Tuesday Thyme: Tri-Tip Fajitas

We are big fans of fajitas so this one was definitely a hit. I loved that it had avocado in it to give it a fresh kick. I just love everything with avocado. You can freeze the sliced onions and bell pepper to make a quicker prep time next time you make this. And you will make this a next time.

Tri-Tip Fajitas
source: In the Kitchen the Costco Way
serves: 6-8

1 Tri-Tip Steak
Vegetable oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
4 T. fajita seasoning (see below for recipe)
12 flour tortillas
Salsa (see below for recipe)
Sour cream
2 avocados, peeled and sliced right before serving

1. Grill the steak.
2. While the meat is grilling, heat some oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers and cook until they are tender and start to brown.
3. Add fajita seasoning, mixing well. Set aside.
4. When the meat is cooked, remove it from the grill and let stand for 10 minutes, before slicing the meat across the grain.
5. Warm tortillas on the grill.
6. Fill the tortillas with meat, onions, and peppers.
7. Top with salsa, sour cream, and the avocado slices.

Fajita Seasoning

6 crushed chicken (or beef) bouillon cubes
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. chili powder
1 T. salt
1 T. paprika
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 t. cumin

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a Ziploc bag or tightly sealing container.
2. Use in your fajitas!


4 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 jalapenos, diced
2 handfuls of cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste
The juice from a fresh lime or lemon

Sam liked it!


It's not looking good.

We are back in New York and I have been neglecting pretty much every responsibility I have. I thought that maybe if I ignored things then they would just go away. It didn't work out for me. So here is the breakdown of my life. I mean it; my life is breaking down.

1. Last Saturday, when we arrived in Ithaca, we finished unloading the moving truck and then drove to our friends' apartment where we left a lot of miscellaneous things for the summer. They let us borrow their children's wagon to help carry the boxes. We came back to our apartment, unloaded the boxes, swept out the truck, put their wagon in the back, and drove to drop off the wagon and turn in the truck. We got caught up with filling up the truck with gas and hurrying to drop it off before the deadline that we forgot to return the wagon to our friends. We went back when the moving truck company opened on Sunday morning and the wagon was gone. I have been in a daze about it for a week because I can't believe someone would steal a child's wagon.

2. Sam has been coughing for a few weeks. Before we left Ithaca, they told him that he had a dormant tuberculosis infection, which he seems to have collected for himself while in Hong Kong. They said he has a 10% chance it will become active in about 30 years but they wanted him to come back in for a chest x-ray. We got busy and moved away. When we got back to Ithaca, he went into the student health center and they started freaking out and made him put on a mask and said something about him not being able to go to school this year. Turns out he just had pneumonia. A few prescriptions later and he is feeling much better. He did finally get that chest x-ray though. We'll see how that turns out.

3. I mentioned that Alex had thrush. He thought it would be fun to share. So kind of him. Now I am nursing through a breast infection and it is painful. I have an appointment on Tuesday although it has been two weeks now and it is almost gone.

4. Sam's car lost power steering. We took it back into the shop that fixed the power steering after he drove into a tree because they warranty their work. Turns out it "wasn't what was fixed before" (go figure) so we took it out of their shop and drove to a place that we trusted more. When we pulled into the other shop, we started talking about whether we should leave his car or mine. That leads us to #5...

5. My car has been making loud noises and I knew the brakes needed replaced on the rear driver's side. We didn't want to ruin Sam's rack and pinion by driving around without power steering so we left his car at the shop. Today we drove mine to an activity on campus. We pulled into a parking lot and suddenly the car jolted like we had hit something. I got out of the car and immediately went to look at that back tire. It won't spin. I couldn't believe it. We broke my car. I feel so foolish for driving on it even though I knew it was breaking. I just hope it doesn't cost too much to fix. It cost $88 to get it towed into the shop. Now my car and Sam's car are friends at the shop and who knows how long we will be without a car. I am glad it happened in a parking lot instead of as we were driving across a gorge or something.

6. Alex is getting into everything. We decided to install the toilet clamp I bought in Columbus in April. Turns out it doesn't work. This isn't a very big deal as much as it is just another thing that makes me think, "Of course not. Why would anything go right?"

