Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Ever since Aviana came along, my Mom and Gary have always been there for us, to watch her, to take her, to let us do whatever we needed, and whenever. 

After the accident, Aviana's care became much more complex. During this period of time, it was pretty overwhelming for them to care for her, but at times, they did their best to anyway. For example, we weren't able to take her the first week we went to The Institute in Pennsylvania. Aviana had only been home from the hospital 3 months, so that must have been crazy for them!

Over time though, they grew more comfortable, and things fell back into sync. Aviana also grew more stable, and with that, we had the great pleasure of saying goodbye to all of her medical equipment.

This life is hard, but I know if we didn't have my Mom and Gary to help us, it would be a million times harder! They provide us breaks, and breathers anytime we need. And even when we don't need them, we always know they are just a phone call away. That alone is a comfort in itself.

They know how crucially and vitally important it is for us to get out alone together. They always want us to have fun, but most importantly, they want us to get some much needed separation from the magnitude of the difficult parts of what is.

Thank you both.

We love you!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Her Little Cocoon

After Avi's first week of school, she caught a cold. So we went to town, steaming, humidifying, etc, and then...we cocooned her. It worked, because in no time ~ she was feeling better : )

At first though, I was laying in bed with her, reading one of her favorite books, Bear Feels Sick, and then I just pulled the sheet over her head. I figured it would feel better for her to breathe in warm air, rather than cold, right? 

Dave came in shortly thereafter, looked around and asked, "Where's the Meek?" I said, she's under here, and pointed at the sheet. A little concerned about her suffocating (I don't think so!), he scooted me out of the way, quickly surveyed his bedding materials, and then built her her very own fort.

Pie 101

Todd, I mean...Toodles (his baking name), our Copper friend wanted to learn how to make pie. He grew up gathering all the fruit around their property, of which his mom turned into some amazing pies. 

So now, it was his turn, to learn to make the dough, and turn it into his very own pie! 

Smile Todd, it's a rolling pin, not a Billy Club...and don't forget about that girlie apron you're in ; )

That's better.

We met our match, our kindred spirit, as he's as meticulous and tweaky as we are ; )

He's a natural born baker...

He did the most amazing job!

This was his first pie, ever!

You're hired!

Two Girls a Guy and Another Guy Pie?

Two Girls a Guy Pie Plus Some Other Dude?

Two Girls and a Guy Pie Plus an O Toodles Too?

Two Girls a Guy and a Po Po Pie?

No, nobody wants any of that kind of pie ; )

I don't know...

O Toodles...

I couldn't be any more proud!!

We can never make just one!

He freaked my little OCD brain out by throwing the cut outs on in all sorts of random directions, but it all worked out, right?

"Hey, where'd those pies go? I could swear there were two of them here last night??"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Up, Up, And Away

In December of 2009, we met one of the best families at The Institute in Philadelphia. They are the Falcones, and we became the fastest friends ever. 

Sophie and I share a commonality I don't share with many. We have stayed very close throughout the years, and I am so thankful for her. She has definitely helped to get me through this crazy thing called life with not only tears, but laughs, jokes, and downright sick humor. 

As you know, we took our Honeymoon last June, but up until recently, the Falcone Family has still been busting their tails this whole time. We were going to go enjoy as two families, but then decided to go, just the two of us.

The timing was perfect for both of us, she on her break, and me away the weekend before Aviana's birthday. 

Sophie flew up from Manhattan Beach that Friday morning. I picked her up from the airport and we drove straight to Tahoe. We stayed at Squaw Valley that first night.

We went out, and then back to the fire pit to make some S'mores.

Now, if you ask me... that's a whole lotta S'more.

Little did I know, Sophie's a former Girl Scout and knows her way around a campfire. 

It was early on that I found out that this one was not up to marshmallow par, and did not meet prime roasting standards ; )

I was more than thankful she took on the responsibility of my marshmallow too, because Dave wasn't there to man mine. I'm a classic impatient, irresponsible, roaster, and set fire early on to that squishy, little globule of - hurt your teeth, processed mess. Then, I have a terrible habit of sweetly, stealing the patient roasters perfectly toasty goodness.

Can you tell I have a pretty confused relationship with the S'more, and take only a few bites? When I told Sophie about our previous trips up, and my personal thoughts on the 'whole lot of plate commitment for two'...she said, "So what you're trying to say is, you like...S'mless?" Exactly!

