Saturday, February 28, 2009

Going Down the List

Well it's good to know that at least Anja is not unique in her gender recognition problems. Thanks for all the feedback; I was beginning to think Anja really did look man-ish.

Yesterday Anja won the award for "Whiniest Baby Ever." I couldn't please her, no matter what I did. It took me an hour and a half to get her down for her nap, and she only slept that long too, which is NOT enough for her. So after about an hour of being awake and happy, we reverted back to the whining. Finally in the afternoon I took her out to the yarn store and to Target, which seemed to cheer her up a lot. I guess she just needed a change of pace. At the yarn store I got a few skeins from the sale bin to make THE CUTEST HAT IN THE WORLD for Anja. It's called "Flower Toggle Hat" and there's no getting around the fact that this IS the cutest hat in the universe. I started it last night and so far it's looking good. I'm really happy with the way I've become a better knitter over the past... what, year and a half? Two years? However long I've been knitting. I'm still at the beginner level, but I'm just better at the few things I can do. Anyway, this hat is one of those marvelous projects that looks difficult but is actually ridiculously easy, so I'm thrilled to be making it. And it's SO CUTE.

At Target I mostly got stuff for the new baby! Yay! I got a bag of size 1 diapers, a box of wipes and some refills. Okay, so I guess that's all I got for the baby. We were in need of all those annoying little things that you hardly ever need to buy... bottle brushes, lint rollers, ant poison, toothpaste... so it was kind of a fun trip because of the out-of-the-ordinary shopping list.

And speaking of lists... I made a list a week or so ago called "Things to Do Before Dinosaur #2 Arrives." Almost everything is checked off the list!!! This is greatly pleasing to me. Mostly what is left on the list is stuff for Martin to do, but the biggest thing got accomplished last night, which was picking up the dresser from my Aunt Anna May. I'm SO happy to have it! Martin took it up to the bedroom this morning and Anja and I spent most of the morning up there putting tiny clothes and onesies and socks into drawers, and making the top look cute. We had to move around a few things, which included turning a barrell that had previously been used as a table into a trashcan. It'll be nice to have a trash can in the bedroom. It will also be nice to be able to change the baby upstairs; with Anja, once we moved back upstairs (after camping out in the backroom for the first two weeks) we'd have to come all the way down to her room to change her diaper in the night. This will be a better setup.

I'd had the idea to move all the kids' clothes upstairs and all of our clothes downstairs, but I think I'm not going to do that after all. It seems kind of stupid now that I'm thinking about it. Anja's stuff is all exactly where I want it to be, so I'm not going to mess with it. I can bring what few things Martin has in the upstairs closet downstairs and take my few things from his closet downstairs upstairs and that will be a lot easier than moving everybody's entire arrangement. The concern was having our clothes in the bedroom when we get up and dressed before babies are awake for the day. Meh. I don't think I've ever woken Anja when going up to the closet before, so I am just not going to worry about it.

Does this post win the Most Boring Post Award, or what?!?

Anyway, now that I've got that dresser in order I feel SO relieved. That was the last big thing that needed to be done. The few things left on the list can be done any time, even after the baby arrives.

Martin is at work this morning, but he should be getting home a little after noon or so. It's always a bummer when he has to work Saturdays, but it's a million times better than having him work every weekend like he did at Wabash! It's amazing how much more we see of each other now. If we have a weekend where we don't see as much of each other, we don't feel completely hateful toward the world anymore! It's really great.

If the baby has not arrived by next weekend I think we'll use that weekend to get the Big Back Room in order. If not... then I don't think it'll get done till after the new arrival's arrival. This is okay. I don't care all that much... It already looks loads better than it did, and that's a good start.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What More Can I Do?

I'm getting kind of fed up with everybody thinking Anja is a boy. I don't know what else I can do. I've pierced her ears, I dress her almost exclusively in pink, I gave her a name that is not accepted as being both genders. It's not like she goes out of the house in blue pajamas every day. She always wears very girlie shoes, socks, shirts or dresses, and accessories. She wears a purple coat. The only thing that maybe, if you're legally blind, could be mistaken as boys clothes would be when she's wearing blue jeans, but even those are all decorated either with ruffles around the ankles, bows on the beltline, or flowers and pink patches on them if they are overalls! I seriously don't know what more I can do to make my daughter look like a girl. And I know she resembles her daddy, but for crying out loud, it's not like she's growing freaking facial hair. And I know that she's still bald, but there isn't much I can do about that. Martin says it won't matter. He says even when she has hair, strangers will approach her and tell her that the french braids might not be such a good look for a guy. Ugh. I'm beginning to find this VERY irritating.

And then last night someone at church asked us if she was ten months old. Ten months!! Good grief. When Martin told them she was nearly sixteen months, the lady was very surprised and commented on how little she is. No she's not little! She might be a little bit on the short side, but she makes up for it with her big head, and she isn't even THAT short. It's not like she's undernourished and therefore not growing properly. Gee whiz.

But truth be told, I'd rather people reckognize she's a girl and think she's abnormally small than to just assume she's a boy, despite the clothing that screams "FEMALE."

Anyway. Happy Johnny Cash Day! If you go down to K.Dee's wearing all black you'll get your coffee for a nickel. This morning Anja woke up surprisingly early at 6:00, so we were all three able to go down together. That's where everyone called her a boy. Martin walked to the bus stop from there while Anja and I stayed awhile longer; then when we got home I put on her new $5.00 rain coat and we took a nice long walk around downtown. We went to the library too, looking for a few specific things, and they had none of what I wanted. Boo. At least Anja looked super adorable in her rain coat, AND she loved wearing it. I took pictures of her and the whole reason I'm started making this blog post in the first place was to post those pictures, but our computer is running ridiculously low on space and I can't upload anymore pictures. We have a way to remedy it by putting all our pictures and music files on a desktop, but that takes time, which is something we don't seem to have these days. We haven't even been playing Bananagrams!!!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sixty-Three Degrees

I was more than grateful to Martin today when he called me on his lunch break to suggest that Anja and I take a walk because of the beautiful weather. Somehow or another I always end up missing out on the early days of good weather. I think this is partly because I've given up bringing in the mail. I almost never go out for the mail... which is pretty sad, considering our box is attached to our house, right outside our front door. All I have to do is reach my arm out and grab the pile. I got out of the habit in the fall though, when a giant spider took up residence in our mailbox, and I kind of just never got back into it. So anyway, that being said, some days not even my arm gets out the door, so I'm often unaware of the gorgeous weather.

Aaanyway.... so Martin called me and told me it was a beautiful day, and that was just what both Anja and I needed. She woke up happy from her nap, but her nap was very short and had even started a little early, and I could tell it was going to be a long afternoon. The walk was wonderful! We went up and down Main Street, saw a kitten in a window and then met up with "Uncle" Kim who was also out and about enjoying the fine day. Yay for spring!

