Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hugo's Bike

Hugo's favorite Vovo wanted him to have a bike for his birthday. Hugo himself has wanted a bike since last summer. When we take Hugo shopping to look at bikes his size he tells us (while holding up his hand and shaking it back and forth), "No, no, no!". The problem is that we, his parents, had in mind a little or some may say small and others may simply refer to it as a beginner bike. Hugo will then leave us behind to climb up the adult bikes. Again comes the "No, no, no!" when we foolishly try to convince him how much more the miniature bmx bike with the training wheels would be appropriate than the giant 10 speed with the flashy handles. This is all Shara's fault. My girlfriend Shara babysat him last summer a few times. When her older boys were out playing in the yard with their appropriately sized bikes Hugo wanted to join in. Shara propped him up on her bike seat, Hugo gripped the handle bars and trooper Shara pushed him around her driveway in loops of circles and zig zags. It formed a lasting imprint on his sponge of a brain. "No wimpy, pint sized bikes for me Momma!", is I'm sure what Hugo is really trying to let me know with his gobblly gook speech. We did buy a bike today thanks to Hugo's favorite Vovo. We also picked out his lovely Hot Wheels bike helmet with the matching elbow and knee pads. They came as a set, so please don't give me a hard time! I've already heard it from Cesar. Plus Hugo digs them. He happily wore the elbow and knee pads right up till bath time. Thank you Vovo! XOXO

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


These are some of the lovelies that I found yesterday.

My Mother-In-Law gave me this brown lidded crock. I love it. She said that I can cook in it on the stove and keep things warm in the oven with it. I believe her but I am nervous to try.

This flower photo was taken today.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Big Family Weekend - Monday Finale

This morning found us all dispersed in many different directions again. Momsha and I went to Savers. A fabulous, marvelous, wonderful second hand store. Last week they sent me an email advertising that on Memorial Day everything throughout the store would be 50% off. 50% off! I bought lots and lots of books for Hugo and some to share with friends. You can never have too many books. I purchased a few other beauties which I'll share with you later in the week. Cesar and Raphael test drove a Mini Cooper at the dealership. Popsha and Hugo watched some cartoons, set up for our bar-b-que and ate peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

Tio Raphael recently purchased his first motorcycle. He rode it on over to Providence where Cesar and Hugo checked it alllll out. Hugo wanted to play with the helmet really bad. Cesar said the helmet was too small. Tio Raphael said it fit just right.

We enjoyed yummy food and had a warm and breezy afternoon bar-b-que with the Baptista's.

Time to say good-bye. Kisses all around once more. XOXO

Once on the road and with my tummy so full I began to feel sleepy. I was determined to not pass out and that is when the boredom began to set in ....

Okay, okay, okay - Here is something interesting. We are about to travel under the foot bridge of the Appalachian Trail.

Almost home.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Big Family Weekend - Saturday at the Zoo

Vovo took us all to the Zoo today. We arrived early in the morning. I was hoping that Hugo would run himself silly all morning long and sleep like a log all afternoon long! He did great, no meltdowns. To hold Hugo's interest we did have to keep up the pace and move from exhibit to exhibit. He loved the giraffes and the bunny in the farm area best. All the turtles and tortoise received rave reviews with much excitement naturally. A good part of the day was spent on Papa's shoulders. Once down and running away on his own he was pretty wired and was showing off to all who would look his way. While running ahead of us he tripped and went flying. Ended up with some seriously scraped up knees. We were sad that many of the animals were sleeping as we searched for and peered in at them. A few exhibits were closed due to construction and veterinarian visits. I don't think Hugo noticed. I wish he could tell me what he thought of the experience. He did ask us all day long, "What you doing?" and "What's dat?". He has also added fish and garden to his rapidly growing list of words. Papa spied a Dell's cart near the end of our visit. Dell's is a Rhode Island favorite, frozen lemonade slushie-like drink. I like the watermelon flavor and so did Hugo.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Big Family Weekend - Saturday

We took pity on Turtle today and set him free. This morning we lazed about in bed awhile deciding on how the morning should play out. Cesar made a dump run. I showered and packed our bags for a weekend trip to VoVo's house. Cesar, Hugo, Bella, Rodrigo, Turtle and I all piled into the car and headed down to our local beach. Cesar had placed the turtle in a purple flower bucket for his second and last ride in a car. No roaming back and forth under the seats this trip. Hugo carried the bucket across the sand and down to the waters edge. Cesar fished Turtle out of the bucket and set him off on his speedy way along the shore line. "Aren't you going to take any pictures for the blog??!", I asked excitedly. "Oh yeah." he answered The above is what we have to share with you of Turtles release back into freedom. Did ya miss him? He's there in the lower right hand corner - look again. The turtle was totally stoked to be back on familiar turf. He dove fast and away like a lead rocket out of our site.

