Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Slumber Wumber

The girls are sleeping in today, which is not surprising, considering Greta didn't get much nap yesterday and Anja was up from about 3:30-5:30 in the night. Before Greta was born, I asked Martin what we would do if they were both up all night every night. He assured me that it wouldn't be that way--that they would tag-team it. He was so right. Most nights Anja only wakes up once or twice and goes right back to sleep with some snuggling and a bottle. Greta is our new bad sleeper. However, last night Greta basically slept through the night and it was Anja who kept me up all night! *sigh* Someday when Martin and I are rich, well-rested and bored, we will look back on these days very fondly, I'm sure of it. But until then, I think I'll make another pot of coffee.

Our Christmas season has been delightful but I'm a little bit dreading the end of it. Christmas is SUCH a cozy time. What will I do without my festive Christmas lights and happy little tree? Plus, the end of Christmas means I have to put away all the presents, and that is a scary thought!

We are really looking forward to getting the back room cleared out and installing our woodstove. It's going to be a lot of work, but soooooooo worth it, and I think it'll result in us spending most of our time back here. And when we win the lottery, we're going to rip up the carpet back here and install wood floors. We're planning to win the lottery any day now.

And that's about it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

























Sorry about the pictures being all at the top and in no specific order... for some reason I can't get blogger (or my computer, for that matter) to do what I want. Oh well.

I think I can pretty much say, without a doubt, that this was the best Christmas Martin and I have had in a looooooooong time. It was really great! No family stress, very little baby-related stress, and lots of excitement and magic. A short rundown of Christmasses past: Up until we were married, the best thing about Christmas was our Christmas Game Nights, when on Christmas Night we got together with all of our friends and played board games. This was a VERY fun tradition that has lasted many years. The year we got married we were wed on the 22nd, spent the 23rd buying groceries and everything we needed as newly-living-together people after living in our parents houses forever, spent the 24th buying all of our stupid, thoughtless gifts for our family members, spent Christmas bouncing between both families, planning out some kind of honeymoon for some time in the future... which we never got, but that doesn't matter. Year two: The year of The Screaming Anja. In short, Christmas was awful. Year three: Better. Still kind of weird though, having a child, but one who didn't quite care about Christmas. However, Anja did take her first steps on Christmas night! Also, we spent Christmas Eve doing all of our shopping. BARF. Year four, this year! WONDERFUL!! Anja LOVES unwrapping gifts! We got wonderful gifts for people! We were so excited to be with our families, to give them meaningful things, to eat food that Martin had shot and I had prepared! Everything was really great!

On Christmas Eve we went to the 4:30 mass with Martin's family and my parents. The girls were really horribly behaved, despite the fact that they'd both had naps. Oh well. For the past fifteen minutes of Mass, Anja shouted, "Gagy! Gagy!" (baby! baby!) wanting to go up to the big nativity scene to visit the baby Jesus. She also was crying out for the donkey. She really likes donkeys.

Christmas at Ooma and Oompa's house was so fun!! We got a Seal-A-Meal from my parents, and a woodstove from them too, which means when Martin comes home with squirrels, we can seal some up while the rest are frying atop the woodstove. SO EXCITING. Anja received a baby doll that is pink, which is the first doll she's named herself: Pink-Pink. Pink-Pink is now a treasured member of the family. I'm afraid Greta has been teething, which is torture for everyone around, but she got a funny orange teether doll, and a lot of other good toys to gnaw on. Anja got a gorgeous wooden doll stroller from my parents as well. We ate loads of food. It was loud and crazy and fun. Aunt Anna May came! Everything was perfect. Best presents we gave: A monetary contribution to The Gorilla Foundation in my dad's name, to buy Christmas presents for the gorillas; a deer antler coat/hat rack for Christopher made with antlers we had here (not from anything Martin shot) and a piece of wood from my grandparents' barn; a quilt kit for Grace with pinwheel block instructions, all in a cute white basket.

Santa came in the night and left Anja and Greta all sorts of lovely treasures. A family of colorful gnomes with mushrooms, a new umbroller that is brown with pink butterflies, some books, some toys, some tights. After all the hard work on Anja's blue slippers, she hasn't really cared much about them. Too bad! Maybe they'll grow on her. After opening presents in the morning, my parents and Martin's sister came over for Christmas breakfast. I had put a venison roast in the crock pot overnight, and I mashed up some potatoes and we had a loaf of challah bread, and it was a really fabulous Christmas breakfast. Shortly after we ate, we all took off for Chicago for Christmas with Martin's side of the family.

More craziness, fun, good food, and presents. Anja and Greta were showered with thoughtfulness, as was I. My sister-in-law made aprons for everyone, including Anja! They are reverseable and wicked cute. She gave Anja a doll carrier that looks like a tiny Ergo. !!!! Greta got more things to gnaw on. Martin's mom gave him a pulley thingy for his deer, and renewed his NRA membership! My other sister-in-law gave me a flower necklace that is much like the one she wears that I've always secretly coveted. We gave everyone gift baskets full of Martin deer sausage, Fair Oaks cheese, Oliver wine and dried salted peas that I imagine must be local because they are from D&R. I think everyone really appreciated them. The ride home was scary slick. We were going 35mph down the highway and still sliding. We passed wreck after wreck and were sure we were going to get pounded by one of the idiots whizzing past us. Scary! Then Greta woke up and we pulled into Fair Oaks Farms and got her out of her seat for awhile; Martin bought a little thing of ice cream and a big cup of coffee and it was snowing the Star Wars snowflakes, and it was really pretty cozy.

On Boxing Day we went shopping with TusaRebecca and I got two shirts from Gap, but I got home and decided to return them because, thanks to two years of nursing, my "girls" just aren't what they used to be and I don't look right in any kind of clothes. *sigh*

Anja is so cute. My mother-in-law found sheepskins for all the grandbabies. We put Anja's and Greta's on the floor in the living room and Anja has been rolling around on them all day, burrowing in and snuggling up... too cute.
We've been taking it easy for the weekend. We're getting some snow--nothing major, just a few inches--and it's a very cozy snow. We did run out to the store this afternoon, but other than that, we've just been cozied up in the house together, letting everyone come to us. Last night Martin's family brought pizza over for dinner, then our friends Perkins and Joel came by. It's been a really nice little Christmas weekend. Tonight we're going to try frying squirrels and see if I can succeed at doing it. I have never had success in frying anything breaded... so we'll see. And from what we've read, frying seems to be the best way to have them, with gravy, so I do hope they turn out. Martin was going to go hunting today after mass, but he got halfway there and realized he hadn't changed the barrel on his shotgun. By the time he got home he decided it wasn't worth the drive back out, and the roads were getting full of snow by that time as well. Maybe next weekend!
This afternoon we put the girls in their snowsuits and played outside. Greta and I came in early, but Anja had a great time playing out front while her daddy shoveled the walks. Yay snow! I'm glad it's finally here. Winter is so much more cheerful when there's snow on the ground.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On the Eve of Christmas Eve...

Ugh. I don't know how long it's been since I've read ANYONE's blog. How depressing.

What's not depressing is that tomorrow is Christmas Eve!! I am soooooooo excited for Christmas this year. It actually FEELS like Christmas to me, and I'm ridiculously thrilled to give our gifts to their recipients and most of all to bring Anja downstairs on Christmas morning. Martin and I are a little bit sad that it's going to be a few years before we can be back at the Midnight Mass, but that's okay. I'm sure the 4:30 will have a sweetness of its own. In any case, it'll be better than last year when I don't think Santa Claus even visited our house and we bolted out the door first thing in the morning to make it to the 7:30 mass like a couple of old people. That was less than fun. This year everything is better. I have basically finished my shopping... one thing I finally thought to get for Martin I can easily pick up tomorrow afternoon, and if I don't get it, oh well. It's not that special anyway. Tonight we are going to sip hot cocoa in our HUGMUGS that we recieved for our anniversary from the Watsons (THANKS!!!) and finish up all the wrapping and the small bit of crafting we have left to do. Then I will organize the present according to family/child/santa/mommy and daddy and go to bed knowing that tomorrow all I need to do is cook and bake. Well, and get that one thing for Martin... but that hardly counts. Martin works until 11:00 tomorrow. Hopefully I can get two pies made and a venison roast simmering in the crock pot all before he gets home. Anja getting a nap tomorrow is A MUST, and we'll go to the 4:30 mass at St. B with my parents and Martin's family, then back to my parents' house for dinner and Christmas with them. On Christmas Day we will be our own little family and have our little presents and a nice breakfast of venison roast, (which I intend to cook overnight in the crock pot) and fried potatoes or oven fries, then we'll head up to Chicago after breakfast for Christmas with the Schap side of the family. It'll be a busy, but festive couple of days!