7. I chipped a tooth. While eating a gummy worm. It doesn't hurt it is just frustrating. I feel like I take care of my teeth and yet I have at least five cavities every time I go to the dentist (usually more like ten). And now I have a broken tooth. One more expense.

8. We are trying to find a way to manage the $7000 tuition and $7000 health insurance. The only positive side is that Sam got the job he applied for on campus.

As hard as things have been, I am learning to accept service. Usually I look at our lives and wonder how we got so lucky. The last week has been exactly the opposite. I can't come up with a solution to solve our problems. I pray for things to get better or to know what to do, and then the next day something else goes wrong. We are finally having the "poor college student" experience. It's hard when I can't hide in a closet and have my parents fix everything. So this is my self-pity. Now it is time to be an adult and deal with it.



We have another move ahead of us today. That is the move back to Ithaca. We had a wonderful summer, it just went too fast. I have always somewhat enjoyed moving; it is a chance to go through everything I own, reminisce on the times we've had, and gives me a chance to recreate myself in a new area. However, moving is also very difficult. It is expensive to move. It is tiring. I have to make new friends and get accustomed to a new place.

This is the first time in our marriage that we will be moving back to a ward we have lived in before (although we will be living in a different apartment complex). I have noticed that I fall into patterns when I live somewhere. Moving helps me break those patterns. I get to become more of the person I want to be without old habits wearing me out.

My brother, Flannel, is serving a mission in Ukraine right now. He said, "We only have two kind of trials/experiences. Nice ones and helpful ones." In a different letter, he wrote, "Going to a different place and having to make new friends is truly a blessing, however hard it may be. You can always learn new things. And in the end, that's why we are here on earth. To learn and grow."

I guess I need to have a better attitude about this move and get on the road. That's what I will do. Peace and love, Allentown. See you soon, tiny city of Ithaca.


Where would she be now?

I have often asked myself this question about my sister. Where would she be now? What would she be doing? Would she be married? Have kids? Would she love Alex so much? Would she come visit us? Would she call me and ask how things are going? Would I call her? So many questions and what ifs. It isn't really worth it to even wonder. It just makes me cry and shake my fist at all thoughts of fairness in the world.

In the last five years since Rachael's death, I have changed in so many ways. I was starting my senior year in high school, and now I am supporting (not monetarily, just emotionally) my husband through his final year of graduate school while I rear our one-year-old child -- her nephew.

You can read what I wrote about her the last two years here and here.

About a month ago I received a small package from my friend from junior high/high school. Her dad is a high school math teacher and taught Rachael years ago. I was so touched that my friend's dad had remembered Rachael and then thought to pass along this card instead of throwing it away; I never would have known if he had, but I am so glad he didn't.

I am not sure where Rachael would be today, but I know where she is, and it is a lot of fun to look back at where she was ten years ago.

After Rachael died, I inherited her cell phone. I never changed her voicemail message. After five years, I decided it was time. Here is a recording of her voice, so it will hopefully always be remembered.


Food Storage

Making a food storage has been difficult for me for two reasons:
1. We move a lot and I don't want to have to carry any more boxes.
2. I like clearing things out. Making sure we always have food does not allow me the satisfaction of looking in the pantry and seeing I have actually cooked something because it is empty.

This has been so frustrating to me and has left me many times with my head down on the desk, fighting tears, as I tried to figure out how to budget, what we wanted to eat, and how to rotate it. To me, a food storage has to consist of foods that do not need to be refrigerated or frozen. While researching, I learned that this was not true. But the last thing I want to do it buy a lot of food that we never eat. Also, because of the frequent moves, most of the things should not have to be refrigerated/frozen.

So here is the plan I came up with. A year supply was too much for me to fathom so right now I am doing a one-month supply. We will have ten basic dinners, six lunches, and three different breakfast meals. So that means that in the one month, we will be eating the same dinner three times, the same lunch five times, and the same breakfast 10 times. This could get boring. But at least we won't be starving. And we can mix up vegetables and sauces so it won't be exactly the same each time. It is a work in progress, but I finally started and that's more than I had done a few months ago.

