Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Here in our Thursday, we are all having a pretty pleasant day. Greta seems to be coming down with a cold, which is too bad, but she's a trooper. She's a little bit snotty-faced and slightly on the cranky side, but I'd be cranky too if I didn't feel well and I had someone pushing me over onto my head all day long.
Oh, Anja. For the great majority of the time, I don't know how I was so lucky to get her. She is SO good and SO funny and SO cute... even if her fashion sense is lacking. (She's been wearing the most horrible outfits lately! She digs to the bottom of piles to bring out the most atrocious combinations of bad jumpers and ugly shirts. It's actually kind of amazing how bad they are!) Of course there are the days (like yesterday!) when everyone screams all day long, but for the most part, my biggest complaint these days is that I NEED SPRING TO COME. NOW. I can't remember the last time I was this inactive. (Ironically, I don't stop moving from the minute I wake up until I go to bed, but still, I feel like I never get any exercise.) The girls are wanting out too, I can tell. As the weeks go by, though they retain their sweetness, everyone is getting a little more crazy. I have this idea for next year to poison Punxatawny Phil. What do you think would happen if the Grounhog was dead and never came out of his hole to see if his shadow was there? Would it remain winter forever? Or would Spring have to come the very next day!? If next year's winter is as long as this one, I could totally go for a February ETA for Spring. This has been the longest winter EVER. But soon the girls will be old enough that we can take them sledding and to all sorts of winter activities, and that'll be fun.
I have a number of projects cluttering up the dining room table at this time. (Yeah, remember how I put my sewing machine? I think that lasted less than 3 days.) I'm working on a small quilt (not the pinwheel quilt, I've decided) for the girls. I kind of want it to be Greta's birthday present, but I kind of don't want it to "belong" to just one of them. It's nothing impressive, just squares in a pattern, so hopefully I can get it whipped up quickly and quilted in time for our early springtime walks.
I'm also attempting to make a pseudo-Waldorf doll. That will be Greta's Mama-made doll for her 1st birthday. I really like the idea of giving all my children a doll that I've made for their 1st birthday. Even if the dolls are pretty crappy, at least it is made with love! I really like the faces of the Waldorf-inspired dolls. I found a simple tutorial on the internet and am roughly following that. Of course, my doll is not made of organic material... it's made of an old Fruit of the Loom Tshirt (this doll doesn't see much sunshine... or maybe she's albino) instead of organic, flesh-colored knit. But whatever. Maybe I'm just keeping my childrens minds from being narrow. Ha-ha.
Another project that I just started today is a cute little wrap dress for Anja. I think it's cute, anyway. I found the pattern online (have I mentioned how I LOVE having wireless internet?) and the photos of it made it look cute, though the dress was just on a hanger, and lots of things can look cute on a hanger and then awful on the wearer. We'll see how this turns out. I've made it out of cheap and simple materials--muslin that is cheap and which I had a lot of, and ribbon for the edging that my mother-in-law brought over to me yesterday--so if it doesn't turn out, there won't be too much invested.
I am lucky to have girls who allow me
Ha. God got me. That last sentence was going to say something about how my girls are so calm and wonderful and they let me do things like sew and blog during the day. But when I went to the living room to check on the squirrels for Anja, I found that the whole living room was covered in peanuts. Well. They're wonderful anyway.
I find it fascinating that "real" food is all the rage these days. That living close to the land is the new fad. I think it's hilarious that people are reading books that tell them that certain fast foods, or just tampered-with foods are bad for them and they are amazed. "This book tells me I shouldn't eat McDonald's! This internet article tells me that partially hydrogenated oils are bad for me! What a relief that now I know how to eat because I was TOLD how to do it! I must change my lifestyle to live by these rules!" Isn't it kind of common sense? I don't understand how this is news to people. That changing your food in any way is bad. Of course organic is better for you. Of course the less packaged foods, additives, preservatives, unnatural foods you eat the healthier you'll be. Why are so many people able to make money by writing books and making movies that tell you this? I eat McDonalds and I know how bad it is for me because I can FEEL it. I don't need to read it to know that it'll kill me. I eat three bites of a cheeseburger and I don't want to eat again for the rest of my life. I think that makes the facts pretty clear. I know that refined sugars and flours are bad for me because they make me zitty and fat. I know that beef with added hormones is gross because.... well, just because.
