Thursday, April 29, 2010

Doing It All

I think people wonder sometimes how I have time to myself to sew with two toddlers. Well, there's the truth of it: I don't!
This counts as a crafty post, right? The current project is still not finished... maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To the Park!

I'd like to begin with the number one man in my life: He deserves some publicity every once in awhile, doesn't he? Gosh, I love him so. And there is just so MUCH of him to love!

As I said in my last post, we went to the park yesterday and it was really cold. Greta really liked the goats, Anja was more interested in the chickens, but truthfully, Anja was most of all interested in the big rocks they have there. So interested, in fact, that at one point she was sitting on a big rock and one of the goats got a little frolicky and charged right up to her and the other little boy who was near. It completely freaked out the little boy, but Anja didn't even notice. I'm glad she's not afraid of animals... even when they are charging her.
We went to the playground for a little while. The slide was really wet but we got to play on all the bouncy see saws and stuff.

...And swing on the swings.
I'm surprised they even allow us to swing on the swings. Look at these weirdos.

Then we tried to go for a walk, but Greta was not having it. We've been successfully taking long walks in the morning, up 7th street and around the block to what we called "hidden 8th street" and back home. Greta has been doing really well riding on my back in the Ergo or in the stroller. But yesterday she was side-wrapped on me and was not as happy... but it didn't matter. It was naptime by then anyway, so we just went home.

When Anja first stopped taking naps I had a hard time with it. She was still really young and needy and that hour of time to myself in the middle of the day was a difficult thing to give up. But now I'm really glad she doesn't take naps! We have the whole day together and she can play by herself whenever she wants but she's also a good little helper and companion. She's so good to Greta [most of the time] too, helping her when sometimes I don't know what she wants. Then of course there are the other times when they spend the entire day fighting over the same toy. Ugh. But the other good thing about her not taking naps anymore is that she goes to bed easily at 7:00 every night and sleeps most of the night through, then wakes up at about the same time every morning. It's really nice. Although last night I got 5 consecutive hours of sleep for the first time in a veeeerrrryyyyyyyyyy long time. I'm feeling good today! Which is nice, since I have so much to do.
My dining room is in a nightmarish state. My next post will be crafty.
And last night ended with Martin and me sitting at the kitchen table with this little end-of-the-day treat. Evenings are the best. I'm looking forward to the fall and winter when we'll have our woodstove in and that will be the center of our evenings rather than the kitchen table.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

O, the Knees of my Jeans

Motherhood is taking a real toll on my blue jeans. In one weekend I blew out the weak knees of two pair of jeans and another one is about to go. My supply is dwindling. But today at the petting zoo, I realized that I do a lot more scooting around on my knees in gravel and on concrete than, say, office workers do. Yes, we went to the petting zoo today. It was really cold and really windy. Also, we went too close to G's naptime and so the event ended with a meltdown. But... it was still worth it, I think. More on that tomorrow.
More also tomorrow on the project I started today and will hopefully complete tomorrow sometimes... a little felt picture book. It's turned out so much better than I was expecting that I'm actually really proud of my work.
But for now, it's bedtime. I just had to post the picture of Greta with Easter Egg Nose.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rainy Days, Rainy Nights

One day last week Anja and I ate our lunch out on the porch and watched the rain. It's been raining for days and days. We've been spending much time on the porch and on our cozy back patio. After the girls are in bed, Martin and I make some tea and sit out at the patio table together. It's really nice. I have a feeling our backyard is going to get a lot of use this summer. We've already done more with it than we did last year, and feel motivated (not to mention able) to keep it up. And after this weekend it'll be time to plant the garden! Have I said it enough? I'm so glad winter is over.

I have the enormous task ahead of me of organizing all of my fabric and moving it from the bedroom closet (in multiple boxes and bags) into my new old trunk. Yikes. Currently, my dining room is a wreck as I tiptoe into this project and then backstep a little bit. For example, this morning I had the idea of moving some of the fabric, so I brought three bags from the closet up to the dining room. Then I took two bags back to the closet, left one bag out (letting the girls dig through the contents) and started making a paint smock.