For now I must go tend to fussy Greta so Martin can make the hot locolate. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hygge, Anyone?

Christmas is only a few days away at this point, and for the first time in a few years I actually feel completely prepared for it. Well, as of tonight, anyway. I am really feeling good about the gifts we are giving people this year. I think we've really succeeded in choosing thoughtful, perfect-for-that-person gifts that really haven't cost us much at all! Some people are, as always, getting gifts that are lovingly given, but not anything super special. But I feel like with a lot of the gifts, we've really done well. Not to toot my own horn or anything... it's just that for the past three years we've spent Christmas Eve doing ALL of our Christmas shopping (literally) and rushing to get everybody anything that will fit within our budget, no matter how stupid or crummy, or "Oh, thanks, another coffee-table book!" it is. So this is a refreshing feeling! Not only that, but I have even begun my wrapping. Hoorah! I LOVE wrapping presents. This year's cutest wrap-job goes to Joannie's gift, which is also one of our most thoughtful gifts, which is also funny because it might be the first time I've ever given Joannie a Christmas present, even though she is my oldest friend!

Okay, so anyway.... I spent all of Friday in the kitchen making tiny gingerbread angels and chocolate chip cookies, which I piled onto a plate on the kitchen counter and bundled into little paper bags with tissue paper in them. I was trying to make a nice assortment of the two kinds of cookies, and I got six bags done yesterday. Then this morning I came downstairs to find all the chocolate chip cookies GONE. Martin had eaten them ALL! So now people are only going to get gingerbread and no chocolate chip cookies. Sorry, everyone! And also, they might be kind of stale because I don't know when they'll actually get delivered. Maybe you can drill holes in them and use them as tree ornament. Oh well... the theme is Christmas cheer, not Christmas punctuality.

Today on the radio Martin heard a story about Danish people and their word "hygge," which roughly tranlates to mean "coziness." They talked about how Denmark has terrible, dark, depressing winters and how everyone there could very well be all full of gloom, but instead, they are saved by "hygge," which is to say, they spend their dark evenings sitting by candlelight with their loved ones, drinking hot chocolate and enjoying the dark coziness of winter instead of wishing it were sunny and warm. In the spirit of "hygge" Martin made some of his famous spicy hot chocolate and we lit all the candles in the front room and sat around eating--OOPS! Guess nobody's getting any cookies at all now!--gingerbread people. The cozy and calm was only slightly disturbed by Grabby Greta, who made it necessary to move all of the candles up to high places, and to hold our hot chocolates high in the air and to have to drink them standing up so she couldn't get at them. But still... we tried.

Also, I have to say that my sister throws the best parties! She also makes the best food, especially her tomato bisque. YUM!

Anja has been having a splendid time lately, spending lots of time with her Ooma and with her cousins.

Today my friends Perkins and Alison both came over!!!!!!!!!!!! Perkins has a broken foot and Alison is pregnant!!!!!!! It's very sad that Martin and I have zero friends living in Lafayette, but it does make seeing them that much more exciting.

Time to go back up to the front of the house to keep my manfriend company. He is cleaning his guns after an unsuccessful day of hunting. Too bad! The season ends tomorrow, and I want him to go out to try for one more doe, but he is being stubborn.

I wanted to start this post "last night when Martin was filling his powder horn" but then I couldn't remember what it was we were talking about while he was filling his powder horn. Still, it seemed like a funny thing to say.

Anyway... both girls are asleep now, so we can catch up on our "hygge"!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Blogging? What's that?

Oh my. I not only feel like I am never going to keep up with this blog again, but that I don't even have anything to say! My life has never been overly exciting, but these days it's just plain boring. We are in a nice routine at home. Actually, scratch that... ANJA is in a nice routine at home. Greta, on the other hand, seems to have fast-forwarded through her childhood and now is in teenager mode, staying up late and sleeping till noon. We had one lovely night when she went to bed at 7:00 and slept until 7:30 the next morning (not straight through by any means, but she didn't get up to play) but except for that one night, she's been going down anywhere between 7:00 and 9:00 and then waking up an hour later, wide awake, happy, screeching, smiling, playing, etc. At least she doesn't wake up screaming. I mean, it could be worse. But still. Sometimes I crave sleep.

Anyway, enough complaining. Our days have been delightful! This week I've been taking Martin to work in the morning and having the car for myself in order to do some Christmassy kinds of things. On Wednesday I left the girls with my mom for awhile and got some hardcore shopping done. I scored big at Old Navy, where I was not shopping for my girls, but someone else, and could not pass up the amazing sales they were having! I got Anja an ADORABLE red toggle coat for an amazing price, as well as a matching Fair Isle knit hat and mittens set. At Once Upon a Child I got a few books for the girls and some wooden toys for Greta. I bought the toys new because I had no idea that they sell used toys along the back wall. My sister told me later that day. I have never gone to the back wall because that's where the big kid clothes are and I've never had reason to go back there! I feel slightly cheated, but I don't mind so much. I didn't pay much for the things I got Greta and I think she'll like them. Especially the funny little Melissa & Doug caterpillar thingy.

Letsee, what else. Since Martin's injury last week (he's still not recovered) we lost some time on our Christmas crafting, and so the trikes are going to be an Easter present to the girls instead. This is fine, because Martin will be able to spend an appropriate amount of time on them and they'll get to ride them outside right away. My felted blocks for Greta turned out to be disasterous, (which is why I had to buy her some toys) but oh well. I'm really excited for Christmas. I can't wait for Anja to come downstairs and see that Santa Claus has come in the night and eaten up the cookies we are going to leave for him and left presents for her and Greta. Really, really, really, I'm excited.

Yesterday the girls and I went out to visit MaryGrace and Mrs. Smith! It was a lovely break in our day, and Anja just loves to be social, even though you wouldn't believe it by the way she just plays by herself the whole time. After that we came to my mom's house and then were surprised by an invitation out to Moe's for dinner with everyone. Anja was sooooooooo excited to go to dinner with her cousins, and she was wearing some very pretty new pajamas that were purple and had cats on them. Her Ooma gave them to her when she spilled water all over her clothes. Plus, it was pretty much bedtime.

So, seriously, I'm a very boring person lately. We just kind of hang out, run a few errands... we went to the grocery store today and Anja got to ride in the car cart, and she was SO EXCITED. Then her hair got really staticky and she looked hilarious. She's taken to wearing these hot pink leg warmers with everything and she puts them on herself. In fact, she's getting really good at dressing herself and it's the funniest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.

Time to go pick up Martin from work! (I'm at my mom's. Anja wants to spend all of her time here now.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Joy Bubble Went *Pop*

So, yeah.... remember my elation over our new wireless internet? All the joy I found in looking up recipes in my kitchen? How it made me a better mom because instead of just hanging around on my blog all day (as I had expected myself to do) I actually looked up crafts and things to do with Anja, and we made a paper plate wreath and were going to make play-dough ornaments, but I was all out of salt. AND, we were listening to Christmas music nonstop on Pandora (which I often call "manna" because it is heaven-sent) and having a jolly time, all the time. I ACTUALLY CHECKED MY EMAIL. Miracle!

Well, then tonight we started hearing this horrible noise and realized it was coming from our laptop. It had gone all crazy, and we still don't know what went wrong, or how it went wrong, or why it was making this awful noise. But anyway, it's dead now and we don't know how to fix it, so don't expect to see me around this blog very often after all. It's back to the dark ages for me. *tear*

It's not like we don't have internet though, so I still do have a link (haha! That's like a pun!) to the outside world. It's just that it's a very, very COLD link, being here in the unheated Big Back Room....

