Friday, June 29

photo evidence.

At the moment Johnny really loves to 'clean'...

... and take photos. It's pretty cool to see the things he thinks are important enough to photograph. ;)

 (lucky hiding from J, as per usual!)

Saturday, June 23

Goal oriented.

As we move forward on getting or house cleaned out and ready to move (how did we get so much CRAP?!) I'm spending a lot of time thinking about getting to where we are going. I should be enjoying our last German summer, but the summery things we usually do are just not as fun in this dreary summer we've been having. Ironically, today it's beautiful out and we are in the house, cleaning.

Along with the lists of keep, sort, donate, sell, organize, ship, I have an on-going list in my head of things I want to do in Tucson. Not just the *extensive* list I've created on Pinterest of places to see, but also some changes I'd like to implement once we get there.

-I want to pause to give those of you who have known me for more than a few years a moment to laugh at my uncharacteristically obsessive list-making.-

Okay, here we go. This may be an evolving list as I think of more things in the future.

1. Never use my clothes dryer. Except during monsoon season. Hanging laundry here is always a gamble, and often it comes in wetter than when we put it out.

2. Get a good bike and ride it with Johnny on the back. It's flat there, and we will have a house near-ish everything. I've heard the side roads are extensive so we can stay off the main roads and still get to wherever we need to go. I'd also like a scooter, but I will try out biking first.

3. Walk the dogs a lot. Here we have a huge yard and tons of kids hanging around to play with them, but there we will have a tiny yard with NO room for Luckie to run. I also need to find a dog park so that he can chase his beloved ball! Maybe I could teach him to swim for the ball in the pool! Ha!

4. Live with one car. Easier since we'll be within biking distance of the base (for Chris in the winter) and many stores- and even within walking distance of a yoga studio!

5. Never use the dishwasher. Brenda already doesn't have one (I forgot to mention her and Zak will be co-habitating with us!) and I've been doing without for a few weeks. It feels good and kind of zen to just wash everything as I go instead of letting it pile up until the end of the day or the next morning. I'd like to take that zen-ness with me to our new home.

6. Volunteer! Grab J and go to the food bank, the co-op, the farmer's market, the local Waldorf school, the humane society, a political cause we believe in, the library... anything! Just get involved with the local community as much as possible. I have a very strong inclination lately to BE a part of our community, which feels hard here, for me, as I've never quite gotten to know anyone around us. I want to find people like us and get to know them and become a part of something larger than our household.

7. Vote. I MISS VOTING. I'm going to become an Arizona resident to do so.

8. Build a Tiny Free Library to erect at the end of our driveway.

9. Go to the park often. Parks make me tired, but they make J happy :) There is one a few blocks from our [prospective] house. It may be a great way to meet new people, as well. Hopefully it is well-utilized by the neighborhood.

10. Learn Spanish. I've been wanting to do this for awhile, moving to within an hour of Mexico has only motivated me more. (I'm on unit 2, lesson 4 of the Spanish Rosetta Stone!) Brenda is a native Spanish speaker, so that could be fun :) I want J to learn it as he grows up, too.

11. Shop farmer's markets. And the Co-op. And CSA's. We mostly do that here, so I think it'll be easy to continue there.

12. Garden. Our little bit of land does have some raised beds around the yard, and we can put some containers out. I also want to use grey water to keep everything growing, especially in a place as dry as that. The most we eat are greens, avocados (can I grow those?), potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, strawberries, and tomatoes, so I think that will be easy, especially the tomatoes - hooray for pizza night tomato sauce!

13. Buy everything from thrift stores and I try hard to do that here, but it's a small community and you can't always find what you need, like a Vitamix blender!

14. Buy in bulk! I can't wait to do this, or to become part of a buying club.

15. Go to the mountains as much as possible. Learn about the local flora and fauna :)

16. Paint murals. Somewhere, anywhere. I just feel like I need more large-scale paintings in my life!

I guess that's it for now. I'm sure there will be more!!

Wednesday, June 13

Dreaming of the Southwest.

I swore I would never move to the Southwest (well, as much as I could while being attached to someone in the military). It's hot. There are scorpions, and rattle snakes, and lots and lots of sand.

But then I lived in Germany for seven years. Most of which was a dream. Winter two years ago put a bump in the road, and then summer last year... and now, yea, it's about 54 degrees and raining out, again... in June.

I need sun. I need warmth. Staying wrapped in blankets all day on the couch is not a viable life path, especially with a toddler.

