Sunday, September 21, 2008

Second Leg

Not that you know anything at all about the first leg of our trip,
since I haven't been blogging like I promised. However, I'm just
checking in to say that we're still alive and kicking and we're
starting out on the second leg of our trip: Carpinteria. Goin' campin'.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hit the Road Jack

This here family is hittin' the road tomorrow. So if you happen to be up at the --crack of dawn tomorrow morning and are already reading this, then you can think of us. We will all be piled in to our little black highlander stacked high with suitcases, an assortment of strollers, highchairs, diapers and all manner of strange and unusual things you must bring when taking a baby and three-year-old away from home for three weeks, one of which will include seaside camping.

Hence tomorrow, September 16th, 2008, officially commences our first family vacation ever. Five years coming, we are finally doing it and I must admit that I have a mingling of feeling about shirking all of our responsibilities for three weeks. The original plan was for a moderate two, but due to uncontrollable circumstances we have been forced to extend our trip by an extra week. I'm definitely not complaining, but suffice it to say, I have some slight trepidations about leaving my house to the mercy of whatever spider happens to come its way... worry wart!

I originally planned to use this post to say a temporary goodbye to all of you, my readers, but my husband balked at the thought of not being able to read my innermost thoughts on the internet for three weeks and insisted that we document our little trip. So, it looks like you may be getting some updates from the road and a catalog of daily events every once in a while.

Stay tuned... The Escalante adventure continues and you don't want to miss it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Funny Moment

Whe drove to the post office today, which is right down the street,
and when we got home I went to the backseat to get Caiden out. I
unbuckled her and she pulled her arms out of the straps, raised them
above her head as if stretching, and said (clear as day) "bug!"

I burst out laughing. It was one of those moments, but I'm guessing
you would just have to have been there to appreciate it...

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stepping Stones

Or milestones, a big step, progress, whatever you want to call it... Caiden is officially walking--sometimes. She can walk, but she doesn't always walk. She practices a lot. As per request, it has been documented. Check her out...

**Also, check out the latest from photography prodigy, Elliott Escalante here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dough'nt Ya Know?

When I was seven, I had a next door neighbor that would make homemade doughnuts once a week for the Bible Study they had at their house. She would generally give my sisters and me some of the doughnut holes that would inevitably come of it. I will never forget that. Homemade doughnuts are in a league of their own. Nothing like their commercial counterparts.

I always think about those doughnuts and how good they were. But I've never made my own. Never, that is, until now.

Making pâte a choux is rather fun and simple and while reading one of the blogs I subscribe too, I recalled a previous post the author, Michael Ruhlman, had written on the subject. So, I decided to take another whack at it, just for fun and because it was the weekend and there was nothing else I needed to do and because I like to bake things when it is interesting.

So. Most of the pâte a choux dough was donated to the cream puff cause and the remainder was used for doughnut making. I don't really know how to make actual round doughnuts, so my doughnuts were squeezed out of a makeshift pastry bag and turned out looking like terds, but they tasted great. Elliott really enjoyed them and I thought, maybe this can be my thing. You know, like the cinnamon rolls you remember your mom making every Christmas day. Maybe my traditional contribution could be homemade doughnuts...

My cream puffs were a real success as well. And although they look quite impressive, they are actually so very simple to make. I promise! The pâte a choux recipe is here and I used this recipe for the pastry cream with some lightly whipped cream folded in for a lighter, less dense filling. For the chocolate coating, I just made a simple ganache (remember my surprise of ganache discovery?) by heating cream and pouring and mixing it into an equal amount of chopped chocolate which I then drizzled onto the top of each one using a spoon.

If you're thinking about giving this a go, I promise you it is not hard. Making the puffs is the easiest part! Heat water and butter till boiling then stir in flour. Beat in 3 eggs, one by one and Voilá! Puffs! Check out the recipe for more explicit directions, of course...

Photos by David Escalante (except the sweet one of Elliott looking at the cream puffs, that one was all me)

A Boy is a Boy is a Boy is a Boy

As a follow up to a previous post about Caiden, I thought I would also commend my boy, Elliott. Let you know some things that make him special. My little gift. The first one. My little buddy. After David and I got married and I would see little kids, I thought, "I want one." I used to tell David about how I wanted "a little guy to follow me around and be my little buddy." I've talked before about how I don't like to be alone, coming from a family of six kids and all. And although, I realize that it can be a selfish reason to want to have a kid, it was a small factor. Elliott has been a huge blessing, as well as a challenge. He did everything early. He really keeps you on your toes. When other kids were still lounging on their bellies on a play mat, Elliott was crawling around and getting into everything. Friends of our used to be so shocked when Elliott would come over, because he had such an innate ability to get in to things that a normal or child would never even consider.

Put it this way: David and his brother, Robert, were dubbed, "The Tornado Brothers" when they were kids. Suffice it to say that the legacy has been passed down.

Elliott: A challenge? Absolutely. Worth it? Resoundingly, yes! He is really an amazing person.

It is all of those ways that he is that make him Elliott. I love his little personality. Inquisitive, persistent, funny, thoughtful, sweet, sensitive, loving, loud, crazy, full of energy and fire. But along with crazy he can also be gentle, kind, and considerate. He's a boy!

10 Fun Facts About Elliott:

1. His middle name is Satchel. (there is still debate about who thought that name up during a coffee time with friends at our house)

2. For the longest time, Elliott had been referring to himself in the third person, by mistake. He would say things like, "He likes that," or "He doesn't want to go to bed." He's finally starting to outgrow it.

3. Elliott tells David and me that he loves us at least a couple dozen times a day on his own accord.

4. Elliott has an undiminishable desire to become "Mr. Incredible" when he "gets big." Every time he eats something, he asks me, "Will this make me like Mr. Incredible, Mom?" (of course candy and other junk food does not; veggies and fruit and other good things do...)

5. Elliott calls his great-grandpa, "Grandpa, Grandpa." (twice a grandpa, always a grandpa)

6. Sometimes while deliberating over what snack we should eat, he will say, "Can we just have something delicious?"

7. Elliott loves people. He loves having company over. Randomly throughout the day, he will often ask, "Who's coming over, mom?"

8. He can flawlessly operate an iPhone and other computers or like devices.

9. He knows and remembers about 3 or 4 memory verses so far (snippets of verses, to be exact). They are: "Love the Lord your God," "Let us love one another," "Love is patient, love is kind," and one more that I can't think of at the moment.

10. For the mere fact that it is "dinner" he will not eat it. A snack is fine: dinner is not.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Little Princess

Wasn't that such a great Shirley Temple film? Speaking of princesses... Caiden has recently honed the skill of waving and saying hello--well, she says "hiya", to be more precise. Just to let people know how cute she is, she decided to not be just any ordinary hand-waver. My girl wants to do the princess wave (and we didn't teach it to her, she came up with it all on her own). Just watch:

And then there's the beauty of spontaneous kisses...

And monkey see, monkey do:

Seems like parents have video fever right now. Check out baby Charlotte taking her first steps or little Noah making animal sounds if you're in need of some more baby love... And of course, who hasn't seen "Charlie bit me" or the laughing baby on YouTube. If you haven't, you're in for a real treat!