Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dear Mateo

Dear Mateo,
Oh my sweet baby, you're 8 months already? You are getting so big!  I look back at the pictures from when you were born, and it's hard to believe how much you have changed. 

Guess what?  You have teeth!  Although we knew your teeth were coming, you didn't warn us with fussiness.   We could see a white spot under your gums for a couple weeks.  Then one day your papi pulled down your lower lip to reveal TWO bottom teeth had popped through.  
It was that day that you had your first cookie (supervised of course ha!)
You continue to be an easy baby for us. Bedtime is a breeze and you sleep 10 hours every night.  Your favorite books are STILL Brown Bear Brown Bear, Donde esta el Ombliguito?, and Pajama Time.  Everytime I try to introduce a new one, you are not interested.  After a few books you usually turn toward me and are ready for mama to sing "Goodnight" and hum "Lullaby and Goodnight" before laying you down.
In the morning (between 5-6am) you wake us up and papi brings you to our bed to do the "milk crawl."  We love to see how fast you race across the bed to eat your morning meal. 

Speaking of eating, you have tried so many new foods now, but your favorites are bananas, sweet potatoes and yogurt.  Oh and looooooove watermelon! 

Your eyes are so big and blue.  Your lashes would make any girl jealous.  Your smile warms my heart. Oh and that laugh.  Your papi and I both had tears in our eyes one morning listening to you go on and on.  It is just the sweetest noise I've ever heard. 
Your personality is starting to come out.  You are just like your papi...laid-back, always in a good mood and loves to take siestas.  I must have 500 pictures of you guys napping together.
 You smile and squeal.  You are constantly on the move.  You sit up on your own now, but only for a few seconds because it's too boring.  You want to explore and pull up on anything and everything.  We are betting that you will be walking soon. Yikes!
A couple weeks ago, your papi taught you how to kiss on command.  We say "Beso.  Dame un beso."  You lean in [with an open mouth] to give a this...
Here you are with your two favorite toys:  the stand up activity center and the musical camera that tia Jenny bought you for xmas.  
You are always holding something in your hand.  You're determination makes us laugh.

We started giving you baths in the kitchen sink so you can sit down and splash around.  You are too wild and crazy for a big bathtub.  Of course, being in the sink did not deter you from standing up, but at least we were able to hold onto you better.
So many cute pictures of you, my little mexi-can...

You are the best!
We love you so much,
mama y papi

Saturday, May 26, 2012

[I could eat a dozen] Pickled Eggs

Oh wait...I mean I did eat a dozen pickled eggs! 
When I was in Ohio last week, my mom made pickled eggs.  Besides being a delicious, healthy snack, these magenta beauties evoke some nostalgia for my childhood.   

The day after we got home, I bought an extra dozen eggs to pickle for myself.  I called my mom for the recipe;  I couldn't believe how simple it was.  I can see these being a constant in our fridge this summer.

These would be great for that Memorial Day picnic you are attending.

Mom's Pickled Eggs
One dozen hard boiled eggs*
1 16oz can red beets in water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1tbsp sugar
1tsp salt
water to cover eggs

*remember to boil at room temp so they peel easily

Heat vinegar and add sugar until dissolved.  To a large jar, add eggs, can of beets, vinegar and salt.  Add water to cover eggs completely.  Let stand in refrigerator a minimum of 24 hours. 

These eggs only get tastier with time, but I could hardly wait a day before consuming....all of them.
I will be making another batch pronto.  Although these are perfect as-is, I may try adding a habanero  next time.  Some like it HOT!

On a related side note, last year I pickled a peck of peppers and they turned out delish.  Neto has some cucumbers and canning jars ready to try another recipe...adding his signature heat to the batch.  I'll  be sure to let you know how they turn out.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Navarre Garage Sale Mania

Last Friday I was in Ohio for the annual Navarre town garage sales.  Every year my mom, sister and I anticipate the sales, we even have our favorite houses.  (we have no idea how they have good stuff year after year)
 When we went last year, I was pregnant and bought a lot of boys and girls clothes, (since I didn't know the sex of little Matiti)  and didn't find too much for myself.  However this year, I hit the jackpot for both of us!
My best find of the day?  These gorgeous barrel-back chairs.  They are in great shape, and although I love the velvet and it's in great shape, the color is not right.   These will be perfect in the bedroom with our upholstered headboard (once I get around to doing it!)

