Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cheers to our Fourth Summer Together!

So for Martin and me, this end of May marks the beginning of our 4th summer spending literally all of our time together. The first was in 2005, before we were dating, when we took daily and nightly walks over to campus and back, I got really fat on Vanilla Chais, and he worked at Cajun and we were introduced to The Decemberists, and we spent all our time apart text messaging each other random lines from songs. It was awesome! The next summer we got engaged and I had lost all the weight I'd put on from those daily chais and was able to wear my favorite skirt--which I wore the night we got engaged!! If we're being honest, I spent most of that summer staring at my engagement ring so I don't remember much of what was going on around me. The summer after that was our first summer being married and I was pregnant with Anja, which cut down on our super long walks, but didn't cut down on the vanilla chai consumption, which might explain a few of those extra pounds put on in the first and second trimester...

And now here we are, at the beginning of another summer. And I have a feeling it's going to be GREAT. We celebrated last night by going to La Scala--the first place Martin ever took me on a date, at the end of May, 2005. He was "thanking me" for getting him his job at Cajun Connection. Such a sneaky devil. We had white wine that night, and we also had it on this date, except neither of us got to finish our glass because Anja had a meltdown and we had to leave in a hurry. Ah, how the times have changed!

Friday evening we ate a quick pasta dinner and then drove over to our friend Alison's house (of Alison & JC, aka The Prices) to check up on things, take in some packages from the porch, and watch the developing storms on TV. Good old Mike Prangley! He got us through yet another bout with severe weather. Alison and JC have a super cute little house. When we left, I took with me "Empire Records" one of my all time favorite movies that Martin had never seen. Anja fell asleep in the car on the way home so we stopped by the grocery and I ran in for some of that good fresh salsa from Payless because we had a random unopened bag of tortilla chips at home. It wasn't long before Anja woke up (a matter of minutes after walking in the door) so the whole family sat out on the porch eating chips and salsa and watching the thunderstorms. It was really nice, a perfect beginning to the weekend and to summer. Anja ended up staying awake until about 11:00. So we watched the first half of Empire Records while she was awake and crazy.

Saturday morning we woke up early (this looneytoon daughter of ours goes to sleep at 11:00 and STILL wakes up at 7:30!) got dressed in a hurry and set off with Anja in the Ergo (she LOVES it!) to Farmers Market. Well, in a roundabout way... you see, we didn't want to get money out of the bank, but I had $26 in winning lottery tickets from Mother's Day and all we wanted from Farmers Market were some basil and cilantro plants, so we went up to the VP to cash in the tickets. Unfortunately, the lady working didn't know how to do that. So she said another person would be there in about ten minutes, so we took a walk up 9th Street Hill to kill time. We made a circle back to home to get Anja's toucan, then went back to the store, where the lady admitted that ten minutes was just a guess as to when the next lady would be coming in, and that really she had no idea. Hmph. We didn't feel like driving anyplace, so we walked down to the bank and got cash from our account. Booooo. But we did buy 6 little basil plants, and they are so cute!! I came home and planted them and they are VERY adorable. And we only spent $4!

From there the day was mainly fun in the sun. Martin wanted to go to Sunrise for breakfast, but it was full. (Actually, that's not entirely true. There was one booth left when we got there, but Martin held the door for the people behind us, so they went in first--and took the booth. So then it was full.) We went home and I made us omlettes and toast, then Anja went down for a good nap and I did a small amount of yard work while Martin took the dog for a little walk. When Anja woke up, we walked up to Vienna with the stroller and met our friend Benjamin Ezra, as we always do! We stopped into Von's for a few minutes, then headed home.

We walked down to dinner and afterward Anja fell asleep. It was only 7:00 and we thought this was a good sign of her getting back on a normal sleep schedule. WRONG! She woke up about an hour later. But she was a huge grump. I gave her a bath and dressed her in nice PJs, and Martin suggested another walk. So we put her in the stroller and as soon as we were outside, she was immediately happy. We walked up to Vienna where we split a Chocolate Cherry Tart. Yay for walks! Anja didn't fall asleep on the way up, nor did she fall asleep on the way back. So once again, she went to sleep after 10:00. Maybe tonight she'll get back on track since we had to wake her up early to get to 7:30 mass, and she went down for a nap at her usual time of 11:00. Here's hoping!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Shout it Out!

Our little trip to Tipton was fun. Pretty uneventful though. All the old people at the awards banquet made a fuss over Anja and Martin's award presentation wasn't until almost the very end of the program, which was pretty funny. We spent the majority of the evening out in the hallway with Anja so she could yell though. She's become a real shouter lately. It's super cute. I wish I knew what she was really doing, if she is singing or trying to say something, or if she just likes to hear the noise she's making. She's so happy when she's yelling too. Sometimes we'll be taking a walk down Main Street and she yells the whole way down the sidewalk. The drive was nice and we got to see that famous gas station/restaurant called "Eat Here and Get Gas."

I think Anja is going to be an instrument player. She's really into doing tiny little motions. She has these little animals--a turtle, a frog and a duck--and they all have these annoying clump of tags on their behinds. But she loooooves them! Sometimes she's more interested in just stuffing the whole animal in her mouth, but often she sits there and really concentrates on those tags and fingers them gently. It's cute. Do I really have to end everything I say about Anja with "it's cute"? Isn't that just kind of a given? Obviously, everything she does is cuten and I should really stop saying it.

I wanted to take a walk over to Borders this morning before the rain came, but she fell asleep so now we don't get to do that. Bummer. Oh well, tomorrow is supposed to be a pretty gorgeous day.

Since Martin got his vacation approved we're going to use that time to tear up the carpet in the front room. I am sooooooooooo excited. I'll be thrilled just to have a floor I'm able to clean! I will feel so much better about Anja learning to crawl on a place that is not our nasty carpet. I have a feeling we'll be spending a lot of time in that front room this summer. Which is great, because I love the front room! Now if we only had a proper couch up there, that would make it REALLY great.

As long as I'm talking about the boringness of home decor and arrangement, I'll just go on to say that I'm tempted to give Martin the Big Back Room. It's true that this is the only place the computer can be until we get wireless internet (never) but other than that, this room is just where Martin lifts weights, where we keep our ironing board and microwave and our TV which rarely gets used at all. I mean, I guess it's nice to have a couch back here for when we do watch movies, but that hardly ever happens and we could probably move that twin bed from the front room back here and make this a sort of guest bedroom as well as a movie-watching, computer-using room. I dunno. It's something to think about. But if we ever move the couch back to the front, I will insist on getting a slipcover for it because I hate how dark it is in that front room. It darkens the whole room, and it would be especially bad with the wood floors. Well. So much to think about.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Sunny Day

Wow, thanks for all the support with the whole dental saga. I recieved two recommendations from people for new dentists, and I called them both--one of them doesn't take my insurance, the other does, so I'm going to call back after lunch and make an appointment. I told them I'd had a bad experience with my last dentist and explained that it's really best for everyone if my nursing daughter can be in the room with me, and the lady said that's not a problem and seemed kind of surprised that it had been an issue at the other place.

Sometimes life as a housewife is difficult and irritating, and sometimes it's calm and pleasant and good. Today has been nothing but good. Martin took Karenin on a walk early this morning, and it's made a HUGE difference in her behavior today. She is not nearly as spastic as she usually is. (Here's hoping that becomes a daily routine.) Anja woke up super happy and was cheerful all morning as I got a good start to my housework and laundry. Mornings like that, when I am productive and Anja is happy and Karenin is not such a pain, make me realize that there are a lot of things in my life I tend to take for granted. To list a few:

-My super awesome husband who is big and strong enough to do pullups on the bridge beams and who is nice enough that he feels the need to apologize for not having time to make me a pot of coffee in the morning before he leaves for work. What the heck?
-My baby who, although she has her whiny times, has ten fingers and ten toes and is healthy as a horse and loads of fun.
-Anja's little Eeyore who turned up in a backpack pocket, and her yellow shoes which were bundled up in a pile of blankets in her crib.
-Rice Milk of the chocolate variety.
-My totally fabulous dog who hasn't had an accident since she learned to ring her bell to ask to go out. AND who has taken to only ringing the bell (for the most part) when she actually has to go, OR, as was the case last night, when a strange pitbull dog is in our yard.
-Gap Long & Lean jeans. And the fact that I fit into them.

