Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Big Bad Internets

Awhile back (maybe over the summer?) I heard an interview with John Melancamp (maybe on The World Cafe?  How do you spell his name?) and during the interview he started talking about the Internet and how he thinks it's more dangerous than the atom bomb, and the biggest evil ever invented.  At hearing that, part of me thought, "Gosh, he's got some issues with paranoia" and another part of me thought, "Hm... he might be right!"

Then the other day I got to talking to my mom about how the difficulties of parenthood for mothers of my generation are not at all the same as the difficulties for mothers of her generation.  It seems like these days "perfection" and "most" are all that matter in parenting style.  It makes for a stressful job.  As she said, it can take the fun right out of parenting.  And she's right, and I started wondering what happened in such a short time, and then I realized: It's The Internet!

Instead of being a regular mom with a regular life and two or three good mom-friends, we mothers of today are put on show to the rest of the WORLD.  Through Facebook and other social networks, through blogs just like this one, through Pinterest and Twitter (ok, social network..) and...... well, I can't think of anymore examples right now.  But we are on show all the time to everyone--to moms we know personally and moms we've never met and never WILL meet, and I think we all feel this unspoken standard that we have to live up to.  Taking a  picture?  Move that bucket of dirty mop water from the background!  Making a blog post?  Conveniently leave out the part about breaking down in tears three times in one day!  Let's keep it funny!  Sharing a newly finished craft?  Always shoot from the best angle and make sure the photo is taken from a distance that sufficiently hides all flaws!  In fact, just Instagram it and it immediately looks a million times better!  It's all about keeping up with other Online Moms.  We have to be as good as everyone else.  And it isn't good for us!  This front we all put up isn't good for our readers!  Because, let's be honest, we ALL have those "train wreck" blogs that we keep going back to and reading, even though they make us feel like dirt.  No, we can't be as good as that mom.  But we HAVE TO KEEP READING.  HER LIFE IS SO PERFECT.  I WANT TO BE HER.

Meanwhile, the children are drawing on the walls with permanant marker. Again.  (But it never happened unless it's posted online!)

And I feel like the competition that lives in today's parenting circles is much less about the kids and much more about the moms.  Nobody really cares about who the smartest child in the room is.  Nobody cares who potty trains first, or who reads the earliest, or who is visiting the NASA headquarters by invitation at age four. It's all about the moms. And specifically in my own social circles (as if I can even call myself a member of anything remotely "social" except for online!) it's like the moms are expected to do EVERYTHING.  Well, I homeschool and I have a little side job from home (which practically pays the mortgage) and I practice these seventy arts/crafts and I have fourteen zoo animals that I take care of nine times a day and I cut my own firewood with a saw I made myself, which I carved with my fingernails, and I suck venom out of my kids snake bites instead of calling the doctor because I'm JUST THAT HARDCORE.  And what's just plain "organic" anymore?  We only eat food that is SUPER-DUPER-MOST-ORGANIC-IMAGINABLE.  In fact... we actually just eat air. Food has too many bad extras.

That sounds judgmental, but it's not meant to be.  Hellooooo, I'm completely guilty of all that too!  "Oooooo, we eat deer meat, we are awesommmme."  Yeah, have I mentioned that we have an entire deer in the freezer that we haven't touched because suddenly I can't stand the idea of eating any kind of meat at all? (thanks, pregnancy... I hope this is a temporary thing because I used to enjoy many kinds of meat very much.)

But I do have to say.... our new ukulele is really cool and I love it.

However, that does not make ME cool just because for having one.

Honestly, I'm not trying to be a jerk. I'm not pointing fingers and telling people to stop being who they are--which is to say, more successful and productive that I am!  I'm trying to say, NOBODY has a perfect life.  NOBODY can do it all, no matter what their blog says.  For every fantastic accomplishment posted on a blog, there's a mountain of laundry that remains unpictured.  In every perfect family there's a toddler who never got the nap he really, REALLY needed.  And it's hard to remember because nobody wants to post about the unhappy things and the unsuccessful projects and the culinary flops.  We only want to post about the good stuff, and the stuff that makes us look good, but we all wish we could read a little less perfection and a little more real life in the rest of the Internets.

Am I right?

