Wednesday, May 30, 2012


We've been spending a ton of time outside these last few weeks. Lounging in the yard, drinking lemonade, taking long walks in the afternoon, blowing bubbles, and swinging in the park- we are ready and anxious for summer. I have a sneaky suspicion that June will bring us many gray and dreary days so I am taking advantage of every ounce of sunshine until then.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Prehistoric Pets

Anderson likes "creepy things" lately- bugs, spiders, komodo dragons. You know, normal toddler stuff. Its started with this National Geographic movie and his been going strong for a couple of months now. He has already decided which creatures we will all be for Halloween. Baby Beck gets to be a lady bug "because he's cute, mommy". One afternoon a few weeks ago Gabe took him to Prehistoric Pets and he has been telling me about it ever since. What better way to spend our family day then hitting In N Out and then heading over to check us out some amphibians. Reptiles? Both? While there we saw lots of creatures (including the sweetest baby turtles only about the size of my thumb), watched other kids feed the turtles (I was not about to pay $4 to have Anderson dump a bunch of giant worms on my feet), tried on T-Rex masks, and even watched Mother Nature at her finest (let's just say that the male giant tortoise has lots of stamina). Anderson loved it all.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spicy Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos

Funny. I grew up in a house where everything either went inside of or was served with a tortilla, yet I don't once remember having burritos as a meal. Maybe in New Mexican cooking burritos are more just what you do, not what you intentionally make. In any event I now make burritos when I can think of nothing else to make for dinner. They are easy, they are fast, and I don't have to go to the grocery to make them because we can fill them with whatever we already have.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and it was a keeper from the first time I made it. This last time, however, I wanted to make them a bit healthier (enter the quinoa) and use what I had on hand (jalapeƱo refried beans and arugula). So, so good. Unfortunately this photo does them absolutely no justice. And where did the tomatoes go? Hmm...had I not been so hungry and eaten them about a quarter of a second after I took this, perhaps I could have been a bit more mindful of how they looked in the photo. Whatever.

Spicy Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos
adapted from this recipe on Annie's Eats
Every single bit of this recipe can be modified according to what and how much you have on hand. Taste as you go and add/alter as needed.

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (vegetable, canola, etc.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can refried beans (I used the "zesty salsa" flavor)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 tablespoons prepared salsa (more if you like, none if the spice is already sufficient)
  • tortillas
  • arugula
  • tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese
  1. Sautee the garlic, cumin, and chili powder in the oil over medium-high heat heat for about a minute. Add the beans and the water. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the mixture becomes well combined. Add the quinoa and the salsa.
  2. Heat the tortillas, spread the filling, add your toppings, and roll. So easy.
As I mentioned before, the original recipe is really, really good. And maybe because it is so good I was able to easily modify it according to what I had on hand. I even made a non-spicy, all black bean and quinoa version for the kids. See what I mean?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies with Almonds and Sea Salt

I decided to modify one of my favorite cookie recipes and the end result was pretty fantastic. But maybe they need a shorter name? I have never made this recipe exactly as written and it has always been forgiving. This time I omitted the raisins, coconut, and walnuts and added toasted almonds and sea salt. Two of my favorite things. Yum. I should have doubled the recipe and frozen half so I could be enjoying one right now. Or maybe its best that I didn't. In any event, my favorite sous-chef was by my side making sure beaters were clean and and the dry ingredients were perfectly measured.

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies with Almonds and Sea Salt
modified from Martha Stewart
These are not a light, moist, cakey cookie. They are dense and  fabulous and super easy to make.
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup roasted almonds (I used sliced)
  • course-ground sea salt for topping the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpat mats.
  2. In a mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture until well blended. Add oats, chocolate chips, and almonds and mix on slow speed until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl. 
  4. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. I find that refrigerating the dough is the key to cookies that don't spread when you bake them. It's a personal preference when making chocolate chip cookies and is certainly not necessary.
  5. Form dough into balls about 11/2-2 inches in diameter. Place on Silpat about 2 inches apart and press gently on the top of each one with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle each one with sea salt. Add an almond to the top if you want them to look fancy. Bake until golden, about 16 minutes. Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and finish cooling completely on wire rack.
  6. Try not to eat them all in 2 days like we did.
     Yields about 4 dozen small cookies.
     *This dough refrigerates and freezes really well for ready-to-bake cookies.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Me: Anderson, you were a really good boy today. Thank you for being such a good boy. Anderson: Mommy, can we tell God? Wow.