Obviously I don't take those things for granted all the time, but sometimes I complain when I really shouldn't, because those are all good things to have. Even just one of them would be something to be thankful for. Except Eeyore and the yellow shoes.... those I only care about because I have Anja too.

By 10:30 this morning I'd gotten a lot done and Anja was only just starting to fuss, so we took a walk. We started out toward downtown, but then I decided we do that every day and we ought to have a change of scene. So I turned the block at 4th & Main and came back to our own 6th street and trudged up the hill. It's a big hill! Lucky for me, our fabulous stroller is light as a feather and easily maneuverable over the bumpy brick sidewalks. No problem. Anja was asleep pretty much immediately. We went up to Kossuth and back down 7th. That's our usual evening walk--it's nice because there's only a limited time where Anja faces the sun, no matter what time of day it is. Not that it mattered today, since she wasn't awake to care if the sun was in her face.

Martin got 4 days of vacation approved for the 2nd week of June. Hallelujah! It will be a much needed break for both of us.

Tonight we are going to Tipton. There's a highschool awards banquet for one of the schools in Martin's recruiting region, and he has to present an award to someone. He's taking Anja and me along! I'd much rather drive to Tipton for a boring awards night for a school full of kids I don't know than stay home by myself.

Now it's the afternoon and Anja is asleep again and I've just pulled a bunch of weeds in the backyard and up front along the driveway wall. Whew! I also checked out my vegetable plants and oh boy are we going to have a lot of salsa this summer! My cherry tomato plants have clusters of flower buds all over them. My green peppers have at least 5 buds on every plant. (I have eight plants.) Even my Romas are getting flower buds!! The only thing that isn't flowering yet is my Big Boy tomatoes. My zucchini has two buds, so we'll see how those turn out. I'm not so optimistic about those because it's been the saddest looking plant in the garden. Oh, and my beans are getting very tall, and only one of them has been eaten. Not bad!

I still have a lot more to do today before Martin gets home and we leave right away for Tipton. So I'd better get a-move-on!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thumbs Down on Knitting Tonight

Anja was NOT digging the social scene tonight at Barnes & Noble. And if we're being honest, neither was I. I had another lousy experience at the dentist today, resulting in a really sore mouth and absolutely nothing to show for it. I was pretty excited to go to knitting, and I told my mom to go and I was hoping Aunt Anna May would be there too (and she was) but then on the way over the Novocaine started wearing off and instead of just feeling funny, my mouth started to really hurt and by the time we got there I just wanted to sit and work on my bear leg, but that didn't really happen because it was a pretty huge social gathering tonight. Which would be GREAT if I could swallow or smile without wanting to kill myself. But tonight it was not so great. And the fact that Anja fussed the whole time didn't make it much better. But, she had had about as big of a day as I had. Who can blame her for being upset when it's her bedtime anyway?

So, the dentist. Wow. I went to the dentist to get my cavities filled. Again. Remember, that was supposed to happen last week, and it didn't because they got my chart mixed up with someone else's? So I went back today to try again, and--

Hang on. I should preface this by saying that Anja didn't go to bed last night until almost midnight, woke up a little before 9:00 and didn't take an incredibly fabulous nap because she fell asleep a little before 1:00 and I had to wake her up a little after 2:30 to go to the dentist. So she was bound to be tired and irritable anyway.

--I didn't have time to feed Anja before my appointment, since she'd been asleep. So I went back and after the annoying prep stuff the dentist lady comes in and gives me the shots in the back of my mouth, and then leaves for awhile so the Novocaine can set in. She comes back in and I'm not all the way numb. I'm a little bit numb, but mostly it just feels like my tongue is a little bit asleep. She gives me a few more shots and leaves again. While I'm waiting for that dose to kick in, I hear Anja screaming. Soon after that, she and my mom come back, and she quiets down immediately, as soon as she can see me. I probably wouldn't have felt so horrible about it if I hadn't known also that she was hungry and tired. So anyway, the dentist comes back and they leave and evidently they had actually been ASKED to leave by the dentist, though I didn't hear this happen. So I can still hear Anja screaming, and I know that she is upset and hungry and wanting to see me, and the dentist starts drilling my teeth, and I can feel it--I still am not all the way numb! So I tell her that, and she tells me I need to relax. I say maybe if I can feed my daughter I'd be able to relax. She says she doesn't have time for that, and that she can either keep going, or put a temporary filling in my cavities for no charge and I can make another appointment to come back. Then she suggests that I leave the baby with someone at home rather than bringing her with me. (For some reason, she thought this would make it easier for me. I'm not really sure why.) Also, when I told her I was nervous because I knew my daughter was crying, she told me that my daughter wasn't going to die. Well, duh. But that doesn't mean I don't feel bad for her being upset, because I know ALL of the reasons she's crying and I can solve every one of them pretty easily. I told her she could do the temporary fillings. Then I made another appointment, but I'm not really going back.

The part of the story that I wasn't around for was when my mom explained to the dentist lady that I never leave Anja. Apparently the dentist's answer to that was "That's her choice, but I can't work that way." Well of course it's my choice. And you don't have to work that way anymore, I'm perfectly happy to go someplace else.

Okay, and here's one of the most annoying parts. She told me that the reason my gums weren't getting numb was because I was nervous and that was keeping the Novocaine from working through and numbing everthing. BIG FAT HAIRY LIE. Okay, maybe it wasn't a LIE, but she was wrong. My gums NEVER got numb. Later at home while the rest of my mouth was numb, I drank some orange juice. Some places couldn't feel the cold of the orange juice, but my bottom gums (the ones where the rotten teeth are) could feel it!! So it WASN'T because I was nervous!

While we were eating dinner my wonderful neighbor Tara called and I told her the whole long story. She said she used to go to what is now Allure dentist office, and she said they were AWESOME about her kids anytime she brought them with her. I'm going to call them tomorrow and see if our insurance covers them.

So now I'm mad because my mouth is ridiculously sore, I STILL have to go back someplace to get numbed and drilled at AGAIN, this has been an enormous pain in the neck from the start, and it ruined what would've been a really fun and humorous knit night.


Weekend Pictures (to accompany the earlier post)

Anja's newest face.
This picture's a little dark, but you get the idea of how pretty the reception was, up on the huge porch.
The wedding party with the minister.

Kim and Anja

Martin and Anja

Our little family. Anja loves spoons now.

Emily, Perkins and Annie
All of us in the backyard! Notice all the nice flowers???
Perkins and Annie!

Anja peeking out from underneath the HOOTER HIDER!!
Anja pulling on Uncle Joel's nose!! Hahahaha!!
This hairy vawz was the first wedding gift we recieved, and Sunday night was the first time we've ever used it! It was perfect though. We have a very special relationship with this hairy vawz, we love it a lot, although in this picture it's hard to see the hairiness of it.
Martin and Annie

Martin, Annie, Perkins & Emily

Last picture of the night, Joel, Emily and me. Fun times!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Long Post for a Long Weekend

What a weekend!! By far the best in a long time. I'm sad to see it end, especially since tomorrow means a barnyard full of laundry and a trip to the dentist to get drilled and filled. Blech.
Our friends Alison and JC got married this weekend! On Friday was the rehearsal and dinner afterward at Maize. Unfortunately, Anja wasn't much into all this. In retrospect I should've declined the invitation for the dinner, but I was so excited about it at the time I wasn't using any sense. We had to leave to put Anja to bed before dinner even started; we got sandwiches from Skylight on the way home. Not as festive or delicious as the steaks we had coming to us, but it's my own fault. And at least we got to be there for the cocktail hour. Kim and I each had a glass of wine and Martin got to enjoy a beer. And Anja was very cute and well behaved until the end when it was clearly her bedtime.
Saturday was SUPER BUSY. Knowing that it would be, we got ourselves out of bed early and decided to enjoy our morning. I had made some orange-cranberry biscotti the day before so for breakfast we had biscotti and coffee, then when Anja woke up we walked over to Vienna. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning!!! Soon after we arrived our friend Benjamin Ezra showed up, so we got to chat with him for a good long time. The whole purpose of us going there was to meet up with another friend of ours, Turgay (yes, the guy who taught the class I took and I was sure he hated me. And he might have then, but we are friends now,) who had offered me some marigolds for my garden. Hooray! He came as we were just giving up on him and taking off--so we sat together while he ate his breakfast and he took his tea to go and we walked back downtown together because he was on his way to the Round the Fountain Art Fair! I love that event. I'm so happy they had good weather for it this year! If only we were millionaires and I could buy everything I wanted from there. Anyway, we left Turgay there and walked on home to get the car because the next item on our agenda was setting up for playing at Alison's wedding.

