Monday, June 28, 2010

Fiddle Me This

Well, we definitely had one of the most relaxing Fiddlers' Gatherings in the past few years! The weather was great. It was pretty hot, but we set up in the shade and there was a nice breeze and we were away from the main crowd and everyone was happy. The girls were happy just to be out there, and the bands were great. We saw all the typical friends and drank a couple of lemon shakeups. A good weekend!

You might remember some weeks ago when Martin and I purchased a pair of window unit air conditioners--one for the downstairs, one for the upstairs--from Craigslist. Well the one upstairs was really old. I mean, ANCIENT. I figured it'd get us through the summer at least, and Martin thought we might get a couple of summers out of it. And it did the job fine, even if it was really ugly and had unlabeled knobs. We got it set to a nice cool temperature and as long as nobody touched it, it was fine. But then it started making these clunking noises in the night. And then the clunking turned into more of clunky-wheezing and went on all the time. It got so bad that it would wake Martin up in the night and he'd go downstairs to sleep on the couch! Well, on Sunday after Fiddlers' we went straight up to the river and didn't get back home until late. Both girls were asleep, I got Greta inside and succeeded in keeping her asleep, then got upstairs to our OVEN and realized the a/c was broken. Boooo. Martin was just coming in with a sleeping Anja. We put Anja on the couch and I nursed and walked around with Greta to keep her asleep while Martin switched the upstairs broken unit with the downstairs really nice one. Except it wasn't THAT easy. First, when he took out the old unit from the upstiars, he found an infestation of ants in the windowsill. By the way he described it, I am REALLY glad I wasn't there. I'm feeling my skin crawl just thinking about it now. After cleaning up that nastiness, he cut his hand while bringing the air conditioner downstairs, so then he was bleeding everywhere. Eventually everything got where it needed to go and all was good. But still... gee whiz.

And now we are entering The Most Beautiful Week in History. Sunny and high 70's every day this week?! Yes, please!!

My posts feel incomplete without photos. Boo. I did find Martin's old digital camera though (it's really big!) and I'm still trying to figure out how to take a picture with it. So far I've gotten a black screen and a white screen, but that's all I can find. Hmmm... well, hopefully I'll be back with pictures soon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Warning: Boring, Colorless Posts to Come

Greta dunked my camera in the kiddie pool today. She got it out of my bag while I was sweeping.


In the Good Old Summertime

This is one of my favorite things: We have had nothing but rain for the last few weeks, which means we've spent a lot of time indoors. Bleh. In the few and far between hours that it hasn't been raining buckets, it's been hot, hot, hot. But not a good hot... a sticky, icky hot that makes you feel like you need a shower after just walking past the screen door. But that's okay because little girls always find silly ways to entertain themselves.
Like climbing into laundry baskets

And on to table tops.

Yesterday was the first beautiful summer day in a long time.

I weeded out the old garden plot where I've planted some melons that don't look like they're going to grow. I'm considering making this into a fall harvest garden, but Martin pointed out that since we've never had much luck growing anything there (the new garden boxes are doing wonderfully) maybe we shouldn't count on it for a fall harvest. Well. He MAY have a point...
Anja was doing her own bit of gardening.

While Greta and I just sillied around. (She had just woken up and was kind of grumpy.
Yesterday was Thursday, which was Martin's day off! We ended up sleeping in a little bit, which is something we don't really like to do anymore. Martin typically wakes up before 5:00 every morning, so sleeping in until 8:30 really cuts a chunk out of his day. And for me, not waking up before the girls wake up cuts out a huge chunk of MY day. So our planned Day of Productivity actually turned out to be a day of mixed up naptimes and wasting time instead of doing yardwork. Oh well.

