Tuesday, August 24, 2010

As milestones go, this one's a biggie...

Well, hello there blogging world! Long time no see!

I'm really heavily into the reading of blogs now instead of the blogging of blogs, but since I have one, what kind of mother would I be if I didn't acknowledge this most important of days, Elizabeth's first day of preschool?

But business first.

One of the reasons I stopped blogging is that my comments appear to have been infested with Japanese spam. I know its spam thanks to Babel Fish and I got pretty tired of it. So, the comments are on the "requires authorization" setting, and they'd be turned off completely if I knew how to do it. But don't worry about leaving comments, 99% of you e-mailed me or talked to me on Facebook anyway, so let the blogging commence comment-free!

Elizabeth has been so excited to go to school for the past few weeks that she could hardly stand it. And once she got her "super cool" shoes (of the sparkly trendy variety) it was about all she could do to make it through the days. She actually didn't sleep very well last night because she was so excited.

I took the day off work because I wanted to see her off and pick her up, and spend some alone time with Lilli, since I'm not sure that has ever happened before in her life. Maybe she's had a solo doctor visit, but that's it.

So here Elizabeth is, ready for action, with the tote bag the preschool requires the kids to use to carry their lunch to school. No giant backpacks for us until Kindergarten I guess.

Here's Elizabeth, Lilli, and Grandma waiting to go into school. The doors unlock at 8:30 am sharp. Don't try to get a jump on these people by being early. Elizabeth looks a little shy or coy in this picture, but its actually the tiny bit of sunlight making it through the gloom to hit her light sensitive eyes.

One final pose before going inside.
When she walked in the door she was greeted by the teacher, and all the kids sat down around a table where big sheets of paper with the letter "A" waited with bottles of glue and piles of odds and ends, ready for a collage outline. I was afraid that we were going to start off with a problem, because seriously, "A"? I knew that this was not going to be super educational, but I was afraid she would be bored in the first 5 minutes. Because she can READ (yes, I keep saying that. Proud mama. I might stop eventually), and she's got a nice dose of other academic skills to boot. But instead she turned to me, with a total look of joy on her face and said "I didn't know I got to do ART! How cool!" (not sure why cool is her word at the moment, but everything she likes is cool) And it seems that the whole day was pretty "cool". She "really enjoyed" her lunch (I packed it myself, so that please me), she loved the "bean bag dance" and she "mostly played with Diego, but not the real (i.e. cartoon) one". The only downer to her day was that during outside time "some buddies were on the swings and they wouldn't let me on, so I went away until they were gone and then I came back and swung a whole lot."

Overall a successful day!

And what did Lilli and mama do?

Here's one thing:
Lilli requested trips to the park and the mall, so that's what we did. We both had a great time, and it was nice to be with her by herself. She kept up a constant monologue the entire morning though, so it definitely was not any quieter without her sister around.

I'm so glad the day went well, and I know Elizabeth can't wait to go back to school tomorrow!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spin Cycle: The Word of the Day is "Different"

My child pleases me. All the time, of course, I'm a proud mother, but sometimes I have extra little moments.

I wouldn't say we are homeschooling her or anything, but we do a lot of activities that could be called "educational". We do work sheets and flash cards, and oh yes, did I mention that she can read (Only 2 hundred times or so probably)? It's pretty easy to do these things with her, because she genuinely likes learning right now, and is always asking us how to spell words, filling pages with printed letters (that don't always actually spell anything due to her love of spelling phonetically), and looking for "matches" and things that are the "same" and "different".

So the other night I was looking at a magazine. She came over as I was reading a page that had an ad for a woman's weight loss product. It has cartoons of two women, who are mostly identical, but one is large, and one is thin, and the gist of the ad is naturally that you will look like the thin woman after using their product.

Elizabeth immediately pointed to the women in the ad and said "Look mommy! They're different!" I thought "Oh no! My child is starting to notice things like body type! Is she becoming judgemental? Does she even know the words for these body types? What word will she pick for the larger woman? FAT? WHAT DOES SHE THINK OF MEEEEEE?"

Hah. I should not have worried. Out loud I said "Oh yeah?", and she answered "Yes! That lady has a FULL water bottle, and that lady's bottle is almost EMPTY!"


This has been posted in participation with the Spin Cycle over at Sprite's Keeper. To read more words about words, head on over there!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not too many of these left, dagnabbit!

For some reason I haven't taken any pictures of the girls on one of our bike rides (well, the girls ride, David and I walk for now). And the big bummer is that while the North will be enjoying a summer of evening family bike rides, it will soon be too hot and buggy around here to even think about spending more than 5 minutes outside after dinner.