Today Laura and MaryGrace came over and that was fun. And yestesrday Lina and her girls came over and that was fun too.

We have some new neighbors. Our good neighbors, Hugs and Nick, moved out a few weeks ago. I miss them. They led an alternative lifestyle, but we did have some things in common, and they were so nice... now that place is full of hoodlums and the things I watch from the upstairs window (doesn't that sound creepy) while I'm nursing Greta to sleep are just weird. In fact, they're so weird that I thought about calling the police. Maybe I will be surprised. Maybe I will eat my words as they become my close friends.

But I doubt it.

Oh well, at least we have Kelsey and her roommates on the other side. And I really like them.

Oh, and I stopped baking for various reasons since about Christmas. I have not noticed any difference in my waistline, but at least I don't feel like I'm spending our entire grocery budget on baking supplies! Anyway, on Sunday night I made chocolate almond biscotti and it turned out pretty brick-ish. Now, in my book, chocolate is chocolate.... but this stuff had to be eaten with caution or we might have ended up in the dentist's chair. Yikes. I think I should be done with biscotti all together. And in fact, I think I'll take another baking break. Except for bread, of course.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Makings and Findings!

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have two Gretas..... Ok, I know that this is picture overload for this dress and that none of the pictures are any good, but this is the general idea of what this wrap dress looks like. It was SO EASY to make. And now I know that the pattern I cut was Greta sized, which will make it easy to make one for Anja. The best part about this dress is that it's reversable, but I didn't get any pictures of the other side (ladybugs!) because it was hard enough getting this bad ones!

Are you noticing how the things that live on the counter are all slowly disppearing as the pictures progress? Hahaha..
The buttons look uneven and they might be a little bit, but I don't think they're as bad as they look in the pictures. I got the pair for 40 cents from Jan's antiques, where I also picked up a nice little pocketknife for Martin for $2 and a big bag of buttons, originally marked $6 for only one dollar! (Seriously. SIX DOLLARS for buttons? This is why I avoid antique stores.) They had a big table of stuff and everything was a dollar. I would've gone to town and definitely gone over my budget, had Greta not saved me by being fussy.
And then there was today. Ooooooooh myyyyyyyy goooooosssshhhhhhh. I'm kind of surprised I'm not lying dead in the lawn out at Sarah's Oaks just from sight of my find. It was a "barn sale" out there, multi-family, with TONS of antiques. Some in good condition, some in poor condition. Tons of stuff. Awesome prices. The great find of the day? A HUGE blue trunk (I mean a thigh-high trunk) for only $7. SEVEN DOLLARS. Something like that in an antique shop would be at least a hundred bucks. Score! And it's not just that it's a good deal, it's that I'm going to put all of my fabric in it, which would be cool by itself, but it's really fabulous when you think of how that will literally free up an entire closet for better uses. !!!!!! I am super excited about this.
Along with the trunk there were other great finds.... a pretty, vintage full slip for a little girl (I think it's Anja sized, but it might be small enough for Greta) a vintage handmade dress (same deal in sizing) a pretty floral scarf for me, and a few big pieces of muslin-like fabric that would be great for all sorts of projects. I don't know if they are curtain panels or what, but they are great and only a dollar a piece. I didn't realize how big they were, or I would've gotten more.... like the whole pile.
And then, because the girls were so incredibly amazing during all this (even Greta, who must've wanted to kill me for dragging her out in the rain to a yard sale during her naptime) I got them each a baby doll. I didn't tell them that the dolls they chose are so ugly they kind of scare me... I just let Anja choose one for each of them, as a little treat. And since they were each a quarter, it didn't break the bank.
So yeah! Hopefully this will be the Saturday morning tradition around here (Ma Schap and I drop Martin at the range, we go to yard sales until it's time to pick him up, the end.) I am VERY pleased with my day and VERY excited to stock my trunk full of fabric. It also has one of those trays that sits in the top. Obviously designed for things like ribbon, buttons and spools of thread. Of course.
Maybe pictures tomorrow. Today we were too busy playing in the rain to find the camera!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Love Affair

I caught this little series this morning. Have I ever mentioned how my girls LOVE baby dolls?!

