Saturday, December 29, 2012

Update from the Trenches

Well it has been nearly a month since the last post.  Shocking! It seems that having two kids is keeping my hands a bit fuller than expected.  I can't complain though because they are both such mild, well-behaved little people (most of the time).  The baby is coming along beautifully.  She's just coming around to three months, and it is always fun to see the "forth trimester" come to an end because that's when they really start to wake up.  She smiles all the time now, stays awake for much longer stretches, and generally interacts a lot more.  Grabbing at toys hanging above her head is a huge entertainment as well.  Everywhere she's rounding out from her tummy to her legs to both sets of cheeks.  She is pretty much the cutest baby in existence.

The big girl is also as cute as the proverbial button, but of course in a much more grown up and mature way.  At two and two thirds, she is confident that she can accomplish anything and everything  ALL BY HERSELF!  She can dress herself (always colorful), brush her teeth (when she chooses) and decide on what we all should have for breakfast (cheers and milk).  It can be frustrating sometimes when things do not work out her way, but most of the time she remains patient.  In fact, she's an immensely sweet little girl nearly all the time.  On the whole I am a very lucky mommy, and one day I will get enough sleep and free time to blog more regularly.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Stress Dreams

The other night I dreamed that I was holding baby Gladiola when suddenly I realized that I was hugely pregnant.  Of course the none of it was mathematically or biologically possible, but that didn't stop me from having several moments of panic before I realized it was actually a dream.  Do you think perhaps my subconscious is trying to tell me that I have my hands completely full at the moment?   

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New December Baby

Huge congrats to our friends P and A on the birth of their new baby, R!  Especially a round of applause to Mama for nine months of hard work.  May he turn out to be an easy, happy baby who likes his sleep.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Ragged Edge

Having a baby is, without a doubt, a most wonderful event.  We love our beautiful Little Bird more than words can say.  However, there are times when it is really tough.  For some reason she has been having trouble sleeping lately, and it's becoming increasingly difficult for everyone in our house.  For several weeks she was waking only once per night, and that seemed like a most acceptable arrangement given that she is still so little.  Last week we switched to twice per night, but that too was fairly manageable.  Then, last night, she was up every two hours without fail.  I am completely exhausted, and even M is starting to fray.  We're not sure what is causing the nocturnal troubles, but we're really really hoping they end soon.  Otherwise, I'm afraid the loss of maternal brain function may become permanent.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


A few of the many things in my life for which I am truly thankful (in no particular order):

1.  A perfect new baby girl
2.  A bright and fascinating toddler girl
3.  A lovely husband who takes such good care of us
4.  Family and friends who are there when you need them most
5.  Good health all round (may it please continue!)
6.  A warm, safe, comfortable home that includes many invaluable appliances
7.  Plenty of access to beautiful outdoor surroundings
8.  Plenty of access to indoor amusements for myself and my children
9.  A preschool that makes my little girl ask "how many days 'til I get to go back?"
10. Another term for President Obama

Monday, November 19, 2012


No, no not silence in my house (ha!) but on the blog.  We are so busy with two kids that I hardly know when to get the basics done.  Blogging is a luxury that usually falls by the wayside.  Today, for some unknown reason, they're both sleeping at the same time.  Who knows how long this may last, so this post might end in a word or two.  Nope still sleeping.  Ahhh where was I?  Busy is our middle name.  The good news is that both our kids are doing a great job of getting used to the new arrangements in their lives, but that doesn't change the fact that there is just a lot to get done from one end of the day to the other.

The big girl is now over 2.5 years while the little one is almost 2 months.  Major themes around our house are night waking (about x2 per night, but sometimes more) lots of diapers (as many as 12 or 14 between the two kids) and wall to wall toys.   The Bunny, as we call the big girl, is becoming more and more independent (which is mostly great) mostly because she gets tired of waiting for us to attend to her.  It can be painful at times to ignore one child while you focus on the other, but I'm convinced that it will be good for both of them in the long run.  The Little Bird, as we call her, is also learning all sorts of new things.  She lifts her head all the time, tried hard to see what everyone around her is doing, grabs for (and often catches) toys, and has even started to smile (ahhhh).  Best of all, the both seem to be healthy, happy (most of the time), and growing as they should.  One day I may even get to sleep (or blog) again.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Obama Re-elected!

And there was great rejoicing!  In our house anyway.  We were thrilled to watch last night as Obama not only won the race but won it by a handy margin.  The Republican attempt to blame the fire fighter (Obama) for the work of the arsonists (Bush et al) did not convince the crowd.  Of course it also didn't hurt that Romney committed one gaffe after another thus alienating hug portions of the electorate.  Do you think binders, Big Bird, Jeep, and the 47% will haunt his dreams  ?

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day '12

Vote please!  Vote! Vote! Vote!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Toddler Quotes #2

Me:  Hey Del do you want to help me make zucchini bread?
Her: No Mommy I busy playing, but you can do it all by your own.  I know you can.

Me: Delphinium it is time to go to bed.
Her:  Um no Mommy.  My choice is to play and play and play!

Her: I all done!
Me: Don't you want to drink a little milk?
Me: Why not?
Her: Because I don't like protein!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween '12

Happy Halloween!  This evening, we will be chaperoning a fuzzy rabbit around the neighborhood while she trick or treats with her VERY SMALL bucket.  Unfortunately, when the bucket is full we just can't get any more candy.  Would it be wrong of me to steal most of it while she's asleep? May the evening be warm and dry (fat chance around here), your kids be safe and happy, and all your candies be of the chocolate variety.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Baby Update Week #3

Things have definitely begun to calm down a bit around here.  Sure, we are still dealing with the excitement of managing two kids at the same time, but at least the baby is getting the hang of it.  For a while there we were having lots of trouble with nursing, and I was getting up to pump every time M gave her a bottle.  We were all exhausted.  Now she's much better able to nurse, so at least it's just me getting up in the night.  Most nights she's up twice around 3am and 5am.  On a good night she nurses and goes back to sleep.  Last night she was awake from 5:30am to 7am with me trying and trying to sooth her back down.  Par for the course if I remember properly.  On the bright side, she has not really shown a tendency to absolute screaming.  She's really a sweet little bird, and that makes everything worthwhile.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Delivery of Baby #2

You know the old saying that no two snowflakes are ever really alike?  The same is true of children.  From the very first, my two pregnancies were quite different.  From the things that made me feel most ill (pesto with the first, garlic with the second) to the way my tummy grew, there were a great many divergences between them.  All that being true, why did it take me by surprise that the second delivery was so very different from the first?

My first baby came in a very controlled sort of way.  I had no contractions of any kind (that I could feel) then, when I went in for my 38 week check, the doctor sent me to be induced due to low fluid levels.  I went to the hospital, got a fat drip of pitocin, and then spent seven hours with ever increasing contractions.  When I was finally more than half way dilated, I got my epidural, and it did a perfect job of stopping the pain for the rest of the delivery.  The hardest part in all this was the three hours of pushing at the end.  All in all it was a very low key (if exhausting) experience.  Funny thing is that our first daughter is an easy-going child who likes her routines.  It feels as if the birth was a preview of her personality.

Well then what does that say about the future personality of Younger Daughter?  Her pregnancy was FULL of Braxton Hicks contractions, so much so, that the doctor advised me to stay off my feet during weeks 36 and 37 for fear that she would come too early.  Then, by 39 weeks, I started to have contractions again.  Just a few here and there, but it got to be more and more consistent until one night I really started to wonder if this could be "it."  Luckily my mom was already over for dinner, so she stayed the night to see what would happen.  By 10pm, the contractions were still coming, but they were not consistent enough to make up the required pattern.

Leaving the sleeping toddler with Grandma, we headed out for a walk to see if things would ramp up or go away.  Looping through our neighborhood, M was keeping track of the minutes between and the duration of the contractions.  Soon it became cool and clear and we could see the moon and stars above the houses.  It's so quiet in our area at night that we could hear every little sound.  Soon M found an app on his phone which allowed him to keep better track, and our new routine was born (har!)  We would walk and talk about other things until one would start, he would hit the timer, and then I would narrate the physical sensations (luckily M is a very patient man) ad nauseam.  Unfortunately, even after two miles of walking, the pattern was still not regular enough, so we all went to bed.

By 2am, I was awake again.  This time the contractions were much more regular, and M called the hospital.  They said to come right in, so we kissed our little toddler, grabbed the tote bag, and headed off.  We arrived at the hospital around 3:30am, and went into the triage area of the maternity ward.  They checked my progress, and said I should (gah!) walk some more!  Another mile to see if I would progress or be sent home.  Round and round and round we went from the delivery side (no screamers thank goodness) to the recovery side (one grumpy nurse) and back again.  My fetching outfit consisted of a hospital gown, a robe, and tennis shoes (hey those floors are hard AND cold!).  After what seemed like endless walking, I went back to triage, and heard that I would be "allowed" to stay.

Settling into our room, they quickly offered an epidural, and I was happy to accept.  Given my experience with the first time around, why not?  Only this anesthesiologist was somehow not as skilled because it HURT LIKE HELL.  Poor M may have lost some range of movement in his hands after that one.  I've always hear that you should not try to use hospital services on the weekend because you get the worst or the newest staff, and I think that may be true here.  That being said, all of my nurses were lovely.  Anyway, the epidural started to take effect, and I was feeling much better about things.  I settled in for things to take their natural course as they had the time before.

