Friday, July 29, 2011


This is B's house. I tinfoiled the windows. Why you ask? Because Raven said to. See, she did a guest post for From Mrs. to Mama where she explained her secret to having kids that sleep in. And the secret guessed it! Tinfoil.
After struggling to try and get the Bambinos to sleep over the weekend, I decided it was worth a try. 

Guess what!

It works! The first night they slept 11.5 hours! Both of them! I think the bath they got before bedtime helped them fall asleep before 8pm, but the fact that their windows are covered in tinfoil and make the room pitch black completely helped too. 

Boyfriend's house looks completely trashtastic from the outside but luckily you can't see them unless you're in the back yard....and luckily, he wasn't upset that I put it up secret squirrel-like while he was gone. Luckily, he's a down for whatever kind of guy.

Who is this Raven person? She's the next Mama Says guest poster! She blogs over at A Momma's Desires and Pacifiers, and she's hilarious! Her blog never ceases to entertain me and let me tell you, after reading the first few lines of her post on Monday, you will be hooked. She explains to us how she gets her kids to behave using Disney references. Perfect! A language all children speak - Disney.

See ya Monday, happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Epic Blogging Fail!

 You guys, I am such a dork. I always, always, always respond to your comments. I respond on my phone and just found out they haven't been going through! I promise you I'm not some bia who thinks she's too good to respond to your comments, I love hearing your opinion/two cents and am so frustrated that I've been responding wrong the whole time!

Do you guys respond to blog comments? How do you do it? What's the easiest way?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Do You Have A Good Red Velvet Recipe?

On Twitter, I mentioned how a I ruined a baby shower surprise. Our Program Director's wife is having a baby tomorrow, so one of our jocks thought it would be nice to have a surprise baby shower for him this afternoon. I tried to be nice and make a meeting request for it so everyone could accept or decline and the jock would know how much food she needed. I noticed she was missing a bunch of people in her original email so I invited Promotions, Sales and Programming. I didn't think about how our PD was on the list for Programming. Oops! I cancelled it right away, but I'm 99% sure he saw it.

I offered to make cupcakes for the shower. I thought making mini cupcakes would be perfect and why not try Red Velvet? I used this recipe. I have to admit, I'm not on the red velvet train like everyone else seems to be. I mean, I like it, but the best part is the cream cheese frosting.

The recipe It wasn't dry or anything like one review said, but my sister admitted it didn't really taste like red velvet. It had kind of a hint of chocolate (from the cocoa powder) and the icing wasn't super cream cheesey.....and piping cupcakes isn't as easy as it looks.
The cupcake on the left is probably the best I got's not that easy! 
Do you have a good red velvet recipe? I'll have another chance to make them because, (here's the kicker,) today the jock decided to postpone the shower until after the baby is born! It'll work out better for everyone else and I won't ruin the surprise next time. Plus, I'm not in love with this recipe anyway so it will give me a chance to try a different one :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mama Says Monday: Melifaif

It's another Mama Says! Have you met this mama, yet? She's, without a doubt my most loyal commenter and such a beautiful lady inside and out. I'm honored to feature her as my first guest-poster ever.

It's Melifaif!

See what I mean? She's gorgeous. I'd hate her if she wasn't so stinkin' nice.  

AND she has the most adorable little girl ever. If my boys were older, and we leaved near Texas, I would totally be trying to set up an arranged marriage. Anyway, here's what Meli has to say....

About my family.  It's just the three of us, living in Cypress, Texas, just outside of the huge city of Houston.  Myself and Richard both grew up in San Antonio, Texas and met in high school and fell in love.  I am talking vintage love here.  Well almost!  Back in 1995 our love affair began....while we both went seperate directions for college, our hearts stayed connected.  After college we decided to move to Houston, Texas and be together!   So this romance has been full steam ahead ever since.  In 2006, we found out God blessed us with a little miracle growing inside of me...we were blown away, excited and scared at the same time.  But knew this was the right time for us.  Layla joined our happy abode in August 2007 and talking about full.steam.ahead???  HELLO!!!  She rocked our world to the core.  In the very best way possible!!!  Our lives are forever changed by this bubbly, vivacious, curious and beautiful red headed little girl.  She is our world. 
What has been the biggest surprise of parenthood?
NO doubt, the biggest surprise of parenthood has been the transformation of my words, my beliefs into those of my mom!!!! you know how many times I heard, "Life's not fair!" growing up?  Do you know how many times I have said those exact same words to Layla?  Yep...mirror mirror on the wall...I AM my mother afterall!!!  I would have NEVER expected that.  The life lessons that your parents tell you growing up...if you are lucky enough to have loving, caring parents...will stick with you.  And they are actually true too.  Who would have known????  Not I. 
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is just trying to get everything "taken care of."  Be it the laundry, or making her lunch for school, or getting her to gymnastics on time...and me to work on is all a challenge.  But a challenge I am totally up for!  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I think my biggest challenges are yet to come.  You should have seen what I did to my parents when I was 15!!!!  Let's just say.....I'm scared.  Big.time.
But, other than biggest ACCOMPLISHMENT is figuring out the key to her locks!!!  Her locks of love...I love those ringlets, but we still have our moments!