They got married on the grounds of the Fowler House, and Kim and I set up on a grassy knoll above the ceremony with the best sound equipment we had, which I don't think ended up being quite enough, but it was probably better than nothing. Since Kim was working the Farmers Market, Martin and I loaded up the P.A. stuff from his apartment and set it up over at the site. Then we zipped out to Target so I could buy pantyhose and a hair clip, ran home where I got dressed in record time and hurried off with my instruments and was only 10 minutes later than my promised arrival time of 2:30!! The wedding started at 4:00 and the only thing making me truly nervous was the fact that Anja had been asleep when I'd left and she and Martin both had to get ready and get over there with enough time before the start time for me to feed Anja so she'd make it through the ceremony. But they did! And I gave her a tiny snack (two Kim-only songs long) in the car, ran back to my perch and started right into the processional song as the bridesmaids came down the stairs. Lovely! As far as girly wedding details go, it was REALLY pretty in the most simple, yet elegant way. The colors were awesome. A sage green for the (3)bridesmaids' dresses and a kind of burnt orange for the flowers, although each bouquet was a different kind of flower. Alison's hair looked VERY cool with braids on the side, but it was all pinned up and she had one burnt-orange lilly tucked into the side. It was very pretty.

The reception was fun too, although I couldn't eat anything for this darn milk thing. Booo!! I'll be so glad when Anja is over all that. This weekend was supposed to be the weekend to test run a vanilla chai, but I chickened out. Maybe next weekend. Anyway, the wedding was great. And now Alison is married! Weird!!

Sunday we intended to go to 7:30 mass [again] but ended up going to 10:00 at St. Ann's [again.] Afterward Anja fell asleep in the car while we were going to St. Boniface to help set up for the Corpus Christi party, so Martin and I took turns going in to help and waiting in the car with her. While I was waiting and he was helping, I did something I've been meaning to do for ages, which is wipe down the dashboard with baby wipes. It looks so much better and took about three minutes! After THAT we went home and ate a real breakfast and cleaned up the house for our friends who were coming over later that night. It didn't take long for us to stop wanting to clean our house though, so we packed Anja up and went for a mid-afternoon walk over to Vienna. She's lately taken to falling asleep in her stroller during our long walks, which is pretty great, because it gives us more time to visit without her getting bored and impatient. She likes being at Vienna and seeing the people, but for any long period of time, she gets antsy. Her little naps can prolong our stays, which is great! Nobody else was there that time though, so we just had a little date and then walked home again.

Our friends came over around 5:00--Joel, Perkins, and Emily--and we made venison burgers with some meat that my mom gave us from a deer that my uncle shot! It was delicious. Also I made the same old tomato basil pasta salad that works for everything, and our friends brought chips & sala, cokes and lemonade, wine, beers, woodchucks, strawberry shortcake and hummus & carrots. The hummus & carrots was my favorite, as I'd never had that combination before and it was so yummy! It was definitely a feast. We held the party outside on our patio. Anja had a blast, and when 9:00 came I took her up to go to sleep and she fell asleep almost instantly. It was amazing. And then, even better, she stayed asleep until 3:00 in the morning!!!!! It was so great. I was so sure I'd be spending my evening up in our bedroom with her, but I was able to stay outside and enjoy the party until midnight when they all left, and she was still fast asleep. It was wonderful.

Perkins spent the night and in the morning we made breakfast and ate outside again. It was a beautiful morning. I drove her home and when I came home Anja was asleep again so she and Martin went upstairs and took a nap. I can't remember exactly what else we did, but in the afternoon we walked over to the levee Starbucks to meet up with Matt Aiken. After that we went to the store and did our weekly grocery shopping. For some reason we didn't really need much food, and we didn't need any staple items. We could've gotten away with hardly spending any money at all, except the two things we were completely out of were dog food and cat food, which are (along with diapers, which we didn't need this week) the most expensive things we ever buy. So we ended up spending the same amount of money we spend every week, even though we hardly bought anything. Ugh! So disappointing.

Anyway, from there we walked over to Sarah & Andrew's house for a dinner cookout! Andrew made shishkabobs--YUM--and we had chips and salsa and some chocolate chip cookies that Sarah made with special milk-free chocolate chips!! But the best part of the night (other than being asked to be Bella's godparents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) was when my sister brought out the makings for chocolate cokes and it was determined that there is no milk in chocolate syrup, only a whole lot of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. !!!! THIS IS ME DOING A JOYFUL DANCE!!!! And so, my friends, I had my first chocolate coke in months. And it. was. divine. Without all the other fun we had, that would've made my weekend perfect.

Uncle Martin spent most of the time playing with the kidders, while Sarah and I spent most of the time watching the babies be babies. Fun times though!! Now that our patio is in order we should definitly have them over sometime and they should bring their bikes because we have so much patio to ride on in our backyard.

More pictures to follow!!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Look Out--Here Comes Memorial Day Weekend!

Martin woke me up this morning saying what a beautiful, perfect, gloomy, rainy day it was. We appreciate rainy days around here. And I like the gloomy mornings because it makes the mornings last longer. For instance, right now it's 9:15 but it feels like it could be just 7 or 8 o'clock.

I think Anja might be teething. I know I've been thinking this on and off for weeks and she's still got no teeth to show for all her fussing and staying up late, but I don't know what else it could be. They say symptoms are drooling, but she's always drooling, and chewing on things, but she's always doing that too. But another thing they say is that teethers have a hard time falling asleep because when they're going to sleep they can start focusing on the pain in their gums. Poor babies. Well, the past two nights have been terrible when it comes to putting Anja to sleep. Last night she was up until 10:00! And for a little girl who goes to bed between 8 and 8:30, that's pretty late. She's not into the car thing anymore, but she'll only fall asleep while nursing, so I basically get one chance. I can nurse her until she starts spitting up, and then I'm kind of screwed. So that's what happened last night--twice-- before we finally gave up and put her in the car, hoping for the best, then drove to Battle Ground singing "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" over and over again until she fell asleep. And then, for the first time in many days, she slept from then until 5:30 in the morning. That's another reaons I think she might be teething... lately she's been waking up about every hour. She takes great naps... but at night she just doesn't sleep well. It's kind of too bad.

Yesterday afternoon I did some work in the backyard. I trimmed up the Snow on the Mountain that is in the bed below the window to the Big Back Room, pulled out a ton of weeds in the same bed, and hung some impatiens so now we have three pots of hanging flowers on the patio. It looks really nice, i think. With the hanging baskets, my little blue pot of cilantro (that will hopefully grow some day) and my other pot full of lavendar, and the two rose bushes it's looking really cute back there. I'm excited to have Perkins and Joel over for a cookout of sorts on Sunday afternoon. It won't exactly be a cookout... it'll be more of a cook-in and an eatout, since we have yet to get a propane tank for the grill that my parents gave us. But that's okay! I'm really looking forward to this long and fun weekend. We've got Alison's rehearsal and dinner tonight, tomorrow we're going to do some more yard work (put pavers around the garden, trim up the bushes, etc.) then Alison and JC's wedding is at 4:00. On Sunday we'll probably do more yard work until we hang out with Perkins and Joel, then on Monday my sister has invited us over for a cookout at her house! Super fun days ahead. Sunday will be especially nice, with no obligations too pressing... if we're still working in the yard when Perkins and Joel show up for dinner, we'll just enlist them to help us. That's the beauty of best friends.

When Anja was born my cousin Lori brought over a whole gift bag full of stuff for her (as well as the exersaucer which Anja adores!) and one item in the bag was this crab bath toy. I've never used it in the bath, but I got it out for her the other day when she seemed bored with her other toys. She loves it!!! She loves it as much as she loves her little hanging Eeyore doll which came in a trio alongside Pooh and Tigger; she doesn't give either of them the time of day, but she really is in love with Eeyore. It's super cute. Anyway, she loves this little crab guy too and it's funny.