So let's all make a Chinese New Year Resolution--let's all try to not let ourselves get dragged down by the Internet!  NO MORE FEELING LIKE YOU'RE NOT AS GOOD AS THE NEXT MOM. Everybody does her own thing; Nobody can do it all. Everybody posts the good stuff; Nobody wants to read about family drama. (Well... ok... we probably all do, but it's really none of our business.) Everybody has that yucky bit of tummy flab that puffs out over your cesearean scar, or stretch marks or wider hips or extra pounds; Nobody has her same body post-baby.  We are all different and we are all doing our best and we are all doing the parent-thing our own way, and that's just as it should be because we are all individuals looking through these virtual windows into other people's lives where only the best stuff shows.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Attachment Everything

I have an additctive personality.  Martin does too.  That's why we can never dabble in drugs or alcohol.  I'm not ashamed to admit it, but knowing how frustrating this can be (not so much doing without the drugs... more like being obsessed with something to the point of hating it), I'm sorry so say that my kids (especially Anja) seem to have inherited this trait.  It's really coming out this year too--right around Christmas time she became completely obsessed (OBSESSED!!) with a few different things.  One thing was the story/song/movie of Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey.  she's still stuck on that.  Another was the Nutcracker.  She talked about it nonstop for days until we saw the production and then she barely talked about it anymore.  Funny.  Well, she's been obsessed with the Nativity since Christmas and organizing home productions of it, handing out parts to all of us, etc., for the past few weeks and now alongside that, she has become more obsessed with the Disney Princesses than I ever thought was possible.

I don't have a problem with Disney Princesses like some people do.  I watched the movies when I was little and didn't come out with any horrible scarring to my self-esteem; I also played with Barbie dolls.  I'm not judging... everyone is different. All I'm saying is that I don't really have a problem with my kids liking the Disney princesses so much... especially since they were obsessed with them LOOOOOONG before they ever saw a movie.  But over the past week they have watched "Beauty & the Beast" at my parents' house, and Anja loved it!  (Greta doesn't really watch.) But even before seeing the movie, she would see a picture of the princesses and she would ask Martin and me to tell her every detail of their stories.  It's been many years since I've seen any of those movies and some of them I've never seen at all, so I mostly just tell her the actual stories, with some details from the movies (like names and funny characters) thrown in. After she knows the names she can assign us all parts and we have to BE those parts.  Recently she's really been into Aladdin, which she calls "Jasmine" because our Aladdin part (Martin) is always at work.  And why would we name a production after someone who's never in it?  Anyway, this talking about the princesses and their stories is nonstop to a level I hadn't known was possible in four-year-olds, and it made me realize... THAT'S why people hate the Disney princesses!  It has nothing to do with self-esteem, victimizing women, too much emphasis on exterior beauty, etc..... it's just that the parents are so exhausted from hearing about and telling about and discussing at length each and every detail of each and every story of each and every princess that are driven to HATE all things Disney princess--and maybe they don't even see why!!!  That has been my observation lately. 

Meanwhile, as Anja grows increasingly obsessed with Disney princesses, Greta has her own little attachments.  She found this little plastic rabbit, covered in fuzz (this thing is very old... and has seen better days. I'm not sure what the fuzz used to be like, but I'm SURE that there was more of it at one time, years ago.)  She promptly named it Sam and brought it home and now it's her best friend.  She draws pictures of Sam, Sam goes everywhere with her... it's kind of weird!  And cute!

Back during our anniversary I didn't have enough money to buy Martin the gift I'd wanted to get him, which was a fiddle.  I didn't want to settle for something made in China, so I got him a lame book and that was it.  But lately I came into having a little extra cash of my own, so I sneaked down to the music store here and I bought him this ukulele.  It's great!  I'm pretty sure he can learn to play it easily because it's pretty basic.  It's fun to think up songs that would be great for it... and I can't wait for him to learn it so we can play together!  I've learned "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and it's super fun.
 The same night I got the ukulele I went to the knitting store (that was my cover to make it a surprise... and Anja knew about the secret plan all day and kept it a secret!) and picked up this yarn to make myself a new sweater.  It's sort of a variation of The February Lady Sweater that I found on Ravelry, which is a variation on Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Surprise Baby Jacket," which I've never made but have thought about making.  I've actually never made any E.Z. patterns.  She works mainly in circular needles... which is a turnoff for me because I am a bit of a loser. But I feel like I should at least try one of them sometime. Maybe this summer when I know what gender this new baby is I'll make him/her a Surprise Baby Jacket for the fall.  I did find some really fun purple and green yarn at River Knits the other night.
 This is Greta.  !!!!!!  What happened to my tiny baby!?!?!?!?!?!?  You can't see her little crossed ankles hanging down from the chair, making her look even older.  she's been asking to have her hair ina ponytail lately--like me!  What a compliment!  (Anja asks for her hair in a ponytail too... like Jasmine. haha.)
From Clare's blog I found the recipe/idea for this "snow dough."  We made it yesterday and the girls loved it.  This stuff is incredible!  It's just flour and oil... but the oil amount is perfect.  Not enough to make it all greasy and nasty, but just enough to make it clump up a little bit when you press it together.  And it makes it REALLY easy to sweep up.  It's kind of the consistency of wet sand, except way easier to clean up than sand, which NEVER cleans up... this stuff just brushes off the body (or out of your hair) and sweeps up so easily!  It did fill in the cracks of our tables and chairs though... That'll have to be scraped out with a knife, I guess.  But it was totally worth it. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

(Christmas morning.... they got a little coffee maker. Hee hee!)

