Birthday Night in Pictures

Better than explaining how Melissa’s celebration was, I thought it’d be more fun to just show it in pictures:

Guess who got her first skates!

Time to test them out!

Mommy tells me to say “cheese” but I can’t concentrate and smile at the same time :)

But Mom can still capture the fun

Soon I’ll be a pro!

Andrew got some wheels too – never mind that one popped out as I clicked the picture lol (but Super Daddy fixed it)

Birthday dinner

Making faces with daddy

Andrew The Double-Dipper

On the other side, Mom’s on Holly Duty

Miss Holly’s quiet for awhile, thanks to the TV over our table (genius for families!)

And now, for the best moment of the night…

ICE CREAM!!

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Happy Birthday to Mini-Me

On my birthday last year – pics of hers to come!

Melissa is so much like me. She talked about this day so much, and now that it’s here, she’s a grouch. Most people wouldn’t get that. But I do.

Emotional, overly excited people like us KNOW our expectations for everything are exaggerated. This is why it’s fun to plan and dream. Once what we’re waiting for actually happens, we freak out. There’s NO way reality is gonna be as perfect as our fantasy. Hence the grouch.

I went to get her today and thought I’d find her jumping up and down, but instead, she complained about everything. The fact that her party wasn’t happening right that second. That her ceiling lamp didn’t look the same as Andrew’s. And to my surprise, wouldn’t even let me say she’s 4! “I’m THREE”, she’d protest. I asked if she was afraid to grow too big and she said no. I asked why she didn’t want to be 4 then, and she went, “I can’t tell you.” Me- “Why can’t you tell momma?” Her-“It’s a secret.”

Really?? This much drama on her birthday morning?? I thought the promise of skates and ice cream once daddy comes home was sure to perk her up. It would the second I’d say it, then evaporated the next. This is why I truly think she suffers from the same condition I fight with: post-excitement anxiety.

Now she’s happy again, just a tad more sensitive than normal. I guess today’s supposed to be perfect. Whew. It’s tough raising me.

Things That Only Happen to Me

…or so it seems. Here’s what comes to mind:

– The aforementioned invitation blooper. Who, I ask you, WHO would spend forever searching for the perfect invitation online, review it several times, only to find DAYS after receiving it that oops, I wrote the WRONG DATE?? Only me, I tell you. Or better yet, only a frazzled mom trying to accomplish this feat while watching 2 kids and nursing a third. That’s what I get for trying to treat every child celebration as if they were the only ones.

By the way, if you were invited but didn’t receive this, don’t feel unloved – I only ordered 10 of those (for the family we don’t see on a regular basis but live in the area). Then I ruined about half of them while desperately trying to fix the date with a pen and permanent marker, which ended up being disastrous. So in the end, only about 4 people total got ahold of these cute little things fixed with tape:

Oh, and almost forgot – Hanna, Alice AND Dennisse (the commenters  who caught my mistake) shall receive skates-shaped little chocolates!! Hanna ’cause she commented first, Alice ’cause, well, she’s my sister and she’s pregnant :), and Dennisse because I like her (and we go to the same church, so it wouldn’t be hard to save her some). See, my giveaways don’t follow any rules, so multiple people can win lol.

– Food poisoning at a hair salon. Ok, I didn’t GET food poisoning at a salon, but that’s where the first symptoms started. On the way there, I already felt weird in my stomach, but I thought it was for holding Holly too much on the previous nights (once she barely made it to the bassinet, we basically co-slept). So while coloring my roots, I felt a lot of PAINFUL tightness in my belly. I tried to keep calm until they were done, and then ran to the bathroom, where I spent most of the waiting time trying to burp.

That’s when I was under the innocent impression that my problem was just air. But after the blow dry started, I had to ask for a break because I was getting too faint. I ran to the bathroom again hoping that ANYTHING would come out (even though I HATE throwing up). All I got were those chills with weakness, the kind that means something’s coming, but nothing would.

Once I returned to the chair, PALE (so much for glamorous me-time lol), my very sweet stylist did her best to finish quickly (and it still turned out good – I call her the hair whisperer :), and then even offered me a ride home because it was clear I couldn’t drive. Isn’t she nice?? She’s really the best stylist I ever had.

But anyway, I tumbled into the house like a drunk person and soon proceeded to eliminate everything inside me (sorry if this is TMI). Yesterday and the night before were brutal; I couldn’t walk or move much without horrible stomach pains. David thinks I caught a bug, but I blame the darn protein bar I wolfed down before the appointment:

thinkthinbars_chocolatefudge

Not saying these are evil, just that I don’t want to see them anytime in the near future. I’m sure I have allergies I don’t know of (like that time I had a Luna Bar, actually enjoyed it, but immediately after the first bite had to run to the bathroom). So see, I TRY to eat healthy – my body’s just not built that way.