Before walking out the door the morning of the sales, my dad warned me not to buy anything that couldn't be checked on the airplane when I went home.  So at the first sale, what do I buy?  These chairs.  But.....but...but...they were only $5 each.  $10 for two vintage velvet chairs? Come on.   
"How could I not buy them?"  as my sister would say.
There seemed to be an abundance of gorgeous mirrors at the sales this year too. These were $3-$4 each.

The white one is going in my downstairs powder room, and the middle one Im going to paint for Mateo's room.  The gold one?  Not sure yet, but I will find a spot.  I love it! 

Other finds include a gazebo looking bird feeder for $1, a double [over the burners] griddle for $3, a bag of acrylic/watercolor painting supplies for $4 (and probably worth about $30) and a boatload of clothes for Matiti.  Ohio State wear that his papi loves and mama's favorite?  The royal blue corduroy overalls. OMG how cute!?  yep, $1.  Oh the Kenneth Cole gray winter vest is pretty awesome too.  $1  The green Gap sweater jumper?  $1.  Ok, you get the picture, I made out like a bandit.
We were "saleing" from 8am to almost 5pm.  Yes, we are diehards!  It was great girl time, I love this tradition we have had going for years.   The addition of a little baby in the group didn't slow us down either.  I sat in a shade spot and fed him while the others walked ahead to the next sale. He relaxed in his stroller took it all in, and took a few naps too.

Although not at the garage sales, I got a deal of the century at Marc's, this little store by my mom that has miscellaneous closeouts and groceries.  Well, the last two times I was there they had a ton of Target home goods.   I found this Missoni crib bumper for.....wait for it..... $3.99!!!  ha!
 Its beautiful soft cotton, with a chevron pattern on one side and an abstract design on the other.  I just love the colors.  Yes, I know I have a son, but you never know, maybe we will have a little girl someday:)  For $3.99, "how could I not?"  

Are you a bargain hunter? Do you garage sale, yard sale, tag sale, and/or go to thrift stores?
Well, then you understand the excitement of "the hunt" and walking away with a good deal.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ohio Fun with Friends and Family!

Home. Sweet. Home.  

We just returned from a great trip visiting with family and friends in Ohio.   My best friend from college (my brother's too) was visiting from Germany with his family.  We had a 5 day party.  A bit different from the "old school days."  All of us together with our 5 kids.  Add my sister's family and my parents and it was a crowd!

I don't know a wittier, funnier, more grammatically correct man than Chris Bush.  It had been two years since I saw him last, and it felt like yesterday.  I love friendships like that.
He, Katrin and their two cute little boys  (Lloydy Lloyd, 4 and Glenny Glen 2.5) are in the states for 5 weeks.  Luckily we had 5 days.
We stayed up late every night talking and laughing, it was the best!  Put Chris together with my brother Bill, (the other funniest, wittiest man I know) and your stomach will ache.  Good times.

On Saturday we had a cookout with a couple more college friends and had quite a litter of kids between the 5 of us.
Mateo and his [5 week] younger cousin Lukey-Luke sat side by side for a couple photos.

Although the picture below makes Mateo look a little bigger, they are really about the same size.  Oh the cuteness!
 Mateo and his big cousin Eleanor enjoyed being pulled around the back yard in the wagon.  I can't believe how big he looks sitting there.
Besides socializing all week, we did get to relax on my parents patio too.  From there you have the most beautiful view of my mom's garden.  A true masterpiece. 

And, in case you are wondering, yes, I brought more plants home on the plane.    My garden deserves a whole post.  It's coming along nicely.  Pics coming soon.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day!   Especially to mine!  I always knew how wonderful my mom was, but these last 8 months have really sealed the deal. 

Elaine Arnold, you are officially the best mom ever!!!  


She has helped us tirelessly in making our new house a home (you too dad!) and has been constant support to this new mom!  Mateo is so lucky to have such loving, involved grandparents.  And although they live in Ohio, they have seen their grandson every month since he was born. 

I had a jewelry show over the weekend in Roswell, Ga.  I had a great day on Saturday, so when it rained all day on Sunday, I didn't feel bad at all about packing it up early and heading back to my house to spend my first mothers day with my family.

Yes, I have a family now. 

Before my show Ernesto gave my an awesome "Zafiro Jewelry"  sign for my tent.   I love it, such a thoughtful gift, as I had been wanting to get one made for a long time.

Mateo got me this beautiful succulent basket (which I hung on the front door)
He even wrote me a card.  Call me a sap, but I started to cry.  Im so predictable.
It feels a bit different to be on the other side.  I am a mother now and I love it.
I just hope I can be even half the mother that my mom is.  

Monday, May 07, 2012

A 40th Birthday Surprise Party!