And then I stopped.  That's right, I simply did not produce any more significant contractions.  There was still some low level activity, but nothing that would help me progress.  And it stayed that way even after I was given pitocin to restart the process.  For some reason my body was just not impressed.  The hours started to drag on, and the pitocin dose went up and up.  At one point the nurse tried a certain sitting up posture that made for HUGE contractions, but still I did not dilate.  Who knows why.  So it was one fat waiting game.  That's when my epidural stopped working.  Who knows why on this either, but I started to be able to feel more and more until those big unhelpful contractions were feeling a lot like red hot pokers in my tum.  I can now have that conversation about natural vs. medicated labor from first-hand experience on either side!  (Drugs are awesome in case you were wondering)

Somewhere in all that pain, the doctor came and broke my water.  She'd tried to do that hours before, but one of the nurses told her "no" due to the baby being too high.  This time she just did it, and what do you know?  My body got right to work.  In what felt like about 15 minutes, everything was in motion.  There was a lot of frantic racing around as I got ready to deliver sooner than everyone expected.  Remember it took three hours of pushing the first time?  This round it took three PUSHES and the baby was out.  That was so much less work than I had expected and braced for, that I was in complete shock.  There was a baby!  There was our baby so suddenly on the outside I hardly had time to react.

In the next instant, the mac truck of love took over.  She is, of course, absolutely lovely just like her sister.  Instead of blond fuzz, this girl has a little cap of dark brown hair.  She is neither bruised nor squashed, so her little heart-shaped face is all the more perfect.  People say she looks like her sister, but I don't know yet what to think.  Delphinium didn't look particularly like her daddy to start out, but now she is a little female copy.  I think I will just stare and stare at this new baby until I work it out.  Oh those tiny hand and feet!  Oh that perfect little head!  There can't be anything sweeter than a new baby!  Nothing at all went according to plan, but somehow everything is just fine indeed.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Baby #2 Arrives!

As you may have guessed from the radio silence, our second baby arrived last week!  She was exactly one week before her due date, so things took us a little by surprise.  We are feeling our way through that new sleep-deprived phase without too many bumps along the way.  She is, needless to say, absolutely incredible.  I do not think I will ever stop marveling over my babies if I live to be 100, and they themselves have become gray old ladies.  Anyway, more on her delivery (for those very very few who care) coming soon, or whenever I manage to find the time.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Late Summer

Thank goodness for the nice weather staying around this year.  It's helping to make up for those miserable months of June and July when things SHOULD have been nice.  It's also making the end of the pregnancy a little easier because we can spend so much time just hanging out in the backyard.  I grab a cushion and a magazine for me, and Delphinium puts on her pink crocs "all by her own" and we're all set.

There are just so many wonderful things you can do in a good backyard.  I turn the hose on just a trickle, and she fills and refills the watering can.  I'm sure some plants are getting far more than they would like while others go dry, but oh well.  The slide also remains popular, and she is forever saying "watch me Mommy!" when she reaches the top of the ladder.  Another favorite is her big Tonka truck.  It gets pushed all over the place with much grunting because "it a big job for me."  Last, is the sand box.  For some reason she usually saves it for the end of her outside time.  It's endless fun to dig holes, fill them in, dig more, and then bury things in them.  Thus far we have remembered to keep the lid on when not in use, so the kitty hasn't been able to make any "donations."  Soon, soon we'll be staring mournfully out at the rain, so it's good to get out now.  Extra bonus?  More time for more tomatoes!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vaccines Please

Hey There.  Did you get your shots yet?  You know the annual flu one (I haven't yet) and the Pertussis one that we all need boosted every five years (I did this one)?  While the flu has been causing concern for a few years now, they are now both considered unusually dangerous.  Pertussis is sweeping Washington state in part because there are so may parents here who refuse to vaccinate their children.  My tiny new baby is going to need all the help she can get to avoid getting infected in those months before she's old enough to have the shot herself.  Please, please do not be the moron who puts everyone else at risk!

Monday, September 17, 2012


In the grand tradition started by her eldest cousin, Delphinium has suddenly become obsessed with jokes.  She was first introduced to them a few months ago, and now her passion for them knows no bounds.  The first brush with humor came in the form of the ultimate toddler joke invented by Uncle R. many years ago.  He analyzed the parts of jokes that elder niece enjoyed, and came up with something certain to amuse.  "Once there were two kitties walking along, and then one of the kitties fell on his butt!"  That's it.  That's the whole joke.  And it absolutely cracks them up.  The first time Delphinium heard it she laughed so hard she fell down.  Here are some other jokes she loves:

Knock knock
Who's there?
It's me a potato!

Knock knock
Who's there?
Ice who?
Ice cream!

Here are a couple of jokes she's made up after hearing some others:

Once there were two kitties walking along, and one kitty fell on a peanut!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
It's me a carrot!

Now imagine hearing these jokes (and more) for the entire duration of a two hour car trip.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Great Granola

Have I mentioned this before?  Hopefully not, and if I have, I can only repeat myself because this stuff is amazing.  This is the Alton Brown recipe for granola, and for once, he does not over-complicate.  In fact, this could not be a simpler process to produce something so scrumptious.  The flavors are mostly from the nuts and the coconut, but you could add any number of spices and/or dried fruits to change things up.  Why be limited to raisins and cashews?  It takes about 1.5 hours, but most of that time the trays are just sitting in a low oven making the house smell incredible.  Granola at Whole Foods costs between $4-$7 per pound, so you have to give this homemade recipe a shot.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

36 Weeks Pregnant

Now that I'm 36 weeks pregnant, I should start to get that wonderful sense of relaxation that comes from knowing your baby is more in the "safe" zone for being born.  Were she to arrive today, her chances of survival would be extremely good.  That being said, nobody chooses to have an early baby without a reason.  Ideally all babies would arrive on their due dates with no surprises either way.

Unfortunately, my body is not being so cooperative about that whole 40 weeks idea.  Lots of Braxton Hicks contractions are making life a little interesting.  Every time I do something physical, especially if it involves my core muscles, I get one or more contractions.  Put the toddler in the grocery cart?  Contraction.  Lift the stroller into the car?  Contractions.  And on it goes.  I've been trying to take it easy and only to the minimum, but sometimes, by evening, I have to rest on my left side in order to get things to calm down.  Stand up for any reason and they return.  

Now the doctor's put me on "restricted activity" where spend most of the day on the couch, but I can still get up to do the necessaries such as make lunch, change diapers, and visit the facilities (every five minutes!).  It's certainly better than bed rest, but still not much fun.  Mostly the major enemy is boredom, hers and mine, and we are doing our best not to miss walks and outings.  Thank goodness she's got two days of school to amuse her this week.  Otherwise we might both climb the walls.  Thank goodness for Daddy who is doing is absolute best to keep us together.  Still, he will have to go to work sometime, and then the lack of fun may begin.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Day of School

I truly cannot believe I'm writing this post.  Didn't I just write about Delphinium's delivery sometime last week?  Apparently not because now she's off to school at the ripe old age of two and a half.  We wanted her to continue to play with other children even though I won't be able to do a mommy and me class with her this year, so school seemed like a good choice.  Thus we found ourselves, one bright September morning, walking her in to her first day.

We'd already been several times to check things out and meet the teachers, but this was the first time I would be leaving her.  She suddenly looked very small to me even though she was wearing her most grown up jeans, pink plaid button-down, and pigtails.  Luckily SHE had no reservations about where we were or what was about to happen.  There were kids!  There were toys!  There were farm animals!  There was the promise of snack!  What's not to love?  I had to call her back to say goodbye.  No tears were shed on either side.  That's good right?

I took myself off to the grocery store trying not to let the sense of dislocation impact my driving.  Then spent the next hour staring at the shelves and finding it extremely hard to make choices.  When I picked her up again, she was a little shell-shocked by all the stimulation, but still happy and excited.  She told me all about snack (blueberry bar!) and the other kids (what they names?) and the real live parrot (he say "Wow!" to me).  She absolutely wanted to go back and do it all again soon.  Here I am left with this odd combination of pride at her success, happiness for her happiness, and sorrow for what is gone.  Strange times indeed.  Maybe I need to throw a tiny infant into the mix just to keep things interesting.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Toddler Quotes

1)  Me: Those are humming birds.  They make a sound like this zzzzzz (imagine a very bad impression of a humming bird).
Her:  Really?  They sound like bee?

2. Mommy!  This part of table little bit grubby.  Need wash.

3. Mommy, why we need car seat?  Why you wear seat belt?  Why I no sit in front?  Why we go in car?  Why I asking why?

4. (She likes to go through the litany of who eats what in our family) Her: Who eat fish? 
Me: Daddy and P. and Bobby
Her: Who eat coffee?  
Me: Namma, Bobby, Daddy, and Bel.
Her: Who eat vegetables?
Me: Everybody!
Her: I want to eat a monkey!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

QUICK Summer Pickles

Love, love love this recipe for quick pickles!  They are not kidding about the quick.  When I remember my mom's generation doing pickles, it always involved sweating over huge pots and/or bathtubs full of ice.  As much as I adore pickles, I've never had the guts for all that.  This recipe could not be further from the hassle.  You take all the ingredients (cukes, spices, salt, vinegar, garlic, water) and plop them into a mason jar.  Shake well, and then you put them in the fridge.  Then, three days later, you begin to have some really fantastic pickles.  Super crispy (still like a cuke!) but with lovely briny flavors.  The big girl keeps requesting pickles for her afternoon snack. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

One Inch of Sharing

Recently, Delphinium had a friend over to play.  She was so excited to see him, and did a little dance upon his arrival.  Soon they were busy in the playroom  with some of the millions of toys we seem to have accumulated.  At one point, Delphinium was playing with her baby dolls, and when her friend came near, she tried to prevent him from touching them.  I explained that we need to share with our friends, and that she should choose the baby with which he could play.  She thought very carefully, and then raced off to some secret corner.  She came back and handed him a one inch long baby.  This toy was literally the size of my fingernail.  You could barely make out his tiny little face and diaper!  The little boy seemed happy enough, but I am a little concerned that we need to work more on the concept of sharing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pregnancy Week 34

34 weeks and the doctor says all is well.  The baby is eight days larger than expected, so she's either going to be early or she's just big.  I'm crossing all of my fingers and all of my toes that I don't have one of those massive chunk babies you hear about from your friends.  She's still at the incredibly busy stage in my tum, so I know there's still enough room in there for her to swing the elbows and knees.