Tonight, though, was perfect for bike riding. It was beautifully warm, but not hot, there was a lovely breeze, and the wafting scent of orange blossoms was strong, but not overpowering. Ahhhhhh.

So here you go:
Yes, they're wearing pajamas. So?

Elizabeth at her squinty best:

Lilli on the go:
Sometimes I don't know how Lilli makes it so far on that tiny little tricycle, but she powers around the block like no body's business and miraculously doesn't wipe out. She absolutely can't wait to have her own two wheeler so she can "go fast, mama! Weally, weally, fast!"
I'm kind of afraid.
Of course by the time we get her a big girl bike she'll have to wait a while before it's bike riding season again, so maybe she'll be less reckless by then...
.....ahahhahahaha. I crack myself up.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter and this and that.

So, we had a great weekend! Which is always a nice thing. Festive, but still fairly relaxed. We did celebrate Easter though.

Among the secular Easter activities, egg decorating with Grandma and Papa is one of the girls' favorite things:

Some of the eggs (below). I took way too many egg pictures trying to get the colors right with my point and shoot. This was the best I could do. It's fairly close to reality. You can even kind of see the egg that came out marbled purple and green. That's what happens when your 2 year old decides to see what happens if you put one egg in every single color.

My mom with the basket she brought for the girls:

What the Easter Bunny left:

We had to wake Lilli up on Easter morning, because Elizabeth was awake and we couldn't keep her in her room any longer. Lilli was OUT.

When she finally got up she was happy she did:

So, the this and that. Two funny (or at least mildly amusing) things that happened today.
First, David had to briefly stop at home today to change for an unexpected trip out into the field for work. Elizabeth saw him and gave him these rules:
1. "If you see a fire ant nest, don't go near it", and
2. "Don't touch spiky plants".
That Elizabeth. Always watching out for daddy. Clearly she worries about him as I do, only my rules would be more like:
1. If you see panther tracks, it is not a good idea to follow them.
2. Don't walk through waist high water when you see slide marks on the bank that show an alligator has recently gone into it.
3. Don't grab random vines that may be a snake.
4. Don't trip and then fall on your machete. Please. And
5. If you see a black bear, don't walk towards it to take a better photograph, walk away!
Anyway, the other amusing thing resulted from the fact that Lilli spoke on the phone to my friend C today. Or actually Auntie C talked, and Lilli said "yeah" to everything. Anyway, Lilli spent the rest of the evening talking about Auntie C. She had gotten it into her head that we were visiting Auntie C. tonight, and when we headed home after pizza and groceries without a visit TO ANOTHER STATE, she was inconsolable for quite a while. "I want to do the monkey song for Auntie Ceeeeeeeeeeeee" she sobbed. Good grief. I have no idea why that particular little number was of such importance, and I might have been a little impatient with the fussing. I said "Why do you want to see Auntie C tonight?" She said (cried) "Because I liiiiiiiiiiike her!" Ever the skeptic (and Mean Mom), I said "Oh yeah? How do you know? I don't think you even remember her!" She said "I just doooooooooooooooooooooooo". Sob, sob. Poor Lilli. It was wrong of me to laugh, but she is so dramatic. Although, C, when you read this, know that she wasn't willing to get on an airplane to come see you. It was drive up there or nothing. She has decided that she Does Not Like planes, and even in her distress, when Elizabeth helpfully (and cluelessly) suggested that we could get on a plane tomorrow and go visit you, she wasn't willing to go that far. Hee hee hee. Ahhhhhhhh.
One more (unadvertised) thing. Tonight Elizabeth asked me to tell her about the days that she and Lilli were born. For the first time. Do you know that I have never tried to tell a light hearted version of their births? I always tell the grown up version with as much drama and gory detail as I can muster. The pain! The blood! The tearing! It was a challenge, but I think I left them un-scarred. Elizabeth's favorite part of both stories was "...And then you came out my Yazoo!" She thought that was utterly hilarious. Side note: Yes, we have purposely taught our children the wrong names for their body parts. I suspected (and was right) that I would have very open children (masters of TMI just like their mama), and didn't want them yelling out about random itchy or uncomfortable lady parts in a grocery store with the correct name. That would attract some attention. But they can mention their yazoos all day, and people are just like "Awww, what cute kids!". So I do not have regrets. Perhaps I will develop some when my children are mocked at school. We're not there yet.

