Two soon!

Two is coming too soon!  Time flies and my baby is turning 2 in a couple weeks.   And yes, I still call her my baby, which is quite funny when acquaintances ask me how old my baby is and I respond with 2!  I’ve been reminiscing over the past couple years and as I look back at baby pictures, my soon to be toddler now seems so far removed from her bobble head days, yet somehow just the same.   I think it is important to look back and reflect on things from the beginning of Motherhood.   My favorite is looking at pictures and remembering thoughts or questions I had at that time which now usually have answers or make a whole different kind of sense.    I think the greatest mystery to me when Amelie was a baby was simply, about what will she look like as a little person … or what is her personality going to be?   Even though we are only two years into it, I can clearly see the persona and presence she is developing.    And now that her little face and body have taken its shape I can clearly see her defining characteristics,  such as those trademark Snuffleupagus eyelashes from dad, and dimples from Mom.   Actually dimples are from daddy too, so really this guys has some pretty adorable genes.

My dear friend has a wonderful tradition that I just might have to make my own as well, where she writes her daughter (and husband) a love letter every birthday.   It is a testament of love as well as some sort of account for all the things that came about that year.   Yes, yes I definitely need to do this as well.  I absolutely love the idea.    So, with that said I think I will leave my thoughts, admiration and awe of Amelie for her birthday letter which I will publish after her birthday.     But until then I wanted to share this  sweet video of Amelie having a conversation with her Daddy at 4 months old.  (Now mind you, she is about 6 weeks old accounting for her corrected age)  I always found it astonishing looking at or touching Amelie the first two months of her life, knowing all the while she should still be in my belly and her body was still working on growing and preparing for the outside world.     Being a mother of a preemie, especially a first time mommy, is quite an experience let me tell you, but that is for another time, another blog post.    For now enjoy this little treat!

Blessed Origami Owl Locket

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I love these little living lockets and I always get tons of compliments and inquiries whenever I wear mine.   Above is a little collection of some of my favorites and the “blessed” Mama” plates are ubber sweet.   They also make great gifts and I always look forward to gifting one around holidays or birthdays!  So far I have made four Origami Owl necklaces and it all started with these two lockets here.   However this particular one was a Christmas present for my sister in law which I had been planning on doing ever since she commented on mine not long before.   The most important things to her are family and faith, so that was the theme I had in mind when building it.   And with the help of her  younger siblings we came up with something that definitely represented that, while still leaving plenty of room for her to build on it.    This was the outcome:

Blessed Locket

Mommy Locket

And of course while shopping for a necklace for her, I had a chance to order myself some new pieces also.  This time I added a silver set for a change up from my current gold necklace. You can check out this post for more lockets here.

silver-small-origami-owl-locket

 

A tiny french twist

Amelie has been rocking her mullet for quite some time now.    It is cute and all but I am getting anxious to actually do something with it.  While playing with her hair as we were brushing our teeth one morning, I discovered I can actually pin it up into a french twist.   Huh.  Turned out to be as simple as making a pony tail and only took one bobby pin.    This is exciting to me because I was never really able to do this myself as a kid, or even adult for that matter.  You see,  I had no hair until I was like, 3.   No, really.   We were toe head babies (white hair) and  just rocked a “glow” for the first year.   After that it was sort of like a muppet thing going on.  Second…well it pretty much goes back to the first.  I didn’t have much hair so I never tried anything creative, including braids.

 The Baby French Twist

It really isn’t a superficial thing at all.  I completely enjoy all our Mother / Daughter moments, and playing with her hair is definitely one of them.   My Daycare provider likes to joke about how her hair will be destroyed by breakfast, but she is completely missing the point.   It is my time with her before work, and even though I may be rushing through everything to get myself ready,  I slow it all down when it comes to Amelie’s turn.   It is the best time to talk to her,  giggle, teach her how to do things, tickle and laugh.   It is part of our morning ritual and I never skip through it.

Cartoons.   Juice.   Dress.   Brush Teeth.   Lotion.   Hair.  And hugs.

After her hair and when we are ready to go, I pick her up off the bathroom counter top and we look in the mirror.   For that moment I am not behind a camera,  looking at her picture on my phone,  or watching someone hold her.   But actually looking right at us.   Together.  Uninterrupted.  Cheek to cheek.  And I see me.  I mean I can actually see me in her face as she has it pressed up against mine, and we are smiling at ourselves.   That moment I am reminded, she really is mine.  That I love getting her ready.   And that I am having the time of my life doing it.

It is better than a cup of coffee to get the spirit pumped.

 

So what does Nelson do exactly?


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Sometimes he explains it to me and I nod my head while hearing terms like P&IDs, pneumatic controls, electrical design, biochar,  automation, proprietary catalysts, green fuels, , carbon capture, biomass fractionator, thermo-mechanical processes…and so on.  Ummmm…Yeah exactly.  When it comes to this question I have a hard time providing a simple answer.   Here is the official status; Nelson is an Electro-mechanical technician with a company called Cool Planet Bio Fuels based out of Camarillo Ca,  who is a private research and development company specializing in clean energy technologies.   The are backed by the likes of GE, Exelon, Conoco Phillips, Google Ventures, BP to name a few and just closed their fourth round of funding at $100 Million for the next quarter.

