We Have Survived Birthday Party #1

31 10 2009

Yesterday spring decided to come for the day.  It was amazing! 73 F and sunny?!?  So I opened up the house and tried to get all the sick-germs out.  Mayah just got over a cold and fever, so I’m sure there were some hanging around.  But yesterday was the day of her birthday party, so we stayed inside all day, unfortunately.  I had food to make and cakes to…umm…decorate, so we just enjoyed the beautiful weather as it blew through the house.

So anyway, we had 10 adults and 9 kiddos here for spaghetti and meatballs (Robyns’ delicious recipe), green beans, garlic bread, Wacky Cake and ice cream.  I hadn’t made the meatball/sauce recipe for a long time and it said that one recipe serves 4 people.  False.  I made 4 recipes and after we all ate as much as we possibly could, we were left with a little over one gallon of sauce and meatballs!  Believe me, I will be making a note on that recipe for next time.  The cake was also what we might call Overkill.  I wanted the traditional one-year-old-digs-into-cake-isn’t-it-cute-funny-etc. thing, and, of course, I wanted to also make sure there was plenty for everyone to eat that hadn’t been dug into.  So, I made three 9-inch round pans o’ cake; layering 2 of them with chocolate icing and then I made the other one into a flower, which I decorated in a most basic and amateurish way.  Anyway, there’s so much cake left it’s not even funny.  Maybe I should have some right now just to help the cause.  Now that I think about it, every single thing I made for the meal last night was waaay too much.  Wow, how did I plan that so badly?  Oh well, better than running out of food, right?

In spite of the overkill on food, cramped house, fussy 1-year-old (she hasn’t been in the jolliest of moods lately), and unexpectedly warm house, we had a really great time with our friends.  We have some great friends, let me tell you!  And thanks to great friends, I wasn’t left with a kitchen full of dirty dishes to clean up this morning!

Kirk is at a mandatory training seminar for substitute teachers today.  Blah.  At least he gets paid for it, but it would be more fun if he were here instead.  Mayah’s been playing with all the presents she got last night.  She was holding her doll and gently petting its head, and then she even gave it some kisses. 🙂  Pretty cute.

IMG_1320Simple, yet…simple. 🙂

IMG_1331“Wow.  My birthday cake is on fire.”

IMG_1335“Hmm, not bad.”

IMG_1357“Finally! a baby whose face I can poke and jab and not get into trouble for doing it!”

Thus ends our very first birthday party as parents.  Fun, yet surprisingly exhausting.  Totally worth it though, and we even survived!  Seriously, though, it is time for a piece of cake.



one year ago…wow…

28 10 2009

yep, it was one year ago today that mayah was born!  it’s crazy how time flies.  i was just looking at some pictures of her and i can’t believe how much she’s changed in one short year!  i’m glad that we don’t keep changing that fast as we get older, b/c wow, it’s pretty amazing!  i remember when renee took her three-month pictures; i thought mayah looked sooo old and sooo alert!  i just looked through them all, and, while they’re still very cute, she looks like such a baby.  here’s one of my favorites:


then there’s this one that peter took when she was six months old:


one of my favorites from 9 months:


and one from a few days ago:


what a kid!  she climbs everything, she jabbers and has a very loud voice when she wants to, she sings in a sweet little voice (when she wants to), she claps her hands and says “yay!”, she says “thank-you” at the most surprisingly perfect times, she says “oof oof oof oof” when you ask “what does the puppy say?”, she says “daddy” and “mama” (and we think she said “grandma” the other day), she can walk pretty well, but since she’s been crawling for 5 months now, she’s pretty dang good at it and i think she’s not quite sure why she should bother walking.  her all-time favorite expression seems to be “UH-oh!”  she gives kisses and sometimes hugs, she gives the tiniest, softest high five possible…she tries to feed herself, and sometimes does pretty well…it’s hard to remember life without her!  she is such a fun little girl and i am so thankful for her!  i love that kid.

happy birthday, mayah!

19 10 2009

a few days ago i tried to post a couple of little stories about making pumpkin donuts with renee and watching mayah eat pumpkin (buttercup squash, actually) soup until she threw up…stuff like that.  but then something went wrong and i lost the whole post and gave up.

today i’m writing a post about a lunchtime miracle.  okay, maybe it shouldn’t actually be called a miracle, but it feels slightly miraculous to me.  today has been one of those days in which things take longer than you expect them to and lunch sneaks up on you and pretty soon there’s no time to make what you had planned to make and mayah’s so hungry that she won’t stop hanging on to your pant legs and fussing and you’re so hungry that you wish you could get mcdonald’s to deliver some cheeseburgers.  but you can’t.  i had a bunch of leftover mashed potatoes and i thought it would be easy to throw together a shepherd’s pie which we could eat for a few lunches this week, but that did not seem reasonable at 11:53 am with the little one hanging on my legs.

so i panicked and started looking frantically through my cupboards and fridge.  for some reason i settled on making a couscous salad.  i don’t know why.  i found cheddar cheese, a can of tuna, cilantro, and currants.  then i mixed it all together with some balsamic vinegar.  the closer i got to being done making it, the more i couldn’t believe i was going to try feeding it to mayah.  also, i was thinking it just might be disgusting.  but it was a lunchtime miracle because guess what!!! it was not disgusting and mayah ate it like a champ!  i still can’t believe it.