Unlike her sister, she doesn't seem to respond to music played nearby, but she does wake up and dance when Delphinium and I sing in the car.  She also does the wiggle whenever we have story time.  When I was in the later stages of pregnancy the first time, I had a great passion for cookies (not normally a big thing for me).  This time I want spicy food.  Who knows why or how these things work, but it is fun to notice the differences.

As for me, I'm tired and achy, but otherwise feeling pretty good.  I do get a fair number of braxton-hicks contractions in the evenings, but the doctor doesn't seem overly worried by them.  She says I'm just practicing for the big show.  I can hardly believe that "the show" could be here in as little as  four weeks!

Monday, August 27, 2012

No More Rautureau

Oh noes!  Poor Thierry!  Sadly The Chef in the Hat has been sent home from Top Chef Masters.  One week he wins the big prize by cooking an incredibly difficult theme ingrediant, and then the next moment he's out.  It's so disappointing!  Not only is he a great chef, but he was the most entertaining to watch of the whole group.  We'll just have to go and visit his restaurants, Rover's and Luc, to make ourselves feel better.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Car, Er, Bus

Thank goodness for Grandma because I don't know how any parent could go through the drama and sheer time sink of car shopping with a kid in tow.  M and I were lucky enough to be on our own over the weekend when we went from car dealership to car dealership trying to decide on our best option.  We've known for some time that we would need a bigger (and younger) car before the baby came, so we finally decided to take the plunge.  Consumer reports and some other internet research helped us narrow things down to either a Toyota or a Honda, so we headed out with those in mind.

The first place we visited was actually a Jaguar dealership.  Amazingly, the salespeople in fancy suits did not turn their noses up at our old car and overall shlubbiness, and they kindly allowed us to drive the trade-in Sienna they had on the lot.  It was certainly large, and even without the fabled 8th seat, it certainly had space to spare.  Even the cargo area, which is so tiny in some vans, was generous enough to accommodate a large amount of luggage or groceries.  It was also surprisingly easy to drive.  Given the fact that it is shaped like a huge brick, I was pleasantly impressed by the handling.  Don't get me wrong, it's no sports car, but at least you don't feel like you're hauling it around every turn.  We were tempted by the car, but we still wanted to at least try out the Honda.

Pretty soon it started to seem like we were cursed.  The second dealership we visited had one Honda Odyssey, but the battery was dead.  The third dealership is one we drive by every day, but when we went to find it, we got lost and gave up.  Finally, on the forth one, we had an actual hit.  The drive was very similar to the Sienna, so it was down to little details.  The Odyssey had more power and better steering, but the Sienna had better brakes and nicer interior.  The Odyssey had the 8th seat, but it was older and had more miles.  We were truly torn.  The funny part was that as we sat there hemming and hawing about it, it was clear that the salesman thought we were playing a game.  We were not, so off we went back to the Jag people.

Then, with very little game playing or fuss, we negotiated a price and bought the car.  I guess luxury car people just don't engage in all the shenanigans and running back and forth to the manager that others do?  Anyway, we were happy with the price we got, and drove off in our shiny, nearly new car.  My heart was in my throat the whole way home because I'm not used to such a large vehicle, but I did not whack anybody along the way.  More than a week, and one road trip later, this is still true, so there's hope for me yet.  Now we are officially suburbanites.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Two Good Reads and One Stinker

This summer, with the baby and all our running around, I've hardly had time to see any movies, concerts, or shows, but I have had the occasional moment to read.   Two of the stand-outs are both well known at the moment.  Yes Chef is by Marcus Samuelson, and it is a memoir that recounts no only his amazing professional life, but also his Ethiopian birth and subsequent adoption to Sweden. Written with such grace and openness, this book rises far above the usual retelling of the grind in a professional kitchen.

My second favorite is not a novel, as such, but rather a fictionalized retelling of real events.  Normally I am not a fan of this type of writing because I think you should tell the truth or just not tell the story.  I am also not a fan of Ernest Hemingway who I think was a great big jerk (to use words I can get away with here).  Nevertheless, I heard such great things about The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain that I had to give it a try.  Sure enough, the crowds were correct, and this is a very well-written book.  The main character is most definitely not Hemingway, but his long suffering first wife, Hadley.  The depiction of her struggle to keep pace with her unusual husband in post war  Paris is quite something.  Somehow McLain makes the whole thing work, and you're rooting for Hadley, if not for "Nesto," the whole way through.

The last book I want to mention is Fifty Shades of Grey. As I said before, I often read books that get a lot of hype just to see what all the fuss is about.  Frequently I do not love these pieces, but I can almost always see why people do like them. Probably it's an old habit left over from reading all the current kids books when I was a teacher.  Anyway, I read Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James with the same thought.  I honestly cannot figure out what people are so excited about!  The writing is poor, the characters are thin and weak, and I'm pretty sure you can find that type of titillation in plenty of grocery store novels.  I was not moved except to boredom and annoyance, and I have no desire to read the other two in the series.  If you want something decent, or even just something racy, go elsewhere.  Also if you figure out what the fuss is about, let me know.  Happy reading.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sandwich Ideas

We are still waiting to hear what restrictions our new school might place on nuts in lunches.  However, I'm pretty confident that peanut butter will not be allowed.  If we are lucky almond or sunflower butter will be okay.  It would be a big help to be able to pack almond butter and banana or jam sandwiches from time to time.  They are full of protein, and it's something I know she'll eat.  Still, there is a decent chance that no nuts or seeds will be allowed at all (it all depends on the allergies of current students).  Therefore, I've been asking anyone and everyone for alternatives to spread on the bread.  Here are a few of my favorite suggestions:

Bread (always whole wheat) + cream cheese (low-fat spread on both pieces of bread) + nearly any fruit or veggie your kid will eat

Bread + hummus + cheese + bell pepper + olives (optional)

Bread + pesto + cheese + tomato (separate container?)

Bread + eggs salad (keeping things very cold) 

Bread + butter + veggie deli slices + pickle + tomato

Given that she only goes to school two days per week, we should be in decent shape.  Nevertheless, any other great ideas would be much appreciated.  I don't want to be one of those moms who resorts to the same tired menu every single day of the week!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Top Chef Masters

How can I have mentioned Top Chef being filmed in Seattle, and not have remembered about our other bought of food fame!?  Our own Thierry Rautureau, the Chef in the Hat and the owner of Luc and Rovers, is now appearing on Top Chef Masters!  His competition are some seriously famous cooks such as Art Smith.  A few episodes in (I'm behind as usual) he seems to be doing quite well.  He's great fun to watch due to his quirky style and great affinity for food.  It turns out that Seattle does have a respectable food scene after all!

Monday, August 13, 2012

What You Eating?

The other evening, after a lovely dinner out with the family, we stopped by a local cupcake shop.  Our goal was to purchase some treats for Elder Niece's birthday party the next day.  All three of us took our time admiring the delectable display case, and then we placed our order for eight cupcakes in a box.  I carried the box out of the shop, and we were careful to explain that they were FOR TOMORROW and FOR YOUR COUSIN.  Everything seemed fine until we got into the car.  Delphinium was strapped into her car seat with M and I up front.  The cupcakes were balanced on my lap.  This is what we heard from the backseat:

D: What you doing Mommy?
Me: Just getting ready to go.
D:  What you eating?
Me: Nothing, I'm just holding the cupcakes.
D:  Daddy what you eating?
M: Nothing.  I'm driving.
D: You eating something?
Me:  No Honey we are not eating these cupcakes at all.  We are saving them for your cousin.
D: You eating cupcakes?
M:  We are not eating anything up here.
D:  What you eating?

It went on this way the WHOLE way home.  Luckily she forgot about them overnight, so we didn't have to endure a repeat of the car scene the next morning.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Facing School

In a matter of weeks our little girl is going to go to school!  I can hardly believe this fact, but it's true.  She will go to a local preschool for two mornings a week as a way to keep her busy and playing with kids while I'm preoccupied with the tiny addition.  I'm really not trying to farm her out, I just want to make sure that she doesn't have to slow down her activity level just because I have.   During the day this seems like a logical choice.  I'm still at the point where at night, in bed, it seems like a horrible idea, and I am filled with dread.  Luckily all the angst seems to be mine, so I have high hopes of her going with a light heart.

Of course the impending transition to school means that I'm thinking (when I'm not consumed by baby) about all things academic.  From clothes to books to crayons and paper, this is a side of back-to-school that I haven't thought about since I was a kid.  The teacher side of going back means something quite different, so all those years I spent prepping in August really did not prepare me for all this.  Does she need supplies at this age?  Will I need to dress her differently than I do at home?  What about lunch?  I'll be packing everything she eats, but what will be allowed?