Martin and I, like many people, have a longterm goal of only eating our own basic foods. This is not a new concept, and it's not a unique goal by any means, (in fact, it's ridiculously popular) but some people seem to think it is. People seem to think that the old way is something new because the concept is the new hot topic in the media. It wasn't so long ago that life was simple and everyone had a garden and everyone hunted and everyone ate clean, natural foods. In fact, chances are, if you want to learn about eating clean and naturally, you can ask your parents. This is not a new concept. And I don't really know why I find it so aggravating, but I do. I think it's the attitude some people have of being clever, or thinking they are the first to come up with this, or that they are in on some secret.... or possibly that since they are eating better than others that they ARE better than others? I don't know what it is. But something about the new Food Movement really rubs me the wrong way. And I'm not even against it. I think it's a great, healthy way to live, and I think that things like working for your food in the way of hunting and gardening, and the way of building community and relationships by buying your food from local farmers are wonderful and SO beneficial to you and to your children. I look forward to the time when we have the means to live that way. But why all the hype? This is the way people lived their entire lives up until about a generation ago. Yes, it's more difficult to do now, in the age of instant gratification and convenience, and yes, it might give you a feeling of self-satisfaction having worked hard to give your family the best foods possible, and that is really great, but it's anything but new.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I guess it is kind of nice.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I did sew the cuffs onto the overalls for the girls today. They turned out really well!
Once a plain white long-sleeved tshirt, it will be a shirt that is slightly less boring. While this might look like I ruined a perfectly good shirt just for the sake of keeping my hands busy, the shirt was actually comletely stained underneath those fabrics and was only suitable to be worn as an undershirt because it was so gross looking.
And now, here is what everyone looks like this very night.... Anja from before our trip to Target, riding on her horse (the upside down laundry basket... I'm proud of her for coming up with the entire thing completely on her own) and Martin and Greta from right this very minute. Okay, well within the past ten minutes anyway.
It might be true that Anja was throwing a fit just before this picture was taken, which is why her face looks so cry-y. But she's happy to be on her horse!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Tonight after dinner Martin started reading to me "The Education of Little Tree." A lovely little book about mountain people, it inspired me to finally start on the pinwheel quilt I've been intending to make for months. The good thing is, it's started. The bad thing is, I mis-measured (imagine that!) and so I am limited to homespuns and muslin for my fabric choices. This is fine because I have TONS of leftover squares from the quilt I made for Martin as a 2nd anniversary gift, but it's also kind of boring to be working with the same fabrics again. Oh well, they need to be used up somehow. I might just be lazy--I mean, LOVING--and make it a littler-sized quilt for Greta for her birthday. We'll see. It's nice though, to have a by-hand project going. I haven't been knitting... I got frustrated with it after my last project attempt and even though I've been checking out books from the library, I'm not ready to take it up again. I'd like to make a particular Debbie Bliss sweater for the girls.... but I love fabric oh-so-much and I have sooooo much of it, while the yarn I have to choose from is about half a skein in a variety of colors and textures and weights, etc. So until I have the money to spend on nice yarn for a specific project, I am going to spend my time on fabric crafts, such as making clothes for the girls and quilts for all of us.
I love quilting. I love it above all other crafts, even Woodland Folk Making. I love taking tiny bits and making something big out of them. With knitting, you have a definite size, a definite pattern, a definite amount of yarn you need. When I make a quilt top, I just kind of make it however I want. (Confession: I've only used a pattern a few times, and it's the measurements that make it unenjoyable for me, so I've moved on to self-made "patterns".) It's nice that way. Now, admittedly, I usually only work with arrangements of squares, but STILL. This time I am doing pinwheel blocks, so that's different. And so far they are turning out very nicely. Besides, I'm not making them to enter into the county fair.... I am just making them to keep us warm. AND BECAUSE I LOVE FABRIC.
I think I'm going to go now and see if I can figure out how to download and use Picasa. I can't find that CD for my camera stuff, and I have good pictures to share!
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Oh my goodness! And looking more carefully, I see that this song was written (and published on my LJ) FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY!! What a remarkable coincidence! Really! What are the chances?!?
The depressing part about looking back on my five-years-ago life is that it was really fun. I'm not saying that my life now isn't fun... For every walk down Main Street in my past life, I have an equally wonderful toddler painting session in this life. But my old life was.... different. It was carefree. In fact, it was ridiculously carefree. All I did was hang out with my friends (and evidently I had a lot) walk around downtown, work at the most amazing little Main Street shop on the planet, play music, and drink Amaretto Sours. I had all the fun of toddlers without any of the responsibility, since I lived with my sister and her kidders. I played music ALL THE TIME and was making decent money from it. I worked at a freaking Ten Thousand Villages store and got paid for it (normally it's volunteer at those places) while all my friends came and visited me all day long. It was a good life! And like I said, I have an equally good life now, it's just completely different. For example, I spend a lot more time picking bits of mushy carrot up off the floor these days than I ever did back then. (Although back then I was cleaning up duck poop.)