So that's my this and that. I hope you all had a great weekend too!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Thanks, Papa...

Clearly my father has been saying the phrase "Get your meaty hands off that!" to the girls a lot recently.

Tonight, after grabbing a double handful of Noodly Pasta (as we call it), Lilli responded to my request that she put it down with "Don't worry, Mama! I've got my noodles right here in my meaty hands!"

So yes. Thanks, Papa.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's that time of year!

It's Egg Hunt Season!

Due to scheduling of these events, this may be the only one we go to (other than the one on our lanai) this year, but we had a great time!

Lilli, having caught on to the process like a champ last year, proved that she had lost none of her skill, and sprinted ahead of the pack of little kids, and Cleaned Up. There was no egg limit this year, and she took full advantage.

Elizabeth spent a lot longer hunting than Lilli did, since she was searching in more unusual locations, but still ended up with a huge bunch (flock?) of eggs.

The only problem they ran into is that their baskets became too heavy!

What a great day we had! And also, the weather was beautiful today!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fun with the girls

I had a great day today!

My parents are out of town, and, as you know, my dad watches the girls for me during the day, so I had to take a day and a half off.

Yesterday (the half day), we just went to the grocery store, got drive through food, and took a walk around the neighborhood after they got up from their nap. A nap that I was amazingly productive during.

Today, we really lived it up.

We spent two hours in the toy aisles of Target pushing all the buttons (one of the girls' favorite things to do).

We ate chinese:

We played:
(Elizabeth looking "powerful", having conquered the starfish)

(Lilli looking triumphant)

We ate ice cream:
(Poor Lilli, sweat and her head don't go together so well)

(Elizabeth ate her cone, more than half of Lilli's, and then asked me for a smoothie)
We went to the bookstore.

It was a lovely ladies day! (I finished off the day by getting all of my hair cut off-no, seriously, ALL of it-but that is a story for another day)
I have been told by several SaHM friends that if I was home with them every day I wouldn't find such constant joy in hanging out with these girls, and they're probably right.
But I think it would take a while to wear off.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Uh huh.

Based on her confident "I've got this" expression, I am never letting her near a real one.
That is all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just two more...

I can't seem to stop! I've plastered the girls spring photos all over Facebook. First just my top 10, then I couldn't resist adding another 5. And then I want to add these two, but I figure it would seem like I'm fishing for comments on my album. One bump was enough.

So anyway, just two more and then I'll stop.

I love the very proper way that Lilli is sitting in the below picture, even though it isn't one of my favorite shots of her face. She's a little lady. Which makes sense given how many times a day she pretends she's going to the ball with Barbie (yes, she's confusing Disney and Barbie these days). She spends 90% of her home time wearing a tutu or a dress up dress with as many necklaces around her neck as she can carry, a ring on every finger, wearing one Belle light up shoe, and one Cinderella light up shoe and carrying a tea cup in true Lady Gaga style. It is a dazzling display.

She looks quite prim here.

This photo of Elizabeth didn't make my top 10 (or 15), because it is off center (some day I will crop it to my satisfaction), but I love the smile on my pretty little girl's face. She has a sparkle in her eye and looks every inch the happy little person she is.

I have to say, while I have you here, that her reading is coming along extremely well. Sometimes we've actually thought that she has the new books we're reading memorized after one time through sounding out the unfamiliar words, just because she reads them back to us so smoothly. But if you write down all the words on a different sheet of paper and have her read them out of order and out of context without any pictures for clues, she still reads almost all of them smoothly. She sure makes me a proud mama.

And so does Miss Lilli. Any smarts being handed out in our family seem to have been divided pretty evenly, because she has a fine list of skills that bring joy to a mama's heart. Just tonight we were reading together and she was looking at a picture of a trombone, and said "Mama, what kind of instrument is that?" Instrument! She's two! That's a five dollar word in my book. Not a huge thing perhaps, not something super extraordinary, but pretty cool.

Anyway, enough about my young ladies, just humor me and admire their pictures.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Latest

Ah, my babies....

I love the love.

But in case you're thinking all this love is just for the professional photographer...
Not so.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Say it ain't so!

It's official.

I have my first gray hair.

I know this because I pulled it out for the third time today.

Twice before I saw something super metallic and silver gleaming at me when I looked in the mirror. I couldn't seem to get a good look at it, so I thought I must have something in my hair. The first time was near Christmas, so I actually thought somehow I had gotten tinsel in my hair. I finally realized it WAS a hair and pulled it out for a better look at it, but I couldn't get a read on it. Was it super blond, or was it white? It didn't have any friends up there, so I couldn't figure it out. The second time the glinting thing was much shorter, and when I pulled it out to see it, I still couldn't confirm the color, but I started to suspect what had happened. I've been watching for it to come back for the last month and a half.