So we had a very enjoyable afternoon and planned to go to the 5:30 mass at St. Boniface when Martin got home. He pretty much just swung by and picked us up for it. Now, I knew from having attended this particular Ash Wednesday mass for the past two years that it is slightly-- okay, more like totally--chaotic. We got there as soon as we possibly could, which was right on time, and we came into a packed church that only got more and more packed as time went on. We staked out our spot in a corner in the back with Mrs. Shireman, and it gave Anja a little room to move, but it was very hot and very stuffy and very loud, and more than anything she wanted to go around meeting all the babies that were there--and there were a lot of babies there. And then the meltdown came. She totally lost it. Martin took her outside where she was happy as a clam to run around on the sidewalk, and I was able to at least stay long enough to recieve ashes, but every time Martin tried to come back in Anja would scream bloody murder. And it was just getting colder and colder outside, and then they switched languages and since I don't speak Spanish and I couldn't see anything, I decided it might be time for us to just leave. When I went out to ask Martin what he wanted to do, Anja was really upset again, so that was our answer. The poor girl was cold and tired and hungry. BUT, the most wonderful thing did happen when we first got there--Andy Korty came over and offered me his lunch box cooler to sit on!!!!! I have never been more grateful in my life. Just on the way in I'd been complaining to Martin about how much my hips hurt, and the idea of standing up for a two hour mass was not appealing. But I didn't have to stand the whole time, thanks to good old Andy. Yay!

Last night for Fat Tuesday I made some DELICIOUS chocolate mousse and chocolate covered strawberries to go with it. It was quite the treat. I'd never made mousse before, nor had I ever thought about making mousse before, and I was surprised to find that it's just about the easiest thing anyone could ever make! It was soooooooo delicious. And Anja had strawberries for the first time with her dinner and she LOVED them. It made me very sad that we won't be able to go strawberry picking at Pretty Prairie this year. Not only would she probably really enjoy going out there with her cousins, but she'd also probably be pretty good at it, since she loves to put stuff into baskets and boxes and bags. Too bad. Well, maybe we can find another berry farm around someplace and go there instead.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Hm. It looks like I actually am nesting and not just freaking out about the Home Tour. This is not a bad thing at all! For someone whose housekeeping skills range between "moderately low" and "nonexistent," this is a really good thing for our house. I've been cleaning in odd places, changing lightbulbs, and last night I folded and put away all of Mount Laundry! Not only that, but I've made a list of all the fairly big things that need to get done before our second dinosaur arrives, and things are quickly getting checked off the list! And what hasn't yet been checked off has a set date to happen, which is this coming weekend and the weekdays following. I feel so good to be getting things done! Today I boxed up a bunch of maternity clothes. I've pretty much gone this whole pregnancy wearing a cycle of three or four things while my closet was full of summer preggo clothes.

Anja is SO CUTE. I love her teeth and I love her fuzzy duckie hair and I love her baby pterodactyl noises. She is such a snuggle bug these days, and she's getting so smart too! Maybe smart isn't the right word... the thing is, she's LEARNING. We can see her learning! It's so much fun!! Not that we didn't think she was great right when she was born, but this toddler age is, in it's way, so much more fun. And so much more rewarding! Anyone can change a diaper and pace around the house with a crying baby. But now I finally feel like I'm actually parenting. I feel like I'm doing my job, now that I play real games with her, talk to her and get a response, and watch her follow instructions. It's really great! And she's such the little helper. Last night we were laughing at how much she reminds us of Gracie sometimes... the way she picks things up and puts things in their place--even if it's the wrong place. The way she mimicks me when I wipe up a spill or pick up some trash. She's always picking up "trash" and giving it to me. (It's really nothing--she just pretends to pick up a piece of something and hand it to me, but it's usually just air! Once in awhile it's a real piece of lint or something though.) Today she got a sticker from the girls at the grocery store and she loved to stick it on her carseat buckle, pull it off, and restick it. She was so proud! Yesterday we were telling her what a pretty dress she was wearing, and every time we said it, she would pat her belly, or finger the little bow on her dress and look so pleased. She's so adorable! I would have a million more little girls, if they were offered to me. I'm sure boys are fun too... and I might soon be finding out just how fun they can be... but as someone who has just one little sweetie pie, I think girls are TOPS!

Okay, I didn't actually get on here to make a post. I was just going to try to find and re-read a specific old post while my tea was cooling in the kitchen.

But tonight we got pizza for dinner and it was awesome and now I feel like death. Tomorrow I'm making a fun dessert for Fat Tuesday!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

How Fleeting is the Weekend

I hate Mondays. I realize today is only Sunday, but I'm looking toward tomorrow and already seeing how lousy it's going to be. It's always such a letdown to have Martin go back to work after the weekend. Even though our days here are perfectly sunny (most of the time) it's always a little better when he's around. Stuff just seems funnier when you have another person to laugh with. (Anja's laughing doesn't count--she's one of those people who laughs when other people laugh, just because she thinks she's supposed to.)

Last week I went over to Laura's house to visit with those Di Fabio girls. What a fun time! Charles and Anja had a good time together and Monica is such a little cutie. I am always amazed at babies who just sit there and coo and look around. Anja never did that. If Anja was awake, Anja was screaming. But we had no idea that wasn't normal! Silly us. This time around we will know better.

Yesterday was Laura's baby shower. Very fun! I took my camera but didn't take pictures, and most of my time was spent chasing Anja around. She had a good time though and REALLY enjoyed eating the cake!! She and I actually went separately to the shower; she was still asleep when I left, but since she was invited (and I had her dress all picked out) Martin got her ready and walked her over to me. I'm so glad he did! They had a lot of time together yesterday. In the morning I kept on sleeping while he got up with her. When I woke up an hour later they were gone. They'd gone out to breakfast! Hahaha. What a couple of sillies! But I have to say, Anja was wearing a VERY cute outfit, color coordinated and everything!

This morning we intentionally slept through our alarm for the 7:30 mass. I heard it going off and gave Martin a little nudge so he'd turn it off. Then we promptly went back to sleep. It was just too cozy to get up that early. Anja has gotten into the habit of coming into our bed earlier in the night now. I can't complain. I actually really love it. The fact that she wakes up and all I have to do is hold up the blankets for her and let her crawl in next to me... it's SO CUTE. Nevermind that it's slightly crammed, what with my big belly and she and Martin both being the bed hogs that they are... When we finally did get up this morning at 7:00, she was SO SNUGGLY. She crawled over me to go cuddle with Martin and was just being so sweet and affectionate. And it lasted into the morning too. She was in SUCH a great mood all morning!!! We went to the 10:00 mass at St. Ann's and actually got there EARLY! That almost never happens anymore! It seems like all the families at St. Ann's have four children, all of one gender or the other. There were two families there today with four boys, one family with five girls. Funny!

I had made brownies on Friday to take to the shower on Saturday, but I forgot to grease the pan, so we've just kind of been eating them out of the pan with a spoon, more or less. I think they taste a little funny (I altered a recipe to fit the ingredients I had on hand) but evidently Martin likes them... last I checked half the pan was gone.

Everyone in my family has been barfing lately, but we've managed to steer clear of the bug. Now my mom's got it. She was supposed to watch Anja on Tuesday during my doctor appointment, but I don't really feel like taking any chances with a Barf Bug, so Martin said he'd make himself available. The benefits of him working in town are endless!

Yesterday I got out all the boxes of clothes from under the bed in Anja's room and did some reorganizing. I put away all of her too-small winter and fall dresses and got out all of the dresses for spring and summer that we've had since last year, but will fit her this year. I am VERY excited for summer now. She had some of the most adorable dresses I've ever seen! I also have a good variety of pretty dresses that should fit Bella this spring, so I called my sister and invited her over to look through my collection, specifically for an Easter dress, because we have some REALLY cute fancy little dresses. All thanks to my mother-in-law and her garage sale/Goodwill addiction!!!

