Thursday, January 31

S'more Brownies

These were amazing and so easy. Matilda was wowed by her first marshmallow experience.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch fine salt
The original recipe called for from-scratch brownies. In the interest of time I used a box mix.
4 cups large marshmallows. Regular sized marshmallows didn't melt enough, I think the mini ones might be better.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the brownie mix. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, - I left them in 1 minute - watch carefully. Gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Cool on a rack for as long as you can stand to wait before cutting them and digging in.

Tuesday, January 29

First Ferris Wheel Ride

Over the Santa Monica Pier. She seemed especially impressed to be above the seagulls.
Shoo, Shoo!

Sunday, January 27

Everything Swiss is Cuter

Submitting this photo as evidence: I mean just look at that hat.

She's Onto Something

The past two times we've visited the mall Matilda has discovered these candy dispensers. I haven't yet told her about the contents, but I think she'll soon have it figured out. She is totally fascinated and spends 20 minutes at a time circling them, opening each dispenser to peer up. This particular one had a single Runt candy left behind, which drove her mad. As she circled the dispensers, checking each one, she would always come back to the lone candy, pointing with a questioning "This?"

Thursday, January 24

For Jessica

My cousin is trying to get 1,000 views on this 5 minute video by the end of January. It describes the program where she is in her second year of teaching in the remote highlands of Guatemala. (You'll see her teaching in the white blazer with blue scarf.) If I had my vote, Matilda & I would be visiting Jess before she leaves Guatemala for grad school in the fall. However, I think the rest of the committee is firmly against putting Matilda on a 10-hour chicken bus trip to a village with the highest infant mortality in all of Guatemala.

Tuesday, January 22

Duck in the City

Matilda shows off her duck face after getting all revved up on chocolate at Ghirardeli's this weekend in San Fran. I hadn't been there in too long and the city did not disappoint. We had a fantastic time catching up with our friends and Miss Indra is even more of a rock star than I remembered.

Friday, January 18


I was going to try and spin this as a "baby book" post to mark milestones. But really that would be a thin veil. Matilda can count to fourteen, she has been counting to ten since before Christmas. Lately we have been starting to look at letters a bit more and now she can identify D (for Daddy), S (for Sarah), G (for Gigi, or occasionally Gaurav), and M ("for me!"). What a smart cookie. It is getting scary how fast she picks things up. Lately if we pause when reading one of her (many) favorite books, she will fill in the word, or a sounds similar to the word. Her vocabulary is expanding so fast and daily we are astounded by a new animals, colors, foods, etc that she suddenly knows. I think I need to stop myself at risk of getting carried away worse.

Thursday, January 17

The Look

Don't disturb the artist while she is creating.

Wednesday, January 16

Cutest Christmas Present Ever

Not that I normally condone any matchy-match mother-daughter shenanigans, but these Converse Tim got us just put me over the edge. Tiny little baby feet wrapped in classic canvas sneakers. I have to admit I am still hesitant about us both wearing them at the same time, but Matilda gets so excited about standing toe to toe in our new shoes that I can't really resist indulging her.

Health Update

We are all recuperating after the stomach flu made a full swing through the household. Matilda is still talking up the "boo boo" in her belly a lot, maybe trying for a sympathy vote to get stickers or more of the yummy tasting "medicine" (chewable acidophilus pills, as she won't eat yogurt). The worst part of the whole thing was realizing she had been trying to tell me at the grocery store she was feeling sick, pointing to her belly and saying "boo boo." I just thought the buckle on the cart was too tight and kept loosening it. Thankfully she saved her more obvious (messier) explanation until we were in the parking garage at home, out of my new car.

It was a strange weekend with her being so sick. Tim and I both were reminded of her newborn days as she was sleeping hard, waking at night and displaying other similar, exhausting behavior. During the awake times she was pretty worn out, as were we, so we allowed unprecedented television time with a steady rotation of Wallace and Gromit, Rudolph, and Disney's Silly Symphonies. This video, a special feature on the Rudolph disk, is a particular favorite. Last night during one of her midnight wakings she requested viewing it, as if that were now standard protocol, to wake up at all hours and watch TV. We are weaning her back to health and down off of TV, but it may be she is having a hard time adjusting.

Sunday, January 13


So maybe I was jumping the gun bragging about our single load of laundry. Last night resulted in two more. Still pukesville around here.

Saturday, January 12


Matilda had her first bout with a stomach flu last night. She did really well considering. And her parents are slowly learning how to catch puke. The real challenge came when she started to associate the puke-bucket with the whole terrible experience and would push it away, shaking her head, and saying bye bye. The head shaking really adds a whole other level of difficulty, but with only one resulting load of laundry I would say we are up to the challenge.

This morning M is feeling better and after some initial uncertainty has decided she likes Pedialyte popsicles. We are taking it easy, sticking to the BRAT diet and using it as an excuse to finally allow her unlimited hours in front of the TV.

Friday, January 11

A Future of OCD?

