Thursday, July 30, 2009


I've been unplugged for the last couple of weeks. Having company will do that. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're not sucked into your laptop. I'm numero uno on the list of time wasters via the laptop. Between reading blogs, writing my own, checking email or chatting, the time is just wasted.

The last 2 weeks I was doing the kinds of things that one might blog about but just was too busy actually doing them to write about them.

Can you believe I didn't take a single picture to document it? A part of me kind of likes that - as if it's my own private moment that only I will ever have.

My grandma and I had a blast doing lots of old projects I'd just never gotten around to doing. We hung pictures, fixed our screen door, baked bread, framed artwork and just had fun.

I loved getting up each morning and fixing a pot of coffee to share with her. We would relax and talk while I fed the kids, made breakfast, or watered the plants. She would talk about the latest book she was reading (she read about one a day) and then leave it on the table for me to read later. I now have 5 new books on my nightstand.

She would pull out our notepad and start making our list for the day. Groceries to pick up, project odds and ends to buy, errands to run, whatever. We'd do those and then work on our projects as we could either during nap times or when kids were entertained. Every time my lazy side would try to make excuses, she'd keep pushing me. And you know what I discovered? It didn't take as long as I thought it would. No matter the task, we always accomplished it quickly.

She had tons of knowledge on most of our home improvement issues and really showed us what we needed to buy or do to finish something.

But when 3 pm came, she always looked at me and said "Why don't you go take a nap?".

Work hard, play hard. That's what we did.

We played a new card game - Gulf - one night. Watched movies other nights. Went to the movies, and went shopping on Saturday. We had wine most nights - even mimosas one day. One afternoon we grilled and we both had 2 beers each.

I can honestly say it was a great visit, and that I was sorry she had to leave. It also DID go by quickly. I say that a lot and don't always mean it - but this time I did. At the beginning, before she arrived, 15 days sounded long - but it felt like less than a week. I hope we can do it again and soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Dear God

Dear God,

I'd like longer fingers. These short, stubby ones just aren't cutting it You see. The new music I'm working on has a chord that's bigger than an octave - and as You know You've only seen fit to grant me hands that comfortably play an octave on the piano. See my dilemma? Okay. Thanks.


P.S. Fine, I'll work on stretching those fingers. (Insert pouting face here). Maybe I'll invent finger yoga - if it's not already.

*Tap Tap - is there anyone there? It's become strangely silent on here, my high school diary had more comments for me. Did I do something crazy, like bare my soul in writing for all to see? Oh yeah, I do that every week. Quit lurking and give me some love. Just kidding...or am I?

I have absolutely nothing of interest to write about. Okay that's a lie, but I don't feel like writing about that. Funny how that works.

Next topic.

The boys: Corbin is cruising the furniture! Which is a big deal, cause my boy is LAZY and is just now figuring this out. We'll see how long it takes him to work up the motivation to walk. Hayden is still in love with his poops and talking a lot - mostly about poop. Although, fries, Elmo (which spellchecker is angrily telling me should be capitalized cause yeah, he's that important), trains, and Corbin are hot topics.

The tomato plant: My tomato plant FINALLY has flowers. It only took 6 months of TLC - sheesh! Now I'm just waiting to see the first little tomato. I'll take a pic.

The kitchen: Still not done. Sort of done. Basically done. But not. Don't ask, I don't feel like talking about that one either.

The famous line: "I put that somewhere so I wouldn't lose it...I just don't remember where". So far I've hidden from myself picture hanging wire, a piano music book, the level, the piece of plastic essential to Hayden's battery powered tractor, and 4 spoons? Okay I don't remember putting the spoons anywhere special, but nevertheless we're down 4 spoons.

Google reader: I've been going through a phase of weeding out blogs. At some point I realized I had NO interest in a few blogs and was only reading them out of some strange compulsion - like it was my summer reading list and I had to do it. If they have thousands of subscriptions, surely I should be reading them...right? I suddenly woke up to the realization that if the post is BORING (like this one) I can simple move on with my life. And the more I've been moving on, the less I care about what Fido is up to (or whatever random topic is up that day). So then I hit that scary button...unsubscribe (WAIT - don't need me!)

I can read about someone else's life or I can live my own. I think I'll live my own, even if that's harder.

Family: I've been really enjoying my visit with my Grandma, which keeps me off of here these days. It's going by quickly.

Sleep: I've been pretty wiped out lately. Don't get any weird ideas, I'm just staying up too late. Trying to fit more life into a day, and finding myself getting left with 6 hours of sleep. I just have so much I want to do! Talk to my hubby without the kiddos bouncing on us. Listen to some great music. Watch a movie or a TV series. Whatever. But I've only got from about 9pm on to do that. With the kids up early, that doesn't leave a whole lot of time. Hmmmm...

