Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Let Me Tell You About My Day

Well, I'll tell you one thing, this past week has been anything but uneventful.

Here's a picture to kill you with cuteness before I begin:

 Okay, and here's one more:
 And I can't leave this one out!!  I'M SORRY!!! :

Whew. Okay. I think I've reached Blogger's Kitten Quota.

So, my oven has been dying a very slow and painful death, with the pain not so much having an impact on IT, as it does on ME and on my baked goods. It's just been getting worse and worse over the past year. Remember how I used to make my own bread? It just kind of stopped turning out. It kept coming out burned all over the outside and still raw on the inside. I would make quiche that should only cook for 30 minutes and it would take 2 hours to cook through. It was RIDICULOUS. Martin got me one of those hangy thermometers for the oven and that helped a little (at least I learned that the temperature was roughly 100 degrees off, give or take, depending on the day and the weather) but really, we had to come to grips with the fact that it was time for a new stove.

Thanksgiving was a big day for us. It started bright and early with me returning the van we'd been borrowing from my parents and enjoying a nice walk home from their house to ours. It was the most beautiful morning ever; a little cold, but really sunny, and all the fall colors that were hanging on were so bright and pretty. When I got home we all dressed up and loaded the car for our trip to Chicago for the day with Martin's family. It was also our nephew's birthday and Martin's sister's birthday, so it was quite the celebration.

The next morning Martin was determined to head out to the Black Friday sales and get us a new range. (He waited until mid-morning, because he's not insane, just frugal.) And he found one! A great deal on a flat top electric, very sleek and fancy. It took a few hours to get it in, then we had to cut windows and doors from the box it had come in, and our friend Perkins came over because she was in town for the weekend, so it was kind of a crazy day. Just like the day before.

I don't remember what we did on Saturday, but I know the girls had not quite recovered, behaviorally speaking. (It takes us awhile around here.) On Sunday we missed three different Mass times. This was mostly because of a pair of red tights that I'd bought the weekend before, stupidly telling Anja they were her Christmas tights. (Why did I say that?!? WHYYY?!?!?) So, when I suggested that Greta wear them and Greta excitedly agreed (new tights!) Anja had an absolute meltdown. And then Greta had a meltdown of equal intensity. It was pretty cool. So we had to go to the noon Mass, without our friend Perkins, and amazingly, the girls were pretty good. I don't remember the details of the rest of the day, but I know it wasn't our best. Still recovering from Thanksgiving, of course.

Monday promised to be an absolutely CRAZY day. Martin is off all week to hunt, but the morning was spent getting the girls ready for Anja to go to speech. And then I remembered that they had a doctor appointment in the afternoon, so I'd have to pick up Anja early from Speech. (Many tears.) I promised her that I would try my best to reschedule so she could stay at speech the entire time. Speech starts at 12:45. I called the doctor when I got home from dropping her off, but they were closed for lunch until 1:30. The appointment was at 2:00. So, at 1:30, AS I was driving to pick up Anja, I called the doctors office, explained that only if it was possible for them, could I move the appointment to later or to another day this week so my daughter wouldn't have to miss her speech class (which hadn't begun or even been scheduled when I made the doctors appointments, which I forgot about until I turned my calendar to December*) please? She asked the names of my kids and looked up the appointment and said brightly and very professionally, "We have you scheduled for December 3rd?"
*It's not December yet.
"Yeah... Oh wait... Today isn't December third?"
"Today is November 26th."
What a relief! It pays to not have any idea what day it is, I'm telling you. Martin asked me how I could possible think it was already Thanksgiving. My natural thought process was that since Thanksgiving is over, and I know that the doctors appointments are on a Monday, it must've been December! But, I was wrong. And so the day was saved.

Well, not quite saved. Because Anja's teacher sort of forgot to tell her that I was not coming early, so she spent almost the whole time at speech dreading leaving early. She told me that every time someone had said her name she thought they were going to tell her it was time to go. So sad!!  Anyway, I took Martin back home and he packed up to go hunt and Greta and Elka spent only a few minutes there before it was time to go pick up Anja at the regular time, which we did, and then went home and continued on through dinner. I had "seasoned" my new oven earlier in the day by letting it burn off it's new-oven smell, so I told the girls that we could make cookies when Daddy got home, because Elka was clingy and not napping well. (also a theme of the weekend.)