What's your most memorable moment?
Gosh!  This is a hard one to answer.  So many of her moments are grand and special to me.  That is why I am such a huge photography lover.  You can almost forget how awesome a simple day at the park was....until you see the photo again.  That face and smile, or giggle.  But, to date....I'll never forget seeing her bright red hair the day she was born.  We were are so shocked...and in love.
When did you feel like a parenting failure?
There were a couple times over her last almost 4 years of life...that I felt like I failed.  But it was a bump in the road compared to how I felt when she had a "mishap" in the swimming pool this summer.  I did a post about it here.  Yeah, I pretty much sucked for my lack of attention....but it has changed me for the better.  And I like to believe I am a better parent now because of it.
 When did you feel like a parenting rock star?
Layla can make me feel like a rock star when she says, "Mommy?"  And I say, "Yes?"  And she says, "I love you, you are the best mommy!!!"  Yep, total rock star mode!!!!!!

What's the worst parenting advice you've been given?
The worst parenting advice I received was that I totally MUST have a baby wipe warmer.  And a diaper genie.  Um, no.  No I didn't.  As soon as that wipe hits the open air, it gets chilly again.  Waste.Of.Money.  {in my opinion.}  And the diaper pail, no again.  Get the sh*t and take it outside in the trash can.  End.of.story!!!!  Try emptying a daiper pail after a week.  Or even a few could pass out!  And then WHO is gonna be able to watch the baby then???

What's the best parenting advice you've been given?
The best parenting advice I received was from my girlfriend who had just recently given birth.  She told me about the baby blues.  I had never heard of it before, nor had she...but she got it bad!!!!!  And what do you know?!?  I had it too.  Look it up and read about it.  It is quite normal for many new moms.  I was so happy she told me because when it started happening...I knew!  And didn't have as hard of a time dealing with it, working through it as she BABY BLUES exist.  It's okay.  And this too shall pass.
 How has your life changed the most since becoming a mom?
Well, that is pretty simple to answer.  "My" life doesn't exist in the way it did before.  Now, it is "our" life.  So, yes....SHE changed MY world in every sense of the word.  The way I view the world.  The way I view people.  The way I view loud music past midnight....all of my views are different now than they were say....four years ago!?!
 How has your relationship with your partner changed?
Again, in every sense of the word.  It has been a challenge to keep "us" intact.  I won't lie.  The first six months I though...."no way!  We won't make it through this..."  {the first six months were very hard on momma bear}  But here we are.  Still.  Remember 1995?  Well, since our 2 became 3 we have learned to pick our battles.  We are different.  We are individuals.  We each have our opinions on which is the best method to raise our child.  So we try and meet in the middle a lot.  But if we still don't agree....momma wins!!!  ;-) 
And the one "thing" that can put me in a state of pure bliss....would be her kiss!  I attached two pics that prove that.....

See what I mean? Everyone's story is different, what one person finds valuable, another doesn't (I love my Diaper Genie!) My hope is that we'll have fun learning from other bloggers and hearing their stories. Thanks Meli, for being my first guest post! If you'd like, here's a button to proudly display on your blog! (It links directly to your post.)

Mama Says @ Undomestic Chica

I hope you all will stop by next Monday for Mama Says with Raven from A Mommas Desires and Pacifiers.

Can't get enough of Melifaif? Go check out her blog here.

Interested in being featured in Mama Says? Just leave a comment below or email me at!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ready for the Weekend

Happy Friday, Friends! It's finally supposed to be nice in Seattle. (Can't wait!) We've had 78 minutes of summer so far. 78 minutes! Don't believe me, this guy says so. But I digress.....