New skill: Thanks to my grandma I've finally learned out to use my espresso machine. I can make a killer espresso or latte! Woot. No more nasty, watery stuff. I can froth milk like no other. Okay I might be overstating my skills a bit, but hey - I'm learning and that's all that matters.

Is there a wrap up to all this nonsense?


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Sorry for the gap in posts. The Zavala house is hosting family this week and next, so time on the laptop is sparse.

I went to a movie this weekend and saw the preview for New Moon. Am I a total dork if I say I really want to see this?! I've read all the books and have fallen in love with these characters.

Am I crazy to say these books woke up something in me? Nothing to do with the actual storyline or vampire/teenage plot, but something deeper - something passionate? Something I can't quite articulate.

A longing for the eternal - for a life without a time limit. A life without death or dying.

Love. Love so real you can touch it.

Beauty. Beauty in nature. Beauty in us. Beauty in music.

Life without sickness.

Strength without limits.

Being desired above all else.

Being special.

Being loved.

Wow. I just can't put my arms around it. I can't bottle it up for you and show you how it's burning underneath my skin. But it's definitely there. I can push it to the back of my mind for a bit, but it just keeps bubbling up.

Sometimes things change you and you just can't go back to who you were before. It's even crazier when the thing that changed you really had nothing to do with it - it just brought out feelings in you that were already there. Feelings you needed to deal with eventually.

My whole life I've been so impatient to live. Always on to the next thing. College, marriage, job, kids. I've lived my life like a race, hurrying from one checkpoint to another. What happens in the eternal? Can I just be? Can I slow down? Can I wait for a tree to grow? Or the sun to rise?

And now? Can I enjoy my children in each stage and age? Can I throw myself into my music or painting knowing there is no quick path? Can I listen to a piece of music without moving? Can I pray without thinking of my grocery list?

There are some things that just burn in me that I can't control. I don't think I'm supposed to. I think those longings, yearnings, those needs are meant to be there. And I think they are meant to be awoken at some point. If they aren't stirred, you may never ask yourself that question. Which comes out differently for everyone, but runs something like this:

What's the point of all this?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Okay, my 2 year old is in LOVE with pooping on the potty.

He especially loves to inspect and flush after each individual piece. AND...mommy (yes I've moved to mommy not momma) is NOT allowed in the bathroom while he's "busy" going. I get "Bye bye" "Bye bye mommy" if I so much as poke my head in to see what kind of damage he's done.

Yesterday I walked into a pee covered bathroom...and he was thoroughly upset that he had gotten it on his foot!! Yeah, don't worry about my floors or rugs, it's your foot that's really important.

Nothing funnier than seeing a 2 year old scamper bottomless out of the bathroom - sooo happy about his poo-poo.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Beating the Heat

How are the Zavalas beating the heat?


  • Not leaving the house.
  • Having "raw" foods for dinner like summer salads which require no cooking
  • Closing the curtains and blinds
  • Only turning on lights that have "energy-saver" bulbs
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Turning the fans on high
  • Not running the dryer, stove, or dishwasher during the day.
  • Going pantless - and in case of the baby, shirtless too!
  • Wearing skirts and tank tops!!
  • Eating cold fruits
  • Taking cool showers and baths
  • Drinking a glass of ice cold milk - yum!
What are you doing?

Nutrition Revamp

As anyone in the greater Austin area will tell you - it's HOT!

This is what we did during one of our hot days for relief.

Due to the extreme temperatures, I've been hibernating. But, then again, I kind of like hibernating - it's relaxing. Enjoying home stuff.

More recently I've been working on changing up our diets. I've been reading Nourishing Traditions, as well as a few blogs that support that nutrition philosophy. It's practically a diet makeover, so there is no way I could instantly start eating this way. It's definitely not for the faint of heart, haha. I could see how you could get overwhelmed with the amount of information in this book. I'm just taking it one step at a time.

I decided to jump in at "Beverages", since that seemed like a manageable section of our food that I could "revamp". Even in that spectrum, I'm going slow. I strive to cut out all our soda intake, but haven't let go of an occasional coffee/caffeine as of yet. I have found a dairy in Georgetown to supply us with Grade A raw milk, a staple of the cooking. I picked up two gallons this week, and will schedule another pickup soon! They were $5 a gallon, which from the research I've done is a good price.

At present I'm making our own cream cheese and whey. Tomorrow I will tackle yogurt. It's surprisingly easy. I actually made my first batch of cream cheese last week.

After that I'm looking to making ginger ale. Yesterday I made my own ginger tea - from freshly grated ginger.

It's a slow process, but one I hope to achieve over the next few years. Most of the traditional beverages we drink in our culture are out or recommended only occasionally. So I have to rethink and replace the drinks we rely on. There are lots of recipes, but they take some "new" ingredients and a few are complicated so I'm working on the easy ones and then build up to some of the others (including a beer recipe!!).