In the Morning

This is just a quick post to say that even though I am fully aware of how un-creative I am (meaning every idea I have has already been done by seven thousand other people before me) it's still kind of aggravating when I realize it. Like today when I was reading "Homemade by Jill" and she made her son a play kitchen and then was talking about all the stuff she's going to do to decorate the area.... like a garland above the sink and a little framed picture and an apron, etc. OF COURSE everybody does those things! Because they are cute! But still.... it's just one of those times you want to shout, "I thought of it on my own!!" even though it doesn't matter.

I made a dress for Greta the other day and am just sewing on the buttons (a project that sounds a lot easier than it is because I can't seem to get an uninterrupted minute to actually DO it) and I *think* it's going to turn out cute if I can get it on her. Luckily, she's a lot better about wearing the clothes I make than Anja is. However, I did have a moment of mommy pride the other day when Anja wanted to wear only the underwear that I'd embroidered a flower on and wouldn't wear any at all until I had dug that pair out of the washer and dried it for her. She was very pleased. Also, her favorite outfit is that crazy skirt I made for her, worn with a green shirt and Petie's sweatshirt with the dog on front. So that's nice.... and I try to ignore the fact that she has multiple mama-made dresses in her closet that she's never worn once. Well... maybe they'll be for Greta.

We had a dinner party last night with our neighbors--grilled venison burgers and tomato basil pasta salad. I think the evening was a success and our neighbors are so nice! No pictures, because I'm a loser. But the girls both got late afternoon naps so they were cheerful the entire time!

thanks for all the conditioning tips!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bad Hair Life

First of all, I need some womanly advice. My hair is seriously bad. Broken ends, two different lengths (thanks to that annoying thing that happens when your hair thickens up, then over-thins out, then gets back to normal again, which happens when you have a baby. Boo.), bad, bad, bad. I am in urgent need of some conditioning. This is where you come in: advise me! I need something not too expensive, preferably something "natural"-ish, that has a decent smell and does not include "tea tree" or "eucalyptus" in the description. All comments welcome! Thanks!

Now, on to our Yesterday. When Martin took his vacation off his work calendar, he kept Tuesday as a vacation day with the intention of getting lots of yard work done. Har. har. har. In the morning we walked up to Great Harvest for breakfast. (My idea.) Anja walked THE ENTIRE WAY HOME, which is about a mile, pushing the wagon. Impressive! Next, my mom came over to watch the girls while Martin and I went to the range (my idea) and to Lindy Freeze (his idea.) Pictures:

Ignore my smooshed eye, and the fact that I think people who take pictures of themselves are incredibly dorky. But we were the only ones there the whole time and I don't know how to use the automatic timer on my camera.

And here is Martin, scratching his arm. Nice picture. So, anyway, that was fun and now I'm "trained" to deal with Bad Guys with Glockie. And any sort of date that ends with floats from the Lindy Freeze is a good time in my book.

Then we went to Lowe's where we spent an enormous amount of time selecting flowers for the outside of our house. Oh. My. Gosh. Buying flowers is soooooooo much more confusing and complicated than it needs to be. I mean, REALLY. I go in wanting some pansies and impatiens and as soon as I walk into the Garden Center, my head is spinning with all the different options. And everything is mislabeled too, which is more than slightly annoying. In the end, I kind of took a wild guess and ended up spending $30 and getting EXACTLY the amount I needed. Then as I was outside on the porch potting all of my flowers my mom called me and said she'd gotten too many impatiens and was bringing some over. Fantastic! So now I have six hanging baskets (three pansies, three impatiens), two pots of impatiens on my front porch steps (I think they are cute and not TOO hazardous) and a small pot of impatiens on the patio table AS WELL AS geraniums, pansies, and some kind of furry, ornamental green thing in the huge planter on the side of one of our mulchy square thingies. (Do you think I should work on my descriptions a little bit to make them a little more coherent? Or maybe stop making blog posts at 10:00 at night when I'd rather be sleeping AND while Martin is standing next to me jabbering away about something about t-shirts? Okay, I'm kidding about the Martin thing... he's actually standing next to me washing dishes and he doesn't think I'm listening to him anyway.)
So anyway, our house is florally outfitted. And I am very happy with it all.
And that was our day off! Don't forget to give me conditioner suggestions!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wonderful, Funderful Weekend!