Did I ever post about the day I'd gone to Goodwill and passed up a really pretty dress because it was size 4T and I convinced myself I didn't want to store it for that long ... then later in the evening, Mrs. Schap came over with that dress! Hahaha! It's nice to fit into a family so well!

I can't believe I'm less than four weeks to my due date. At the shower yesterday people commented on how "small" I am for being so far along. I assured them that I feel plenty big--but now I'm all paranoid that my due date is wrong and I'll go a million weeks late and feel like I've been pregnant for years!!!!!! Aaaahh!!!! It's not just that I'm sick of being pregnant... I'm DYING to meet this second baby. I want to know if it's Greta or Fran and if he has hair and whether or not his eyes are disturbingly close together as they appear to be in the ultrasound picture on our fridge. Well... babies come when they come, I guess.

Okay. There is a VERY creepy spider on the wall right beside me. I'm going to squash him dead, then leave. Blech.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dusting Magnets

Martin and I recently agreed to have our house on a home tour called "Hidden Downtown" coming up in May. It was about three seconds after telling the woman in charge that we'd do it, that I realized what a dumb decision that was. Hello! I live here! I, more than anyone, know how dirty it is! So today during naptime when I found myself taking down and cleaning all of the vases and dusting the top of the refrigerator (for the first time since we've lived here), then dusting the walls, all the rest of the kitchen shelves, the area where we keep our cookbooks (including the inside of a basket) and even dusting the magnets on the refrigerator (all after I'd made a batch of brownies!) I wasn't so inclined to think I was victim of the "nesting" instinct, so much as the instinct that said, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING AGREEING TO OPEN YOUR HOUSE TO A BUNCH OF STRANGERS?!?!?!?!?!"

The sad thing is, I kind of lie when I say that Martin and I agreed to this. He actually didn't want to, but I agreed to do it the other day when he wasn't home. And then I forgot to tell him until today. So when I texted him all of my cleaning feats, he responded with, "Wow. Maybe you will go early." And then I remembered to tell him about the tour... heh... heh... He hasn't responded to that particular text yet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Time, Not Talent

I'm pleased to say that I totally rocked "Old Swampy" last night. It took me awhile... a good number of hours when you add up all the portions of time I spent working on him throughout the day, but it was absolutely worth it. Especially since I realized right after I started decorating him that the book isn't lying--ANYONE could do this. Now, whoever came up with all these cupcake designs is a truly talented and creative person! But I have to admit that if you know how to read you could make these things. It's VERY EASY. And so much fun!

A few nights ago Anja really didn't sleep well, and in the morning I was awoken by Martin bearing breakfast gifts! He told me my fairy godmother had come to him with an Everything Bagel and cup of Holiday Spice coffee from Einstein Bagels for me. What a nice surprise! Good old fairy godmother! It was a great start to an otherwise rough day. My morning was awesome--since Anja had slept so poorly she ended up sleeping in until 9:00, allowing me to get SO MUCH WORK DONE around the house. It wasn't worth it though. Naptime was horrible and while the plan had been for Martin to put her to bed so I could decorate cupcakes in the shape of an alligator, she wasn't on board for that plan. And since her nap ended up being so late she woke up REALLY hungry, but wouldn't eat, so she was just a big crab all afternoon. I tried everything to get her to eat something for lunch, but she refused everything I offered. Then Martin came home and offered her all the same things, and she ate with great gusto. What is it with little girls and their daddies?

Oh, I guess the biggest news around here that probably few people will be interested in is that Martin bought a shotgun. It's something he's wanted to buy for many years, but never quite had the money or a good enough reason. The other day we were at Dick's and he was price-checking, and there was a mistake on the price of the gun he wanted--one of them had not been marked up when the others had, and the salesman offered it to him at the marked-down price. So he bought it. I don't have any problem with guns, Martin is very safe and knowledgeable about them, and he's right--it is kind of nice knowing that if anyone ever came into our house uninvited (not such an unlikely situation down here in the ghetto) we could scare them off by doing more than throwing a chair at them. Of course, I don't know how to shoot a gun, so if anyone ever came in while I was home along, I'd just have to hope that my beating him with the unloaded weapon while shouting snarly words at him would be enough to drive him off.

And speaking of the Ghetto! It is NOT an unusual thing to come home and have a string of firetrucks clustered in the road. It's not a big deal to see the policemen searching cars, arresting people, whatever they're doing. It IS unsual, however, to see any of the emergency personell responding with anything close to speed. This seems to be an area where the policeman are familiar faces, where a lot of the 911 calls are the kind of people who might have an "emergency" every day. I'd say the firemen around here usually "amble" as opposed to "hurry." Not the case yesterday! Yesterday I was driving down Main Street and pulled over for a fire truck. A few minutes later I saw another one and realized I was following them home! What excitement! I turned onto 6th street and was lucky enough to be the first person in line stopped at the light, so I had a great view of the action--a car was stopped at the South Street entrance of the library lot and it appeared to be ON FIRE!!! I have never seen firemen hurry so much. They were frantic! They were trying to get the trunk open from the inside and the outside of the car, and then it finally popped up and smoke came pouring out. VERY exciting! Then the light turned green, and the view from my porch wasn't as good. But still! How often do you see a car on fire!?

Pictures from top to bottom: Old Swampy; Anja in a very cute little knitted dress, with her daddy; Martin lint-rolling the cat (who loved it); Anja making a very important phone call in her bathrobe; Anja bringing the bathmat from the bathroom into the kitchen... I never figured out why she thought this was neccessary; Anja making a ridiculous face while rearranging my pantry. All those little rectangles are lasagna that she evidently didn't feel should be confined to its box.

We're clearly still having some issues with the whole "smile" thing. She understands what "smile for the camera" means, she just doesn't seem to know what a smile is supposed to look like. And so, my collection of demon-face pictures grows.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Green Works=Ant Works

I clean my bathroom, on average, once a week. Sometimes more frequently, sometimes less; it all evens out to the point where I have a relatively clean bathroom most of the time. I used to only use Comet, the powder in the can, for everything. I know you're not supposed to use it on stainless steel, but I used it on EVERYTHING. And when I was finished cleaning the bathroom you'd have to put your sunglasses on, it was so shiny and clean! However, I discovered Clorox Green Works some time ago... maybe around the time Anja was born... and switched to that. I think it was even cheaper than Comet, meaning I was contributing to both a happy environment and a happy pocketbook. And after some time of using it (I guess about a year or so) I realized I was also contributing to the happiness of those blasted ants that we can't get rid of. It was a real trend: every time I cleaned my bathroom, the ants would return. And if there was a drip on the counter top, they would come and drink it. I'm not even kidding. Then a few weeks ago, I did the absolutely STUPIDEST thing ever--I tossed an empty juice box in the bathroom trash. I have no idea what I was thinking. Obviously, the ants were THRILLED, and they have pretty much moved their camp into our bathroom since then. And the cleaning does not make them go away... in fact, it seems to just encourage them to prolong their stay.

