Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hats on Hugo

I'm at a loss for words tonight. To sum things up, our day was great. We had a super fun playdate with our pals. Lots of running, jumping, tossing of balls at adults heads, and yes, that would be Hugo doing the tossing. We ate yummy dumplings, tortellini, cold pasta salad, salad greens, watermelon, and oatmeal cookies - and that only describes lunch! The day was just super. Super Duper!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kitchen Curtains

Today I washed and ironed the curtains before I hung them in the kitchen. I smartened up today, the ironing and hanging part took place during a certain someones nap. The kitchen is coming together bit by bit and it's very satisfying that all our hard work has almost reached it's completion. But don't let that fool you about our place. We have a TON of work ahead of us yet. The rest of the floor needs electrical, drywall, insulation, ceilings, floors refinished, a pantry, paint . . . possible wood burning furnace installed in the already existing fireplace. Kinda scary. Wish us luck and a bit of sanity to hold us through.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fast, Very Fast

After breakfast, I checked over my new to do list. I decided to tackle the kitchen curtains, they've been calling my name for months. At the same time, Hugo checked over his "trouble" to do list and guess how he chose to busy himself . . . ? The damage could have been much, much worse. I didn't catch him in the act. I stumbled upon the keyboard and forgotten, topless sharpie while searching for something else. Something Else, now that's a good name for our little Hugo. Something Else.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

To Do List

Our Sunday is almost over. The new week is upon us and it looks to be a busy one. There is yard work - always more yard work to be found. I want to have some photos printed for gifts, that means a trip to Sam's Club. The Young Women are still preparing for their YW in Excellence night. They need quite a bit of prodding to finish their videos up. Wish me luck. We also have a first aid clinic to attend this Saturday to prepare the girls for Camp this summer. I hope they all show so we wont have to plan a rain date. There is painting to be done inside the house. The cement on the veranda needs to be sealed. The front and back doors need to be cleaned and painted. Let's see, what else? The summer clothes are needed from the attic. The winter bedding, sweaters, coats and hats all need to be washed and sent up to the attic. Cesar finally hung the curtain rods in our new kitchen for me. I have been dying to make curtains and now the time is here. I'm sure we'll have a playdate or two mixed in somewhere. But no reading for me! Only knitting and only in the evening.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Loving This Blog Thing

I have missed writing my blog. I have neglected it. I have longed for it. I have missed lurking about on others blogs. I am surprised by my actually truly missing it. I think I'm officially hooked. I love that it has become my diary where I can add photos and miscellaneous items as visual highlights. I want to write about and share our day. It makes me so very happy. Something to look forward to.

Cesar is even more surprised with the dedication I have shown to blogging. Cesar is rarely separated from his laptop. He checks scores of baseball, soccar, and football. He keeps an eye on his stocks. He plays around with his Facebook page. He reads the news on various sites. Local news and weather, foreign headlines, local, regional, and international politics. He updates his spot on IMDB. Cesar is a regular on eBay. He buys and sells. Naturally he loves you tube. Searching the web is one of the very first things he does after waking, and the last before he closes his eyes each night. All Things Alissa now ranks on Cesar's list of daily sites to visit. I am honored. It means a lot to me to have his interest and support.

Two reason why I have not been creating daily posts ... reading deep into the night and Hugo has been fighting a fever. I finally finished the Twilight trilogy. They were wonderful and fun to read. For your information, I am an Edward fan and didn't realize that another choice was possible! Am looking forward to book four. Somewhat nervous for the movie. Wish I lived closer to Millie so we could see it together. So, hopefully now that I am not reading, I will get back to knitting! I am now very, very behind.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Early this morning we rose and down the stairs we went. We hurried and opened the door for Rodrigo and Bella, they quickly raced outside. They barked themselves silly at who knows what. Hugo and I ate our Cheerios, fruit and chocolate milk. Normally I would turn on cartoons for him to watch but not today. I don't know why I didn't. I was busy. We had a playdate scheduled and I had volunteered to help with lunch plans. So, I was boiling eggs, for egg salad, and mixing up biscuits for shortcake when I spied Hugo out the corner of my eye. Something blue was smeared from ear to ear. At first I thought he had found some magic markers. I dropped my wooden spoon and took a closer look. He had found his Easter basket, hidden away and forgotten about by me, in a kitchen cabinet. I hadn't worried when he wanted to play with it because I believed it to be empty. It did hold grass and plastic eggs. I think there were even a few glitter insects left inside but no candy. Well, of course,
Hugo discovered a few malted robbin eggs hidden away amongst the grass in the basket. He was quite pleased with himself! His impish grin reminded me of Max from the cartoon Max & Ruby which Hugo loves so much.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Couldn't Put it Down

I am a day behind. Today is Monday but I need to back track to yesterday, Sunday. As church ended and I was rushing to clean up the Young Women's room, Dannielle a Mia Maid, stopped me and asked if I was still interested in reading the book Twilight. Dani is obsessed with reading. She reads during our lessons. She reads through the majority of our Mutual activities. She has admitted to reading at the dinner table. And I believe she does. For our YW in Excellence program the girls are being video taped showing off a talent, which could be anything. I told them they could even make their bed if they have a "talent" for it which they enjoy and would like to share. Trying to help them think out of the traditional talent box. For Dani's video she is going to read.

