thank you

To General Mills... I thank you for the creation of chocolate Cheerios, without which my son would starve. And you too Gyro Bowl. You sassy thing you.

To my heating pad, for being my near-constant companion these past few days. Apparently an out-of-place vertebrae and rotated hips take some time to heal. You are helping this process.

To Olympus Has Fallen, for making Matt and I laugh when we really could use one. And for Gerard Butler, for ever and ever. 

To Spicy Ranch and Lactaid for complimenting Matt's cheese quesadilla's so nicely. Without you I would be unable to enjoy them. Okay unable to enjoy them as much.

To Grace over at Camp Patton, for always making me snicker and also for making me feel like 1) I'm not crazy...2) yes, this is real life...and 3) no, I'm not alone. I only wish we lived close by so we could commiserate in person. Although Letty might beat Julia senseless because that's how she rolls. Gangsta. 

To Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, for making my little boy a reader. And quite the good page turner. Oh and all those beeps. Those are fun too. Also pictured below something I am not thankful for, those little wisps of hair that are NOT in fact bangs. Postpartum fun fun fun. 

To Icona Pop, for giving my rude little daughter one more thing to inform us.  Yeah I love it too. This one may not be sincere.

To Matt, for moving my living room furniture around for me and letting me scratch my restlessness itch. 

To my first mum, because yay! It is fall. Almost. I jump the gun here at andiamo when it comes to holidays. And stuff. Coming up on my favorite four months of the year.

To you, you new ceiling fan you. It's a hell of a lot cooler in here now that you've arrived. Job well done. 

To all of the above, my sincerest gratitude. Without you my life would be just a shadow of a life. Also, I have never been told that I am dramatic.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!


five. and because i am incredibly uncreative.

I stole this. Just so we are clear. I found it on dear Alissa's blog and she's quite fun and so let's just channel her for awhile shall we?


I have a passion for:
1. My kids. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that right?
2. Matt. Passion has many meanings I think. And I turn his boxers right side out EVERY TIME I DO LAUNDRY. That's love. And therefore passion. Right?
3.  Wine. I love it. It's my release. It's our hobby. Matt makes it. It reminds me of people who are no longer here and places I can no longer be.
4. Family. These aren't in any particular order. I just love my family. I'm kinda hooked on my parents and my siblings. Too bad guys. I'd like to hang out with them all the time. They are good times. Family is important. Extended or close. Keeping that bond going strong is top priority.
5. Food. If you lived with Matt you might agree with me.

I'd like to do before I die:
1. Learn to speak Italian
2. Live in Italy. But only if mi familia comes along.
3. Drive across country in a Winnebago.
4. Run a marathon. Preferably in a cool location.
5. Own and operate a winery. And we shall name it Previte Vineyards and it shall be mine. My vineyard.
Logo by Ashley Trovato.

Books or magazines I've read lately:
1. Runner's World. Because you just can't learn everything there is to learn about running.
2. The Red Tent by Anite Diamani. Did you know Father Abraham had many sons?
3. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. This book gave me some nice thoughts after a not so nice time.
4. The Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia. I loved this. The movie was great as well. Easy distracting reads are always great in my book.
5. Can blogs count? I read a lot of blogs.

Favorite movies: (Can I just say how difficult this is for me to narrow down? I love movies. I love quoting movies. I could no less pick my favorite child.)
1. Under the Tuscan Sun. It even tastes purple. Happy sigh.
2. Goodfellas. I love gangster movies. This is my favorite. Funny how? Like a clown? Like I amuse you?
3. Count of Monte Cristo. This movie is amazing. The end.
4. Harry Potter (don't mess with HP) I am feeling a Harry Potter (I initial typed 'potty' my brain is mush) marathon coming on.
5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I could quote this till the cows come home.

Places I'd love to travel to:
1. Greece. Santorini in particular. If I'm feeling rather wealthy I'd enjoy a small yachting adventure around all Greecan Islands.
2. Paris. Just because.
3. California. Wine country. San Fran.
4. Florida Keys. I hear it's phenomenal down there. I want to go to there.
5. Brazil. That creepy Jesus statue and I must meet.

I promise I'll attempt creativity here shortly.


summa recap + favorite

Whatever Wednesday's topic this week is to share our favorite moment from this summer. This was quite the summer. We had a first birthday, a third birthday, and a thirtieth birthday. My sister got married. My mom finished chemo and kicked cancer's ass. There was a hilarious night where we chased an ice cream truck. I went to NYC. We hit up the beach and the Catskills. I got a new camera! There was some potty training fiascos. We went many many times to Dutch Wonderland. We kept ourselves busy doing things you do when you have young kids. How do you pick just one? This summer played man.