Martin called me at 5:00 to report no deer and that he was coming home, and it was really cold. He called from the truck so I knew he'd be home in 30-40 minutes. (As opposed to longer; where he hunts he parks up at the top of a hill and walks a long way to his hunting spots.) The girls and I hung out, drew pictures, made dinner. I kept telling them we'd make cookies as soon as Martin was home so he could hold Elka, and then I kind of realized I hadn't heard from him in awhile. And by "awhile" I mean an hour and a half. I called him to see what was taking so long, but got no answer. Waited a few minutes thinking he might be in a drive-thru, tried again--no answer. Sometimes if he's talking to someone on the other line it takes awhile before he gets the message that he needs to ask them to hold on while he answers my call to let me know he's still alive, so I kept calling... and calling... and calling.... and then it got to be a full two hours since I'd last talked to him, when he was telling me he was getting in the truck to come home, so I kind of started worrying. (worrying/panicking. They're the same thing, right?) Well, I called my mom, and my dad and my brother-in-law were going to go drive out there to look for him, and while they were doing that I called the local police who were getting me set up with the police in the town where he hunts, when a call came in from an out-of-town number and I answered and it was Martin. And he sounded kind of shivery and he said "I locked the keys and my phone and my coat in the truck." He had walked three miles from his hunting place to the McDonald's in the nearest town. Talk about relief! Here's the funny middle of the story he told me later:
He'd gone in and bought a cup of coffee (he hadn't locked his wallet in the truck) and asked where the nearest payphone was. Of course, nobody uses payphones anymore and hardly any exist. So while the employees were trying to figure out where was the nearest payphone, he told them what had happened, and finally the manager (he said she was really sweet) said, "do you need to use our phone?" and he said, "It would really help if I could call my wife." Haha, poor guy.
So anyway, since my dad was already on his way out that direction, he went and picked him up and brought him home. And what he'd failed to tell me before my dad picked him up was that he had actually locked the truck WHILE IT WAS RUNNING. After some consulting with the men of the family, it was decided that it would likely be a bad thing to let the truck run out of gas overnight, so he had to drive back out to turn off the truck. I didn't like this idea, considering the fact that I'd spent a good chunk of time that evening legitimately believing he was dead, and I liked it less when I found out that the key was not here... it was 40 minutes away. North. The hunting spot is 40 minutes away.... South.

Much driving on snowy/wet roads later, Martin FINALLY got home for the night a little after 1:00am. We sat on the couch and had beers together. He told me about the scary houses he'd approached looking for a phone or a piece of wire to jimmy the lock. He had gone through quite the ordeal trying to break into the truck before deciding to just walk to town. Quite the adventure!

Today we have decided to drive down to Bloomington for the day to do some Christmas shopping and have a festive vacation day. Sometimes we get the itch to go down there and hang out. I don't know why we've both been feeling that way lately, but we have, so we're going. Should be fun!

I mentioned speech class. Anja began attending a preschool phonology class two weeks ago and SHE LOVES IT. She loves it more than I can say. This is her on her first day:

 Greta is not such a fan of her sister going off and having fun while she has to stay home with me. Here's a picture of Greta that same first day:
 Evidently the snowman cookie didn't make up for the fact that Anja was off having loads of fun while she was stuck going to the grocery store with her parents. I'd probably feel the same way, really.

And one Sunday we took a family walk, and here are the girls and me. It was a beautiful day. We stopped by our favorite local coffee shop and ran into friends who'd recently moved back to town.
So, yeah, there's been no end to the excitement around here lately. Martin says I need to post on my blog more often. I'll try, but I'm not making any promises.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Girl!

Can you even believe this cute face is five years old? And she is SO happy to be five. In the few days leading up to her birthday she would just burst out, "I can't believe I'm almost FIVE!" many times a day. And now that she is five, it seems to be everything she hoped it would be.

Her birthday was very fun. We'd been planning a special surprise for her for about three years... a kitten in a pumpkin! Every year on her birthday since she turned 2 we've thought "is this the right year?" and always the answer has been no, until this year. And oddly enough, just a couple of days before her birthday (when we'd already lined up the kitten) she started saying "I hope I get a kitten for my birthday" and trying to convince Greta to get her one. Specifically, a tiny calico. Well. That's just exactly what she got.

