Saturday, May 30, 2009

Back to Basics

Martin has this book called "Back to Basics." It was put out by Readers Digest in the 70's and it's become kind of our bible. It's not that we neccessarily DO everything that's in the book--just as we don't stone people we don't like, even though it's in the Bible--but it's just so interesting to read and learn about doing those sorts of things. For example, there is a whole section on home-ish kind of stuff... spinning and dyeing and stuff like that. From it I learned that Queen Anne's Lace makes a beautiful green dye for wool. Coincidentally, I have a ton of the stuff growing wild in my backyard AND I have about half a paper bag full of wool that I don't know what to do with! Of course, the wool was given to me as-is, so it'd be a big project to card it and spin it and dye it and eventually knit something out of it. But STILL... the important part is that should the spirit move me to do all that, I will know how.

Currently, I'm looking up how to dry my herbs. I love my thyme and oregano but I just don't use all of it. I mean, gosh, we don't EAT that much. I pretty well keep my basil at a steady use, but I would really like to start drying my thyme and oregano so I'll still have my own herbs to use this winter. Wouldn't that be fun?

In other news, Greta is the most awesome baby ever. Have I mentioned she puts herself to sleep? Granted, it's only happened a couple of times, but that's a couple of times more than Anja has ever been able to do that! Greta is becoming such a good and happy baby. Everyone is right--after that miraculous 2-month mark, everything gets SO much easier! She doesn't even hate being in the wrap as much as she used to (as long as she is moving) so I'm more easily able to go for walks by myself with both girls. It's great!

And Anja is Anja and what could be better than a funny little duck like her?

Martin just grilled us up some brats... the girls are asleep so it's time for our Saturday lunch marathon of The Unit!

Oh, and the car ended up not being totalled but it was a lot of money to fix it. Not money that we had to pay--our insurance paid it. However, the car isn't worth much anymore so we're not trading it in afterall. The work they did is under warranty for a year, so we'll just keep driving the same car. Fine by me, I like our car.

And speaking of the car, I have another good story about our almost humorous line of misfortune, but that is for another post. The brats are ready!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Robin in the Rain

This above picture is why I'm blogging right now instead of folding the pile of laundry on the bed. It seems she will only stay asleep in my arms or in this pile of clean clothes. Hm.

Yesterday we were in the living room when it just started pouring! We went out to the porch to watch the rain, but watching from the porch just wasn't good enough for Anja... she climbed down the stairs and started running around on the sidewalk, up the driveway, back to her birdfeeder, again to the porch, and all over again. She had so much fun! And she was sooooo dirty when we came in! She loves to watch the birds outside and they all come out after a good rain; she was delighted.

Anja has started picking up after herself, which is not only awesome, but hilarious. One of her favorite toys is my potato crock. She takes all the potatoes out, sometimes putting them in with her little collection of mini cooking wares, then replaces them to the crock. She is so cute. She loves to organize and re-organize, to stack things, to arrange things, to put things in their place VERY carefully. For the most part she treats everything with such care... except for the cat.

Another funny thing about Anja is the way she dresses herself up. I love it that she can make real choices. When it's time to get dressed in the morning I say "let's go find something for you to wear!" and she runs to her room and starts digging through her drawers. Sometimes she really chooses, sometimes she loses interest so I choose for her... sometimes I have something in mind and don't give her the choice, heh heh heh. But whatever she wears, it always ends up with the same accessories by mid-morning: Her raincoat, pink shoes, beads, and some kind of hat. This is yesterdays outfit:
I guess she isn't wearing her necklaces in this picture. Oh well. Maybe she thought her beads were too fancy for golfing.

We have all this ground turkey in our freezer that my mother-in-law gave us. I'd never used ground turkey before and was thoroughly disgusted when I squeezed this stuff out of its packaging. Yuck. I called my neighbor, Tara, who often eats the stuff and asked her if it was supposed to be a tube of mush. She said it's normal and that it cooks up to look more like beef... and she was right. I'm still not so sure about it though. Today I've just put it in some vegetable soup so it will only serve as filler anyway. I doubt it will change the taste of the soup too much and we can just pretend it's beef.

And there isn't really anything else going on around here, so I'll just post some pictures. And since I can't decide which ones to post I'll just give you a lot.

Enjoying lunch with a variety of beverages.
"It's for you, Greta."
You can't tell in this picture but Anja has fallen down and is sort of crying. Martin's solution? "She needs some chocolate."
Reading the "Little House" books up at the river. I cannot WAIT to read these to her in a few years!!!!!!! They are a series that Martin and I both had read to us when we were little.
Anja has learned to climb up on top of the toilet.

Another really great outfit.

Already wearing her big sister's clothes!!! It was much colder than expected at the river on Memorial Day so we had to scrounge stuff from the car to keep everyone warm!