Anyway.... I think Martin might be thinking of the good old days too, but he must be thinking back to high school because he suggested we have frozen fish sticks and tater tots for dinner tonight. So now, for the first time IN MY LIFE, I have those foods in my freezer. It makes me a little uncomfortable. But I have to admit, it did take me back to the CC cafeteria...
Tomorrow's Sunday! Only six weeks till Easter! Oh wow. That's a really long time.
Martin just told me (lovingly, I'm sure) that in a hundred years or so I'm going be one of those grumpy saints they always talk about. I guess he heard me grumbling about Lent.
P.S. The girls have this new before-bed game where they put on their outside hats and crawl around the house laughing. It's so weird. Especially since Anja doesn't just wear her hat, but also one of Martin's shirts and her hot pink shoes. She is so funny. But she does the strangest things that are just hilarious, but that can't really be explained. Like this thing (my mom will know what I'm talking about) where she closes her eyes and moves her head around all weirdly.... I am seriously laughing out loud as I type this, just thinking of it... which sounds so retarded to say, and totally un-funny--but it's SO HYSTERICAL. It makes me laugh so hard I cry EVERY TIME. And she does it a lot!
Okay, I'm having one of those obnoxious Rambling About My Kids moments, and it's time to stop. Ooo! Ooo! Martin's putting out ant poison in the bathroom and they're coming in from all directions! I have to go see!!
And I was saying my old life was exciting. Ha!
Friday, February 19, 2010
On the girls:
Greta is a walker. It's true. She still crawls if she wants to get somewhere quickly, which is most of the time, but she'll just stand up and walk around for long periods of time. It's really cute! She kind of walks like an old lady looking for her walker though... and then of course, she falls down. Since she is coming up on her first birthday, she's a lot more sturdy than she used to be and Anja is really loving that. They wrestle all the time and they're starting to actually play together, which is ADORABLE. She is also a hilarious eater, stuffing her face and being really messy. I'm much more laid back with food, regarding my choking phobia, mostly because I couldn't keep Anja from sharing her food with her sister, but it's great because now I can give Greta lots of fun things (like graham crackers!) and not be so afraid while she's eating. I guess it helps that she has four ginormous teeth, unlike Anja, he barely had one tooth on her first birthday. It also helps that Greta took control from the beginning and has never let me feed her, while Anja still prefers to be spoon fed by her parents. Greta is also really into dolls now and if you give her one, she will make the cutest cooing noises at it. She talks to the cat the same way. They are very happy sounds.
Oh, Anja. She is learning more words, which is both good and sad at the same time. Her words are still more like sounds than actual words, but she is getting better at things like the "b" sound, and not everything starts with "g" anymore. MOST things to (funnily enough, not Greta, who is still "deh") but not EVERYTHING. She's just recently learned to say "ball" and it doesn't really sound like "ball" one bit, but I figured it out and since she's been saying it for a long time without me knowing what she was saying, this is a relief. She is an excellent counter though and sometimes can get all the way to five perfectly! She spends most of her time playing with to her dolls or doing artsy things like drawing, painting, or stickering. My favorite time of the day is during Greta's afternoon nap, when Anja and I do something quiet together. Usually I sew at the dining room table and she sits next to me and draws. I made her a felt pencil wrap for Valentines Day and on Ash Wednesday I made her a little bag so she can carry her things in it. It's a very old-lady-ish bag and it suits her perfectly.
She IS potty trained. She wakes up in the night to go potty. Often she goes, then goes right back to bed without a fuss. I know I am lucky that she doesn't insist on only using her own little pink potty. She will go on any big person toilet, she's not afraid of any of them. She got over her two-day issue with poo pooing not on the potty. The only word I can think of to describe our potty training experience is "magical." It really happened so easily that it must have been magic, there's no other explanation.
Anja ran out of toothpaste the other day. She'd been using the Orajel training toothpaste with Thomas the Tank Engine on the front. (Not that she has the faintest idea who he is.) This time I expected her to choose the same one, or the other Orajel one that has a bear on it (I think it might be Little Bear? I'm not sure.) She didnt want either of those, so I got her out of the cart and let her choose her own from the shelf. SURPRISE? She chose the giant tube of the bubble gum flavored toothpaste that had the Disney princesses all over the front. She LOVES it. She wants to brush her teeth all the time. For being such a weirdo, in some ways, she is a very typical little girly-girl! Have I mentioned how much I love having a toddler?