Anyway. Martin's old hip injury has flared up so he's kind of an invalid, poor boy! Many pain pills and lying on a heating pad. I'm glad I'm not an athlete of any sort! Best to be lazy and fat and in one piece that physically fit and lying on a heating pad, in my opinion. Just teasing, Martino! I feel sorry for you, and I'm glad you're physically fit!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ho Hum, Just Another Post...

....FROM MY KITCHEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am sitting at my kitchen table. Right now. And I'm on the internet. CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT?!?!? It's taken almost a year from our first attempt at setting up our wireless, and now we finally got all the necessary components together and we got the whole thing set up, and--most importantly--working. Jubilation is not enough word! This opens up so many opportunities for me. I will no longer feel like a hermit crab in my lonesome tank! If I can't find a recipe in my cookbooks, I can look online! And then I won't even have to write down the recipe (as fast as I can, on whatever scrap of paper I can find, while Anja is doing who-knows-what in the front of the house unattended) because I can just leave the computer screen up and look at it as I go! This is amazing. If I am wondering if it's too cold to go out for a walk, instead of just assuming that it is, I can look up the weather! If I'm not sure if it's going to rain, I can do the same thing! I can blog more often, because I will not have to wait until the girls are asleep, or being cared for by Martin! This is so great. Not only is this great for my social life, but also for my chances of frostbite. Tomorrow's high is only 16! Brrrr! Thanks to our newly setup wireless, I will be keeping track of the arctic air from the comfy warmth of my own kitchen, with my girlies scampering happily around me (as Greta is doing right now) and a cup of coffee that isn't icing over right here on the table. Hmmm... I wonder now if I should change the title of my blog... Rants and Ramblings from the Kitchen Table? Any suggestions will be welcomed. Oh! Another thing I can do is play my Snapfish slideshows of my Skinny albums... like when Martin and I were CC prom chaperones, and the summer we were engaged, and when we got married. I was so skinny! I can watch the slideshows while I swing my kettlebell in the evenings! THIS IS GOING TO BE SO GREAT!! Thanks, Wireless Internet, for saving my life on so many levels!
And while Martin was busy with computering tonight, and Greta has been ridiculously happy and curious about all of Anja's toys (poor baby... it's a rare thing when she gets to play with whatever she wants and not have to worry about it being snatched right out of her hands and replaced with something much less exciting and/or yummy), I have been working on Christmas presents. I am thrilled to report that I have FINISHED the knit slippers for Anja. And although they sport many a flaw, they are made with love. As she requested, they are blue, with one pink inside and one green inside. They are really cute with little straps around the ankles that button. Unfortunately, one of my button holes came out really tiny, so it's kind of difficult to get that one buttoned, but that's okay, at least they won't fall off, I guess. Always a bright side. The pattern calls for them to have little crocheted flowers on the toes, but I don't know if I'll add anything on there or not... we'll see what kind of time I have on Christmas Eve.

So, those are done, and those were my one big project. My other big project is a cat quilt for Anja, which shouldn't be too bad, especially if I do it on machine. I have all the pieces cut, and it's really not too many... it's this really cute kit that my mom bought for me one day at JoAnn's. I think Anja is going to ADORE it... the whole middle is this funny cat print fabric, and all the other fabrics are different textures. There's a furry one, a silky one, a flannel one and a homespun. The cats are regular cotton. I'm really excited to give it to her, because I can see it becoming a favorite "gaky" (blanket). She is such a cat lady!
And, oh my gosh, so incredibly OCD. She did the hair brushing thing again the other day. I swear, she'll stand on her changing table for as long as I let her, just brushing her hair over and over and over again with brush, brush, comb. She's so funny! But Martin told me tonight that when he's out deer hunting he just sits there and counts. So I guess that's where she gets it. What a couple of weirdos.
Anyway, along with finishing the slippers, I pretty much finished the second knit mouse too, which is wool and colorful and sort of felted, except one piece (the biggest one, unfortunately) didn't felt up very well, so it just looks kind of hairy. Also, while the pieces didn't felt so much as they shrank into funny shapes, this mouse appears to have legs, and kind of a squished-up nose. He is cute though, and has much more personality than the green one I made first. I'm giving these to the girls, which was not my original plan. I had planned to make one for all of our nieces and nephews, but then I realized that was ridiculous on many levels. For one thing, I don't have that kind of time. For another, when I told someone this, her response was, "do they all have cats?" and I realized that it kind of would look like I was giving them cat toys. But I think my girls will love them.
Last year for Christmas, my parents gave Anja this adorable wooden hedgehog that has three different lengthed pegs and four stacking discs, with a different number of holes in them. I'm not explaining that very well, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that Anja has never really cared about it, but Greta LOVES IT. How funny.

And a few nights ago both girls took crazy late naps, so we had this evening free with a couple of happy girls.... so we went out for ice cream! Anja had no trouble choosing her flavor--BLUUUUEE!!! And she insisted that I wear my wooly earflap hat to match hers, so we took a picture.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mom of the Year

In all my rage against Twitter, I forgot to post about the Mom Of The Year Award I received on Monday. Well, I kind of gave it to myself. And it wasn't for being the best--it was for being the rottenest.

Sunday was the second week in a row that Greta went to church in her pajamas. The first time she was wearing some semi-cute ducky pj's that were at least fuzzy and warm, so I didn't look negligent, just lazy. This Sunday, however, she was just in this funny onesie-type thing with long-ish legs and long-ish arms that is really old and worn out because it's a three-time hand-me-down from my sister-in-law. On our way out the door, I tossed a dress and tights into my purse for her and figured I could get her dressed at church. So we got to mass (late, as always) and didn't even LOOK for a seat. We went straight to the back and just kind of camped out there, seriously, like homeless people, with our carseat and blankets (I brought a mountain of them since Greta was practically naked) and whatever weird toys Anja decided to bring along with her. Anja was wearing the dress that matched the dress I brought along for Greta, which are a nice soft orange with a very asian, blossomy print, except she was also wearing these hot pink, paisley leg warmers and her snowboots. So after I get over my embarrassment a little bit, I decide to get Greta dressed.... only to find out that her dress is so much too small for her that we can't get any of the buttons fastened! So she's in this smock-dress with an open back revealing her homeless person longjohns (which are cute and WARM, which is why she was wearing them in the first place, even if they are kind of ratty) and I try to cover her with a blanket, but she's so squirmy and she just wants to crawl around, making my life very difficult. After mass we went to my parents house, and I can't remember what else happened, but I remember feeling like kind of loser of a mom all day.

And then on Monday afternoon I realize we'd forgotten St. Nicholas day!! We didn't just forget to put the girls' shoes out, we forgot about it completely. In fact, today is the first day I've known what day it is the entire month of December, and that's only because my mom called me yesterday to tell me today is a holy day, and so today I know it is December 8th.

I guess that's the extent of my current scumminess. I could really go for a Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate, but I don't think they make them anymore. Poo.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Better to Do

I swear, they do some kind of story that has to do with Twitter EVERY DAY on npr. I am so sick of it! Why do you have to keep telling me so blatantly that nobody in our country has enough to do?!? I know that there are people who are very against blogging and Facebook, etc., and I do kind of admire them... more for being against Facebook. I myself am completely addicted to Facebook, and after I've spent a stupid amount of time webstalking people I feel like a complete loser and go around for the rest of my day/night thinking about what better things I could have been doing with my time. Blogging is a little bit different... blogging is more like a journal. I mean, you do get something out of keeping an online account of your life... you get to look back on it and laugh, and blogs can be helpful things when looking for advice and opinions, inspiration, etc. So blogs are different. Facebook stinks. And this is coming from someone who thinks about checking Facebook way more often than I actually check it, which is very embarrassing.

Anyway, I think that Twitter takes this whole online social networking thing to a whole, disgusting new level. In fact, I'm so fired up about it right now that I'm sort of speechless. I can't think of the words to describe its stupidity. And you call your little entries of what you're doing this very instant "tweets"? OH MY GOSH. That's right. For those of you unfamiliar with it, on Twitter, you "tweet." Which is to say, you update your life moment-by-moment for all to read. "Hey, online world! I'm going to the bank!" "Hey cyberspace! I'm taking out the trash!" "Hey, billions of people with nothing better to do with your time! I'm brushing mats out of my dog's hair! And thinking about how much of a waste your life will look like when you are eighty-nine years old and in a nursing home remembering your youth!" I know this is harsh. Maybe some of you reading are really into Twitter. But seriously. Status Updates on facebook are stupid, pointless, and insanely addicting. I actually do make status updates that are as ridiculously lame as "I'm taking out the trash." But that's what I do when I'm also looking at newly posted photos of my nieces and nephews. Twitter just seems so far below that.