Dani (and almost all other females I know) have been talking about this Twilight book since last summer. Everyone devoured the book in mere minutes it seemed. My sister Millie read all three books in three days. My friend Shara stopped all housework and barely fed her children while reading the series. I didn''t take the bite. I have a problem reading or watching whatever I know everyone else is into. I may read a book years after the initial craze and then run around excitedly telling everyone I meet how great the book is. Strange, I know.

Dani had the book in her car. She tempted me and I caved. While Hugo napped I started to read. I didn't want to read much because I was looking forward to my Sunday afternoon nap. I was torn. Nap or new book, nap or new book? I decided on a little of both. So I began with a slow start. Hugo woke me and we played outside. Then, into the house I went to pull dinner together. Decided on my own version of shepherds pie. First though, I brought the book down to the kitchen. I read a bit more in between preparing the meal and cleaning up while it was in the oven. After dinner I whipped up some caramel, walnut brownies while Cesar and Hugo played in the yard. As the brownies baked away, I picked up the book again. Once Hugo was settled for the night I eagerly began to read in earnest. I read and read. Cesar passed out in front of the TV with his tummy full of brownies. I looked at the clock and left him to sleep on in his oversized chair. He looked comfy and I just wasn't at at good stopping place! Finally I woke him. I told Cesar it was time for bed but, would he mind if I read with the light on for a little bit?? I read in bed with my nightstand light burning away until 5am. Poor Cesar. . . I wasn't quite finished but my eyes were beginning to cross and then I heard a crash from Hugo's room and two seconds later crying. He had fallen out of bed. So this morning I finished the final few pages plus the teaser for the next book. I gotta get the second book and soon. Here comes my plug - If you haven't read the series, start now! The fourth book and the movie are both due out sometime this coming summer. Check out the the author Stephanie Meyer's website for info on her books and upcoming movie at

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What's in a Name?

I saw this on decided to steal it. Just a little fun and p.s. Millie, Maggie, Sarah, Ruth Ann, and Rachel - Tag You're It!

1.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Moose Tracks Snickerdoodle
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Green Elephant
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name/maiden name, city where you were born)
Anne M. Menomonie
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)
7.SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
The Pink Ginger Ale
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Charles James
9.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names )
Kay Norman
10. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 6th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Murphy Memphis
11. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Fall Dahlia
12. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)
Kiwi Jeanie
13. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Cheerio Dogwood
14. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)
The Knit Rain Tour

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Strike A Pose

We took picture after picture playing with the timer on the camera today. I haven't used this function since last summer and had a bit of brain freeze. Thus, the photo of my knees. I mistakenly took a movie of myself sitting in the grassy moss. I happened to have been trying to coax Hugo to run quick and join me in the photo that never happened. Finally we got it right. Hugo had a fantastic time running back and forth from our posing spot to the camera. He thought it was a terrific game.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


How wonderful our day was today, let me count the ways. We had sunshine and cool breezes. Friends came to play. We searched for potato bugs, centepedes, and salamanders under rocks and around tree stumps. We watched trains roar by and quickly pass from our view. We walked through the woods and found a giant muddy puddle to jump in. We splurged and picked up sesame chicken from our favorite chinese spot. I didn't know before but now I do that Hugo loves sesame chicken! We ate raspberry bars straight from the freezer. Slurped down some icy ginger ale through bendy straws. We both crashed hard and slept well. After dinner another friend arrived for a visit and we headed out for a walk into the village. We saw cars, trucks, motorcycles and balloons. We passed busy softball fields. We watched kids ride by on bicycles, another of Hugo's favorite things. We played at the park. Tried out the swings, slides, and climbing structure. Hugo didn't want to leave. We made a little scene. Once home we fed dog treats to Layla and Ms Sherry shared chocolate Teddy Grahms and a juice box with us. Hugo was pretty dusty smelling so off to the tub we went to splash in a warm bubble bath. We dried off, lotioned up, and dressed in warm jammies. Hugo could hardly keep his eyes open at this point. We skipped story time, said our prayer and our I love yous. We hugged, kissed, had butterfly kisses and then blew kisses. I was nearly kissed out. We had a beautiful day. What a true blessing it was.