Arizona has sun. Lots of it. And only small amounts of rain. And if I want to see snow, I have to get in my car and drive to it, it won't come to me (at least not in European winter proportions). There probably won't be blankets strewn all over the house for emergency warmth when our heaters are off and our winter clothes are packed up (for the third time this year. Yes, I've packed and unpacked and repacked our winter coats & scarves three times since April). 

They have spicy mexican food! 

Alas, we still have a few short months here, so for now there is hot oatmeal- which we eat tons of. 

If it were hot this morning I would have made this: Mexican chocolate breakfast shake.

Did I mention it's 54 degrees outside?

So I took the above recipe and mashed it with this: Kath's whipped banana oatmeal.

Here's the result:

Mexican HOT chocolate oatmeal! 

2/3 c. rolled oats
2/3 c. almond or soy milk
1 1/3 c. water
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 banana, sliced thin
1 1/2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional, but even with the pepper it wasn't too spicy for my son)
pinch of salt
2-4 tbsp. agave nectar or honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a pan on the stove, except the vanilla. Stir with a whisk or fork while cooking to get it fluffy, 5-7 minutes until it's the texture you desire. Taste for sweetness and add more agave if needed. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Ta-da!

I always add something crunch to my oatmeal, this morning it was some natural chocolate sprinkles and homemade granola. :)

Enjoy and stay warm!

Monday, June 11

doing art.

I like when this happens:

I've been getting reacquainted with colored pencils (and regular ones, too...)


Mine and Chris's first official first date was to see Moulin Rouge. Then when we got married, our dance was to 'Come What May' from the movie. We used to drive around with the windows down singing to the soundtrack at the top of our lungs. we even had a french class together in highschool, but were both too busy sleeping or avoiding class and didn't meet until he was out of HS and I was almost done.
Once we moved here we vowed to go see the real Moulin Rouge. We tried to make plans for several years and the seventh year was THE YEAR. We were going to go on our anniversary in October. And then we had Johnny, a week before our anniversary date!
So this year, finally, after much fretting that it wouldn't happen, we made a huge plan to go! It was an early anniversary in May, our tenth :)
It was Chris's first time in Paris, so that was awesome. I made sure he saw as much as possible in two short days!  

To be honest, tho, I was mostly looking forward to getting dressed up and going out! I hadn't used a curling iron in years. I loved getting all fresh and clean and sharing the bathroom mirror to get ready to go on a real date.


I planned my outfit for months and had a really pretty headband from an internet friend, Di, of RubyRuby. I was at first trying hard to be sleek and chic, but felt bland and not myself. So I decided, when all else fails, go over the top!!
Rainbow accessories, leopard sweater, pink silk dress, purple tights and teal shoes!!

Chris looked amazing in his European pin-stripe suit!!

I was too chicken to ask anyone to take a photo of us, so they are all self-shot.
We took a bus to the Eiffel tower and had dinner, then took a boat on the river for what I thought would be a beautiful way to see the city.

 It rained the entire time. Poured, even. No bueno. But it was a nice and fun night anyway!

Cold boat trip.

Broken windows on the boat added to the crappy view.

My camera was NOT having it. Here are some of the better shots:

Haha... But look at this handsome man!!

Then we headed to the Moulin Rouge where photos were not allowed. But here we are, on the way!

One more shot for the road...

The next day we hit up the Louvre, this was easily the highlight for me...

And for Chris...

We finished off in Montmartre, right where our relationship 'started'.

So glad we finally made it!!

Goofball cutie pie.

Thank you Johnny, for all the good times and the hard times, and the peaceful times. Since the day you were born you've made everything infinitely more interesting and usually much more amusing!

Monday, June 4

the Netherlands.(swoon!)

We went to the Netherlands while my dad and grandparents were visiting! One of my all-time favorite countries and it just gets better each time we visit! 
We stayed in a little coastal town that reminded me so much of Baltimore, which happens to be one of my favorite US cities, so of course I loved it.

Traditional Dutch breakfast:

Sweet Bram at the bed & breakfast:

We ventured to the Keukenhof one last time to see the flowers. Johnny was a sport! 

It rained the entire time.

And we all took TONS of photos!

After that we hit up a tiny island called Marken for the afternoon.
This time dad was a sport.

Johnny loved having his opa here, and his great-grandparents! 

We spent a day in Cochem, a castle and town near here.

Everything was hand painted so beautifully! 

Along with some cool stained glass.

And this weird good luck charm...

Lion with a helmut, NOT a frog (as the guide was sure to point out!)

Great grandpa John and Great grammy Dawn!! 

And one more flower for good measure.