1. Pasta - Spaghetti/Fettuccine, sauce, corn
2. Chicken Curry - Chicken, rice, curry
3. Soup - Dry soup, cans, rice
4. Canned chicken
5. Stir Fry - broccoli, water chestnuts, bell peppers, carrots
6. Baked Chicken and Spaghetti (Provident Living)
7. Sloppy joes, Pork and beans, canned fruit
8. Green bean casserole - Green beans, cream of mushroom soup, French fried onions
9. Black bean soup
10. Tuna casserole

1. Macaroni and cheese, using white sauce Magic Mix (Provident Living)
2. Sandwiches - bread (frozen), peanut butter, jelly, honey. Carrots and Ranch dressing.
3. Sandwiches - bread (frozen), tuna fish, pickles, mayonnaise
4. Chicken tacos
5. Ham and potato soup
6. Burritos - tortillas, refried beans, shredded cheese (frozen), salsa. Jello/pudding. Mexican rice.

1. Muffins
2. Oatmeal with bacon
3. Granola


Tuesday Thyme: Avocado Ranch Salad Wraps

I thought I was doing something wrong because this recipe seemed too easy. We didn't have white cheddar cheese, so I just used the regular stuff. Most important to me is how does it taste leftover. This was definitely a winner the first, second, and third times! I also didn't feel like a fatty which is always a plus. If you aren't really a sauce person, just decrease the amount of ranch dressing in the recipe. We had it for dinner but I think it would be great for a picnic lunch. Alex enjoyed everything but the lettuce, and I think that was because he can't chew it yet. This recipe comes highly recommended from our little family to yours!

Avocado Ranch Salad Wraps
source: In the Kitchen the Costco Way
makes 4-6 servings

1 avocado, cut in 1/2-inch dice
2 t. fresh lime juice
1/2 c. ranch dressing
Salt and pepper
1 pound turkey breast
4 c. mixed salad greens
4-6 10-inch flour tortillas
12 grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/4 cup sliced red onion
3 T. shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese

1. Combine avocado, lime juice, and ranch dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Shred turkey and stir into the avocado mixture.
3. Place salad greens on tortillas, followed by the dressed shredded turkey, tomatoes, cilantro, onion, and cheese.
4. Roll up the wraps and cut in half.


The end is near.

The end of our time in Pennsylvania, that is. We move in six days! We have been up to a few things that I never wrote about over the last two weeks. Here are some activities, including what Alex has been up to:

We went to the DaVinci Science Center one last time. It is weird to say that it is our last time going somewhere (maybe not ever, who knows). Alex just climbs right onto the displays to play with them. Little menace.

Sam's parents got us a tent for Christmas and we hadn't even set it up yet! We decided to try it out so we would make sure it had all of the pieces and so that we wouldn't be embarrassed when we went "tenting" that weekend. Alex made his own little tent, although I do not think his would keep rain out.

We thought the universe was against us going camping. On Friday morning, I noticed Alex has white spots on his lips. I suspected he had thrush so I tried to find a doctor we could go to here in Allentown. We never got a pediatrician here since we were only here between his 9-month and 12-month appointments anyway. We made it so close to the end without needing a doctor! No one would take him and they kept telling us to go to the emergency room. We finally went to an EmergiCenter after getting permission from our insurance company. Waste of money. Anyway, Alex loves the prescription and when he sees the bottle he walks over and opens his mouth.

Despite all of the challenges, we made it camping! This was our first time camping as a family! We did a weak version of camping though. We are convinced that people in Pennsylvania don't know how to camp, and since we are trying out new Pennsylvania things, we participated fully. You have to have a reservation to go camping and it was kind of expensive ($28)! We made the most of it anyway, and came home without a single bug bite! That's my kind of camping! It is amazing how even the smell of bugspray can bring back so many memories from camping when I was younger. Mostly memories of Yellowstone: the gross yet fascinating smell of geysers, and the ridiculously large amount of bugs. Sam was happy because after we got out of the car, he started chasing frogs. He was skipping around he was so giddy. A really nice guy came over and helped Sam collect firewood and build the fire. It was unnecessary (Eagle Scout, hello!), but very kind. When Sam was kicking the firewood to break it into smaller pieces, Alex would crack up. He loved it!

Alex found his way into the ashes of an old fire and then smeared them everywhere, including my face. Next time we go camping, we are taking his high chair! We wanted to take it this time but my car was too full.