Anyway, the whole reason of this post is to hint at my new feature starting Monday. My first guest post is from the beautiful Meli Faif! I just love this woman to pieces, and I love her post, I bet you will too. Don't forget to stop by Monday to check out what she has to say.

Hello to my new followers! Will you all do me a favor? I know, I'm needy. Will you comment sometime so I can check out your blogs too? And if you don't have a blog, I can at least email you back and say "hi."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


If you follow me on Twitter, this is old news, but I got another tattoo on Sunday. It's so different than the one I wanted a year ago, good thing I didn't go with that one!
Virgin skin
 My sister has been wanting a tattoo for a while and finally decided on getting Faith, in Cherokee. I ended up getting Family in Cherokee. (Would you have guessed we're Cherokee?)
Our artist, Michael Bergfalk, was guesting from Love and Hate Tattoo in Phoenix, and did an excellent job at talking and distracting us from the pain. For the most part, it was annoyance more than pain but in a few spots near the top and bottom of the "letters." 

It turned out perfect, every time I look at my wrist, I'll think about my family. And like my sister said after I misplaced my ring last week, "You can't lose a tattoo."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mama Says

You know what's fun about being a Mama? No two Mamas are alike. Know what's fun about being a M.O.M. (Mom of Multiples)? It's completely unlike being a Mom of a singleton....from what I've heard.

Recently, a friend of a friend found out she's having twins and she's a little freaked out. Anyone who's been pregnant knows that everyone and their mom wants to tell you their birth story, give you (unwanted) advice, and basically scare the crap out of you. I'm here to tell you - it's okay. Having a twin pregnancy is not always as bad as everyone says! Sure, there can be complications, and you have way more doctor appointments than a singleton pregnancy, but that's the fun part!

So...if you, or someone you know, is pregnant with multiples, here's my advice to you (aren't you lucky?)

You will get big, quickly. When I realized I was pregnant, I was already 9 weeks. I thought I was only 6 weeks and my sister kept telling me, "I think there's more than one in there." I didn't even think twins could be a possibility. It turns out, I was further along than I thought and I was having twins.

At about 6 months, my doctor told me I looked full term with a singleton.

Do not, under any circumstances, make comments about how big the M.O.M. is getting. She knows, and she already feels fat and yucky. Don't make it worse. At work, I had one woman make a comment about my lunch, and (when I was wearing an unflattering sweater one day) another man and woman made a comment about how I "have quite a pumpkin under your shirt." I wanted to reply, "Oh yeah, asshole? I'm pregnant, what's your excuse?" I held my tongue. Sweater trashed. Immediately.

Pregnant women have enough to deal with. Pregnant women of multiples have even more, don't make it worse.

The absolute best compliment I ever got from anyone was in Target, around 6 months along. This woman passing me said, "You're so cute." I said thanks and then her son echoed his mom's compliment. Not only did the woman make my day but I then thought her child was adorable. This was right around the time when it was getting harder and harder for me to breathe and I waddled.... it's funny how a remark made in passing can brighten someone's day so much.

Do not listen to books when they tell you how much weight to gain, listen to your doctor. Your doctor knows you, learns your body, and knows when to be concerned. I was very alarmed at how much, and how rapidly, I was gaining weight. I've always had major body issues and was finally getting the legs I wanted...and then I got pregnant. At 5'6", I ended up tipping the scale at 207lbs. (I can't believe I told you that!) But, my two babies weighed about 12lbs., I was retaining a ton of fluid (30lbs. worth), and because my blood pressure was so good, my doctor wasn't alarmed at all.

You may not have to go on bed rest. I know it's common and for the best interest of the babies, but not everyone goes on bedrest. I never did. From the minute I was pregnant with twins, I had people who never even had kids, but "knows someone" who went on bedrest. I was really annoyed that people kept telling me it was just going to happen - especially when they don't have kids! I know, I know, it's common, but I worried enough about my Bambinos, I didn't need people adding to my worries. Thank God for my doctor who had a very, "wait and see/anything's possible" attitude.

