31 August 2012

Whirl. Wind.

As August is winding down and September is quickly approaching, I'm struck with what has happened over the past two weeks. Lots of emotional ups and downs. Up until mid-August, it was shaping up to be the best month of 2012 with great weather, great friends, great celebrations. And we were counting down the days until Benny started kindergarten.

Then, in mid-August, I was alerted that one of my clients would be reducing my hours by more than half because of the budget. I freaked out a little about income and what this means to my business, especially since I haven't been able to line up any new clients. At least two sleepless nights ensued.

Then came news of my uncle's passing and the bittersweet trip to Brule to say goodbye and see my family. Shortly after returning to Denver, I received word that a former co-worker had entered hospice care. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in March. I visited her last Wednesday and she passed away on Friday.

Then came the news that one of my favorite former graduate students was in a biking accident. She is currently in the ICU with a brain injury. She was the student that every professor lives to have once in his/her career. She was passionate and smart and motivated. She had new and interesting ideas. She is currently in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery, but her life is forever altered and rehabilitation will not be easy for her.

After all of that, Benny started kindergarten. The first positive, yet emotional event of the past two weeks. I wasn't able to sleep for two nights in anticipation of the first day. This week has been tiring on all of us. A new schedule with strict wake up calls is never easy to adjust to!

And then last yesterday I received news that my nephew was on his way, but my brother was in the woods for one more day. A full day of text messages and phone calls from my mom and sister-in-law's sister ensued. Luke and Aman welcomed Jas Paul Mangat Struckman last night at about 11:30 p.m. After receiving the news, I was so excited I wasn't able to sleep again.

Yesterday I also found out that I've been hired to teach another class in the winter at the University of Denver, which makes me very happy.

So, I feel like I've been through a whirlwind of emotions over the past few weeks - so many happy and sad moments. As a result, I'm more than ready to bid August adieu and welcome September with open arms.

Welcome to the World, Nephew!

Welcome to the world, Jas Paul Mangat Struckman! What an adorable little fella! I'm visiting in mid-October and I can't wait to snuggle with you!

Mama and baby are doing great! Even though Jas was nearly four weeks early, he weighed in at 5 lbs., 12 oz. Not bad!

I'll provide an update about the birth when I hear more from my brother. Until then, I'll leave you all in suspense: Did Luke make it to the birth or not?

30 August 2012

This Has the Potential to Be the BEST Birth Story. Ever.

It is very likely that in less than 24 hours I will become an aunt for the first time. I am VERY excited.

My brother and sister-in-law are expecting a baby boy. Baby boy is due on September 23. Here's the BEST part(s) - much of this information is coming from my mom via my sister-in-law's sister.

1. Aman, my sister-in-law's water broke last night. She's roughly 3.5 weeks early.

Wait, it gets better...

2. She spent the night in the hospital and was induced this morning.

Wait, it gets better...

3. Aman is in Edmonton. Alberta. Canada.

Wait, it gets better...

4. Jyoti, Aman's sister is with her. Jyoti is getting married on Saturday.

Wait, it gets better...

5. Luke, my brother and expectant father is on the third day of a four-day backpacking trip.

Wait, it gets better...

6. Luke is in the woods in Montana. United States. Without any form of communication.

Wait, it gets better...

7. Aman has alerted the ranger station where Luke registered before embarking on his trip (smart move). A ranger is currently out to alert Luke of his wife's condition.

Wait, it gets better...

8. Once out of the woods, Luke will have to travel AT LEAST 10 hours by car to get to Edmonton.

Here's hoping that Aman has an easy, but slow labor and Luke is able to arrive in time for the birth!

Can't wait to see that new nephew!!!

28 August 2012

First Day

As I prepared Benny (and, let's face it, myself) for his first day of kindergarten, I couldn't help but wonder how moms throughout history felt about their little ones growing up and doing increasingly independent things. Although kindergarten is a relatively small step for Benny since he's been in daycare of some form or other for the past three years, it's a BIG step in terms of his independence and development. However, it's certainly not a walkabout or something of that sort. Did aboriginal moms choke up at the very thought of sending their sons away? Did they cling to them and their babyhood and toddlerhood for as long as possible?

No matter my feelings, Benny prepared for kindergarten in his own way: At first he was excited, but as the first day grew closer, I could see his anxiety building. He wouldn't tell me that, of course. He's still not sure how to express those feelings. But he sure acted like it. I was a bit worried that his shyness would outweigh his excitement.