Alex really enjoyed playing in the tent... until we tried to put him to sleep. He would freak out every time we would leave him alone in the tent; he just wanted to be held and so we held him. For over an hour. The morning also came very early. We made breakfast, packed up, played catch, walked around the lake, then came home and went swimming, and took naps. It was great. Except that Sam was feeling sick. He had been sick before we went camping but we think the campfire aggravated it. He is still sick!

Alex always climbs into the laundry basket. I think it is his favorite place to be. Maybe we didn't need to buy a crib!

Alex fell into a piece of wood and scratched his arm. I like to do anything I can to annoy Sam so I put a Barbie Band-Aid on his scratch. I gave Sam these Barbie Band-Aids as a joke while we were dating. He uses them so frequently (sarcasm) that we still have almost every single one left! I will use them as often as possible on Alex.

Alex has completely sworn off baby food. We have so much in the cabinets and he won't even keep a bite of it in his mouth anymore. I have practically emptied our food supply into his little tummy. He eats everything, as long as it looks like it would be something we would eat.

Sam's team won the semi-final game and they will be in the championship game this Wednesday. He is very excited and hopes they can win again!

We get bored and smash our child. Alex looks slightly uncomfortable in this dog pile. He didn't even have any weight on him! What a baby.

I finally did my sorry excuse for scrapbooking. I have been meaning to do that all summer. I am really terrible at scrapbooking. In case you couldn't tell by the organization of these pictures, creativity is not a forte of mine.

I got out of the shower on Saturday and I couldn't find Sam or Alex anywhere! I walked out on the balcony and there they were just lounging in the grass! Alex started walking to me and then realized he wouldn't be able to reach so he turned around. But he really wanted to come to me, I guess. He just couldn't make up his mind!

Sam told me that Alex stole a little girl's bottle during Elder's Quorum and he was holding it and drinking out of it like he knew what he was doing. Alex would drink out of a bottle when we needed him to, but that was not very often, and we would always hold it for him; he never learned how to hold it himself. We were trying to teach him how to use a sippy cup and it was completely lost on him. He wouldn't tip the cup at all; instead he would just bite it. I am giving full credit to that little girl for teaching Alex how to tip the cup. When we came home from church, he drank from the sippy cup like a champion.

I have a toddler. I got the email with information on my child and usually the subject is, "Your Baby This Week." But after his first birthday it said, "Your Toddler This Week." I am so old. Not old old, but one year older than I was one year ago. My baby is holding his own sippy cup. That's it, who's contributing to his college fund? I need to write a will and pick out my coffin.

Alex tore up a magazine (with permission) and then walked across the pages. He could not get them off of his feet. It was hilarious.

Alex enjoyed his very first lollipop. You should have seen the hissy fit he threw when we took it away. He was so angry.


In case you didn't believe me...

Alex really is walking. Here is a much better video of him. You can start :31 to get to the good part. As a bonus, you also get to see him faceplant, play catch with himself, and you get a few butt shots of him in his little onesie. I really can't believe anyone wouldn't watch this video.


Tuesday Thyme: Roasted Garlic Prime Rib Roast with Fennel

Roasted Garlic Prime Rib Roast with Fennel
Adapted from In the Kitchen the Costco Way
serves 8-10

1 fennel bulb
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large white onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 T. olive oil
1 prime rib beef roast, 3 1/2 - 4 pounds
Salt and black pepper
2 T. whole fennel seeds, toasted,
1/4 c. prepared roasted garlic puree
2 c. beef broth

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Remove tops of fennel bulbs and reserve. Cut the bulbs into 1 1/2-inch chunks. Combine with carrots and onions in a roasting pan. Toss with olive oil.
3. Season the roast with salt and pepper to taste.
4. In a small bowl, combine toasted fennel seeds with roasted garlic puree. Spread the mixture over the top of the roast. Place the roast on top of the vegetables.
5. Cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook until desired doneness is reached. Remove beef to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
6. Thirty minutes before the roast is done, prepare the fennel sauce: Cut reserved fennel bulb tops into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Combine with beef broth in a small saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain. Serve the sauce with the roast.

The meat looks pretty in the picture but I kind of get cranky if my meat is still red so we put it back in the oven for a while. This is a lot of fennel. The recipe called for two bulbs but I will only put one in if I make this again. If you don't like the taste of fennel (anise), this recipe probably isn't for you. I think the original recipe said this serves four people. That would be if there were no side dishes and the four people were starving to death. Sam really liked the fennel sauce but I preferred the dish without it so you can do it either way you would like.