Your blood pressure may not skyrocket, no matter what anyone tells you. I had really, really good blood pressure my whole pregnancy. They told me I had the blood pressure of an athlete (ha!) I never worked out, I had been getting into a good workout routine before I found out I was pregnant, but suddenly I was way too tired to wake up at 5:30am and jump on the treadmill or Shred. The last few months of my pregnancy, it was really difficult to breathe (on top of the asthma my pregnancy brought back) so working out would have been near impossible. I did learn to have the nurses check my blood pressure before they weighed me because the one time they weighed me first, my blood pressure was a little high. When they tried again later, it was really good.

Not everyone gets gestational diabetes either. I know bedrest and failing the glucose test are very common for M.O.M.s, but I passed my glucose test. I think my doctor said I barely passed but passing is passing.

I had a slew of other issues: I swelled almost immediately, and the pressure of the fluid pressing on the nerves of my wrists made my hands fall asleep (check out the awesome wrist brace on the 38 week pic above) which was really annoying because it would wake me up. I wore a brace on each wrist to bed and sometimes at work. When I first swelled, the doctor sent me for an ultrasound on my legs to make sure it wasn't a clot, but everything checked out okay. I felt, and looked even fatter than I assume most mom's of twins do, but a few weeks after I delivered, I lost 30 pounds pretty much  overnight. (Not quick enough for my liking.)

I already didn't sleep well, my numb hands waking me up didn't help much, and my back always hurt. Near the end, there was so much pressure in my pelvis, I felt like a baby might just pop out, but those were my worst issues and I was so grateful.

I saw a perinatologist because Baby A was measuring small. She explained that it gets harder and harder to get accurate measurements of babies as pregnancies progress, and even harder with multiples. She told me that Baby A was showing growth each ultrasound which was a good sign, but still I worried. I ended up drinking protein shakes every morning (without my doctor's knowledge*) the last few weeks after much internet research. I think the protein contributed to their healthy weights. At my two week, post-natal check up, I think the nurses said the babies were measuring 2lbs apart at my last ultrasound, right before they were born. They ended up with a 3oz difference at birth, obviously the measurements were wrong.

You may not have your babies super early. I carried mine to 38 weeks, and even then I never went into labor, we scheduled a c-section because Baby A was breech. My doctor has a ton of experience with twins and high risk pregnancies; he told me that of all the twin's he's delivered, my pregnancy was right up there with having the least complications. I was so grateful my Bambinos decided to stay in until 38 weeks so that they cooked as long as needed to be healthy. Sometime I wonder how long they would have stayed in if we hadn't scheduled a c-section.....but just for a minute.

Having a multiple pregnancy is scary and exciting at the same time. I imagine that any pregnant woman worries about her baby, but with multiples, they worries are multiplied (ha!) Luckily, you have doctor appointments twice as often, have many, many ultrasounds, and non stress tests all the time (I only had mine the last few months, some people get them more often if there's complications.) You're given a bunch of reassurance, but hopefully this suuuuper long post helped ease your fears. Of course, this is my story and everyone's different, but it is possible to have an uncomplicated twin pregnancy.

*please check with your doctor before you decide to do anything like this. I didn't and felt very, very guilty that he didn't know, but since it was only the last two weeks, I figured it wouldn't hurt the babies.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Happy Friday! Did this week go super slow to anyone else? I even left work two hours early on Wednesday for the Bambinos' 6month check up. I'm excited for my weekend, it involves a little of this

and this with some friends
 and a little of this on Sunday
I'm getting tatted! I'll share more next week....and I'm sure I'll be tweeting about it too.

Kind of off topic but how crazy is this?!? I googled tattoo for the above picture and this is the first that popped up.
Is it even possible to tattoo a tongue?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This Chica's Becoming Domestic


Okay, not really, but I did take a sewing class. Remember my last attempt at sewing? This time, I did much better and even sewed straight, mostly straight at least. It was only a 2.5 hour class, but I'm going to keep practicing and then try using a pattern to make two shopping cart covers. The Bambinos are thisclose to sitting so we'll actually be able to put them in the cart soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This Family Could Really Use Your Prayers

I had completely different posts planned, but I just had to share this. I got a facebook message the other day from a former co-worker who has two biological children, she just adopted one daughter and they're in the process of adopting their foster son.