So Matilda's reaction to her play kitchen has been really good. She has been playing with it tons, displaying lots of creativity. Her favorite activity by far is to "wash" her hands in the sink and then "dry dry" them. I am not sure if we should be concerned, or pleased with her good hygiene habits. Maybe she is just pretending to handle a lot of raw chicken and we haven't picked up on that part yet?

Typical Behavior

While Gigi was over to play today, the girls decided to rearrange Matilda's clothes. The funniest part was Matilda's reaction. We generally don't allow Matilda to just pull all the clothes off her shelves like this anymore. When she was younger she did often, but now she knows better. She was hesitant to assist Gigi in the inventory and kept pointing to the growing pile saying "no!" and "mess?"

Do Not Hump

A perplexing train car we saw during our Travel Town trip this week. We just bought tickets for Matilda's first long train trip, a ten-hour journey to Tucson next month. Hopefully there will be at least this much space to wander, explore and pass the time. In preparation for the trip it seems like a good time to teach her proper train track etiquette, i.e. to linger and play on the track.

Wednesday, January 9

Wake Up Call

For several hours on Monday, I thought I might soon be returning to work. It seemed there was the possibility of returning to work 2-3 days a week, with benefits, in our neighborhood, that was too good to pass up. I have been feeling a little bit antsy to work again, as I am afraid my brain is starting to drip out my ears. But it was really mostly a question of snagging those coveted benefits.

The moment it seemed like a possibility, I started to feel sad about the thought of leaving Matilda in someone else's care. While I am sure there are amazing child care situations out there, I was not picturing any of those. I imagined her in some awful day care center, neglected in the corner, with no one to provide the non-stop chatter/stimulation that I am capable of. (As an aside, I think I have really set myself up for trouble with the non-stop description of our world around us. Lately she asks for "more" anytime I stop narration on our walks. At dinner last night she was screaming "more" each time I would pause in recounting our day's adventures to Tim.)

Regardless, the opportunity did not turn out to be as golden as I had hoped. However, it was a really nice reminder to be thankful of my time at home with Matilda. When she is mid-tantrum and I haven't showered in two days it is hard to remember, but really we have such a nice thing going. We celebrated with a fresh batch of play dough and a trip to the playground.

Tuesday, January 8

Pug Storm

One of the highlights of our holiday trip for Matilda was my Dad's new pug puppies, Wally (black) and Ricky (fawn). Above you can see them in full charge mode. They would swirl around the living room in a ball of wrestling fur and someone would inevitably predict a pug storm. Matilda spent a good percentage of her time at Dad & Kathy's house sitting in the crate where the puppies sleep. She would call them in there, and then, overjoyed, pull the door closed behind as one eventually joined her.As expected, they are champion lickers and loved Matilda's perpetually sticky, tasty toddler fingers. She would return the love with big licks (emphatic lllmmph sound) back and we had to repeatedly remind her not to french kiss the dogs. (The same dogs who would run out to the barn and eat sheep poop at the first opportunity.)

Sunday, January 6


Well, it felt like 2,460 pieces. But it actually only came in 246 pieces which are now all assembled. This process took three hours, one Philips head screwdriver, two blisters, one trip to Home Depot, two whiskey cocktails (thank you dear husband), 102 screws and a partridge in a pear tree. I can't wait to see Matilda's reaction when we unveil it.
We figured since the whole Christmas concept is still blurry to her this year, she wouldn't notice if her big gift from us (Santa?) was two weeks late. Now I just have to resist buying up every cute little play kitchen accessory on the planet. I am sure I am more excited about this than she is. Tim will come home from work tomorrow night to find three kinds of pretend food cooking up in Matilda's kitchen, but no actual dinner prepared!

Friday, January 4

Hairy Family Portrait

As a Christmas gift for my Grandmother we set out to get a family portrait taken. In the span of 30 minutes our gracious friend Adam took over 400 shots. He overcame our wind whipped hair, squinty eyes and temperamental toddler to get some great shots that we are super pleased with. But rather than show you those, I think the outtakes are equally entertaining.

Here we demonstrate the complete family portrait package: eyes closed, crazy hair, and looking terribly bored. At least Matilda is having a really good time here. Holy hair. Possibly licking Tim's ear? My turn with the eyes shut and Tim's monkey face. By now Adam is totally thinking, "Get it together here people!" Smooshy face. Trying to get a smile with the big lip routine. Behind the scenes, Adam sporting Alwyn's hat and wielding the bounce card.

Wednesday, January 2


Matilda finally got to meet her snowman. I think he was everything she had hoped.


Matilda had an exciting New Years' Eve and finally got her name into the police records. She dialed 911 at her grandparents house and then hung up. The police called back and after our quick explanation, informed us they were required to come out. Tim, Matilda and I were, conveniently, headed back into town and left poor Grandma Kathy to field the deputy's questions when he arrived. Kathy said he seemed understanding and was polite when he asked her to call off the dogs so he could maneuver in the driveway. The incident only peaks my interest in what would happen with an LA 911 call. Generally you get put on hold initially, but would they eventually call you back? And just how many hours (days) would it be before a deputy arrived to investigate?