Philly Food

After Sam and I got married, I took two cooking classes at BYU. The first one required very little work but the second one had a requirement that each student present on a country or area that had a food culture. There was a girl who presented on Philadelphia. At that time, I had never been to Philly but I remember more of her presentation than any others (including my own)! She said Philadelphia is famous for four foods: hoagies, soft pretzels, cheesesteaks, and water ice. The first time I heard her say, "Water ice" I was so confused. What is water ice? How can it be water and ice at the same time? It turns out is is an Italian ice/slushy/shaved ice type thing. Each time we go, they have different flavors because they rotate through them. They also let you have as many samples as you want before you order! I wasn't able to have any our first few times to Philadelphia. I would see street vendors selling it but we never stopped. When we moved to Allentown, I learned that there was a place to get water ice right down the street. I have become addicted. I have to stop myself from going every day.

P.S. Hoagies, cheesesteaks, and soft pretzels in Philadelphia are the best I have tasted in my entire life!


An awkward situation.

I think I am starting to feel old. I have been reflecting a lot on my "younger" days. I never knew Sam during his younger days (duck and cover!) but I like to think of our days together as a new couple. We have a few stories we like to tell from when we first started dating but this is definitely one of our favorites.

Sam and I met in our BYU singles ward when I was 17 and he was 25. At the end of my first semester (so I was 18 by then), he asked me on a date. A few days after our first date, he was over at my house along with a few friends from our ward. Sam walked by and for some reason I was startled because I jumped back. A boy who had heard Sam had taken an 18-year-old on a date but did not know it was me said, "Don't worry, Emily. Sam doesn't hit 18-year-olds, he dates them." That was an incredibly awkward moment.

That guy got teased about that comment for months. I am really glad Sam decided to date an 18-year-old, even though it was against his "rules."


We choose you, Merkleys!

Title: brought to you by the nerdy version of Emily who used to play and watch Pokemon.

We have definitely learned what it feels like to be temporary in a ward. We have had wards welcome us whole-heartedly even knowing that we would be there for a few months and then we have had other wards that have clumped us into the "we don't even need to learn their names because they won't be here long enough" group (someone actually said that in our ward in Denver).

The ward here in Allentown has been very inclusive. I have received a calling and Sam and I have both spoken in church. Sam goes out about once a week with the missionaries now.

I am the ward chorister! Again! I think this is my calling in life or something. Luckily I love it!

The only problem with this ward is that they don't have any activities. Or very few at least. I have been spoiled by BYU wards and BYU-esque wards. The only activity they have had here is a Memorial Day picnic. We were invited to a barbecue on July 5th but we were already in Philadelphia. I guess there are other activities such as book club and people go to the park but I didn't find out about those things until very recently.

It has been a pretty lonely summer. We love the area but I am not sure I will be pushing to come back here. I am excited to get back to where there are a lot of babies (so Alex can have friends) and a lot of young moms (so I can have friends)! It's pretty hard to beat Ithaca though. We are looking forward to going home.


This is how we celebrate.

We have had another very exciting weekend. We have to jam everything into the weekend since we have an early bedtime during the week.

On Friday, we went out to dinner at Boston's Pizzeria. We used to always go out to eat here for the tech dinners when we lived in Denver. It was such a fun memory to go there again.

On Saturday, we went to Dorney Park. It started out really fun but the day ended with us filing a complaint at Guest Services. There were some employees who were extremely oblivious and rude.

On Sunday, we celebrated Alex's birthday. The cake did not turn out as well as I was hoping. I had very limited decorating supplies (one decorating tip and only butter knives to spread the frosting). Something didn't seem right about trying to feed Alex good food for a year and then as soon as he turned one giving him a big fat chocolate cake so we made an apple spice cake that had no eggs or sugar in it.

He was much more timid than we were expecting. It looked like he was trying to pace himself and eat the entire thing. Only a few crumbs ended up on the ground. When we first placed the cake in front of him, he looked at us like, "Wait, can I touch it?" It was very cute.

In case you can't tell, it is a computer. I think it looked better in person. Or at least I can say that because you didn't see it in person so you wouldn't know... He looked like a smurf. But then we gave him a bath and he was so fresh and so clean!