When Anja came into the room, she first thought the moving creature in there was a spider! But she eventually realized it was a kitten, and the kitten was immediately named Mary. And so, we have another little girl in our family. Mary, the calico kitten. The tiniest, sweetest, friskiest, most dog-like kitten ever, who likes to wiggle up into the dresser drawers from underneath, through the little gaps at the back of the drawers, and sleep on Martin's tshirts. She is not a bit shy, and she has been the perfect Birthday Cat.

Anja received a few special packages in the mail; one was from Auntie Perkalator, who sent this fox card, which Anja really loved. 

We had her family party this past Sunday. She asked for a strawberry cake, so I made one of those weird jello poke cakes, but I used too much jello and it was kind of gross. I also opted for homemade whipped cream (thanks, Martin!) instead of Cool Whip, because I'm an idiot like that. The theme of the party was PRINCESS. It was a very nice day and it looks like Anja's princess dress has replaced her fox costume for the time being, as her everyday uniform.

Here's more KITTEN:

I knit up this bowl to be our Thankfulness Bowl on our kitchen table. It's kind of cheesy, I know, but I feel that it's important to teach the girls about being thankful for even the smallest little things. Like markers, which is what Greta wrote on her card. And of course, Anja is thankful for.... being 5. But I'm sure we are all equally thankful that Mary has joined our family.

She's really SO tiny. (And while you might think the above picture is taken during an enormous roar, she actually can't make a noise any bigger than a tiny squeak, no matter how wide her mouth opens.)

So, yes, it was a good birthday. And I feel now that the Holiday season has begun. Making Thanksgiving plans, getting secret packages in the mail full of Christmas presents, guessing our anniversary gifts for each other, etc. This Christmas we'll celebrate 6 years, the traditional gift for which is "iron." When Martin told me that, I said, "you can get me a dutch oven!" and he said "thanks a lot." Then I worked really hard to sneakily get him into the local blacksmith guild but I had to tell him about it early. That's all I said--"I have your gift, but I have to give it to you early"--and he guessed it RIGHT AWAY. How did he do that?!? Anyway... in the end, it didn't even matter because the first meeting was this past Saturday, but Martin wasn't able to go after all because he'd spent the entire night before in the emergency room with Greta, with a terrible case of croup. It's always a little scary when they wake up coughing like that, but this time it was really frightening and very sudden--she doesn't even have a cold! I thought she was having some kind of allergic reaction to something and we couldn't get her calmed down so we rushed her off. Evidently they almost admitted her... luckily, she got calmed down and the breathing treatment did it's job. We've got a prescription through a few more nights, so hopefully we'll have no repeats of this! And Martin said the nurse was SO nice and that Greta was her old charming self by the end of the night.

Needless to say, our Saturday was pretty quiet.

And here are my girls:

 Elka is 5 months old this week!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Where Every Day's a Holiday

Anja is really into holidays. The other day she said it's no good to have just a regular day that isn't a holiday; that's no fun. And my explanation that the reason holidays are holidays is precisely because they don't happen every day was not enough for her. But really, the joke's on her, because right now every day IS a holiday around here. Just wait till she goes to school next year and she can't stay in her pajamas till noon, or change costumes fourteen times a day, or decide that right now is a good time to bake cookies... We've got a pretty great life around here these days--relaxed, happy, fun... and on most days we do all the things that we do on the holidays, complete with seeing the relatives. It's just that normal life is a lot better than the holidays on the normal days I'm not freaking out about washing their hair and keeping obligations and having to be someplace on time. When you don't go anywhere, time means nothing. I like it that way. I don't know how ready Anja will be next fall when she heads off to kindergarten, but I can tell you one thing: I'M going to miss these days and this easy-breezey lifestyle!

Here are some things we did today:
-Drew pictures
-Played music (Elka LOVES music... I'm going to have to have Martin take a video of her wiggling to "Rattlin' Bog" sometime soon)
-Made a very ugly leaf garland out of colored construction paper cutouts
-baked "sweetberry crisp"
-Ate mashed potatoes in the middle of the afternoon because mashed potatoes sounded like a good snack
-Read 'George and Martha'.  Okay, RIGHT NOW, no matter your age or whether or not you've got kids, you HAVE to go to your local library or at least get on their website and place a hold on as many George and Martha books as you can. We just can't get enough George and Martha around here! They are so funny
! They are so sweet! And they are an example of true friendship. I don't remember loving them when I was little, but as an adult, they are my absolute favorite book characters. I love them. I really think they might even beat out Frog & Toad.
-Ate candy (until I decided it was time to hide it all for awhile.)
-Stayed dressed out our Halloween costumes, which we'd slept in, and which we are sleeping in again right now.