The swans were curious and decided to investigate our happenings in their neighborhood. I thought for a brief moment of opening the passenger door and luring them in with our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Swans would make great playdate pals right?

Okay. So here we are on the road heading toward Rhode Island. I found the sky to be amazing today. We had big billowy clouds all the way across the state of Massachusetts. Normally I watch the trees, bluffs, and farms pass by but today's trip was all about the clouds in the sky for me.

Hugo slept like a champ . . . until we pulled over for gas and burgers.

An active train trestle. No trains spied today.

We arrived safe and sound and thank heavens, with almost no traffic. Kisses and kisses went all around. Then in mere minutes we all dispersed. Hugo headed for the basket of cars and trucks next to the television. Cesar went off on an errand with his father. Rodrigo and Bella rounded the side fence and into the neighbors yard they charged terrifying the timid Chocolate Lab next door. Mad for flowers that I am, I pulled out the camera and headed back to Momsha's garden to check out all things blooming.

Hugo being Hugo, discovered every nook and cranny of the backyard. He chopped down hosta plants with his mini chainsaw. He helped Papa dig a hole in front of the house to plant a Limelight Hydranga tree. Hugo also helped water the new tree and all the pots in front of the house and all the flower pots in back of the house. He then was distracted back to the cars and trucks in the basket by the television. A great start to our Big Family Weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Baked!

I baked! And boy oh boy, did it make me happy! I needed cookies for my Young Women in Excellence program and decided to make these lovelies, Lemon Balm Butter Cookies. Our program was designed to help the girls focus on a talent of theirs, large or small, and share it through a short video clip. We turned it into a Young Women Talent Oscar Nite. They dressed up, received corsages, walked the red carpet and heard their names proclaimed the winner of the named nominees in their talent catagories. They even received a YW Oscar! It was a lot of fun. We experienced some hitches with the video equipment but all in all, survived in the end.

I have been thinking a lot about talents, what are they, what do they mean to us personally? I wanted to know what to say to the girls who are so young and only just beginning to know themselves and are discovering that they are fast becoming young ladies who are being taught to groom themselves for the "woman" they one day will be. I find the word talent to be daunting let alone the discription of "woman" for myself even now at my current age, so how am I supposed to inspire them to discover talents within themselves?

During the planning stages of our program I advised the girls to start out thinking small, not everyone needs to be a ballerina or a singing pop star. Look for the every day talents around you, those which beautify your home, your friendships, yourself. I can boast ownership of an overlooked talent in bed making. I can make up a very, very comfy, cozy and beautiful bed. A place in which the sleeper is encouraged to lounge and linger. There is an art to it. The main ingredient to that art, I believe, is love. Love makes all the difference. In the end, the girls in my group all chose to feature themselves in a video clip involving something that they personally love. The topics of the talent videos ranged from manicures and hair braiding to raising chickens and flower arranging.

You never know what a girl is worth,
You’ll just have to wait and see;
But every woman in a noble place,
A girl once used to be.
President Thomas S. Monson

Lemon Balm Butter Cookies

2 sticks butter, room temperature
3/4 c sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbls fresh lemon juice
zest of said lemon
21/2 c plus 2 tbls flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 c finely chopped pecans
generous handfull of fresh lemon balm, finely chopped

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, lemon juice and zest and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture.