Last year, at her toddler group, two highly allergic kids meant that milk, tree nuts, wheat, berries, fish, eggs, and soy were all on the no-no list.  Do you know how hard it is to find snacks that do not contain milk, wheat, eggs, or soy?  Very hard indeed!  Of course those poor kids didn't have a choice about their allergies, so there's no sense in getting upset, but it does make for challenging times at the pantry door.  I'm hoping very much that we will not be quite so constrained at this new school, and that everyone will adapt easily to all of our new circumstances.Come on parents repeat after me:  I solemnly swear not to ever ever buy any lunchables no matter how dire the situation.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Seattle Welcomes Top Chef

I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but I have a fairly serious addiction to cooking shows.  Call me soft-headed, but I can't help myself!  No, no I don't let the baby watch them, but when nap time comes, the TV goes on, and I enjoy a wide variety of personalities.  One of my favorites, and one of the few my husband likes too, is Top Chef.  It's a reality competition to choose the best cook, and it includes all sorts of culinary challenges.  It's been around for several seasons, but usually manages to stay fairly fresh and interesting.  One way it does that is by changing the filming location for each season.  This time they've selected Seattle!

Woo!  There have been sightings all over the city (and a few outlying areas) where they visit a restaurant or a Whole Foods.  Of course we know they will go to Pike Place Market (obligatory for any TV show in Seattle) and probably visit a Tom Douglas restaurant, but it will be interesting to see what else might be featured.  Only time will tell.  As yet, Bravo is not saying when the new series will be aired.  Maybe sometime in the fall?

Monday, August 06, 2012


Whew!  Our former home office is now a masterpiece in white and lilac.  Not only did we clear out the junk and paint the walls, but we had the carpets cleaned as well.  We have the perfect backdrop for a superb big girl room.  She can use her current toddler bed, we got a new blue dresser from Ikea, and now we have the task of finding just the right rug, curtains, and bookcase to make things really sing.  I remember how much fun it was to get a new room (thanks Mom!) and I really hope she will enjoy it was well.

Once she's all settled into her new digs, I'm closing the door on the nursery in hopes of making it go out of mind a little bit.  Then, when she's otherwise occupied, we'll go in and move everything around a bit.  The whole idea is to make her think of it as just a room that we give to the baby instead of HER room that the baby invades.  It's a nice theory right?  Wish us luck.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Giving Up

That is it, we give up, we throw in the proverbial towel.  After spending eight months and looking at 65 houses, we have decided to suspend things for a while.  The baby is due in only a matter of weeks, so by the time we were to close, moving and new babies would be way to close together for comfort.  Contrary to popular belief, I'm not completely crazy.  This means we now have to find a way to live with the parts of our current home that made us want to move in the first place.  Hopefully the acquisition of a storage unit will help.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Thirty Weeks

It makes my mouth go dry with shock when I think that baby 2.0 could arrive in as little as eight weeks!  We are NOT ready yet!  There are still all sorts of practical considerations to be worked out such as where will everyone sleep?  Our imminent expansion means that we need to shuffle around the bedrooms in order to provide space for everyone.  This entails clearing out the years of accumulations that is the office, and trying to cram everything extra into our one tiny guest room. I always pride myself on my ability to get rid of stuff, but excessing an entire room is turning out to be a challenge.  When we're finished we should have one functional nursery and one big girl room (in purple!)  Oh the thrill of it all, but also the dust bunnies.  

Friday, July 27, 2012


Oh the joy!  Oh the excitement!  We finally put up our pool!  Delphinium received it for a birthday gift back in the spring, but it is just now hot enough to actually use.  Having her own personal pond is making backyard play all the more wonderful.  She will spend a good hour in the water if the weather stays warm enough for a stretch, and we have been known to haul a few buckets of warm water from the kitchen to keep the temp comfortable.  Next up, pool play dates!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Late July Garden

Sad to say it was another gray day today.  We haven't had much sun (and no heat) for the last couple of weeks, and the garden is really feeling the lack.  The tomatoes are still not producing yet, though we can start to see a few green fruits.  The squash are still sort of sitting there waiting for something (sun?) to come along and make them grow like crazy.  Not a single blossom in sight on these or the cucumbers.  The radishes just never did well this year.  I'm not sure why, but they just don't seem to like our raised box.  Maybe I'll stick to peas, lettuce, and potatoes in the future because they seem to be the only really happy plants.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bear With Me

Forgot to mention our encounter with a bear, yes a BEAR!  Now I will admit that we do live in a fairly wooded area, and animal encounters get reported all the time.  However, I was still not prepared to be sitting there in my car when an actual bear climbed the fence about twenty feet from where we sat.  It was the middle of the day, and all sorts of people were coming and going at the library.  The bear did not even seem to notice them.  He or she just nosed his way around a play yard, over  fence, through a parking lot, and then crossed over a busy street.  There didn't seem to be any fear or even a need to hurry (would I be able to recognize bear fear?) on his part.  People are not kidding, it does look exactly like a teddy bear.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Toddler Loves the Fair 2012

10. Icecream! (everyone shared even after I glared at them)
9. Walking puppets and other people in costume (some of these are huge!)
8. Wand and cape from Uncle (these will get lots and lots of use at home too)
7. Turning everyone into frogs and then back into "peoples" (everyone played along)
6. Riding in backpacks, garden carts, and on Daddy's shoulders (so grown up)
5. Playing with cousins (they are the coolest, funniest, most wonderful people)
4. Parade! (I'm so glad I have a pic of her face because she truly loved it)
3. Listening to different kinds of "mus" (ic) and dancing madly (as long as it wasn't too loud)
2. Dragon! (Chinese dragon with people inside)
1. Stalking Wolfman and trying to shake his paw! (her favorite of the giant walking puppets)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Vacation 2012

You know it turns out that even if you don't work, vacation is still the absolute best time.  We spent five days with family going to the Oregon Country Fair, and it was a total treat from start to finish.  This year, due to my ever increasing girth, we stayed in a hotel instead of camping each  night, so we did have to make the trek in and out each day, but it was worth it.  We got to have lovely relaxed times with the family, enjoy all kinds of delicious food, watch shows, and wander through the amusing insanity that is the fair.  The most best, best, best part was watching our little girl do all those things.

I've been attending this event for more than thirty years, and I still do love it, but it was such a refreshing thing to watch her.  She never really seemed to need toys to amuse her because there was always someone swinging her up in the air, bouncing her on their knee, or waiting to chat with her about the day's events.  Uncles, cousins, grandparents, and even a brand new auntie were there, and every single one of them made real time to play with her.  Our child, like most other children, does not understand why humans ever abandoned tribal living.  

To cap off the whole experience, we spent our final day on the Oregon coast.  After the bustle, heat, and dust of the fair, it felt so good to enjoy sea breezes and fog.  Yachats and Waldport were the destinations this time, and they did not disappoint.  In spite of our very short timeline, we still managed to relax, enjoy breakfast, and visit the tide pools and the beach.  Then it was time to turn for home.  You know how sometimes it is a great relief to get back to your comfortable and familiar life after a trip?  Not this time.  We would all have been completely happy to stay gone for a while, so I guess that means we enjoyed our vacation.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

House Hunting: Failed Bid #2

Gah!  I'm getting royally tired of all this!  Short version?  House #56 was not a perfect house, but it was pretty good, so M and I decided to actually make an offer.  This is only our second offer, so we do not take this stuff lightly.  We thought very carefully about how much were willing to pay because by now we understand how this property market works.  We crafted a strong offer with our realtor, and we really thought we might have a chance.  This time there were only four competing offers (much better than 19!) and our escalator did, in fact, come out with the top price. So we got it right?  NO! NO! NO!  They chose the lesser offer where the people waived the financing contingency.  We would never to something so risky, and now we are virtually out of time.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Fair Prep

It's that time of year again when we go mad.  Yes with the start of July comes the frantic planning for the Oregon Country Fair.  With only two weeks to go until the main event, we are all doing everything we can to be ready.  I've ordered the shirts, the committee has selected the designs, and Grandma is working on converting the art into a print shop-friendly form.  This week we will print prayer flags in our backyard, and Younger Brother will come to do the t-shirts and check up on our booth.  Fingers crossed that we don't need any construction this year!  Fingers and toes crossed that it all comes together the way it should.  I can almost smell the mint, feel the dust, and taste the Tofu Tias.  Ahhhh.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Pregnancy Update

When "they" say that no two pregnancies are created the same, they were not kidding.  I'm really amazed by the differences between the first and second time around.  From the way I'm carrying (somehow more out front) to the way I feel, it is really not the same.  This time I have that "breathless" feeling that so many people describe, and in the beginning I was cold all the time.  With the first baby I didn't have either of those symptoms, but I was getting leg cramps nearly every night.  I have no idea why things would change, but I am very thankful to be so much less anxious this time around.  

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

4th of July '12

Happy 4th of July everyone!  Here's a day dedicated to the celebration of our best ideals.  While we may fall short of the mark too much of the time, there is still a very good and decent core at the heart of our republic.  Here's to all those people who honestly try to make their corner of the country a better place to live.  They are the real patriots.

Monday, July 02, 2012

East Coast Storms

So sorry to hear about all the trouble with the weather on the East Coast.  People are really suffering from the storms and the heat, and I can't help thinking this is all related to climate change.  While we mourn for our lost sunshine, others are roasting.  This is why it's called climate change and not global warming anymore.  If only we could share!  Please try to stay safe and cool easterly people.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brother Gets Married

Whew what a few days we've had!  We flew to a far away destination via two plane flights of several hours each.  Delphinium did a fabulous job on the way there, and a great job for the first flight on the way home.  Then came the final flight, and things broke down a bit.  The trouble lies in traveling past her preferred bedtime.  Naps are all fine and good, but when it gets to evening she wants a real sleep in a real bed, and no amount of cuddling or coddling will change that fact.  She did not cry the whole way, by any means, but she woke up and complained from time to time.