I will choose the wedding (apologies for the poor photo quality, as this was pre-camera). It was so nice to have all of the family together. Drinking and dancing and celebrating. My sister looked gorgeous and everything went perfectly. It was a great event if I do say so myself. And I think I have the right since I planned a sizable portion of it. Wink wink. You can read my wedding recaps here and here. For my favorite professional photos by Whitcomb Photography here's that post too. That was the biggest event of the summer, in the year of our Lord 2013, and so it's pretty much a no brainer. People marrying people is always a big deal. Cheers to Mr. and Mrs. Sauder! Mrs. Sauder. 

I think I'll keep this blogging thing up. I love that I can look back and relive all these moments with my family and see how they've grown. Maybe someday they will read this and enjoy hearing of these many little moments that all add up to the best life one could ask for. Plus since I have a serious case of the mommy brains it's great to have this little corner of the interwebs to remind me what I did with my life. To document all that small stuff.


it takes a village

Or in my case, a Sherpa. Today the part of the Sherpa will be played by Matt.

My mom has often said when we were little she rarely left the house. Times are different now I guess or maybe it's just me and my friend, but we go out. All the time. I know summer is dwindling and maybe that's part of it, or maybe I hate being bored. The psychology of this matters not. What matters is, how do I leave the house?

I begin with my diaper bag. It is always ready to go. Always. The first thing that I do when I return home the day before is prep the diaper bag for a quick exit the next time. Refill diapers. Refill water sippys. Refill snacks for both David and Letty. Enough wipes? Did Letty take a dump in her underpants today? Yeah? Oh fun! Replace her spare shorts/underpants. I guess if the alarm goes off at our local nuclear power plant it is good to know that I can just grab it and run. It's armageddon preparation at it's finest.

Hopefully Matt has already moved the car seats (we only have the necessary two, so they need to be transferred regularly) into the car I'll be forced to drive today. If he hasn't then I put on TV for Letty and give David a bottle so I can install them in the garage. Without worrying about decapitation or strangulation. The hair has to go up for this one. 

Shoes are put on both kids. Letty can do this herself (your OTHER left dear. pick a shoe any shoe so long as it matches.) but David requires a lasso and some zip ties. By this point my pit sweat is quite noticeable.

Me: Letty do you need to go to the potty?
L: I. DON'T. CAREEE!!!!!!
Me: (resigned sigh) I was just asking.... you don't have to be mean. (clearly I am going to have the best relationship with her when she's a teenager.)
Me: Is it time for wine yet? 9:00 a.m.... that means that it is past 5:00 p.m. in Tehran.... I can rationalize that. 

Two bottles (of milk silly) go into my refrigerated little pack along with the corresponding frozen ice packs. This goes into the car.

Two iPads go into the car. David gets the Giggle Gang put on child's mode. If they aren't fully charged prepare yourself for a yelling one year old for the duration of the trip.

David needs his diaper changed. Break out the lasso again.

There is always a stroller in the back of both vehicles. One just never knows where one's day will lead one. Does one? If I require the double stroller then I pull that hair back again and brave the garage heat to throw it in (that's what she said). Anyone curious as to how I hurt my back this post should alleviate that curiosity.

Letty will require her sunglasses if we take the Jeep due to lack of air conditioning and a strong aversion to wind blowing in her face. If this is forgotten then I shall squint the entire drive. The things you do for your sanity kids.

Hopefully I have remembered to put my chapstick in my pocket and shoes on my feet. Then I set the alarm and make a run for it. Once the kids are installed in their seats I sit in the driveway staring at the garage door (yes it is in fact closed) for a few seconds and mentally tally my booty. It's all there. Off I go!

This is why I start the exiting process 15 minutes prior to the departure time I actually need in order to arrive 5 minutes early on time. There's gotta be an easier way am I right?


my totally random weekend

It's strange to have a Monday and not have some kind of "big" weekend round-up but we tried to stay low-key this particular weekend because that's a rare thing. And yet we were still busy every night. Funny how that happens. 

Pardon my randomness. But here goes. 

- We moved my sister-in-law and brother-in-law into their new home! Yay new home! We provided some manpower...they provided some wine. It was win-win. Everybody deserves some happy and this house has happy written all over it. Even their golden doodle agrees. And he's a character that one.

- David currently had a full head of crazy Olsen hair. It's in his genes. His Grandpa had crazy Olsen hair. His great Uncle has the crazy Olsen hair. It's blonde. It sticks out whether there is maple syrup in it or not. I love seeing parts of his Grandpa make an appearance in him. It's the greatest. 

- That coffee table? It got picked up like a bad habit right off our curb. Within an hour. Also taken recently? A broken freezer. Dumpster Divers unite! Except we don't have a dumpster. No coffee table means we had to have my electrician extraordinaire of a father switch up some low hangers (lights) and add a fan. We love fans. Air blowing. 