The first day was pretty easy - only 2 hours. Because the school had scheduled kindergarten evaluations all day yesterday and half of the day today, school started at 12:30. Nate and I asked Benny where he wanted to eat breakfast and we planned a Benny-only morning. We ate breakfast at Snooze (Benny had a pineapple upside down pancake and declared it "delicious" and "awesome"). Then Benny and I ran some errands before heading home for some bingo and lunch.

His first day started in the auditorium with 75 other kindergartners and their parents. The principal, Dr. Potts, read The Kissing Hand. Benny was very excited when he spotted his teacher. He even clapped at all of the silly announcements, something I don't think he's ever done before. Then he walked, hand in hand, with me and Nate. He rarely holds our hands any more, so it was quite a treat for me in my emotional state!

Then he lined up with his friend Adam and walked into his classroom without looking back.

I held it together up until I walked away from the school. I cried a bit and then went about my day. Of course, I'm experiencing a wide range of emotions. But for the most part, I'm excited. Learning is a gift and I can't wait for him to share his gifts with me!

Benny's assessment of kindergarten: "I want to stay in kindergarten forever!" Guess it went pretty well!

27 August 2012

Easy Peasy

Give me about a month and I'll stop posting all of these recipes from the garden! I'm sure the produce will slow down by then.

A few weeks ago, I was planning to make a quiche, but something went wrong with the crust. Terribly wrong. But I had all sorts of eggs ready for a quiche, so I searched my Betty Crocker cookbook for an egg recipe and came across a frittata. I could use a bunch of stuff from the garden, so I went for it. I don't think I'll ever go back to quiche again!

Garden Fresh Frittata
(adapted from a recipe in Betty Crocker)


8-10 eggs
Handful of basil, cut in thin strips
Small onion
1 cup corn
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2-1 cup cheese


Beat eggs and basil together and set aside. Sautee the onion and corn in olive oil for about three minutes. Add tomatoes and sautee for two minutes. Add eggs and basil. cook by lifting sides up to cook the eggs on top. When the eggs are nearly finished cooking, sprinkle cheese on top and broil for 1-2 minutes.

Fresh from the garden: onion, corn, tomatoes, basil and cucumbers (for salad). Easy peasy.

26 August 2012

Goodness, Stuffed in Peppers

Another day, another meal from the garden. Tonight I harvested nearly every pepper from our poblano pepper plant (9 out of 10 total). A bit of a disappointing harvest, considering the size of the plant, but pretty awesome, nonetheless.

Stuffed Poblano Peppers
(adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe)


6-8 peeled and diced tomatoes
4 small onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves (4 whole, 2 minced)
2 cans beans (I used black and pinto), rinsed
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups pepper Jack cheese
2 tsp. ground cumin
8-9 small- to medium-sized poblano chiles, halved lengthwise with seeds and ribs removed.


Heat the oven to 425. Put tomatoes, half the onions and 4 whole garlic cloves and salt and pepper in a food processor or blender  for the sauce. Pour it into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Combine the other half of the onions, 2 minced garlic cloves, beans, cornmeal, water, 1 cup cup of cheese and cumin for the stuffing. Stuff the peppers and place in the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes.

Fresh from the garden: Tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic. We also enjoyed the final ears of corn from the garden. Lila has finally mastered eating corn on the cob.

We'll definitely make some modifications to this recipe the next time we make it, including MORE cheese (always) and perhaps a seasoned, shredded meat like chicken or pork.

25 August 2012

Happy Feet

So happy that Benny still likes to have his toe nails painted. I'm sure there will be a day in the not-so-distant future when he doesn't want pedicures any more.

On Benny: Sally Hansen Blue It
On Sara: OPI William Tell Me About It

24 August 2012

Modified Margherita

I'm a pizza purist, so this time of the year is a perfect time to make my favorite pizza: margherita. It's clear why tomatoes and basil compliment each other so well - they mature at the same time! Tonight I wanted to try something a bit different, particularly because I found the perfect pesto recipe.

The only things that didn't come from the garden were the flour and yeast for the dough and the walnuts for the pesto. The basil and garlic are fresh from the garden. The pesto also contains a bit of kale, for some extra vitamins. I've been searching for a whole wheat flour for awhile. I like to use whole wheat for nearly everything, but somethings just don't lend themselves to regular whole wheat, pizza dough being one of them. I'm now in love with King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour. It's affordable and is perfect for baking.