I found a great farmer's market right here in our own neighborhood! I checked it out last weekend and got all of our produce (minus bananas and ginger) there for $14. I can't wait to go back this weekend since there should be twice as many vendors (last weekend was fourth of July and only a handful of vendors were there). The market is at the Brushy Creek Community Center every Saturday (9-1pm), and even Tuesday afternoons (4-8pm I think).

Once I have a firm handle on beverages, I'm setting my sights on breads. Most of the recipes use spelt flour, which they don't even sell in our grocery store. So I'll have to track some down, probably at Whole foods, and then buy a grain mill to grind it. So that's a big step. Sounds like a good Xmas gift (hint hint Mark).

But definitely expect more posts about this topic on the horizon as I live and learn with new recipes and changes!

Monday, July 6, 2009


In typical second child fashion, I am a weeks late in Corbin's 1 year post! I hope he forgives me for spending time with him instead of blogging about him. :)

My baby turned one on the 24th of June. I can't believe he's been apart of our lives (outside the womb) for over a year now.

Corbin has developed into quite the charmer. He's known as "the smiling" baby at our pediatricians office and often gets praised on his laid back behavior. Which I know is only to get me comfortable and catch me off guard when the 2s start. Hehe.

He is the family comedian lately, often performing various "shows" for laughs. Playing peek-a-boo with himself or putting random things on his head (anything from puffs to toys), he'll do anything for a laugh. The minute you laugh at something he adds it to his repertoire of hilarious antics and he'll bust it out randomly days later for attention.

I've yet to cut off his long locks like I did with Hayden. I know the minute I do, my baby will be gone and he'll instantly be replaced with a little boy. So he'll have to make do with my "trims" until I'm ready to let go. (When he's 30).

He's not walking or even cruising yet. With Corbin, I've learned he does everything at his own pace. And no amount of rushing him is going to change it. Luckily he came second into this family, so I've learned to chill out a bit in the short two years his older brother has been around.

He LOVES his older brother - you never seem them far apart, Corbin makes sure of that. And whatever Hayden thinks is funny, Corbin is quick to back him up - even if funny means Hayden bonking Corbin with a toy.

He's a tough kid - he has to be with an older brother like Hayden. No amount of shoving or pushing can get him down. He holds his own with the older kids too. We had a 3 year old over last week and when she tried to push him out of the way - he pushed her right back and squawked at her! He banged on her until she got out of his way. That's my boy. ;)

There's not much that can get him down, but he's not all sugar and spice. He doesn't ask for much but what he does ask for, he wants done HIS way. Bottle MUST be ready and waiting when he wakes up. And some days he wakes up and just wants his momma, and that day gets designated as a "Corbin Day" with lots of snuggles and holding.

He hates baby food and getting him to eat it has become a real pain in my day. The kid will eat paper and pennies, but not baby food with any chunks in it. He LOVES puffs, teething biscuits, crackers, slices of apple, bread - basically anything you can chew on.

He's a major couch potato and is in awe of any TV if it is turned on. I've never seen a kid so enthralled with a documentary on PBS. He seriously will watch anything.

He's never slept in a crib, and maybe a year ago I would have been shocked by that. He's strictly a pack-n-play baby and as soon as he's ready he'll be in a real bed. He's been a great sleeper from 3 months on - something I continue to be thankful for.

I can't believe my tiny baby who slept curled up on my chest for 3 weeks is now a year old. He's still a little guy, weighing only 18 lbs 3 oz and 29 1/2 inches. But he has a BIG personality to make up for it.

I can't wait to see how that personality blossoms. I love you Corbin!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cabin Tour - Part II

Here is installment #2 of "The Cabin Tour". Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An Addiction

Hello, my name is Melissa and I'm a soda addict.

I've been "fizzing" for over 20 years.

And I can't stop.

Or maybe don't want to stop.

Or no, I DO want to stop, but just keep falling off the wagon.

There. I said it. I admit it.

And now I'm saying good-bye. I'm going into soda rehab.

Yes, there will be setbacks. Yes, there will be binges and failures.

But I will prevail!!!!

My mind would prefer I not pump my body full of the chemically goodness, er I mean junk that comes with each thirst-quenching (ok not really), delicious, er poisonous sip.

But my taste buds say...YUM! Back you evil taste buds.

But seriously, I need to kick this habit and I just need to do it. There's no better time than the present.

Farewell my friend, so long and good-bye.

Photo credit: Michael Scheltgen

Hideaway Ranch & Retreat

This is the first part in my "video series" of the cabin tour. Hehe. That sounds professional. I assure you, it's not.

I would have loved to upload the entire thing, but alas, it's too large. You'll have to wait until tomorrow for the next installment - if you're not too bored already.

Our cabin was called "The Laredo", but it was formerly "The Cabana", I think the owners were in the process of remodeling. They still hadn't painted a few walls, and also had a few left over Cabana details. HA! It was 2 bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths. We loved it, it was the perfect size.