Tag Archives: twins

The Broken Cookie

12 Sep

When my kids were little, it was not uncommon for them to have a meltdown at the oddest times. After a fun day at the waterpark, some seemingly inconsequential thing would trigger a full blown scream-fest on the way home in the car. We called it the broken cookie syndrome.

One of my favorite pictures of our kids.

It makes no sense to try and talk a child out of a tantrum. A broken cookie tastes the same as a whole one. But after a day of trying to hold it all together, the slightest infraction ie the broken cookie and the wheels fall off.

That’s what happened to me today. We have been four days of caring for our three year old twin granddaughters. We sang songs, read stories, did yoga, drew pictures, and walked to the park, all the things you do with young ones to pass the day. Let’s not forget naps, baths, and bandaids on skinned knees.

Our bundles of fun.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a volunteer gig to help out their parents. Except, the girls were supposed to be in school all day and our job was to transport to and from, feed them dinner and put them to bed. Easy peasy right? Runny noses from allergies made it impossible to go to school in the time of Covid. We thought they would get better as the week progressed but they never did.

Wonderful artwork by the girls in my journal.

Today I had my own broken cookie. I made a broccoli slaw which was a first for me. Raw broccoli, carrots and a peanut sauce. The slaw was my own version of a Pinterest recipe, substituting what I had on hand. Yummy. It was a bit of work and I was excited for dinner.

Lisa came to ask what she could do support dinner prep and I suggested she slice up some tomatoes and cucumbers for the burgers. She misunderstood and added them to my slaw.

I have NO idea why it upset me so badly. I wasn’t mad at her. But I found myself sitting in the bedroom senselessly boohooing. Dear God what is wrong with me? I blame it all on a broken cookie . The straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. BTW the slaw was still delish.

DOS TORTAS

Broccoli Salad (This recipe lends itself to many options, adding pineapple or apple is nice too)

4 well packed cups small broccoli pieces, stems removed (~2 small-medium heads of broccoli) you can grate the inner stems too.

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 cup shredded carrot

½ cup dried cranberries

DRESSING:

½ cup plain nondairy yogurt

¼ cup vegan mayo

3 tbsp tahini (or peanut butter)

1 ½ tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp white miso (optional)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

¾ tsp fine grain kosher salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

Cheesy Roasted Sunflower Seeds

½ cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds (or peanuts)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

¼ tsp salt

A Birthday Letter To Our Granddaughters

19 Jul

Dear Sara and Analise,

This past week was your second birthday. Your Grandma Lisa and I felt sad because we couldn’t be there to celebrate with you. It is the year 2020 which will go down in modern history as one of the strangest times, certainly the strangest in my lifetime.

A Premie Ambulance

Grandma Lisa and I were at your house in California after you were born. We came to see you in the hospital when you were very tiny babies. You were born premature and mom had to stay with you in the hospital. We took care of Max until you were big enough to come home.

Sweet babies

It was so fun to take care of you when you came home from the hospital. Grandma Lisa and I took turns with your dad getting up in the middle of the night when you woke up. I remember getting up in the middle of the night with your mom when she was just born. She would look at me with eyes wide open. I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I still do. I was 24 years old.

Your mom as a newborn.

We will be around as much as we can while you are growing. I have a few thoughts to share. I don’t know how wise they are, but here goes.

Be kind, especially to people who are not kind to you.

Lots of people love you. And it is not your job to make them happy. It is their job to love you and teach you how to be responsible women.

Always pick your sister and brother. They will be with you a long time. Sharing memories together when you are older will be the best. Especially when you are as old as me.

We miss you all.

Mom said you will get these letters when you turn 18. What an exciting time for you. Be happy and know that I love you. Nana aka

DOS TORTAS

Acts Of Kindness

28 Oct

Today is my last day in California. I feel like I helped get these babies off to a good start, which was my goal. My son-in-law is having back surgery next month and my daughter is healing from PPCM, postpartum cardiomyopathy. They have additional family members coming after we leave. Send prayers.

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Dad with the girls, Analise and Sara.

What an exhausting and rewarding experience. I am a bit at a loss for words. It’s time to get home to Bacalar. Lisa’s immigration is due and I am off to paint again for a week in Oaxaca, a commitment I wish I hadn’t made. 

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Doctor Max

This morning I went to church and found myself in tears thinking of the families in Pittsburgh who were themselves sitting in prayer unprepared for someone to attack their synagogue.