My girls and me. Greta looks like she's laughing at us.

After playing in the rain.

Fresh out of the tub. Can you see the birdfeeder outside the door? We spend so much time at the kitchen door looking at the birds, and the feeder has become a very popular place! Squirrels visit too!

Text messaging, just like Mommy and Daddy. Heh heh heh.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sweaty Baby Heads

Wow, it's been so warm lately! Over the weekend Martin put the window airconditioning in the bedroom window and it's really pleasant up there now.

Our Memorial Day Weekend was relaxing and quiet. We had intended to do a bunch of yard work, but the only thing that got done was mowing the lawn. We've been grilling out a lot lately. Sunday we walked to the 9:30 mass ( I LOVE WALKING TO CHURCH) and were lazy for the rest of the day. I think we watched a few episodes of "The Unit." Patrick has lent us Season 2 now, so we are addicted again. The only problem with watching so much of that show is that we've begun to get a little paranoid...

Monday was really nice; we went up to the river. We grilled some brats and took a walk down the road to see the horses. When we came back and I took Anja out of her stroller she immediately ran back to the road and in the direction of the horses calling, "Joo! Joo!" which is her way of saying "horse." It was really cute but a little bit sad. We did go down a second time and they came right over to the fence to say hello and Anja couldn't stop giggling. She loves horses. She cried both times we left.

Greta is a good sleeper, she's just on a bad schedule. I can't get her to go to sleep and stay asleep any earlier than midnight. Once she's asleep then she'll make it a 6 hour stretch, which means a "full night" of sleep for me. Except I don't really want to be going to bed after midnight every night. I'm not that kind of person anymore.

Yesterday afternoon my sister-in-law picked up the girls and me and we went to a retirement reception for Mr. Butz out at CC. He's 88. All the typical CC moms were out there serving refreshments and Greta got snatched right up by Mrs. Burns--we didn't get her back until we were leaving! Anja enjoyed some chocolate cake and strawberries and everyone got a kick out of her. At one time there were three people there with daughters under a year old named Helen. That must be the new popular name!

When I got home my good friend Alison came over! We walked up to K.Dee's for some coffee, got caught in a wonderful little rain shower, then hung out at my house until 8:00!! Alison is such a good friend--we always get to talking and the next time we look at the clock it's been hours and neither of us even knew it. Sadly, she is moving to Arkansas this summer, where her husband got a job! Jobs are good! Friends moving away is bad.

And speaking of friends moving away............. our most wonderful, perfect, amazing, wonderful, wonderful neighbors are leaving us for a job in New York. *sigh* Who will rescue us from flooded vehicle accidents? Who will call us when the tornado sirens are going off and invite us into their storm shelter? Who will tell me how to make buttermilk and mozzerella cheese? Who will help me with my knitting and my garden? Who will bring me baklava in the middle of the night? Who will bring me smoothies when I'm in labor? Who will keep me company any time Martin is away? Who will come over and fix my hair when I am desperate and unable? Who will feed us delicious homemade desserts???

Well, I guess the bright side of them leaving is that we'll probably lose weight. Tara is an amazing cook (ha ha ha ha, what a pun!) and baker and she loves to share. They will be missed.

Ok, no more wasting of naptime.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sunshine and Happiness (in my heart)

Ten points to anyone who can name the movie that the title quote comes from!

I am worried about my garden. I just don't have the time to love on it this year that I did last year. My plants are getting tall, but something is wrong with my basil... it's turning black. What does that mean? Is it getting fried in the sunshine? Do I need to move it to a shadier spot? Also, there's rarely time in the evening to get all of my watering done. Between Anja's bedtime and Greta's grumpy time, all hands are needed for the girls so something is bound to get neglected outside. I just hope I can keep a few things alive... at least my tomatoes...

I've decided to start putting Greta down for the night whenever she falls asleep around dinnertime. Last night I tried this, and while it made putting Anja down a little trickier and while Greta woke up a number of times between 7:00 and 9:00, once Anja and Greta were both down (around 10:00) she slept well. She is good at putting herself back to sleep. She was originally put down on our bed but when Martin and I went up there she was awake. So we just sat on the floor for a little bit and when I looked back at her a few minutes later, she had fallen asleep without a peep. She is so cute. Tomorrow she'll be 2 months old!

And speaking of being 2 months old, she had her two-month checkup today and we walked to the appointment. It is an amazingly short walk... I think it took me less time to get up there than it usually takes us to get up to campus. The walk there was delightful except for the sun in our faces and the walk home would've been delightful except for all the silly things that kept happening... like how I kept tripping in little patches of gravel and getting rocks in my shoes, or how we had to go back to get our little baby elephant toy that Anja had left in the waiting room, and the way I didn't get a very tight wrap on Greta so she kept squirming out and getting mad instead of snuggling up and falling asleep. Oh well. It was still a good experience and I plan to walk to all of our doctors appointments from here on out, as long as the day is sunny.