July 2nd, the family wanted to give the children their first s'mores campfire. They tried and tried to - well, I'll let Sarah tell the story:

Many of you know, and some may not, that we had a terrible accident at our home last night (Saturday). After an awesome family day of summer shopping and yard work Dave and I and the kids all spent dinner on our back patio and then decided it would be a wonderful night for our first s'more campfire. We waited and tried and tried for twenty minutes to get this fire going. We tried everything. Paper, kindling, wood, pine cones. Dave decided to get some sort of fuel to the fire. He added some and nothing. He added more and the can caught on fire causing a huge flash fire towards Tommy, Brooklyn, Addison and I. Immediately there were screams I saw Brooke's hair on fire and scooped her up and patted her till the fire was out. Dave had already run Addie inside to the sink as her hair and clothes were on fire. By the time I got into the house, maybe 30 second later, there were still flames. I grabbed her and patted her down with a towel on the kitchen floor. Dave scooped up Brooke as I sat with Addie on the floor. Tommy saw all of this and was screaming and crying. Dave called 911 and the paramedics were there withing just a couple of minutes. They took Addie immediately tot he ambulance and started working on her. The second set of paramedics to Brookie. I was able to kiss Addie goodbye and the shut the door telling me they were having her airlifted to Harborview. Dave took off with Brooklyn in her ambulance as they thought they were taking her to Mary Bridge. 

Ray and Sally arrived about 20 minutes later. Sally took care of Tommy and our foster son (who had been sleeping peacefully the whole time in his room). Ray took me to Harborview. On the way Dave called me from the ambulance told me Brooke was sleeping soundly in his lap and they decided to keep the sisters together and take Brooke to the same hospital as Addison. 

Fast forward to today (Sunday). Brooklyn's burn were superficial. She was discharged this evening and went home with Grandma Sally. Addison is in the Burn Pediatric ICU. She does not look like Addie. She is swollen from her burns but mostly from all the fluid they give burn victims. We will know more tomorrow. They had to intubate her, she has a feeding tube, her face, ears, hands and arms are all burned. For now they tell us that her burns are worse on the wrists. They think her face should heal on it's own. She is sedated. She can wiggle her precious little toes when asked. 

This has been Dave and my hardest trial by far. While we would never question who God is and His almighty work we are asking "why?" We know there is no answer. Our beautiful babies have been hurt. Dave feels awful and needs to know that I love him with all my heart. He is the best daddy. We don't understand any of this. It's a nightmare that replays over and over in our minds.

This was a horrible accident. It took 2 seconds to change our entire lives. 

Please pray for a quick recovery for Brooklyn. They say she will be as good as new soon. She was running around the halls being her sassy self all day. Please pray for Addie. She is in pain. Pray for wisdom of her doctors. Pray that we can see our sweet little girls face the way we remember it soon.

We attached a photo of Addison. We could not decide whether or not to send it but we want you to see the progress that we know she will make. We have faith in God. We know He is the great physician, He works ALL things together for good. But our hearts are broken. 

Dave and I love all our children so very much. We were called to be parents. We have been blessed with our children and we know they are our gifts from God. 

Sincerely, The Strodes

Addison is doing better but is still on a breathing tube. Please pray that this family, who is some of the kindest, gentlest people I have ever met, get their little girl's health back. 

Here is their CaringBridge site if you'd like to read more.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Carmelitas - My Way

I mentioned yesterday that after we left the bbq on Sunday, I was inspired to make my own carmelitas. I'd never even had them before and had no idea what I would need, but after finding this recipe, on my phone, I thought, "Hey I could make those" and we had almost everything at home.

The only ingredient we didn't have? Caramel. Uh....that's kind of an important ingredient. What's a girl to do? 

Starting the crust - after reading the recipe for this post,I realized I forgot baking soda. Woops.
I improvised. We had chocolate chips and peanut butter chips in the freezer so I decided to sub peanut butter for caramel.
The crust, you're supposed to set about 3c aside, but that was too much.
Trying to melt the peanut butter chips was not easy. I put them in a pan on very low heat, like the package suggested, I could smell them burning. They weren't melting so I put them in the microwave. They melted a bit, but not much (maybe because they were frozen?) When I pulled them out of the microwave, I dropped the bowl and it shattered everywhere! It wasn't even hot. Luckily, the peanut butter wasn't melted.

Chocolate chips on top of the partially cooked crust. 
Horrible pic, but I ended up using regular peanut butter. I should have saved myself the hassle in the first place.
The finished product. I would say there's too much crust, so don't set aside a full three cups. But they were delicious carmelitas peanut butter-itas all the same. I'll definitely be making them again. They're the perfect dessert without being too sweet.


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