Up to now in this post, I've mostly been referring to my bathroom counter and toilet. But let's discuss the inside of the toilet bowl, where I'd also been using Clorox Green Works toilet bowl cleaner. Ever since my move to green cleaning in my toilet bowl, the yellow ring (which had never even BEEN there before) has been growing darker by the day. Cleaning the toilet only made the ring fade to a nice yellow, but it's always there, and always darkening. Then I began to notice some sludge that was building up around the holes where the water comes into the toilet from the tank. Brown nastiness that was creeping down into the toilet bowl. Um, gross. So now I have a permanent ring in my toilet bowl, a completely unstoppable ant infestation, and a strange tenement-type grime becoming embarrassingly visible.

And that's when I realized for sure that the Clorox Green Works had to go. I'm sorry. I tried to be green. I love our planet as much as the next liberal hippie, but I also love Country Living Magazine and I'd like for my little house to look more like the pictures in that and less like the trashed-and-deserted rentals my parents used to own. If I had my dream of living in a cabin in the woods, the ring in the toilet wouldn't bother me. But in our current home, it just doesn't fit with my decor. And neither do the ants. (They would also not be invited into my cabin in the woods, by the way.) So now I'm back on Lysol and Comet, and I'm proud to say that I used the Lysol toilet bowl cleaner for the first time just a few minutes ago (thus prompting this post) and both the yellow water ring AND the swamp sludge are completely gone. We'll see how the ants feel about my chemical switch in due time.

Last night we went to the 5:00 mass at St. Lawrence and I had forgotten about how rockin' they are over on Meharry street! The funny thing is--I liked it. This might be very "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" of me, but sometimes I can really appreciate the charismatic approach to the Mass. Jazzy piano and guitars and all... it's different than what we're used to, but I don't think it's bad. And I was so happy this morning to hear from my friend Joannie this morning that just last night her mom was saying that she sometimes misses Glory & Praise music! ME TOO!! Sometimes I sing the songs just for fun and I would like Anja to know them. They're not all bad. Now maybe my opinion is that that style of "worship" should be reserved for retreats and socials and things rather than the Mass... I'm just not sure. But I don't think it should be completely frowned upon, because I don't think it's WRONG. Cheesy, yes. But in certain settings, I think it could be good for people. I mean, that's how some people roll. Some people even like Donovan... like me!

After mass we pretty much went straight over to Vienna for that art opening. The art openings are great because they serve little treats that are usually made of chocolate and they bring out carafes of coffee, which means free refills for us! Plus, we often meet some interesting people. Last night I got a special surprise--Martin bought me the squirrel picture!!!!!!!!! He says he bought it for me, but I think Anja might like it even more than I do, so I think we'll hang it in her room. I'm so excited!!

Tomorrow night Martin will be in charge of Anja for the evening and I will be devoting my entire being to the creation of Old Swampy. I bought most of the supplies for him today. Yikes!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Romantic Overload

Sometimes Anja is like a puppy. She takes her naps in our bed, and I snuggle her to sleep with a bottle, and it's so amazingly cozy and she's so warm and cuddly it's hard not to just drift off to sleep with her. So I lie there, my brain tipping dangerously over the line between sleep and wakefulness, thinking about all the dishes in the sink, and all the dog hair on the carpet, and all the laundry that needs to be washed or folded or put away... and all I can think is, "meh. My snuggle time is limited" and I usually let myself fall asleep. (Except today when I'm ignoring all those things to blog and then fully intend to go back up and take the rest of her nap with her! I am so lazy!!) But seriously, when I think that my naptimes with Anja are quickly drawing to their end, it makes me a little bit sad, and a little less reluctant to just forget about everything else and take advantage of the snuggly sleep time with her.

So yesterday was Schmalentine's Day! My least favorite holiday of the year! We decided to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants-- Roberts' Americus. We had a gift certificate, and it's not the sort of place that's likely to be too crowded on Valentine's Day. We thought we'd ask my parents to watch Anja while we went out to dinner, but then Martin suggested we just invite them along instead. And then we called John Mooney and invited him along too because Mrs. Schap was in Indy with the Mock Trial team. So we all met up in Americus for catfish and steaks! It was delightful. Way more fun than having dinner by ourselves.

Last night Anja had another bad night. I wish I could figure out what the trouble is. Is she cold? Is she hot? Is she having nightmares? One night I'm pretty sure the culprit was a tummy ache because she and Martin both were really gassy. (I know, that's really gross and probably T.M.I., and I'm sorry.) But last night was the third rough night in a row and I just can't figure it out. She'd been sleeping so well before! It might be her teeth... this morning in the car she was really chewing on her fingers.
ANYWAY... so since it was kind of a bad night, Anja slept in later than usual, which was one of the reasons we didn't make it out the door in time to get to 7:30 mass before the Gospel. We kept hoping she'd wake up on her own in time to get her dressed and all of us out the door... she never did, so we woke her up, but we still didn't make it in time. We sneaked in the back, saw how late we were, then went to Vienna to get coffee. We sat down for just a few minutes before going back to church to meet up with the Watsons who took us out to brunch!!! I LOVE going to brunch with the Watsons!!!!! And the special occasion? JOANNIE was in town!!! Wahooo!! It was really fun, as always. Our plan had been to then go to the noon mass at St. Ann's, but Anja's nap is at 11:00 and with a combination of events, we decided it would be best to wait and go as a family at 5:00 at St. Lawrence. And after THAT, there is an art opening at Vienna that we're going to pop in on. The artist has a photo up right now of a squirrel that Anja LOVES!

Right now Martin is helping my dad move some stuff to the cottage. When he gets home we will go to Petsmart because we're out of dog food, and believe it or not, food seems to be cheaper there than at the grocery store! And when I say "seems to be" I actually mean "is." This means everybody wins because who wants to go to the boring old grocery store for dog and cat food when you can go to exciting Petsmart and see all the dogs being groomed and all the kittens they have for adoption!?!?!? Not to mention all the dogs who come with their owners to shop!!! It is a happy event for everyone.

I've recently switched laundry detergents from Purex (el cheapo) to Tide (el expensivo). I can't say that I've noticed much of a difference in the cleanliness of our clothes--Anja's onesie still came out of the wash with a bright green avacado stain on the butt--but it's TOTALLY worth it for the smell! Our clothes smell so good now!!!!

Now naptime is almost over. I shouldn't go lie down with her. I should do the dishes. *sigh*

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hello, Cupcake!! (A Schmalentine's Day Post)

Even though my valentines haven't gotten finished so only a few select people had the joy of recieving them (I'll try to put a picture up by the end of the day though,) it has been a good Schmalentine's Day so far! We woke up early, got ready quickly, and drove up to the Klein Brot Haus for breakfast! It was so good to go back there... we haven't been in FOR-EV-ER. Delicious and fun, plus that wonderful couple who calls us "kids" came in and it was great to see them. The wife told me that their first two babies were about the same age difference as Anja and this new one will be, and she said what every single person with this experience has said: "I wouldn't have it any other way." She said she and her siblings were all 15 months and one week apart in age! I am not in need of any encouragement about this age setup--I think of a new reason to be grateful for it every day--but if I did, I'd sure be getting my fill! I know that it has potential to be a difficult beginning, but overall, I couldn't be happier that these two dumplings are going to be so close in age.