Check out the Cooking Blog to find out what we've been eating!

Sometimes I find it hard to discipline. Anja is a good girl; most of what she does, even if it is less than stellar behavior, isn't something that needs to be nagged about. There are certain things she's never allowed to do, but for the most part, her misbehaviors come from trying to help and not knowing how. However, playing in the trash can is a habit she's had since she learned to walk, and it's one that I have been trying and trying to break for her. But now there's a new twist: she knows how to throw things away! So she'll find something on the floor that really does need to be picked up and thrown away, and she'll go to the trash can and toss it in. But as long as she's in there looking at all that interesting stuff, she often helps herself to other bits of trash. Today she was wandering around with an empty bottle of olive oil and I found myself saying, "Hey! You dug that out of the trash, you scumbag!" I guess in retrospect I could've chosen better wording. It was just such a surprise.

All Greta does is smile and laugh. (Except when she's screaming.) It is soooooo cute.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Car is Dead!

Martin will be cruising around town in some hott free rental for the next little while until we're able to get our hands on a new vehicle.

Last night Martin got kicked our of our bed and had to go sleep in Anja's bed with very small blankets while I nursed and bottled all night long in our bed. I don't know what their deal was, but nobody was sleeping.

I've started making a dress for someone from a ruined dress shirt of Martin's. This is not the shirt-dress that my sister and my mom make... I'm just cutting up the fabric and making a dress from it. Unfortunately I'm a very impatient and untalented seamstress, so things already aren't going well. This may end up being a dress for Baby Doll.

All that rain has made my garden happy! Even my runty little tomato plant (that I almost didn't plant because I wasn't entirely sure it was a plant and not just a weed) is growing tall! I've only lost one pepper plant so far out of my entire garden... I think someone sat on it or stepped on it...

Last night we walked up to my parents house. Anja had SO MUCH FUN. I've never seen her so thrilled with absolutely everything around her. She was all smiles as she ran from one little bike to the next, to the trampoline, to the gravel (she adores little rocks) to the sandbox.... oh my gosh, she was in heaven. It was ADORABLE.

Best Martin quote in recent time: "I love her. I'm going to stop cursing."

Another good Martin quote pins Greta and her happiness; he says she has such a joyful smile. And she does! She is a much happier newborn than Anja ever was and it's very fun to watch. In comparing the two of them I think of Greta as the sugar and Anja as the spice of the duo. Anja is go-go-go and not afraid of anything. She is sweet as a can be, but she has such a quirky, spunky personality! Greta just snuggles up and smiles. (Except when she is busy screaming from 9:00 to midnight. Every. Night.)

The evening screamfest weirds me out. I realize that LOTS of babies have their grumpy time in the evenings, and it used to just be worse at that time compared to other screamfests throughout the day. But now it's the only time she's grumpy, but it is INTENSE. I'm sure our neighbors believe that we're performing torturous rituals every evening the way she screams. But other than those few hours at night she is completely content and readable all day long.

And speaking of Greta.... I think she's awake!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Haaaarrd Times, Haaaarrd Times, Come Again No More!

Okay, our times aren't THAT hard, but we do like to sing that song for kind of a joke. The carlessness is a pretty good adventure, and the best part is, it's really not much of an inconvenience at all. We did miss PeterXavier's birthday party on Sunday, but not without making a good effort! We'd gotten him a yummy Black Forest Tart of the personal size from O'Rear's Bakery after church, but that night, after we'd missed the party and it was late and Anja had FINALLY gone to sleep and Greta still hadn't, we made a cup of coffee, sat down at the table, and thoroughly enjoyed eating PeterXavier's birthday present. Don't worry, we'll replace it, or get him something else.

Our days have been filled with long walks, even though we don't yet have anyplace to go. We found out the worst news ever on Sunday: Vienna no longer accepts fully punched cards for vanilla chai! Only coffee and espresso!!!!!! My life is over. There was no joy like going to Vienna and enjoying a FREE double vanilla chai. *sigh* Hard Times!!

Martin's going to be working late many nights for the next few weeks as "walk-in" season gets busy. Blech!