One More

*P.S. - This picture is special to me because it shows Hugo asking for help. It was a wonderful day when he figured out how to utter this simple yet meaningful word - help. Now, he will grab us by the hand, speak this lovely word and then lead us to what he desires.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


We love our yard. It has a very unique shape so that it has many different areas within it. This can be interesting and beautiful. It is also a lot of work. I still enjoy working in the yard, don't get me wrong. It's just that around 3pm today as I surveyed the tasks that I had completed it wasn't so impressive. I've been working my tail off outside and I'm not sure anyone would have a clue as to what I've done. There is no end to the amount of work needed to keep our jungle of a property in line. My house needs a complete spring cleaning on the inside. I feel torn between continuing with the yard work and my spring cleaning chores. The yard is winning the battle at the moment. I am dividing beds of flowers and plants which must be done now. They seem to be growing an inch or two each evening and soon it will be too late to divide them. I also want to put in some seeds for salad greens and other summer vegetables.

Hugo is an outside boy. In the morning, once I tell him we need to hurry and get dressed so that we can go outside, he comes running. Before going out the door we sit on the steps and pull on our boots. He loves, loves his boots. They are by far his favorite article of clothing. He can now say "boot" and "pull". He doesn't yet get that there are rocks in the garden for walking on. He sorta makes his own paths. Zig zags this way and that as I quietly freak out over my baby plants being trampled by his camo boots. I've tried over and over to explain how fun it can be to hop from rock to rock. Hugo has translated this to mean from plant to plant.

Hugo Left a Clue

This is what I found when I went in search of my son late this evening.

After putting Hugo down for the night I received a phone call. So there I sat on the couch chatting away knowing that my son was sweetly sleeping in his bedroom. Take a wild guess who appeared in the doorway? Hugo. All smiles with his shoosha plugged in and clutching the knitted artifact which used to be his baby blanket tightly to his chest. His eyes were all blinky from adjusting to the light in the room as he spied me starring at him. I covered the mouthpiece on the phone and told him to get his bottom back in bed. He smiled at me. I didn't have the energy to fight with him so I let him stand there for a few more minutes. Then I made eye contact and pointed in the direction of his room and said, "March!" He smiled at me again. So, I again chose to ignore him for a bit and continued to chatt away. When I next looked up he was gone from view. I kept right on chatting up a storm on my telephone while sitting on the couch. A long while later, and after the phone call had ended, I was still sitting on the couch. I was trying to decide if I wanted to turn the television on in search of a movie or did I want to knit, or should I play a favorite, loved movie which would allow me to knit with little viewing interruption needed? Then I wondered where was Hugo and what had he decided to do? I have told him to "March" back to bed many an evening before and it has never worked. Had I finally succeeded? Had he actually listened and followed through with climbing back into bed? Up off the couch I jumped. Quickly and curiously I went to his room. Something of some small importance to know here about our dear Hugo, is that whenever he leaves his room during sleeping hours, nap or nighttime, he always closes the door behind him. Once in the hallway I had a clear view of His bedroom door being neatly shut but would I find him behind that door??? Nope. Not there, his bed was empty. I was a little nervous then. I had ignored him tonight and never knowingly let him roam like this before. Just as the alarm was about to sound in me, I spied that our bedroom door was shut. Cesar and I don't shut our bedroom door. Hugo had left a clue. But I must say here, at this point, that the alarm had not been fully disarmed in my brain so that when I opened my bedroom door I threw on the overhead light for a quick scan of the room. And I must also admit here, publicly, that I did not make my bed this morning. I really do love a made bed and my bed usually is made up so nicely, really. The quick scan of the room didn't help much because the bedding was a disaster, all bunched up in places. Quickly toward the head of the bed I went. There it was, a tuft of hair and a bit of a precious hand poking out from under the covers. Alarm fully disabled, kick in loving, cuteness sweeping over my heart. I felt I must quickly retrieve my camera from downstairs and take a picture before he woke. So, I ran down the stairs and then I ran up the stairs and Hugo hadn't moved one bit. I snapped the first shot and then slowly peeled back the comforter to get a better view. He didn't throw his arm over his eyes because of the light, that's how he was sleeping under the comforter. I then scooped him up and snuggled him close to me for a brief minute before walking him back to his room and bed.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Two Yummies

Two of my favorite things here for your viewing pleasure. First, I finished the baby gift for my friend Michelle's soon to arrive little boy. I do need to sew in the zipper. . . Tomorrow I shall tackle it, promise. I am nervous about how to install the zipper but I'll do it right away in the morning. I am very happy with how the hoodie turned out and am anxious to make one for Hugo. I had him try it on just to get an idea of how it might look. He complained a lot but it looked very sweet on him, and small. Gifts come first, no Hugo knitting for awhile - I have to remind myself daily of this. My second favorite thing to share are these Raspberry Streusel Bars. Yum, yum rich! Almost overly so, small, bite-size squares are all you need. I found the recipe on the Food Network courtesy of Mondavi from the show Cooking Live.