One thing that has happened to me since becoming a mom is that I think about Time a lot.  Before having kids, I was really good at living in the moment—literally.  Like down to the absolute MOMENT.  But now I think of “moments” as being much more broad… for instance, this time of having my girls so young and sweet—not babies—but little people.  It won’t be long before we are pulled in different directions, being in activities and school and having friends.  It won’t be long before the pace of our life quickens and we aren’t spending an entire day playing pretend.  Today at mass they sang The Servant Song, which is a song I played at my good friend Alison’s wedding.  When Alison got married Anja was not even a year old and I was not yet expecting Greta.  Now Alison herself is expecting her second baby!!  It’s SO WEIRD to think of how time goes by and nothing is the same from day to day anymore.  Before kids, I had this small but very fun life… play music with lots of people, work in this store or that store… do whatever I want… and it felt like it would be like that forever.  But now I look at my kids and I think, “How are you growing up so fast?!?  How am I getting old so fast?!?”  And I try to pay attention and remember that even when Greta is throwing a temper tantrum, in the blink of an eye, she’ll be twelve.  Or sixteen.  Or thirty.  Yikes.

Anyway, there’s been a blog post going around on Facebook about “Don’t Carpe Diem” or something like that… and I read it and I liked it because it’s so, so true.  You don’t relish the tantrums—come on, NOBODY does.  You don’t savor reading The Little Engine that Could (I hate that book) for the bazillionth time in one day.  You don’t wish that the spills and messes and arguments and insisting-on-ridiculous-things would last forever.  And that’s just the kids, not including the five million things you have to do WHILE you’re settling arguments and explaining things to toddlers who don’t understand and wishing you were reading ANYTHING other than Watty Piper. But the truth is, this little tiny window of time that is so sweet and free is fleeting.  And I think something that’s helped me really live in the moment during this time is reading Amanda Blake Soule’s blog archives. I started reading them two summers ago when Greta was a baby and there was still a daily naptime, during which I could do whatever I wanted.  I got through a lot before our computer broke and since I’ve had the iPhone I’ve been reading them again, but only once in awhile.  And I don’t often read her current posts, except when Martin sometimes prints them out for me to read.  But every time I do read a current post, I’m amazed at how time has flown.  Her boys—who were toddlers/preschoolers when she started her blog, and her third baby wasn’t even born yet—are practically grownups now.  Her oldest is TEN. I’m pretty sure he was three when she started blogging.  Maybe 4.  In any case…. The change is enormous.  And it’s so neat to have those two times of the same family in my mind back to back and it really helps to make you realize, Oh!  My kids really WILL grow up… and it will happen really quickly! 

Anyway… it’s been kind of a fun little thing for me, keeping up with both eras of her blog.  (the archives are WAY better, by the way… back before she had thousands of comments per posts and many of the comments were from her mom and sisters.)  So if any of you moms of young’uns out there need a boost, you might try reading those archives and then peeking in on her current blog every once in awhile.  It’s  a funny thing.
In other news, we did go sledding yesterday up at my parents' house and even when Greta fell face-first into the snow she still wanted to keep on sledding!  It was their first time sledding adn they LOVED IT.  It was so fun to take them!  And afterward my dad made them hot cocoa and they got to watch a little bit of Beauty & the Beast--their first time watching one of the Disney movies!  Not that Anja hasn't been completely obsessed with the Disney princesses for quite some time... but she was thrilled to actually see a bit of the movie.  Anyway... I'll save my thoughts on Disney Princesses for another post.  For now, we've had a big weekend--it's bedtime!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Making Mrs. Thaw

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Yesterday was a snowy day. It snowed all day and we got a lot more than had been forecast for us.  But it was also really cold, so we didn’t venture outside… instead we stayed in and gave our Nature Table a little bit of a facelift.  It was lovely during Christmas—all the little gnomies had presents and a Christmas tree and I made a little Holy Family doll set.  It was very nice and we had a white ground, even though we had a brown Christmas.  But all that was put away and our table has been empty since Epiphany.  So yesterday we laid out the white tablecloth (ok, pillowcase) and rearranged a little bit.  Then we made Mrs. Thaw!  I have this book (which doesn’t actually belong to me…) that has some really great nature table ideas.  And in it, they have King Winter and Mrs. Thaw… Mrs. Thaw comes along with her broom to sweep away the snow in early spring.  Isn’t that adorable?!  So we made Mrs. Thaw, but she doesn’t have a broom, and since it’s still the middle of winter, she is sleeping in a little bed that Anja made for her. (well, actually, she WAS sleeping in her little bed but she gets played with a lot.  I don’t know where she is at the moment.)  So that’s what we spent all of yesterday afternoon doing while we watched the snow fall.  It was really nice.