I was also very luck to have some harvest helpers:

Modified Margherita Pizza


2 1/4 cups flour
1 packet yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm water

3-4 tbsp. pesto
3-4 tomatoes, cut in thin slices
1 cup mozzarella cheese (I use shredded, but I bet fresh mozzarella would be divine)


Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, yeast and sugar. Stir in water and kneed until dough is mixed. Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover and place in a warm area for over 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down and roll out onto a pizza stone. I use a rolling pin to get mine extra thin.

Spread pesto over the crust and arrange tomatoes on top. Sprinkle cheese over the entire pizza. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is a light brown.

Fresh from the garden: basil, tomatoes, kale and a garden salad made from lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden. The perfect Friday night dinner!

An End of Summer First

Benny, Lila and I took our final summer trip to the library this morning. We've enjoyed a nice routine of heading to the library on our bikes after we get home from grocery shopping on Fridays. It never occurred to me to get Benny his very own library card until I saw this picture. And I'm not sure why: I can still remember the thrill and the awesome sense of responsibility of getting my very own library card.

Lila and I will miss Benny on Fridays when he starts school next week.

For the record, Benny picked the pink card out of choices of blue, green and pink. Makes me proud :).

And, somewhat related, Benny picked out a book called Chocolate Me, a story about a black little boy who is trying to understand why his friends make comments about his skin and hair. Benny just came out of the bathroom and said he was going to call himself Vanilla Me because people come in all different flavors. I never know what's going to sink into that little brain and take hold.

22 August 2012

Meat and Beets

Doesn't have the same ring as meat and potatoes, does it? Well, this summer we've been experimenting with all the loot from the garden. I'm making things that NEVER would have occurred to me to make before - simply because we have an abundance of produce. Tonight, everything but the chicken came from our backyard.

Please pardon the display of food - I was hungry and ready to eat!
Chicken and onions from the crock pot, roasted beets and kale chips.

Although the heat isn't as oppressive in Denver any more, I put the chicken in the crock pot anyway - mostly because it's so darn easy to make chicken this way. I picked a few onions from the garden and followed this recipe.

I roasted beets for the first time. It was a snap - other than having to be here to do it since they take over two hours in the oven. I started them before I took off for a play date with Benny and a friend. I turned off the oven and left them in there. Then I finished them when we got home.

Roasted Beets with Balsamic Vinegar Glaze


About 2 pounds of beets, washed thoroughly
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar


Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the washed beets on the foil and cover. Cook at 400 degrees for an hour. After an hour, check the beets by poking them with a fork. When they are soft, let them cool for a few minutes and peel off the skin. Cut into small chunks.

Heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the beets.

Kale Chips


Handful of kale, chopped into potato chip size pieces
Olive oil


Drizzle olive oil over the kale - but not too much. Lay kale out on a baking sheet and season to taste. Bake at 250 degrees for 25 minutes. For crispy kale, be sure to spread the kale out - otherwise it will be soggy.

Nate planted not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR kale plants this year. We've had kale chips a handful of times and we aren't making a dent. I need some new ideas for kale!

Fresh from the garden: beets, onion and kale.

Book Review: Swamplandia!

Hmmmm, where to begin with this book? Last month, the ladies of book club and I checked out the best fiction books of 2011 on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell was one of the choices. It sounded interesting, so we picked it.

And it was interesting. From the title and the first 100 pages of the book, it's easy to assume the book is a campy novel with unique characters. However, the farther your journey in the swamp, the darker the story becomes.

Russell writes about a family that owns a alligator amusement-type park in the swamps of southern Florida. Their last name is Bigtree and they claim to be Native Americans, but their grandfather is actually a white man from Ohio. Hilola Bigtree, the matriarch and star of the gator show, has died before the book begins. It's pretty clear that no one is dealing with her death in a healthy way - least of all the father, Chief.

The story is centered on the three children, Kiwi, Ossie and Ava. The park is failing and likely going to go into foreclosure. Kiwi and Ava devise their own plans to save the park and Ossie claims she dates the dead. Confused yet? Yeah, it's a bit convoluted, even in the book. The kids are all teenagers, but behave much more like children. As the story progresses it's easier to understand their immaturity - they've lived their whole lives on Swamplandia!, down to homeschooling (more like no schooling) and performing in the park's shows.

The final 100 pages are quite jarring and unexpected. Somewhere around the middle of the book, the story is no longer a dark comedy - it is a tragedy. Russell writes about grief, violence and mental illness in a haunting way. They all get caught up in the legends and customs of the swamp.