Good news regarding my education! Martin has discovered that I can take all these classes for free at Ivy Tech and under a special agreement with Purdue, if I take specific classes toward a specific English associates degree they will all transfer to Purdue without a hitch and I'll be able to continue there to get my bachelors. Yay! Not only that, but I'll be able to take most of the classes (except maths and languages) online!! Unfortunately, most of the time I already spent at Ivy Tech was filled with Early Childhood Education classes, which of course, don't mean much for an English degree. But still! For free! This is good news.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Just Another Drop in the Bucket

*Note: Martin says I need to post more often, even if my posts are not complete, because people might stop checking my blog if I become such an infrequent poster. So I'm sorry if this and/or all my future entries end abruptly. I just means a baby woke up and that's as good as you get.*

Everyone has had those stretches of time where you think every day, "what more can go wrong?" and then something else, something you never thought of, immediately goes wrong. Martin and I are in one of those stretches now. It's just been one thing after another for the past few weeks, stupid little bad-luck coincidences that lead to bigger problems that lead to more money having to be spent, etc., etc., etc. So yesterday I'd finally reached the point where it was all starting to get to me. I was really hoping that we were going to see an upward turn in our luck sometime soon. The weekends are always happy and relaxing with long family walks, sitting on the porch swing, and eating fun, thrown-together meals, so I thought this weekend would be just like that, a little break from the "ugh, what next?" that we'd had during the last week.

We did take a wonderful long walk to campus yesterday as soon as Martin got home from work. It's graduation weekend, and we got to campus just a little bit before commencement started so we got to see all the happy families with their happy graduates taking happy pictures in front of all the typical landmarks. It was really fun to see. By the time we got home it was 7:30! After dinner I put Anja to bed while Martin and Greta went to the grocery. It was just when we parted ways that the storms came in. I'm not sure if it was the noise of the storm or what, but Anja wouldn't go to sleep. Martin came home soaking wet, having covered Greta up with his raincoat. It was really pouring! Anja and I had been reading stories while we waited for them to get home, and I thought she'd be ready to fall asleep by then, but when Martin took her up and tried, she was still wide awake. When he came down it had stopped raining, so he thought he'd take a quick drive with her.

Of course just after he left it started raining just as hard as it had been before. The route he drives to get Anja to sleep is up Ferry Street because it's dark and there are only a couple of stop signs. Naturally, he drove this way with her. When he got to the intersection by the hardware store he didn't realize that the wetness in the road was actually knee-deep standing water. He drove in--and the car stalled.

There was a police car with its lights on at the other side of this "puddle." Martin thought he was pulling someone over, but as it turns out, he wasn't. I think he was there to block people from going through the high water from that direction--but Martin was coming from the other direction; there was nothing warning him of the water.

Please keep in mind that this was a pretty big storm--tornado watches and warnings were issued all around us and this storm (I was at home tracking it, heh heh heh) was producing hail and dangerous lightning, not to mention the crazy, constant downpour-- and although I knew Martin could take care of himself, he had Anja with him!

When Martin realized that the policeman ahead was not pulling someone over, but just sitting there, Martin went over to him to ask for help. Evidently, the officer, cozy in his car, glanced up at Martin, looked back down at his computer and chose to ignore him. So Martin went back to his car to push it. A nice man in a pickup truck stopped to help and together they pushed the car a ways, but couldn't get it up the incline of the parking lot, so the guy used his tow straps to haul Martin's car the rest of the way, which caused a minor fender-bender between the two cars and wedged the nice guy's truck between Martin's car and a pole. So now BOTH cars were stuck, it was still pouring, and the police officer over yonder was still sitting cozily in his car on the other side of the lake.

I don't know how, but they managed to get their cars untangled and unwedged, but our car still wouldn't start. Meanwhile, I'm at home with the 8-week-old who is screaming her little head off. Finally, Martin asks me to call Doug (our next door neighbor) to come get him. So Doug and Tara brave the storm to go rescue my husband and baby because they have baby seats in their car and because they are just that kind of people, who will do something like that and then come back home laughing and smiling.

But here's the best part. The rain let up a little bit while Martin was waiting for Doug to arrive. It was then that the police officer got out of his car and came over to the edge of the lake and started making fun of Martin. "You just had to try it, didn't you?" is evidently what he said. He kept at Martin until Martin finally told him that he already felt stupid enough as it was, he didn't need to rub it in. That was all that happened with the police officer. He never asked if everyone was okay, never offered a hand, never bothered to check if by chance there was a baby in the car.

Shortly after, the city came and put up a "high water" sign in the road.

And I know we're locals and that there are numerous people we could've called for an emergency ride, but what if we weren't? Martin would've been stranded there. We only have the one car, it's not like I could've gone to get him. And the policeman watched the whole thing without ever offering anything. Martin and I are pretty disgusted.

P.S. on Thursday just before the hometour, my sister-in-law was walking her dog down 6th street. When the light turned green and she proceeded across the street, a policeman turned the corner without looking up from his computer and hit her dog. Then the next day, (not such a big deal,) I was walking with the girls and at the same corner a policeman did the same thing! They don't look when they make left turns. Luckily, I was paying attention and only got a little ways into the street before I realized he wasn't waiting for me, and I stopped.