For the base:
3 cups flour
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup finely chopped, blanched hazelnuts (I will double this next time, I used walnuts)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Process all ingredients in food processor until they begin to hold together. Pour into sheet pan and press evenly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden brown (about 20 to 25 minutes). Take out and cool for at least 15 mi

For the filling and Streusel:
2 (12 ounce) jars raspberry jam (I used a 32oz jar - all of it)
20 ounces flour
20 ounces unsalted butter
16 ounces sugar

Spread the raspberry jam evenly over the baked crust. Combine the flour, butter and sugar in a mixer or food processor and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the jam and return to oven. Bake until streusel is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool com

4 ounces white chocolate
4 ounces semisweet chocolate

Melt each chocolate separately and place in a pastry bag or plastic bag with a corner cut off and drizzle over the cooled raspberry bars.

*I waited and waited for my top layer of streusel to turn a golden brown but it never happened. It left me wondering if the oven temp should have been increased? I don't know. I do know that my lovely and crumbly streusel topping melted into a flat, flat layer. I used paper towel to sop up some of the extra butter pooling on top. Yuck. For my taste these need to be served cold. Last night I put the remaining bars in the freezer to keep. Tonight I had a craving and raided the freezer. They were delicious.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Yard Play and Work

Saturday is Fun With Papa Day. The weather man predicted a cold and rainy day but instead we had beautiful sunshine and warmth. We exited the house all dressed in sweaters and coats to find out just how over dressed we were. Back inside I went to retrieve simple shirts for us all. I couldn't resist dressing Hugo up in his HBA sweater one last time. In the photos his exposed wrists and no longer fitting shoulders are plain to see!

Hugo loves to follow Cesar around the yard. Doesn't matter what he might be doing, all is interesting to our young Hugo. Today they packed up the garbage and recycling into the back of the truck. Off we three rode together to the dump. I'm not sure why, but I love to ride along in the truck on dump run days. Maybe because it brings back memories of dump runs with my Father when I was a little girl in California. He would always stop at a gas station and let us choose a treat for ourselves. My brother Joshua and I would almost always pick out Big League Chew. We loved the stuff. I can still smell the almost overpowering scent of those massive piles of trash. I can hear the sea gulls crying out as they flew so close above our heads. And I can still see the yellow tractors pushing those massive heaps of trash up one garbage pile and down the next. It seemed as if the dump went on forever. Most of all, I remember how loved I felt in the presence of my Father.

This is my wish for Hugo. To continue to have opportunities of play and work with his Papa. And that he may always have a desire to follow Cesar around no matter what he may be doing.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Our day has ended. The week is approaching its close and I am tired. I am sleepy and achy. I've had a migraine troubling me for the past two days. The Husband is sleeping. Hugo with his achy gums and runny nose is sleeping. Rodrigo and Annabelle are sleeping at my feet, curled into the blanket I have wrapped myself into. They wait for a sign from me that it's time to retire to the bedroom. I can't sleep. My mind is full and busy and sore.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Hugo was born two years ago today. I found myself in a very reflective mood since waking with Hugo beside me this morning. We are not a "family bed" family but his two year molars are threatening to appear and our night was rough. I was so sleepy myself that I ended up bringing him into our bedroom to be near me. I'm not sure if he really wanted to be near me. Hugo isn't a big snuggler, never has been.

While he was the bump which formed the shape of my belly, I worked hard to prepare our house for him. Cesar and I had spread out far and wide throughout the house. We had to condense, pull back, toss out, and push many boxes up into the attic. Finally, a room was cleared. I had a plan. I needed help. Cesar wasn't so sure about the plan. He kinda fought me in executing the plan, but in the end he loved the space it became. Declared Hugo's room to be the best in the house, and we had done it together!