Okay, but that is really not the reason for this post. Martin and I exchanged Schmalentine's Day gifts in the car before going in for breakfast. Anja got a couple of Schleich animals (a black stallion, and a dog that looks like Karenin, which she reeealllyyyyy loved, and shared her breakfast with!) and I gave Martin the latest Bob Dylan Bootleg album which came out last year. It's really good. Also I gave him a container of Christmas M&M's with a dreidle on top that I found in the dollar basket at Von's. But GUESS WHAT HE GAVE ME!!!! No, not a kitten. But it's a sort of cookbook, or rather a decorating book for your cooking called "Hello, Cupcake!" and it's all these amazing ways to decorate cupcakes!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT IS SO CUTE!!!!! Some of them look easier than others, but really it's just candy and a frosting squirted from a ziplock bag. Totally do-able! My first attempt is going to be "Old Swampy" the alligator who is made of 24 cupcakes. He is really cute, and perfect for a party... and if he turns out, he will be sent to Martin's work on Wednesday where they're having a baby shower for one of the girls in his office. I really hope it works out! Old Swampy looks like he might be one of the easier ones with less detail. The baby shower cupcakes were very cute, but they look like they take a little more time and precision... and more variety of candies too. Old Swampy doesn't require all that much. But the book, aside from being absolutely adorable, is also nice because it's directions are very exact. They even tell you the brand of candies they use. It has a whole section on facial expressions for your cupcakes! This book is amazing. I'm SO EXCITED about it. Another good party cupcake tray would be the vegetable garden. These things are amazing... you should look up the book on Amazon.

And that's it! Now it's time to put Anja Pie down for a nap. We've had a good day so far, and Martin promised me a game of Bananagrams during Anja's nap.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th!

I'm really hoping a black cat crosses my path today. More like a black kitten... without a collar, maybe looking a little helpless and starved... when Martin got home, I'd have to say, "Gee, look at my bad luck. This helpless little stray just followed me home!" And he'll say, "If he 'followed you home' why is your pocket full of black kitty hair?" And I'll just shoo him away and tell him he's getting in the way of my bonding experience.

Do you ever wish you were a possum so that your dumpster diving and hissing at people would be viewed as more acceptable behavior? I know Martin does.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good Things

I should have posted about the cheery part of my day! I got a valentine for myself in the mail today--from Martin! It was HILARIOUS. (Any Valentine's Day card with "enemy biscuits" on it is a winner in my book!) And he'd sent me some cat stickers too!! What a guy.

In the True Spirit of Schmalentine's Day

I've always hated Valentine's Day. It seems like a pretty lame-o holiday, whether or not I was ever dating someone. (Although I did get one of my very favorite sweaters from Martin for our first Valentine's Day together!) When I got married I kind of thought Valentine's Day would get better, but it still seems pretty stupid to me. Anyway, this year I've actually been pretty excited for Valentine's Day, only because I made Valentine's with Anja's picture on them and was sending them out to EVERYONE. Even lots of my blog list was getting Valentine's from us! I got cute paper from Von's, and worked really hard and was SO EXCITED to send them out this morning, knowing that they'd make it to everyone by Saturday. I finished addressing the last four this morning, and got them all pinned to the mailbox about a half hour before the mailman came. I was so happy!!

And then around 3:00 this afternoon, the mailman came knocking at my door.

He was very apologetic (I actually feel a lot worse for him than I feel for myself about this); He hadn't put them in a plastic bag, and they'd all gotten soaked. The whole stack had turned into a pile of mush. All the addresses had bled away and at first I thought I could salvage the valentines themselves, but when I peeled away the envelope paper, the ink on the valentines themselves had bled away and even the pictures were ruined. I was SO. SAD.

Martin really wants me to re-make them. It's hard to get up the enthusiasm, especially knowing that even if I could make them all again by tomorrow and get them in the mail, they wouldn't make it to anyone by Valentine's Day. Well, they'd probably make it to all the Lafayette people, but not the out-of-towners. *Sigh* I might try to get some more made, and we might just hand-deliver them to our friends and family around town. It's so disappointing... even the envelopes were cute and had hearts all over them. I'd gotten the envelopes at Von's YEARS ago and have never had the perfect use for them until now. How sad.

So anyway, mostly I just wanted to post this story so everyone would know why I had advertised to be sending out special valentines, but actually didn't.

Funnily enough, right after the mailman came and gave me back my pile of pink and red mush, I got a text message from Laura saying it was a cute valentine. It took me so long to figure out how she'd gotten one before I remembered that hers was the one I took to the post office to see how much postage they needed, and the mailman there just kept it for me to mail. So it was the only one that was saved! I'm glad somebody got one at least.

So anyway, that is my sadness of the day. But the great news is, my aunt has a dresser for us for the new baby!!!!!! I got a message from her today saying it's ready to go, so as soon as we get our books moved downstairs, we'll be ready to roll with that. Which is good... because I washed all the newborn clothes the other day and I have A LOT more than I remembered having. I had planned to put them all in this little white basket, but I think the basket isn't even big enough for all the onesies!!!!

Time to clean up the kitchen.

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst

I usually make an effort at looking decent for the day. It's kind of like that wearing clean underwear theory, just in case you ever go to the hospital for something. My goal every for my mornings is usually to NOT look like I just climbed out of a dumpster. This morning I hardly even made an attempt, and any attempt that was accidentally made definitely failed. Starting with a very bad hair day and ending with wearing one of Martin's tshirts that I pulled out of the dirty clothes hamper, I am NOT looking my best today. But my reasoning was this: It's a rainy, stormy, goopy February day. Anja and I have big plans to stay in the house, and surely nobody else will be going out today, so who's going to see us? Nobody. I did get some makeup on... but that's as far as my efforts went.

OF COURSE this would be the day when Mrs. Mills shows up at my door for a chat! NOBODY just randomly comes by our house, EVER. Why today?!? Why on the day when I STILL haven't bothered to do the dishes from dinner the night before, decided that my ultimate task for the day was to get every piece of laundry washed, so right now it's in piles throughout the house, and am wearing my husband's dirty clothes (!?!) does a friend pop in unannounced for a visit? It's just my luck. As if I weren't embarrassed enough by my appearance, being a lazy day at home meant that my house was in shambles. Cheerios EVERYWHERE. Dirty dishes EVERYWHERE. Clothes--more literally--EVERYWHERE.

Oh well, what can you do? My appearance has gotten even better since then, after putting on one of Martin's gross, dirty hooded sweatshirts from college. This is even the one that has that funny smell!

Yesterday morning I had a doctors appointment at 9:30. I was leaving Anja with my mom and beforehand I had something to give my mother-in-law, so we went to her classroom at school. I'm rarely glad when my little girl cries for anything, but it was kind of reassuring when Mrs. Schap left the room and Anja burst into tears. I'm glad she's so attached to her grandmothers! After all, they will be her primary caretakers for AT LEAST some amount of hours when the new baby comes. It's good that she likes them so much! We spent awhile there (the class sang to her!) then moved on to my mom's house, where I left her playing with bathtub toys and my mom's little dog Maizie. (When I tell Anja that we're going up to Ooma's house, she starts panting like a dog. Hmm....) The doctors appointment was uneventful for the most part, (the baby is head down!) and when I got back to Anja, my mom was playing her hammered dulcimer and Anja was lying on the ground enjoying the music and couldn't even be bothered to lift her head to see me come in the door. She seriously didn't care about my return ONE BIT. She used to at least smile when I came back....

In the evening Martin shoved me off to knitting again at Barnes & Noble. I was nervous to have him put Anja down since last week it didn't work out, but this time it was great! All this progress, I'm so excited.