Dear Baby Beck,
Please, please, please can we have just a little bit more of this?
While you have never been an amazing sleeper, you have always been a good one. Random nights here and there would find you waking, but you've always calmed down and gone back to sleep quickly with a little head rubbing and a paci, at most. But these last two weeks. Oh, these last two weeks! I swear it has been like having a newborn in the house all over again. Except louder. And more un-relenting.

It started when you got sick (which is also the same time we changed your mattress which Daddy swears is the culprit). As you were getting better, so was your sleep. Until you hurt your leg last week. Since then it has been something different every night. Some nights you don't want to go to sleep in the first place, others you wake multiple times, others you wake up and want to stay up (for the record, I was not at all happy waking up and starting my day at 3:40 am on Sunday morning Saturday night?).

I'm not sure what the issue is. At first I assumed you were in pain and that broke my heart. Of course I went in, picked you up, rocked you, whatever. Now, however, it seems you have just gotten used to us coming in and fussing over you in the middle of the night. You most definitely have us wrapped around your little finger. How else do you explain the smiles and giggles as soon as we come in and the blood-curdling screams when we leave?

Tonight you took forever falling asleep and I am now attempting to re-Ferberize you (though Daddy can't stand it and always goes in and cuddles you). You are finally down for who knows how long. Please let it be until morning. Please. I have said a prayer, crossed my fingers, and knocked on wood. That's got to count for something, right?

All I know is I am tired. Very, very tired. I already get up at 5 am so these lost minutes that are turning into hours of sleep every night are beginning to wear on me. I love you so very much, but this has got to stop. Tonight. Or I just may lose my mind. Seriously.


Sunday, May 20, 2012


Currently wishing I were here:
on the beach in Costa Rica, doing this:

That massage on the beach is one I will never forget. And, sadly, it may just be the last one I've had. Back in 2008. Oh my, that is a long time.

My days lately are more exhausting than they have ever been as life with a 3 year old and a 1 year old becomes more and more chaotic. For the most part it is a wonderful chaos and I would not change it for the world well, except the tantrums, those I would change for little more than a wink and a smile, but that makes me sound like a terrible mother so I'll stick to my original thought, but a quiet hour with the ocean in the background, birds chirping, and not a care in the world or someone screaming sounds like shear bliss.

We talk about making a fourth trip to Costa Rica when the boys are a bit older and money is a bit looser, but I know it will never be the same as when we have been before. Great memories were made on those trips. Memories of Gabe and me that I hold extremely close to my heart. Those trips have been the only time in our eleven plus years together where I have felt completely care free, relaxed, and in the moment. Where we have done nothing but enjoy our time together, talk, and connect.

It will be a while (years, actually) before we get away on our own in the same way. Besides time and money constraints, I am just not comfortable vacationing while somebody else is taking care of my young children for more than maybe a night. So for now I take the free moments I have and I reminisce. It's not quite the same, but it will at least hold me over for another day or two.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Baby Beck, yesterday I came home and you were walking. And not just one wobbly step, but five or six full-fledged, official Frankenstein steps right into my arms that made my heart simply melt. Apparently you decided it was time and that was that. Until you fell. Sideways. It was awful. The piercing screams were unbearable and in about a quarter of a second I went from over-joyed to a complete wreck. Nothing appeared broken (images of protruding bones filled my head as I rushed to get your clothes off), but you were obviously in pain. Now I'm not one who is quick to call the doctor or assume something is wrong (you will hate me for that when you are older, just as I did my mom when she would make me go to school because I "was probably fine"), but you wouldn't even put your foot on the ground so the call was quickly made.

X-rays were taken and everything appears fine, though it certainly does not feel fine as evidenced by your screams when you put pressure on your leg and your crawling with your right foot held up in the air. I'm hoping for a speedy recovery. I'm so thankful it wasn't anything worse than a minor sprain. I can't even imagine a little baby cast!

Needless to say you are no longer walking. But when you do I will be armed with the video camera. And I will surround you with pillows.

Monday, May 14, 2012

On being a mom

Some days are awesome, most are pretty great, some are a challenge, and others hello, today!!! make me look back fondly on the days where I thought kids were for suckers. I am not one of those cheerleader, "Oh my God being a mom is the best job in the world!", "every moment is a gift kind" of moms. I love my boys. I have fun with them every day. I try to do right by them and set a good example for how to be a good, responsible, respectable human being with proper grammar and an appreciation for home-cooked food. I get tired, I get cranky, I lose my temper on occasion. I let myself down with the way I handle certain situations. I am just a regular mom. No prizes for mother of the year, but I have two awesome little boys whom I adore like no other and who make me happy far more often than they make me want to pull my hair out. I am lucky and extremely grateful.