That all being said, it was entirely worth the trip.  The entire slate of wedding-related events went off without a single problem.  Everyone was good-natured, kind, and beautifully dressed to boot.  It's worth remembering that one's family cleans up very nicely when the situation demands.  My brother and his new wife were, of course, the jewels who stole the show.  They practically glowed, and I am not over-stating the point even one little bit.  The grounds of the museum where they held the ceremony were lush and green, and the small number of guests were people who truly know and love the couple.  Much crying ensued as soon as the first glimpses could be caught of the bridal party.  I am really not sure who cried more, the groom or his mother.

The dinner that followed, on the balcony of a favorite restaurant, was again perfection.  The decorations were simple, but festive, and the cityscape outside was just right.  Vegetarian party food can be hard to come by since so many caterers and restaurants think that celebrations equal meat.  However, this vegetarian couple chose very carefully, and the menu included all sorts of delicious choices.  I had the appetizer trio (mmm, mushrooms!) tomato salad (well really I got a the few pieces that Delphinium didn't scarf first) and fried green tomatoes with polenta and black-eyed peas.  Then there was a dessert trio (and the waiter gave the baby her OWN PLATE!) AND cake AND the cookie table.  What's the cookie table?  That's another post.  Let's just say that both of my nieces were in sugary heaven.

In the end we rode the trolley back to our hotel in a state of complete satiation.  The toasts, the food, the setting, the people were all just right.  The next morning my brother and amazing new sister looked relaxed and happy as they sent us off to the airport.  I can say with absolute certainty that it was my second favorite wedding of my adult life, and that is really saying something.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lexicon 26 Months

Pilyo - Pillow
Yoyo- Yellow
Yo - Yogurt
Chippa - Picture
Bisik - Bicycle
Ponoto - Potato
Wa - Water
Tomyato - Tomato (with two different pronunciations one for Mom and one for Dad)
Hop Hop - Rabbit
Hoo Hoo - Owl and Monkey
Nernie and Nert - The Sesame Street Duo
Tuck - Truck
Muse - Music
Peas - Please and Peas
Tan Ooo - Thank You
Bank or Blank - Blanket
Yights - Lights
Yibray - Library
Seep - Sleep
Amuls - Animals
Ou Si - Outside
Nooyuls - Noodles (often she asks for noodles with pasta)
He Yo - Hello
Cun She - Crunchy

And a hundred more that I can't quite remember at the moment.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wedding and Travel Madness

We are officially in wedding week!  My baby brother will be a married man in only a few short days, and we are all SO excited!  There is much too-ing and fro-ing as we try to make all our last minute adjustments.  Thus far, dresses are altered, jackets are purchased, hair is cut, feet are pedicured (is that a word?), and we've even collected a "treasure" box of goodies for the airplane rides.  Now all I have to do is pack for three people, schlep a million pounds of luggage through the airport, and entertain a toddler for seven hours of flying time.

On this trip we have a four hour flight followed by a two hour lay over followed by a three hour flight.  Of course there is no way to predict how she'll behave, but I'm crossing my fingers (oh please! oh please!) that she won't cause too much trouble.  It could happen right?  While this flight is much longer than our last one, we have a serious ace in the hole: Daddy.  We left Daddy at home last time, and went with just Grandma.  I'm really hoping that the combination of the three adults will help to keep her occupied.

By far the dodgiest part of our whole itinerary is the last flight home.  We are smack in the middle of a wide body plane (no windows or aisles) and we arrive at MIDNIGHT!  Now many children would fuss, but then fall asleep in such circumstances, but there is a very likely possibility that she will have none of that.  Wish us luck.   

Monday, June 11, 2012

Moving, but not the House Kind

In spite of a placenta in the front this time, I can finally feel the baby move!  This is an especially reassuring moment for any expectant mom, so I'm glad it's finally come.  She's a busy little monkey just like her sister.  Any time I sit down to relax, she decides it's time to play, so reading, watching TV, and trying to go to bed can all be interesting.  Keep dancing little baby; you've got to get ready for you big debut!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Braxton Hicks!

Whew I do not remember having any of these "practice" contractions with my first baby.  According to the doctor, everybody has them, but many people never even realize it.  Mine have ranged from tingling, tickling, to almost painful, and they start sometimes in the middle of my belly and wrap all the way around to my back.  It is the strangest sensation!  At least I'm not having too many of them, so there's no cause for alarm, but they certainly do stop me in my tracks sometimes.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Airplane Activity for Toddlers

On our recent trip down to visit Great-Grandma, I was determined not to let our girl get too far out of hand on the airplane.  Of course there is nothing anyone can do to ensure good behavior, but I was very much wanting to try and hedge our bets.  A friend of mine told me that her mother used to hide toys in balls of yarn, and then she and her sister would have to knit the yarn to get at the toy.  Genius.  Unfortunately Delphinium (her nickname, but it's a long story) is not much on the knitting, being only two years old, so I wanted to come up with a way to use the same idea for her.  Thus we boarded the plane with a "treasure box" tucked into my backpack.

The treasure box was really a child's size shoe box around 4"x6"x3."  Inside the box were several old jewelry boxes of all different sizes (I knew there was a reason to keep them!) and inside each of them was... something special!  I actually went to Target and spent just $10 on small items I knew she would love.  First she opened a box containing a matchbox car.  That bought us at least fifteen minutes as she drove it all around her carseat.  Next came a purple pony with its own rolling suitcase. This was followed by a squish ball and a string of plastic beads (no no she doesn't play with them alone).  Last, but not least was a collection of stickers and a small box of crayons.

I am proud to say that she played and played with her various goodies.  In hindsight, I would not recommend including a ball because they want to, well, throw it.  However, the other items got all sorts of action both on the plane and after we arrived at our destination.  After she exhausted the fun of the toys, she took out the crayons and stickers and began coloring and decorating the various boxes.  We are planning to take a longer trip to the east coast this summer, and I will absolutely be making another treasure box for that trip.

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Wild Ride of Genetics

Once the green wore off, it just seems like this pregnancy is sailing along.  The first time everything seems so new and uncertain, so you spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about how everything will turn out.  This time I do have a toddler to keep up with, but the flip side is that I am so much more relaxed.  Doubtless everything is unfolding as it should.  Right?

At our twelve week appointment, our doctor walked us through the many different tests and appointments we have to look forward to (many of them I actually do look forward to because I love reassurance that all is well). Ultra sounds, blood tests, pee tests, the glucose challenge (disgusting!), and all that other fun stuff we remember from last time.  The one thing that has changed is the genetic testing.

When we were expecting the first time, there were three genetic tests available, and only one of them was actually recommended for the general population.  We went with that one, and found that while I do have a risk factor for cystic fibrosis, my husband does not, so we're all in the clear.  Yay!  Does this mean we don't need any genetic tests this round since we already have our info?  Oh  no, in two years things have really changed.

Now the recommended genetic test covers one hundred different mutations known to cause disease.  ONE HUNDRED!  Since this test is one that screens the parents (no amnio required, so no risk) and I'm the sort of person who wants to know, we both trotted off to lab to make a deposit.  In only three weeks we had our answer.

The doctor called me herself, so that scared me from the outset.  Then, over the course of our ten minute call, the toddler managed to fall and bump her head, the neighbor decided to take up loud tree trimming, and the cats got into a huge hissing match.  Oh yes and my cel phone managed to drop the call THREE TIMES.  It was like a bad joke.  In the middle of all that I tried to take in the news that the husband and I are both carriers for something called Alpha-One Antitrypsin Deficiency.  "But don't worry" she said helpfully "you have the S variety."  She gave me the number of a genetic councilor, and that was that.

First I called My Dear Husband (MDH) who was wonderfully calm as he always is about upsetting news.  We then turned to our friend the internet (I know! I know, but can you really tell me you wouldn't have done the same?) to find out more about the condition.  To be brief, the disease consists of having low levels of a protective protein which the body needs to keep tissues safe from harm.  Those who have the severe form can get lung and liver diseases especially if they drink, smoke, or inhale lots of particulate (like in coal mining or living in a very polluted place).  People with the Z type of the mutation can have very low levels of protection, while those with the S type tend to be much less effected.

After doing our research and meeting with the genetic councilor, we felt much better about the situation.  Each of our children has a 1 in 4 chance of inheriting both copies of the bad gene.  Even if they do, most likely they will feel no effects, and if they do, it will probably not be serious.  Of course there is a small chance that they will see something major over the course of their lives, but I'd like to meet the person who faces no risk of illness.

When you read about genetic testing, there is always the question of whether or not it is worth knowing the truth.  Some people would much rather not know anything.  In fact I spoke to one mom (who knew nothing about my story) and she basically said that if you love and accept your baby you will not have any genetic tests done.  I was taken aback to say the least.  Personally I want the facts, so that I can be be prepared for the realities whatever they may be.  In the end, knowing about Alpha-One does not change one single thing, but it does give me the chance to be prepared come what may.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Preschool Pick

It is official!  Delphinium has been accepted to preschool!  After all our searching and hunting for just the right fit, we were happy enough with a choice to put down money and an application.  We chose a school with a lovely natural setting, small class sizes, and a philosophy that seemed to work with ours.  Now I should feel this lovely sense of release right?  Instead I feel a mixture of sad and anxious.  I want her to go to school because I know she need socializing and play time that I won't be able to give her once the new baby comes.  Still, it's a very tough thought to imagine her away from me, and in the hands of strangers.  What if they aren't nice to her?  What if one of the other children is a pill?  There is just no way to know if you're making the right choice, but no amount of research or classroom visits is ever going to change that.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Attempting a Garden

Spring (or at least our PNW version thereof) has come to our area, and I always get that itching to go outside and enjoy it!  I want to spread a blanket on the grass, eat dinner outside, and generally soak up as many bits of sunshine and warmth as possible.  I also want to go out and get started on the garden.  I can't stand the thought of an empty garden bed!