And that brings us to our next topic: HALLOWEEN!

 As you can see, Anja was not a princess, as you might have been lead to believe after seeing the first picture of this post. No, princess dresses are worn casually around these parts. For Halloween, Anja was a fox. A really splendid fox, too. I feel like I did enough complaining already to anyone who would listen about how we BOUGHT the girls princess dresses (really pretty ones) three weeks ago and they were all revved up to wear them until about two days before Halloween when Anja decided she was going to be a fox. Her exact words were "I'm intent on being a fox." And so she was! No matter how much I tried to convince her that she'd make an awesome princess, she wanted to be a fox, and so, a fox she was.

This is the back of the costume:
 In the end, it was totally worth the headache this costume caused me. She LOVED being a fox (her fox name is Mary, by the way) and it was a good exercise for me in letting go. So what if I didn't get the dishes done from the family dinner party we'd had the night before? (oh... those dishes are still on the counter? Hmm.... ) Anja really enjoyed watching the costume take shape, trying it on as we went, checking everything before I made any seams to make sure it was just how she wanted it. And in the end, it turned out to be a pretty good costume for being constructed from scratch in just a few hours. The funny thing is, on the one hand I feel like I should be proud of myself for being able to whip up a costume like that lickedy-split... on the other hand, I feel like a fool because this is what I do every Halloween! Thankfully, Greta changed her mind in this order: Princess-ghost-bat-princess-[as we were walking out the door] CAT! Luckily, we had a cat costume in our dressup basket.
A few days ago they carved a pumpkin with Oompa up at my parents' house. I forgot about carving pumpkins. Because I'm a loser mom.

And speaking of cats, let's talk about THIS crazy cat:
Elka has begun to crawl. Does this seem ridiculously early to anyone else?! Four and a half months? CRAWLING?!? She's not quite got the arm-and-leg synchronized movement down yet, she's still at the rocking on her hands and knees phase. But she'll get up on her hands and knees and then rocket herself forward. This is how she gets places. Like a little toad. She can go across the room this way. It's crazy! And really, really funny to watch. It makes me worried about my future.

I got a call today from our local special services program within our schools and have an appointment to get Anja started with speech therapy. I feel like her speech (articulation, I guess) has gone up and down over the past year or two, and right now I do think it's improving, but I'm afraid she needs to improve A LOT before she goes to school next year. So that ball is finally rolling.  It's kind of sad because she has a really incredible vocabulary for a four year old (I'm clinging to the fact that she's still four... I've got one week left...) but nobody can tell that because nobody can understand a thing she says! But, a fix is in sight, at last.

To be honest, we've spent the majority of our days lately gathered around the kitchen table with piles and piles of paper, drawing. Greta, especially, LOVES to draw. In one month Greta has gone from drawing heads with stick limbs to drawing whole detailed people and even beginning to grasp the concept of foreground and background, distance within a picture and expression of movement and emotion. It's really, really fun to watch. Here's a picture she drew of Anja, Greta and Elka in Halloween costumes:

Elka is the little one with the stick on top her of her head (that's her mohawk) as a mummy; Greta is below that as a ghost; Anja is the big one with curly hair, and I can't really remember what her costume is... maybe a fox with a flower on her tummy? I can't remember, but it made sense when Greta told me (at least, it made as much sense as a three year old's drawing can.) Anyway, it's been so fun to watch her drawing develop, I'll be interested to see if that's something she'll continue with or not! Greta is absolutely turning out to be the artsy one of the bunch... she can really sing in tune too! Anja likes to do all the same things Greta does, but she does them much more strategically. She is more interested in doing things the "right" way  Except when it comes to poetry... Anja loves poetry and often closes her eyes to recite.

And here is a picture of my three little goofballs, all looking perfectly goofy, showing off their footy pj's as cold weather has arrived here.

And even though they all like to wear pajamas, none of them really likes sleep very much. Which is too bad. Obviously.

I imagine the next time I post Anja will be a big five year old, since that's happening next Friday. It will be an exciting birthday for her in more ways than one. I'm very excited for it myself!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Catching Up

Well, Fall is certainly chugging along, isn't it? This year we did something out of the ordinary, and instead of me making Halloween costumes ON Halloween, we PURCHASED Halloween costumes LAST WEEK. Whoa! I am not just timely, I'm ahead of schedule! This is quite an extraordinary event.