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Our bundles of joy.

And then there was the news story of an 18 year old who drove three and a half hours one way to deliver a favorite pizza to a man in hospice dying of cancer. Acts of kindness are all we really have. Be generous and compassionate, especially to people who are different from you.  

DOS TORTAS

 

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Finding Inspiration

14 Oct

We are nearing the end of our stay in California. Two weeks to go and it’s homeward bound for Mexico. It’s been fun watching the twins grow and hang out with our grandson. 

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Sara and Analise turn three months.

This week I thought I’d share what’s on my night table. There isn’t a lot of time for reading on grandma duty and yet somehow I’m in the middle of three books. Time to get cracking or I’ll be filling my suitcase with books. NOT!

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My daughter’s book collection.

I’m on the third read of a little yet powerful book, FALLING UPWARD, A Spirituality For the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr. It was recommended by a friend who’s opinion and spiritual path I value and it has impacted my life significantly. Spirituality and aging, presented in a thoughtful and personal way. The bottom line, “it’s all about love.”

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THE BOOK OF JOY with Douglas Abrams is our read aloud book before bed. Lisa and I usually select fiction to send us off into dreamland. The teaching and antics of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu make us laugh out loud as well as inspire our lives. Being happy in the face of daily life, is it possible? These two amazing leaders walk the talk and shine a light on the path.

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And yes, I’m reading three books at the same time, THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown.

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I guess the pattern here is pretty clear, inspiration. It would be so easy to be cynical rather than grateful in today’s world. What’s on your reading list? Comment, share, subscribe. Visit dos_tortas on Instagram for more…

DOS TORTAS 

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A Walk Through Wine Country

2 Sep

If you have found your way to this blog looking for tales of retirement adventures in Mexico, you’ve come to the right place. However our adventures of late have taken a detour and are temporarily located in Northern California caring for our children and premature twin granddaughters.

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A tired and happy dad.

Life is good and shaken us out of our retirement routine. Nothing is predictable with newborns and their two and a half year old brother. There are middle of the night diaper changes, keeping the house in order and making sure our little team is hydrated and fed. A nursing mother consumes an extra thousand calories a day with twins!

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A trip to the children’s museum with Max.

My morning walk through neighboring wine country has been saving grace. The temperature is a far cry from tropical Bacalar.

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Hot air balloons overhead most weekend mornings.

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Front yard orchard.

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The smell of lavender everywhere.

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Country roads delight the senses.

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Early morning grape harvesting.

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Wild geese.

We will be in California until the first of November. Please comment and share. Until next time.

DOS TORTAS

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Quote

Off The Beaten Path – Ticul

19 Aug

For the next two months we will be visiting our children in Northern California, helping with the integration of two new family members.

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Our newborn twin granddaughters Analise and Sara.

Please enjoy his earlier blog post from May 2015. September begins our sixth year of retirement in Bacalar. Life is good and we are so grateful for these babies and the chance to support their parents in getting them off to a good start. What are you grateful for?

DOS TORTAS 

via Off The Beaten Path – Ticul

What You Won’t Find In Bacalar

5 Aug

I have spent over five years describing retirement life in the far reaches of the Mexican jungle. There are blog posts on murals, mercado’s, pyramids, dogs and small town living. For the next few months we are in Northern California, USA taking care of our daughter’s family as they integrate two new members. 

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Our granddaughters born July 11, Sara and Analise

Some things I’ve noticed that we DON’T have in Bacalar:
Hot Air Balloons

There is a local festival here every June so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen balloons overhead the last few mornings. What better way to see the wine country? Unfortunately the sky has been hazy due to the fires burning north of here. Maybe we could get some balloons over Laguna Bacalar. I’d be up for a ride. How about you? https://youtu.be/C6-mO46u9hc

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Wild Geese

I’ve been seeing geese overhead and grazing on the lawns of the high school when out for an early walk. They’re so majestic and noisy.

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Cherries

We might occasionally get cherries at the grocery store in Chetumal, but not like those that are available in Northern California. We’re going to the farmer’s market later today. Cherries are number one on my shopping list.

Our Kids

It’s wonderful to be retired and able to help our daughter and her family. It really does take a village.

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Enjoy your life today. It’s the only day you get.
DOS TORTAS
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Emilie Vardaman

travel and random thoughts

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