Doug and Tara brought them home and we eventually made it to bed around 1:00. This morning Martin woke up at 5:30 and walked up to the hardware store to try and start his car again. It still wouldn't start. It was then that he realized that his phone must've gotten too wet... it stopped making calls. Luckily he can still text, it just won't connect calls. We in touch with John Smooney and he's been helping Martin out, but they just left a bit ago to have the car towed to a shop.

So while I'm debating writing a letter to the chief of police telling him to get his boys in line, I'm also trying to imagine what else could possibly go wrong before our streak of bad luck ends!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ready or Not....

Wouldn't it be funny if I had written out a list of housework to do for Thursday, yardwork for Thursday evening, and more housework for Friday in preparation for the Unseen City Tour on Friday, and then found out at 11:00 on Thursday morning (before I'd started crossing things off my list) that the tour was actually ON THURSDAY??

I'll give you a hint: No.

Well, okay, it was actually really hilarious. But it could have been EXTREEEEEMELY embarrassing! Luckily, I had my sister's friend Stephanie looking out for me... she got in touch with my sister and my sister got in touch with me to suggest that I double check the day of the tour. So I looked it up online, and sure enough, the tour was scheduled for tonight. I should've taken before and after pictures of the inside and outside of my house when she called this morning and again just before the tour started. Three people saved my life today: Stephanie, my sister Sarah, and my sister-in-law TusaRebecca. As soon as I texted my sister-in-law, she came over with yard bags and garden tools and gloves and we got to work on the outside of the house. Thankfully, yesterday I had borrowed Stephanie's daughter to come play with Anja while I was able to clean the whole dining room. We literally worked all afternoon, and luckily, the girls were complete gems. First they were happy all morning, then they both napped at the same time for a good two and a half hours! Martin came home at 2:00 (when he asked his boss, she evidently said, "you need to go home." Martin's office is incredible.) and quickly cleaned up the kitchen, so it ended up being on the tour as well. TusaRebecca and I were so stinky and sweaty by the end of the afternoon! My sister sent over her cute ice cream table from her porch along with some yummy scones! (I'm assuming they were yummy... I actually didn't get to eat one.) My mother-in-law's yard contributed some pretty irises for the dining table and some dogwood flowers for a pitcher that sat with the scones on the ice cream table on the porch. Okay, I can't help saying it.... my house looked really cute.

And then people actually LIKED it!!! One lady even commented on (now, don't faint!) HOW CLEAN IT WAS!!!!! Can you even believe it?!?!? And while people also said that they liked my decorating style and that it felt cozy and inviting and cottagey, the comment I got the most throughout the evening was, "My, you're brave!" I'm sure they meant to say "stupid" and I'm sure their compliments were sort of genuine but with a little bit of pity thrown in as I stood there with my 8-week-old baby, but still!! I appreciated their nice words and without TusaRebecca's hard work and my sister's heads-up, I would've simply had to post a sign on the door explaining that we'd all come down the the Plague, so sorry, no tour for you.

The most surprising part of the night? It was so much fun! Martin is a funny guy--he is all quiet and shy seeming to most, but boy, if you get him in a social setting, he can really work a room. Here he was explaining our house to strangers and having a really good time!! I had a great time too, Anja was AMAZING and had so much fun being our little greeter, Greta slept for most of the time, but what time she was awake she spent completely happy. We saw a number of familiar faces and at the end of the night we sat down and had ourselves some delicious steaks (courtesy of my mother-in-law) and the last Summer Ale in our fridge to celebrate a job well done.

What a day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sleep Deprivation--and other topics of interest

I've started a post on our level of sleep deprivation four times now, but I am never able to finish them. Probably because I keep falling asleep on the keyboard... haha! Just kidding.

Today marks a very important milestone for me as a parent: I left the house with both babies ALL ON MY OWN!!!!!! Not only that, but our trip to the doctor was successful. Greta slept the entire time, which was AWESOME, considering it was an appointment for Anja, meaning she screamed the entire time from the moment we left the waiting room until the doctor left us after her checkup. She HATES going to the doctor. But she checked out fine; she is still short and fat with a big head--just the way we like her!

Mother's Day was nice. We missed the 7:30 mass because we can't wake up for alarms. We woke up at 6:30, but an hour is just not enough time to get four people ready and out of the house, no matter how close you live to the church. We all looked nice, but we walked into church in the middle of the homily. So we left and said we'd shoot for the 10:00 after breakfast with Martin's family. We missed that one too though, and so we went on to my family's get-together (a lunch picnic at Prophetstown) and later in the afternoon we went to St. Lawrence for 5:00 Mass. And we were there early!!! However, while I was minding Anja during the sermon, I looked over and saw that Greta and Martin were fast asleep. I kept nudging him every few minutes, but he never quite woke up all the way, I don't think.