The girls want to be princesses this year. But so far, since buying the two princess dresses we saw at TJ Maxx, they've changed their minds to be gnomes, ghosts, witches and wolves. At least I know that if the princess dresses don't get worn on Halloween, they will most definitely be worn daily for years to come. It was really one of the safest purchases I've ever made.

Here's a big Elka face for you:

I think she's cute. She loves a bath more than anything. I still bathe her beside the sink and put her in long-sleeved onesies with the mitts for their hands because I like to pretend she's still a newborn, even though, clearly, she's not.

My birthday was great! I'm twenty-nine now, and I still don't have my nose pierced, though I do have the new Mumford & Sons album, and I do listen to it all the time. We didn't do anything super huge, just had a really nice day at home. Actually, I spent the morning with my sister and her girls and Elka, at a kids consignment sale and then eating lunch at Arni's, and during that time Martin and the big girls had a lot of fun preparing for my special day. They took the trolley to the flower store, wrapped all my gifts and drew pictures on the paper, and later on in the evening they even made a cake! I am a lucky mama.

I recently finished a sweater for Anja, and here it is, when I'd only gotten one clasp sewn on:

 It fits her pretty well and it looks better with all four clasps sewn on, as they are now. I took these pictures the other night. When we were getting ready to go for this trike ride, Anja asked Martin if it was chilly outside, and was hoping it was so she could wear her sweater!! My heart! My heart! And speaking of hearts:
I knit up this little heart and sewed it to the back... very crookedly.... to make it a little bit special for her. The heart looks a lot better when you see it as the sweater is wadded up and tossed on a chair or in a corner... you know, when you can't tell how ridiculously off center it is.

I ordered some yarn last night from Juniper Moon Farms! I'm hoping to dye it a nice earthy shade and make a pebble vest (I've got pebble vests coming out my ears) for Elka. I LOVE THESE VESTS. And I don't really have them coming out my ears.... I've got one half finished that I cannot find another skein of yarn for, I've got one that fits Elka that Greta likes to wear, I'm casting on one tonight and I don't know who it will fit, and my sister is making one *for her new baby* (!!!!!) and I have promised Greta that I'll make one in a soft, bulky yarn for her. I love them though because they are the perfect extra layer for small people who scream when their sleeves get wet during hand washing.

Yeah, did you catch that fun little announcement? Pretty exciting!! They are due right on that line between April and May. Spring babies are the best. No, Summer babies are the best... but late spring would be good too.

Another announcement: Martin is going to be starting grad school in January. He's getting a masters in library science.... so, I supposed someday I'll be married to a librarian. Funnily, he was a highschool librarian when we were dating. That was the best job ever--we went out to breakfast every day! Man, I hope a real librarian job is that good! Can you imagine having a job where you didn't have to get there until 10 or 11 in the morning? And he got off at 3:05!! Of course, in those days I worked until 5:30... but still. Breakfast every morning, then we'd walk to Vienna every night... it's no wonder it took him so long to save up for that engagement ring! Those were fun days.

Speaking of saving up... while I was standing at the cash register at the yarn store today, trying not to cry, I thought it might be a good time for me to get a job. You know, to have some money of my own (or at all) to feed this terrible yarn addiction I have. When does a "hobby" become a "bad habit?" When you notice you can get away with knitting things in smaller sizes for your kids because they are wasting away, since you're spending all your grocery money on yarn? Cause I might be getting close to that point. (kidding. My kids are in no danger of starvation, I promise.) But still... I bought yarn to cast on another sweater for me and while I value handmade things and think that it's important for everyone to have a hobby, especially a productive one... I just sometimes wish my first hobby was gardening and genetic engineering so I could grow the planet's first money tree. Because you know what, even if my money tree produced only one dollar, I'd still be set for life with a patent on something like that!