21 August 2012

|| Pause

Ever wanted to pause life? Just because it's so perfect. And happy. And wonderful. I want to pause life right now. I want to pause it so we can come back to it someday and relive it.

August has been a magical month. The weather and the kids and the friends and the gatherings. They make me appreciate all that I have. Benny and Lila have been going through a very good "phase" together. We tend to remember the hard phases (teething, no sleeping, temper tantrums), but sometimes it's difficult to remember that there are good phases too. And you don't necessarily recognize them until they're gone.

Benny is becoming a little man. He puts his dishes in the dishwasher now without being told. He wants to learn how to tie his own shoes. He feels responsible for Lila when she's wandering off. He wants to help her when she's struggling. He loves to play with friends and make new friends. And he's a GOOD friend.

Last night, Benny was eating a pepper right off the plant in the garden. He looked at Nate and said, "Thanks for planting these, Dad." He said it so matter of factly, so genuinely that Nate teared up.

Lila is learning how to talk and express herself. Sometimes this includes dramatically throwing herself on the floor, which is usually pretty funny. She says "No way" instead of just "No." If I ask her to do something she says "OK." She has peed and pooped in the potty - all on her own accord. I recently bought her a tea pot set at a garage sale. Now she makes us coffee. There's nothing like learning from your parents!

With my relatively new and relaxed schedule, Nate and I actually have time to talk to each other. Last night we reflected on our weekend for a blissful hour while sitting outside in the cool night air.

Sometimes I get so caught up with schedules and responsibilities and stress that I forget that THIS is what we live for - these moments that make me remember how lucky I am.

20 August 2012

Funeral Pesto

The family and I headed back to Brule yesterday for a quick trip. My dad's brother, Joe, passed away last week. I'm not sure I've fully processed our family's loss yet. Joe was the oldest sibling in the Struckman family. Although Joe's body was eventually completely wrecked by multiple sclerosis, his mind was at 100 percent capacity. I will remember Uncle Joe as an avid cyclist who adored his daughters and his grandkids.

My extended family rarely gathers any more. My grandpa passed away over 10 years ago and my grandma moved to eastern Nebraska about five years ago. My dad's siblings are scattered around the state and country now. I haven't seen some of my cousins in over 10 years. It's a little depressing that we all allow this much time go by without seeing each other. Certainly Facebook has helped me keep in contact with many of my cousins, but it's just not the same.

So although we gathered under sad circumstances, it was truly a celebration of my uncle's life and family. We cried and we laughed and we caught up with one another. Who knows when we'll gather again for another wedding (hopefully) or funeral (no thanks).

The other upside: Benny and Lila got to know their second cousins. They had a great time running around and staying up late. Watching them made my heart happy.

Benny and his new best friend, Parker.
Lila loved Katie, who has become a lovely young woman.
And Aunt Gloria in the photo bomb!
Lila and Londyn.

When we drove up to our house at 5, I marched straight out to the garden and looked for something to make for dinner. The garden totally delivered! A quick batch of pesto, cucumber and tomato salad and green beans were the perfect post-funeral weekend dinner. The kids, well, they were pretty satisfied customers.

The pesto recipe is from Melissa at Her Green Life and it is far superior to the recipe here.

Basic Pesto


2 cups packed basil
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil (or more if you like your pesto oily)
1 garlic clove


Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process away!

See those spaghetti and fettuccine noodles? Yeah, that's what happens when you put the garden in charge of dinner. Sometimes it forgets that it doesn't have one full box of pasta. Rather it has several remnants of boxes of pasta.

We've also been eating A LOT of cucumbers for the past few weeks. I've been experimenting with several salad recipes. This one is our current favorite because it doesn't hide the flavor of any of the fresh ingredients.

Simple Cucumber and Tomato Salad


1 large cucumber (or 3 small cucumbers)
1 large tomato
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


Cut cucumbers and tomatoes into thin slices. Combine with equal parts red wine vinegar and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. I usually just poor the liquids on until they seem sufficient for the amount of veggies in the bowl.

Fresh from the garden: basil, garlic, cucumber, onion and tomato.

Rest in peace, Uncle Joe. You will be missed.

18 August 2012

Three Kids on a Hill

Benny and two of his friends at a birthday party today.