Our not-as-random-as-it-sounds roadtrip down to Louisville was a ginormous success. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. And we didn't really go to Louisville.... we stopped just North, at the Clark State Forest--the oldest state forest in Indiana, est. 1903! Anja is a joy to have as a car passenger. She just looks out the window at the trucks and flowers, or sings us songs, or looks at books. Greta is a horrible, horrible, horrible passenger (we are going to get her a front-facing seat sometime very soon and hopefully it will solve this problem) but we timed every ride perfectly around sleep and she slept the entire way down, the entire way back to Edinburg where we stopped at the Outlet stores, and then the whole way home. Anja slept part of the way down too, which was great because she needed the nap, and also fell asleep and slept the whole way home at the end of the day. The Clark State Forest is a fabulous place. For one thing, it's free! They have hiking trails, a couple of little ponds (I think they called them lakes, but they weren't very big) for fishing, a big field to run around in and pick dandelions, and a nice little old-school playground. The girls really liked the "roundabout" (has anyone else heard of Percy the Park Keeper?) and Anja especially liked going down the the bigger of the two slides with her daddy. Also, there were the bucket swings, of course.... always a hit.

We took a picnic of sorts down with us and I was very proud of our minimalistic travels with two young children. Unfortunately, lunch was a little less filling than planned since I left the loaf of bread sitting on the kitchen table, but we did have a couple of blocks of good cheese, a pound of salami and some apples and bananas. It was plenty. We each had a nalgene and Martin had a pocket knife, and we were set for picnicking.

Do you not ADORE Anja's wool sweater?! My mother in law found it at the Trinity Mission fabric sale. I was so glad for the cool weekend so she was able to wear it!

After the park, when it was clearly time for us to go, we drove about an hour North to Edinburg to visit the outlet mall there. I had never been and we weren't really looking for anything specific except some shorts for Martin because his are disintegrating they are so old and worn. Unfortunately, even deals are often still too expensive. They did have a zillion good stores though, and if we weren't grownups now with more important things to spend our money on, we might still be willing to pay expensive-bargain prices and be dressed nicely. Haha! It didn't much matter anyway since the first store we visited was Gap, where Anja fell in love with a pair of blue jelly shoes. We couldn't get her out of the store. Finally, we got her out but she was crying so much that Martin tried to distract her by taking her into Claire's--you know, that store that sells all things Girl. TWO HOUR LATER, we settled on a flowery headband for $1 and was able to convince her to exit the store without crying. While Martin was looking at headbands, earrings, bangle bracelets and handbags with Anja for two hours, I was walking back and forth down the sidewalk outside with Greta, who was pushing the umbroller. Back and forth, back and forth, for two hours, she never got tired. She barely stopped for anything, except the couple of times she saw an interesting pebble. It was crazy.
So the outlet malls weren't exactly the event we were expecting, but we were still happy to be there and everything was great. The only thing we didn't do that we'd wanted to was stop someplace and get pie and ice cream (a Martin & Annie Roadtrip tradition) but the time was never right since the girls slept so nicely in the car. That was going to be our emergency stop for when everyone was screaming, but that time never came!
So anyway... we got home around 11:00 and got everyone transferred to their beds nicely and got to bed ourselves and the whole day was wonderful.
On Sunday we made it ON TIME to the 9:30 Mass where we sat with my sister and nieces, then stood in the back with our crazy daughters and Gracie. There were loads of other little kids back there and at one point Gracie said to me, "Wow. That's a big blob of babies!" Afterward we went over to coffee and doughnuts in the gym and visited with people. We got to see Luke and Theresa again and we dragged Lina and Dimitri over as well. I love coffee and doughnuts in the gym! Letsee.... Greta took a nap while Martin did yardwork and I made lunch.... then we ate lunch..... and then we drove out to Lina and Dimitri's house. Martin helped Dimitri put together a toddler bed for Sophia and we just kind of hung out, drinking wine and eating chocolate. We took a little walk to the back of their neighborhood where there's a wooded lot that backs up to the Wildcat Creek. I'm so glad it's spring.
I'm about half an hour late on my shower time now, so I'd better jump in. It was a very good weekend!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