After very little planning (imagine that!?) I managed to pull off a wonderful surprise party for Ernesto's 40th birthday.  Having a birthday on cinco de mayo is the best because people are ready to party!  My parents flew in on Friday and hid on the deck until I brought him out there to "show him a plant."  My mom jumped at him and he was definitely surprised.  He and my dad went golfing that night and my Brother Brrrian and his girl Kyja drove in from Asheville. 
The "plan" for his actual birthday:  Mateo got his papi a new golf shirt and then they played in the pool. 
 Ernesto golfed all day with his buddies.  I told him we had dinner reservations at 8p.  He arrived home at 7:15 and we were sitting on the deck waiting for him.  He came out to say hi and then everyone jumped out from under the deck and yelled SURPRISE!!
He was surprised again!  (Although he knew something was coming that night, he thought we were leaving the house for it.) 
The fun got started and it didn't let up until 1am!  All the party-goers smiled big for the camera.
Friends, tacos, beans, tequila, music, chocolate cake, a piñata, and cervezas = a great party! 
Thanks to everyone who brought a delicious appetizer and drinks! 
I love you mi amor, you still look HOT at 40!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Creating a Garden from Scratch!

Our yard was a mess.  Weeds. Weeds. Weeds. And 2 boxwoods.  In the front we don't have much of a yard.  Erensto and I dug up all the weeds and then covered it with a heavy plastic for a week to kill everything.  Here was our blank slate.
I know I should probably put some bushes here (like most people do in Atlanta) instead of a high maintenance garden, but I just love my mom's garden filled with flowering perennials and wanted to fill my little plot with some of the same. 
If you saw my facebook updates around Easter, you know that I brought 5 Rubbermaid tubs of plants [via air] from my mom's garden to transplant into mine.
 The soil here is BAD! Hard. Red clay.  It's going to be a huge difference for these compost spoiled plants from Ohio.  We did amend the soil with a bunch of manure and nicer topsoil, so we will see what happens.  Here is the garden right after I planted everything.
Ignore that pile of rocks to the left.  This is what we dug up, and that is just the bigger rocks.  We had an even bigger pile of smaller rocks.  All the plants are feeling a bit sparse and hodge-podge right now, but I'm hoping once they get established, they will fill in the space nicely.  I just had to get them in the ground quickly as it had been 4 days since they were dug up in Ohio.

Here they are a few weeks later and looking a bit more established.  I still need to put newspaper down and then mulch.
 The sedum that I planted may be the only reliable plants this year.  These are hard to kill.
 They are planted along the edge and will eventually spill onto the sidewalk.

For the back yard, we have beautiful plan in our heads which includes a stone patio covered with a pergola,  a fireplace and grill, a grassy area, and garden beds in one corner running up the side of the house.   All of this will not be happening this year of course, but we will do what we can.

Currently, there are two ugly trees overrun with kudzu and a bunch of weeds.  One challenge I have is to clear all of that out without hurting the few beautiful wisteria vines.  I need to save them for the future pergola.

First things first.  I needed a vegetable garden!  With the horrible clay soil/drought conditions here, I knew a raised bed would be our best bet.  We recycled some wood found across the street, added 10 bags of top soil along with a bunch of manure (picked up free from Craigslist)

I now have it planted with tomatoes, jalapeño & serrano chiles, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant and parsley and cilantro.  (pole beans will be planted up a bamboo teepee to the side)
 Everything seems to be happy and growing fast.  The soil is so good, Im hoping that makes all the difference for a big harvest.  I have already noticed that it does not dry out too fast, which is great because there have been only a few "spring showers."
Our deck is small and square. And because we don't have a garage/shed [yet], we will need to store things under it.  Yes, very trashy looking, I know.

After Ernesto did such a great job with the raised vege bed, I convinced him to build a raised bed all around the base of the deck and attach lattice so I can grow vines on it creating a wall of green. (thus hiding all the stuff under the deck)

He got started right away and had they took shape in no time.
My dad helped with the final steps of leveling the beds and attaching the lattice.  I am extremely happy with how it turned out. We found free fill dirt on Craigslist (surprise surprise!) and added the rest of the manure.  I can't wait to plant these!

I definitely want to cover the lattice with vines though,  Im not a big fan of plain lattice.  Imagine, if you will, the lattice covered in this star jasmine.
It is evergreen in GA and the blooms smell ridiculous!  It is supposed to be a fast grower too, so I will be planting asap! I will post updates as things progress.  Have you guys planted a garden this year?


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