This year, though, is a bit different.  If we had our druthers, we would be in the process of moving out of this house and into a new one.  However, we have yet to find that new house, so, for the moment, we are staying put.  We keep hoping that each weekend will bring that perfect house.  Thus I am in a garden bind: to plant or not to plant?  Will I end up reaping the benefits of a veggie garden, or will it all just whither on the vine when we finally do find that new house?

For March and April I dithered.  Now that it's May, I finally had to make a decision.  I've purchased my tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, and peas and planted them in the beds.  Delphinium also helped me plant lettuce, radishes, gem squash, and zucchini from seed.  We have a full garden in the works.  Either we'll have a lovely bounty of veggies in a few months time, or maybe Murphy's Law will ensure that we will finally find our new house.    

Monday, May 28, 2012

Groomsmaid and Flowergirl Get Dresses!

Whew! We did it!  I feel like we've looked at a thousand dresses between us, but now we are all clothed for the wedding.  We tried David's Bridal, but aside from a shockingly unpleasant sales lady, we found nothing but cheap-looking choices.  While my brother and his fiance were very flexible with their guidelines, I'm pretty sure that ruched purple satin with sequins and black net is not to their taste (or mine!).

After looking at $100+ flower girl dresses in the bridal shop, we headed over to Macy's, and enjoyed much better luck.  Since it was only a few weeks after Easter, we found all sorts of fancy little girl dresses on the clearance rack.  It cost us only $13 to buy a sweet little pink seersucker dress with tiny roses on the bodice.  Next up was JCPenny, and still our luck held.

For the baby we located a beautiful cream satin gown with net overlay embroidered with green and pink flowers.  Sooo cute!  And only $18!  While at Penny's we actually do very well and find rehearsal dinner dresses for all the grown up ladies (Grandma and the cousins) as well.  Who would have thought we would have such luck there?

The bargain prices continued when we took a quick trip up to the outlet mall.  In the one maternity shop (they are NOT common let me tell you) I found several dresses to try.  They ranged in price from $20-$140, but it was the least expensive one that looked the nicest.  Honestly I had not yet looked at the tag!  Of course it does still require alterations, so the price will go up a bit, but still I am so happy to have found most everything we'll need.  Well, maybe not shoes, but that's another story.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preschool Search Continues

We have yet another preschool visit scheduled for tomorrow.  It is so hard to pick a school when we don't know where we'll be living by the time fall rolls around.  I think what I will do is find one I like in our current town, and one in our goal town, and then get her on the list for both.  I will lose one application fee, but at least we'll have a space for her when the time comes.  This assumes, of course, that I can find two schools worth considering.  All this uncertainty is killing me!

I am still really having trouble locating places where I would feel comfortable sending my child.  It shocks me to see some of the dingy heaps many people seem happy to choose.  The strangest part is that the price of the school does not seem to track with what I see as the quality.  One of the smelliest and most dead-eyed schools we visited was also one of the most expensive.  If I had the guts (and funds) to open a high-quality daycare or preschool in our area, I think I would make a mint.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

So Cal Visit

Well we made it back from our adventure visiting with Great-Grandma.  She is getting on a bit, but she still manages to do most things for herself.  My big girl was such a big girl that it made the whole trip so much easier!  She did not offer to climb the furniture, play with the millions of antiques, or chase the cat, and her behavior on the airplane was very good as well.  The best, the most wonderful part, was her sleeping.  In the past we have never traveled to a new place without crying and troubles at bedtime.  The first night is usually especially rough.  Often she doesn't sleep through the night either.

This time, she went down late (due to our arrival time), requested about three or four blanket adjustments, and then just went to sleep!  And she stayed asleep THE WHOLE NIGHT! And she did it EVERY NIGHT WE WERE THERE!  Ahhhhh that is the sound of one big part of my mommy anxiety just letting go.  If she will do this on all our travels this summer, we will all have a much easier, happier time.  Here's hoping that we've turned such an important corner.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Doctor Visit

Yesterday we had our nearly half way doctor visit.  I am floored that we are nearly half way!  It's so exciting to think about meeting the new baby, but I am seriously not ready yet in an organizational sense.  I'm also worried that the big girl is not ready yet either.  When I got pregnant I kept telling myself that she would have nine whole months to get older and more mature, but now that time is cut in half and she still seems like a baby to me.  I'm sure we'll figure it out (people do!) but there will certainly be some logistics to overcome.

That being said, the doctor declared us both to be in good health.  The baby is measuring as it should, and everything is still locked up tight.  It is strange to go to those appointments the second time around.  When the whole thing was new I used to go in with a list full of questions (what is that jabbing pain when I roll over?), but now we spend much more of the time just chatting.  May the second half be as unremarkable as the first.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tummy Bug

Ugh!  My poor little girl has contracted some sort of nasty tummy bug.  Let's just say I change A LOT of diapers these days, and leave it at that.  She's been so sick that we haven't left the house in about six days, and it is starting to wear on both of us.  Between bouts of illness, the poor things says "Go bye bye?  Get new books at library?" So I know she's bored as well.  I've even called in the TV while sick rule to try and keep her happy.  We've spent many an hour with her collapsed on top of me watching Sesame Street.  May things please be better soon!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Groomsmaid and Flowergirl!

Wow!  It seems that not only do we have the excitement of my brother getting married, but he would also like Delphinium and I to be in the wedding party!  That's right, she will be the one and only flower girl, and I will be a groom's maid (groom's matron sounds a bit prison-y).  I was wondering if he might ask for the flower girl, but I am taken completely by surprise to be asked as well.  It is such an honor, and I must confess that there was a bit of teary-ness at the time he asked.  On top of it all, I can wear whatever type of gown I would like with no stipulations on color or style.  That's a good thing since formal maternity dresses are few and far between!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Still House Hunting

Well we've done it.  We've finally passed the average number of houses (40) seen by Americans before they buy.  House #40 was not even tempting.  I don't know if it's us or the houses, but somehow it never seems quite right.  I swear we are not THAT picky!  All we want is a fairly normal house (some neighborhoods around here are architectural history lessons from the 70's) in fairly decent condition in a fairly decent location.  Is that so much to ask?  Unfortunately that's what everyone else wants too.

A new part of the game seems to be bidding wars.  When we started out there was never any pressure to put in an offer because most houses sat for several weeks or months before selling.  Now we are seeing properties that have six full-price offers and 50k escalators within the first day or two.  One 60's era house with a view of the lake got 26 offers in its first weekend on the market!

At least the number of houses available is starting to increase.  I think those people who were holding out as long as they could because they didn't want to sell at the absolute bottom are starting to edge back into the market.  Of course they're doing so because prices are edging up too.  The old double-edged sword is definitely in play here.  With only five months left before the baby comes, I'm starting to get a bit nervous.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Brother Getting Married!

It's true!  It's true!  He's asked (he baked her cookies!), she's accepted, and now the wedding is on quite soon.  We all think she is a gem of the first order, so there is nothing but excitement and happiness being passed around.  When people get married many will say "oh they are the perfect pair" even when they are like a badger and a giraffe trying to be a couple.  These two, however, really are extremely well-suited to one another.  They have decided to split the difference when it comes to east coast and west coast families, so there will be a wedding out there, and a reception over here.  We are beyond excited and madly making travel plans.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

Talking Like Mad

Delphinium is now a chatterbox of the first order.  Oh not when we're out in public or around our friends, then she's usually Little Miss Observant.  When we're home together, just the two or three of us, she does not stop.  It all started about six months ago when she was on her changing table early one morning.  She looked up at the picture of a bear holding a jar of honey and said "Bears like honey!  Bees make honey! Buzz buzz!  Mommy like honey!" Before that she'd been sticking to two word "sentences."  Now the lid was off the jar.

She does ask the usual toddler questions of "what that" and "who that" quite a bit, but she also uses more complex little tidbits that she's learned as well.  When choosing something she will often start by saying "Hmm let me see..." She loves to announce the next activity or destination, so we get a lot of "Mommy and Del go to the library!  Get new books!" She also likes to offer commentary about the people she sees so "Baby cry.  His mommy say 'no no baby no cry." is quite common  The other day, out of the blue, she said "Nice pants Mommy."

Then there are all the South Africanisms she has threaded through her vocabulary.  I assumed she had an American accent (I am around her waaay more) until I took her to visit some of my old co-workers, and they admired her cute little accent.  She says "plasters" for bandaides, "wee" for pee, "bum" for butt, and both tomatoes and vitamins come out with a South African flair.  It's incredibly cute if you ask me.

This morning on the way home from toddler class, she was sitting in her seat and singing along to the music.  As we turned off the main road I turned down the sound since it no longer needed to compete with the sound of the engine.  I assumed the change would go unnoticed.  Pretty soon a voice from the back said "Mommy! Mommy!  Muse more LOUDER!"

Monday, April 23, 2012

New New New

Gah!  Not only am I forced to use Chrome, but there is an entirely new blogger to contend with!  I suppose if I don't want to be classed as a bitter old lady who hates all new tech, I will have to give these things a try.  Just forgive me if I accidentally post pictures of my cat.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Second Birthday Parties

In all my gushing over Delphinium's fabulousness, I forgot to record what we actually did for her birthday  Well actually it was for her birthdays.  One celebration simply was not enough, so we opted to break her events up into two.  First we held a toddler party at her music class.  Two year-olds and near two year-olds only!