- I'm currently icing/heat padding/medicating my constantly sore back. I just aggravated it a lot lately. I guess picking up your three year old in a public restroom stall and holding her over the toilet would probably do it. But I am thinking when you stand straight your body should be - check this - straight. Time to find a chiropractor. On a side note, I wonder how long till I learn self-diagnosing on the Internet is just plain dumb? 

- Speaking of toilets little miss sassy pants WAS doing fabulously in the potty department. Even the big one. For like, four days. Then Saturday came and she decided she enjoyed sitting in her pee pants. 

- We were driving home from my parents house the other night as we do most nights and all of us had quite the sing-a-long going. Letty can really belt out Rock Me Mama Like a Wagon Wheel and there's just something really cute and funny about that. And how excited she got when she realized what song was on.

- I had the pleasure of dropping in on my sister's best friend's bachelorette party Saturday night. I put on my big girl pants and joined them at Marian Court for a drink. Beth's friends are such good people's. It warms my cold frigid heart to know she's surrounded by such good people's. Oh! And if you follow me on Instagram then you already saw their rousing rendition of that song from Bridesmaids. Those girls love that song! Hee hee. 

And yeah. That's all of note from this here weekend. Happy Monday. I'll be the lady walking waddling like I have a stick up my ass. 

i bake!

Like I said the other day, I was looking forward to my peaches ripening right up so I could make a peach cake. So I figured since I am an amateur blogger and amateur baker I should probably document this rare event. I normally (yeah I said normally because this is one of my favorite things so I have made it before a time or two) make this with apples. And in that case I call it apple cake. That's the dessert I requested as a child every year on my birthday. Apple. Cake. So I had these peaches and my mom said that apple cake can be made with not just apples but also peaches. And if you're really feeling frisky even blueberries. I can't even call that last paragraph a long story short.

Aunt Carrie was an aunt. I will probably disgrace myself with not knowing the official relation (I am a wanna-be ancestry aficionado.) I'll go with a relation of my mother's on the paternal side. Yes? She won't even answer me on this blog she'll probably just text me the answer. Anti-commenter.

The recipe:
Apple/Blueberry/Peach Cake

1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c sugar
2 eggs plus 1 c milk
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
Sugar/cinnamon/melted butter to taste

Bake at 375 for 40-45 min.

The ingredients:
You sift the dry ingredients together. Here is me playing with my new camera to show you said sifted ingredients:
I realize "2 eggs plus 1 c milk" can be a bit confusing. Two eggs go into a measuring cup. Then add milk on top of that till you hit 1 cup. Yup. Just like that.
Wisk. Then add the 2 tbsp of melted butter and the vanilla. I love vanilla. I always like to throw some extra in there because I like to live dangerously.
Then you mix the wet ingredients in with the dry. This is where you enlist your three year old helper because stirring is really hard work. 
Then you pour it into your typical greased and floured 9x13 pan.
Peaches. I used about 5 but sometimes those peaches are quite large. Or small. However you like them.You peel them. You slice them. Line them up real nice on top of the poured dough.
Throw some melted butter on top. I used probably 3 tablespoons.... Yes mom I said three.
I make my own cinnamon sugar. Boo-ya! Then you throw that all over the top of it all. As little or as much as you'd like. If I were to make a recommendation I would say MORE. Always MORE.
Throw that in the oven at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. And done!
I'll be bringing this to my sister-in-law's house today. Moving day! Deserves a peach cake!!


weekend of the catskills. part v

Sunday after a buffet breakfast we all headed home. Since our route would take us relatively close to Centralia we decided to pop over and see what it was all about. 

History lesson: Centralia is now an almost ghost town. A mine fire has been burning under the ground since 1962. Most of the houses have been condemned and/or destroyed. Only 10 people live there, or so we hear. 

We followed a sign that said 'fire' and came across what looked like just a hillside. We did see a few holes that were charred and smoking, but nothing crazy. We drove up and down the town roads and saw where driveways used to be....etc. Saw some windmills. I think windmills are crazy. Like crazytown crazy. So big. Big things.
Thanks to a few four-wheel-driving guys we were told about The Graffiti Highway. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Which if you are a true Boondock Saints fan you will know is painted on the wall in the room where Connor and Murphy go to pick out their weapons of choice. See below.
This is an old highway that is now overgrown and cracked. Buckled from the fires, etc. You can walk the entire thing and isn't this sweet? Locals have drawn lovely pictures for you to look at on your walk! Writing. Expletives. Genitalia. I tried really hard (ha ha) to not get any pictures of the penises but there was a lot of Richard out there. So if you have very innocent eyes don't look too closely.
Thanks for coming along for this Catskillian journey. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.