Basically they convert biomass into biofuel, or as Cool Planet puts it:

A technology company that is developing sustainable products to address three of the world’s largest markets: energy, food and water

  • Biomass Pyrolysis: Biomass is processed through a mechanical system that uses pressure and heat to create streams of useful hydrocarbon components. Cool Planet’s sources of biomass include corn stover, wood chips, and fast growing, non-food energy crops such as miscanthus.
  • Catalytic Conversion: Cool Planet has developed a number of proprietary catalytic conversion processes to convert these useful hydrocarbon components into different types of fuels. One of our catalytic conversion processes creates a high-octane gasoline blend stock that can be used in today’s standard automobiles requiring no change to existing conventional fuel distribution systems.
  • Carbon Capture: Once the useful components for fuel have been removed, the biofractionation captures the leftover plant matter in a solid carbon form called biochar. This excess carbon is highly porous and has beneficial water and nutrient retaining capabilities. By creating renewable fuel and sequestering the biochar in the ground as soil enhancer, we permanently remove atmospheric CO2 for hundreds of years.

Due to the company’s patented technology and biochar products, our green fuels have the capability to be carbon negative, beating the carbon footprints of electric and natural gas alternatives.

So to recap biomass is converted into fuels and the excess material is harnessed in the form of solid carbon and converted to biochar which is used as a soil enhancer to fertilize and produce more energy crops that are harvested to repeat the cycle. 

 
cool-planet
 

For more information about Cool Planet BioFuels and animated video on the carbon negative process click here

 
I thought I would share some images of the massive technology they build as it is the best way to illustrate his work.   It all beings with a concept, which is put onto a blue print, and Nelson then builds..   At this point the company operates on 12 hour runs back to back testing production in order to refine the process and produce fuel.  Nelson is now on call as the technician who builds, troubleshoots, and if it breaks, he fixes it.  Its a bit of pressure on him but he is up for the challenge.  What you see here is what he built, with the exception of the green / blue structure which was built in Canada.

btx

This massive structure is one half of its entire form.  The other half being what you see above, which Nelson built (per concept and design of an entire engineering team)

zeton

Chicken Wire Picture Frame

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Nailed it!  No, really.   This was such an easy an inexpensive project that can be used in any home from hanging pictures, messages, jewelry or hair accessories, notes to keepsakes.    I know I have plenty of uses for that, however this was not meant for me…it was in fact a prop for a country themed bridal shower which also doubled as a sentimental keepsake for the bride.

I started with the classic nostalgic photos of the bride and groom to be,  and had guests add pictures themselves and the bride as they arrived, which I requested beforehand in the invitations.    At the end of the shower, my bride had a beautiful collage of photos that she can now hang in her future home with her soon to be hubby.

I snagged a decent 24 x 30″ picture frame for $10 at my local thrift shop and picked up a roll of 20 gauge chicken wire and a can of Tiffany teal semi gloss spray paint from the hardware store.  Supplies done.

Now for the nitty gritty.   I trashed the glass and backing of the frame since this will not be needed at all.   Painting took all of 20 minutes to apply a couple coats before moving on to applying the wire.   I laid out the wire and stapled it to the edges of the frame with a hand held staple gun and trimmed the access with side cutters.   Some areas required  twisting to secure the ends.   Lastly, I added one last coat of spray paint over the wire.   Gloves would have been nice, but hey, I did not even require the assistance of my husband for this.  Go me.  He did however kindly buy me my own staple gun which I was very excited about because it was my first official tool.

cost of materials

24 x 30″ picture frame $5
Can of spray paint $4.99
chicken wire @ $1.50 worth
clothes pins $2

wire-picture-frame

Forever

I truly believe that you can fall in love with someone all over again through the way that they love your child.    Watching the two of them together brings me a feeling of peace and happiness that cannot be measured, and while I watch the two of them and realize that they are both mine, well then its off the charts.

Nelson gets Amelie ready and off to day care the majority (pretty much all) of the mornings and picks her up every day.    We even alternate with her appointments.  Ill just leave it at that because I could fill this page with the things he does for and with her.   I take great pride in the care he provides for her…it just comes naturally to him.

Daddy is currently training in the challenge art of doing hair…for a toddler.  Just recently I was nearing the end of my work day, thinking about getting home to the fam when I received a text showing off Amelie’s ponytail courtesy of Miser Nelson.  I was dying.  My husband was home practicing doing her hair.    Winner!

I just have a feeling Nelson will be the father of all girls.   I can’t say how many or when.  I can just emphasize that, that is the role I see for him.   Forever.   Speaking of forever, I believe this little statement is quite fitting in regards to that term of infinite devotion.

 

father-daughter

 

Making Coffee Mugs with Grampa

diy-painted-coffee-mugs

For Abuelo’s (Grampa) birthday I wanted to give him a moment instead of just a gift.   He is a plain and quiet fella, who enjoys the simple things in life.   Tools.  Bbqing.  Fresh oysters.  A strong cup of coffee.  Oldies like The Beatles and Eagles.   But above all, his family.    Raul is a hard working man who never complains.  He is usually busy putting in a full work week, attending night classes, and then working again through most weekends.   It makes me sad when he has to miss out on spending time with his granddaughter, but that is just the OG Salvadoran way.  Men show their love by unconditionally supporting their family.  Any means necessary.

It seemed that simply combining a few of his favorite things would make a great gift.  Coffee + Amelie.   It is one thing to buy a coffee mug that has a picture of Amelie on it, but it is 100xs better to make a coffee mug together with her so that every morning he prepares his faithful cup of coffee, he will always remember that one weekend he didn’t have anywhere to be but right here with his granddaughter.

I had a few acrylic paints and brushes left over from my recent Wine Glass Painting project and snatched up two sets of ceramic mugs from WalMart.   All that’s left is to prep the baby…which means remove all valuable clothing.   We started out choreographing the technique of getting a perfect little handprint from a fidgety 18 month old.   It took several tries.   After that we let Amelie run with it and the results were completely organic.   Id say we had just as much fun watching as Abuelo did painting with Amelie.
 


 

My Pinterest collection of DIY Coffee Mugs

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