Kindermusik and Miss Anna did a wonderful job of throwing us a party where all we had to do was show up with food and guests.  They did the set-up, clean up, and all the other hosting jobs.  It was FABULOUS.  Being pregnant and planning a party in our home for lots of people was just not in the cards for me.  This way the kids had an absolute ball singing songs and playing games, and when it was over we walked right out the door!

That was over the weekend; on her actual birthday we went out for fondue with her uncle and cousins.  Since going I've read that The Melting Pot is not suitable for children under six, but we did not find it to be so.  She enjoyed the cheese and broth portion of the meal, but the choc dessert was what really made her happy.  Given that chocolate and fruit are pretty much her most favorite treats ever, I knew it would be thus.  Her face when she ate her first bite was priceless, and then her face when she was finished was pretty funny as well.  Happy birthday Baby.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Two Years Old!

Whew!  The baby just turned two!  I am obligated to say "where did the time go?"  Besides it is true.  I really am amazed by how quickly that baby business is over.  I guess that's a good thing given how intense it can be, but I'm sure I'll still miss it from time to time.  At least her dad and I can pat ourselves on the back a bit and say "we did it!"

She's turning out to be a lovely little person, and I get such endless fascination from watching her unfold.  She's clever (such a little scientist), she's kind (out of the blue I got a kiss on my nose the other morning), she's funny (jokes are a new discovery), she's brave (loud noises and new situations don't phase her), and she loves with an open heart.  She lives for those days when Daddy stays home from work, we go to Grandma's house, or her cousins come for a visit. 

She loves to play outside, go for walks, do art projects, play with dolls, trains, animals, and anything that can be organized.  She makes tea for anyone and everyone, and if you are lucky you might get a side of imaginary blueberries.  She also loves to read stories, and you can find her sitting on the couch with a huge pile of books.  Sometimes she wants a grown up reader, while other times she prefers to peruse them herself.  Sometimes I even get "go away Mommy" if she's in a really singular frame of mind. 

Thanks to everyone who's helped us along the way!  All those friends who came to see us or asked us over for a playdate.  Everyone who's chatted us through a rough day, or met us for lunch when we were barely coherent.  Most especially to Grandma who has been there at every turn, so kind, so patient, and so willing to help.  We could not have done it without you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

First Time-Out

I'm sorry to report that Delphinium is not perfect.  In fact, she's becoming quite willful at times, and it takes all of my creativity to find ways around her, um, difficulties.  Mostly I just try to ignore the silly stuff (oh I can see you are screaming because you only got two dried berries in your cereal today) and I still do a fair amount of distraction and redirection (you cannot paint Mommy's purse, but you can paint this cardboard box). 

The real trouble comes when she does something that absolutely must stop NOW.  Running away in public is not common, but occasionally the whim catches her.  I catch her up and make her stick right next to me (how does one accomplish that at nine months pregnant?).  The other sticky one we are facing is hurting the cats.  She can be incredibly sweet to them, and I find her giving them kisses and patting them carefully.  Then, out of the blue, she will pull their tails enough to make them yowl.

This is where I'm trying to use time-outs, and I make her sit on the step for a minute followed by a kitty apollogy.  We've talked and talked about how hurting is not nice, we don't hurt our friends, etc. but it does not seem to be helping much.  Any great ideas, oh parents, or should I just give the time-out more time to work?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

House Hunting Round #3: Part 3

Still going! We've seen 33 houses to date, and none of them have been exactly right. Now that everybody knows about the baby, we can admit that, yes, we do have a deadline by which we need to get this done! Our realtor calmly assures us that we are not crazy (our wants and our budget do match up) and that we will be moved in to our new place before the baby comes. Sometimes I think about the amount of work ahead of us, and it makes me want to hide under a blanket. Then again, having a nicer (with a real kitchen instead of a postage stamp) house where we see more of Daddy each day would be a very good thing indeed. As I mentioned before, the average person sees 40 houses before they buy, so I'm really hoping that "our" house is just around the corner.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Wheels on the Bus

Without any prompting Delphinium has made up some new lyrics to an old classic song:

The wheels on the bus go round and round
The doors on the bus go open and shut open and shut
The babies on the bus say "wahh wahh wahh!"
The mommies on the bus say "I love you! I love you!"
The daddies on the bus go work work work
The Bobbies on the bus go "bop bop bop!"
The grandmas on the bus go to Delphinium's house now!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Unisom and B6 During Pregnancy

Oh what morning sickness can do to a poor, unsuspecting person!  It's absolutely debilitating to not be able to tolerate food, smells, or anything remotely dizzy-making.  Your whole perspective on life starts to change, and not in a good way.  Working, caring for children, driving, and all sorts of other major life activities become very difficult as your super nose and queasy stomach take over.  Ginger tea, saltines, applesauce, and all those other supposed remedies work for some people some of the time, but they are not at all sure. 

During my first pregnancy I just rode it out.  It was always worst during the mid-morning hours, so I would just take a long walk until the worst of it passed.  This time around I was not so lucky.  Not only was the nausea worse, but it came most strongly in the evening when I was trying to prepare dinner for the family.  My poor toddler suffered a change in diet because I could not stand to cook some of her more favorite dishes.  Asparagus, broccoli, onions, and garlic were all on the instant gag list.  My husband started doing deli runs on the way home from work just to keep vegetables on our girl's plate. 

Then I visited the doctor.  When I saw this doctor for my first pregnancy, she was just getting married, and we chatted about fun things wedding.  This time, she had just had her first baby, and I think this helped change her perspective on one or two issues.  This time when I mentioned being green, she said I should take Unisom and B6.  Both are over-the-counter and considered extremely safe for pregnant women.  The FDA has even recognized them as "effective and safe" for this purpose.  My dear husband picked them up for me, and I took them at night as the doctor suggested.

OH MY GOONESS!   It was like the morning sickness was GONE!  I felt like a more or less normal person.  There were still certain foods that did not appeal to me, but they no longer made me feel like puking.  I stopped losing weight.  My daughter started to eat normal foods again.  It was like a miracle cure.  I kept taking the combo for the next few weeks, and by time I was twelve weeks pregnant, I was able to stop without feeling sick at all.  A side benefit was the mild sleep aid effect of the Unisom actually helped me to feel less tired as well.  I hope more doctors will recomend the mix because it makes a world of difference to moms. 

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Baby 2.0

Well folks it looks like we are having our second baby! You may have noticed a certain lack of blog attention lately, and you can chalk that up to my thoughts being more inwardly focused than usual. Well, that and the incredible urge to toss my cookies! Now that the green phase is over we're feeling comfortable enough to tell people our news. In a matter of months, our "baby" (as we still call her) will become the big sister to an actual newborn. We are all thrilled about the news, but I am trying to wrap my mind around the logistics of having TWO, count them, TWO children. All I learned about coping with the first one had to do with a minimum of 1:1 parent and child. Now that will turn on its head. Future blog posts will be about getting larger pants, trying not to freak out, and remembering to feed healthy things to the toddler while all I want to eat is Doritos.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sugar Rush

Here's quite a scary little article about the impact of sugar on American children.  It seems that the older the child the more sugar they consume.  Another interesting fact is that middle-class and wealthy children eat just as much sugar as their poorer peers.  This goes against the conventional wisdom from before this study which focused sugar-lowering efforts on working class populations.  What's the effect of all this sugar on kids?  "Diabesity" of course.  Children who are obese and diabetic (they so often go together) are likely to have much sicker and shorter lives than their peers.  Quite the inspiration to cut out the soda and sugary yogurts.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sunshine and Laziness

The first day of spring came and went without so much as a single ray of sunshine. However, just a few days later we actually got two and a half days together that were sunny or partly so. It's amazing how good it can make you feel after a whole long winter. On gray days I don't have any trouble with sadness, but oh how wide awake things seem when the sun shines.

In years past I would have taken the first bright day that I had off to clean clean clean the house. I like to hang out all the white bedding and pillows and towels to get rid of any musty smells. No matter how cold it still might be, I throw open the doors and windows to get the fresh breeze going. Depending on how inspired I feel, I've even been known to use lemons and other natural cleaners to scrub the kitchen and bathrooms. At the end of the day there's hardly a cobweb or musty smell to be found. Sounds great doesn't?

Except this year. This year I didn't do any of that. My house is not one bit cleaner that it was on the last day of winter. Why? Because we didn't have time for cleaning when we had to run outside and play! On the first day we played in the backyard for an hour and walked in the park for an hour. On the second day we spent several hours in the backyard, went for a walk, and then Daddy came home early and took the girl to the park. It was just an extravaganza that could not be missed for any mere chores.

I suppose that means if it rains today I'm on the housewifely hook. Oh well. Easter is coming up, so I will have to face it soon. I'm going to have to learn to clean on sunny days too or summer is going to be grubby indeed.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nursery University Chaos

Over the weekend M and I watched the documentary Nursery University about the preschool admissions process in NYC. Yikes! You will never think about childcare in the same way again after watching that. It seems that the city has experienced a baby boom, so there is a shortage of high quality preschool. Thus parents go through extreme measures to ensure a spot for their child. Some wait all night in the cold while other spend hours on the phone simply trying to get an application for each school. The movie says that for every preschool spot available there are approximately fifteen applicants. Makes a person almost teary-eyed over the old church basements where we all went to nursery school.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toddler Bakes Carrot Cake

Last week Delphinium (Baby's nickname) and I were feeling cooped up in the house, so we decided to make a cake.  I remember very clearly making cakes with my mom for my dad and brother.  She was the most patient teacher, and they were the best ever tasters, so baking became something I really enjoyed.  I hope my girl will feel the same, so we got out the big bowl and set to work.  While she's not yet able to do everything (breaking eggs is hard!) many things she can accomplish.  She scooped, dumped and mixed like the perfect baker, and I did the fiddly bits like measuring and grating carrots.