Being sleep deprived is a lot like being sort of drunk. You have conversations that seem very fuzzy to you the next day (or that are gone from your memory entirely.) Your days go by in such a blur that you don't know what day of the week it is... or what the date is... I'm lucky if I get the month right!

Greta's colicky newborn disposition is quickly turning sunnier. She is more scheduled, and although a bedtime of midnight or later is not ideal, I can still predict her sleep and wakeful times throughout the day. She usually only screams in the late afternoon and in the evenings now instead of all day long. I've been trying for weeks to catch a good smile on camera, but this blurry one is the closest I've come.
Tonight when Martin got home we immediately packed up the girls and went for a long walk. We walked up to campus to the Engineering Fountain. They never turn the fountains on anymore. Booo. Anja loved seeing so many birds and squirrels and chipmunks! We sat for awhile on some benches so I could nurse Greta and Anja picked flowers and found some neat rocks and brought me bits of mulch as gifts. She's so sweet! We stopped by that funny tree by the Stewart and took some pictures. Anja loved being in the tree! Both girls were awesome all the way there and back, and by the time we got home it was Anja's bedtime!

It was the perfect way to spend an evening. And now: some pictures.
Here is Anja in her sunhat and garden shoes, ready to work with us. Eating a chili and cornbread for the first time... a very special meal in our house! Chili and cornbread is what we ate the night Martin showed up for dinner at my parents house when I was in junior high! Greta in her swing. Isn't she so dark compared to Anja?!? It's funny, Martin and I both see in Anja traits of the two of us, but she is still not anything close to what we had expected a baby of ours to look like. In Greta, we see only Greta, no family traits of anyone's, yet she is EXACTLY what we would've expected our babies to look like. Very weird!
Our little flower child, all ready for a Saturday morning at the Farmers Market. (Anything you see in the pictures that looks kind of weird, maybe stuck all over her chest? Those are stickers. She is obsessed with stickers. I think in this picture she's sporting the one from the Chiquita bananas.
Petting the trolley horses at Prophetstown. She LOVED the animals, especially the horses. The ones who were in the field came right up to the fence and threw their noses over at us, but she wasn't scared at all! She just pet them and giggled! They have four little lambs out there right now! Very, very cute and woolly.

Anja in the tree again. She thought that was something. We don't have any climbable trees near our house--they are all oak trees whose branches are too high to reach!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Newborns make excellent lap-warmers. They should totally be marketed this way.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Meat. Yum.

As I think I've mentioned before, Martin's love of firearms has recently been rekindled. This is a great thing, partly because we live in a really scuzzy neighborhood and I feel a lot safer knowing I could possibly defend myself against an icky burglar without having to wait for the iron to warm up. Also this is a great thing because he is really excited to start hunting again, which makes me excited to cook with any meat he gets. Our fabulous neighbors will be moving at the end of the summer (*sob*) and we plan to buy their chest freezer from them. Even if Martin gets ONE deer this fall (and with the strange rules of hunting, he can legally and geographically have a chance at something like 16, so hopefully he'll at least get one!) we'll have meat to last a good while, and I can't wait to start eating it and cooking with it. I made chili yesterday and so wished I was making venison chili instead of beef, as I stood there stirring my pan full of ground beef that was literally being boiled in its own grease. Meat is so expensive! We buy the cheapest, worst-for-your-health meat from the store, but I would so love to be eating something better for us, and hunted by Martin. Needless to say, he's excited by the idea too. He also started looking up squirrel recipes on the internet the other day and he told me there are some really yummy looking ones. I would love it if he could shoot us some small animals--rabbits, squirrels--and we could make our dinners next summer out of our own meat and our own vegetables and herbs from our garden. I'm only bothering to grow the veggies that we eat the most--tomatoes, onions, peppers, squash. My neighbor Tara gave me a few broccoli plants too, and I'd like to try my hand at carrots, but I'm not getting my hopes too high for success. (Same with the onions, which I've never tried.) I'd like to try growing potatoes, but I don't think our summers are too warm.

Anyway... I reeeeaaaalllly need to find a place to set up my sewing machine and get to work. I am itching to make the girls some matching dresses, make Greta a quilt, for which I already have all the fabric, and make Anja her apron to match mine. I just don't have time to do it by hand, but I know I could make it in one naptime with a machine. Anja wants to be up at the counter anytime I'm making anything, which is wonderful, except that she always ends up covered in batter. Last night I made cornbread and she helped me stir it, and then she took a taste with the end of her finger.... she must've liked it, because she immediately stuck her whole hand in and started licking it off! Haha, good thing we didn't have guests....

We have a very busy weekend and week ahead of us, starting tonight. It's John Smooney's birthday so we're going to dinner with Martin's family for that, but Martin's been getting home a little later from work since it's walk-in season, and we still have to get John a gift on the way. Yikes! So we'll probably be late for dinner, but it's bound to be a good time all the same.