Too bad I'm so darn bad at math and science. Oh well, maybe in my next life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

There's Popcorn on the Table

Every once in awhile (it seems like all the time) Martin is given the very important job at his work of running the popcorn cart for some event. Whenever this happens, he's sure to bring home a bag of popcorn for the girls. Today he worked the popcorn cart and now there's popcorn all over the kitchen table. And there are dirty dishes in the sink and all over the counter. And I forgot to put the wet clothes from the washer into the drier and throw in my diaper load, so I might run out of diapers tomorrow. But everybody is asleep RIGHT NOW, and I am taking this moment to make a blog post. I AM!!
Since the last time I posted, we've been to the Feast:
 While my kids looked A-DOR-A-BLE, it was a somewhat stressful weekend. Fun, in the end, but hectic and cold. Actually, Saturday was pretty awful. It was cold and windy and Elka cried all day. I felt like everybody who saw me was judging me for having my baby out there (crying) and nobody was having much fun so eventually at 3:00 in the afternoon, we left. We have NEVER left the Feast early. Ever. At least not that I can remember. But we did, and we never regretted it. The next day was enormously better--aside from the fact that we slept through our alarm and missed the Mass out there and had to go to St. Tom's and didn't get out to the Fort until 11:00.... remember the days when Martin and I were the first ones out there, before the sun was up, to dig the firepit? Thoooooose were the daaaayyyss. (insert musical notes.)

But the girls had fun. In fact, Anja had so much fun that she sobbed and sobbed when it was time to pack it all up on Sunday--she wailed, "I WANT TO LIVE HERE! I WANT TO LIVE AT THE FEAST FOREVER!!" That behavior from her is usually a good clue that 1. She's exhausted and 2. She had a really great time on the road to her exhaustion.

Other events of our recent life include trying to keep these two as far apart as possible.

 Greta can get a little rambunctious (is that how you spell that? Probably not...) sometimes, if you can believe it. And sometimes, SOMETIMES, that energy comes out in the form of not-so-good behavior around Elka. You, know, like squeezing her head, or trying lie on top of her, or just simply giving her a good thump. We call this type of behavior "not okay" in a stern voice. And while I think it's perfectly obvious that Elka is a baby and therefore fragile and helpless, evidently, Greta sees her as just another person to sit on.

Meanwhile, I have FINALLY found a way to contain Anja's wild hair: double knots!
 That's not the right picture. In that picture she's sporting pigtails, also cute, but still kind of ratty looking. Martin took a few days off last week after our big weekend, and on one of those evenings we took a long walk up the hill to Greyhouse coffee shop. It was a nice little outing and a really lovely evening.

Here's Elka!
 She's always happy!

 In this picture we are at Stuckey Farms, the apple orchard we like to visit in the Fall. Sadly, they lost their apple crop, just like so many orchards, but we were able to get some good pumpkins! Much like at the Feast though, Elka was much happier in the car. I don't know what it is about being outside, but sometimes she just doesn't like it. So she and I hung out in the car and had a nice time laughing and smiling at each other. Because that is Elka's favorite thing to do. And if you ever get tired of laughing and smiling at her, just hold her in front of a mirror and she will laugh and smile at herself!

Here's the doubleknot picture:
Also, one of my favorite pictures EVER. These two goofballs... they're pretty great. 

And just because I think everybody needs a good startle every once in awhile:




This day we went to Dog N Suds. Martin had a minor surgery a few weeks ago to have a cyst removed (disgusting, I know) from his leg. I don't like to think about it. Anyway, the next day was kind of a goofy one, what with him having eleven stitches in his leg and me having a ton of errands to run. So this day we had lunch at Dog N Suds!! I love Dog n Suds because any time we go there it's spur-of-the-moment and kind of an adventure.

And speaking of food, here's a little marriage tip for any men reading this or boyfriends who want to file it away for later on in life: If there is ever a day when your wife didn't get to have a shower before you left for work and the baby woke up two hours earlier than usual and doesn't want to nap anyplace that requires being put down and the house is falling to pieces before noon and your wife calls you and hints at the fact that she might be feeling just the teensiest bit overwhelmed: ORDER JIMMY JOHNS. FOR ALL OF THEM. NO MATTER THE COST.
Martin did that for us today and it literally saved my day. Remember the dishes I mentioned earlier? Many of those are from YESTERDAY. Elka only wanted to sleep in my arms today and she wasn't even very interested in doing that. A surprise Jimmy Johns delivery at 10:30am fed us for the whole day, which was also great because that good chicken and dumpling dinner with sides of green beans and roasted honey mustard potatoes? Yeeeaaaaaah riiiiiiiiight. (I sort of look forward to the day when I plan a good dinner.... and then make it.) And he got a second nomination for Man of the Year when he surprised me by not taking a lunch break and coming home half an hour early, right at the very moment when Greta was about to melt down into screams of "I CAN'T WAIT THAT LOOONGGG!" when I told her that when Daddy got home we could go for a trike ride around the library lot. I wish I had a picture of her face when he pulled in the driveway just at the moment she opened her mouth to begin her fit. She was SO excited. And so was I!!! What a treat.