After the Long Winter

It seems pretty weird, and a little bit exhausting, to be so busy after such a long winter of being in the house with about one social interaction a week (thanks to Laura!) But lately we haven't had enough hours in the day to see all the people we want to see and play outside with all our friends. Not a bad thing at all, especially considering it's only April and we have all our days until October to enjoy the warm sunshine and outside play!

This past week was a busy one. We spent one day with the Di Fabio girls and their children out at their parents' house, visiting the goats and playing in the huge grassy yard where the kids could run free and be happy and not get run over by cars. Anja and Charles

Anja, Charles and Goat

Greta and Anja
MaryGrace and Greta

Little Bo Peep

All of them! Charles, MaryGrace, Monica, Anne (and baby Neulieb #3), and Laura (and baby Smith #2)! I really like this picture.

That was also the day my sister invited us to the park with them! Too bad there are not enough hours. Maybe next week!
Yesterday I had a visit from a friend from highschool and his wife and three kids. It was good to see him and to finally meet his wife, who sometimes comments here! I felt like such a dirtbag though... more to come on that later. But when they'd all left and I went into the bathroom later in the evening, I found one of Anja's milkweed pods on the counter. She uses them for boats and plays with them in the sink... but if they sit in the water for too long, they absorb it and the pod puffs up and the open side closes up and they get kind of slimy and they look exactly like a giant slug. Very disgusting and startling when you don't know (or remember, as is often the case for me when going into the bathroom and finding one on the counter) what it is. Jeepers.
Also in the line of playdates this week was with some new friends we met at church! We met them on Easter and they just moved here a few weeks ago. They are really nice and have a two year old daughter and another two month old daughter. On Monday we all met up at the park (all except Martin) on Tuesday the girls and I went out to their house for the afternoon. Their house was so clean that I came home kind of intimidated. We'd like to have them over to grill out but when I got home I was thinking of all the things I'd have to clean up before I wouldn't be embarassed to have them over. I kept thinking that we'd be at least we'd be getting our flowers over the weekend, so if we could just wait till after that, at least our house would look a little prettier, to cover up some of the trashiness. Imagine my horror when they called me on Thursday morning to say they were downtown and they'd like to stop by and say hello! I frantically cleaned up the front of the house and just hoped they wouldn't come all the way into the kitchen or need to use the bathroom. I removed the ironing board from the dining room (I know, our ironing board is STILL set up in our dining room, and I haven't even been sewing lately!) and basically threw everything else that didn't belong (like Martin's socket set) into the bedroom and hoped for the best. Luckily, Anja and I had just brought in some lilacs, so at least we had fresh flowers on the tables. But STILL. Ugh. Embarrassment!
Today we are going down to Louisville. I know it seems random, but it's actually not. Today was the day we were going to leave for our trip to Tennessee to see Martin's grandma and to stay at a cabin down at Mammoth Cave for a few days. Unfortunately, thanks to Martin's work and a very, very annoying something (I try to tell myself it's one of those things that has a reason for happening, but I'm still having a very hard time getting over the annoyingness of it all) we had to cancel our trip. And because we weren't going anywhere, Martin cancelled his vacation days too. Really kind of rotten, but oh well. So anyway, we were going down by way of the Louisville area and were going to spend some time down there to break up the trip for the girls. So even though we're not going to end up at Mammoth Cave tonight, we are still going down there for a little day trip to try and salvage some of the fun that would've been had this week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's Lilac Season!