After dinner we walked down to hear the Citizens Band play at the Plaza. Yeah. It took us so long to get out of the house and walk the six blocks to the Plaza that they were finished playing AND most of the people were gone by the time we got there. So we just kind of played around.... we actually didn't do anything. Martin followed Anja around (who was really crazy all day) and I followed Greta around (who was really grumpy and demanding all day) and when we realized it was after 9:00 we started home.... and didn't get home until after 10:00. I'm not kidding! A normal walk from our house to the plaza takes about 7 minutes. With the girls it takes AN HOUR.
Oh well. Can you tell how flooded the river is in this picture?
For some reason, even with all the rain and knowing that the river was flooded, I was startled to see it so high. I have often thought about living in houseboat on the river.
This weekend is the Fiddlers Gathering!!!!! We cashed in our change jar and have plenty of spending moneys for the weekend. Anything leftover will go back to the change jar and be added to for Feast of the Hunters Moon money. Exciting!
It's funny, Martin having Thursdays off always makes Friday feel like Monday. It's a pleasant surprise to realize that the weekend is just a few hours away.
Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Joy and The Sorrow of Carrot Cake

As advertised, I made some carrot cake for our Fathers Day festivities. One bad thing about this is that I actually made TWO carrot cakes. The first one I accidentally shredded the carrots instead of grating them, which I thought would ruin the cake but I didn't realize it until I was putting it into the oven and thinking about how I didn't remember it being so chunky the last time I made it. Then I realized my mistake. So I immediately made another, except since my cake pans were full of the first cake, I made the second batch into a zillion mini cupcakes, which ended up being what we ate for Fathers Day. So this would've all worked out nicely, except that the first cake ended up being just fine--so then we had an entire carrot cake in our fridge, PLUS the leftover cupcakes! Yikes! What's a girl to do? Well, send it to her husband's work, of course. That's the easy part--I'd be glad to be rid of the calories taking up my entire fridge--but the hard part is REMEMBERING to send it with him. So far, I'm three [rather large] pieces into my forgetfulness.

I started today in a more healthful way: What you see is a homemade bagel (THANKS, JILL!) topped with cream cheese that has some fresh snipped onion chives added to it. Talk about yum! Paired with a cup of coffee (with one little ground in it, not a bug, I promise) that made for a good morning. Such a good morning in fact that I had another one a few hours later topped with some homemade cherry jam from Clare! The second was actually pretty incredible. The bagel recipe makes a batch of 10 and I topped five with poppy seeds, five with sea salt. The sea salt, toasted and paired with the cherry jam was so good that I decided that's what we'll be having for dinner tonight as well.

And then Anja and I had carrot cake for lunch.

....with milk.
Uuuuuuuggghh, and now I'm totally feeling the Revenge of the Carrot Cake being played out in my stomach. Bleh. It's DEFINITELY time to remember to send the rest of it in to Martin's office with him.
And while I was baking the bagels yesterday, Greta was creating performance stages for herself with my cake pans!

Last night we had a few big storms come through the area. Not a big deal, the girls usually sleep through storms. Except for this time. THIS time, after I stayed up after Martin went to bed to track the storms on the radar and keep up with the weather blog just in case The Big One came tearing through and was pretty much ready to hit the hay, Greta woke up a little bit. No big deal... nurse her back to sleep... Until a giant clap of thunder scares her back awake so much that she cried without sound for pretty much a full minute!! I'm not sure what time I finally got to bed, but Martin ended up driving her, IN the thunderstorm, and just getting her out of the car drenched all of us and woke her up again, but luckily she went back to sleep and then so did I. Whew. What a night!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Week Begins

I recieved my order of diaper covers in the mail today! That is very exciting, mostly because I didn't expect them until much later in the week, considering I never got a shipping notification in my inbox. But hey, I'm not complaining! I went with Thirsties brand. Actually I got three Thirsties and three Bummis originals. I'm excited! So far, no leaks! They fit Greta really well... which is why I went with them, because the two other people I know of who've had success with them have slightly heftier babies---like G!

