Saturday, December 29, 2007


I just rented Stardust because I wasn't cool enough to see it in the theater.

It was lovely. Pretty girls and pretty dresses and a fairy tale ending.

Joel said it was the best chick flick he'd seen in a while.

It's going on my wishlist.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Praise the Lord!

A certain important document that one needs to cross borders legally has been missing since we went through the border into the US from Mexico. We were able to get Joel in with his driver license but have really been worrying about it. I knew I needed to clean out the car really well to look, but literally have not had the time. Today I had the time. I took out a bag for trash and a bag for keep. I took the kids out too so they could help me look (they did not help). I emptied out every nook and cranny in the car, including the trunk where the spare tire sleeps. I found all kinds of interesting things, but the most interesting things was...

A certain important document that one needs to cross borders legally!!!!!

I found it because I win the prize and I'm the bomb! Woo hoo!

My prize, by the way, is $30 at Half Price Books after the first of the year when Joel gets paid.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Christmas-Sea Feast

Joel's sister and brother-in-law are in town, and Joel's dad always lives here. My sister and her fiance live here too, so on Saturday night we had a Christmas-Sea Feast (get it? a pun!). My sister is going to CA today so we couldn't do it on Christmas but we had everyone over for yummy seafood and gift exchanges with my sister and her fiance.

I tell you what, that was the best food ever.

We had:
crab-stuffed avocado (delicious)
coconut shrimp (decadent)
asparagus (baked goodness)
sockeye salmon on goat cheese on crackers (tasty)
scallop soup (yummy)
and stuffed sweet potatos (really yummy but we were all too full to eat much of them)

I'll have to post these recipes here soon when I am not lazy, but let me tell you how much delicious it was. And it didn't feel heavy like sometimes when I eat a lot.

Grace and her fiance gave the kiddos lots of books and games (I told them no toys) and you know- it wasn't as fun as toys. But don't tell them I said so. :)

It was such a lovely evening filled with people we love. And the fun is still not over!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thankful Wednesday

I know it's supposed to be "Thankful Thursday" but roll with me here.

1. We are making progress on our house. Hopefully the outside will be all finished before Christmas.

2. The faucet in the master bathroom bathtub is no longer leaking 30 gallons a day.

3. Even though we are having to put some things on the credit card, I have faith that we will be able to pay it off very soon.

4. The tents are all aired out after our camping trip last month.

5. Soon I will get to park in the garage again!

6. There are a bazillion presents under the tree and it looks very festive.

7. Emlyn and I found some old toys we can give away before the new toys come in.

8. Lowe's took a paint return even though the label says "no returns on tinted paint."

9. The new paint color is now very beautiful and does not look in any way like pistachio ice cream.

10. I can save money by doing some of the painting myself.

11. And even though I ignored the kids mostly all day yesterday to paint they are still alive and fed.

12. Except Denali needs breakfast. But I am thankful we have food to feed him.

13. The weather is deliciously crisp the last few days and we were able to open our windows for the first time in a while.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Thanksgiving dinner outside, in the cold.
It was about 45 degrees and windy.
Do we look cold and tired to you?

This evening Emlyn and I made a book about our trip to Mexico. I was very impressed with the words and sentence structure she used. I was a little disappointed, however, that she didn't mention the sightseeing or climbing. Mostly the whole book centers around the friends she played with while she was there, and the trips she made to Tami's Cafe where she would usually get cookies.

I thought I would write some of my impressions of the trip before I forget them.

The drive was not too bad. We didn't have all the proper papers for the border but we had enough to get through. It is always a bit of a culture shock because Mexico is after all a foreign country. One of the most interesting differences is the use of TP. In Mexico usually people do not have great plumbing, nor do they buy real TP. So in order to keep their pipes clear they throw all of their TP in a trash can beside the toilet, rather than in it. It takes some getting used to, mostly because there is an added smell that is associated with it.

It is always awesome to get to Potrero Chico after driving for 9 or 10 hours. The mountain is so tall in comparison to everything around it, and we got to camp literally right beside the mountain. Each morning, afternoon, and night you are within sight of it. Dusk arrives at about 3 pm at the campground because the rest of the day the sun is shaded by the mountain. It's a little bit spooky.