It is indeed a gray hair.

But I'm only 30.

I'm calling it platinum blond.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dreaming of tomatoes....lots and lots of tomatoes...

My garden is fully under way!

I have two planter boxes built and filled with dirt and cow poop, and a master plan for where everything is going to go. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I should have taken pictures earlier, because now it's dark.

We would have planted tonight, but we decided to wait until the weekend since it got a little chilly on us.

Next steps are to build the cucumber trellis and to get things in the dirt!

The seeds we started are all sprouted except for the bell peppers, which are taking their time. I may buy a pre-started plant or two to add to the mix since I am impatient and that way I might get a veggie a week or two earlier.

I just can't wait for the tomatoes!

Monday, March 15, 2010

We're only halfway through the month...

And look at all these faces!

We've known we were going to have fun with her since the day we saw her in the comprehensive ultrasound (the one where we learned she would be an Elizabeth and not a Will) and she had the back of one hand dramatically pressed against her forehead.
She never lets us down.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spin Cycle: Pre-Snog Cog...

More baking. Exhausted by baking. In fact I may take an indefinite hiatus from baking. I can't get the smells of vanilla and chocolate out of my hair, and that isn't a wonderful problem to have like you might think it would be.

In five nights of steady baking (10 different recipes) everything has turned out really well, but tonight one of the recipes I made is wacky, I missed a step somewhere, or I just really don't like the flavor combination. I ended up with really strange cookies, and I can't tell if that is the cookies' fault or if I'm all baked out. It is all for a good cause though.

At any rate, that's not why we're here, we're here for our weekly Spin on the topic of Sprite's Keeper's choice. This week we're Spinning the 6th Sense.

No, not the movie.

I, for one, always know in advance when I'm going to be kissed for the first time.

Hmmmm. I say that like this happens to me regularly these days, but I have been happily married for 8 and a half years, and we were together for a while before that. Just to get that out there. Also, I have a good memory.

So anyway, I'm not talking about the obvious moments BACK IN THE DAY where the young man's lips were 4 inches away from mine and closing fast, that's way too late to count as pre-snogition, that's just like DUH. What are the chances at that point that the gentleman in question is suddenly going to mentally go ABORT, ABORT, and "miss". Well unless of course he's the brother of your boyfriend and thought better of his actions, but how often does THAT happen? Only once to me.

Another pause for a disclaimer, as I now have a Child Who Can Read for the first time in my life, and who knows how soon she will start reading blogs? While I was not otherwise free with my favors, I did go through a period where I was very free with my kisses. It's a long story about a girl who rebelled from a ridiculous phrase involving re-vowed purity of one's lips, which just makes no sense, because what else are you supposed to do with those things? So while I have a hefty amount of first kiss experience with which to claim that I can See the Future in this manner 99.9999% of the time, I have charmingly little else in the way of experiences. So there.

Woooooweeee, having trouble staying focused tonight. SO, back in the day when I was otherwise as pure as the driven snow, naive, innocent as a rose, an entire Sound of Music song personified, I could tell just by the glance the young man gave me that his lips were going to be connecting with mine before the evening was over. Sometimes I greeted this realization with delight, sometimes dread, sometimes utter apathy (but mostly with delight), but I can't think of a time where I have ever not had a good long span of warning before I was kissed. As soon as they knew they were moving in, I knew it too. Which I like, because that is a very lovely feeling to want someone to kiss you and to know that they're going to do it, and have a good long time to anticipate it (even if "a good long time" mean "about 3 minutes")

Completely unrelated to my ability to sense an impending liplock, I also clearly remember every first kiss that has ever come my way. This is the benefit of not spending my high school or college years in an altered state. And of course of extensive journaling. Periodically I like to re-read those journals and sigh a little bit over those moments of anticipation. There are plenty of thrills in an 8 year marriage, but they are of a different variety. There are no "Will he or won't he? Aha! He will! In exactly 45 seconds!" moments anymore, because of COURSE he's going to kiss me, he's going to kiss the heck out me as soon as he catches me.

Well, this has been interesting. Clearly I should not Spin after a long evening of baking. It's like I snorted Pumpkin Pie spice and chocolate covered raisins. Two things that do not go together, especially in cookies.