And now today the snow is falling again.  This is the best kind of snow… it’s been snowing almost constantly for two days, but we still only have a couple of inches.  We’re supposed to get a few more inches tonight before we warm up in a few days.  I’ll be sad when winter is over.  I really love winter and it’s coziness.  Of course, I bet I would love it a lot less if I didn’t have this nice warm house.  

I mentioned the fact that Anja has been going to sleep without her “bont-bont” and during my last post she was out with Martin.  Well, when she got home she announced quite suddenly that she was just going to kiss us goodnight and go to bed.   What?!?  My baby?!??  But it was true.  She did it.  That night Martin went up with her and tucked her in, but since then (this is night #4, I think) she has just kissed us goodnight down here and gone on up by herself.  And she falls right asleep!  It’s incredible.  And every time she leaves the room Martin and I make pouty faces because we can’t believe how big our little Pie is. 

It’s going to be really weird to have a newborn again.  I’m so used to saying “Put on your shoes, let’s go” or “go put on your pajamas and pick out a book” that it’s going to be strange to have to do things FOR a little person.  And by “things” I of course mean EVERYTHING.  Gosh, I barely wipe bottoms anymore.  But I’m really looking forward to being able to have control over somebody’s daily clothing… I have officially lost control over what my girls wear (except on Sundays, and even then we let them sometimes choose their own tights and shoes) and sometimes it’s really obvious by what they pick from their drawers.  But that’s okay!  They are independent thinkers, right?  And it’s not like we leave the house anyway.

Except tomorrow… I’m hoping we get to get out and play in the snow tomorrow since it’s Saturday!
Happy weekend!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Goodbye, Bont-Bont!

So, I’m not the kind of person who feels very comfortable forcing my kids into doing things…. You can see this by the fact that Greta is still nursing at night, even though I hate it. But what can I do?  It is the way she goes to sleep, it is a comfort thing to her, and I don’t feel like it’s spoiling her… especially since nursing has all those huge benefits.  (Even if I’m not especially feeling those benefits lately, I’m sure she is!)  So anyway, up until this week, Anja had still been going to bed with a bottle of milk.  I could tell she was growing out of it because she would drink down her bottle, hand it to me, and then flop over and go to sleep.  We had suggested a couple of times that she go to bed without it and she was excited until it was actually time to go to bed, and then she decided she’d rather try another night.  I started to worry that she’d be taking her bottle off to college with her, until about five days ago, we lost it.  I have NO IDEA where that bottle could be.  We have looked everywhere, but it’s vanished.  So the first night that we couldn’t find it, we were a little bit nervous… we told Anja it was lost and we gave her a mug of milk before bed.  And she was totally fine with it, and drank her milk and went to sleep.  I am worried that someday I’ll stumble upon it and it will be who-knows-what color… but I try not to think about that part of it and just be glad that Anja was so awesome about the whole change.  So it was forced, I guess… but it was kind of a natural force.  

However, tonight she had a hard time falling asleep.  She said it’s because I kept covering her up with her blankets and she was hot.  (I was covering her up because I was freezing!!)  So Martin took her out to the Starbucks drive-thru to get me a beverage.  Yumm.  And when they get back, Martin is going to put her to bed and I’m going to sip my yummy beverage and begin work on the robes I’ve promised to make the girls.  I spent $16 of my own money and a $30 gift card at Jo-Ann’s and I got some seriously cute flannel to make these robes.  I really hope they turn out!  I also had in my cart a number of remnants, but I knew I wouldn’t have enough money for them, so I put them back…. All except one that I needed for another project.  But when I got to the car I realized I’d also bought another remnant that I’d meant to put back…. And annoyingly, it was one that I had chosen to be the trim of a tablecloth I intended to make with a different remnant that I HAD remembered to put back.  Bah!  However… all things work out in some way and I have already found another project for that nice piece of brown fabric.

Because I don’t think you can return remnants, can you?