Our weekend was sunny and relaxing. Hope all the daddies had a good Fathers Day! I tried making Martino a good big breakfast, but I forgot to buy the bacon I'd intended to buy for him and then the pancakes didn't really turn out... at all. So he just got eggs. Oops. I think it's safe to say he's had better breakfasts every weekend of his married life than he did on Fathers Day. Oh well. The girls and I gave him a cordless drill--something he's been wanting and needing, but wasn't likely to buy for himself. When he opened it, Anja saw the box and said "Don't open it or I will cry" and then she ran from the room crying. She is SO TERRIFIED of electronic things. She totally freaks out when they make their noises. (Or when they don't, as was the case yesterday.) Anyway. Martin's family came over to celebrate here with the makings for banana splits and for a dinnertime cookout we went up to my parents' house. And I made a carrot cake and mini carrot cupcakes for the festivities!

This morning the Marmalejos stopped by on their way back toward Virginia. They dropped off some homemade cherry jam which I am soooo looking forward to tasting. Instead of baking the usual buttermilk bread today I tried the homemade bagel recipe that Jill had posted awhile back. So far it's been about three hours and I'm still waiting for the dough to rise. Hmm.... I think I messed it up. So now instead of making bagels in the place of bread, we still have nothing. Haha! Maybe I'll make the regular buttermilk bread later this evening. We're supposed to get more storms coming through this evening and it's been my experience that storms are cozier with a cup of tea and a piece of buttered bread right out of the oven. Mmm mm mm.

Now we're off to the library to look for more Petra Mathers books because they are SO WEIRD, but we all love them.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Visitor Day!

Yesterday we had the Marmalejo family down for a visit! Much fun was had by all. It was so much fun to see these two finally old enough to interact as little girls instead of babies:They played so sweetly together all day long... except for this one time when Anja told Anastasia to go away. But other than that, they played perfectly together and were SO GOOD and were even nice to the babies!

These two played sweetly together all day too:
Talk about a couple of peas in a pod! I think they really enjoyed their day of manliness including range time, grilling steaks, and a trip to Rural King.
Meanwhile, we ladies took a walk downtown. We made it all the way to the Plaza (not bad for two grownups vs. 4 children ages 3 and under) where the fountain was on! It was soooo hot... and the girls were getting sooooo cranky. It was the perfect day for a splash in a fountain. And then as we were approaching--as in, a matter of feet away from it--THE FOUNTAIN TURNED OFF. AND NEVER TURNED BACK ON. It was really kind of pathetic to watch the girls splash around in the puddles... but they seemed happy enough. I will be forever bitter.
So we went home and turned on the sprinkler. And then three out of four girls made poo-poo in their swimsuits! When the boys came back they could smell the explosions as soon as they came in the house. Bleh!

We got really dirty.....
Oh look, here are the fountain pictures:
These two are also peas in a pod:
They go around eating up the leftovers off everyone else's plates, and being grumpy. And then when they get tired, they run into things and fall down a lot.
Pink-Pink had a great time too...
And what would a summer day be without watermelon?!

It was so nice to have them here. And great that they were able to come on Martin's day off! Thanks for the visit, Clare and Nick!
In other news, it's going to be hot-hot-hot around here for the next few days, making me ever the more thankful that Martin picked up a kiddie pool at Rural King last night for a whopping $8. (Still cheap, but two dollars more than last year's!) I know it's lazy of me, but I think eight dollars is a worthy price to not have to scrub out and re-shape the plastic pool from last summer. I've given myself WEEKS to get that job done, and I'm glad Martin realized first what I was denying: It wasn't going to happen. Ever.
I'm definitely going to be making some carrot cake for this weekend's Fathers Day activities too. DEFINITELY.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Girls Do the Cutest Things

Some days around here are normal and average and pleasant. Some days are normal and average and leaning toward the not-so-pleasant side. Then there are days like today (which are happening more and more frequently as they get older) which are so full of cuteness that I literally don't even get the floor swept because I'm too busy watching these two goofballs be adorable!!! Some cute things of the day:

-Anja and Greta have begun chasing each other through the house laughing. It's amazing! They are such little kids now, not so much babies. *sigh* Adorable.