Also, pushing Pink Pink in her stroller to see the horses at the old fashioned gas station museum is SERIOUS BUSINESS.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Teething in Princess Tents

I'm sorry for the picture overload today... I had a hard time deciding which ones to post, so I am just posting them all. This is from the day Anja found and opened the new box of Annie's Cheesy Bunnies. These two were so proud of themselves!
And did you know that Greta loves to eat?

Yesterday we got a visit from our friend, Mrs. Watson, who is Joannie and Jill's mom. She was coming over to return a cake pan and bring by some chai mix that Joannie got for me but had forgotten to bring over when she came. By the time she got to my house though, she had decided to bring us a bag of frozen chicken nuggets, a box of frozen chicken fingers, a bag of the yummiest oranges I've ever had, and a Disney Princesses tent. The girls love it all! This is Greta enjoying a nugget. I think they might have drugs hidden inside or something though... She's looking a little crazed.

And here they are, eating the oranges in their tent! The top is open and Anja likes to be inserted through the roof, by me. Over and over again. Haha! However, she also likes to have piles of books delivered to the tent door (also by me) and she will sit in there for very long times looking through her books and talking to herself. It's very cute.

As you can see, Anja has really been enjoying the oranges. She calls them "O-em" and asks for them all the time.

And other than receiving gifts from friends we've been spending a lot of time in our yard and on short walks. With the exception of the past two days when winter returned, we've been playing outside every day, which is a fabulous difference from last spring when Greta was a very newly born baby. This is Anja's Nature Bowl. She wants one that's pink and felted but this is what she gets for now. In it you will notice some rocks, a pinecone, leaves, sweetgum spikey thing, some milkweed seeds and lots and lots of dandelions. My oh my, how this girl loves dandelions!

And in order to better do her collecting while we're out, I made her this bag:

It's the "Hobo Sack" tutorial from MADE, and it's really easy. Of course, mine doesn't look nearly as good, nor as cute, as the ones that the tutorial comes from... but whatever. It'll do the job. Right now it's holding a book, some woodland folk, some gnomes, an orange, and--you guessed it--LOTS of dandelions!!

And other than all this, I have calculated that Greta has been teething SINCE CHRISTMAS. Yikes. Looking back, I think Anja was only a couple of months older than this when she got her molars (which was, by far, the worst experience of MY life) so I'm wondering if that is what's made this week so particularly awful. No sleep. Lots of whining/crying. Many, many instances of walking around with her face squished up, sort of half-crying, and her eyes so squinty that she can't see where she's going so she falls down and then really starts wailing.... *sigh* Also lots of chewing on her hands and biting other people. Do you want to hear about last night?

Okay, I'll tell you. So last night Greta was mostly awake until 1:00 when I finally decided to drive her. I got home at 2:00. She woke up before I'd even closed my eyes. I thought I'd do some walking around downstairs with her and I left the room not knowing that Anja was awake and watching me--oops! As soon as I left the room Anja flipped out. ...which of course, woke Greta up the rest of the way. And Martin too. So then we were all up, Anja's hysterical, Greta's just fussy and tired, and the only way we can get anyone to calm down or go to sleep is to go for a family drive at 2:00 in the morning. So we go. We got home around 3:00, Greta was asleep, Anja still awake.... not a big deal, except she didn't want to go back to bed. Finally, we convinced her that we'd all pretend to be puppies and cuddle up in bed together. That made her happy. Before going up I BEGGED her to go potty... no go. She insisted she didn't have to. So, we went to bed. ...Half an hour later, Anja wakes me up needing to go potty. So we go downstairs, go potty (which includes completely undressing, since she's in zipup PJs, and also includes going through all the choices of diaper cream/powder, application of chosen product, then putting the diaper back on, and dressing) then go back up to be puppies, but she's decided that's no good anymore. It takes awhile, but I finally work it out of her that she doesn't want to be puppies anymore, she wants to be cats. Well. Cats it is. And then the alarm went off way too soon.

*Going through this post right before I'm publishing it, I realize that almost every picture is of my children eating. Does that seem a little bit gross to anyone else?