Certain elements in the room plagued my mind and kept me up into the wee hours of the night. Namely, the crib. I had no idea prepregnancy how difficult this decision would be for me. My pregnant brain froze and fixated on my choice of this dumb crib. I drove poor Cesar nuts. Finally I chose a crib in a natural finish. The other furniture items in the room were easy. They included a fancy dresser we found on the street in front of our apartment in Chelsea, a bookcase, a child's armoir, a nightstand, and a rocker - which were all pieces we had elsewhere in the house. I assigned Cesar the job of painting them all a pretty cream color. He went out and purchased a spray paint gun to speed his job along. Gotta have his tools. Our friend Ruth Ann lent me her beautiful, blue bassinet to keep in our bedroom. At the time, I assumed we would use the bassinet once the baby came home and for who knows how long.

On April 9th, 2006 Hugo popped out and was "the bump" no longer. A few days later we drove home to our house. Once inside, I fed him, burped him, changed him and I placed him lovingly in Ruth Ann's beautiful, blue bassinet. Baby Hugo started to cry and cry. Cesar scooped him up and held him. Time went by and again we laid him down in the bassinet and he wailed. My Mom then scooped Hugo up and held him and calmed him. She laid the baby down in the bassinet again and this time he screamed! I scooped him up and asked little Hugo what could possibly be wrong? He didn't say, but he had a certain look in those Elizabeth Taylor, violet colored eyes of his. You see, he had been with me all those long, agonizing, pregnant nights as I lay awake in bed or stared deep into the computer screen searching web site after web site for just the right crib. And then I knew what to do. I walked him into his room, Hugo's room. I gave him the quick tour pointing this and that out to him. Then we sat in our rocker and hummed a little tune. This was exactly what we had both been waiting for. I stood up, turned on his music and placed him in his crib. And Hugo slept.

Hugo has been a perfect sleeper ever since that first day at home. He wasn't much of a napper during the day but he slept through the night at six weeks. He just isn't much of a snuggler. He stiff arms and stiff legs me all the time. I can't remember exactly how old he was when he started to do this but, as I would try to hold and cuddle with him in our rocker he would stretch out his little had and point to his crib and grunt. And even earlier in his young life, he would simply make his body stiff as a board and this I learned was my clue that snuggle time was over. He wanted to be in his crib. The crib has now been converted into its daybed form and that means night time freedom for our little boy. A few times I have woken during the night to find Hugo asleep next to me. I'm pretty sure I've figured out that it isn't me he wants to be near. I think he is in love with our down comforter. I too love it for its warmth, its bulk, and that lovely crinklly sound it makes as my body wrestles underneath. I say this also because he will sleep in and sleep late while under its comfort. Can you guess Hugo's birthday gift from Mom & Dad?! Yes, you are right, his very own down comforter.

P.S. Now at the end of this tale of mine . . . have you wondered what became of Ruth Ann's beautiful, blue bassinet? It remained in our bedroom for the longest time. One day, I finally dialed up Ruth Ann and said we were driving it over in the truck and would be upon her doorstep soon. Her husband Eric met us in the driveway. He asked Cesar to help move something in the back of the truck up the mountain to his father's place. Cesar said no problem. I carried Hugo inside to visit with Ruth Ann and her kids. When the two men returned they said we would never believe what happened. They had left the bassinet in the bed of the truck traveling up the mountain. All was fine when they arrived. On their return trip home, down the mountain they quickly drove. The poor beautiful, blue bassinet pick up some air, flew up and somehow or other, under the truck . It was smashed to smithereens and was no more.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

HBA (Hugo Baptista Augustus) Sweater

Tomorrow is Hugo's birthday. This makes me happy. I am so in love with discovering all that is new for him. Tonight he called his friend Nicole "Cole" and he twisted Taylor's name to pieces but I did recognize what he was trying to say.

I make a strange noise with my lips to call the dogs and lately I've noticed Hugo trying to do the same. It cracks me up! Our staircase has a small landing before the final four steps. For some odd reason Rodrigo will walk up all of the stairs to the landing and then he pauses and waits. He waits for me to give him encouragement to continue up. He has only been doing this since our return home from the holidays. Anyway, it drives me crazy. And he will whine and whine until I tell him what a good boy he is and yada, yada, yada ... he'll finally run up the steps. Today I noticed that Hugo was mimicing me. He stood on the edge of the top step looking down at Rodrigo on the landing below, calling out to him in his gibberish way. Hugo does say Bella (Belll-aaa) but Rodrigo seems rather difficult for him. So, I noticed that not only was he trying to call out to Rodrigo, he had bent his legs at the knee and was patting his theighs as he spoke, just as I do. Very sweet.

This little sweater in the photograph above was one that I made for Hugo. He has worn it over and over again and now it no longer fits. His wrists have stuck out of the sleeves for the past few months but I haven't been able to pack it away. Tomorrow may be that day. A packing away day of baby things since now our boy is growing so big and will be two.