I could go on about the several times life seemed to play a prank on me, but I’m still recovering from the last one, so I’d better stop and rest. Hope you had a better weekend than mine (not all is lost though – at least this has granted me a much needed break. I’m still nursing, but haven’t changed a diaper since Saturday! :)

Mommy Brain Moment: Invitation Blooper

I dare you to find what’s wrong with the invitation I was so proud to order for Melissa’s upcoming birthday party:

Doesn’t it look like her??

If anybody figures it out (as if it’s that hard), let me know in a comment and someone will be chosen to receive some of the favors (skates-shaped little chocolates). I’m totally serious! Unless you’ll already be at the party, then I’ll just let you have extra :).

What’s Your Week’s Top 5?

Today it’s High Five for Friday on Lauren Elizabeth’s blog, and I’m participating! Here goes my top 5 things of the week list:

5.This pink purse from Payless.

pink purse

I got this several months ago (couldn’t resist – $17!) but was almost always too afraid to wear it. Would it look too much like I wanted to be Barbie? If I wore it with pink, would it be too matchy-matchy? If not, would it even match? Too many questions, with too many kids waiting. But I guess too many kids also mean too little time to think about it. After I had it for church Sunday, I simply have not had a chance to move my stuff into another purse. So now I’m fashionable whether I want to or not :).

4.This blog.

I’ve updated it every single day for its first week, and surprisingly, I’m not tired of it. With my old blog, I’d over analyze a new post so much that I almost never updated. Now I’m committed not to let this die. Instead of obsessing to make sure every word will knock your socks off, I’ll settle for just distracting you for a little bit (at least enough to win your click).

3.New family pictures.

Don’t they look great on top of our piano?? They remind me of how cute our kids really are, before looking down at their not-so-cute tantrums.

2.Date night.

Chili's

Our latest favorite place is Chili’s. When Holly was just a few days old, my mom watched the kids while we went there and ate HUGE cheeseburgers. It felt so good to escape parental responsibility and be like teenagers again, talking about random stuff and wiping ketchup from our mouths (or maybe that was just me lol).

Speaking of which, I just came back from that, and now is way too late to be blogging (past midnight – but hey, I gotta have me-time at some point!!). Which brings us to the last and most important item from this list:

1.SLEEP

Good night (and let me know what YOUR high fives are!)

On The Road With Kids

Learning to smile and pretend the noise comes from the radio :)

Our lives have changed ever since we got a minivan. Not only trips are more comfortable, but as the kids get bigger, they’re also getting funnier.

After Dad buckles Melissa and Andrew up, he goes to get something we forgot (which almost always happens).

Me- “Are you excited we’re going to grandma’s house?”

Andrew- “Yeeaaah!!!” *further toddler boy grunting*

Melissa- “Well, actually… You see, daddy went inside the house, so now the car can’t go.”

Me- “It’s okay, he’ll be right back.” (getting to the other side to buckle Holly up) “Now we’re all ready to go to grandma’s house, yaay!”

Andrew- “Yaaaay!!!” *further toddler boy grunting*

Melissa- (chuckles) “It’s funny, you said that, and I passed gas.”

–on the road–

Andrew & Melissa- “Oh oh oo oh oo oh ooh” (singing along to songs on the radio)

Melissa- *sudden wail*

Me- “What’s the matter?”

Melissa- “My book fell.”

David- “If you throw it on the floor, it’s gonna stay there.” (or something to that effect)

Andrew- *extremely high pitched scream for a boy*

David: (looking at the rear view mirror) “Melissa, take your foot off his seat.”

Andrew & Melissa- *toddler fight ensues*

~another song starts playing~

Andrew & Melissa- “Oh oh oo oh oo oh ooh”

~back from grandma’s house~

Melissa- “Where do we go next?”

Me/David- “Home.”

Melissa- “But I want to go to a store somewhere!”

Andrew & Holly- *crying duet*

Me/David- “Oh no, we’re done.”

Things I Dare Cook: Brazilian Little Savory Pastries

Can’t believe this worked!!