You might remember my recent post about the UPS truck always parking across the street and my longing to receive a surprise package from that truck.  Well, today it actually happened!  The girls and I were sitting on the couch reading stories and I saw the UPS truck park in the usual spot and I thought sadly, “another package, not for me.” But then BANG-BANG!—I DID get a package!  And it was a total surprise, although as soon as I picked up the box, I knew what it was.  It was Anna Maria Horner’s “Handmade Beginnings,” a book I’ve been drooling over for a very long time and was talking to Martin about last night.  And while I was talking, and not paying attention, he got on Amazon and ordered it for me. I had no idea!  So it was a big, wonderful surprise today.  And I want to make pretty much every pattern in the book.  I think my first will be the booties…. Because I have plenty of fabric for them.  In fact, I might end up making multiple pairs.  But I also want to make the Four Corners shirt and the Mariposa tunic.

My belly is mostly still fat, which is annoying, but I’m starting to wear my smallest pregnancy clothes.  My sister brought a huge box of shared stuff over this weekend and I’d forgotten about some of those cutie clothes!  Being pregnant is kind of exciting because you get a whole new wardrobe for free. 
My pictures aren’t working again. Sorry.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pillow Talk

So, my pillow has gone flat on me.  It's lasted me many, many years but suddenly at the beginning of this week I started waking up every day with that annoying my-pillow-is-too-flat neck ache.  At first I thought I'd just tough it out, you know, wad up some baby blankets behind my pillow or something.  But then I had this small memory of having an extra pillow or two in a closet somewhere... somewhere.... Oh, of course!  That closet in Martin's weight room!  The one who's door is completely blocked by STUFF, including but not limited to, a bookshelf full of ammo boxes!  (Ammo boxes equals lead, by the way. In other words, heavy stuff.)  But once I remembered the extra pillow, I was determined, so I braved all hazards and eventually got to the hidden closet, and was able to open the door enough for me to get into it.  And do you know what I found?  Not one pillow... not two pillows.... I found TEN PILLOWS.  !?!?!?  Who has ten pillows stashed and forgotten in a closet?!?  TEN!!!!!  And to think, for the last four or five years, Martin and I have been trying to figure out how to make our sad, flattening pillows last a little longer.  And these aren't just more sad, flat pillows that are hidden in the closet.  (Well, okay, a few of them are... and one of them might be legitimately flat because it's my old, old pillow from when I was little and it has a hole and all the feathers have fallen out.  But I probably shouldn't even count it as a pillow since it's more like a rag with a couple of feathers stuck in it.)  But the real treasures were these four fluffy, clean, practically unused pillows.  I put them in clean white pillowcases and they have changed my life!  My neck doesn't hurt anymore!  I have trouble falling asleep now because I just lie awake enjoying the fluffiness beaneath my head and neck!  It's AMAZING!! 

But that wasn't even all I found.  Aside from the ten pillows there was also an entire BOX of sheets.  Now those I remembered.  They are actually pretty useless because they are queen or full sized and we only have king and twin-sized mattresses now.  So I put them in that box intending to use them for quilt backs.  But I hadn't remembered them until I saw them! 

Another weird thing in that closet was a white terrycloth bathrobe that was in that closet when we moved in, but I thought we'd given it to Goodwill.  Some things in our house were big scores.  But I don't think I could ever wear somebody else's bathrobe.  I don't wear bathrobes anyway, I think they're icky.  (Nevermind that I just spent my entire JoAnn's gift card on flannel to make my children bathrobes.  On grownups they are icky.  On children they are cute.)
This picture is of Greta painting.  Do any of my readers use Instagram!?  I love it. 

I'm at Starbucks right now.  (Hello, more giftcards!) It's part of my afternoon out with myself.  JoAnn's, Bed Bath and Beyond (again, gift card... this one was from the first Christmas we were married.  Luckily, it hadn't lost any of it's value and I got a set of sheets and a bathmat. FOR FREE!!  I hadn't been in that store for many, many years... i just can't fathom paying $40 for a soap dish,) a mocha treat here and then I should go to Target to get butter but I probably won't because after all this fun, who wants to ruin the high by going to the grocery store?

But I'd better be heading home now because I'm hungry.  And I really should resist the urge for one of those ginormous brownies and instead go home to some sort of relatively healthy lunch.

P.S.  Blogger has changed it's format since the last time I was blogging regularly and I'm getting lost a lot.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crafts and Swimmers

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I’m trying a new thing with the pictures, and I hope it works.  If not, hopefully I’ll get it sorted out soon.