He didn't really know what to do with the presents. In true Alex fashion, he was mostly interested in the paper. He would put it in his mouth and then pull it out and try to feed it to us. We gave him plastic golf clubs and a plastic golf "bag." Once he saw that, he wouldn't touch anything else. He is always walking around with those golf clubs in his hands.

For Family Home Evening on Monday we went to batting cages and miniature golfing. Sam ended five over par and I was 10 over par. They had tons of water fountains and they were all blue! I was kind of weird looking.

Alex ate some ice cream even though he didn't want anything to do with it on his birthday!


Tuesday Thyme: Burgers and Buns

I found these recipes here and here and she originally got it from Cook's Illustrated and here. These are delicious hamburger buns and they freeze really well. I just microwaved them to thaw them and they were just like they had been the day I made them.

Homemade Sesame Seed Buns
Makes 12

1 1/4 oz. package active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp.)
1 1/3 c. milk, heated to 115 degrees
1 1/2 t. + 2 T. sugar
4 c. flour
1 1/4 t. kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 T. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes, softened
3 t. sesame seeds
canola oil for greasing

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast, milk, and 1 1/2 t. sugar, let foam.
2. Stir in remaining sugar, flour, salt, and egg with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until dough forms.
3. Replace paddle with dough hook. Add butter.
4. Knead on medium-high until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, about 8 minutes.
5. Transfer dough to a bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap. Let rest until doubled, 1-2 hours.
6. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
7. Divide dough into 12 portions, shape each into a tight ball. Place balls on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Lightly spray or brush balls with oil, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1/2 hours. Uncover dough and, using a spray bottle filled with water, moisten dough; sprinkle each ball with 1/4 tsp sesame seeds.
8. Bake, rotating tray once in oven, until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Let cool.

Grilled Cheeseburgers
makes 4 burgers

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1 tsp (or to taste) kosher salt
1/2 tsp (or to taste) freshly ground pepper)
1/2 - 3/4 c. cheddar cheese
Desired toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, pickles, etc.)

1. Place hamburger in large bowl. Break up with your fingers so the meat is loose.
2. Add salt, pepper, and cheese. Mix gently with your fingers until combined.
3. Divide into burgers. Shape into 1/2" - 3/4" burgers gently, pressing meat so that it holds together but is not tightly packed.
4. After each burger is formed, lay on a flat surface and press gently into the center of each burger a sligh but definite circular indentation (about 1/2" circumference). The purpose of this is to make the center of each burger slightly thinner than the rest of the burger so the burger will cook at a uniform rate.
5. After preheating and cleaning grill, cook each burger about 3 minutes on each side. Do NOT press down on hamburger with spatula during grilling.
6. Serve immediately with your favorite condiments and toppings.


Private Language

I read on dooce and here a few weeks ago about private languages within relationships. I laughed because Sam and I definitely have a foreign language in our own marriage. I think everyone probably does; they form based on similar experiences from spending so much time together.

In hopes that people will stop looking at us like we are crazy when we say something, here are a few of our little language nuances:

1. Sam and I will often say, "I dare you to [do this]..." when we want the other person to do something for us. We've dared each other, so we have to do it, right?

2. When something is crazy, we make a brain exploding/splattering sound. Not sure why. We mostly do it when Alex sees something and gets really excited about it. Like he can't fathom what is going on so his brain explodes.

3. We will say, "Remember that time you [did something ridiculous]?" The thing about this one is that I will say it to him when I was actually the person to do the ridiculous thing, or vice versa. We love blaming things on each other.

4. "Surprised you didn't know that." This is pretty self-explanatory. It is just a tongue-in-cheek way to tease each other.

5. We assume everything is ours. So if Sam eats something, like a bagel, I say, "MY bagel?!" As if I am so offended he would think to steal my most precious bagel. This is a favorite.

6. Other snippets come from televisions shows we watch together and love. Most of them come from "Scrubs" such as responding, "So is your face" to things the other person says. Example:
Emily: The moon looks crazy tonight!
Sam: So is your face.
You don't even have to worry about it making sense because as a character in Scrubs would say, "So is your face always makes sense."