Reason No. 501

Have I mentioned how much I love my neighborhood and city and state lately? No, well, allow me to expound here. Admittedly, I was pretty upset with the weather in June. It was so hot and so frustrating to be inside (no A/C) and outside (hot hot hot and sunny sunny sunny). July was a little better - for at least the nights cooled off a bit. I tend to forget that everything turns around in August - always. Since August, the temps have hovered around 90 degrees during the day (totally manageable) and 60 degrees at night (perfect sleeping weather).

So, clearly the weather affects my mood. But I always forget how many COOL things happen in my neighborhood in August. It's almost as if people are trying to squeeze all the fun left in summer out into different events around the neighborhood. I recently wrote about Viva Streets - an entire day on bikes!

I'm part of what is becoming a wonderful book club. We're celebrating our first anniversary next month! Almost all of the ladies live within a three-mile radius, which is the perfect bike riding distance. On Thursday, a friend of mine hosted. She lives about three miles away. The brisk evening weather practically BEGGED me to ride my bike and wear jeans. So I did both and it was lovely.

Last night we attended Spinelli's Market's 18th annual neighborhood picnic at the local park. Spinelli's is a little gem of a neighborhood grocery store and deli. Every summer the owners close their shop and move over to the park across the street. They provide the meat, which is amazing, and utensils. The rest of the community provides the sides. Essentially it's a big potluck. Last night was our third trip to the community picnic.

Following the picnic, we rode our bikes over to the elementary school where Benny will start kindergarten in a little over a week. The parent organization there was holding a meet and greet. We met some of the kids who will be in Benny's class and met his teacher (remember Ms. Glick?). It was such an exciting, welcoming atmosphere. As we were leaving, Benny declared, "I LOVE this place!" He said, "I hope we don't have to do a lot of paperwork. Paperwork is so boring." But that's neither here nor there.

All this is to say that I absolutely love where I live. I feel so lucky daily. Although we live in a relatively big city, I often feel like we live in a small town.

Eating broccoli from the garden!

13 August 2012

Super Fresh Feast

As noted previously, we pulled out all the stops on dinner Sunday night. It was Pretty Girl's last night in town and the gorgeous weather practically begged us to barbecue. Some of the garden is maturing rapidly, so it was a good excuse to make a meal from what was fresh in our backyard. We were able to make everything, minus the pork chops, from stuff in the garden. I'll list everything here and tag it appropriately.

Uber Sinful Corn on the Cob


8 ears of corn
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 block of Cotija cheese


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the corn. Bring water back to a boil, shut off the heat, and let corn sit for five minutes. Remove. Combine mayo and lime juice. Spread corn with mayo and sprinkle with cheese.

From this ...
... to this!
Beer Battered Japanese Eggplant


Olive oil (for frying)
1 cup whole wheat baking flour
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less for your liking)
8 oz. lager beer
8-10 Japanese eggplants, cut in long slices (picture below)
4 oz. Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. salt


Pour oil in large heavy skillet and heat on high. Mix flour, cayenne pepper and lager beer together. Dip eggplant slices into batter. Fry eggplant slices for about two minutes, or until golden brown and then flip.

Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and salt for a dipping sauce.

From this ... 
... to this!

We also ate slices of fresh tomato with nothing more than a little salt sprinkled on top. We finished the feast with a delightful peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream. Our peach tree didn't produce any peaches this year (thanks to all the squirrels that knocked them off in the early summer). A neighbor was kind enough to give us a bag full of peaches from her tree.

Peach Cobbler


6 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. cornstarch

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 stick of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water


Preheat oven to 425. Mix peaches, 1 tbsp. sugar, lemon juice and corn starch into an oven-safe casserole dish. Cook for 10 minutes.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Blend in butter with a pastry blender until mixture looks like coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Spoon flour mixture on top of peaches in clumps. It will spread while baking. Bake for 25 minutes.

Fresh from the garden: corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, Japanese eggplant and peaches (from someone else's peach tree).

Viva Weekend!

We've had a lot of great weekends this summer. However, things came together this weekend to make it epic.

First, a friend of ours invited Benny and Lila to the zoo for her company picnic.

Lila had to nap after lunch, so Benny got to stay at the zoo for the elephant and seal shows.

Second, my friend Jayne (aka Pretty Girl) flew in for the weekend and we celebrated my birthday with several friends at Jonesy's near downtown. It was fun to see everyone dressed up and sans kids!

Third, Viva Streets was held this weekend. Viva Streets is modeled after the Cyclovia in South America where streets close to cars and allow people to walk and ride freely. In Denver, 23rd Street is closed from Colorado Blvd. to the Stapleton neighborhood (about three miles). Riding is so much more enjoyable when you don't have to worry about cars! It's also a great neighborhood event. We ran into neighbors, friends from Benny's school and others throughout the day.