Divide dough in half and roll each piece into a log shape about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven the 350 degrees. Slice into 1/4" thick rounds. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 15 - 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

They are deliciously not too sweet. Taste similar to Pecan Sandies with a lemon undertone.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Stormy Skies

We've had stormy skies, wind and puttering rain for days and days. I've enjoyed running out in between raindrops to take photos to share. We've had a fire burning lately. I'm almost hot while sitting here writing this. I've missed baking. Dreaming of Great Aunt Cilla's rhubarb coffee cake for awhile now. We've been busy. Seems like we are always running lately. Turtle seemed somewhat pokey today. Cesar brought him in to sit under a warm light source to receive some heat. I think he might be depressed only being able to walk around in circles in his tire habitat. I still am not sure how much, if at all, he is eating. I can't wait for Wednesday when things will hopefully slow down a bit. Although, we do have a playdate scheduled on that day . . . we'll see.

Friday, May 16, 2008


More rain today. Everyone was late arriving at playgroup. We were also few in numbers. Nicole's mother gave birth to a new baby brother yesterday, they plan to stay in the hospital until tomorrow. Mikell and her Mom went to the hospital to meet baby TJ this morning.

Hugo is very interested by all the babies he sees around him. During our playdate on Wednesday he kept trying to pick up nine month old Hannah. Over and over he tried. I'm not sure if he knows that she is real or a mechanical version of the dollies he plays with while hanging out with the big girls. Baby Brady was at our playgroup today. Hugo wanted him to come out of his car seat and play. Finally he got the drift that he wasn't going to get his way with Brady. He crouched down next to the carrier, peered in and patted his little baby head sweetly. It wasn't that long ago that Hugo was the baby of the group, they still call him Baby Hugo. I remember well the mother's telling their one year olds to be soft with him as they came up to his protective car seat to peak at him while he slept.

It is amazing the change that occurs between birth and the first birthday. Especially now that Hugo is two, he surprises me with how much he comprehends and remembers. He really is like a little elephant remembering patterns, places, toy boxes, candy wrappers, books, and trouble.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Babysitting Thursday

Our day was overcast and gloomy with scattered showers all day long. We stayed in our pajamas today. We also had friends over! We warned them that it was a gloomy pajama day but they decided to come anyway.

While we ate our dinner sunshine magically appeared through the windows. It was warm and inviting. We pulled on our new bug boots and hurried through the door to shake out some wiggles in the wonderfully, warm sunshine.

I followed Hugo and Parker throughout their journeys in the yard. We weren't outside more than an hour and yet they were here, there, and everywhere all at once. They played together well for awhile. Hugo tried to show Parker some of his favorite things but Parker had his own ideas of what to do. Hugo did a lot of following. I encouraged as many races as I could. "Run, run as fast as you can!" I would shout after them.

Then Hugo decided he was done following for a moment. He was distracted by these clay pipes. One of his favorite things to do outside is to fill the clay pipes with treasures he finds in the yard. Parker wasn't interested.

Hugo went in search of Parker. "Run, run, run! Faster and faster!" I encouraged.

After a bit I realized that I needed help entertaining Parker and Hugo so I enlisted help from our canine neighbor Layla. She was more than willing to play with the boys. We threw sticks for her to catch. We watched her roll about on her back in the wet grass and shake her legs in the air. Everyone got kisses. All was looking nice and calm and I was feeling pretty great about myself and then . . . Layla ran through the brush into the neighbors yard, Parker ran to the front of the house, and Hugo took off for the woods. I went a little nuts. Where and to whom should I run first? To my flesh and blood naturally but Parker's parents had trusted me with his care and I had borrowed Layla from her owner who was on the telephone and had only waved at me as I pulled the dog out the door! Thank heavens it all worked out fine.

We made a pit stop at the Turtle Habitat. Hugo calls him "tuttle"and grabs everyone by the hand who stops by for a visit to lead them over to see his "tuttle". I thought for a brief moment about how cruel it was of me to subject the poor turtle to the two little boys and a curious chocolate lab but I needed a break. We had been doing a lot of running and I was very tired.

I decided it was quitsville for the yard play. We walked Layla home baiting her with the treat word. Hugo through a huge fit once Layla was pushed back inside and he realized that he was not to follow. He loves to feed Layla her treats. The little stinker also knows exactly where the cutest mini juice boxes and baggies of animal crackers are kept in the kitchen just for him. Sherry spoils him rotten. Soooo, I carried him kicking and screaming back to our house. We decided to watch the movie that Parker brought to share, Cars. Hugo hadn't seen it before and all sadness was forgotten at the site of an entire movie dedicated to cars.