Two things that do go together though, are Sprite's Keeper and the Spin Cycle. Head on over there and see if anyone managed to make sense out of the 6th sense, because I certainly didn't.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Still baking...

Last night I made 4 dozen chocolate cupcakes.

Tonight I baked two loaves of Coconut Bread and a pan of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake Bars, and made a pan of Popcorn bars.

On top of my regular duties.

I'm exhausted.

Yesterday was quite a day in general. A little girl that I've been following in the blog world passed away yesterday morning (she's barely older than my Lilli, it just about killed me), we (with help) built a garden planter box and filled it up with dirt and cow poop ready for planting, and then I baked those cupcakes. And then I didn't want to go to bed because I was waiting to see if a baby I was anxiously waiting on would be born (She was! This morning! Yay!).

So I stayed up too late, and got up early to ice those darn cupcakes. All 48. It is a good thing I'm speedy with a decorating thingy. Possibly the highlight of my day was the French Onion soup from Panera that I had for lunch (hold the cheese and croutons, they just take up space). Other wise I just got through it while yawning a lot. Although sniffing at the things I made tonight was a pretty good part of the day as well. I'm looking forward to quality control examining them in the morning. Not to toot my own horn, but it is very possible that the Peanut Butter etc. etc. Cake Bars will turn out to be one of the most amazing things I have ever baked. Perhaps it isn't smart to try a new recipe when you're holding a mini-bake sale, but I was looking for some variety. I think I picked a good one, because I spent the entire process of baking those darn things drooling.

I may also have decided tonight that I like my Kitchen Aid mixer after all. I've always been sort of anti-stand mixer. I'm sure it stems from my childhood baking with my mom and having to stop and unplug the darn thing every 2 minutes before I was allowed to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Too time consuming. So I generally either mix by hand or with a hand held mixer. Well, tonight I was too tired to use either one, so I threw all my ingredients in the Kitchen Aid, and for some reason it seemed really easy. Perhaps because I didn't unplug it once. Well, not until I put it away. Muhahahahahahaha! So that's another good thing about today.

I'm tempted to take a little piece of that Peanut Butter stuff to bed with me. I don't know if I'm thinking I would have some phenomenal food dream, or if I'd just like to smell it all night, but it is verrrry tempting!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Baking Frenzy! And other Manic Minded Monday topics...

I think I'm too covered in flour and chocolate and other baking odds and ends to successfully blog.

The girls and I are walking this weekend at a Great Strides event to benefit Cystic Fibrosis, in honor of their little friend who was recently diagnosed with the disease. Well, I'm walking, they're riding, but they'll be there!

So this week at work I'm holding a mini-bake sale to raise money for our team. I had fun planning what I wanted to make each day, and fun organizing my supplies, and day one was delightfully successful, but I can see that the execution of this plan might be a little tiring. Still, I just made Raspberry bars and Chocolate Walnut Pretzel Clusters in under 45 minutes, which is great! I just wish I had remembered I was baking tonight, before I had settled into bed with a book and the plan to fall asleep early tonight. I'm not sure how it slipped my mind.

I had to get back up.

In other news, we build the planter boxes for our little garden tomorrow night. I'm very excited to get some things growing! We see sprouts among the seeds we started already. We've got corn (Elizabeth picked that), Sunflowers (Lilli's pick), red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Not a diverse selection, but if those things grow they won't go to waste. Squash and string beans and their friends might be easy to grow, but they'd probably rot on the vines. If I get inspired, I might even hunt up another variety or two of seeds that intrigue me before they actually go in the ground. We'll see.

Ah, so guess what? We thought the DVD player out in the living room was broken, right? About half the time it would play a disc, and the other half it would stutter and refuse to load. So this weekend we went out to get a new one, and came home with a Blu-ray player instead. Hmmm. I'm not sure if that is supposed to be hyphenated. This is new technology to me. Anyway, despite not owning a single blu-ray (?) disc, we now own a player. Which is fine and all, but my dad called me tonight to tell me that he had rescued our old machine from the trash (as is his way) and not only determined that it works great, but solved a mystery. We haven't been able to find a missing library DVD. We had the case, but not the DVD. Can you guess where my dad found Diego's Moonlight Rescue? Yep. I assume I have my children to blame for that. With one DVD jammed up in its works, I'm amazed that the player was able to read any additional discs at all. But it did. This is a story without a conclusion, because I am not sure the fate of the DVD player. Clearly we aren't returning the blu-ray (??) player, as we are already addicted to its ability to upgrade the veiwability of DVDs. But the DVD player is perfectly good. I suspect my dad will claim it as his fee for saving me continued library fines. I guess that's fair.