She's becoming so active!! She's discovered how to roll the other way now, and she gets a real kick out of it. This morning she got up a couple of times to her hands and knees and she's just generally crazy... I put her down on her quilt, which is quickly becoming too small for her level of activity, and she manages to get off it in a matter of seconds!! Very funny. Except for the part when she gets on the carpet and gets a bunch of dog hair in her mouth. That part is not so much funny as it is gross.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dog Farts

Okay, our dog is having some digestion issues and those issues are stinking up the entire house. It's nice that she's such a good companion and follows me through the house, always staying right beside me... but lately I've had to go through my day with a clothespin on my nose because she smells SO BAD. Our back room is really big, and in ten minutes she can fill it with her nastiness. It's really gross. And anyone who's ever had a dog knows that dog gas is the most lethal kind. It kills you way harder than carbon monoxide because instead of just falling asleep, it you gag until you're unconscious.

Everybody's getting married. Bethany Jones and Dallas Johnson are married now, and they are about as perfect a couple as Dan and Laura. I'd just like to say that I called their union before they were even dating, thank you very much.

My good friend Alison is getting married this Saturday too! I'm excited for her, especially because the weather is forecasting sunny skies and warm temperatures for her outdoor wedding. Always a plus. I'm doing the music for her wedding, and I'm only slightly nervous... I don't want to ruin her wedding with my crappy musicianship. But it's a possibility. Yikes.

Today I volunteered out at Prophetstown! I led my first group tour (very much assisted by my mom) to a group of 2nd graders from Murdock. It was great! My group was really good. The group before was pretty rambunctious... I was happy that for my turn the kids were all quiet and polite and well-behaved. It was really fun though and I learned stuff about the house that I hadn't known before. One of the little girls told me I looked pretty in my 1920 farm dress and apron and a lot of them got a kick out of Anja being there. Anja enjoyed herself too, she likes to see new people.

I feel sort of like I'm living in the past today as our furnace seems to have konked out. It's pretty chilly in here.

I'm pretty bad at planning creative meals, especially with Anja's milk allergy. We tend to eat the same five or seven dishes over and over and over again around here. This week I've branched out and foud a recipe for Irish Stew in the crock pot (perfect for tomorrow's Annie Car Day!) and another recipe for Caribbean Shrimp. That'll be for Friday. I'm excited for them both.

I'm glad everyone is getting married. It's such a fun status. I really love being married. I know I say it a lot and I try not to get too gushy about it, but seriously. It's even more fun to THINK, because you always have someone to share your thoughts with.

Tonight we'll be knitting at Barnes & Noble! For the rest of the afternoon I have music to practice, laundry to fold, and dinner to cook before Martin gets home at 5:15. For now though I HAVE to get out of this room before I pass out. UGH!!! This dog!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dentistry in a Small Town

I went to the dentist today. I was going to have some cavities filled. My appointment was at 10:20 and my mom went with me to hang out with Anja, and she had the appointment just before mine. So after my mom went in the girl comes out and says she's ready for me, even though I'm an hour early. ? I thought my appointment was at 10:20. No, she says, it's actually at 11:20, but we can slip you in. Hmmm... definitely a mistake I'd be likely to make. So I went back with her and she sits me down and starts checking out my teeth. The strange thing was, she was telling me all this stuff and doing the same checks they'd just done a few weeks ago. And they took xrays of my teeth again, just like last time (except not as many.) I'm thinking this seems pretty weird and kind of like a big waste of time, but I keep my mouth shut, assuming they know what they're doing and this must just be neccessary because things can change within three weeks. So we're talking and admiring pictures of her baby girl on her neat digital picture frame that is a long slideshow and I realize that the man in the pictures is the guy who sold us our house! We had a laugh over that, and then I realized that we'd seen him while his lady was pregnant and he'd told us that he was having a daughter and her name would be Kerrigan. Now that daughter is a year old! Weird. So anyway, the dental appointment goes on and we laugh about what a small town it is while she keeps repeating the work on my teeth that was done last time. She says I appear to have some loose and broken filling on one of my old cavities. I told her I thought that's why I was here today, to have it filled. She kind of frowns and says, "No, that's not on your chart schedule for today..." and just at that moment another of the dental girls comes in and says to mine, "can I talk to you for a minute?" When they return they admit that there was a mixup. Two Annies were coming in today, and I'd gotten the other one's chart--the other Annie was Annie Peters! So they just gave me a cleaning (they said I was needing one anyway) and I am scheduled again for the fillings, for next week. Talk about a pain in the neck. Here I was, all nervous about having my teeth drilled at and my gums numbed, and I have to do it all again next week!!

However, things do tend to work out. Since I wasn't sore and drooly after this painless dental experience, my mom invited me out to lunch. We met my dad over at Nine Irish Brothers! I had fish and chips and it was delicious. And it's always fun to go to lunch! Anja was an angel, as always.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Days Fly By

Our Saturday was busy and fun. The retirement party was at St. James so we walked over and that was a nice little treat in the middle of a hectic day. Anja LOOOVES her stroller, and is always happiest when she's outside. In fact, the retirement party, which we'd thought was an open house, turned out to be an actual event with a start time and end time and a program lineup in between... since we got there right in the middle of it, we stood outside for the program part. It was nice! Afterward we went in and got to socialize with all sorts of St. James people that I met at our wedding but haven't seen since, so I had to pretend I remembered them when really it was kind of hard. Oh well, they're all so nice. After walking home we were both beat and still dressed up, and I reeeaally didn't feel like cooking, so Martin suggested we go out to eat! This is something we've essentially cut out of our life. Not only do we feel like better people eating all our meals at home, but now when we go out to eat it feels like a real treat! Last night especially did--my parents went to the Blue Knight Auction this year and brought us back some gift certificates! So we went to Outback Steakhouse with a gift card and both got steak dinners for a grand total of $13.00! I was delighted to find out that not only does Outback have cherry coke, but they also only use REAL BUTTER, which is Anja-friendly, and so my whole meal was slathered in butter. It was awesome. It's also always fun to have a dress-up date, and Anja looked especially cute too.

Today was much less hectic. When the alarm went off this morning early enough for us to make it to 7:30 mass, Martin turned it off. We were too tired to get up for it; we went to the 10:00 at St. Ann's. Surprisingly enough, a lot of people we know were there, so we got to socialize a little bit afterward. When we got home instead of eating our usual toast and eggs, I made apple cinnamon scones! Delicious. Kim came over and we practiced music for Alison's wedding while I made chicken and noodles and around 4:30 we all had dinner together. While we were practicing Martin did some fabulous things including cleaning up ALL the dog poo from the yard, mowing, and planting my rose bushes!!!!!!!! They look beautiful. I love them. They're both full of blooms--one is red roses, one is pink roses. And I love them.

Tomorrow I have a dentist appointment.
Grrooooaaannn... I'm getting cavitities filled. REALLY not looking forward to it.

I think Anja's going to be one of those little girls whose way of crawling is on her hands and toes. Tonight we were playing with her on the floor and she kept lifting herself up to her toes, it was so cute! Some say that's because little girls have a hard time crawling in dresses. I think in Anja's case it has little to do with attire and lots to do with weight. She can try all she wants to get on her hands and knees, but she'll always still be on her belly.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Sure, it might be true that she can only back herself into corners and underneath chairs, but still, she is definitely MOVING. Oh! She just made a little leap forward. See? Before I know it she'll be completely mobile.

Today we are all dressed up to go party-hopping! First stop is Claire Freeman's baby shower, after that there's a retirement open house for Martin's 3rd grade teacher. Or kindergarten teacher? I can't remember, I get them mixed up. Anyway.... I am wearing the same thing I wore to Laura's bridal shower and I would say I hope no one notices except I just announced it here on my blog, so I guess I can't care very much if people judge me for my lack of wardrobe creativity!