And speaking of progress, we've now had two nights in a row (and one night the night before a bad night) of only waking up twice! I can totally do that. In fact, I haven't felt this energized and well rested in a ridiculously long time. This morning before Anja woke up at 7:30 I had showered, swept the floors, gotten one load of laundry in the washer, and separated out the next two loads. AND I had done some minor picking up around the house, checked my blog, and made Martin's lunch. Wah-hooo for productivity!

Wow, this is a very boring post. I'll try to think of something more interesting to post about next time.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mom's Night Out

Tonight was so fun and out of the ordinary! Awhile back my sister invited me out to this meeting put on by a mom's group called CHOICES. The speaker at the meeting was the natural doctor that Christopher sees, which is why she wanted to go to the meeting; she'd never been to anything with this group before. I was surprised by how balanced it seemed! They were advertised to be a pretty crunchy group, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I was able to hear was very informative and not too hippy-dippy at all. (Meaning, it stayed within the realm of "natural" instead of turning into "wacky-psychotic-anti-EVERYTHING.) Also, all of the moms seemed really nice, and covered a wide spectrum of "types". I'm pretty sure the guy I talked to was high, but hey, who's to judge? I attended the meeting looking for opinions, not babysitters.

Sarah and I took Bella and Anja with us and her friend Stephanie met us there too. I was nervous that nobody else would be bringing older babies or toddlers, but I was wrong! The people who showed up without any kids were the minority! Anja had fun playing with the other little kids, although I'm beginning to see that she has not inherited her shyness from her parents, nor her ability to share. She's so grabby! And she's recently started this frowning thing, which is not attractive when she puts it on right after grabbing a book out of some poor baby's hands. The meeting was at the West Side library, so afterward Sarah, Stephanie and I walked over to Vienna. So it turned out to be a really fun night! And I didn't have to worry about Martin because he had made plans to go out with a friend of his from his Wabash job! So we both had fun away from home this evening. That's something that almost never happens!

Anja has been just delightful lately. Those teeth must've finally come through their rough patch. Today I finished the cute green hat I've been knitting for her. I had to alter the pattern a little bit because it was written as a knit-in-the-round pattern, but I prefer to use straight needles and make a seam. Unfortunately, I messed it up a lot and had to rip out over and over again. In the end, I got it finished and it looked good--until I put it on Anja's head. It didn't really fit. It came above her ears, so her ears stuck out like Dopey the Dwarf. However, it didn't matter in the end because we stuck it on Bella's head at the meeting, and it fit her perfectly!! So now Bella has a nice new green hat to wear and I have PLENTY of the same yarn to make the hat over for Anja. (As it turns out, I'd left out about 2 inches of the pattern. Whoops! However, it's just two inches of stockinette stitch that I didn't do, so it'll be easy to remember to add it in on the next go-round.)

Anja has a doctors appointment on Thursday and I'm kind of glad because I'm afraid she might have stuck a piece of broccoli in her ear. She kept messing with her ear last night at dinner and I found a little bread crumb inside and a little piece of broccoli resting on top of her ear, and she's not stopped messing with it since. So I'm slightly worried about it.

I'm so ready to be done with pregnancy. I think it wouldn't be so bad if I were a member of an indigenous tribe in some hot country where they don't ever wear clothes, but I am SO SICK OF MATERNITY PANTS!!! The pouchy pants NEVER stay up, no matter how big or small I am throughout my pregnancy. The under-the-belly pants are great for awhile, until I get too big for my maternity shirts and then my belly shows. And no matter what belly style I wear, there are far fewer choices in the area of "length" than there even are in normal jeans, so all of my pants are about three feet too long. Martin put it well the other night--I look like I'm wearing pants my mom bought, assuring me that I'll "grow into them." Except I stopped growing [vertically] like ten years ago, so it's hopeless. I'm destined to walk around with my pants either falling down or showing my belly, but either way, dragging through puddles, for the next four-to-eight weeks. Ugh!

When I think that my due date is approximately six weeks away, I feel like I have plenty of time to prepare. When I think that Anja was two weeks early and if this baby is two weeks early it will arrive in less than four weeks, I a little bit freak out about the amount of stuff that has to get done before that time. When I think that Anja was early so this one will probably most definitely be late, meaning I have up to eight weeks more, I want to kill myself.

Okay, it's not that bad. I'm just eager to meet our baby. And I'm most eager to find out if it's a boy or a girl. Martin is SO SURE we're having a girl that he agreed to name a son Gyo Fujikawa. This is an important name, as it is the name of the author of Anja's current favorite book, entitled "Babies," which we read to her AT LEAST four-hundred-twenty times a day.

Oh my gosh! Martin recently joined the NRA and they sent him a hat in the mail!!!!! HE LOOKS SO COOL!!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


This has been a VERY nice weekend. Anja has been in the greatest moods of her life for the past few days, and last night she even had a good night of sleep! She only woke up TWICE (that is a new record) and while the first time it took two hours to get her back to sleep, it was still better than waking up every thirty minutes the whole night through. When she crawled into my bed to snuggle me at 6:00 I was able to wake up right away!

So basically we've just been lazing around this weekend. Yesterday after she woke up from her nap we went on a family walk. We went up to the Art Museum so I was finally able to see that exhibit. I think we bid on a photo... at least Martin asked if I wanted to, and I said yes, but I'm not sure if he actually remembered to make the bid. Anyway.... from there we walked down to Main Street and stopped into K.Dee's where we haven't been in AGES. Then down Main Street a little ways, and I remembered that I'm completely in love with our town. I can't believe how long it's been since I've walked Main Street. I guess that's what winters with a baby will do to you. But yesterday was a gorgeous day--Anja LOVES the wind! And she adores her stroller. When we got home Martin voiced his concern over Anja's complete obsession with her stroller. You see, we haven't really intended on getting a double stroller, or even a second stroller. We have our awesome Ergo and a number of wraps and slings, so I just don't see the point in a double stroller that I wouldn't be able to get up and down the stairs of the pedestrian bridge anyway. However, Martin mentioned that he doubts Anja will ever let anyone else ride in her stroller. Hm. I hadn't thought of that. With most things, I doubt Anja will care one way or the other about having a little person to share with... but he's right about the stroller. It's kind of her throne.

Anyway, after the walk we lazed around for awhile, then went to the grocery. Back at home, Anja was STILL in a great mood (even though it was nearing her bedtime!) and I made Chicken Parmesan for dinner. It was pretty delicious! Anja went down fairly easily for bed, so after she was asleep I pummelled Martin in Bananagrams.

Anja is asleep now. When she wakes up we will play with her and read books with her and be lazy with her. Then later in the afternoon our friend Keith is coming up from Indianapolis to visit us. We haven't seen him since he came to meet Anja when she was born!!!!!!!! That's been a long time.

Anyway. There really was stuff I wanted to get done during her nap, so here I go. I'm really looking forward to getting the back room in order, and eventually getting our wireless internet set up. Reeeeeaaaallllyyyy.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What to Do?!?

Some days I'm just overwhelmed by the stuff I want to do during naptime. Sadly, Anja's naps usually only last two hours, so I have to choose my activities carefully. Today we completely ran out of toilet paper, so part of naptime was spent running out for that. While at the store, I went ahead and picked up a couple boxes of Little Debbie snacks. I ate four of them on the way home. Oooooh, that chocolatey-hearty goodness... and then Martin called me to tell me that I should stop and get myself a cherry coke as long as I was out by myself. Well, if you insist, Martino...

I'm afraid I'm going to be in for quite a shock when this new baby arrives. Lately I have become S-P-O-I-L-E-D. This morning Anja woke us up at 7:00. I moaned and groaned, but Martin jumped right up, took her downstairs, changed and dressed her, then came up awhile later to get his phone. I hadn't realized that I'd fallen back asleep, and was going to get up, but he told me not too. He said I'd ruin the surprise. So I quickly went back to sleep, and not too long later he and Anja arrived bearing vanilla chai from Vienna!!! Woohooo, what a way to start the morning. Not only that, but I slept in an entire extra hour, and I'm not kidding, I feel more rested than I have felt in a VEERRRYYYY LONG TIME. In fact, I'm kind of bursting with energy. It's a feeling I'd sort of forgotten about! Good old Martino.

How about this weather!? We're planning to walk up to the Art Museum this afternoon and see if we can finally get in to see the exhibit with Martin's photo in it. It's the perfect day for a family walk!

I was very productive yesterday during Anja's nap and afterward. Our desk area (which is in our dining room) had become quite the eyesore. We recieved a very nice wooden filing cabinet for Christmas from my parents, and while it's been put together for some time, it kind of found a permanent home in the middle of the dining room. Yesterday I totally cleared out the space where it would go, moved it into place, cleaned and organized the desk, and somewhat organized the pile of papers that will eventually be filed in the filing cabinet, although right now it's all in stacks or binders in the cabinet drawers. Still--it's out of sight! While cleaning I threw out a lot of stuff. One thing I found that's particularly interesting is a box--a fairly big box--full of cards from our wedding. ?!? Why I felt the need to keep all those cards for more than two years, I have no idea. But I gave the box to Anja and she had SUCH a good time taking all the cards out and scattering them all over the kitchen. She loves to "read" things, and she looks so thoughtful reading her greeting cards before chucking them behind her and moving on to the next. Now our dining room looks a thousand-million times better and I feel good about having actually done something instead of sleeping during Anja's nap.

Oops, naptime is over!

Friday, February 6, 2009


When you have a baby, everyone is happy for you, but they all say, "it just gets better and better." At every stage, it's seemed hard to believe that it gets any better. But it really DOES just keep getting better!! And now I can catch glimpses of the future and think of how much fun it will start to be just a few months down the road....

But this year, we're sending out valentines!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Every Once in Awhile

Sometimes I take notice of things that Martin does and I think to myself, "Oh my GOSH, I married my father!!!" It's not always the idiosyncratic things like starting a sentence, then taking a large bite of food and chewing it very slowly and swallowing before continuing his sentence. It's also really nice things. For example: When I was in high school, I woke up before my mom. So I noticed when my dad every morning had set out my mom's coffee mug, spoon, and two asprins next to the coffee pot. Sometime there'd be a little note too. Martin doesn't do exactly that, but every morning he wakes me up at 6:00 and while I'm coming out of my coma, wherever I am (bathroom, kitchen table, floor) he brings me my coffee. Often he brings me first a glass of orange juice and then follows it with a cup of coffee. It's so nice! And something I try not to take for granted. But just now he did something that was so my-dad-ish. (p.s. We are at Panera again.) I went to the bathroom and when I came back, he had refilled my drink for me! I hadn't asked him to do that, but I came back to a full glass. What a sillyhead. Now he and Anja are off walking through the mall, and I'm hurrying with this blog post because we're going to go look at the animals before we leave, and I can't wait because Martin said they have kittens there today!!! It's really fun to show Anja the animals, except she gets really upset when we have to leave. Poor thing. I get really upset too, but since I'm a grownup I don't scream and cry and cling to the cage doors like she does.

Not much else is new. The reason we've been coming to Panera to use the internet is because I've been asked by multiple people for multiple specific pictures and all of those things needed to be done in a hurry and there was noooooo way I was going to spend the time it took in that cold back room!

Anja is MOST adorable. She no longer crawls at all. she's a complete walker, and almost runs sometimes. She's also a crazy monkey and is becoming more of a daredevil in her climbing. Yikes! So far we've had no major falls, which must mean she got my balance. This is a good thing considering her daddy has such bad balance that him riding a bicycle makes everyone really nervous.

I went to knitting last night and Martin stayed home with Anja. It was not the experience I'd hoped for. I mean, knitting was fun, but Martin was unable to get Anja to sleep. Not only that, but by the time I came home, she'd gotten mildly upset and had started saying "mamama." The good thing is that she's saying "mama." It's only slightly insulting that my name came after "duck," "quack," "horse," "Dada," "dog," "cat" and the list goes on.... I'm glad she's finally saying it. However, it's not so great that she got upset without me last night. Martin tried three times to put her down. When I got home, I took her upstairs and she fell asleep in a matter of minutes. I know that part of the reason is because I have these ginormous boobs, but STILL. She needs to go down for other people! And it would be helpful if a big squishy bosom was not an absolute necessity.

Kim came over to visit today! That was loads of fun. He read "Goodnight Moon" to Anja, and Anja was sooooooooooo happy. It was so adorable and I should've taken a picture, but I didn't.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Posting from Panera!

Is this like the old times or what? Martin and Anja and I are at Panera using the internet! This isn't a real post because the whole reason we're here is to order some Snapfish pictures and do some stuff that takes too long to bear in the very cold back room. But still--what fun to be here! I feel so hip.

A Better Post Than Yesterday's

It seems like all the blog moms are counting their blessings these days while they are shoveling laundry, struggling to keep their houses from falling from the "untidy" level into the "squalor" level of cleanliness and never sleeping more than an hour at a time night after night after night. Everyone seems to be saying how they're really savoring the baby-ness of their babies, despite the chaos that rules their households. I think it's funny that I just read all those blogs--because I've been feeling the exact same way!!!!

It's partly sad that Anja is not a baby anymore, although I would never wish for her newborn days to return. Whenever I start to get nostalgic about her newborn days, Martin is quick to remind me of how awful they were and then I remember, and then I'm glad she's turned out to be the perfect little toddler she is. I'm excited to have another go-around with this new baby. I'm excited to be able to enjoy the newborn phase, partly because I now know what to expect, and partly because I'll be able to recognize what's normal newborn behavior and what isn't, and be able to do something about any abnormalities. I'm excited that it's going to be a little person who ISN'T Anja... it's someone entirely new! Weird!!! And I'm glad that I still get to keep Anja as her funny little toddler being and still get the snuggliness of a newborn. I'm excited to see the baby phases again and not be so eager for them to evolve. I think I did a pretty good job of savoring the moment with Anja, but it'll be easier with this next one, I'm sure.

Yesterday in the late afternoon Martin's mom came over and kept Anja again while we went out for another date. We are seriously getting spoiled by all this practice! We started walking downtown before we realized that nothing would be open, so we walked back home and drove over to Vienna. We just hung out for awhile and left, but it was a nice treat. When we got back, Anja had had a wonderful time, but the cutest part was that she was SO excited to see us!!!! She does this little thing where she scrunches up her face and clasps her hands together and kind of wiggles all over, and she did that when we came in and I loved it. She is so funny! Also, she was wearing the most adorable dress in the universe and some very adorable bloomers as well, so that kind of enhanced her cuteness.