You know how sometimes you get to thinking about Eternity and trying to get the logic of it and if you think about it too long it gets kind of freaky and you have to stop?  Well I started thinking that way about unborn babies last night as I was trying to fall asleep.  Specifically, about MY unborn baby and how weird it is that it’s swimming around in there, bumping me and keeping me from falling asleep.  It is so weird that they are living like little fish who don’t even eat with their mouths.  All they need is this magic jelly cord and they’re good for survival for NINE MONTHS.  It’s not even like they’re scuba diving with limited oxygen.  They’ve got their nose plugs and somehow with this belly button lifeline, that’s all there is to it.  But then, after all those months of being fish, as soon as they’re born they suddenly need to breathe air.  ?!?   It doesn’t even make any sense!  And when I told this all to Martin, his response was, “Doesn’t it make you think of what a miracle it is?”  And I had to be honest and say, “No. It just freaks me out.”  And it’s bad enough when I get to thinking about  it when I’m not pregnant, but when I am, and when I’m feeling the bump-bump-bump in there, and I think about that weird umbilical cord…. Ich.  It’s just kind of yucky.

But aside from being weirded out by the being swimming around in there, I am REALLY excited for this third baby.  More excited than I was for either of my other two (not to say I wasn’t excited for them; obviously I was… but this time I am COMPLETELY excited without reservation.)  Why is this?  Not much has changed.  Our income is the same, our house is shrinking around us, we can’t fit three carseats into our current car.  (Okay, well  TECHNICALLY we can, but you can ask my sister about what a joy that is.)  But I’m so excited!  Maybe it’s because after having two this time I’ll know what I’m doing.  (Haha, that’s a joke.)  Maybe it’s because I’m bored every day and I need something to give me something to do because I’m not busy enough.  (Another joke.)   Maybe it’s because I miss breastfeeding so much.  (Joking again!  Greta’s still at it!)  Seriously though, I do miss the tiny baby things and how much they need you in a different way than how preschoolers need you.  Preschoolers need you to help them button their fifteen costume changes per hour, and they need help spelling their words and remembering the lyrics to the songs they’re trying to sing.  But they don’t want too much help…it’s definitely not okay to sing the song for them, or to write the word for them… oh no.  But babies need help with everything and they need lots of snuggles, for which preschoolers just don’t have time.  I seriously miss diapering and I’m SUPER excited to start expanding our cloth supplies.  I miss the quiet one-on-one time that a newborn demands.  Last night at 3am Greta woke up (she had to go poo poo but wouldn’t admit it.)  We went downstairs and had a little snack and a drink of water and did some coloring/drawing.  And it was actually kind of nice.  And yes, I much rather would have been sleeping in the middle of the night (especially after TWO HOURS of being awake with her) but it was so quiet and cozy and she was so cheerful.  Just like those early days middle-of-the-night feedings when even though you’d rather be sleeping, it is kind of nice to be snuggling up with your baby.

Don’t worry.  I know I’ll change my mind when it’s actually happening.  It’s just been so long since we’d had a BABY around here!  It seems like Anja and Greta grew up at the same pace.  And now they’re such big kids!  It’s crazy!!  And it’s tons of fun, in a different way.

Okay, time for a subject change.  

I received a JoAnn’s gift card from my mother-in-law for Christmas and I intend to spend the entire thing on flannel.  I’d like to make the girls each a cozy robe and with anything left over I’m going to make cloth baby wipes.  We also got a Hanna Andersson catalogue in the mail yesterday and they had some dresses in there that Anja loved that would be SUPER easy to make.  So I’m going to see if they have any of their summer fabrics on clearance and start in on the spring/summer handmade wardrobe.

I know there are better fabrics you can get online, and I wish I could have the nerve to buy online because I also know you can score some good deals.  Not to mention the thrill of getting a package in the mail.  My neighbor buys stuff online and sometimes the UPS truck pulls up across from my house and I look hopefully out the window…. “maybe I accidentally ordered something wonderful in my sleep?...”  Of course, I didn’t.  Because I don’t actually like ordering stuff online.  I like to touch my purchases, especially fabrics and yarns, which is the only thing I would ever consider buying online anyway.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll open a fabric shop in my Back Room. 

It’s snowing!!  We’re finally getting some good wintry weather.  Not a moment too soon.

I’m telling you, this tethering thing is incredible.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back at the Kitchen Table

So, now that we have this laptop, and now since we have this all-powerful iPhone, and now that we’ve figured out how to do that tethering thing through the iPhone, I am at last able to enter back into the technological world from my kitchen table!  This is pretty incredible.  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve made a blog post in this fashion….. Geeminy, an entire year and a half.  Whew.  Well, it’s good to be back!

My parents are without a computer these days and my mom, even though she says, “Isn’t it nice to not have a computer?” has developed a twitch and the other day when I was there with my laptop she started drooling a little bit while she was watching me update my blog. And the truth is, yes, not having a computer is VERY freeing and a wonderful experience.  But sometimes things happen that I just want to share.  And when things come up and you really want to make a blog post and you just CAN’T, that’s when not having a computer is really, really obnoxious.