The young ladies are doing fine, although lately their make believe is so complicated that I don't know how they can keep track of what they're doing. Their favorite adventure at the moment is a mix of "Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure" and "Barbie-the Magic of the Rainbow", with bits and pieces of almost every other fandom that they have thrown in. And thanks to being madly in love with "Barbie and the Nutcracker", Lilli calls all animated Barbies (no matter which movie she's in) "Clara", which confuses and frustrates Elizabeth who puts a lot of importance on correctly identifying who Barbie is playing in which film, and just how she figures into their made up adventures. Today I just shook my head when Elizabeth dissolved into tears because "Terrence hurt my feelings! He says he isn't my friend any more!", and when I went to confront "Terrence", I was given a long and convoluted explanation of how "Clara" had taken her moonstone and given it to Blaze and the Dancing Princesses. I can't keep up. I'm glad they have each other for this stuff and just want me to read with them or have tea parties. That is more my speed. I can also do general silly stuff, but I'm not so good with a plot. At least not one you have to act out. I tell a mean Princess Lilli and the My Little Ponies story.

I think the sugar exposure has gone to my head, because I'm all over the place tonight.

Regardless, my second wind is gone, so I'm off to bed for real now!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yay for Lilli!

This is Lilli not being scared to ride the rides at the fair last night.


She rode everything she was tall enough to go on, and loved every second. Apparently all the practice at Disney World did her some good. Just another reason why we should live there, if you ask me. Yes, in the Parks. They have that suite in the castle that we could move right into.


While Elizabeth loves any ride she is allowed to go on, and was joyful the whole evening, she was not quite ready for me to take a picture of her and her sister on the Wiggly Worm. Clearly. Poor little girl. When your mother takes pictures of practically your every breath, plenty of them are bound to be less attractive than others.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Well, on the one hand it means that they're normal...

This afternoon's events can be best illustrated in these three pictures of Lilli:

Lilli: Why are you looking so mad mama?

What? You think that I'm also responsible for the fact that Elizabeth's entire floor is covered with crayoned and markered scribbles and letters, all the crayons are broken in half, and that she and I are decorated in marker from head to toe, all because Papa got on the computer and let us play unsupervised for 45 minutes thinking that the quiet coming from her room was a good thing?

It was all Elizabeth, I swear! I had nothing to do with it, and I am totally innocent! How dare you accuse me of such terrible behavior?

What? You don't buy that? You're still mad? What if I look at you like this?

Still mad?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spin Cycle: I'm sure I'm missing stuff...

Do you know that I haven't watched any of the Olympics yet?

I'm not really into "sports" per say. But I used to enjoy watching ice dancing. Somehow though, I just haven't turned on the Olympics. I'm sure it is because, except for the commercials on Super Bowl Sunday, I have not watched any TV for months, which makes it real easy to let the apathy take over (Should I hang out on the couch for a while? Eh.). But I do feel like I shouldn't be missing out on this no doubt historical event.

When people at work are gathered in little groups discussing Lindsay something-or-another and her successes and failures at whatever events she's entered in, I just nod and smile and try to look appropriately delighted or distressed as the conversation calls for. But I don't have a clue what is going on.

I could go out to the living room and watch something right now, but I still appear to be sitting in this chair. The lure of the warm blue glow of the television is apparently not enough to tear me away from the cold white glare of my computer screen.

However, it requires no effort at all to head over to Sprite's Keeper and check out this week's Spin Cycle entries. That's where I'm going. The topic this week was "Confessions", and I'm expecting there to be some juicy stuff!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bear Hunt

At Elizabeth's dance class they sometime act out the motions to a song called "Going on a Bear Hunt." She is scared, delighted and intrigued by this song, all at the same time. And she's had bears on the brain lately.

So when I got home from work yesterday and she showed me this:

I was not surprised.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I have decided that anyone with a headache as bad as this one, even a re-committed blogger, is allowed to take a pass on posting anything of substance.

Especially when they are also supposed to be creating a birthday DVD for their almost 96 year old grandfather, planning for some fund-raising they're doing, and have a house that looks like a hurricane went through it, and won't be taking care of any of that either.

The only thing I really have to report is that I bought a new hot glue gun this afternoon, and I am delighted with it. Even though I won't be using it tonight after all.

Maybe tomorrow I'll show you the bear picture that Elizabeth drew today, in hopes that will make up for my neglect.

It depends on if I still have this headache.