It's really something to see a little kid really focus on something.  I don't know if baking will always have this power, or if the novelty is the trick, but she was able stay really interested for the whole batter-making process.  Of course there were several rounds of "leave the batter in the bowl" and "carrot peelings do not go in people's hair" but we got there eventually.  Not eating all the raisins on the spot was also hard, but eventually we had a pan of batter in the oven.  The cake turned out light and flavorful, and it was even better the next day.  Daddy was, of course, the best kind of taste tester.  The recipe is as follows:

1/2 cup + two TBS flour
1/2 sugar
3/4 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP baking powder
1 heaping TSP pie spice (or your favorite mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc)
1/4 TSP salt
Blend dry ingredients then add:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-2 eggs depending on size
3/4 grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins (optional but tasty)
1/4 crushed pineapple (adds such flavor)

Pour into a 9X9 or 8X8 pan and bake for 20-30 minutes until knife in the middle comes out clean.  After cooling, add cream cheese icing if desired, cut into squares, and enjoy.  Cake is even better the next day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Choo Choo Daddy

Daddy recently went on  yet another business trip, but this time, instead of flying, he took the train.  This was a very exciting idea for Delphinium since she is a huge fan of trains.  Sadly, his departure was so early in the morning that there was no way we could see him off.  The next best thing arrived while we girls were eating breakfast.  The first picture was the outside of the train with windows and little stepstool visible.  The next was the inside of the train with seats and luggage bins.  The final pic was Daddy in his seat!  The baby ate these up, and we had to view the triptych at least a dozen times.  That whole week while he was gone, she told people "Daddy go work choo choo!"  I think it helped her to make the trip something exciting instead of something sad.  Then, when Daddy came home, he had video!

Monday, March 12, 2012

House Hunting Round #3: Part 3

We've now been through 26 houses.  I remember reading somewhere that the average person sees about 40 properties before they find the right one, so I should been feeling hopeful.  At this point I'm just tired.  We've spent every weekend for the last couple of months on this project, and it has yielded not a thing.  I had been doing fairly well with the plodding process until this week.  Nothing new has come on this week in our target area in our price range.  Not one house.  I don't know if this is a blip or if something is really happening in the market.  Our agent says that houses go very quickly when they do come on, so maybe that is translating into a rise in prices as well?  Probably it's too soon to tell.  Fingers crossed that we aren't seeing our chances slip away in front of our noses.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Daddy's Away

For the second time in two weeks, Daddy is on a business trip. One can hardly hold it against him since it's for work, but we can't help feeling a little pressed. There is a reason families traditionally come with two parents, or at least I've certainly gotten used to having that way. I find that I can parent, clean, or cook effectively, but I cannot do two, let alone all three of those things at the same time. Something has to give. That means that I all but ignore my child to get the dinner on the table, and the only time any housework gets done is while she's sleeping. Exercise? Ha! Perhaps I will learn to do a better job on my own (goodness knows lots of people have to do it that way all the time!) or maybe I will always feel like I'm not quite cutting the proverbial mustard.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Mimi No More

It finally happened.  Our baby is growing up so fast, and there are all sorts of big and small signs that she's really a kid rather than an infant.  For one thing, she's a huge chatterbox who now goes around telling us what she thinks, what she wants, and which songs she wants skipped on the radio!  One thing that struck me especially was the way our names have changed.  For more than a year we've been "Mimi and Dada."  Don't ask me why it was Mimi instead of Mommy, but she was quite adament about it.  Now, all of a sudden, we're "Mommy and Daddy" like everyone else.  Schnif!  I'll get used to it!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Thor The Abridged

A little sample of how scrambled my brain is these days.  M said I would enjoy the movie "Thor" which he had seen on a guys' night.  We got it from Netflix on DVD, and turned it on after the baby went to bed.  It seemed like a fun action hero sort of movie in that stupidly entertaining kind of way.  I was a little disappointed that I couldn't ogle the hero since the contrast of all that beard against the completely hairless body was just weird.  Nevertheless, it was reasonably fun.  Since he'd seen it before, M was coming in and out doing chores and checking email.  Then the finale came and went and M said "wait that can't be the end?"  The movie's only been on for an hour!"  It turns out that our dying remote had been skipping whole chunks of the movie AND I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE.  Perhaps I wasn't quite paying attention the way I thought.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

Welcome to February 29th! That only comes once every four years, so it's kind of a special feeling. I overheard one person say that it was a fake day so nothing you did would count. It's kind of an interesting thought. What would you do if it wouldn't "count" the next day? Tell someone what you really think? Cut off your hair? Try something you wouldn't dare before? Eat an entire cake? Run through town naked? Is the thought thrilling or scary? Happy Leap Day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Taxes '12

In lieu of a fun post this morning, I would just like to say that I finished my taxes! I know it isn't one of the more glamorous household tasks, but it's got to be done. This year it only took us a few hours (oh how long it took me to learn about creating a tax file from the very first doc received) and we actually get something back. R. is always saying that if you get a refund you're loaning money to Uncle Sam, and you need to change something about your withholding. Still, I can't help but be happy when that number in the corner of the screen stays green and does not turn to red. My 2012 tax dream for you: may you find all your documents, get lots of lovely deductions, and have a nice fat refund at the end.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Garden Show '12

It's been several years since we attended our first Seattle Garden Show.  Every year since, I've thought how I really ought to get tickets since we had fun viewing the amazing gardens when we first visited.  However, that's yet another thing I mean to do and then just let slid.  This year though, there was a Caspar Babypants concert embedded in the main event.  What I won't do for myself I will do for my kid, and so that's how the family ended up at the convention center on a recent weekend. 

The display gardens were quite impressive as always.  Some you love, some you goggle at, and some you just scratch your head, but it is entertaining to wander through them with companions.  This year Elder Niece was along, so it was really fun to hear her take on the more outlandish entries (spinning metal sphincter anyone?).  We also browsed the aisles for all the gardening goods available.  There were some incredible plants for sale, and I wished that I had more of a green thumb to work with.

The standout of the show for us was the kids area.  Was it there before and I didn't notice?  Is it new?  I'm not sure, but it is a wonderful place for the 2-? set.  The main attraction, after Caspar (who is always fab), is the birdfood sandbox.  The baby actually got distracted from the music by the need to dig around in there.  Then there are the live chickens and bunnies which you can actually pet!  All sorts of fun ideas are threaded  through the area, and we could have stayed much longer if lunch and naptime hadn't been beckoning.  We will certainly be back next year Caspar or no Caspar. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hooray! Gay Marriage for WA!

Just last week the governor or Washington State signed same sex marriage into law.  I am so impressed and happy to have that form of equality recognized.  I cannot imagine what it would feel like if I'd fallen in love with my husband, gone in to get a marriage license, and then been told "nope sorry you're not wanted and not allowed."  Gay civil liberties are THE civil rights issue of our time.  Hooray for Governor Gregoire for recognizing that fact.  Congratulations to all the couples who will now have the chance to marry.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Atheist: The Worst Kind of Person

Too sad to read this article on Slate about the challenges of being an atheist in America.  In talking to people about it afterwards, some expressed disbelief that anyone would feel the need to hide their beliefs in modern times.  However, in my professional life as a teacher, I've always been very circumspect about my lack of religion.  To do anything else would risk serious consequences.  Of course no teacher is supposed to preach from their desk, but many feel perfectly fine telling about their faith.  I can only imagine the fallout if I were to "come out" to parents, co-workers, or administrators.  Slate is not making this stuff up, and that is really a sad state of affairs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's '12

Happy belated Valentine's Day!  Love to all our family and friends far and near.  We are celebrating by handing out puppy and kitty cards to our little friends.  A toddler does not understand the importance of this day, but that does not stop her from enjoying many of the trappings.  For dinner tonight with Daddy?  Mushroom mac'n'cheese, asparagus, salad, and then choc cake! What could be better?

Monday, February 13, 2012

House Hunting Round #3: Part 2

A little babysitting from granny (thanks!) and we were off on our very first round of house hunting with our new realtor.  We had seven properties to see, and the goal was to decide if we like anything in the more modest end of our price range.  I was quite prepared to see some sad small and dated houses, but I have to say that I was really fairly inspired!  We didn't  find anything we wanted to buy, but we saw more than one place that would work very well but for a few tweaks of location or lot.  All in all I think we are on the right track, and I am hoping that as the property market picks up going in to spring, we might have decent chance of finding something we really like at a reasonable price.  Yay for hope!

Friday, February 10, 2012

One Trick Pony

When you are a stay-at-home mom, you have to take joy in the small things. A child's smile, a home-cooked meal, or a bunch of bulbs blooming in your yard and all that crap, urm, important stuff. Then there are the days when you pat yourself on the back for having cleaned your child's sippy cup with a noodle. That's right, a noodle. My daughter loves her straw cups because she can have things other than milk or water. This time it was a blueberry banana smoothie (so popular and with only plain yogurt as the binder!). The only trouble is that ground up blueberries are hard to clean, and in a silicon straw they are nearly impossible. Thus the application of a noodle, uncooked of course, to tease out those last bits.  I have a graduate degree and a professional teaching certificate, but what really matters, in the here and now, is my noodle skills.