Mayah’s first steps

9 10 2009

blowing bubbles

9 10 2009

mayah went on a bubble-blowing kick for awhile.  she started doing it after a meal one day, and this time she did it for so long that i actually had time to grab the camera and take a video.  she kind of seemed to be hypnotizing herself by the end!  crazy kid.

Spain, Part Morocco

8 10 2009

yes, robyn, you’re right.  it is definitely time for me to blog again.  it’s sad that i didn’t even finish the saga of our big trip yet!  here goes…

well…where was i?  we got up bright and early the next morning and headed to the airport where we caught our Ryanair flight to Fez.  J & D picked us up and took us to their apartment, where we relaxed with some coffee and various delicious things such as bread, cheese, almonds, fruit…my memory is already failing me…how sad.  anyway, i remember it being quite a spread for just being a snack.  it was good.  later, we went to the little market with D.  she was buying some fruit and vegetables, but we were also “lucky” enough to smell some fish that were being sold there too.  it was quite a smell.  we were there during Ramadan, by the way, so people were not at there best (fasting=grouchy).  when we got back to their apartment we had lunch…my favorite meal of the entire trip, i would have to say.  yes, it was that good!  D made a killer tagine of chicken, olives, carrots…i don’t remember what else…that we ate with bread.  it was amaaaaaaaazing!  later in the afternoon, everyone went out walking to…i don’t remember where, because i stayed back with Mayah.  we were going to go, but Mayah seemed to be at the end of her rope and was almost inconsolable.  she’s not a cuddly baby, but she cuddled with me for about half an hour, so i didn’t mind staying back with her at all. 🙂

in the evening, J & C and their kids came from another city to spend the evening with all of us and for supper.  supper was also amazing!  (moroccan food is soooo good!)  soup, bread, pastries, dates…i don’t remember if there was anything else.  anyway, it was a very enjoyable evening, but by then i was so, so tired.

the next day we explored the medina of Fez.  now, i don’t know if you all have been following the links i’ve been inserting into these posts, but i would recommend at least checking these out.  it was crazy old, and so unlike anywhere i’ve ever been before!  it was pretty amazing.  anyway, we walked for hours and saw a lot in that crazy maze of a place.  mayah actually took a nap on kirk’s back as we walked through all the people and donkeys and whatnot!  she woke up as we were going through this really extra-narrow street, passing a herd of spanish tourists.  i was chuckling to myself and wondering how that would feel to a) take a nap like that and b) wake up in those conditions.  she was such a trooper the whole trip though!  she did really well.  that night we ate couscous, which was, of course, incredible.

day 3…we drove out to the middle atlas mountains, which was beautiful and refreshing.  i forgot to mention that in Fez it was about 100 F and dusty.  in the mountains, however, it was cooler and just beautifully smog-free, etc.  we were fortunate enough to see a few Barbary apes in the forest, which i thought was pretty cool.  we did some souvenir shopping that day in the town of…i can’t remember the name anymore, unfortunately.  that day it was P.J.’s birthday, so we had a birthday meal of hamburgers that night.

the next morning we headed to the airport and flew back to Seville.  In the afternoon, Kirk and I went to see the Cathedral in Seville, which is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and the 3rd largest cathedral in the world.  it was impressive, for sure.  then we drove back to Granada and started packing to leave for home the next morning.  that evening i had a strong desire for one last round of churros con chocolate!  🙂  we met up with a friend of Pablo and Judi’s and enjoyed some very good churros at good old Cafè Fùtbol!  we decided that this is our favorite cafe in Granada.  especially since they serve churros when no one else does!  it was an excellent evening, and a great way to end our trip.  the next morning we got up bright and early and Pablo and Judi drove us down to Màlaga, where we boarded our plane for home.  we went through Barcelona and Philadelphia, and boy were we exhausted when we got here!  mayah had a much harder time sleeping on the way back since it was daylight when we left, and then daylight the entire trip home, since we were flying west.  she would take these hour-long naps on the flight (which was better than nothing) but then was pretty stir-crazy whenever she was awake.  thankfully, there was a grandma-ish lady from kentucky a few rows back who gave us a break two times during the long flight.  anyway, we made it!

it was quite an incredible trip and we’re still so thankful that we had the opportunity to do it!  we sure made some great memories.  picture time…

part of Fez


making bread in the medina

IMG_1133in the medina


skinning goats and sheep…you cannot imagine how bad this place smelled!IMG_1140

a large tannery with all-natural dyesIMG_1147

time to restIMG_1150

from a rooftopIMG_1157

the middle atlasIMG_1163

lunchtime in the forestIMG_1164

the cathedral…impossible to capture in picturesIMG_1173

let me end the journey by posting a picture of the entrance to the coolest cave-bathroom i’ve ever been in 🙂IMG_1222