Or my head. I'm tempted to start banging my head on the wall to see if that has more of an effect than the ibuprofen I have been unsuccessfully popping. I bet I could do it some damage.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Well, we tried...

My girls and I have done many a project in our few short years together. So when we tried to make petit fours tonight, after reading about them in a My Little Pony book, I wasn't nervous about taking them on. The directions we had were simply to frost pieces of pound cake that you cut into whatever shapes you want. What could be difficult about that?

I did the cutting, although I had hovering helpers. We stuck with squares and rectangles and triangles. I was tempted to break out the cookie cutters so the girls could help me, but decided against it, since we did this right after I got home from work, and I still needed to make dinner.

Right away I realized that if we tried to frost the these little babies the way we frost cupcakes that it was going to be a huge mess. Since these were supposed to be child sized tea cakes, I had cut them pretty small. My girls are pretty good with these things, but I couldn't see them holding tiny cakes and frosting them at the same time, and if you tried to frost them on the cookie rack they were small enough to stick to the knife and not stay put.

So I went with the alternate plan I had considered, which was to melt the icing enough that we could spoon it over the cakes. Of course we tried to do it before I tested the icing consistency. The girls kept at it, but you can see that the icing was not cooperating.

Back into the microwave the icing went, and results were much more successful so we repeated it with the vanilla and chocolate icing. Then we got to into it, and I forgot to document the process, but we ended up with some cute little cakes:


Of course, these wouldn't win any beauty contests, but they are delicious, and many were eaten at all stages of the process.
If you want to make them yourself, here are some tips:
If you use a frozen pound cake like I did, it worked just fine to slice it up while still frozen. In fact, I think I got sharper edges because I did that, so the cookie cutters would have worked well.
If you heat up your icing, do it slowly so it doesn't separate.
Put any sprinkles on right away so they stick, and
Refrigerate these little guys so the icing sets up quicker.
My girls are into icing on their treats these days, and almost always leave the cake or cupcake behind, but they ate their weight in these things (well, more or less, we only used one small pound cake), and I sent them to bed high on sugar.
So, yes. They didn't turn out so beautiful to look at, but they were pretty beautiful to eat, and doing projects with my girls is the most beautiful thing of all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Apparently it doesn't take much for me to feel a sense of accomplishment...

Although I feel a little disproportionally proud of myself tonight.

Ever heard of Friendship bread? Some people call it Amish Friendship Bread. I'll leave it to you to Google, since there are a lot of varieties.

Basically, someone (purporting to be your friend) hands you a gallon-sized Ziploc bag of goo (the starter), with a sheet of directions, which you then must feed and nurture for the next week and a half or so, with the hopes of eventually turning it into something delicious.

It is a surprising amount of work.

Not the days when your only directive is "mush the bag", I'm not complaining about those days, I think I'm really just complaining about tonight. First I had to take my bag of goo and empty it into a large bowl. That was challenge enough, because after a long period of growing and digesting in it's plastic home, the starter wanted to cling to the bag. Then you add this and that to the bowl, mix it up well, and then have to measure out 4 one cup portions of goo to place into gallon sized Ziploc bags to sneakily hand over to your friends. Well, three of them anyway, you're supposed to keep one for yourself. I have not yet decided if I'm going to keep on this path. I've heard it can take over your life.

Anyway, all that was before I could even add any of the 15 or so ingredients that were going into my loaves. I have to say, I was a little suspicious. This whole recipe seemed like the one for Stone Soup. Like the starter was the stone, and all my added ingredients actually made the soup (bread). The batter smelled so good when it was mixed up that I was tempted to try it raw. Of course then I remembered that a good portion of it had been fermenting on my counter for almost two weeks, and I suddenly lost my appetite.

But not for long. It seems the bread varies depending on what kind of pudding you add to it, and as I used Pumpkin pudding I ended up with a delicious bread-shaped pumpkin cake thing with a Cinnamon sugar crust. It's darn tasty.

But did I mention the work? And that this work perpetuates itself? And that if I keep my bag of starter I will have to go through this again in 10 days and find 3 more friends to give bags of goo too? I swear, it is just like a chain letter. Only if I don't pass it on I will end up with exploding plastic bags and a home that smells like a brewery.

I should also mention that this is not the first time I have been given a bag of starter. It is just the first time that I haven't killed it. Or starved it, rather. Or whatever.

I also think that people should give you a copy of the starter's genealogy. Amy's starter begat Susan's starter, who begat Julie's starter, who begat Rachel's starter... I'd like to know just how old the bacteria I'm eating are.