I can't express how happy I am to be back in my old size of clothes. The skirt I'm wearing today is one of two skirts I bought when I was first pregnant with Anja. I mean FIRST pregnant... as in less than three months pregnant with my first child. I'm slightly embarrassed that I was surviving on Easter candy and ginger ale for so many weeks that my clothing size when up loooooong before I was showing. So it's a pretty good feeling to not really be able to fit into this skirt anymore! It's even looser than it was at Laura's, which is comforting. And Anja is wearing a VERY cute blue and white smocked dress with a collar that actually stays down!! I have the hardest time keeping her collars down. I don't know if it's because she has a really short neck or what, but most of the time her collars are flipped up and she just chews on them all day. She gets little red bumps all over her chin and under her chin (and between her chins) from being so drooly and having her wet collars always rubbing against her skin. Poor little girl! But she looks reeeaaaallly pretty this morning.

She woke up this morning around 7:30, although I'm not really sure she was awake. I thought she was awake so I sent Martin up to get her. When he came down with her it was pretty clear that she had NOT been awake when he went up there... I think he just wanted to snuggle her before he left for his test. Pretty cute. Anyway, about an hour later she was ready for a nap so she and I both snuggled down and I slept for an hour and she slept for almost three!! I'm really glad though because I was worried about how naps would work out today with all this stuff going on. She should be good to go for at least the shower, and if she sleeps through the retirement thing, who cares!?

Last night was a picnic out at prophetstown for PX's birthday. Fun times! Great weather! Pictures tomorrow!

And good job to Martino for smoking everyone on his PFT this morning!!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Six-month birthday celebration at Vienna
Bella (small), Gracie (big), Anja and PeterXavier on Mothers Day.

Anja's face as she gets mauled by her cousins.

The teacup bouquets for our moms.

Okay. This picture is REALLY unflattering, I promise my sister is WAAAAY skinnier in real life than she appears here. When we asked Christopher to take the picture we weren't thinking about the angle that comes from a photo taken by someone who is only three and a half feet tall. Anyway, the real reason I even posted it is because you can see Anja's yellow shoe!! These are her new favorite accessory.


I knew I should've made a new post sooner, before any sort of real discussion got started on my blog. I didn't read the last few comments, I hope that doesn't offend anyone... but I didn't want that post to be a heavy or serious one, so I think I'll just lighten things up a little bit now. talking about how Martin and I are now MATCHMAKERS!!!!!! We have successfully set up two of our friends on a blind date!!! Well, they haven't had the date yet, and one lives in New Jersey while the other lives in Crawfordsville, but we really think they're perfect for each other and we are SO excited to be sending them on a date together over Memorial Day weekend, if everything works out with their schedules.

So the girl, obviously, is Perkins. The guy is Mike Owens, Martin's friend from work! They are so much alike in so many ways. Even if they don't fall madly in love with each other I'm almost certain they'll both have a good time. I am SO excited. And plus, if they do fall madly in love and get married, we can take all the credit!!!!

I thought I had more to say, but evidently not. That's the big news, anyway. Martin's on his way to St. Louis for a dinner, followed by a breakfast the next morning and won't be back until his usual coming-home time tomorrow. Booooo.

Anja must be a real person now... her feet stink!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Send Your Kids to Catholic Schools (for the sake of Anja Schap!)

So I've been thinking this morning about homeschooling and the effect (affect? the biggest grammatical stumper I've never been able to get straight) it might have on me and my kids.

We're not going to homeschool. For lots of reasons, the biggest being the fact that I make a rotten teacher and there is no way on earth I could make my kids turn out smarter than I am (the ultimate goal) if I taught them at home. In fact, if I taught my kids at home they'd never learn to do simple math and their science experiences would range from petting animals to mixing primary colors and nothing beyond that. It would be a VERY BAD THING if I were to homeschool my kids.

But that's not the area of homeschooling that's been on my mind today. What I've been thinking about is what is going to happen to my kids when all of my friends and family are homeschooling their kids and my kids are going to Catholic schools? Will they have no friends??? Will I be forced to run with a different group of people??? Will they be total nerds because all the nice nerdy kids are homeschooling and my nerdy kids are the only ones enrolled in the local system??

I personally am excited for my kids to go to school. I might have hated the actual "school" part of school, but I had a pretty good time all through those years. Partly because from preschool through high school graduation I was with the same group of kids. All but one of my closest friends--including my husband--I made in school. What would've happened if I'd been homeschooled? Would I be friends with Joannie? Maybe--our families are connected by the parish and it's likely we would've met and become friends anyway, but probably not in preschool. Would I be friends with Perkins? Most definitely not. Where else would I have ever met her? Would I even know Martin? Again, maybe... but it would've cut out our whole exciting history! In the grand scheme of things, school was nothing but good for me. It's not like I was one of those "popular" kids who had it all, but I had good friends and good times and I'm really glad that I was given that experience and not taught by my mom, although my math skills aren't any better than they would be if she'd taught me!

Now, this is not a post meant to be read as homeschool-bashing. That's not where I'm going with this at all, so don't anyone get defensive.

I know that one thought in favor of homeschooling is to keep kids away from the inevitable bad influences that come with being in school around so many other kids, some of whom are not raised with the same values with which you raise your own. Aha, but that's the trick--there are SO MANY of us at St. Boniface running in the same crowd, having babies all at the same time, we would completely drown out any bad influences by our numbers! When I think about all the babies who've been and are being born this year who would all be in Anja's class at school it makes me happy, but when I think that those kids will probably not be enrolled in Catholic schools, it's not as fun to think about. Of course I want Anja to be friends with my friends' kids, but that's hard to do when you don't go to school together and are only 8 so you can't drive a car yet and only end up seeing each other at church functions and the few family parties a year. Even within my family--it would be SO INCREDIBLY CUTE if Anja, Julia and Isabella were all in the same class at school. But what happens if Anja IS the only nerd in the class because all the other nice nerdy kids are homeschooling? And you can say "Well, Annie, then you'll just have to consider homeschooling" but I'm telling you, it's simply not an option. It would be a very bad thing for my children if I were to even make an attempt at teaching them at home. They would be dumber than dirt.

I guess it was a combination of finding out that Andy and Kristin Korty had their baby and some events that took place at my parents' house last night that got me thinking about this. Last night we were all up at my mom and dad's house eating cake and ordering shoes when the phone rang; it was one of my dad's old friends from highschool was in town and wanted to drop by for a visit. We were still there when the friend and his wife arrived, and it was so funny. All of a sudden everyone is happy and shouting (in a good way) and talking about who from their class is doing what and how people are related--as it turns out their nephew goes to Wabash and is in Martin's fraternity. And thinking about it in the car after we left, I think the lady might've been Mrs. Meluch's sister? All these little connections, and they all went to CC together, as did Martin and I and all our friends. I'd be crazy not to wish fun like that on my kids! The Catholic community in Lafayette is so small and slightly incestuous that it's hilarious and wonderful and I'd be so happy if my kids could be such a part of it as we all have been.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. So let's take over the school system with our super cute, well-behaved kids who are all the same age!! They will rule the playground! They will dominate the sports teams! They will get together forty years from now and still have things to talk about because they still know (and are related to) all the same people!

Do it for yourself. Do it for the kids. Do it for my daughter!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend Notes

I may be the only one these days, but just to let you all know, in case you were ever wondering, I'm not pregnant. There was a pretty funny event about a week ago though, where my LadyComp told me I was. I came downstairs at 6:00 and Martin was eating breakfast. I told him my LadyComp had just told me I was pregnant. He kind of sighed and said, "better go buy another test." So I went out, practically in my pajamas, and bought a double pack of pregnancy tests. It was negative. I knew it would be, I knew I wasn't pregnant. But when I told the girls at rosary group that morning, every one of them told me I couldn't believe the pregnancy test because it might not show up right away, and the LadyComp is smarter than the EPT! So I intended to take the second test today (a week later) but I didn't need to, since good old Aunt Flo showed up on Saturday. I knew I wasn't pregnant, I don't know why I even worried.

What a weekend! Anja was totally exhausted by the end of it--as were her parents!! And, like everyone else, I brought my camera along with me everywhere and took a total of 4 pictures, and none of them turned out very good. Grr! I had such high hopes for the pictures I could post today. Too bad.

Friday was Anja's half birthday! She's six months old now. I can't believe it!! We celebrated by walking through the Gallery Walk and over to Vienna in the rain. Thanks to our fabulous weather shield stroller accessory, Anja stayed warm and dry all night! At Vienna we had coffee and desserts and got to visit with our friend Ben Ezra, whom we haven't seen in a long while.