I've been very productive today. It was supposed to be a day full of errands, which would also be productive, but I then Martin ended up taking the car to work this morning, and I'm really glad he did because I've gotten so much done around the house! I have a pot of beef-vegetable stew on the stove, I've gotten laundry washed, dried, and folded, Anja had a bath, I've worked on my knitting (each project has a time limit which is drawing near, so knitting these days counts as productivity) and the day has just been generally good. Anja slept in until almost 9:00 this morning which gave me a wonderfully relaxing start to my day. Since Martin took the car to work he got to stay home a little longer and we had our coffee together on the couch. I thought Anja might not want to nap until later in the afternoon since she'd slept in, but surprise--she went down right at noon! Lucky me! So I got a surprise morning to myself AND our routine for the day hasn't been thrown off at all. How nice!

We were supposed to work on getting our back room organized this weekend, but we didn't lift a finger toward that cause. However, Martin did get our taxes done, which is a huge load off our minds. I can totally see us putting it off, and then having a baby and completely forgetting about taxes, then being tracked down by the IRS and publicly hanged or something. Also, it'll be nice to get the tax return a little earlier than usual.

Last night my neighbor Tara came over for a little bit. Martin was out with our friend Matt so Tara just came over to hang out for awhile. It was so nice! We don't see as much of each other in the winters; when it's warm out we sit on our porches together and I miss it!

I don't usually look forward to spring, but I am this year. Come to think of it, I did last year too. I just think Anja is going to have SO MUCH FUN this summer. When I think of all the things we can do that she'll now appreciate and really enjoy, it makes me excited. Playing in the Plaza fountain, going to the petting zoo, seeing the animals at Prophetstown... I can't wait!

I don't know how my garden will do this summer, but I have high hopes for it, and I intend to do most of my produce shopping at the Farmers Market now that our budget is more suitable for that. I'm hoping to get a lot of use out of my Simply in Seasons cookbook.

Happy Groundhog Day to everyone! It's also the two year anniversary of us being in this house, which is a happy thing to think of. Martin and I agreed this morning--it's been a good two years!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ears, Nestor

Whenever Anja has ear infections, all I can think of is "Ears, Nestor." Not that Nestor, The Long Eared Christmas Donkey had recurrent ear infections... in fact, I think throughout the half-hour film his ears remain quite healthy. It's just that I feel so sorry for her and her poor ears. Thursday night was very bad with her waking up crying every half hour or so, not taking a bottle, and being generally inconsolable. By the end of the night she was asleep with her hand over her ear. Not that we hadn't figured it out by then... but still, it was sad. I took her in in the morning to a doctor on the west side because her regular pediatritian was working up at the hospital that morning and I didn't want to wait until the afternoon. The doctor we saw might have been a wonderful man, but he was pretty old and English was not his native language. Anja's persistant screaming wasn't making communication between us any easier, especially since Anja gets her bad ears from me and my bad ears have led to moderate hearing loss. (That's a joke.) (And also, Anja doesn't just get the curse of bad ears from me--her daddy was making visits to Dr. Beesley's office for ear infections just as often as I was. Another fact that makes it amazing that we didn't meet before we were teenagers!) So anyway, we didn't beat around the bush about anything. He listened to her all over, checked her ears, and her left ear was infected so we got an antibiotic.

However, on Friday night we went through all the misery again--this time she was holding her right ear. Poor baby!!!! So now she spends her days with her fingers in her ears, although she's generally happy as long as she's not lying down. So last night was another difficult one, but hopefully by tonight things will be improving. In fact, last night I brought her into our bed around 2:30 or so and slept holding her upright. She slept pretty well for the rest of the night, snuggled between us, even waking up a few times and putting herself back to sleep. She ended up at the bottom of the bed with us at the top, but at least she slept better.

Actually yesterday evening was pretty bad. She woke up from her afternoon nap after about 45 minutes and NEVER went back to sleep. I put her down for bed at 7:00 and she fell to sleep instantly. She woke up screaming at 7:30 and I couldn't do anything to make her happy. During this time, Martin was out at Target picking up my sister's wallet that had been left there. (We told her we'd pick it up when we went out there earlier in the day, and she'd written a note giving us permission, but I left the note on the table! So Martin went back alone in the evening.) Eventually she cried and cried until she was full of phlegm and started coughing and gagging, which led to throwing up. I took her downstairs and we were both all stinky and covered in barf and she was still majorly upset, but we sat in the rocking chair and read every book on her bookshelf until Martin got home. I had called him after she threw up to tell him what was going on. When he got home, he'd bought Anja a Schleich Draft Horse family! What a silly guy!!! She's only 15 months old, and already he's bringing her sick presents. But I think he's a good dad. Also, he had gone to the hardware store and while there he picked up some carpenter pencils, the flat kind, because Anja likes to hold writing utensils flat, but that means they don't mark. He thought those would be better for her. How thoughtful!

So that's what we've been up to this weekend. Anja's daytime mood is not hindered by her ears, it's only at night that they really seem to hurt her. I count myself lucky to be an adult who still gets ear infections. I think it might be harder for me to be sympathetic about something I couldn't see. However, the fact that since I've been married I have cried during an ear infection and not cried at all during labor... it makes me understand her a little more and not mind that she's up screaming for most of the night. I'm pretty sure that if I didn't have frequent reminders of my own, I would be more easily frustrated. Because it seems like no big deal; "Oh, kids get ear infections all the time, it's nothing." But it's not nothing! It's horrible!!

Anyway, enough about ears.

I'm really lucky to have Martin. This morning we sat behind a girl at church who had two little boys, a maybe-four-year-old, and a baby who was younger than Anja, but not a newborn. She was by herself with them and having a very hard time. At one point the bigger boy had to go potty so she took them to the bathroom and when she came back, she realized that the little one had lost a shoe somewhere along the way. I felt bad for her.

Oh! This is something I've been meaning to post about. It's amazing what people will say to you. First of all, I know that Anja doesn't look very old, but she will be between 16 and 17 months old when this new baby is born. That does not seem to me like a super tiny age gap--it seems normal, especially for the first two children. Anyway, last weekend when we went to Panera with Tony, the woman who rang us up was very surprised to see that we had Anja and were going to have another one. All she could say was, "Oh my... oh wow. You have this one and are going to have another? Oh my. Wow." THANKS, LADY! What is WITH people?!? Martin just smiled and said, "Yeah, one for each of us!" and that was pretty good. I never know what to say when people give their reactions. Usually I'd like to snarl at them or slap them. Oh, and that horrible lady at the grocery store who seems to be the only one who ever works there in the mornings... ugh. She isn't very friendly, but she tries to be. I think she should stop trying. She saw Anja and said to her, "Looks like you're going to get a sibling... about any day now." Ha. "Actually, I have two months left." Luckily, I remembered that she asked me if I was due any day when I had about two months left with Anja too. So I didn't hate her too much.

And as long as I'm writing this ridiculously rambling post that probably everyone has stopped reading by now, I'll go on to say that I was paging through my journal from the time when I was pregnant with Anja. I like to keep up with reading it so I can compare notes. Evidently on September 24th (exactly two months before Anja's due date) I weighed in at 137lbs. I don't weight that much yet!! Hip hip hooray!!!!

My mom's calling me.