So, I don't know what to do yet for sure, but I am very intrigued about trying coconut pudding in this stuff. Maybe adding in dried pineapple? I think this could be a lot of fun, although possibly also a second job.

Anyone local want some starter?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fastest year ever...

Every so often I notice that the girls look a little bit older, or they act older, or something happens that makes me realize how much they've grown.

Tonight at the dinner table the girls had a lengthy conversation with me about digestion of all things (in simple terms of course, we just talk about tubes and bags inside you, and what they're called, and what happens to the food in the different parts of the system). This was brought on due to Elizabeth's first experience with....hmmm, to keep things delicate...a need for Mylicon. She's never had this problem before, even as a tiny baby she never had a moment's trouble getting any sort of air out of her. So she was hurting and upset, but was willing to be distracted by talk of digestion while Daddy ran to CVS to get Mylicon and consult the pharmacist. since we have never used this miracle drug before. She and Lilli both watch Sid the Science Kid on PBS, and already knew a surprising amount of information about digestion, but we had a good discussion anyway. Which made me realize that not too long ago Lilli wouldn't have been able to follow along with the topic, much less participate and ask questions that showed she understood. And feeling all sentimental about the passage of time, I went into my photo folders to check out last February.

What a difference a year makes indeed.


It amazes me. Where does the time go?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Back when I only had one child, and didn't know many other babies, I naturally thought everything Elizabeth did was amazing, extremely advanced, and super smart.

Of course I did!

And of course it was! We just won't mention to the old me that there were a lot of other amazing babies in the world at the time.

One of the things I liked to do back then (besides photograph practically her every breath) was to take pictures of Elizabeth "reading". I loved to watch her intently study her books.

She has always loved to pore over picture books, loves to be read to, and has a very good memory for any story that she hears or sees. She didn't stop any of these things, but after Lilli was born I had less time to take pictures of moments of contemplation, and was always trying to catch the interactions between the girls or with other people. I hadn't realized that that the above picture was the most recent photo I have taken of Elizabeth holding a book until I went looking for one tonight for this post. I have tons of pictures of people reading to her, but I took them to capture the moment of togetherness with the other person, not with the book.
So, why did I need a picture?
David and I both learned to read at 4. I'm pretty sure his mother taught him how, and possibly considered him a "late reader" at 4, since his older sister had learned to read at a young 3, and quickly went up in reading levels (Her son also learned to read at 3, although it was a late 3). I had a favorite book called "Whose Mouse are You?" that I loved dearly and had memorized. From listening to my mother read it (following the bouncing finger), I knew that the scribbly things stood for each word that she was saying. One day I noticed that the words that sounded the same looked the same. And then I started seeing those words other places. Presumably I knew my alphabet at this time, so I'm sure that helped, although I don't remember anything about that, only about making the connection. I went on from there pretty quickly, and was a voracious reader from early on.
I've always hoped that my children would love books. I don't care if they like fiction or biographies or Manga, but I want them to know the joy of getting lost in a good book. I never cared whether they read early or late, fast or slow, with great comprehension or haltingly, I just wanted them to learn.
When Elizabeth knew the alphabet out of context (meaning she could tell you what letters were in any word she saw, as long as they were capitals, and had the spelling of several words memorized) before she turned 2, I (besides briefly thinking I had a baby genius on my hand, not true, Lilli did the same thing at the same age) thought we were off to a good start with reading. But she didn't suddenly pick up a book and start reading it like I kind of sort of had started to hope that she would. Instead, over the last two years she gotten closer and closer. First she learned to recognize the lower case letters, then she started to haltingly practice writing letters, and then she and David started working on her memorizing what sounds the letters make (we also have one of those magnet things. "A says A and A says 'Ah'"). Slowly she has started to make the connections, to learn the sight words, to recognize words that she sees all the time without sounding them out. She has memorized how to spell even more words, writes letters with much more confidence, even typed me an e-mail with Grandpa's help on the words she didn't know how to spell, and is Getting There.
She's still not a Reader, or rather, is such a new reader, that she won't be getting lost in the Little House books any time soon, but she will be there before we know it. We really value literacy in our home, we read as much as we can, and we treat our books well, and I'm happy to see her excited about reading, and to have not lost her interest in books even though we're making practically all her current experiences with books learning ones, and sometimes you can see that her brain is tired out.
Tonight she read two separate sentences by herself:
"Dear Elizabeth, I love you! Love, Mama"
"We have a cat, her name is Abby."
It may not look like much, but she did not need any help, and that is a milestone.
We went out for ice cream.