Sophie was the perfect fill in not only for me, but for the...I think - seven other campfire cohorts who later joined our Kumbaya. Yes, Sophie led us in a campfire song... and we also fed them from our plate o' plenty. We ended up making the perfect pair - she the roaster, I the assembler ; )

The next day, we went parasailing!


I couldn't believe they captured our High 5!

Can you tell this was the high - light of our trip!!

800 ft. up!

My dad loves to annotate pictures, so he got right on this one. 

I love it!!

Dave and I got married outside at a gazebo, down below that building : )

They dipped us...

And then, right back up!

It was so amazingly peaceful up there...

we wanted to stay all day long...

and go all the way around the lake.

Have you ever heard of synchronized parasailing?

We're going to start an Olympic Sport.

What do you think?

: )

As they were pulling us in...

we were so sad!!

Boo Hiss

I went to high school with the guy who owns the parasail company, he gave us an amazing deal, but the best part was...he threw the pictures in. I would never even have thought to get them. I seriously thought they would maybe take 5. They took 84 pictures, we are so thankful to have them!!

We went to the beach after this and floated around on the rafts and then to lunch, but the dreaded headache was definitely making itself comfortable. 

Anytime I go to Tahoe I get a headache, but if I go straight up a Gondola, or up's over. I knew I would pay for going up 800 ft in a matter of seconds. I knew it would cause an instant headache. I thought I could give myself a shot though, and it would go away. I figured then we could get dressed and go out for the night. Not so!

The shot couldn't touch this headache, so Sophie was sweet enough to drive us home that night. 

Despite my stupid head, and inadvertently raising the lake level a few notches with our here and there tears, we had a good weekend together.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Days Gone By

A lot has been happening around here! With Aviana starting back to school this week, I finally had some time to go through some pictures from these past couple months : )

This is my oldest brother Jimmy. He's my nephew Ash's dad. He came to visit for a weekend a while ago now.

Although we don't see Jimmy very much, of the times we do, Aviana has always had a very special connection with him throughout her life.

I love him so much.

You may remember Todd Lynn, our constant. Well his favorite pie is Rhubarb. We were going to his house for dinner, so Dave and I made him one. 

I really wanted to try this new lattice top I saw in one of my new recipe books, so I showed Dave and asked, "Do you think we can do this one?" Dave cracks me up, he said..."Whatever my baby wants, my baby gets. My baby wants that lattice, my baby gets that lattice!'

And that I did! We did it!

Todd's wife wanted to take a picture of the pie and I. I said, no way! So Todd, got in the picture...much better. 

You, me, and a pie...

did you notice I found a place to wear my cowboy boots though ; )

My gosh, do I love these people, they had us over, and they are the best ever. They love and care for Avi in a way I barely ever see.

Melts my heart.

Todd, Elaine ~
I love you both to pieces.

We had been looking for a farmer, in order to try and cut Whole Foods out for some of our fruit for our they are a little pricey. So we found one. We went up there for their 100 year anniversary.

We got some peaches.

I blanched some for the first time in my entire life.

I sliced my finger in the process, but I will spare you the gore.

Made a pie, of course.

That's the one pie I don't care for, but I hear it was good!

But the highlight of my life came not in the form of fruit, or pies...

But in chickens!

I have always wanted a farm and go crazy out of my mind for these guys. So anytime there's a petting zoo involved, I ditch my family. I had taken no short of 32 pictures of these two. Finally, the owner told his son, to...are you ready for this, let me hold one of them!! 

I freaked, and threw all my stuff down. I grabbed my sweetheart and hugged her, and loved her, and squeezed her (she didn't like that) and never wanted to let her go. 

I did however realize I needed a picture with her, to have, and to hold, for the rest of my life. So I put her down, realized I needed that family I abandoned, so I looked around for Dave, Gary, my Mom, Aviana, anyone to take a picture with my girl and me, but no one. So I asked the...I'm not good at kids' ages...9 year old(?) if he could take some pictures of us together? 

I asked him to take a bunch (you know, just in case he didn't know how to use my phone) and he did!

Do I look like a kid in a candy store, or what?

"Chicky, look at the camera!"

I think she either likes my necklace, or wants to eat it?

 I don't know, I don't speak Chicky...just dog, and a little brain injured child.