Martin is really into guns, which is less important than the fact that he's also really into his constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Something interesting that he told me and that I've been telling other people is that out in California a number of coffee shops said that they will no longer allow guns in their stores. When Starbucks was asked if they were going to join in, they said they welcome all people and respect everybody's rights. They can make rules, but they can't make laws. In recognition of this, gun owners across the country are marking this coming Sunday as their day to go to Starbucks, get a coffee, and tell the barista that they appreciate the Starbucks stand on the situation in California. Isn't that nice? Needless to say, we'll be visiting Starbucks on Sunday. In fact, knowing Martin, we'll probably be visiting all nine of our Starbucks' this Sunday.... three times.
A word to the wise: if you have a wife/girlfriend/BFF/mistress/whatever, who has a cat which she loves almost as much as she loves her own children, one thing you should absolutely NEVER do is call her at 6:30 in the morning during the walk with the dog and say really urgently, "Annie. The cat." Seriously, I had so many horrible visions of my Lovey Boy splattered across the pavement (and that would be a big splatter) that when I hung up with Martin I was actually shaking and breathing heavily. Turns out, Martin was just confused about when we were taking Theodore to the vet and he thought the appointment was at 7:00 in the morning, when actually it was at 1:30 in the afternoon. Silly Martin.
And at the vet, we learned that while it was advertised that he should lose some weight after being taken off of the weight control food and put back on regular food, he actually has gained a few pounds, bringing him up to a whopping 24.7 pounds. Still, he is only the third biggest cat seen at that vet. The biggest is 28 pounds! Martin thinks that when Theodore gets old he'll get even fatter (he is only 3 1/2 ) and will eventually be the fattest cat at that clinic. We'll see! I do have to admit, he's a lifelong member of the Clean Plate Club.
While we spent most of our tax returns on boring, responsible, grown-up things, we did each get a little fun budget for ourselves. I spent mine on a shopping spree at Jo-Anns!!!!!!! I got so much wonderful crafting stuff, including bamboo fiber filling, which is great. I had wanted cotton, but they didn't have any. I got some truly adorable fabrics, a few necessities like zippers and threads, and my most exciting purchase: THREE stacks of scrapbooking paper. I've started making little notecards with them, both to use myself, and to list on Etsy. I have always wanted to make greeting cards!! These are just blank, but they have cute cut-out things on the front, like owls, snails and cupcakes. I love them. And you know what? Even if no one else loves them and they never sell on Esty, I will still love them.
The other great thing I got was this laptop. It's not really mine, of course, it's OURS, but I am loving it. Pandora all the time!!
I read the STUPIDEST book in the universe the other day. I actually had a blog post written all about it, but then deleted it because it didn't seem like a very cheery post for my first one with the new laptop. But just believe me. It was awful.
My kitchen is a wreck, but there's no way I'm cleaning it up tonight. I'm going to bed. Maybe the good fairies will visit in the night and I'll wake up to a clean house...
Thursday, February 18, 2010
In fact, here's a tip for everyone reading this: if you're ever feeling down on the world, just hop on the Internets and go to Pandora.com. Tune into Raffi Radio with the addition of Elizabeth Mitchell, and you'll be feeling good in no time. Because really, who can be upset when listening to kids music? Lines like "Put my cares into a whistle and blow them all away" just kick sad feelings out the window!
Well, Lent is here. Again. I'm determined this year to make the most of the season. Last year I was so pregnant I was about to explode (and indeed I did, two weeks before Easter!) and then for Holy Week I had a newborn, and the whole experience of Lent was kind of lost last year. So this year I'm going to be back on track. It already started out better by getting to Ash Wednesday mass at noon and Anja being completely awesome. It was the first time I'd been to mass with both girls by myself. Scary, but it worked out well! I'm not sure we would've made it though, if it weren't for my brother-in-law who came running up behind us and carried Greta for me so I could carry slow-walking Anja. And then we got to sit with my sister and their kids, so that was great too. Made the scary first-experience a little easier.
Well, it's time to look at more animal pictures. Hmm... maybe we need a hidden internet pantry somewhere in this kitchen.....
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
1) I gave Anja a big piece of cheese and broke up some bite-sized pieces for Greta before I left the room for less than thirty seconds. When I came back, Greta was eating half of Anja's big piece of cheese and the other half had been broken up into small pieces and placed all over her head! Meawhile, the small pieces I'd broken up for Greta and put on the stool remained untouched.
2)Anja looking like a boy. She put on her daddy's hat like that and was wearing her paint smock which is still a little too big so you can't really see how cute the sleeve trim is, since the sleeves are rolled up.