Tomorrow I am meeting up with some classmates from high school in the morning, and I'm really excited. It will be at least one old classmate and his cute wife and fabulous little girls, and possibly another classmate with her little boys! Then I'll have to make a cake in the afternoon because Greta is getting baptized tomorrow night! Surprise! We just planned this last night, but it all miraculously worked out, thankfully.

Saturday we will have to do more yardwork and housework because that blasted home tour is a week from tomorrow. I'm SO NERVOUS about getting my house ready. If you've seen it recently, you understand why. The place is a disaster area. My mom whipped us up some better curtains for the living room, complete with tension rods, so that's a ginormous help (actually, I thought my current curtains were fine, but nobody else thought so) and I've been offered the caretaking skills of a friend's 10-year-old daughter sometime next week. That will be a huge help too. So anyway, we'll work all day, then we're going to Watson's house for dinner because JOANNIE is in town!!!!! I have no idea why she's here!! But she texted me the other night and we've got dinner plans for Saturday and I'm super excited.

Sunday is Mother's Day, need I say more? We'll get together with both families early in the day, Anja can take a slightly later nap than usual, and while she's asleep, we will most definitely be working more on the house.

All next week: Get ready for the home tour.

In baby news, Greta has been doing much better lately. She hit the six-week mark and is suddenly a lot happier. She will happily sit in her swing! Just like a real baby! It feels so good to be able to get stuff done. Even if it's not everything I'd like to do in a day, I am accomplishing things, and that's a very good thing. Anja has not been sleeping so well during the night lately, and we are placing the blame on her teeth. She appears to have four molars coming in at once, and she's biting everything and everyone around her, as well as drooling like crazy.

In dog news, we took the dog to the vet yesterday and she's had medicine but she's still got explosive poo. Martin woke up this morning with quite a mess to clean up. He didn't want to leave me with her so he stayed home for the morning and took her out about every 30 minutes.

I would about kill for a fizzy cherry coke right now.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Poop Machine

We'd been thinking we kind of had our hands full lately, what with having two babies who aren't such great sleepers. Ha! Little did we know that we had another load coming... You might remember last summer when I was posting about our dog, Karenin, and her explosive diarrhea; how Martin would wake up every morning to a cage full of dog poo, and a dog covered in said poo, and how he'd spend the morning cleaning up the mud room and the dog until finally he decided it was easier to just get up every hour to take the dog out, and THEN we finally decided it was time for a trip to the vet, who unfortunately told us that this "gasterointeritis" is very common. COMMON! Well, at least this time we knew what it was and Martin only had to spend one night waking up every hour, and even that wasn't a very long night, considering Greta didn't go to sleep until 1:00 and Martin stayed up after that washing the dishes and finishing his workout. Luckily we were able to get her in at 7:00 this morning and everything worked out just as last time. But still..... I'd like to know exactly how often we're going to have this little problem over Karenin's life... because that life might turn out to be a limited time offer.

This morning I had my six week postpartum checkup. Everything is normal and great, but I find this six-week check kind of sad in a way. You spend the better part of a year looking forward to your appointments, you finally get to the point where the ladies at the reception desk know you by name, you finally get to the point where you can joke with your doctor, and then it's over. And obviously I'd rather have my Greta than a Tuesday morning appointment with my "lady doctor," and it's not like I'm actually sad about this... it's just a funny thing to think of. No more doctor appointments. Even the well-baby visits are becoming more spaced out. Oh well... if it hadn't been for that appointment this morning, I could've taken a walk with my sister and her kids!

Last night we worked in the garden as a family. I put Greta on a quilt and she was sooooooo happy to just lie there on her back and look at... whatever she can see at her age. I'm sure she at least enjoyed the fresh air. But we were having such a hard time keeping Anja away from her (Anja tends to show her affection for her little sister by doing things like sitting on her head) that not much work was getting done. We tried bringing Greta's swing out, but she wasn't happy there, and then Martin tried taking Anja and the dog on a walk, but Greta was unhappy anyway so I wasn't getting any work done either.... so we loaded them all up and took a walk over to the levee and back. It was the perfect summer evening. A good meal, a little bit of garden work, a little bit of family walk, and then Anja went easily to bed. One of the cutest things was when I was digging my holes for my pepper plants and Anja came over with a couple of rocks and dropped them in. So cute!

By 10:30 this morning both girls had exploded out of their diapers and were in new outfits! Wheee!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Crazy-Lazy Weekends

Wow! Thanks for all your kind words and encouragement, everyone!!! I don't think I've ever gotten a whopping 25 comments on my blog ever before, either. And such nice ones!! Aah, I love my little blogworld.

As I began this post, (yesterday,) Martin was on a walk with both girls AND the dog. Yikes! He scores a lot higher on the Bravery Meter than I do!

