay, duh. That's why I turned them on. Warning. Move on.

Yesterday I got pulled over for the third time. But let me back up first. So over the Thanksgiving break someone stole the front license plate off the Jetta. Dustin Allison dropped by and Jared told him what happened. Dustin used to be a police officer, and he told us that we should report it because that kind of thing happens when people either don't want to pay their registration OR they want to commit a crime and don't want their own license plate on the getaway car. So a few days later, I called the police to report that our license plate was stolen. I was supposed to go down to the station and pick up the report the next day, but Luke and I were sick and that lasted for a week, so anyway, I didn't go down to the station until Monday, and I didn't have time to go to the DMV for new plates until yesterday. I was literally ON MY WAY TO THE DMV when a police officer pulled me over for having stolen plates on my car. Luckily it was the same officer who filed the report, so he didn't cuff me or anything. He just told me I need to get the back plate off my car ASAP. Now I have heard that the word ironic is often misused, but it fits in this situation, doesn't it? I mean --Really. I was EN ROUTE to getting rid of my stupid, illegal plate.

Oh, police officers and the drama they cause in my life.

Friday, December 4, 2009


On Saturday morning Jennifer and I headed up to D.C. to spend the day (and the night!). Our first stop was Arlington National Cemetery. It was inspiring and beautiful-- not at all how I feel about any other cemetery that I've ever been to. But at the same time it was so sad. So, so many people have died in defense of this country, and it makes me feel grateful and a little bit afraid at the same time.

The Eternal Flame-- the grave of J.F.K.

The tomb of the unknown soldier

I think this was my favorite part of the cemetery. The inscriptions reads "Here rests in honored glory an american soldier known but to God". There was a soldier guarding the tomb, and his routine was beautiful to watch, but mostly I felt good standing there and feeling the reassurance that we are each known to God and that he loves us no matter who we are.

From Arlington, we spent 35 minutes (at least!) trying to find the hotel. Unfortunately the street it was on was under construction so google maps and the GPS kept leading us astray. Finally Jennifer called the hotel and stayed on the phone with them describing all of our surroundings until they guided us there. Then we weren't about to drive again. We split the cost of the outrageous parking fee and walked or took buses from then on out.

Dumping the bags in the hotel room

Our first stop was Union station to find something to eat. It had a food court in it, so we both found something we liked. We were still pretty far from most of the monuments and wanted to see as much as we could in the time we had, so we got passes on a tour bus that would pick us up and drop us off at the main attractions.

On the bus

Holding the Washington Monument


Me and Honest Abe

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We Take On Colonial Williamsburg

I mentioned below that my friend Jennifer came to spend Thanksgiving with us. We had a blast together. On Thanksgiving night we went to see New Moon. I had heard very mixed reviews on the movie, but Jennifer and I loved it.

On Friday we headed over to CW. I took very few pictures unfortunately, but Jennifer got a lot of good ones, and she promised to send them to me.

CW looked so pretty all decked out for Christmas.

Jennifer and I got to go into a lot of shops and exhibits that I'd never been in before. This is the dress shop where we saw stays and learned about women's fashions of the times.
You can't really tell in this picture, but this woman had her boobs pushed up to her neck. She had to be in her mid 60's, and I'll just say that it wasn't a fashion befitting her age.

It rained that day so it was perfect for my new rain boots that Jennifer got me. I took the opportunity to splash in all the puddles.


So Good at Hiding