7. There is another character in "Scrubs" who is always giving high-fives. But each high-five is uniquely named and he is infamous for hitting the other person's hand really hard. The names of the high-five will relate to something that is going on, such as, "Too soon five," "Betrayal five," "Euphemism five," and "Sterile five" (when they are in surgery so no contact can be made). Sam and I most often say, "Too soon five" when we bring up a topic that is still sensitive to talk about, but there are many other favorites as well.

8. "Rural Juror" - This is from "30 Rock" and it happens because no one can understand that one of the characters is saying, "Rural Juror" but it has been too long to ask what she is actually saying. So if the other person is muttering or we don't know what somebody is talking about, we start saying, "Rurr Jurr."

I am sure there are others but they are now so ingrained in our speech that I don't even notice them anymore. I will dare someone to do something and they just look at me confused. Hmm, remember that time you dared someone to do something and they had no idea what you were talking about and started saying something about Rurr Jurr? No? Too soon five? Well so is your face.


My little baby's all grown up and *sniff* turning one!

You have a tissue? I started crying while thinking about writing this post. My baby is a year old today. The past year has flown by. I feel like someone is playing a practical joke and ripped a few months out of the calendar (it was probably Alex, he's always ripping up important papers). We are so happy Alex joined our family last August and I cannot figure out how we were so lucky. He is so well-behaved and is almost always happy. He is an amazing sleeper and I can put him in his crib even when he isn't tired and he will go to sleep. He loves playing with things that aren't really toys and sometimes I wonder why we even bought toys! He is my little sweetheart who will only cuddle when he's tired or nursing. I love the sweet moments we have together while he is nursing. I can't believe I thought about stopping around three months. I cannot say enough good things about him. He is the sunshine in our lives.

Weight: 18 pounds, 10 ounces
Length: 29 inches

He climbs in and out of the laundry basket.

 He got toilet paper stuck to his foot!

He even looks cute while looking dumb.

He rips up important notebooks while I am sleeping.

He puckers his lips.

He climbs over everything instead of going around it.

He stands up his books.

He still loves the swings.

He relaxes in his high chair.

He climbs over the arm rest and onto the end table.

He plays RockBand.

He gets stuck in corners.

He plays with the plunger... until we see him with it.

He finds pacifiers that had been missing for weeks!

He snuggles in the mornings.

He loves the laundry basket.

He will not stay seated in the grocery cart!

He gets tired from playing with his toys.

Playing with the keyboard.

He has a cute, huge smile.

He uses anything he can find to get a little higher.

He won't play with the cell phone once it has been locked.

He learned how to flush the toilet.

He won't walk when we want him to.

He helps push the grocery cart.

He gives good high fives.

He tips over.

He eats dirt and other sick things outside.

He eats the bark in the park.

He cries when Daddy walks out the door.

He does a bear crawl when on the sidewalk.

He crawls under his crib.

He gets in fights with pillows.

He is very smart.

He plays with his food and makes big messes.

Sometimes food is funny.

He cannot walk straight.

In a rare moment, he just relaxes on the ground.

He pulls the rubber off the door stoppers and chews on them.

He is saying, "Nom Nom Nom!" Seriously!

He attacks the camera and the camera attacks him.

We torture our son in the following ways:

We put him in the washing machine. He is terrified of it. He clings onto our arms when we walk near the washer, dryer, or dishwasher.

This is probably why he's so afraid.

He fell onto the edge of the TV stand.

He dropped a dumbbell on his foot.

We make "chalk" outlines of his body.

We feed him sugar cereal.

We bury him under clothes.

Here are a few more things Alex does for which we do not have a matching picture.
...doesn't like mandarin oranges. So strange.
...will eat any food from us but does not like baby food very much.
...is always making blowing noises.
...plays catch with us or by himself.
...loves all things water: bath, pool, puddles.
...puts his arms up when we are putting on or taking off his shirts.
...pulls all of Sam's socks off the shelf. Every day.
...will not play with the laptop if it is sitting on the ground closed.
...takes off his own shoes and socks and gets very excited when he gets his socks off.
...opens the bathroom cupboard and gets into the garbage can.
...pulls all of the nuts off of the baking shelf in the kitchen.
...teases you with food. He holds it out to you and then if you open your mouth, he quickly sticks it in his own mouth!
...chews things with his lips puckered because his only teeth are in the front.
 ...does the splits when we set him down to change his diaper.
...grinds his teeth.

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