Finally, the weather was absolutely perfect all weekend. Not too hot, but nice and sunny. We finished the weekend with a summer garden feast. Everything but the pork chops we grilled came from our garden or from a neighbor's peach tree. Recipes coming soon!

It's always good to have Pretty Girl in town, but this weekend was doubly special with all the fun events. We miss her already!

09 August 2012

Something Totally Cosmic

Coming clean about my feelings about dirty diapers opened something up - something totally cosmic. Not 24 hours after posting my disdain for diapering, Lila said she wanted to sit on the potty, sat down and got right back up. That's a pretty normal for her. She'll sit briefly and then get up, saying she wants a diaper.

Tonight, though, that's where the cosmic comes in. Tonight she got up, grabbed a book and sat back down. I figured it was all part of the routine and helped Benny get ready for bed. Not one minute later I checked on her. She got up and told me she wanted a diaper. But, you know what was different about tonight? THERE WAS PEE IN THAT POTTY! I nearly cried I was so happy.

So I did the potty dance, Benny did the potty dance and Lila looked thoroughly confused. I insisted that we call Nate to tell him about the momentous first pee. Lila told him "pee pee potty." Benny then grabbed the phone and told Nate that we all did the potty dance. Then Benny shared some of his Smarties from school with Lila to celebrate.

I don't doubt that we'll be in diapers for some (many) more months, but a mom can dream, can't she?

08 August 2012

Cloth Diaper Review

About a year ago, I published a series of posts about cloth diapering. A year later, I still feel the same way: Cloth diapering is a great way to save money and reduce trash. However, after nearly five straight years of cloth diapering (with a two month break between Benny getting potty trained and Lila being born), I am pretty much over cloth diapering. Or really diapering of any sort.

With that being said, I have had the opportunity to try out some new brands of cloth diapers thanks to my generous friend, Caley, who sends me diapers when she's cleaning out her closet. We started out with 16 Fuzi Bunz. I have been somewhat disappointed with the diapers' longevity. The elastic around the legs is shot and Lila's pee sometimes runs out of the diaper completely. However, I do love the adjustable snaps. Other than the elastic, I have nothing to complain about. They are still relatively absorbent. They still look great. I don't think they'd hold up for another kid, but that doesn't matter for our family.

I can say, with some authority, that I don't like Velcro on cloth diapers - not one bit. It's one extra thing to remember when washing the diapers (keep the tabs fastened otherwise they'll chew other stuff up). Also, Lila  can undo Velcro tabs in seconds flat. The snaps, not so much. I've tried Bum Genius, Eco Bunz and a handful of other diapers and Fuzi Bunz still win.

Hopefully I'll have some potty news to report in the not-so-distant future!

Benny sporting his Fuzi Bunz.

07 August 2012

Back to Bangs

I have been going through the process of growing my bangs out for about six months now. And now they're back. I never really intended to grow them out in the first place. I just never got around to getting them trimmed on a timely basis. Any wagers on how long they'll stay?

I also got a much needed trim. For evidence just see the photos below.

06 August 2012

Keep Your Eyes on the Children

My little water babies, at Nana's and Papa's house. Benny kept telling me that I needed to "keep your eyes on the children." I had no idea what he was talking about, other than wanting me to be outside with him.

Turns out that the little warning picture on the side of the pool had an adult with his EYES on the children. A little creepy, but Benny interpreted it just right.

We are back in Denver now - happy to be home, although not so happy about the heat that seems to have returned and settled in our house. We got spoiled with A/C at Nana and Papa's house. I also got spoiled because I didn't have to cook, clean or buy groceries for a solid 4 days. It is such a treat to be pampered!

Pig Out '12

I can't exactly remember when I started the Pig Out tradition, but I'm guessing it was in 5th grade or so. My friends Caley, Niki and Anna would come out for my birthday and spend the night. We made fondue and other "exotic" foods, drank super sugary soda and stayed up super late (1 a.m.). I think we continued the Pig Out tradition for at least four or five years.

This year, for my 35th birthday, all of these ladies were back in town for Brule Day. We had a little Pig Out reunion - the first since we ended the tradition in high school. It was a happy day.

Caley and Zoey (her mini-me) and Lila and me (my mini-me).
Caley, me, Anna and Niki in the old music room at the school.