But other than that, it was nice to not have one.  Especially when we had the iPhone, because then I could still look up recipes.  And speaking of recipes, you should Google search “Hershey’s Hot Fudge Pudding Cake” right now, and then make that recipe.  I’m not joking—RIGHT NOW!!!!  It is the most magical recipe ever.  Not only magical because I just can’t understand how it happens (you put all the ingredients together to make a regular cake mix, then you put a layer of dry ingredients on top, then you dump hot water over everything and don’t stir—and somehow, this comes out LOOKING like a chocolate cake, but when you dig in with your serving spoon, THE ENTIRE BOTTOM IS DELICIOUS HOT FUDGE) but it’s also magical to EAT.

Okay, the next recipe is for the best pancakes you’ll ever eat.  I found this recipe tonight when I scorched two separate batches of tomato soup.  (Talk about annoying.)  I think I Googled “Pancake recipe” and I used the first hit, which is a VERY simple recipe from  The reviews were all great, so I tried it, and ohmygoodness, these were the best pancakes I’ve ever had!  It helps that I tend to us a lot of butter when cooking my pancakes, and it might have helped too that I actually ran out of baking powder so I substituted the last half baking soda, half cream of tartar for the last teaspoon of baking powder…. Not sure if that really did anything but make them more salty, haha.  Anyway… they were awesome.

Okay, this is not what I was itching to make a blog post about.  I came here to talk about baby things, specifically the adorable dress--which is NOT pictured above because I can't find my pictures at all on this weird computer... what was I saying about being glad to be back in the technological world?!--  which makes me kind of yearn for another baby girl, come June 13th-ish.  (Ultrasound exactly matched my thought due date, which according to Mrs. Beardmore’s theory, guarantees this baby is a girl!) We’ve never had a warm weather baby… Anja and Greta were both born on sunny warm days, but came home to a string of cold wetness. (In Greta’s case, it was cold snowiness.  At the end of March.)  So to think that I could have a baby actually tiny enough to wear this during warm weather makes me pretty hopeful!  I have a very small box of baby girl things saved back from the loads I delivered to the used children’s stores about a week before I found out I was pregnant again. And if I am surprised and this is a boy baby, I will be very glad I got rid of so many boxes (Eleven diaper boxes FULL!) of girls clothes.

Oh! And speaking of the ultrasound, which was yesterday… we had finally decided that we WOULD find out the gender (a first for us!) because Anja really, really wanted to know, and also because sometimes she starts crying just thinking that it might be a boy. (I’m not joking. I wish I were.)  So we thought if we found out now that it’s a boy, we could make the preparation more fun, rather than dropping it on her at the birth when her life is already being turned upside down simply by there being a new baby of either gender there in the first place.  And she was really excited to find out, and both girls came along to the ultrasound (Greta was totally not interested, but Anja thought it was cool) and then… then!.... the baby’s legs were pressed together and the technician said she couldn’t even take a guess.  BLAH!  So we still don’t know!  Oh well…. At least we tried.  And funnily enough, Anja doesn’t really seem to care anymore.

In other news, we went to see The Nutcracker on Sunday and it was just as beautiful an experience for Anja as it was last year.  It held Greta’s attention for about ten minutes…. Eventually she and I went outside and when we came back in for Sugar Plum’s dance (there’s something about that pink, sticky-outy tutu that is just so magical!) Greta waited for a silent part and then shouted “BAH!”  and was pretty pleased with herself.

Sometimes I can’t believe how different Anja and Greta are. 

Oh dear, it’s 10:30. I’d better hang this up.  Nice to know I can blog anytime though!  Welcome back, Sticky Kisses!

Will This Work?

Blah Blah Blah! Test Test Test!
It worked! We're tethered!

.......... more later ..........................................

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Brand New Year!

Way back in November my good friend, Perkins, gave us (*GAVE* US) a laptop. Isn't that amazing?! She'd gotten a new one while she was still in school, and this one was just sitting in her car.  It works perfectly, except for the fact that it has to be plugged in.  But who cares?!?  It's still a computer!!!  So we are back to being a family with a computer, which in some ways is very convenient. We still don't have internet yet, but it's so handy to be able to type stuff up and go to a coffee shop or something and just click "send" or whatever.  I'm very happy to have it! 