Saturday was a crazy busy day. Between Mothers Day preparations and organizing ourselves for all of our upcoming weddings this summer, we were busy bees! Martin spent most of the day baking. In the morning we went to Target where he got all the ingredients he needed to make apple tarts, blueberry struesel muffins and lemon poppyseed muffins for brunch at my parents house on Sunday. We also bought wedding gifts for the next three weddings on our calendar, one being Laura's, which was that night!

It was a very nice wedding. Anja was fabulously behaved throughout the mass and into the reception, but in the middle of dinner she let us know she'd had enough, so we went on home. She was such a trooper though! She fell asleep immediately in the car, and didn't wake up until 6:00 on Sunday morning. She was fussy then; she ate, and fell right back asleep. We sneakily changed her diaper and loaded her into her carseat, and she pretty much stayed asleep during that, continued dreaming all through 7:30 mass, and on until 10:00 in the morning when I had to wake her up! She was wiped! And Sunday wasn't much rest for her, jumping from one family to the next with Mothers Day festivities.

I tried to make the teacup bouquets for our moms, but it didn't really work until Martin lent his own creativity and got some Burts Bee's trial-sized products to stick in with the flowers. Then they looked good! I recieved my own Burts Bee's facial kit from him along with some scratch-off lottery tickets--I won $26! What luck!! Other gifts included special Milk-Free french toast from my loving brother-in-law, Andrew, some gorgeous earrings from my sister-in-law, and a lavendar plant and CILANTRO seeds from my other sister-in-law. I really should get some onions, because if I can grow onions, I'll have my very own salsa garden right here in my yard. And THAT, my friends, is what I've always wanted.

What a run-around weekend! And now I have to post my formal apology to any of the girls who tried to come say a rosary at my house this morning. I completely forgot to call anyone and tell them that I wouldn't be home this morning at 9:30 because I was driving Martin to work after his doctor appointment. The reason I'm driving him today is because there's an end-of-the-year picnic at Wabash this evening that Anja and I are going back for. Should be fun! I think I'm going to wear my new wrap skirt. Anja will be wearing the 3-piece, brand-new-with-the-tags-still-on-it outfit that I got from Goodwill this morning. Cute little pastel plaid pants a white onesie with an embroidered collar, and a lovely pink sweater. VERY cute! And in the dryer right now!

Also, I got peed on this morning by Anja for the first time ever! In all the baths I've give her, and all the times I've carried her around naked, she's never peed on me until today. I had her sitting on my thigh while I tested the water in her tub, and she let loose, then looked up at me with the biggest grin ever. It was so cute!!!

But now I'm cold and wet and kind of smell bad, so I think I'll go change my clothes.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rain, Rain, Stay and Play

Not that I'm in any way wishing away Anja's babyhood, but I do look forward to the times when she's bigger and will enjoy such things as coloring and playing outside in the rain. She recently received a postcard in the mail from her cousin Aurelio (one year older than she is) and it was colored with crayons. I think of all the funny things she might come up with to draw and color and play when she's older and it makes me excited. At knitting on Tuesday we were talking about making doll clothes, and it makes me think of what dolls Anja might have and how she'll dress them up and stuff. I'm so glad she's a girl!!

Today I have heaps of laundry to fold and for the first time ever, the quilt I made for Anja before she was born is in the wash. It's been rolled around and stepped on by the animals so much that I know it must be filthy; she can't really play on it without coming off of it covered in dog hair. So I washed it on the gentle cycle and now it's in the dryer, also on delicate. I'm nervous about how it's going to come out. It's not quilted very well (especially around the edges) and the batting is cheap-o synthetic stuff. I'm afraid it's going to bunch up and be lumpy. If that happens, I might consider cutting a few discreet slits in the back and taking as much of the batting out as I can. It'd be better to have a thin quilt than a lumpy one, in my opinion.

I love the rain. I love the cold rain. But I'm afraid of what it might do to my garden plants. I hope the cold isn't too much for them.

Yesterday Martin took a vacation day. As soon as we woke up we walked down to K.Dee's for our morning coffee. You might ask how we did this, considering yesterday morning was so rainy. Well, we splurged and bought a weather cover for the stroller!! It's clear, thick plastic and it fits snugly over the stroller with little air holes in the side, and it keeps Anja completely dry inside while being able to see out. It's really great! So now if we want to take a walk someplace on a rainy day (like today, when she wakes up from her nap) it's no problem.

So we did that in the early morning, then Martin took Karenin to her 9:30 vet appointment to get her stitches out. We went to Lowe's and got flowers and potting soil, took the car in for an oil change, and in order to do that visited at my mom's house and borrowed her car. Martin took a little nap in the afternoon while I did some baking, Anja was happy all day and in the evening while Martin did some work stuff, Anja and I went to the store to get some needed ingredients for dinner tomorrow.

It looks like I might start volunteering out at Prophetstown. Martin and I are always making plans to volunteer with different places, but then we never actually DO it. Yesterday talking to my mom about it, I thought that giving tours out there would be something easily done with Anja. I think it'll be fun. And I'd like for volunteering to be a part of Anja's upbringing, as it was for Martin and me.

I bought a box of rice cereal, a little jar of bananas and a little jar of applesauce babyfoods. How annoying is it that Gerber only sells things in plastic now? I got Beech Tree because I want to keep the jars and put my own homemade food in them. Anyway... tomorrow is Anja's 6 month birthday but Martin and I are both hesitant to give her real food and we don't know why. It's a little bit sad, we think. But I remember hearing or reading someplace that if you start them on solids after 6 months, the likelihood of food allergies increases. Is that true? Has anybody else had such experience? Anyway. I bet we won't feed her yet. I think we'll wait until she can sit up all by herself. It's too sad to give her food tomorrow.

Am I going to be one of those awful moms who still dresses her 14-year-old daughter in poofy pink dresses and hairbows?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Daughter, the Superstar

Okay, "superstar" might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I thought it was pretty laughable when I got a call from my sister-in-law tonight asking if I was going to Knit Night at Barnes & Noble. I told her I didn't think I was... (I'll tell why in the next paragraph) and she was like, "are you sure? Because the paper is here and they really want a picture of Anja." Hahaha!! What can I say, everybody loves my super cutie baby. So we threw some pajamas in the diaper bag and headed out there--luckily, she was wearing a VERY cute summer outfit, those kind of bubble-butt overalls. (We bought it at a garage sale when I was first pregnant, and I secretly was hoping so badly for a girl! Today was the first day she's worn it!) As it turned out the girl taking the pictures for the paper was in fact Laura Anthrop, Christine's sister! How funny!! The Anthrops are all so nice. Aaaanyway.... it'll be fun to see if Anja Pie gets her picture in the newspaper for the first time tomorrow. (Or sometime.)

So the plan for tonight was for Martin to stay late at work. B-u-m-m-e-r. I texted him around 4:30 (when his work day ends) and asked him what he was doing for his break. He said he thought he'd take a walk. I said, what are you doing right now? He said "driving." I asked him where and he wasn't telling me. Finally he called and told me he was sorry to be so secretive, but he'll tell me where he'd been driving later tonight. Well, okay, Mr. Secret Keeper. 30 minutes later, he pulled into the driveway! We had quick and easy toast and eggs for dinner. It was a very good surprise. Some days I am okay with him staying late, but tonight I'd had a long day with a lot of activity and sunshine, which makes for a good day, but a tired ending. Anyway, since he surprised me by coming home I wasn't going to ask him to go to knitting night, even though he tells me he loves going. He'd forgotten it was Tuesday, but as soon as TusaRebecca called, he started packing things up to get out there! What a goon.

I was thinking today as I was walking to Rubia to buy flowers, wearing my elephant skirt, with my baby strapped to my front about the fine line between pride and happiness. Sometimes I think, "Gosh, if I weren't me, and I saw my life, I would WANT to be me." Is that pride? Or is that just being really, really happy with all I've been given? I dunno. Maybe I am very self-centered. And of course there are things I would definitely trade... my thinning hair... my bad complexion... my enormous Blockbuster movie late fee total... but overall, I've got it pretty good and I can't tell if realizing that makes me prideful, or if it's just genuine gratitude?

Anyway, here's this "pattern" for my wrap skirt and pictures.
Okay. This is laid out on the floor. If you had a full piece of fabric (I used 2.5yds) this would lie on top of it, and be close to the same width. It's basically a semi-circle. I think we measured from the waist to the hem was 32 inches. If you were to use fabric chalk and draw straight lines from the waist (if you eyeballed it and cut it in a wide semi-circle, I guess) each line would be 32in. Make points around, all 32in from the waistline, they'll be concentric arcs. Anne, I know that measurement would work for you because you're short like me. Taller girls, I can't be so sure.
When you hold it up, it looks like a curtain, as you see here. (I am wearing my elephant skirt in this picture.) Once you have your fabric cut, you just hem up all the edgets, including the waist.

A button hole is necessary on one side, whichever side you prefer. I did mine by hand and it looks very much like garbage, but it doesn't matter because nobody sees it. I made mine before I put the ribbon waistband on. I was expecting to have to go back and cut the ribbon and re-make the button hole, but in the end the ribbon fit through the tiny space that wasn't covered by ribbon, so it didn't matter. To choose a place for the slit, put the skirt on (the middle of the skirt will be at your bum) wrap it, and wherever the underneath fabric comfortably meets the over fabric is where you'll make it. Lastly, you put on the ribbon. I was lucky to find a very matchy one! I sewed it on all the way with super long tails, then had Martin cut the tails at what he thought was an appropriate length. I put "No-Fray" on the edges of the ribbon. And that's it! The best part about these skirts it that even when the wind blows them open, no one will see your underwear because there's still a layer of fabric underneath!

After the second piece of fabric for a skirt, my next attempt will be to make a double-layered one out of more sheer material like my purple one that I love so much. I probably can't do it. But I can try if the fabric is on sale.

Shovel This, Shovel That

Without warning I've been pummelled with motivation! Who can complain about that? Yesterday I spent Anja's (incredibly late) nap shoveling up the front planter areas and planting twenty-seven little yellow plants, one cute little red plant and digging up a fern from "the jungle" and replanting it up by the house, opposite of the other fern that grows under the window. I think it looks great! It might still look really trashy, but it's much better than the rocky sand filled with glass shards and sticks that was there before. This year was already an improvement from last year though, as our fern has gotten bigger and the Hostas that Martin planted last summer have come back MUCH thicker and healthier looking this year. I'm very pleased with them! They all survived! I thought for sure I'd killed all but one last summer. We've really lucked out when it comes to not having to buy planting materials. Between being given that whole flat of flowers by Jerry's wife, finding our garden was already filled with good potting soil, and then the discovery that we still have two more ferns AND a whole patch of Hostas in the jungle at the side of the house, we've hardly had to do anything! Yesterday I moved my pretty hanging violas to the back yard. They look nice back there and will get the full sun that they need. I guess I'll give in and get some ugly impatiens to hang on the porch.

Anyway, I'm really pleased with the way the yards are coming along, and I'm sure our neighbors appreciate it too. I think people got annoyed with us last year for not keeping up the outside of our house very well, but it's hard to get everything improved when you move into a new house. Last year we were concentrating on the inside of the house and now it's time for us to work on the outside.

Martin is taking a vacation day from work tomorrow. He has to take Karenin to the vet to get her stitches out, and the car needs an oil change. He had a doctors appointment for that day too, but after he'd asked for the day off, his appointment got cancelled. Annoooooying! Anyway, I was thinking about how single people with full-time jobs get everything done. I mean I guess they don't have anyone else to spend their money on but themselves so maybe they can afford to hire people to do everything for them. But if Martin lived in this house by himself and lived his life the way he lives it now, he'd never have time to do everything! When would he clean, or do laundry, or run errands that can only be run during business hours?

Anja is SO CUTE. And cuter than that is the way Martin is just tickled to death by her. Last night we were at the grocery store and Anja was being jabbery and giggly, and Martin couldn't stop laughing about it. It was really hilarious. It makes me sad that he doesn't get to spend all day every day with her like I do.

And Anja's becoming so aware of the world around her. Just a few minutes ago, a big wooden shutter fell off the wall here in the back room. It startled all three of us (Anja, Karenin and me) and I hung it back up but then for a few seconds, Anja kept turning around to look back in that direction. She couldn't see it because it was around the corner from where she was, but she kept looking backward in that direction. It was cute. And she just seems to notice so much more. She ADORES the animals now. All Karenin has to do is walk into the room and Anja smiles at her. Cute, cute, cute.

I will vote today! The only voting station within walking distance is City Hall. Martin walked down there this morning before he went to work, and when he came back he informed me that I have to take the *shiver* elevator up to the second floor, because since the building is officially closed for election day, he thought the stairs were probably locked. YIKES! I haven't ridden in an elevator alone in a VERY VERY long time. It's something I try to avoid at all costs.

I wore my new wrap skirt yesterday! For rosary group in the morning I looked like a scrub machine in blue jeans and Martin's smelly Dropkick Murphy's sweatshirt. But after everyone left I put on the skirt (it's green and yellow) and a white baby tee, and I think the skirt is just perfect. It's so light and airy, and while I thought it was going to be too short, as it turns out it is the PERFECT length. I am so excited to have it!! When we were buying the ribbon for it the other day, Martin had me get some different fabric that was on sale to make another one. It's a darker green and white flower print. I haven't cut it out yet but since the whole project takes altogether about 30 minutes, I'm not too daunted by the task. And the thing about wrap skirts is that they can be as fancy or casual as you want depending on the fabric you use, they are SO EASY make, and you never have to worry about sizing. I wore my wrap skirts all last summer when I was pregnant because they always fit!

Okay, I'd better check the temperature outside. I'm waiting for it to warm up a little bit before we go to vote.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Garden Variety

So yesterday ended up being pretty productive after all. Almost as soon as I'd published that last post, Martin decided it was time to dig a garden. My neighbor Tara had given us 13 little bean plants that neede planting pretty much immediately, so Martin started clearing out a little rectangle right where I wanted my garden to be. To our great surprise, the entire area where I'd planned my garden to go was actually a large area of paving stones covered in a thin layer of grass. He shoveled up paving stone after paving stone until he had a nice tall stack on them. And underneath? Deliciously rich potting soil and a few old tags from where the Artman's garden evidently used to grow. We completely lucked out. He planted the little beanies for me. (I played the part of "Project Manager" and told him just what to do while I stood shivering and every two minutes went inside to "check on the baby.") It was a good start to our garden, the beans are cute.

After planting we met up with a fraternity brother of his named Reese. We met him at K. Dee's. He's in town working until Tuesday but really he lives in Evansville. I'd never met him before, but he was a nice guy. Actually I feel a little bad because I was completely unsocial. I spent most of the time talking to Jerry about coffee and gardening. He gave me a few pointers on composting which was nice, and then later on his wife came out and offered me a flat of flowers. Hooray! They are shade flowers which will be sooooooo great for the front of the house. I am most grateful.

And then we came back home for dinner. We cooked ourselves up some delicious steaks and the asparagus from the farmer's market. Yum! Afterward I literally felt like I was dying, so I laid down for about ten minutes and then the feeling magically disappeared and I felt great again. It was really strange.

This morning we went to 7:30 mass and it was such a beautiful morning! Anja took a good morning nap and we had our usual weekend breakfast of eggs and toast, although I had my leftover steak from the night before as well. Martin mowed lawns and then we went up to my mom's house so I could use her sewing machine and *FINISH MY WRAP SKIRT*!!! It looks pretty cute! I screwed up a little bit on the ribbon waistband, but I don't intend to wear any belly shirts this summer, so it probably will never show. Anyway, we had her plants from the New Community School plant sale too, so we drove those up.

Okay, so here's where the funny part comes in. In the afternoon when it was so gorgeous outside, we took Anja out to the yard with us and continued working. Martin continued chopping up overgrown shrubs and trees while I proceeded to plant my... er... twenty-eight tomato plants. I know. I'm not really sure how I did it, but "7 flats of four" didn't seem like very much when I ordered them. And it sure didn't look like much when they were in the flats. But Martin tells me that probably three would've been plenty for us and that I might've overdone it with the number I got. Well. At least I also got eight bell pepper plants and one zucchini plant. With all those tomatoes and maybe some peppers, I can make salsa. I might see if I can buy some onions to plant and then all I'll need to buy is cilantro and that's cheap at the grocery store. In the summertime I eat fresh salsa right out of the bowl with a spoon, it's so delicious. Anyway, here are some pictures.