I dunno. Maybe it has something to do with my dislike of video games and seeing the similarity between the two, as far as being complete wastes of time. Maybe it's because the guy I dated in highschool played so many video games that for Christmas his family gave me a "bored girlfriend survival kid" full of other things to do... cute crafts and things, in fact... for when he wouldn't put down his game controllers, even though I was right there. BTW, his parents were so nice! For more reasons than just giving me funny gifts, that also included a very cute little dragon teapot. Well, anyway, I've gotten way off topic now.

Whatever. Twitter is lame. The end.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Curse You, Goodwill Store!!!!!

I have big plans for A Very Crafty Christmas. Obviously, since my entire extended family reads this blog, I can't go into much detail, except for the girls' presents, one of which, is felted blocks for Greta. Wool felt being kind of expensive, I had the great idea of getting a few Goodwill sweaters and felting them myself to use for my Christmas crafting. So tonight I had Martin drop me off at the Goodwill while he drove around and put the girls to sleep. The Men's section was pretty much a bust, but the Women's section held a pretty fine selection... OF THE CUTEST SWEATERS EVER. I went through in fast-forward speed, feeling everything and then if something felt like wool, I'd check the tag. 100% wool in a nice color made it into my cart. But then I'd look at it again... just my size.... name brand.... REALLY FREAKING CUTE.... And so, I bought 7 sweaters at the Goodwill tonight, and right now 4 of them are in the washing machine on the hot cycle. Yes, I kept three for myself. I just couldn't part with them!!!! And besides, as Martin so helpfully pointed out, I am in great need of more sweaters. See? If he says it's true, my purchases are totally justified.

My crafting ideas are getting a little out of hand though. Last night I told Martin I was thinking about knitting Bella the same pair of slippers I'm knitting Anja (which I have been working on for WEEKS, and which have been climbing the ranks of my "Project From Hell" list, inching their way up to the tippy-tippy-top) and Martin literally begged me--he actually said "I'm begging you"-- not to start another Christmas project. And he's right. I am completely overloaded. I have a total of twelve handmade gifts to give this year, and only two completed. Some of them I haven't even found/bought the supplies!!! And this doesn't include any of the regular shopping for people we've got to do, which I'm hoping to keep at a minimum, but still there are always those necessary little details. Our Schap Family Christmas is going to be held a few days early, so that gives me a little bit of timeline priority for those gifts, which is kind of calming. I'll have at least a week to get everything else done after that.

If you haven't been keeping up with Martin's blog, this will be news to you: We snagged a couple of tricycles from our fabulous neighbors, The Cooks, before they moved. There's a regular sized one and a smaller one, and both are in need of some work. One has a broken seat and they are both pretty rusty. Martin has big plans to repaint them, and he's been looking at online tutorials for things like plaids and stripes and adorable color combinations and accents. He's really excited to get started on them, and I'm really excited for Christmas morning when Anja sees her very own trike sitting in the living room under the Christmas tree. I am so insanely excited for Christmas with Anja this year. I can't WAIT until they put the nativity scene up at St. Boniface--she's going to LOVE IT. She loves our Christmas tree and she loves candy canes. We've been listening to Christmas music and hanging out in our cozy, twinkly front room, and it has this wonderful calming affect/effect (I will never, ever, ever, understand how to use those words) on our house. We spent yesterday and today making gingerbread cookies, which are delicious, and we've been filling our bellies with junk food and happy thoughts. My mom last year for Christmas gave us a gorgeous Fontinini nativity and Anja adores it. She carries the baby Jesus around with her everywhere. Very cute!

If I ask Anja, "what do you think [insert any name here] wants for Christmas?" She will answer with her cat sounds. If I ask her what SHE wants for Christmas, she will answer with her cat sound, with the specification of "brown."

I love the holidays. And it was completely awesome having all our friends in town and actually getting to hang out with them. Just like normal people!! Amazing!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Here are some pictures from our wonderful holiday weekend. Crazy face in the mirror.
Old friends! Emily and Perkins (and Joel, not pictured) came for dinner the night after Thanksgiving. It was so nice!

The burley man who cut down our chosen Christmas tree for us took this family picture. We love going to the tree farm to get our tree! They don't let you cut it yourself, but you do get to go out to the little tree field and pick it out, then the man comes and finds you with his wagon and his chainsaw and cuts your tree down, then gives you a ride back on the wagon. Anja loved it!
They have candy canes for the kiddies, and she loved that too. Her first one!
Old friends, Tim and Joel. Tim is holding his baby, Belle, who is three months younger than Greta. Joel has Greta.
Mama and baby
Anja rocking her baby by the "fireplace"

Is there anything cuter than a toddler who just discovered putting olives on her fingers?!? Delightful. She loves olives!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am thankful for many things, but the biggest is that our Gretabird has gotten over her Big Sickness. It was a long road to recovery, but a full week and four doctors after it all started, she was given an antibiotic and within 24 hours was back to her old self.

By the time we got her medicine, she was just like a colicky newborn. She'd sleep for most of the day, and any time she was awake she was screaming. She would pitch herself forward, as if her stomach hurt, and scream. We were given answers that it was a virus that she'd get over; that it was a virus that she was pretty much over; and (after a night in the ER) that it was just gas. Finally on Tuesday a doctor in Indy told us she had a bacterial infection in her chest. Yesterday, as I gave her each dose of antibiotic, I was calling Martin to excitedly relay her progress. We were joyful about such stupid things as her opening her eyes (!!), showing interest in my earrings, being awake for an hour and not crying! She smiled for the first time in a week last night, and we were beyond thrilled. She got better and better at lightening speed, and last night we were back to the good old days--up until after midnight with a very happy, insomniac Greta. It was a very worrisome 7 days!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bringing Home the Bacon...or Venison.

Martin shot this 8 point buckaroo out at Uncle Johnny's farm. This follows the wife he got on Wednesday that is pictured a few posts back, but here's another picture of her.

So actually, I'd forgotten that I had already posted about the doe, and Martin told me I had, and had provided a picture as well. But once I put a picture on here, I don't know how to delete them (unless it's by accident, of course!) so now you're stuck hearing about this deer twice. Sorry.

Greta has been sick since Wednesday. I took her into the doctor yesterday, he said it's a virus. Blah. She's got a fever and is acting very sick and sad. Poor baby. I wish he'd done a test for a bladder infection because she acts like her tummy hurts. If she's not any better by tomorrow, I might take her into the Urgent Care.

I am excited for the holidays. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, and I'm looking forward to putting up our Christmas decorations and getting our tree. I think Anja will really get a kick out of the Advent wreath, though I might not put up the advent calendar this year. I can just see all those little pieces getting carried all over the house by Anja and then Greta choking on them. So that might have to wait until next year. But still, I'm excited.

Also, I think we're going to do the whole Christmas Card thing this year. I really used to think Christmas cards were lame, but I've been thinking about all our friends who have moved away and who would probably get a kick out of receiving a Christmas card from the Schaps. Not only that, but we've get a handful from others every year (EVERY year, as if it's been so long, lol), and I absolutely love them. So I'd better get moving on that idea... but I think it's almost a definite go. Something I always said I'd never do! Oh well, I guess it's one of those many opinions that can change once you have kidders.

We had a possum on our patio tonight and Martin (again) wouldn't let me invite him in to sleep in our bed with us. Grrr. He actually went out and tried to club the poor, adorable, homeless thing. Seriously, people who hate possums should be burned. Do you realize how stinkin' cute they are?!?!?

And speaking of cute....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Double UGH!