The climbing is so easy to get to and so nice. There are over 500 bolted routes and therefore enough climbs for everyone to share. Even when the mountain is the most crowded there are always routes open. The first day I didn't climb, but almost every day we were there I did at least one climb. One or two days I did more than that, and by the end of the trip I was climbing a 5.10a. To give you an idea of the ratings, a 5.4 is almost too easy to bolt. A 5.5 pretty much anyone can climb when roped in. It gets progressively harder up to like a 5.14 or something. After you hit 5.10 instead of going up one whole point it goes through a, b, c, and d to the next one.

Anyway after 5 or 6 days of climbing every day in a row I was in a groove and able to train my body to do moves that were counter-intuitive. It was nice to have an opportunity to try and get better and better. Last time I was there was a year and a half ago and I wasn't really in good physical condition for climbing. This time I was all about the climbs.

We spent a day in Monterrey with our friend who has lived there almost her whole life I think. She's a dentist and speaks fluent English, so it's nice to be able to chat with her and yet have someone who can hire a cab. She showed us a beautiful church. It was the time of year when Catholics celebrate the Virgin Mary's birthday, so we went to the basilica (I think that's what it was called) and waited. Every hour or so a group marches/dances in from another church to make their homage. They wear beautiful Aztec costumes.

Another day we went to the Termas de San Joaquin. They are natural hot springs which have been built up and covered by a hotel. With gorgeous architecture, these really are the most beautiful I have ever seen. It is all naturally lit with windows in the roof. There are benches all around and it's very romantic and just peaceful. I wanted to take a nap there.

I got lots of pictures and inspiration for my next painting. I am excited to get started on it.

The kids really had a great time playing and hanging out. On the days they came climbing with us (mostly staying at the bottom of the climbs and playing with sticks) we had to rent helmets for them. They were adult helmets so the kids looked a bit like WWII soldiers with oversized helmets. I'll have to post a picture cause it's so cute.

We camped in tents for this trip. Eight days sleeping on the ground could easily have been extremely uncomfortable (I'm so old now), but this time we upgraded our Thermarests with "Big Agnes" memory foam cases. They were extremely luxurious and comfy. Even though we pitched our tent in the dark in what seemed like a rock pit the sleeping was very nice.

Except I can't sleep. I have mommy ears. The kids were in their own tent for the first time, about 15 feet away, and I tell you I heard everything. They only woke up once in the middle of the night all week, but I heard the rooster that starts crowing at 4:30 am and doesn't stop till 8 am. I heard the rain. The wind. People up at the kitchen talking. The cats playing. Everything. It was lovely, let me tell you. If I could just get over the mommy ears I think everything would be fine.

The last morning we would have been tempted to climb again before leaving, but it was really cold and rainy. So we had to break camp in the rain, which if you've been camping before you know that is the worst. One of our tents still needs to be aired out before it molds...

The border on the way back was SLOW. The US side actually had all four lanes open at the Colombia Bridge, but it still took 4.5 hours to get through. Yuck. We were out of food and patience by the time we finally got through.

All in all it was a great family vacation. We will definitely do it again.

I wrote a few new articles about my experiences in Mexico. You can find them through my profile, here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Planning with a 2 Year Old

Mommy: Denali, your birthday is in a month. You will be three! What should we have at your birthday party?

Denali: birthday hats, cake, people, a table, plates also, boys and girls, baby piggies, candles also, cookies, color cookies, and chicken

Mommy: What will we do at your party?

Denali: play, get some cake

Mommy: What will the decorations be?

Denali: Christmas tree and also a Christmas tree, colored birthday hats

Mommy: What do you want for your birthday?

Denali: a drum

Monday, December 03, 2007

That's Texas for Ya!

Yesterday, less than 24 hours ago, it was 82. This morning? A brisk 41. Texas is famous for its crazy range of temperatures.

Yesterday we had the a/c on. This morning I had to turn on the heat.