-Sometimes Greta (who still is a little bit Baby) accidentally plows through Anja's "setups", resulting in Anja screaming her head off and sometimes pinching/biting Greta to get her back. But always, almost immediately afterward, she will find something and give it to Greta and say so sweetly, "Here, Deh. Here's a [fill in name of toy] for you." Adorable.

-Anja had one of her baby dolls with her this morning and she was making it walk along with her. Then she said (all in the sweetest little voice imaginable), "Ready to go, baby! Hold hands, baby. Walk on the sidewalk, baby. [pointing] This is the sidewalk." She was in the kitchen. Adorable.

-Today before going for a run (goodbye, lovehandles!) I was doing a little bit of yoga and Greta got down on the floor and started doing Cat-Cow with me!!!!!! Adorable!!!

-Anja has started arranging her famous Mardi Gras beads and pretending that they are something... most often, she lays them on the floor to make individual circles, and then she puts her babies inside the circles and she says it's their carseat. Today she set everyone up, hopped into her own circle next to them and told me they were going to the store to go shoe shopping. Oh my gosh. Adorable.

-Also, in the same timespan of bead play, she set up a circle for "Deh" and insisted that Greta sit in it. I managed to get Greta to comply and once she sat she was very happy... and then Anja put her arm around her and they both smiled. Adorable.

-Greta loves to be in pictures and I can't even describe the way she smiles for a camera. But she looks like a crazy person.

-The other day we were going someplace and Anja ran up to Greta, reaching for her and saying "Hold hands! Hold hands, Deh!" Sadly, in her excitement and pulling on Greta's arm, Greta fell over and started crying. But it was still adorable.
-Anja wore a tiny ponytail in her hair yesterday for the first time. She is officially a big girl. I haven't quite decided what I think of that... but it IS adorable.

Okay, okay, okay, I'm done gushing about my kids now. Time to finally sweep the floors!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A is for Anniversary, B is for Birdseed

Four years ago today, Martin asked me to marry him! Here is a picture from the little get together and chocolate cake he surprised me with immediately afterward. I know that by the picture you'd think it was Martin and Joel who had just gotten engaged... but it was us. And it was such a fun night! Only one person, besides us, in that photo still lives in Indiana. *sigh*

Anyway, so we've been thinking and remembering this time all day long and it was a happy night. But then I got to thinking about our wedding, which led me to think of my wedding dress, which led me to think of other people's wedding dresses, which led me to think of birdseed, and I started wondering about the whole birdseed/bubbles thing. And the thing that gets me is, I can't understand WHEN that is supposed to happen and HOW the entire congregation/bridal party manages to get themselves outside BEFORE the bride and groom. I mean, when I think of the typical birdseed-throwing moment, the bride and groom are bursting through the chapel doors having just kissed for the first time as man and wife. Right? And the whole contents of the chapel are outside on the steps and sidewalk ready to chuck their birdseed at the newlyweds. Right?? So do all the guests just book it outside and get ready? Or do they hang around outside while pictures are taken and THEN throw the birdseed? And if that's the case, to the bride and groom recess in kind of a pretend way and come back in? Or do they recess by themselves, go around to a back door and hide while the guests leave and then when the guests are all situated with their bubbles outside THEN come bursting through the doors as kind of a reprise? I am so confused about this.

We got married at Christmas time. Birdseed or bubbles would've been weird. But I wonder about these things!

Please, please, please answer my question, any of you readers who can!

Sunday Funday!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Self Portrait Weekly

So I kind of slacked off in the "Self Portrait Tuesday/Wednesday" area, didn't I? I did it once and then kept forgetting on whatever designated day I had chosen (which now I can't remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday) but today I don't seem to have anything interesting to say, so I thought I'd bring out this picture from our trip to Vienna last Thursday.