In Brazil, we keep birthdays the way they should be – simple and delicious. Here, every time a kid has a birthday we have an endless discussion on what to do for food (unless you do pizza or hot dogs, but because of her acid reflux, we’ve been recently advised she shouldn’t have either. Lucky us!). There in Brazil, you just go to one of their several bakeries and order trays of little savory pastries, that can have yummy fillings like chicken, fish, cheese or vegetables. You can also order trays of little sweets, which are chocolate/coconut/nutmeg/you-name-it AMAZING truffles. And everybody’s happy! Nobody expects anyone to be stuck in the kitchen making an actual dinner for a birthday party.

So in honor of that, I’ve decided to do little savory pastries for Melissa’s upcoming birthday (too bad I can’t order trays of it here, in what’s supposed to be the land of opportunity :). This recipe is for what’s called in Brazil “Empadinha”, which resembles a lot like a tiny chicken pot pie (but tastes even better). Today I’ll do a trial, and once I’m done I’ll publish this post with pictures (and add my first link to the “Things I Dare Cook” page! Yay). Who’s brave enough to try it with me too?? Only the hungry for pastries+chicken will survive :). If that’s you, here’s what you’ll need:

Pastry Ingredients 

Andrew’s in a “eat everything with a fork” phase

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon of salt

5 tablespoons of unsalted butter

5 1/2 tablespoons of water

1 tablespoon of lard

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk + 1 tablespoon of water

Filling Ingredients

1 tablespoon of extra-virgil olive oil

1 medium onion, grated

1/4 cup homemade or canned low-sodium chicken stock

1 cup shredded chicken (if you like the chicken version, which is my favorite – but you can also use chopped raw shrimp)

1 tablespoon of finely shopped fresh parsley

Salt to taste

It was her idea to pose with hands like this, saying “hee her hee” :)

How to Make It

If you’re as kitchen-challenged as me, take a deep breath and say a prayer :). Then trust the Lord has graced you a temporary super chef ability, and get cooking!

It’s not gonna be that hard, really (keep telling yourself that, like I do). In a food processor, toss in the flower and run it on low (that’s the easy way to “sift” it). Then add the butter, lard and salt to run it again until it becomes like cornmeal. Add the whole egg with the 5 1/2 tablespoons of water and run it until it becomes “dough-y” (pulling from the sides). Then pretend you’re one the kids with play-doh and make a ball of it. Put it aside “to rest”. (You can rest too, but just for a minute!)

Next you’re going to beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. This thing will serve to brush the tops of the pastries in the end so they’re shiny and flaky. Set it aside.

Now for the filling: heat the oil in a skillet, add the onion and sauté (how fancy do I sound? :) for 1 minute. Then add the chicken, stock, parsley and salt to taste. Simmer that, cook for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.

Do you have cooking board? I hope so, ’cause you’re gonna need a flat long surface. Flour it lightly and then roll out the pastry (you know, the one that’s been “resting”) until it’s about 1/8 of an inch. You don’t have to get the whole thing at once – maybe just start with half of it, then do the other half. After this, time to cut circles! With a 1 1/2-inch cutter (honestly? I used the cooking spray’s lid) make 32 circles and then press them into the spaces of a mini-cupcake tray (or 1-inch tin pastry shells, if you’re fancy). Fill that with 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling, or enough to almost fill it. Cover with the remaining pastry circles, pressing down around the edges.

If you want to be super awesome (like I did), you can decorate the top of them with the pastry scraps left behind, pressing them lightly in the center of each mold. Then, for the grand finale, brush the top of the pastry with the egg yolk + water you beat earlier. Bake for 20 minutes or until it’s nice and golden. Makes 16 little savory pieces of heaven :).

IMG_0734

It’s a hit – THANK GOD

For the next Things I Dare Cook, I’m going  to do Thanksgiving-y Velvet Cupcakes (pretty much red velvet with orange coloring instead of red lol). Stay tuned!

Postpartum Style + Portraits

Gayle and I – yep, that’s me STILL wearing a maternity shirt. Sigh.

I told my friend Gayle that if I were rich, I’d open a store called After Baby – with NOT maternity clothes, just post-baby body forgiving stuff. There’s a huge market for that! If anyone from Shark Tank reads this, hit me up :).

But in all seriousness, my patience with still looking slightly pregnant is wearing off. I’ve been in the same maternity jeans forever, and now that it’s turning unwearable, I think it’s a sign. Time to suck in the pouch once again.

Another reason to get some new clothes is that FALL IS HERE!!! Wooohoo!! I wish I could pause this weather and have it stay like this forever. Especially here in Texas. We still have warm days, but now they’re nice ones, not ones where you have to run inside for the air conditioner. And the nights are finally cool, the way Fall is supposed to be. We’ll take any breeze as an excuse to put on a sweater!