Our Christmas was very fabulous. Very. Fabulous. We spent Christmas Eve with my side of the family, as we usually do, and we ate a lot of good food and there were many extended relatives and friends joining in the celebration as well.  I was lucky enough to recieve a Kindle Fire (whoopee!) while Martin was the proud recipient of a shotgun (of course) and the girls were generously given Bitty Babies, which were, by far, their favorite gifts of the entire holiday.  The dolls were immediately named. Greta's is Baby Pajamas and Anja's is Balloon Rose.  Very nice.  And suddenly these dolls might as well be the only dolls they have! It's really funny. And cute.

We went to the Children's Mass on Christmas Eve, which, sadly, was not our best Mass. We sat in the very back pew, the girls were sleepy and hungry and not wanting to be there AT ALL. It was hot and stuffy and we couldn't hear anything and even when they went up to the manger scene for the homily, which I thought they'd be really excited about, they evidently thought they were going to get INTO the manger scene, because just being near and listening to Father's homily was not cool enough for them. However, the tradition of taking a piece of straw from the nativity made them both very happy. For about two minutes.

On Christmas Eve that same good friend of ours, Perkins, spent the night and got to share with us the magic of Christmas morning with kids. SO FUN. All the family stopped by throughout the day, and after the morning time, when we were all by ourselves again, we had the most delightful, lazy, quiet afternoon and evening. I made Traditional Austrian Cheese Soup (thanks, Joannie!) and it was a hit with everyone. It was such a happy day.

The next day (Boxing Day) we gathered with Martin's side of the family to celebrate.  Another very fabulous day and I had made enough soup to take up the leftovers! One of my favorite things was a shirt from my sister-in-law that says I [heart] npr. LOVE IT!  And it fits perfectly, which is also very awesome.

I'm having a hard time uploading my pictures onto the blog on this computer.  In fact, I'm having a hard time even FINDING the pictures.... I know they're on here somewhere...... I'll get my hands on them eventually.

And when I do, I will post them.

Oh, New Years! Also, surprisingly fun! Perkins (she keeps coming up, doesn't she?) treated us to dinner at Olive Garden along with our friend Joel. So fun! Afterward I went on to play down at a shop on Main Street, where we thought the other three could come along (my dad even came down to sit with the sleeping girlies so Martin could come out with us) but it ended up having an enormous cover charge, so too bad for them.  They went for beers at a cute little pub-style bar and were back at our place by 11:00. (Well, except for Joel, whose appetizer of mussels didn't agree with him. I'm glad I didn't eat any!) So at midnight, Perkins, Martin and I clinked our beverage glasses of coffee, orange juice and beer in our cozy living room and listened to the fireworks. Good thing our super loud neighbor came out on his porch and shouted "Happy New Year" or, gosh, we would've missed the big moment.

That night Greta and Martin both came down with the beginnings of an icky cough/cold that lingered on for days. Bleh. They seem to be knocking it now though, at last. Greta was croupy for a couple of nights--never a good things with her. Funny, with Anja, she wakes up croupy and you tell her what's up and she calmly goes along with sticking her head in the freezer and sitting in the steamy bathroom. With Greta, she gets so overwhelmed she just gets more and more worked up until one night the LAST time she had croup, back in November, I ended up taking her to the emergency room because I couldn't get her calmed down enough to breathe! This time around I decided it would be better to sleep with the window open for an hour at a time throughout the night than to wake her up to go through the usual croup routine. It worked! The first night we did sit in front of the open window together, but I never had to take her out of the bedroom, which I think is what freaked her out in the first place that night we went to the ER.

Anyway. Enough of the boring stuff. Monday is a big day! It's Ultrasound Day! I am looking forward to this ultrasound a lot. I want to find out the gender this time... I've never wanted to so much before! But Martin is still a staunch believer in the surprise-at-the-moment-of-birth-gender-discovery. Which I am too, when it actually happens!  But right now I have this great opportunity to find out whether this little being who is making my jeans too tight and who makes me feel like I have to empty my bladder every eight minutes is a little boy baby or a little girl baby. I could be able to say "Elka, stop stepping on my bladder!" or, "Francis! What are you doing in there?!?" Imagine! And I am a naturally curious person, too, which doesn't help. *sigh* so on the one hand, Monday will likely be a hard day for me, but also an exciting one since we get to see arms and legs and nose and eye sockets, etc. The girls and Martin are coming along this time, and Anja is especially excited. I've shown her pictures from HER ultrasound so I think she knows not to expect a photographic image of the baby.
I hope so, anyway!

Tomorrow. Epiphany. Down come the Christmas decorations. Sadness. I'm afraid Anja will cry a lot when we take everything down and put it all back into it's big box and stuff it back into the closet, but we're going to keep the lights and garland up over our big doorway, so hopefully that will be cheery enough for her. And I don't suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, (I LOVE WINTER) but it still might do something to keep us smiling until the crocuses come up.

I'm lucky to have this laptop!