Remember way back in my livejournal days when I heard on the radio that Joni Mitchell had put Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" to music and had recorded it on her new album? Do you remember my hatred for her at that time, and my wanting to scream at David Dye, "I DID IT FIRST!!!" Well, it's happened again!! Only this time, it's with the Advent tree that I just posted about the day before yesterday. I am currently reading Amanda Blake Soule's (the famous "SouleMama" blogger and crafter) book, "The Creative Family." I really like it, not only because it's giving me good ideas, but also because it's full of things that I already do, or already plan to do when Anja and Greta are a little older. (I feel like I've posted about this before... have I?) Anyway, I was just reading along enjoying myself when I come across her part about their family's "Season Tree" and how in winter it is an Advent tree, with "something hanging on the tree for each of the days leading up to your celebrated holiday." UGH!! I swear, I thought of it before I read this chapter! But I always feel like such a loser when these things happen, like no one will believe me that it really was an original idea, even if ten thousand million people have already thought of it before. I DON'T GET OUT MUCH!!!

Another idea in her book, which I got from my wonderful neighbor Tara (and admittedly, is a pretty popular idea anyway, according to the author) is to build fairy houses with your kids. I think this is a beautiful idea, and the Cook children used to do this all the time! They even had this huge old aluminum milk jug that held their "Fairy Food." Tara gave this to me to keep until further notice, and I fully intend next summer to give all the fairies in our neighborhood a good feeding. The cutest part about it, is that when I asked Tara on the phone what fairy food was, she wouldn't tell me "mostly birdseed" she just said, "Oh, you know... fairy food." That was it! She is so fun.

Anyway, I HAVE gotten lots of good ideas from this book and lots of encouraging of activities for tykes as young as Anja. The only annoying thing is reading your own ideas in somebody else's book that is making them rich and famous, while you're left looking like a lame-o who is ripping off other people's ideas and trying to pass them off as your own. *sigh*

Happy Hunting

Is there anything more encouraging than a 2-year-old wearing a blaze-orange hat and watching herself dance in the bathroom mirror? Evidently not. Martin took all of Anja's encouragement and went out and shot himself a deer yesterday.

A nice fat doe who will be soon turned into summer sausage and all sorts of other deliciousness to be stored away in our chest freezer to last us all year.

We actually have a video of Anja in her orange hat doing what we call her "Happy Hunting Dance" but we tried and tried last night to get it to post not sideways, and we couldn't figure it out. It is SO CUTE though. She has the craziest way of dancing.

And then last night Greta threw up and was awake crying for most of the night. Poor baby! She seems to be feeling much better now though, which is good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Good Idea

Okay, seriously, I go weeks without posting and then I make three posts in a day. haha! I just had to share my good idea though, since it's about the first one I've had in my whole life! So I was driving home from buying some non-weight control cat food with Greta just now and thinking about Christmas music and Advent and the Holidays in general, and I was thinking it'd be nice to start a few fresh traditions for our little family. And I came up with one, that everyone is welcome to steal (or claim, and let me know that I am a total loser for thinking I'd come up with it on my own!) I thought it would be cute to combine the advent calendar/growing nativity idea and make an ornament for every day of Advent. They would be not just the people/characters of the nativity, but of the entire advent season, including Elizabeth and John the Baptist, and maybe if you run out of people you could throw in some animals too. I thought it would be cute if the girls could make little clothespin people ornaments every year in this tradition. Cute, huh? Obviously we won't be starting this tradition THIS year, but soon, hopefully. Or maybe I'll just do it by myself. Maybe we could have an advent tree AND a christmas tree. Or maybe that's a little much. I dunno, just an idea.

And because I can't help it, even if it does embarrass him, and even if it is a little gushy, I have to share Martin's good idea, which was to send me something in the mail. I recieved it today and it read: "(pet name for me): I am glad you are my best friend. Your best friend, (pet name for him.) " Do you recognize it? It's the letter Frog sent to Toad in the story!!!! Anja is completely obsessed with "Frog and Toad are Friends" these days and we read it over and over and over and over again. SHE LOVES IT. And that happens to be my favorite story in the book, and I think it's cute that Martin sneakily mailed me a letter just like that.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Soooo.... Martin and I have started using "Time-Out" as a punishment for Anja when she intentionally beats up on her little sister. Yeah. It is SO not working. She loves Time-Out, and I really have no idea why. After she hits/bites/smothers/kicks Greta, we talk to her in a firm voice, telling her that Greta is very sad because Anja hit/bit/smothered/kicked her. Then Anja practically begs to be put into her Time-Out chair. The Chair is one of the dining room chairs, just a normal wooden chair, pretty, but nothing super special. When we noticed that the chair alone wasn't working, then Martin told her she has to sit up straight, because she's in Time-Out. But she loves that too, and she'll sit up very straight with this proud little princess smile on her face. I really don't get it. And what makes it horrible is that Martin has to talk through his hand to tell her to sit up straight while I'm holding Greta in front of my face because we are HORRIBLE PARENTS who can never stop laughing over Anja's cuteness, even when she is being absolutely rotten!!!!!

Okay, that's not true.... I don't ever laugh when she hurts Greta. It's just that Greta recovers quickly and then we all think life's so funny that Time-Out seems like just another funny thing. Ugh. I"m afraid our kids are going to grow up to be really annoying people, thanks to us. I sometimes wonder what God was thinking giving us children at all!?!?

"His Weight Saved Him"

As you know, we have a hefty cat. He hadn't been weighed in awhile, but we took him to the vet this morning and Theodore weighed in (on the dog scale) at 22lbs 4oz. The last time Anja was weighed she was 23lbs. Our cat is as big as our two-year-old! He is my precious loveyboy and I love him as much as I love my daughters, even though he is kind of disgusting and has a habit of missing his litter box. Anyway.... we've been noticing that he's been acting weird for a few months. We had a short battle with fleas late in the summer, so we became very diligent about the flea medicine. Then in the past week he's developed all these bald spots and sores, and has been really kind of crazy and almost eating himself he licks and chews his skin so often. I know, this is so gross. So we took him into the vet (I love our vet) and as it turns out, we've been doing EVERYTHING WRONG. First, we feed him weight control food. Evidently that's very bad. It doesn't supply them with the nutrients they need, and the sores on his skin were because his skin was deteriorating from not having enough nutrients!! How awful is that?! We are supposed to make sure he gets more fiber (luckily, he loves Cheerios!) and we are putting him on regular Iams food, not weight control. The vet predicts he'll drop below 20lbs in six weeks. The other thing we've been doing is using over-the-counter flea medicine, which is very toxic and builds up in their bodies and they can actually die. This vet has had nine animals die this year from cheap flea medicine. Isn't that terrible?! And this is where they told us "his weight saved him." MY LOVEYBOY COULD HAVE DIED!!!!! I feel like such a horrible pet owner, doing everything wrong. But the good news is, we know what to do now, we've got good flea medicine (Advantage) and hopefully Theodore will be feeling better and acting normal and dropping some poundage over the next few weeks. Poor boy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cooking With Wine

This past Saturday we went to a wedding. I was really looking forward to dressing up, going out, and having a good time. In my mind, that good time included lots of adult conversation with people I don't see very often, and a glass or two of red wine, maybe a dance with my hubby, and a slice of wedding cake, but mostly I was excited to wear my brown dress and to have a glass of wine. Unfortunately, my girls had a different idea. Martin missed the entire wedding ceremony, as Anja was unable to be quieted and therefore was taken outside to run around the parking lot and watch trains go by. I missed half the wedding ceremony due to a hungry Greta, but I have to say, I did have a good time sitting on a very comfortable couch in the fancy "behind the scenes" room. After feeding Greta, someone had come in late and taken Martin's seat, which meant I had to crawl over people to get back to my own seat, so instead of returning I just went outside with Martin and Anja. When we noticed that the ceremony was over, we went back inside and followed the crowd upstairs to the reception. (This wedding was in a very cool building called the Mavris in Indianapolis.) To try and appease Anja, Martin had promised her cheese. Even for a cocktail hour, we assumed there would be some form of cheese to munch on. But, as usual, we were wrong. I think we might have been there forty-five minutes, but maybe it was less. Anyway, the girls both melted down and by the time we left Anja was practically screaming for cheese. I never got my wine, though I did get to talk to a few old acquaintances, and we ended up going to a McDonalds in Lebanon all dressed in our fancy clothes, and eating cheeseburgers together, just the four of us. I guess that's just the way things are meant to be sometimes. Not quite the way we had envisioned the night, but it makes for a good memory.

But anyway, I was still missing my glass of wine. I am not a big wine drinker in general, but I felt kind of cheated on Saturday. Something about a brown polka-dotted satin party dress just calls for a glass of red wine, and doing without was kind of a big bummer. However, I had coincidentally planned this week to make a pasta sauce that my sister-in-law had given me the recipe for, and it called for one cup of red wine. Because I cook with wine even less often than I drink it, this meant we bought a bottle at the grocery on Friday night when we were buying our groceries for the week. And tonight as I was making my "Ragu" sauce (definitely NOT the stuff from a jar, or anything like it) I had myself a big ol' glass of red wine. At last!

Martin is on vacation this week. He is going to do a little deer hunting and hopefully we'll have a freezer full of meat soon. Martin is into hunting more for the meat than for the sport, but I am learning a little more about the sport of it anyway, and it makes me laugh. Men are so funny!

I am knitting a pair of slippers for Anja for Christmas. I'm nervous about them. I'm afraid I'm going to put a lot of time into them and they're going to turn out completely wrong. The pattern is fairly easy (or should be, but I'm a terrible knitter) but there are no pictures! So when I get the the end of a section, I'm not sure if it looks like it's supposed to look! And I won't know until the very end when it's time to put it all together. I also have some felted Christmas plans, but can anyone tell me, when using felted wool sweaters, do you felt the sweaters first, and then cut them as felt? Or do you cut up the sweater and then felt the pieces?

I have so many things I want to get Anja for Christmas. I'm so excited for this Christmas, I think she's going to really love it. I'm excited to show her the nativity scene and to decorate our tree. My sister-in-law gave her a snowsuit for her birthday, so now I'm excited for snow!

We changed Anja's earrings this weekend. Last year for Christmas she got a pair of blue and a pair of red studs from my mother-in-law, and I've never been brave enough to change them. But on Sunday we asked her if she wanted to change, and she said yes. We let her choose her new pair and she chose the blue ones. We sat her up on the bathroom counter so she could watch, and she was thrilled to pieces. She just looked at her ears in the mirror and smiled. It was so adorable!!! Now she walks around touching her ears and saying "blue" and "grandmamma." (As of now the names of both her grandmas sound the same and we have to ask her which one she's talking about. It's kind of confusing.) She is so cute.

Holy smokes, it's after midnight!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick Post

I really have to be using my time more wisely than this, because we're almost to the middle of November and I have zero, I repeat, ZERO Christmas presents finished. Many have been started and scrapped. One has been started and not yet scrapped. Three are still sitting in my head, not started. Yikes! I'm going to be a busy, busy bee from now until Christmas Eve.

We've all been sick since the middle of last week. We're still snotty and coughing, though I don't think we're contageous anymore. That's good. Still, it's hard to have Anja and Greta snotty because tiny noses are hard to wipe.

We have a wedding to attend tomorrow afternoon. For the last wedding we were supposed to attend, I could barely zip up my dress (I have one nurseable fancy dress that I have worn to every wedding/semiformal event since Anja was born) so I kind of sank into a mild depression and refused to go. That was in August. I'm hoping that Saturday sees better results and that I don't have to make up some lame story for my in-laws to explain why we're not going.

I am currently reading Amanda Blake Soule's "The Creative Family" and it makes me feel good about myself. So far, much of her ideas are things I already do, or have already planned to do when Anja is a little older. However, I'm still getting good ideas and I am really loving reading it.

Ok, time to get back to the crafting!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Birthday Bash

Yesterday was our party for Anja's birthday. We originally invited all our family members and friends (via facebook) but then the girls got these monster colds last week that by Saturday night had morphed into croup for Anja and just an icky bad cold for Greta. On Sunday we went to different masses alone and kept the girls home. We didn't cancel the party, but we advised people not to come, so it ended up just being the hardcore family members: The Grandparents. And AunT! And it turned out to be perfect. Very low-key, Anja woke up awhile after everyone got there in a great mood, Greta slept for most of the party, only joining us at the very end (also in a great mood) and since it was just familiar faces, Anja was her usual, comfortable self the entire time. It was great! It was SO MUCH FUN to bring her out and tell her that everyone was here for her birthday party. She was so thrilled. She was even more thrilled when after a round of "Happy Birthday to You" we all sang "B-I-N-G-O" to her! SHE LOVED IT!!! I realize I look like I have a ginormous belly in this picture, but really it's just Figgy's dark pants behind mine.

I have to say, our families have done a magnificent job of gift-giving in the past two years. Our girls have only received thoughtful, wonderful gifts. Our house is not full of junk that is thoughtlessly given as "just another toy." My mom gave her this little soft farm book that comes with little animals that are housed in their own barn. She gave her this because Anja loves this Little Red Riding Hood book of my mom's that is the same style. So far I don't think she's figured out that the animals and the book go together, but she is loving playing with the animals and the barn! She also gave her a little wooden stool for her table in the kitchen. It's perfect. Martin's mom gave her the most hilarious red knit dress that is actually REALLY CUTE, if maybe meant for a slimmer two-year-old. When she opened it, she wanted to put it on... and as soon as it was on, she ran away saying "red! red!" and got her matching red shoes. She is too cute!The umbrella came from Martin and me. Mrs. Schap also gave her a pile of bangle bracelets, which is a perfect Anja gift. TusaRebecca gave her a storybook and a package of tiny barettes, which she was absolutely thrilled with!!!! Give this girl fashion accessories and she's happy. Last Christmas we were so pleased with the things people gave her. Really thoughtful gifts that are perfectly suited for our home and for Anja. I hope the trend continues forever!! A cute picture of Greta and her Grandmamma.

The colds that the girls got last week have finally made it through all of us. Martin and I are in the thick of it now, and Anja is mostly better. She just has a lingering cough. Greta is still pretty snotty, but I bet she'll be lots better by tomorrow. This thing lasts forever! I have a feeling we'll all be coughing for the rest of the winter. Bleh.


This is Anja at our last trip to the Stuckey Farm orchard, the day we lost Cook Baby. Did I ever mention on here that Cook Baby was retrieved? She was. And she received a beautiful green sweater from Aunt Anna for Anja's birthday!

Anja received a package in the mail today from her Auntie Joannie! So exciting!!! She got a set of wooden blocks and a card with cupcakes on the front that she carried around with her for a long time.

I met my sister and brother-in-law at the CHOICES meeting tonight. I missed most of it because I took such a long time getting out of the house, and when I got home bedtime was a complete disaster, but oh well. The girls are finally down now and maybe we'll have a better night than last night, when Greta woke up screaming bloody murder at 4:00 and I found a wadded up piece of packing tape inside her pajamas. What the heck!? Who knows how it got there, or how she made it until 4:00 without noticing!

And what's the only thing worse than congratulating someone on her pregnancy when she isn't actually pregnant at all? When the roles are reversed! Ouch! Looks like I'll be asking for a gym membership for Christmas!

Happy Birthday, Anja Pie!


Happy Birthday to our Pie!! It's been a terrific 2 years!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saved by the Stick People

The following is a post I made last night up at my parents. I will make another post tomorrow, with pictures from today's birthday party!


This afternoon on this absolutely gorgeous day we took a walk downtown. We went to Two Tulips to look for possible birthday presents for Anja, and we were successful. We had really wanted to get her a stuffed squirrel, and specifically were hoping for a squirrel puppet from Von's, but Martin checked and they didn't have any. So that's disappointing, but we did find a really cute ladybug umbrella and this stuffed animal that we're not sure if it's a rabbit or a dog, but Anja really liked it. We were able to get her to put things back at the store, even her most favorite things, but as we were walking home, she spotted the end of the umbrella poking out of the shopping bag. And she threw a giant fit, as any two-year-old would. Once we got home she was still screaming, and since she has this cold it was a really miserable sight, with snot oozing and bubbling out of her nostrils and drool hanging from her chin. But then Martin totally saved the day by getting out his saw and making her a little family of stick people! SHE LOVES THEM!! There's a mama, daddy, baby and dog! I swear, sometimes I don't know why I don't join the workforce and let Martin stay home with the girls. Last night Anja kept saying "star" over and over again, which is confusing since it also sounds just like "heart" and we couldn't figure out what start/heart she was talking about. Finally, Martin suggested that they go draw stars and hearts together and then she could color them. Brilliant!
We're up at my parents' house for dinner tonight, so I'm blogging from their computer, but in our back-and-forth saga with Comcast, it seems we've won, maybe by their mistake, but hey, we'll take it! We've been told so many different current and changing rates and it's been kind of a huge mess, but today we got a bill that was only $2.25 more

Friday, November 6, 2009

Snots

Anja has been sick with a cold. Poor baby! Yesterday was the worst; today she seems to be feeling a lot better. I hope she's back to her old self by Sunday for her birthday party!

Martin is calling Comcast today during his lunch break to tell them that a $30 increase is ridiculous and that we're not paying that, so thanks a latte, but we'll take our business elsewhere. I'm making him do it because while I think it's ridiculous and I am not about to pay $70/month for basic internet, I would just call and say we're cancelling our service, but he wants to put up a fight and see if they'll keep our bill at $40. Meh. We live across from the library and cold winter is coming, so blogging from home would be frigid anyway. I could do without the internet for awhile. And maybe if I didn't have it, I would spend my few-and-far-between spare moments doing something more productive, like working on Christmas presents.

I am not a fan of Starbucks coffee, but those VIA packets made up as a cafe au lait are to die for and I could definitely go for one right now!!!!!

Martin and I might have recently stumbled upon the farm of our dreams. Good thing it isn't for sale, or we'd have to name it The Poor Farm, as opposed to the totally perfect name we are giving our farm on the day we get it. Maybe this place will turn up on the market around the time we're able to get out of our house. That'd be good. Until then, our next project is turning the Big Back Room into our bedroom.... again. Hopefully this time it'll work out a little better, and then the girls can have their own room!

So, this might be my last blog post for awhile. Don't miss me too much, hahaha!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Putting Things Away

I just put away the jungle-print infant swing that normally sits in the kitchen, in front of the tall blue shelves. It hadn't been used in so long that it was full of toys I kept throwing in when I was sweeping the floor. Anja had even lost interest in snapping and re-snapping the clasps. *sigh* The newborn stage is definitely not my favorite of my babies.... in fact, it's my very least favorite. I know some people love it, but I tend to have screamers, and look forward to my life being more like what it is now, when everyone is laughing and cheerful and playing games, as well as being snuggly. But still. It's sad to put things away. Who knows when I'll get it back out again? So sad. My babies are growing up.
At the risk of jinxing myself, I have to say that Anja is getting so much better at this whole sleep thing. Yesterday she had a three hour nap AND went down for bed at home, at 7:00!! That's a miracle. She's also started eating well again. For awhile we couldn't get her to eat, and it was so frustrating. I know she isn't going to starve, and I know she'll get her nutrients one way or another, even if she goes days just picking at her food. But the real annoyance comes from her being so doggone grouchy when she doesn't eat. We had a few days where she refused everything I offered her and she was just such a crab! Now we're back to our old ways though, which are curious ways, as illustrated last night when I pulled some nice warm brownies out of the oven and poured us each a glass of milk and handed out three slices of brownies with our dinner. Anja took one bite of hers and said, "blech." She put it back on the plate and returned to eating her sugar snap peas. I know I shouldn't complain that my 2-year-old prefers vegetables over sweets, but really.... what's WRONG with her?!?
One more funny story: The other day out with my sister and sister-in-law, we went to Plato's Closet (woohoooo!) where, even though I swore to myself that I wouldn't, I did a little impulse buying. And then I felt guilty. As cute as it is, I don't NEED a flowery tank top. And as fun and funky as it is, I surely don't NEED that long, billowy, colorful blouse that is just so interesting and reminds me of my friend Alison, I can't wait to wear it. Fun, but not a necessity. So after showing them to Martin, I told him I was going to return them the next day. He said he wouldn't let me. I said his opinion didn't count. You know what he did? He dug the reciept out of the bag and set it on fire! What a weirdo! So now I'm stuck with my impulse buys, I guess. Although, they are so, so cute I really can't complain about that either.... and the flowery tank top I think will look really good with my brown sweater. !!!!

There are a zillion cute things Anja did yesterday, but how can I document them all? And when Greta woke up at 10:30 after being asleep for a few hours, what could I do but bring her downstairs and let her play with us while we had rootbeer floats? She is so darn cute. I wish my girls looked cuter in the pictures I post of them. They really are very cute girls, though they always look a little weird in the pictures.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Will This Post Get Published?

I've lost track of my number of unfinished drafts that sit in my list of blog posts. It's hovering somewhere around three zillion.

My brother and sister-in-law were in town for a visit this weekend. They got in on Thursday last week and left this morning. It was so great to be able to chat with Anna, make fun of Ben, and hang around with my three crazy nieces. Anja had a fabulous time with all of her cousins. In fact, she had such a blast that at the close of their visit, in keeping with her true fashion, she threw up! Good times!

No, but seriously, I have to do a little posting about her wonderfulness. Yesterday Martin took the bus to work, so I had the car all day. Shortly after the girls woke up I hurried them into their clothes and we went up to Ooma's house to start our day. Anja played beautifully with her cousins, and in fact, there was an hour or so--AN HOUR OR SO (!!!!!!)-- in the upstairs playroom when Anna and I just sat and talked after Julia and Greta had both fallen asleep nursing and Zita, PeterXavier and Anja played together so happily that just thinking about it makes me feel all bubbly inside. WARM FUZZIES!!!!!! After awhile, Sarah, Anna and I ran a couple of errands just with my girls and Bella with us, and I took Martino his lunch (thanks to Sarah who drove me there) and after that, my mom told us that she and my dad were taking us out to dinner, so I headed home in hopes of getting Anja a short, late nap, just to give her a boost to make it through the rest of the evening. I tried our usual routine, and she was too wound up to sleep. So I went for a little drive, and she just sang songs and recited all the names/sounds of her family members. I was frustrated, thinking the night would be a complete bust. BUT I WAS WRONG! SO WRONG!! Usually, on no-nap days, Anja starts melting down around 4:00 and I begin counting the seconds to bedtime. Yesterday, however, 4:00 came and she came to me with her little doll stroller loaded up with friends, asking for a walk. Greta wasn't sleeping either, so I put Greta in her stroller and the three of us walked over to the library. Anja was perfect. We went to the kids section and straight back to the board books, where she sat down and "read" book after book after book. (She said she was reading to Greta.) Then when Greta started fussing, I told Anja it was time to go and asked her to stack all the books on the edge of the bench we'd been sitting on. She immediately hopped up and collected all four thousand fifty board books and stacked them neatly on the bench. Then she got behind her stroller and headed for the door with her dolls. A-MAZE-ING. I am telling you, this has never happened before. I usually try to not go to the library much because it seems to make Greta grumpy, then Anja throws a fit when it's time to go, and those librarians tend to be a little grouchy themselves, so I most often feel it's best just to avoid the idea altogether. But yesterday changed my mind. Yesterday was great!

So then it was about 5:00 and Greta went down for a nap and Anja played and I don't know what I did until 6:00 when G woke up and we went up to my parents house for a quick stop before we had to pick up Martin at 6:30. I still can't believe how awesome Anja was. 6:30 is her usual bedtime on days with no nap, and here she was, complying perfectly with my every suggestion! It was a quick stop, she happily left to pick up Martin, and we met my family at the restaurant where Greta just hung out in her carseat and barely made a peep, and Anja ate a little bit and just seemed happy to be alive and with her cousins. It was fabulous!! Just fabulous! So fabulous, in fact, that after dinner we jammied up the girls and as we were driving home, Martin asked if we wanted to stop and get Anja a treat for being such an incredibly good girl all day. So we stopped at Target and intended to get her a Schleich animal, but she chose (oh, gee, you think?) a baby doll instead. It's actually a cute little one that we call "tiny baby" and she seems to reeeeeaaaalllly like it. In fact, Tiny Baby slept in her bed last night!

....until she threw up at 1:00 and me fussing with her woke Greta up and so the whole family was up until after 4:00. But you know what? It was amazingly pleasant. Anja wasn't really sick. She threw up twice, we gave her a bath and read books for awhile and she was her old perky self when we went back to bed at 4:00. And Greta, Most Awesome Baby in the Universe, was perfectly happy the entire time, until it was time for bed again and she nursed to sleep in a matter of minutes.

And if that wasn't great enough, both girls went down for a nap within the 10:00 hour this morning. Greta is just now waking up (as I am hearing through the monitor) and Anja is still asleep. With all that empty time I have been SO PRODUCTIVE. I've done laundry, cleaned the bathroom, washed the dishes.... whew! It's been a very good day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Joyful, Joyful!

Yesterday we took a spur-of-the-moment trip back down to Stuckey Farms to pick the last apples of the season, and visit their pumpkin patch. (Anja loves to pet pumpkins, and she had a ball... but she told Martin at bedtime that her favorite part had been the tractor ride!) It was a great day and the girls had fun, but there was one tragic moment... we lost Cook Baby! It was my fault. I was holding her while Martin lifted Anja up to pick some high-up apples. Somewhere along the rows of apple trees, I lost her. I went back and looked for her but never found her, and we asked two separate times at the register, but no one had turned her in.... so we went home without her. To make things more complicated, Anja has been borrowing a copule of dolls that belong to her cousin Grace. They were long overdue for return to their rightful owner, and I'd planned to do it on Sunday.... but that would leave Anja without any of her beloved dolls! (This is slightly untrue... she has more. She's just particularly obsessed with Cook Baby, and any dolls that belong to somebody else.) So we made a decision that we would buy her a new doll. TODAY. I have the car and this morning I loaded the girls up and we went to Target. I told Anja what we were doing: Returning Gracie's dolls to her, then going to buy a brand new doll for herself. She was SO GOOD at giving Gracie's dolls back, and then she was ecstatic when we got to the store. There were no carts in the lot (there never are... Target seems to have extremely efficient cart attendants) so Anja got to hold my hand and walk through the parking lot to the store.. Did I say walk? I meant run, and drag me along behind her, hauling Greta in her carseat, while shouting, "Gheeeee!! Gheeeee!!" (Translation: Doll!!!!! Doll!!!!) We got inside and she was wiggling with excitement in the basket of the cart, still calling "Ghee!" Through the store. We made it to the aisle of baby dolls, and she probably wet herself a number of times, but luckily she's still in diapers. She was absolutely beside herself with excitement. We looked at every doll, ranging from $70 to $3, and settled for the perfect one, on sale for $8.99. It's called a "starter doll" and it's just a regular baby doll, no bells and whistles, no electronics. It has blue eyes, which Anja chose (there were also brown eyed dolls of the same model) and a pink dress with a flower on it, and it has SHOES!!! And it wears its own diaper!!!! As soon as we paid for it, we just pulled the car to the wall and got it out for her. She just stared at it, smiling. It was amazing. She is SO CUTE. My only regret with the entire outing is that Martin wasn't there to see it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lady Burpsalot

So, I used to not be able to burp. Really, it was a rare occasion when the bubblies in my tummy made it all the way to my mouth and became audible. I know I am not unusual.... my sister's college roommate, for one, had the same problem! One the one hand, it's kind of nice because you never have to be embarrassed for burping in public. On the other hand, it's really annoying because you tend to get these bubbles of air moving up and down your inner workings for long periods of time, whereas with normal people, the bubbles of air just float to the top and become burps. Anyway.... I've suddenly begun burping! And I can't stop!! It's the strangest thing. I don't know what's changed, but I'm just a burp a minute these days, and the worst part about it being a new phenomenon is that I haven't had all the years of practice at holding in my burples like other people my age have!!! So now I'm this otherwise normal-looking adult who can't carry on a conversation without belching in your face. It's gross!

Anja is really into puzzles these days. We got a bunch from my sister when she cleaned out her playroom awhile back, and Anja has just kind of re-discovered them. She's actually really good at them! I was surprised.... and a little embarrassed. I'm thrilled that she's into them because I LOVE PUZZLES. However, I am very, very bad at doing them. In fact, she has this one that is a bunch of cars, and 9 out of 10 times, she figures out where the piece goes before I do. I think it's kind of hard! But anyway... I love it that she's doing them because they are fun, and she gets really excited. It's become our bedtime routine, sort of, to do a few puzzles before [Martin drives her to] sleep.

I have had a hard time this year getting into the season, but I'm finally feeling excited about Fall. It was really hard for me to let go of summer this year, as I've mentioned before. I think it's because I used to adore winter, before I had children. I now see Winter as a huge pain in the neck, bundling little into warm clothes anytime you want to leave the house, shoes, socks, etc., not being as able to walk to church, limited time playing outside, no more walks around downtown, and everything taking five times the amount of time it takes in the summer, when you can just grab your car keys and go, with or without your shoes. Winter used to be an adventure. Now it's got baggage. One of the best things about winter when I was in school would be walking over in the snow, being slightly damp and cold, then stopping at Vienna for a chai on my way to class. Then the classroom would be so warm and cozy seeming. I loved it. And Martin and I took many a midnight walk through snowstorms in our childless days.... one night it was SO COLD, way below freezing, and super windy, and we ran from my apartment down to Hunters Down Under where the Woodstove Flapjacks were playing, and we met up with our friend Matt Spencer and Kim, and it was a really fun night. Then we ran all the way back to my apartment, and I will never forget how cold it was! Really, really cold!!!!!!!

However, what's made me so excited for Fall at last is.... ANJA'S BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe she's turning 2!!!! Unbelievable. It's going to be wonderful, we're going to get her some cute presents and she's going to love unwrapping them and we're going to have a little party the day before and she's going to love that too. I can't wait!!! I love the idea of birthday parties for the girls. And I love it that Anja's birthday is in the fall (my favorite season, even with my newfound bitterness toward winter) and that Greta's is in the early spring, right when the Daffodils are perfect. (And other than Greta's birthday, I hate spring.)

And speaking of Anja and Greta, they are both asleep now and earlier this evening Anja helped me to make some chocolate-chocolate chip cookies, which now Martin and I are going to enjoy with a couple of glasses of milk before bed. Yum! Also, Anja is so incredibly cute. So is Greta, who crawls all through the house at lightning speed.... Anja's favorite place to sit is between the fridge and the blue shelves, on this stepstool that I got for a friend's wedding, which I didn't go to, and never gave her the gift.... she now has three or four children....... anyway, she sits on the stool and sings songs her herself (and tonight she ate a cookie there too) and it's adorable and I love it. She was really into singing tonight! So cute! Another cute/weird thing is that she is completely obsessed with my religious statues, and she demands that I get them off the shelves for her. At first I was a little nervous because they all mean something to me and I don't want them to get broken.... but she is so gentle with them, and all she wants to do is point out the color of their garments, then put them to bed in a pile of blankets at the top of the stairs.

Cookie time!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall Fridays

Aaaaah, there's nothing like a Friday night downtown! Tonight after dinner, Martin put Anja to bed. (He's been doing that lately, and now she sometimes asks for him to do it! Very sweet!) When he came down, he demanded that I put on his brown cashmere sweater (a garment leftover from his single days, when he didn't think he'd ever get me and therefore thought he'd be a bachelor for life and would never have children and so would be actually be able to logically wear cashmere) then when that was on he actually dressed me in my raincoat as I stood at the door wondering what was up. Then he stuffed a few dollars bills and some change from the change jar into my hand and gave me my phone and told me that he had gotten coffee today (during his lunch break with our friend Matt) and now it was my turn, so goodbye! and he literally shooed me out the door and closed the door behind me before I could even argue with him. So off I went! By myself! On foot! It was a gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous Fall evening and everybody was out. I love downtown in the evenings. The whole area smells like dinner, everybody is dressed up and holding hands and smiling and eating and drinking and being merry. It's so exciting, fancy, romantic and fun! And I made a vow to myself that I will stay skinny through retirement and I will dress cutely. And I'll be rich. Martin and I will go out to eat at fancy restaurants every Friday and Saturday night. We will wear good, expensive clothes and not have to worry about them getting ruined because we won't anymore be wearing every course of our meal. We will jaywalk! And stand right on the curb, (as opposed to standing six feet away from the curb, with a ginormous stroller stretched out in front of us as we do now) holding hands. It's going to be great.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Are you SERIOUS?!

Is this for real, Greta? Aren't you a little young for this?? More pictures to come later on...