Sunday, December 16, 2007

Breaking News!!

Xandri officially started walking today! She took her first faltering steps a few weeks ago, but today is the day we're marking. She's walking from one side of the room to the other... She's so cute and small, I love it!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mother Nature's Fury: The Beauty and Devastation

A few days ago we had our first ice storm this winter. It was terrible to drive in, they canceled school for two days. When you're driving in an ice storm, the ice lands on the windshield and freezes there. Visibility is almost nil. Roads are layered in ice. Power lines are encased in ice. Trees are encased. Everything is. Power lines, weighed down by the ice, fall and sometimes break, causing power outages all over. Tree limbs snap like toothpicks. Just google ice storm in an image search and you'll come up with some crazy pictures.

This picture I believe was taken somewhere in the Netherlands in some crazy ice storm- it's not quite this bad in the Midwest.

Here's a sampling for your enjoyment- some pics I took in my yard. Some of them decry the destruction of the storm, others highlight the fragility of life. Small leaves and berries gently encased in ice, seem to be protected by Mother Nature rather than punished.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Zickgraf-Style

This is how it works at my house. Melody is my muse. This is my composition. I can only hope that's a compliment.

A Glimpse Into The Three-Year Old Psyche

Since I've copious amounts of updating to do on my blog (ahem. A month plus worth. So keep an eye out down the page since I'll be post-dating my posts.), I've decided to throw you people a bone. Here are some of the amazing things that lend us entertainment day in and day out.

To start us off, please begin by examining the following photograph:

This photograph was taken yesterday morning. The circumstances surrounding this event are as follows:

I was in the midst of my morning routine, not fully aware of what Avril was up to, but vaguely conscious of her buzzing about doing whatever it is she does. I heard her mention her plans to go shopping, but didn't stop to take in the scene that would welcome me until she asked me to fix her hair. Indeed, I was halfway done with her ponytail when I finally glanced down and saw what she was wearing. Apparently, she really was prepared to go shopping.

Further anecdotal evidence of my three-year old's charming personality will be providing in several accounts describing conversations we've had or overheard with Avril.

Exhibit A:

While eating dinner, she declared, "I've got to eat lots and lots of dinner, food and lunch and applesauce and then I'll grow up big and strong and tall to be a Daddy!"

Exhibit B:

Watching Derek study, she asked him the prevailing question that is ever on her lips, "Why?"
His response was, "Because I want to be a doctor."
To which she eagerly responded, "I want to be a doctor, too! I'm going to study!"

Exhibit C:

Derek (wearing a brown shirt and taking his lead from the preceding conversations): "Do you want to be a Daddy or a doctor or a mom?"
Avril: "A Daddy! I want to wear a brown shirt!"

Exhibit D:

Also during dinner. I think I came into the conversation she was having with herself a little too late, but this is what I heard, "And if someone's standing on my head they could fall off down to the floor or the carpet or the ground or the world or the schoolbus or the truck!" Her voice rose in pitch as each possibility was listed.

Exhibit E:

This morning we came downstairs to find Derek's half-full bag of licorice now empty and Avril with two in hand. When Derek asked her what happened to his licorice, she replied, "Ummm... they were bones and I was a puppy!"

Exhibit F:

This one I'm not sure really counts as evidence of her personality, but I'll list it here anyway since I'm pretty proud of myself for coming up with something so effective. Today anyway.

Since Avril is so hung up on growing big and tall like Mommy and Daddy, I've convinced her the way we grew this big was by eating our vegetables. So now I call all the bites I want her to eat "growing bites". It works like a charm. She ate all her "growing bites" for the first time today I think...

Monday, December 3, 2007


(I need some feedback on the photos. I edited them in Picasa and they look fantastic on my laptop screen, but terrible and orange on my desktop. What do you see?)

So we went to the KCOM "Prom" this weekend. Actually, it's the winter formal, but I'm a dork and it makes me giggle a little bit in my head to pretend like I'm going to prom again.

In any case, it was super fun. I spent far too much time getting ready, but it was super worth it.

First of all, I got my dress ages ago on sale at Dillard's. I knew I'd never have a chance to wear it, but it was $30 and ... well, a girl can dream, right? But more than not having the opportunity, I have to mention that originally it didn't have the little inset thing in the front- it went that low. Since it had a bit of a train, my wonderful neighbor (who, lucky for me, used to work as a seamstress for a formal/bridal shop in town) kindly made the adjustments to make it modest for me. Further, she also hemmed the wrap for me, since it was also sleeveless.

So there's the dress. Next, the hair- my darling friend Janae' helped me out in exchange for some Mary Kay product- although in all honesty, I got by far the better end of that deal! The nails hot pink were done with my sweet friend Jaime earlier in the day.

Once I spent pretty much the whole day getting ready, Derek and I drove to the TCC- and that thoughtful man dropped me at the door and then went and dropped the girls off at the free babysitting provided for the dance. He met me there and we found a good table (dinner was also provided. Did I mention dance tickets and dinner were free? As in, everything we did that night was awesome-- and FREE?

Dinner was fairly delicious and I was surprised at how good the cake was. Normally I'm not impressed.

And then? The rest of the night was just a fantastic night. See, perhaps I should give a little background here. Derek is an amazing guy. He's funny, he's intelligent, he's just got a great personality and people love him. However, since his favorite past-time right now is the World of Warcraft, few people out here have had a chance to see that side of him. So basically, he was my arm candy that night. We danced for forever and had a ball.

We got to break it down with some super rad people. Overall? It was a great night. Plus, he picked the kids up after sitting, too.

Thanksgiving Celebrations

Thanksgiving this year was fun. You've already read up to Tuesday before T-giving, so continuing on...

My cousin opted to come out to visit up in our little podunk 'Ville because she wanted a low-key, quiet Thanksgiving break to study for a business test she had coming up. So that's what she got. We kept it low-key. So low-key I can't really remember what we did besides a couple of movies and Thanksgiving dinner. We also, of course, were sure to hit up Pancake City for their amazing pancakes and both opted for the same pancakes as last time- Georgia Peach for me Cinnamon Apple for Camas. Mouthwatering.

Anyway, so actual T-giving was really cool. I'm really proud of my table display, which was also inspired by Melody.

I think I did a good job glossing them over with Picasa, too. I bought a 5 lb. turkey breast and we cooked that instead of a full bird. We had honey cornbread, delicious mashed potatoes and gravy, yams and apples (which I've decided for good that I really honestly just don't like), this amazing chutney that Camas brought with her for us, nutritious salad, Passion Punch and our famous and absolutely amazing crumble top apple pie.

The secret is in the preparation of the apples and in the crumble topping. For the apples, it's very straightforward but takes a while. Just use a potato peeler to peel down 4-5 large apples and follow whatever recipe you have. I'm too lazy to post the one I have. Unless I get requests. It's just the consistency of those apples is amazing. And my favorite apples- Rome- weren't available this year, so we used something else, I can't even remember what. It might have been honeycrisp, but I could just be thinking of Katherine's blog on those.

Friday was also low-key. We made sure to watch The Office and Seinfeld. That's our classic hang-out mix: funny movies/shows and cooking. That's our special time together.

Love you Camas! Even though I know you won't read this because "who has time to read blogs?!"

And then Saturday came much too soon and I dropped my favorite relative off at the airport. Until next time...