We had a pretty good weekend. Well paced and productive but fun at the same time.

So, Martin and I don't have a TV, I think I've mentioned that on here a few times. I never got cable after I moved out of my parents house, and though I used to watch it when I lived without a washer and dryer and did my laundry at my parents house, it's essentially been 7 years since I've watched TV. Still, I had a TV and would watch movies a lot when I lived by myself. When Martin and I got married we still had my TV and we watched movies for awhile, but after Anja was born, we just kind of stopped. We'd watch one here and there and it was always fun and festive, but it didn't happen all that often. Then during this past travel season, Martin bought me a movie and when I went to watch it I discovered the TV was broken. I tried to watch it on the computer, but our computer was too low on memory to run a DVD. So a few months later we finally threw the TV in the trash and we still haven't cleaned off our laptop. When Greta was born we borrowed my dad's little personal DVD player--it's really neat! It's about the size of one of those very tiny laptops, but when you open it, it's a DVD player instead of a keyboard, and a screen like a laptop. We watched "Walk the Line" on it in the first days I was home and we didn't feel like doing anything. Then we kept forgetting to give the player back to my dad, so it sat on a table gathering dust for a long time. UNTIL.... Martin's friend Patrick from work lent him some DVDs of a television series called "The Unit." It's about Delta Force. Martin was watching an episode one morning while I was getting ready for my day and he was holding Greta so I could do that, and I was making fun of it. But then I stood there (we set it up on the kitchen counter) and watched a little bit... AND GOT TOTALLY HOOKED!!!! Not only am I completely hooked on the series, but it's been a lot of fun watching it together too. We've been watching a few episodes every evening while Greta stays up. On Saturday when we did our grocery shopping I got saurkraut for a recipe I'm making this week, and so we picked up a package of brats as well and Martin grilled them up for us along with a can of baked beans, and we pulled up a couple of kitchen chairs and cracked open a beer and had ourselves a little midnight picnic in the kitchen while we watched this show and walked around with our insomniac baby. It was GREAT!!! Martin has always told me, when Anja has been a bad sleeper, to "just have fun with it." And this weekend we did! We actually looked forward to Greta staying up all night so we could watch our show together.

On Saturday we bought flowers and herbs. Hooray for summer! On Sunday we planted them. I now have a little patch of purple phlox at the end of my driveway with some decorative bricks I uncovered and a big rock that came out of the Jungle. I have purple impatiens in hanging baskets on my porch (note to all: Don't waste your money buying hanging baskets every year! Save your baskets from year to year and buy flats of flowers to replant in the baskets!! It saves SO MUCH MONEY!) and the same purple impatients in a ring around one of the trees in front of the house. (I have to get more flowers and do the same to the other tree. This was an unplanned flourish.) Martin dug up a peony from the Jungle as well and replanted it in the backyard. The herbs for my herb box this year are cilantro, basil, thyme, and oregano. Those are the herbs we use the most and I'm sure I'll enjoy going out to the yard and getting them for our dinners just as much as I did last year. I'm very excited! Meanwhile, as I was planting all these flowers, Martin was destroying the Jungle. Hard work, but it's great to finally be attacking that stuff after two summers of letting it grow!! Today during the first half of Anja's nap (this is the second half) I tore weeds from my garden. Hopefully soon we can borrow my dad's tiller and get things rolling. It had better be sooner than later, since all of my vegetables are still in their flats on my front porch.

Also on Sunday, between Martin-and-Annie yardwork and Martin-only yardwork, we took our first walk over to campus as a family of four! It felt good to do it. Now that we know it's still possible, I'm sure it'll keep being our normal route. And we saw our friends Ryan and Ben who now live in Chicago. Fun!

And here are on another Monday, but everyone has been delightfully cheerful today so far. Hopefully Anja will wake up happy from her nap and Greta will still be not screaming, and we'll have a good afternoon as well. We're having corned beef and cabbage for dinner!

OH! And we got Anja a birdfeeder!!!!! Some friends of ours gave us some Target giftcards when Greta was born. Well, actually, they gave real gifts to the girls and me, and gave Martin a stack of Target giftcards to do what he wanted with. And he bought Anja a birdfeeder with part of them because lately she's been spending about half the day standing at the kitchen screendoor looking out at the birds in the jungle. So after Martin tore down the section of the jungle outside the kitchen door, he planted the birdfeeder. So far we've had only one or two visitors, but we are hopeful that there will be more. This morning we were looking out the FRONT screen door and there were FOUR squirrels running around in front of our house, and one of them even came right up onto the porch! Anja was so excited she was shaking. (Mama: She was doing that thing she does when I come home after leaving her with you. The kind of seizure thing, you know?) So we put some bird seeds out on the porch steps in hopes that we will get some more furry guests today. We love to watch the animals!