3) We had a Di Fabio playdate! Charles, Monica and MaryGrace came over and Anja was antisocial the whole time, but it was still fun!
4) Anja's absolute best self-chosen outfit ever.
5) Anja was looking really cute one afternoon coloring on the floor (on paper) and wearing her little apron. I had to take pictures.
6) and another picture of Greta so it doesn't look like we only love Anja.
Today Martin has a snow day! He got off at 12:30 yesterday and doesn't have to work today, and it is very exciting, and hilarious, since it looks like the weather we were forecast to get didn't really pan out. But I guess they can't really "uncancel" work, so we are preparing for a good day at home together, starting out with eggs for breakfast!
Also, I have to say that I'm really glad Martin and I both drink coffee. It's such a nice thing to share. I feel bad for my parents because my mom is a coffee drinker and my dad is not, so my dad is missing out on the wonderfulness that is coffee and my mom has to enjoy her coffee once a day all by herself. How boring!
And there's a Euchre tournament at St. Boniface next month. When we saw the flyer at church, Martin said he wanted to ask my dad to be his partner. When we got home my sister called me to say that Andrew (her husband) had asked my mom to be his partner, so if we were going she'd be there with her kids and she and we could hang out. I told her that Martin had wanted to be partners with my dad! Now it's all set up so that my parents are competing against each other with their son-in-laws and Sarah and I are hanging out with all our children in the CYO room. Haha!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
I am all about repurposing these days. Old clothes from the Goodwill box become clothes for Anja's baby dolls. Scraps of fabric become ruffles on out-grown pajamas whose feet have been cut off. An ugly dress in a pretty floral print becomes a shirt and denim overall cuffs! I LOVE REPURPOSING. I have always been a sucker for fabric, and now I am doing so much more than quilting. I love it. Love, love, love. And I have so many plans in place for matching dresses for the girls this summer..... I am giddy. !!!!
This has been a most lovely weekend, which is a huge deal, since last weekend was a giant letdown. Last weekend was the first weekend in many that we had two full days together as a little family that were completely free of all obligation. Unfortunately, both the girls were HUGE GRUMPS. ALL WEEKEND. Uuuughhhh.. It was pretty miserable. Lots of "terrible two" incidents, teething-ish Greta (though I'm sure she's not teething... she's got four teeth, I don't think she's due to get any more for awhile, right?) Anyway, this weekend has been nothing but delightful. And this morning, we went to the 9:30 mass hoping for coffee and donuts in the gym afterward, but there were none, so Martin suggested we go to the Trails and spend our free meal giftcard we got in the fall. Yay! And on the way there, I was talking about something and Martin said, "Please don't take this as being mean, but could you stop talking for awhile so I can think about my strategy?" This guy plans out the way he'll eat his meal at the Trails. What a nut. And I told him I wouldn't take offense as long as I could blog about it and it was a deal.
We had such a nice time! Greta slept most of the time, then woke up to eat some carrots. Anja was absolutely perfect and I think she had a lot of fun. We sat at a table back in the corner and it was really peaceful and happy and nice.
And at church we sat behind my sister and her hubbywubby and our goddaughter, Rah-Rah who doesn't hate me anymore! Just like her big sister, I knew she'd grow out of it and eventually love her Nana. Yay!
I am glad that the kids all like to play with my Woodland Folk dolls because nobody wants to buy them from Etsy, so at least I have some kind of reassurance that they are nice toys. In fact, nobody on Etsy wants to buy any of my stuff! That's okay though... Martin says to give it time and he reminds me that we are in The Great Recession.
I have given up caffeine after twelve o'clock, and for three nights in a row Greta slept awesomely. Then last night she did that really annoying thing where she wakes up in the wee hours and won't go back to sleep for hours. Uuugh. I'm still going to stick with my no-coffee-after-noon limit though. Just in case.
Anja is so amazingly hilarious. Her drawing is really good! She makes circles! And she draws cats as circles with looooong lines for tails. And she draws hair on people! A person is a circle with scribbles on top (hair) except for Daddy, who is a circle and scribbles all over (beard.) She will sit at the table and draw and draw for as long as we let her. Except right now she's shut herself in her bedroom and is playing with her dolls. She is the funniest little girl. I have more to say about her and her quirkiness but it'll have to wait for a warmer day. But I'm really glad we have Greta because otherwise I don't think I ever would've realized how special Anja is. Obviously I'm glad to have Greta for many other reasons too.... like TAX RETURNS! Thanks, G! We knew we loved you, we just didn't know why.