Yesterday on Mother's Day I spent a lot of time thinking about how much life has changed since becoming a mom. So much so that I barely remember what it was like. What did I do with all that free time? I am a mom now. It defines me. It dictates every decsion I make and it has forever chamnged who I am and who I will become. It makes me a better person and it makes me question every single move I make. It gains me entry into a not-so-secret society of women who need only to look at one another to understand eachother. It gives me purpose.

From Mother's Day:
 Our attempt at a self-portrait. I gave up very quickly.
Kind of blurry, but one of my favorites yet.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Mother's Day

There is an understanding that comes with being a mother, an understanding of the sacrifices, the joy, the heartache, and the unconditional love felt by my own mother. Nothing has made me appreciate my mom more than becoming a mother myself. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you.

Friday, May 11, 2012


My nickname growing up was "Screaming Mimi". I've heard the story of my mother's total embarrassment as I threw myself on the floor in a rage at the grocery store and customers gave her "the why can't you control your child" look story a hundred times. What goes around comes around, I suppose, because the tantrums have begun in the Palmer house.

We have been warned for years now and knew it was only a matter of time. Two was fairly easy, with only brief glimpses of naughty behavior and aggression. But three is here and a certain little somebody is clearly testing his boundaries on an all-to-regular basis. The word "no" is shrieked, cried, and/or screamed at least a hundred sixty-seven times a day. Sometimes it is accompanied by tears and whining, other times with flailing arms attempting to hit anything in their path. I have no idea what to do, no idea how to handle it. A huge part of me just says to ride it out. To accept that this is three. I'm not giving in to this little being who will go into hysterics over anything from wanting watermelon "RIIIIIGHT NOW!" to having a single grain of sand in his shoe and it makes it that much harder. I am standing firm, pulling my hair out, and sometimes even giggling. I just want it to end. Please, please, please tell me it will end.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Some pretty terrible pictures, but a pretty fun last few days.

1. Anderson has been tending to his sunflowers daily. And getting very dirty doing so.
2. Baby Beck has discovered his love for playing "construction site". Finally, something they can do together.
3. Out with the crib, in with the bunk beds.
4. Anderson loves, loves, loves, posing with these posters from our Christmas cards.
5. I love when the neighbor girls come over to play. Anderson loves it even more.
6. Baby Beck has the sweetest face. His slight sleep regression these past few nights is killing me, but I still love that sweet face.
7. Anderson waited in line to ride the tiger only to have it swiped by a very menacing four year old. He settled for the bear. A much better choice in my opinion.
8. Oh how Baby Beck can swing. The park is so much more fun these days now that he can swing and slide.
9. This little bunny had no idea what was coming when these two approached him from either side. The farm is becoming our new weekend go-to spot.
10. Anderson rode in the "coal car" all by himself at the Spectrum. By himself!
11. We spend about $3 a week in pennies for various fountains. The boy has big wishes.
12. Cinco de mayo was spent with British drama and Thai food. The beer was Mexican, at least. We're fairly multi-cultural in this house.
13. I actually got to not only shop, but try on and buy a skirt at Anthropologie this weekend. I only had about 10 minutes from the time I entered until the time I left, but it was nice that nobody was screaming or crying for the entire ten minutes.
14. The boys and I had an impromptu little desert date at the bakery. Anderson wanted a cupcake and a cookie. They actually had a cupcake-shaped cookie. Lucky day.
15. I made Anderson a little pillow case for his new bed. I kind of love it. He does, too.

Hmmm...Anderson sure does wear a lot of stripes.


This little butterfly (huge moth, more likely?) came and spent quite a while on the back patio. Patient, he was. So much so that he even humored us long enough to allow us to hunt down the butterfly net and capture him for a closer look. Anderson was pretty excited about the whole thing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What would have been a birthday

Baby Beck, it is hard to believe that you turned one so many weeks ago when, in fact, it is not until today that you were supposed to be celebrating. What a surprise it was that you were born so much earlier than expected, but how grateful I am that on this day you are a happy, healthy, and completely normal one year old.

I wanted to share these photos on your actual birthday, but for some reason it didn't feel right. On your birthday I was so overwhelmingly filled with joy and gratitude that I wasn't ready to focus on the hours that led up to your birth which were, in fact, the most frightening hours of my life.

One day when I am ready I may put the whole experience into words, but for now these photos express what I cannot yet say.

As always, thank you Natalie, for capturing the important moments in our lives.