Saturday marks the first day of the last year of my twenties. I only have one more year to make them "roaring." As you might have seen on Facebook, I'm thinking of getting my nose pierced. That's kind of roaring, right?

We'll see what happens.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Morning Walks

I sometimes go for walks in the mornings. I do this to get some exercise and some "fresh air" to begin my day. Yes, I like to begin my day with my lungs full of bus exhaust fumes and dumpster smell. It's the best. I was good about walking every morning when I was pregnant and I had mixed feelings about it. Even though I was completely self conscious and picked up all sorts of obnoxious comments, it made me feel great. And for some reason it seemed a little more normal to be going on an exercising walk while ginormously pregnant. Now I feel self conscious about that too... Why am I not running like normal people? Why don't I purchase a gym membership? Answers: because I hate running and I feel stupid and flabby when I run; because I don't like people looking at me, so I'd just wind up staying home and getting fatter. (I made the most delicious berry cobbler yesterday! I ate half the pan!!)

So this morning I walked. I avoided passing the same business twice as I avoided passing the same homeless people twice. I felt like a wandering idiot. Martin says I should take one of the dogs, but then I'll end up carrying poop around with me. Yuck. What I wish is that I could have a morning destination. I can't afford to buy my coffee every morning though, and that's the only destination I can think of for 7:30 in the morning. Any suggestions?

Man, that cobbler was yummy. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Practicing Kindness (Heavy on the Pictures)

This is Greta sporting one of her best outfits. I'm on of those people who gets really judgy when young girls are dressed skankily. Her parents let her out of the house in THAT?!? Then I have to look at what my own daughters are wearing, and I think maybe I should try not to be such a judger.

Speaking of judging....

I followed a link on Facebook the other day to a blog I'd never read before. One of my friends had commented on it, and it looked kind of interesting in a "my kind of person" sort of way. (Conservative, Catholic, Stay-At-Home-Mom to daughters. Sound like someone you know?) Anyway, the reason there were comments for me to see was because this blogger had stirred up some discussion on her blog. Not so much about any specific content of her blog, but ABOUT HER BLOG. People were basically saying they didn't like her blog anymore. Except it wasn't that simple... they were being pretty mean about it.

So I read some of her most recent posts, in which she is at least 7 months pregnant, moving, making enormous cross-country car journeys with two kids and no husband (while pregnant) to be in a wedding, where she will wear a dress that's not in her possession, which she just has to hope will fit. and evidently it didn't fit all that well. Short story: she seems to be having a tough go of it lately. To me, it seems like HER OWN BLOG might be an appropriate place to do some public venting. And yes, there was a bit of politics thrown into her posts, a bit of personal views. Not surprising--IT'S HER BLOG. What is really shocking is that her readers were totally turning on her and saying pretty unkind things--one of them actually said "maybe you should stop blogging until after your baby is born." !?!?!?! WHO SAYS THAT?!? Now, like I said, I don't know this person and I had never even heard of her blog before the other day. But after reading a few posts and a number of ouchy comments, I ended up thinking of this poor girl for the rest of the day. And I kept thinking, "Why do we have to be so MEAN?" What's the point, really, of being unkind to someone? It seems to me that going to someone's personal blog and telling them you don't like it and they should change it is a little bit like going to someone's house and asking them to take down their artwork. It's okay to be offended by my religious artwork or nude statues (we don't really have any nude statues) and it's okay to tell me in a gentle way how your views of the world differ from mine. That's life--we don't all think the same way. And CLEARLY a blog is a pretty public place where you are inviting controversy and discussion and should be prepared for that and not have your feelings hurt when somebody does disagree with you. But I see no reason to be deliberately unkind to people for being who they are. We all have stretches of unpleasantness in our lives. (Especially when we're pregnant.) So, maybe her posts have gotten a little pessimitic, a little complainy lately. So what? If it bothers you that much, don't read her. But maybe, MAYBE, where someone said "hey, your blog is really stinking these days" there should have been a comment more along the lines of "hey... are you okay?" It's just a thought. I just wish everyone would be more kind to each other, in general. It's easy to be jerky to people though the internet because it's so non-confrontational and impersonal. But that doesn't make it nececssary, nor does it make it right.