I was just reading the SouleMama Archives and she had a little post about breastfeeding. It made me want to post about it, even though I don't really have anything to SAY about it. Greta has been nursing now for about six months longer than Anja did. I can tell that we're past the "easy" time to wean and I tossed around the idea of weaning her around her first birthday, but then decided that was kind of pointless and selfish. I am not someone who adores breastfeeding more than any experience I've had in my life, but I do like it, especially parts of it. And I'm back to liking it a whole lot better now that Greta has quit biting me! (which was the main reason I was wanting to wean her a few months ago.... bleeding nippleoos is not a pleasant thing to endure on a daily basis and it sort of takes any "pleasantness" right out of the experience.) So anyway. We're back to nursing being a nice, cozy thing. It is her calm-down time and sometimes I wish Anja was still nursing so SHE could have that calm down time. (She definitely needed it yesterday... Somehow the Naughty Monsters slipped into her brain in the night and she spent the whole entire day doing things she shouldn't have been doing.) Anyway. My sister mentioned that nursing a newborn is kind of a funny thing after having nursed a baby into toddlerhood, and especially in looking at this picture, I'm seeing how that would be a VERY weird switch. I mean, half the time when Greta wants to nurse, she just stands there and I lean forward a little bit in my chair. Very un-newbornish.

Yadda yadda yadda.... really, I had nothing to say. Just wanted to post the picture and say that I'm happy to be nursing my baby into toddlerhood. She seems to enjoy it.

As for this weekend, Martin has been working in the Jungles since Thursday and making HUGE progress. So today he declared it a Funday-Sunday and we're headed over to Purdue to see if any fountains are turned on. If that is a bust, I think we'll try the petting zoo at the Park. But I really hope the fountains are on!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Welcome, Avila Josephine!!

June 9, 2010
4:30-ish in the afternoon....

Avila Josephine Antonio! Okay, I know this picture of her is the slightest bit freaky, but trust me, she's super adorable. And soooo tiny!!
I think it's safe to say that Christopher thinks she's okay. (Translation: Christopher thinks she is the best thing EVER.)

Look how little she is!!!!!!! To tell the truth, she kind of freaked me out a little bit. It's been more than a year since I last held such a newborn baby and it seems I've kind of forgotten how!
So much for motherly instinct. (P.S. Ugh, check out that schnoz. One reason I don't like seeing pictures of myself is because I realize [again] that my face is mostly nose. And have you seen my husband?! Our poor children are doomed!)
First attempt of trying to get a picture of the girls with their new cousin. Anja wasn't having it. Greta will do anything for french fries, though.

Second attempt. Look how happy Greta is! She totally stole everyone's lunch. She's such a food stealer. As for Anja, she wasn't looking at the camera, so Martin said, "Anja, look up!" and this is what we got.

"Want some vanilla chai, Mommy?"
Afterward Anja and I walked up to Vienna while Martin and Greta drove up to meet us. See the cute feet in the stroller in the background? Anja fell asleep right as we got there.

"Fine. I'll just drink it all myself!"
It was just like old times walking up to Vienna and sitting on the patio having iced vanilla chai. We hardly ever go there anymore, but on a recent trip over with our friend Matt, Martin re-discovered the pleasantness of the patio in the summer time. It's quiet and shady, and especially on a Thursday afternoon, there's nobody around at all. Very nice.
And the other day Joannie came over! We took a little walk, went to McCords, then came back and let the girls run through the sprinkler for awhile. This is after Joannie had gone home, when Anja was still all wet and building a barn for her animals. She's gotten REALLY into blocks lately and it's very cute.

The light was so pretty, but I'm really thinking I need a nicer camera. I'm always bummed when I can't catch things the way they really look.
And here's this ugly bug that was on my car window the other day.
Talk about startling.


-I am SUPER excited to meet my new niece, Avila, born yesterday afternoon!!!!

-I know Anja is coming into her role as Big Sister because she's begun saying "Mommy says..." to Greta. And sometimes she lies.

-Is Martin's first day off in his new summer schedule! We'll see today if the long days are worth it. So far, I think they are.

-I found my debit card dangerously close to the toilet.

- I MUST clean out the kiddie pool, or buy a new one for approximately $6.

- I am really happy to have great old friends like Joannie, and good down-the-street neighbors who think of me and pick up needlework books for me from the free cart at the library! Thanks, Jennifer, if you're reading this!

- I am really, really, REALLY happy that summer is here. I love summer. I might even love summer more than I love cats. Well maybe not MORE, but they're certainly neck and neck.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Condensed Work Week

Martin is participating this year in the offered "Condensed Workweek" at Ivy Tech. Instead of working his regular 8-5 five days a week, he works 7:30-6:30 and has every Thursday off. When we were deciding whether or not to do this, it seemed completely obvious that it would be nothing but good... the time he has to leave for work, when he takes the car, is the same time he has to leave in the morning to catch the early bus. So that was no change. And since he often stays a little late at work anyway (and always on Mondays), the 6:30 end time didn't seem so bad either.

But then our crazy daughters decided that they were going to start waking up at 5:00 every morning. They've done it every day this week! We try to get them back to sleep and they end up coming downstairs at about 6:00. This is very bad. Because not only does it make for ZERO morning for me and make Daddy late for work, but then I have to deal with The Grouchiest Anja in the World until 6:30. YIKES! So we're hoping this little phase improves soon. Tomorrow is the first Thursday off so we're looking forward to that. It is a nice breakup of the week.

Yesterday the girls and I had a surprisingly big and pleasant day. We went for a little walk in the morning, down to the Farmers Market and up to K.Dee's to return Kim's tuner that he left here last week. Greta was awesome for the entire walk, riding in the Mei Tai. When we arrived home though, Anja was NOT happy to be there. So instead of staying home, we walked across the library parking lot to the trolley stop and took a trolley on its loop around town. It was really fun! Anja is the kind of child for whom pointless outings were invented. She LOVED it. I don't think she said a word the entire time, but just looked out the window. Whenever anyone else was getting off at a stop, I'd ask her if she wanted to get off and she never did, but then when we got back to the library stop, she hopped off without a single protest. Greta made it most of the ride being happily occupied with my cell phone, but just as we were coming over the river she decided she'd had enough. Luckily it was only a few blocks from our stop.

After the trolley ride Greta took a nap and Anja started begging to go to the library. Martin came home for lunch and as he was leaving we went to the library. I'm never sure if Anja has fun at the library.. she loves to get the books, but she gets a little freaked out by all the other people there and yesterday it was PACKED since now it's summer vacation. She doesn't like it when other little kids talk to her. She actually is kind of a judger, I think. And once again, Greta stayed occupied with my cell phone. She calls my phone "daddy." That's pretty frightening, if you ask me.

It's raining right now but it's supposed to clear up in the afternoon. I wonder where the day will take us!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Poo Poo!

Yesterday afternoon, Greta went poo poo on the floor in the front room, and when I went in, she looked up at me with kind of a bewildered expression and said "Poo poo."

Isn't that great?! Anja and I tried our luck at having her use the potty, but nothing happened. Still! It's kind of fun! I really like toddlers. A lot. And I'm glad that Greta is becoming more and more of one because it's extra fun to be able to communicate with her like she's a normal person.

One clue that she is becoming less of a baby is that she gets to make choices. On Sunday night she chose animal jammies for bed over pink rainbow jammies. Poor Anja doesn't appreciate Greta's growing up as much as I do... she totally freaked out because SHE wanted Greta to wear the rainbows. She cried and cried and cried and I tried to convince Greta to wear the rainbows, but it in the end, I told Anja that she gets to choose her own jammies and Greta gets to choose HER own, and that maybe she would choose the rainbows the next night. (She did, but of course by then Anja didn't care.)

Anyway... since those storms moved through the other day we have had cool weather. Today I am able to wear my fabulous green sweater with the buttons sewn on. Love it!

I also realized yesterday that I didn't plant any zucchini in my garden. Hmmm.... I'm not sure how I'll survive the summer without zucchini. We still have one more garden box to bring over from the neighbor's house though, so maybe if I can find some plants I'll buy a couple.