The missing family all showed up as I was holding, who I later found out to be, Susan. The rooster's name was Hugh Hefner ; ) 

As I looked back at the pictures, I cracked up at this one, with Gary in the background! Anytime I need a pick me's my go to!!

Hey guys! I don't know you, but I love you!

What was that??

Amy and I went to Tahoe for the night.

We grew up on the lake, boating and rafting, so Amy and I decided it was time to float around. We hadn't done that in years! 

We did for hours that day. It was so beautiful, but most of all...peaceful. 

Hey look, matching towels! I swear we didn't plan it ; ) You're right, mine doesn't have my name on it.

The life.

You are so beautiful...
to me.

Avi coughed food onto Rainey.

"Clean up on aisle Avi"

This one was just last night, and I can't stop laughing. Avi didn't cough this one onto the doggy head, but she coughed and I lifted her bib to stop it from flying everywhere and then when I flipped the bib back, this piece somehow ended up stuck in that exact spot on Rainey's head. 

I just about died.

Hazards of Rainey's job ; )

I've been baking up a storm, that is ~ up until about a week ago, or so. Can you believe it? I use baking to deal with grief, but I've been too stricken lately to even bake. What gives?  

Amy and I resumed pie-ing it forward on Tuesday night though - to the tune of 2 Chocolate Creams and an Apple.

Boy did I feel rusty. 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla Jen. 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

My friend Sara has twin girls and they love reading to Aviana. Books have always been the way to our girl's heart, so it's book central around this place. We went to Sara's house for dinner one night and Avi was especially captivated that particular night. I was eating up every ounce of this moment.

It was truly an amazing, Aviana was actually holding her head up, listening, and so attentive to every word coming out of her mouth. 

They have a way to, and through this heart of mine...every time!

It was someone's birthday recently. Someone really special. My momma bear. The best mom in the entire world. One I wouldn't trade...even for a chicken, or a rooster, or Gary Allan (eek), or a house in Tahoe (aahh)!

Oh mom, you better keep up the good work...there's a lot of great things on the line here.

We grew an assortment of fruit, slaved all night long, and made her a beautiful tart....

no we didn't.

My Uncle Roger brings the most amazing desserts from the best bakery ever for special occasions, and my mom's birthday was no exception. 

Dixie, who we met through our blog came up to visit. It was so nice spending time with her! She was also kind enough to bring a case of pears for us to make Pear Pies with, so we did! Four or five different varieties too! It was crazy! Crazy good, that is.

Amy made this one, isn't it a beauty?

We were on the computer, and turned around to Avi looking like this...
just beautiful, if I do say so myself ; )

A few pictures later, Rainey went in for a smooch,
right after this picture - Avi threw a fit.

Brown Eyed Baker's Rocky Road Bark was calling our name...
much too loud to ignore!

Oh Ray Ray, now maybe Nana and Papa will stop saying,

"Come here boy!"
"Tell him to come here."
"Does he want a treat."
"Tell him to stop licking my lotion."
"He's such a good boy."


He's not a boy...

He's a girl!!!

I know you say you're old and traumatized.

It's okay *kind of* 

I still love you both.

We went swimming at our awesomest friend's house...The Zuves.

You might remember, they were one of our first stops after we went on our Honeymoon last year : )

Avi was in the pool for, I think about 4 hours.

We finally put her in the spa when it got cold, and she spun around like a record baby. She fell asleep, it was really cute. 

This is what I usually get to see as I come out of the shower. They are too cute.

"Hey mom, what's on the agenda for today?"

My mom has suddenly taken to raiding my nail polish cabinet. I was in Tahoe with my friend Sophie (more to come on that weekend soon) and my mom was watching Aviana. 
I got an email with this subject line: Like? I opened it and saw the above picture. I thought it was hilarious. 

A few days ago, she then showed up with these nails. Yes, she is now buying her own colors. My mom is a big Katy Perry fan, and as she was walking down the walkway, admiring her nails, she said...I feel like Katy Perry.

There are older women who do things like this to try to hold onto their youth, and kind of look a little funny doing it, my mom is not one of them. My mom looks absolutely adorably, cute with her brightly colored nails.

I love them, and I love her.

New toys can be so exhausting!

I've got one question for you Rainey...

are you comfortable?

Well good,

because that's all that matters : )