I put that "nor" in there because Greta and Anja have started saying it and it makes me laugh.

And you're probably all wondering why I'm not putting up a link to the blog itself, but it's because I don't even remember what it was! I just clicked the link on Facebook! So, sorry about that.

Here's a picture of (!) ME with Elka from this morning:

I am not usually a fan of pictures of myself. I prefer ones more like this one, where I have no head:
 Martin and I realized yesterday after we'd gotten dressed that we were dressed the same. Oops! So we had Greta take our picture (many times. and then I cut and pasted to get this.) Looks like we both could use a run through the dryer though, huh?

Here's another picture of me with no head:

To show that in the evenings Elka and I sit on the porch swing and suck our thumbs. !!!! I have never had a thumb sucker before and I am absolutely IN LOVE with this little habit of hers. It's so adorable. And ridiculously convenient... this whole "self-soothing" thing is a new to me... Sometimes if she's fussing in a tired way I'll put her down on her blanket on the floor and she'll stick her thumb in her mouth and be asleep within thirty seconds. It's weird. I love it.

Our Labor Day weekend included some heavy rains, thanks to Hurricane Isaac. We told our friend Perkins to come to town from Cincinnati and she did, and we gathered the makings for hurricanes, those fruity rum drinks from New Orleans. We were all set for a full blown hurricane party! We had the alcohol, the music, the weather, and then we got something we didn't expect: fireworks! Coming out of our walls! In our laundry room!! And it was a great drill in preparedness as the big girls were both naked and Elka was napping--we were all out of the house with dresses for the girls to put on in a matter of seconds. And then the firemen came. And they went into my house and they went through my kitchen, and this is what they saw:

 (minus Greta eating a tomato, of course.) My kitchen is usually very tidy. But we had company and I was in the middle of making dinner! The girls had just pulled ALL of the books off the kitchen bookshelf, Martin had just gotten home from the grocery and not all the groceries were put away yet, we were behind on dishes because it was the weekend and we had company staying with us, and the girls were in the middle of a number of different art projects. I was so embarrassed. But at least somebody turned off the burners on the stove while they were in there so the dinner didn't get ruined.

Greta's been writing her name lately and she's been making her 'R's into little people. and all of Greta's people wear their hair in double knots.
 And speaking of Greta.... Martin had ordered these umbrellas for the girls a looooong time ago to keep as a surprise for a rainy day. Surprise! Anja's is pink with ladybugs, but she was already outside when I took this.
And here's Elka.

Mornings are my favorite part of the day, when we're all upstairs and I make all the beds and the big girls immediately jump on them and Elka and I hang out on the big bed together. Have I ever mentioned on here that I have the most comfortable bed in the whole entire universe? It's true. It's comfy enough as it is, but we've added a featherbed to it and now it's just amazing. Which I guess is maybe why last night I had to sleep with most of my body hanging off the bed, clinging to a tiny corner of covers while the rest of my family was sleeping cozily together like puppies. In my bed. ALL OF THEM.  If other people want to have The Family Bed, have at it... but I don't think I agree with this "Family (except for Mama) Bed" that's happening around my house lately. I feed them, I bathe them, I clothe them, I read them endless piles of books every single day, and what do they do? They make me sleep in a toddler bed. Sad face.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Once Upon A Time I Was a Knitter

The other day I finished up this sweater:

For this baby:

And I feel so happy that I have completed--not just a project-- a SWEATER in the ten short weeks since Elka was born. It makes me feel like I still have some eensy weensy bit of control over my life. Of course, that control has to be put on the back burner until after midnight and then it has to be reassessed each night to determine whether or not it is more valuable than sleep... But nevertheless, if I look hard enough, it's there.

Anja and Greta have really started drawing [again] lately. They spend hours of each day crouched over paper, drawing mostly pictures of our family. They each have a distinct style, it's obvious when they've been trying hard instead of just "sketching" and I love, love, love to watch this interest develop. Funnily, for Greta it is art; she is drawing a picture. For Anja it's pretend play, just an extension of her "games" where she draws out a story and talks through it as she works. And once Greta finishes a drawing, she's done. But Anja will change one drawing throughout the day as her make believe story evolves. So fun to watch!

So I guess we're all being creative these days. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop