Thursday, June 26, 2008

And the Weekend Begins!

Thursday is the new Friday this week, with Martin taking a vacation day tomorrow! He's also taking one on Monday, so we should have a pretty good weekend. Especially since it's THE FIDDLERS GATHERING!!!!! We got our weekend passes on Tuesday and are VERY excited to go out there, especially since who cares if it rains, since we have our awesome stroller rain cover?!? Lucky us!

Anja and I both have colds. Actually, she got a cold and I thought it was just the dry air in the Big Back Room, but now she seems to be over her sniffles and I've come down with them. I think I've got it worse than she had it, and it still is nothing major, it's just annoying to have a stuffy nose all the time. Oh well, at least Anja seems to be feeling better! She took a solid 3 hour nap this afternoon!!! That hasn't happened in ages.

Tonight I actually made something I was happy with for dinner. That might be a first. You can read the recipe here. It was "Lemonicious Chicken" a recipe I made up by looking up "Lemon Chicken" on and picking out different ingredients and adding some that weren't listed. I used my very own thyme. With it we had baked potatoes, which were topped with sour cream and some chives from my mom's garden! Also we had peas. I don't know if anyone else does this, but when we have baked potatoes we salt the tin foil before wrapping them up. It makes the skins absolutely DELICIOUS.

So anyway, it's nice to feel successful in the kitchen.

This evening while Martin was dancing through the house singing hip-hop songs, Anja was laughing at him and suddenly Martin smiled at her and said, "you won't be laughing when you're in highschool!!!!" We often wonder when Anja will become embarrassed of her parents. It's a sad thing to think of. Everyone has been telling us how having kids is like living in a parallel universe. You're living day by day as you're raising your kids, but then suddenly they're all grown up and you can still remember like it was yesterday when they were just babies. I think that's sad. I try to appreciate every day while Anja is still little and the only baby we have. It's really not very hard. She's awfully fun.

We went to the library today and browsed the non-fiction. I always forget how much great stuff they have there! Songbooks, stencil books, language books, and huge volumes of folk tales from all different countries and ethnic groups. It's like a gold mine right across the street.

I'm looking forward to this weekend!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Home-Baked Deliciousness!

Yesterday morning my sister called as she was headed out for a walk with her two littlest ones. Anja and I met up with them at the Farmers Market where I bought (actually Sarah bought for me) a very large zucchini, a garlic, and a box of tart cherries. From there we kept walking over to Rubia where we got half price flowers (I bought her flowers, she bought my veggies. A good trade!) and walked back home again. Once home Anja took a nap and I made pie crust, stuck it in the fridge, and later in the afternoon I turned those tart cherries into a delicious pie filling. I don't think i've ever made a cherry pie from scratch, so I was a little nervous, but it turned out pretty yummy! Maybe I'll take a picture and post it later on here, or on the cooking blog.

Last night for dinner we ate leftovers so I also cut up half of the giant zucchini and fried it. Um, gross. I guess I should've taken into account the fact that Martin doesn't care for zucchini and I don't care for fried foods before I decided to make fried zucchini. We put all that nastiness into a tupperware that belongs to my mom and tried to deliver the whole deal to her at the Dulcimer Gathering on our way up to Von's to buy our Fiddlers passes, but she wasn't there. I love going to Von's. I poked around the CDs while Martin bought the passes and afterward we skipped across the street to Vienna where we sat on the patio and drank iced coffees before walking back home (Anja had been sleeping this entire time) and going to Knitting Night at Barnes & Noble. We didn't stay there long, but it was a nice small group and I did manage to get a little bit done on that final bear leg that is taking me forever to finish.

This morning there was a fabulous thunderstorm. It was sooooooooo cozy. I practiced my lightning safety by not taking a shower during it, and instead, still in our pajamas, I made a pot of coffee and Anja and I snuggled up in a quilt on the floor in the front room and read stories while Karenin paced nervously around the screen door. She's never cared about thunder before, but I think the fireworks from the Taste the other night kind of messed her up. Suddenly, she cares A LOT.

Then during Anja's nap (a fairly good nap, for once!) today I made zucchini bread with the other half of the zucchini from last night. Tonight we'll have tomato basil pasta and our choice of dessert!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and THYYYYYYYME!!!

If anyone has seen The Muppets episode with Paul Simon, you might remember Miss Piggy singing the famous Scarborough Fair song and maybe you will chuckle to yourself. I know I'm chuckling to myself right now!

Mondays are grocery night so dinner is always unique. (Actually it's usually the same every Monday because at the end of the week I always seem to have the same stuff left.) Anyway, today we had pasta with chicken and peppers and tomatoes made with thyme from my garden! My herbs seem to be doing a lot better than my vegetables are doing. Although the beans were pretty great... I'm excited for a few of the cherry tomato plants though because there are a number of very full vines on a few. I am already starting to plan out my garden/yard for next summer, and I think I will have an Herb Box, which will be the wooden box that right now has some various flowers and my thyme in it. Next year it will have my thyme, basil and cilantro all in it. It will be perfect. My basil right now is not very bushy, but it's very tall.

Tonight at Target I bought a new grey sweatshirt. This will officially replace the grey sweatshirt I've had since I was a sophomore in highschool. That sweatshirt (I'm wearing it now for probably the last time ever) is so old that any elastic it once had in its synthetic fabric is completely dissolved and it just kind of hangs and droops around the hems. It pretty much makes me look like a homeless person, if we're being honest. It's no wonder Martin didn't even hesitate when I asked him if I could get a new one. Geez, if I were Martin I'd be embarrassed to be seen with me.
And here also is a picture of Anja and me in our favorite new style of transportation:
(please ignore the stoopid face I'm making.)

Okay, I know I've promised before/after pictures of the floors, but I still have to take the real "after" pictures. I found the before ones though, so we're halfway there. Until then, here are some pictures of Anja, with the floors included.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Illustrative Surprise

We had a favorite date to Barnes & Noble today after going to the Snoozers Boozers and Losers mass at St. Ann's. Last night was kind of rough--we were both exhausted, but evidently Anja wasn't. She didn't go to bed until after 11:00 and she slept fitfully all night with her cold. I would rock her and nurse her about every hour and she slept better in her carseat than in her bed, I think because of her stuffy nose. But she's wearing a very cute dress today and we wanted to show her off, so we went for a family date. It was nice.

I like to read Mothering magazine on our dates. I never buy it because it's too expensive, but this time I did buy it--partly because I spilled coffee all over it, and partly because my brother had illustrated one of the articles!! It was an article on Homeschooling. In my own opinion, the article seemed pretty anti-dad/husband, which is something that really bugs me, but the illustrations were super fun. Martin says I have to remember that some husbands and dads are jerks and that whenever I see an example of someone being anti-husband I should feel sorry for them instead of getting mad. I said there are a lot of jerky moms in the world too, but the anti-husband thing seems more of a problem to me.

So I bought the magazine, also against my huge opposition to Ani DiFranco who is on the cover. Ugh, her music drives me up the wall. I know I shouldn't diss my fellow folkies, but I've never been able to stand her music.

You might think I seem to be in a pretty bad mood today. It's true. I am. The final straw was a few minutes before I started this post, when I was "cleaning out the fridge" (getting out the containers of leftovers and handing them to Martin to empty and wash) when I stood up and hit my head on the freezer door. GR! It still hurts, and that was like fifteen minutes ago.

We're taking a nap now. Goodnight.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Home Again

Martin is finally back home after the nine days at Boys State. His boys won Honor City! I guess that means they were pretty much the best group there. He was very proud of them. And I'm happy to have him home. We celebrated by getting chocolate cokes from the custard on the way into town.

I went garage sale-ing this morning with Mrs. Schap. The first place we went had oodles of kids clothes and they were all fifty cents!! Talk about a bargain! I came away with about a thousand adorable dresses for Anja, two adorable dresses for Bella (too cute to pass up, but too small for Anja) two Sandra Boynton books and "What to Expect the First Year" for a couple of bucks. I'd like to have that around in case I ever come up with some random question about babies, or if I ever freak out and want to look at the infant CPR information. I'm glad I have it on hand now. It's funny I thought I'd be a complete first-baby freak when it came to the baby book, and professional photos and keeping up with milestones... haha, yeah right. Her babybook is practically empty. BUT, there is a milestone today to talk about, that might actually make it in!

Anja has her first tooth!!!! I discovered it when she was eating my face like she always does, and suddenly she bit down and it really hurt! So I stuck my finger down there on the bottom gum, and sure enough there was a little sharp thing coming through. She doesn't make it easy to pull back her bottom lip to see anything, but I did get one quick peek, and it's a very cute little white shard. Not very toothy yet, but plenty sharp! I guess it's time to think about weaning.... hahaha.

So life in the Big Back Bedroom is not working out. We're going to move back upstairs today. It's a lot of work, but it's more work to get any sort of substantial sleep down here. The first step in moving back upstairs though is Martin getting on the roof and figuring out once and for all how to get that blasted screen out of the window so we can put the window air conditioning up there. If that doesn't get put in the window the only kind of sleep we'll be getting up there is the eternal kind.

Poor Anja has a cold. Or maybe it's just dry air bugging her. She's all snotty and has a dry cough. Right now she's rolling around on our bed pulling her pajamas off by one sleeve. It's really cute.

Last night Joannie came over! She wanted to watch the Taste fireworks, but it was a difficult plan to make with Anja in the picture, so we ended up just LISTENING to the fireworks, drinking some beers and eating some flat beans that I picked FROM MY GARDEN!!!!!! I sauteed them with butter and BASIL FROM MY GARDEN!!!! The depressing thing about my garden is that some of the tomato plants are dying. Or should I say dead? Anyway.... one end of my garden is absolutely thriving. The other end is a very sad sight.

I'm going to see if I can get Anja to take a nap. We all woke up at 6:00 thanks to the dog but I have no idea when we'll actually make it to church.... Martin is asleep on the couch up in the front room now. I'd like to go to 9:30 so we can walk, but we'll see if we can make it. This weekend has been nutty with Martin coming home.

But it's great to have him back!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Almost Over!

Well, the first part of Martin's absence is almost over. I'll drive down to Terre Haute in the morning to pick him up for his police interview, then drive him back later in the afternoon. After that, it's only Friday that he'll be gone and he'll be home early Saturday afternoon. Saturday can't come fast enough. I've had about enough of this single-mom thing. But if we're being honest, it's only the dog that causes trouble. She makes it pretty much impossible to ever get Anja to sleep... or to stay asleep. Ugh.

Here's something funny: Today Anja and I were walking home from Rubia and we saw Laura Smith! She was having lunch with her dad and it made me think, "Hm, I should call my dad and set up a lunch date with him." I'd actually been thinking of it earlier in the day too, but this made me think of it again. So anyway, later that day I called my dad with a question concerning a broken paving stone, and he said he'd sent me an email today inviting me out to lunch at Basil Thai! HOW FUN!! I hadn't gotten the email... um... I'm reeeeaaallly bad at the whole email thing. In fact, correspondence in general isn't really my thing. But anyway, so we're going to lunch on Friday. I like meeting up with him for lunch because Anja and I can walk just about anywhere he likes to go.

The other night Theodore got out. It was really sad. I'm not sure when he got out, but I didn't notice until it was time to lock him in the bathroom and I couldn't find him. I called out the front door and the kitchen door and when I finally went to the back door, all I did was open it and he came running across the yard to get inside. The poor guy!! I snuggled him for a long time and he purred and purred. He must've been so scared. He's too fat and spoiled to be an outside cat. I like outside cats because they're tough, yet sensitive, and you don't have to worry about them so much. Theodore isn't so much that type.

This morning I played some kids songs for a class of 4 year olds over at the Purdue daycare. There was one really cute little boy whose name might have been Ewan but when he said it it sounded like Hewan. Either way, it was the absolute perfect name for him. He was so cute and friendly. But he had fallen on the carpet and gotten a bad rug burn, so he had a bandaid on his knee.

Today I made cookies. Lots of cookies. They are for Martin to take back with him tomorrow. I hope he doesn't share them with too many people though because I didn't taste any, but I don't think any of them turned out very yummy. Oh well.

Anja is such an awesome baby. I can seriously take her anywhere and she is great. Today on our walk to Rubia we used our Didymos wrap for the first time, in the hip cross carry. She loved it!!! I think she liked being able to snuggle me and see so much at the same time. It's the perfect carry position for her, and sooooooo comfortable. I tried to take pictures of us, but it never works very well in the mirror, so I'll have to wait till the weekend when Martin can take one of us. Anyway, if you'll remember, it's the same wrap that I modeled with Theodore inside back last summer when I was pregnant. It's very pretty and a gift from my sister-in-law AnnLaura.

I've been wanting to make this post all day, but now reading back I'm not sure if it was really worth staying up till midnight to write!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Is This a Trick Question?

If you were asked which breed of insect you'd rather have breeding in your bathroom: Cluster Flies or Mosquitoes? what would be your answer? It looks as if I complained for so long about the flies that I was sent a replacement pest.

Martin blames that pesky bucket of dirty mop water that sat stagnant for two weeks. I bet he's right! One summer my brother-in-law, Andrew, thought he was hatching tadpoles in a fishtank full of stagnant rain water. He was really excited. Then he went to some information booth at a festival and saw that he was actually hatching his very own mosquitoes. Oops!

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly,) this weekend has crept by. It's not as if I haven't had plenty to do though. Friday night I had shrimp scampi up at my parents' house. Poor Anja... I'm not kidding when I say that I think having Martin gone is freaking her out. She only wanted me on Friday night, and she cried and cried when either of my parents tried to hold her. I was just beginning to think something was wrong with her, but as soon as we got home (and my dad can testify) she was back to her normal self! Poor little thing. On Saturday morning I went with Joannie to the Farmers Market and to a couple of downtown antique shops. We saw Laura and Dan! I filled up the afternoon with a walk down to Artists Own and a trip out to Lowe's where I bought a Serpent Plant. It's very cute. It might be called a Snake Plant, I can't really remember. It was only about $3.00. There's another plant out there that I'm going to buy that starts with a C and is billed as the Oldest Known Plant. So I'm going to have The Oldest Plant in the World right in my very own living room!

For dinner I was invited out to La Scala with my family, who were going to the Bach Chorale Singers concert afterward. I forgot to ask for no cheese on my dinner, and I picked the big globs off, but I took a chance and ate the rest--no screaming!! She must be really nearing the end. I had heard it starts to get better around 7 months, and boy was that right on. I'm still not going to eat a cheese wheel for breakfast, but it's nice to know that little bits won't hurt.

It ended up being kind of a busy evening then. On the way home from La Scala (they all left their leftovers in my fridge while they went to the show) we ran into the entire Loew family! How funny. Shortly after I got home, Mrs. Schap called and she and John Mooney came over to see Anja and to gaze in amazement and wonder at our wood floors. John even took Karenin on a walk for me. What a guy! TusaRebecca was on her way home and saw her mom's car parked at my house, so she stopped in too. It was quite the family gathering at the Schap House last night. By the time they left, it wasn't much longer before I put Anja down for the night and my family came back for their food.

This morning Karenin woke me up at the usual early time and I thought it'd be a good thing because we could get to 7:30 mass if Anja woke up in time. And she did! But her waking up early made me more unable to get ready quickly, and at 7:40 when we were on the way out the door and she was acting like she was too hungry to make it to church without a meltdown, I said "forget it" and we stayed home. She got a short nap between then and woke up right at 9:30, so we hurried over to St. Boniface for that mass and were only a few minutes late. We sat in the back by Denver. And this really cute little girl behind us loved Anja. It was sweet.

Today I made some Oatmeal Fruit Cookies with Craisins. Yummmm yum. They are delicious little treats and so incredibly easy, and I only burned one pan of them (And, Clare! They are a recipe from Simply in Season!)

Anja has started falling off the bed. This morning when she woke up I heard her talking and I waited a few minutes before getting her because she didn't sound upset. When I went into the room, the bottom half of her body was on the pillows below her bed and her head and shoulders were on the floor! And she was smiling so big!!! She thought it was pretty hilarious that she was on the floor, looking at me upside down. Later on she rolled off the bed again and missed the pillows, and she didn't think that was so funny.

Happy Fathers Day to all those dads reading this... which is maybe only mine... so happy fathers day to all your husbands!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Curse of the Mop Water

About a week and a half or so ago, I mopped the kitchen floor. I felt pretty good about myself for doing that and saved the mop water in the bathroom, vowing to mop the bathroom floors the next day. Well, the next day came and went and I didn't mop the floors. In fact, I never mopped the floors, but I never emptied the bucket of dirty water either.

The day before yesterday when I was getting ready for my day, I dropped my bra in the dirty mop water. "Arg!!" I said, with great frustration. I hung it to dry out before putting it in the wash, and had to wear a different bra that day. Did I empty the bucket of dirty mop water then? No. I didn't. I left it sitting there in the bathroom, begging for something even more annoying to happen with it.

And then something did!

This morning as I was getting ready for my day (in a hurry to get ready before Anja woke up, and as always battling the dog and cat) I dropped my cell phone in the bucket of dirty mop water. This time I said nothing because I was speechless. I got the phone out immediately, took it apart and wiped it down with a towel. When I put it back together it was making this weird noise, and the battery symbol was going up and down like it was charging. I called Martin to tell him what happened and why I might be unavailable today, and I called Joannie to tell her the same because we are supposed to meet up to go to the Farmers Market. Then I took it apart again and stuck it in rice, in hopes that the thing will dry out.

The million dollar question: Did I empty the bucket of dirty mop water? No. I didn't. And when it finally occurred to me that that might be a good idea, I came in and made this post instead.

I'll go do it now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Over the Edge

So I don't know if it can quite be considered "crawling" but Anja is definitely moving forward. And in straight lines! Her method is kind of inefficient, but she gets there. She just kind of pushes herself along with her face on the ground. It's really silly looking.

I've found that when I make the beds, it makes the big room (our new bedroom) look slightly less like a pile of junk and slightly more like a place where decent people live. The biggest problem so far with moving downstairs is the animals. As of now, we have no door to close off this room from the rest of the house, which means the animals are free to come and go as they please. This means that Karenin wants to be on the beds at all times, and Theodore wants to sleep on Anja's face. As a result, Theodore gets locked in the upstairs bathroom nightly, and Karenin is within an inch of her life at any given time. I'm going to ask my mom today if we can borrow their baby gate. We are going to build a half-door when Martin gets back from Terre Haute; we were going to do it before he left, but we decided to scrap that idea and be lazy on his last day home instead.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The End of Vacation... *sniff*

Well, vacation is coming to an end. Depressingly enough. And I have a lot of pictures to post as a result. Today has been kind of a bust; Martin woke up not feeling great. We drove to Vienna for coffee, and then wanted to go to the ReStore afterward, but we could never find it. We even came home and looked at a google map and tried again, and STILL didn't find it! Then we ate eggs and toast and all three took a nap, and now it's mid-afternoon and Martin just left to get a haircut. Maybe eventually we'll get some work done, or do something fun, or accomplish something, but I'm not sure. For now: Pictures! Anja looking silly at Sarah's house after Bella's baptism.

Theodore and Anja

This is Anja's dragon face. She blows out her nose and looks like this, and sometimes we can get her to do it by blowing out our noses... except this morning Martin was doing it with such gusto that he gave himself a bloody nose.

Our floors!


Bella being baptized. I never figured out why Martin held her the whole time, but we are proud godparents!

The Gang after Bella's baptism.

Anja chomping on a cold carrot. Yum.

Anja and Raggedy Ann.

Aaaahhh!!! A sunny breakfast on the Vienna patio.

Anja in her highchair after dinner.

Anja and me camping out.

Playing with spoons at Vienna.

On our bed, today.
It was a good vacation. Yesterday we made the move from our bedroom down to the Big Room, and now Martin has his very own weight room!! Under the carpet in the old junk room is cement, so he ripped it up and put down horse stall mats and now he's got his own room for all of his stuff. Our bedroom will be nice, with time, but it's taking awhile to get everything in order. The junk room is now upstairs in what will someday be a playroom. For now it is a much more organized storage room though. I'm really happy with the changes we've made. And my garden is looking terrific these days!
So I guess today is the end of morning walks to Vienna, long days of productivity, patio meals at home, sun tea, and evening beers on the porch. Tomorrow Martin leaves for Boys State and will be gone for nine days. Boooo. But at least when he gets home it'll be almost time for the Fiddler's Gathering, and THAT will be a fun weekend, to say the least!
Another exciting thing is that I've been reintroducing milk into my diet. So far so good! I've been having half and half in my coffee in the mornings and today I had a little bit of Martin's chai. There's been no negative reaction from Anja, and in fact today her whining is less, so maybe yesterday was just a difficult day of teething.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Little Miss Whiny Pants

Anja has discovered an unfortunate new sound: whining. It's reeeeeeeaaaaallllly horrible, and we're hoping she outgrows it soon. REALLY soon. We're pretty sure she's just doing it because it's something new she's learned, because it has replaced all other sounds. She makes it when she's upset, she makes it when she's happy. She is constantly whining. It's what we wake up to in the morning and what we listen to all day long. Even when she's smiling.

Speaking of smiling though, she's very happy right now (as she whines) -- I introduced her to her Raggedy Ann doll!! I didn't realize how good that might be for a baby with all the reds, whites and blacks, the bright dress and all the textures. But she was playing in her crib and I saw her peeking at it from underneath the crib bumpers, as it was in her toy basket below. She seemed really fixed on it, so I gave it to her and she loves it!

Other than this, vacation is going splendidly. I still haven't found the time to upload any pictures though. Yesterday we took a break from real work. In the morning we walked over to Vienna for coffee, meeting up there with our friend Matt. On the way over, we stopped at the Farmers Market and got some peaches to eat on our walk. We washed off our stickiness at the plaza water fountain. On the way home from Vienna we stopped at Rubia and bought 1/2 price flowers. Yay! I can't really remember what we did with the rest of our day, but we ate all our meals outside and took a lot of walks. We each went to the library a couple of times. In the evening we walked down to the Plaza to hear the dulcimers practice. Anja was tired and cranky so we didn't stay long.

I've been reading Dr. Sears' Baby Sleep Book, which is already very useful and I'm only on the first chapter. It tells you about the 1/2 hour sleep window a baby has, and that if you miss it, he'll catch his second wind and getting him to sleep will not be easy anymore. It suggests you log your baby's "sleepy times" for a week, and then plan accordingly your bedtime routine. Anja's sleepy times seem to be between 6:30 and 7:30--MUCH earlier than we've always been putting her to bed. No wonder it's been so difficult!!! So I've really tried to crack down and give her a bath every night before bed. It seems to really help in getting her down, although she's not waking up any less during the night. (Except for last night, she only woke up twice, but we missed her sleepy time and she didn't go to bed until after 10.)

Oh, Martin is home from walking the dog so it's time for breakfast! I LOVE VACATION!!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Day three of Martin's vacation is more than half over already. Our weekend was fabulous, thanks to the discovery of our wood floor. We worked hard on it for two days and now it's completely done, with all the furniture back in place. The only thing left to do for that room is putting down the doorway pieces, which need to be painted first. That should be simple.

Yesterday, thanks to Caitie, I played at a 50th anniversary party on the West side for some people I don't know. I was hired to play 3 Irish songs. It started out being a little bit weird... but in the end, it turned out to be really fun and kind of a blessing for Martin! We went over earlier in the afternoon to set up my sound stuff, and after I was finished playing (about 7 minutes) I left my equipment and later in the evening (after ice cream at the Cook's) Martin went back for it. He ended up hanging out there for awhile with the old people, eating a sandwich and drinking beer with them! Hahaha! But the man whose anniversary it was turned out to be really nice and Martin enjoyed talking to him--and enjoyed it even more when they started talking about police work and the man asked Martin if he'd ever applied for the West Lafayette police--because he's on the merit commission!!!! That is Martin's most worrisome part of the process!! So that was a funny thing to happen.

When he got home we got a phone call from Mrs. Watson saying that Sr. Mary Grace was in town and could they come by and see Anja? Aw, shucks, Anja was asleep. But they said they'd come by anyway. Good thing I didn't insist that they stay away from our junkpile of a house--Joannie was with them!!!!!!! Surprise!!!!! Not only that, but she doesn't start her job until AUGUST, so she's got a summer vacation as well. This will definitely be a good summer. I wish that our house had been put back together before they'd arrive though, because I think my house looks cute most of the time (especially now with the hardwood floors) but when they came all our furniture was piled in the dining room and the front room was almost empty.

After the Watsons left, Tara came over and we sat in our fresh, new living room and talked for awhile. I really like it when Tara gets to come over after all the kiddies (including Anja) are in bed. We are so lucky to have the Cooks next door to us. Especially in a neighborhood like this, it's such a fabulous thing to be able to be such good friends with our neighbors!

This morning Anja and I woke up closer to 5:00. She's having a hard time sleeping upstairs for the heat, and I think as a result, we're going to be moving rooms this week instead of whenever another baby comes along, which is what my plan had been. Martin said it's silly to be running the air conditioner when it doesn't even go upstairs anyway, and that everyone would be happier and sleep better if we were downstairs. So it looks like that's the new plan. It'll be kind of a lot of work and a bit of a trick in the organization department, but I think we can do it. I may have to borrow my mom's vacuum again though if we're going to have our bedroom back here...

So anyway, once Martino woke up we all took a nice morning walk up to Vienna for coffee and scones. We were hoping Anja would fall asleep, but she didn't until we were almost back home, and then when we came inside the dog started licking her toes and she woke up. Oh well, she was beautifully behaved, so it didn't matter at all. I got a quick shower while Martin took the dog for her walk, we walked to the bank to deposit some checks, then went to the grocery. It's great to go to the grocery during the day when nobody is there!

Tonight Bella is being baptized! We are going to go down to St. Michael's later and find something special for her, and I've made tabouleh for the after party. I have the stuff to make hummus too, so if I get time I'll whip up some of that.

We're so happy to have the floors finished up front. The room looks so many millions of times less trashy than it did. I'll no longer feel embarrassed to have people over. I only made a few little furniture changes, but with the money I made from playing yesterday I'm going to buy a few little oriental trees!

So far, this vacation is tops!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Wood is Good!

Oh. My. Gosh.

Remember how we hit the jackpot with our garden already having been a garden so the soil was already rich and wonderful? Well, well, well! If hardwood floors were soil, we'd be just as golden!!! In fact--WE ARE!!

I swear, we are sitting on a goldmine here. Some people move into "fixer uppers." We moved into a house that had been "fixed up" only to find out that the way it had been was a million times better--and that beneath the layers of cheap improvements, it's still that wonderful!

We set our alarm for 6:30 but it was so dreary and dark still that we pulled Anja into bed with us and we all snuggled up until 8:00. I made eggs and toast for breakfast and we got right to work. I held my breath as Martin cut into the carpet and pulled it back to reveal: nearly perfect wood flooring underneath! He hauled it all out to the curb and we got right to work pulling up staples, pulling up that weird tack board stuff along the walls, scraping off any paint spots on the floor, sweeping it up and cleaning the wood with wood cleaner. We're 3/4 done already. We've saved the worst for last, but it's hardly anything, so it'll go quickly tomorrow. I'm going to do some rearranging too... I've already started putting stuff back into the finished half of the room, and I'm going to keep some stuff out, like a small side table that would be a PERFECT little kids table, and Martin's cute canoe shelves which have been pretty much buried under coats and baby gear. While we're rearranging the house, we're thinking of what we could do with our rooms, as in making the Big Back Room into our bedroom, making our current bedroom into a playroom... I just don't know. I feel like I've just gotten our bedroom the way I like it--but it could make SUCH a cute playroom too. And if we slept downstairs, Anja could have her own room. Also if we slept downstairs, any other babies would have much more room to stay in our bedroom for awhile, and no matter what time of year they are born, they will be either warm enough or cool enough during their early days. I worry about the complete lack of temperature control upstairs.

I'm totally rambling here, I know. Martin pointed out that the upstairs closet would be a perfect closet for dress-up clothes...

So much to think about!! So many options!!

I will definitely post before and after pictures when we're finished!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Can You Even Believe It?

It's pretty hard to believe these are the same baby!
What I was going to say about sleep is that I don't understand why we can't get the nighttime routine down. She is AWESOME about her naps. Every day at 11:00 she starts rubbing her eyes, I take her upstairs and nurse her to sleep on our bed and she sleeps for 2 or 3 hours straight, then wakes up happy. Today I took her up at 11:00 and put her on the bed where she immediately rolled onto her side, closed her eyes and opened her mouth! I don't mind nursing her to sleep, especially when it works. But it never works at night. Oh well, it's nice that at least her naps are 100% predictable.
Wow, this has been a long week. Is it the weekend yet???

Have Snails, Will Share

We didn't realize when we put the mulch down out front that it was a kind of two-for-one deal! I took this picture yesterday morning when Anja and I came home from our walk. Later that night Martin and I were drinking coffee out on the porch and we watched one slither across the porch floor into the mulch while another was up on a hanging flower pot. What a cutie! My niece Angelica would be in heaven.

The other thing that happened last night was that we tried to go to the CC graduation. Nevermind that it was actually two weeks ago. We were VERY confused. We ate a quick leftovers dinner, got all dressed up and headed out to CC, where the doors were locked and all that was going on was a t-ball practice out front. We didn't know what to do so we went out to Barnes & Noble for a favorite date (where Martin bought me some VERY CUTE note cards!) before heading home. When we got back to our house, Mrs. Schap was standing outside and we finally found out that it wasn't the CC graduation we'd been invited to, it was the Lafayette Police Citizens Academy graduation. Whoops. Evidently Aunt Anna May was there for it too! I was kind of bummed. High school graduations are long and hot and boring, but Citizens Academy graduations are fun and full of crazy people and last time we got a tour of the police station. Martin took that picture of Anja and me all dressed up before we left--to show off my new haircut!

I adore my haircut. Mostly because it could've been a buzz cut and I'd be happy to have it off my neck. I had had just about enough of the long stringy mess of hair that my head had become. Now I have a cute short summer cut. Hooray! I took Anja along with me and she just sat in her carseat happily chewing on her frog and looking around at everything there was to see. She didn't make a peep. She's funny though... a lot of times when we go out someplace she'll be perfectly quiet, and then as soon as we get in the car she starts jabbering away! It's like she's telling me all about what she saw. Very cute! This picture is of her smiling. The one below is of her at knitting night... she is the youngest knitter in the club, but look how passionate she is about her yarn!!! By the way, all those hands you see all over her belong to her grandmothers. Imagine that!

And here are some more pictures to share. Anja with her mountain lion pet, Theodore.; Anja wearing the Ergo weather hood when we walked to church last Sunday.; SITTING UP in her jungle crib!

In other news, I made hummus this morning and it's delicious, although still pretty chunky since I mashed it myself. I tried doing it in the blender, but it freaked me out too much. I am easily scared by common household appliances. And inspired by Anne, I mopped my kitchen floor! Also, before the hummus making adventure, Anja and I walked up to K.Dees for my morning coffee. It was really nice because it wasn't even 9:00 yet so nobody was out (unlike on our busy lunchtime walks) and it wasn't too hot yet! Lots of morning fun and now she's asleep, but I'll talk about that in my next post, coming right up.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

With a Snip-Snip Here, and a Snip-Snip There

I'm getting my hair cut today. Hallelujah. The last time I got my hair cut was the day before Anja was born, and she'll be seven months old on Monday, which means a haircut is loooooong overdue. I am planning to get it absolutely chopped. I'm so sick of my long, stringy, thin hair. All I do is wear it up and even that looks bad because I'm sort of balding on the sides of my head. I am looking for something short, cute, and low maintenance. I will not be too picky.

I actually had ants in my pants today, believe it or not. Real live ants, the biting kind. I went out to the jungle to take some cuttings of ivy and when I pulled back one of the pieces I uncovered an ant nest. Those suckers must be fast because a few minutes later, I was feeling some tiny little bites inside my jeans! Yikes!

Yesterday after dinner Martin ordered me to take a nap on the couch while he took care of Anja. What a treat! They went for a long walk together and I snoozed away until it was time to go to knitting. What a treat!

I can't even put into words how thrilled I am about my garden. Remember how I thought my cliantro pot was just coming up weeds? WRONG!!! I actually have a zillion little cilantro stems coming up! And my cherry tomato plants are absolutely overloaded with flower buds, as is my zucchini plant. My hostas from last year look gorgeous out front and all of my hanging pots are thriving. Now that I know I can grow things, I'm definitely going to expand my garden next year. And by expand I mean cut down on tomato plants and add in some other useful things, like maybe yellow squash and green beans. But for this first year my garden is PERFECT and I wouldn't change a thing. With all those tomatoes and my cute basil plants though, I'm afraid we're going to be eating a loooooot of tomato-basil pasta.

Anja and I went for a walk this morning a little before 10:00. We could've gone on an aimless walk, or gone up the hill to the mediterrenean market for tahini, or we could've gone to a coffee shop, but in the end we chose to take a stroll through Rubia and ended up with a dozen roses for less than $5. They were in the half off section AND they were the special! Not too shabby. And I had a five dollar bill in my purse. Perfect!

Anja is awake upstairs and talking to herself. She has perfect timing. My haircut is at 2:00. Just enough time to feed her and go!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sleep Situations

I know I've posted a thousand times about the sleeping situation here at the Schap house. How Anja's room is downstairs and our room is upstairs so we have made a little bed for her in our room because her room is too far away from us. Now I need some opinions.

Anja's little bed is a twin-sized wool blanket folded up to be her size with a folded quilt on top of that. It's not a huge space, but it makes a nice little mat for her. It's firmness is between a bassinet (hard as a rock) and a crib (softer.) I thought it would be a good fit for a little baby. The problem is that she's not so little anymore. She's practically crawling, and I NEED her to stay asleep at night, because when she wakes up she is not contained, so she is able to roll all over the room. But she just doesn't sleep well on her little bed, and I'm wondering now if it's because it isn't soft enough. But they always tell you not to make baby beds soft because they can suffocate. But isn't she big enough to not suffocate in her soft bed now?

Okay, here's the point, and the question: Anja sleeps like a corpse in our bed. Our bed is AMAAAAAZING. A comfy mattress with a down blanket used as a featherbed under the sheet and lots of quilts. Now this is not an argument for or against co-sleeping... she doesn't sleep there when we are in it, she takes her naps there and when I wake up in the morning, I move her to our bed. I have a twin-sized down featherbed from my single days. Should I have her sleep on it? I think she would sleep better, but I don't want to do something stupid. I know, I know, she should've started sleeping in her crib when she outgrew her bassinet, but it's just not going to happen.

So what does everyone think?

I just went out to check on my garden. My tomato plants are getting huge!!!! Talk about exciting. I've got flowers on everything but my Big Boys. Martin saved a bunch of the very straight branches from the weed trees he cut down this weekend. We'll cut and strip them and use them as stakes to hold up our ginormous vegetable plants.

In other news, it's a dark and stormy day which means I should be able to get ALL of my housework done! And maybe in the afternoon we'll sit out on the porch and watch the rain.

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's More Than Fun--It's Superfun

I'm in love with my new banner. Cows! And rolling hills! It gives me goosebumps every time I visit my blog.

Yesterday was deliciously productive. We tend to find ourselves every weekend saying things like "It's great to be us" and "We've got it so good." It's so true! And I'm so glad that this summer we're finally able to appreciate being homeowners. We are making great improvements on both the front AND the back of the house, and yesterday we finally started tackling the jungle along the west side. (the east side jungle will probably have to wait until next year.) We finally got back to 7:30 mass and Anja took a good solid nap in the early afternoon. Martin spent the whole day mowing , cutting down tree-sized weeds (not kidding,) and clearing out our huge brush/trash pile from the backyard. I spent the day inside the jungle, liberating a zillion hostas, ferns, and rambling rose bushes from the vines that have completely taken over in only a week. They've taken over so much and so fast that I actually didn't get all I wanted. I know there are a lot of ferns in there, but I could only find one. I know there are more hostas too, and it took me a really long time to locate the rose bush. This viney stuff we have is amazing. Seriously, you can't stand still too long or it will eat you. Not even kidding.

We also went to the hardware store and got some more flowers. Martin's mom gave me a nice old wooden box the other day and I decided to make it into a planter. I transplanted some petunias from a pot (where they weren't doing very well) to the box, and added a cute little pink plant I bought, a Thyme plant (hooray for fresh herbs!) and the rest of the little yellow flowers I have all over the place, which were in the same pot as the petunias. We bought two hanging baskets of flowers for the porch, and Martin put hooks in so they hang nicely now. The biggest accomplishment of the day, however, came from our awesome brother-in-law, Andrew, who brought over two loads of mulch for our front areas. It looks GREAT! And if that wasn't enough, later that night he and Sarah brought us over some pavers to use as stepping stones through the porch planter area since we walk right through that to get to the car. The front of our house is looking really good. Amazingly less trashy. I'm pretty sure our neighbors appreciate all our effort too. We have the Cooks beside us who are fixing up their house for when they sell it, (as if it didn't always look adorable) and through the yards we have Dave & Dawn who are obsessed with their yard and it is amazing. They live in that cute yellow house on 6th street. SOOOOOO cute!! They didn't used to talk to us but now they are very friendly! I think it's because we've started working on our yards. I kind of can't put into words how trashy it was last summer compared to this summer.

So anyway, that's what we did all day yesterday. We've put Anja on one of Martin's "hard routines." When she starts to act sleepy in the evening around 7:30, it's bath, jammies, stories, bed. We're hoping this will teach her to go to sleep. So far no luck. I know it must seem from my posts like she sleeps all the time, but it's not true... in fact, she hardly sleeps at all. It's weird.

Next week is Martin's vacation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited. We're going to tear up the carpet in the front room and we're going to take a ton of long walks and we're going to make delicious meals to eat outside on our pretty patio. Then at the end of the week he'll leave for 9 days to be a chaperone at Hoosier Boys State, which is completely barferific, but oh well. At least we'll have a week of fun before he goes!