The kids love sweaters too, and have started asking for them even when we know they’re hot. But they had a legitimate opportunity to wear theirs at Nathaniel’s (Gayle’s son) birthday party.

Doesn’t she look like such a teenager?

Andrew had fun throwing rocks around – ah, to be a boy.

This is how you get cute kids – marry handsome

On Sunday, something awesome happened: I FIT INTO NORMAL JEANS!!!! True, I used to need a belt to wear these, but don’t ruin my moment. Also of comparable awesomeness, it was Pastor Appreciation Day at the church that David’s dad pastors. We’d never taken a whole family portrait ever since Holly was born, so we couldn’t resist taking it there, with the beautiful flowers behind their building.

The kids only accepted to pose if each could hold their flowers

Perfection

Holly’s funky outfit’s a gift from one of her Brazilian aunts (my sister Alice)

I long for the day when slimming cardigans and loose tops won’t be the only way I can get dressed. Until then, I’ll dream of a Dillard’s size “After Baby” store :).

Unexpected Beach Day

Today, with the kids in the car, we had every intention of running boring errands. So when David asked if I wanted to go to the beach instead (we live an hour away), I laughed. But he was serious. And while I’m not necessarily a beach person, I’m even less of a grocery shopping person (at least not for pleasure). So I went, “hey, why not?”

If we’d planned for this trip, it wouldn’t have turned out so well. We stopped on this adorable shop on the way, where Melissa and Andrew loved the beach-themed decorations.

Bro and sis hanging out

Isn’t that cool?

In awe

After that, we ate at none other than the restaurant where David and I went after he proposed to me over 6 years ago. Funny that back then, I only saw one person across the table. Now, there are multiple.

Holly’s forever entertained by her brother

Lots of people on my side of the table too (ok, baby’s a repeat :)

Andrew fell asleep on the way to the beach, which made him CRANKY once we got there. So much for our usual outdoorsy little guy! Nothing that a few buckets and seagulls wouldn’t solve, though. At least long enough for David to snap a couple of great pictures, like this one:

Mr. Gorgeousness

We couldn’t get seagulls on Melissa’s pic…but her beauty makes up for it.

 While everybody played, Holly and I stayed in the shaded area. I remembered being a kid and always feeling sorry for my mom when she stayed out of the action. Now I totally get it – seeing your kids have fun can be all the fun you need (even with a sleepy/cranky baby in my arms).

Ooh, and almost forgot to mention – what I’m holding (besides Holly) is the MOST perfect sand dollar I’ve ever seen in my life. It’ll go straight to the necklace I used to wear my rings on while pregnant and have been trying to figure out what to do with. It was so meant to be!! I’m SO glad we went to the beach and not H-E-B :).

Things We Call Our Children

 Sometimes when you look at the kids, something else comes out instead of their name. I think every parent can relate to that.

Our newest for them is “Little Chickies”, or “Little Chicky Wickies”. Which makes absolutely no sense, but is adorable regardless. Much like them :).

Melissa’s nickname at grandparents’ house can be Little Missy. At home, I often call her “Mozinho” (Brazilian slang for “little love”). Andrew’s ALWAYS been our Little Man (variations: Little Handsome Man, Little Handsome), because he’s been very manly since birth. He was never delicate, not even as a baby! Even back then, he didn’t want too much cuddling (if cranky tired, he’d like to sleep alone in his bed, thank you very much) – I’ve TURNED him into a cuddler today out of persistence. I also always thought he smelled way too masculine and rough for an infant lol. At first that drove me crazy, until I got so used to it that now his scent actually relaxes me. When stressed, sometimes I just want to hug and sniff my Little Man.

Holly’s our littlest Little Chicky, of course. I wonder what else we’ll come up with for her. Right after she was born, she was so loud in her protests (not even cries, PROTESTS, if you can do so by cooing) I joked with mom she was a little Dona Encrenca (Brazilian slang for “troublemaker lady”, or “cranky lady” – someone you wouldn’t want to be in a fight with). I know, I know, way to curse our daughter. I promise I haven’t called her that anymore, mostly because we’ve become much better friends. I feel like I get her now. She’s just loud, opinionated and emotional. But she’s also very sweet and talkative – I can tell she’s gonna be fun to hang out with, and possibly hilarious (she laughs in her sleep a lot lol).

Speaking of which, I’d better go see what our Little Whiny Chicky needs now…let me know what you call your children on the comments!