Now, you can all think how extremely stupid I am for buying 28 tomato plants by accident, but really, I'm just happy to have a garden. I've always wanted one, and this is the first chance I've had to actually make one! And now I have it. I'm really excited. It will look a lot better when we've put the paving stones down around it, and you can't really see in the pictures how beautiful the soil is or how straight the rows are, but I promise, it looks really good and gardenny.

Boy, but what you CAN see in that last picture is how craptastic our house looks from the back! It really looks like a falling down Floridian motel from the back, but it's so unique, how can you not love it?

Saturday, May 3, 2008


It's suddenly cold and cloudy and very windy, which is weather that does not in any way match our plans for the day. We were going to work in the yard; pull weeds and put in our garden, since my plants from Zoe's plant sale came in yesterday. But I guess those plans will have to wait until tomorrow because today is no day to play outside, especially not with a baby.

The morning was pretty great though. We woke up early (well, Martin woke up insanely early and I woke up an hour and a half later. He's kind of psycho. He's doing this "hard routine" that is kind of like a personal lent, except it has nothing to do with Christ's sacrifice and everything to do with self-discipline. He says if he goes 4 weeks living by these certain guidelines he's set up for himself that then after those four weeks are over, when he regresses he still will be better than he is now. I can't complain TOO much because at least one of the part of his "hard routine" helps me out--he's to do at least one household task a day. I'm not the kind of wife who makes up a honey-do list every weekend, but I do appreciate when things get done! Anyway... this should probably be a separate paragraph, so I'll get back to my original point...) and we ate breakfast and had our coffee together until Anja woke up, then we got dressed and went down to the Farmers Market. If our pocketbook can allow for it, we're going to try to do all of our grocery shopping (aside from the obvious baking supplies, paper products, and toiletries) at the Farmers Market. Now that they sell meat, that should be easy. We can get our eggs, meat, bread, honey and all of our fruits and vegetables down there. And maybe the higher price will force us to buy less of it, and therefore eat less, and become skinnier. I'm excited to try it out, although there's no guarantee that it will work on a slim grocery budget. As for this morning, we bought asparagus for dinner (!!!) and a loaf of bread for the weekend. Also, Abby Rider gave us a bunch of lilacs for free! I didn't tell her that I had nakedized my own lilac bush yesterday and so my house was already full of delicious blooms... I took her lilacs gratefully and then bought asparagus from her. The lilacs are lovely on our dining room table and the asparagus will be just as lovely on the table, but lovelier when it's in my tummy.

After that we came home and hung around with the dog for a few minutes before packing Anja back up and walking down to the VP to test our luck on the scratch-off tickets. Cha-ching! We won $18! Not the $3,000 we were hoping for, but that's okay. Maybe next weekend.

Anja fell asleep in her carrier on the way home, which is always adorable, and once home she took a nice long nap on our bed while we sat together and read our books on the couch. I made my favorite Saturday lunch: chicken sandwiches and egg noodle soup. The chicken was the leftover cold meat from the chicken I'd baked last night and we had some roasted veggies with it too. Deeeeelish.

We met Matt Aiken out after lunch; we went to the Frozen Custard by the park, but it was freezing!!! So we just got cokes and pretty much left right away; we went to Barnes & Noble and hung around. Anja fell asleep in the car on the way home so now Martin and I are back on the couch reading together (well, obviously I'm not reading yet...) since it's too miserable to work outside. But tomorrow's supposed to be nice AND tomorrow is the May Crowning!!!! Anja is going to wear the prettiest dress ever. I haven't decided what I'm going to wear yet.

Gee whiz, it's so windy! Time to snuggle up with my good book now. It may not be a good day for gardening, but it's a PERFECT day for snuggling up with a book with your crazy dog, super fat cat, and smellywelly hubbywubby!!

Friday, May 2, 2008

In the Morning When We Rise

Aaaah, morningtime. Cinnamon toast, a hot cup of coffee, a non-psycho puppy and a super happy baby. What could be better?

It's a little bit funny to us that we buy (as in spend money on) all sorts of fun toys for Karenin. She has rubber bones and marrow bones and ropes and balls, a nobbly wobbly, and various stuffed animals. And while all those things are surrounding her, what does she do? She digs out this huge piece of metal pipe from Martin's tool stash and carries it around the house with her, chewing on it and licking it. This pipe is her best friend. and it's huge! She carries it and she can hardly get through doorways and when she drops it it makes a VERY big noise. Silly dog! Although last night we were playing fetch with her hedgehog toy while Anja sat in her exersaucers across the room, and she was getting the biggest kick out of watching Karenin chase the hedgehog. It was so adorable.

Another adorable thing was that yesterday Anja put herself to sleep for the first time ever! (Not including the newborn phase where she would once in awhile randomly fall asleep... but even that was rare... usually she had a huge screaming fit leading up to sleep.) It was so cute! I took her upstairs and put her on my bed and tried to lie down and nurse her, but she wasn't interested. She turned away and closed her eyes and after only a few minutes of her head-toss-thing, she was fast asleep. It was so cute! And amazing!

Well my wrap skirt is close to being done. Turns out, this is about the simplest thing anyone could make. And it's going to be sooooooooo cute, if a little short. It will look so fabulous with my merrell sandals. !!! And since the fabric was so cheap, I think I might go back and get another color this weekend and make another one. This time I'll try to keep the hem a little smaller so the skirt doesn't turn out so short. But I love it! All I have to do is the waistband/tie which I may just use a yellow or green ribbon. I think Saturday may call for a family trip to JoAnn's....

I will admit this fact: I'm getting thin. But there's a hitch... it's not my waistline, it's my HAIR!!! I know I was warned about this, but when it didn't happen by six weeks postpartum, I figured I was a special chosen one who wouldn't have to endure such suffering, since my hair was already so thin to begin with. Not the case. It's terrrrrrible. And I don't know what to do about it. Maybe I should get some special shampoo or something?

I'm reading Jhumpa Lahiri's new book. LOVE IT. And I'm only 27 pages in!! She's such a fabulous author. Everyone should read this, and her other books. This one is called "Unaccustomed Earth." Her other novel is "The Namesake" and her short stories collection is "The Interpreter of Maladies." Enjoy!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hide it Under a Bushel? NO!

I really need to stop complaining about Karenin. The most important thing in a dog for us is that it be good and patient with Anja and at that, Karenin is just incredible. Just now Anja was actually grabbing Karenin's fur to help pull herself over onto her stomach. It couldn't have been comfortable to Karenin, but she just let her do it without even looking at her. Nevermind that Karenin was busy chewing up the metal door-stopper from the back door.... many other dogs would not have been so tolerant. But Karenin is great.

One thing Anja and I do almost every day is play music together. I usually do most of the playing... and the singing.... but Anja seems to like it a lot and sometimes she smiles a lot, but mostly she watches my left hand change chords. But yesterday she started singing along with me! It was soooooooo cute!! She's sure got some pipes too. Yesterday it was on a song that I'm playing for Alison's wedding, but today she was singing along to "This Little Light of Mine" which is one of her all-time favorite songs. One day when we were driving and she was getting upset, the only thing that would keep her from crying was me singing "This Little Light of Mine" over and over again. We sing the Raffi version which is a little jazzier than the regular old bible school version. I think as soon as Martin gets home tonight we're going to get out the video camera and do some recording of her. She's so funny now. There's not much fun in videoing a newborn; they don't do anything. But now we can tape her rolling over and singing and yelling and smiling at the animals and all the other cute things she does.

Her sudden interest in the animals is really adorable. Today she is VERY interested in Theodore. She's been watching him and smiling at him all morning! For awhile we just sat on the bed and watched Theodore bathe himself and Anja was tickled to death by that.

This might be a good day to take the trolley over to campus and go to Von's. I left my favorite pen out lidless and now I'll be needing another.

Anja's acting like she wants a nap. Apologies for the boring post.