Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Unfortunately the pumpkin you see here is no longer with us. It got moldy really fast. Wren keeps asking where her "sick pumpkin" went. Um... to the dumpster, hon.

I hope everyone will have fun on Halloween. I let Wren watch her first -slightly- spooky movie, and she is totally in love. She cannot tell us enough about the cat bus. Tonight we will put on some sort of costumes and go somewhere- we haven't really made up our minds. Whatever we do will be low key, since Chase is headed out of town tomorrow for a long weekend.

The girls and I plan to survive on stockpiled pumpkin seeds.

JK. I don't even like pumpkin seeds. I will be eating all the Halloween candy of course. The girls can have bananas or something.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

End of Summer

I can't believe these are pictures from a few days ago- It was 35 degrees here last night. No more playing outside in just a diaper for you, Jane.

Finger-painting quickly becomes full-body painting around here, leading immediately to clothes, appliances, and furniture painting, once we come inside.

That particular work of art went to Grandma, but I'm saving most of the roll of butcher paper for wrapping Christmas gifts in a few months. This fall seems to be racing by, but I guess fall really always does that. It's exacerbated this time by my school deadlines. Nothing gives me a stomachache like a group project. Ugh. I guess a group project involving math would truly be the worst, but a group project on Texas TEK standards for elementary education is also a bummer. At least now I know for sure I DO NOT want to be a school librarian.

And to brighten your morning, an awesome comic:

Hark, A Vagrant!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Morning at the Creek

Wren was a little resistant to the life jacket, but she was too interested in everything else to put up much of a fight. Who but my dad can produce assorted life jackets in all sizes from somewhere in his "shop" at a moment's notice?

After paddling (and motoring) around the full creek for a bit we found a bit of sand bar not underwater.

A baby cypress and some knees poking up out of the water.

Chase, boy scouting out, on the sandbar.

Sticking toes in cold water, and a glimpse of nearly-naked Wren, who started shedding layers as soon as she got out of the canoe.

Wren, pre-shedding. She had a blast finding mussels and building castles. I really hope next summer we make time to camp at the creek. Some of my favorite memories are waking up in the mornings when it was still misty, to my dad making coffee on the campfire. He would walk us down to the water to look at all tracks the animals had made in the night. It was magical, to see where a raccoon had washed a mussel on top of the castle I'd made the day before. You can still see where watermelon plants are growing in the spot where we always spit our watermelon seeds.

Thanks Dad.

Thanks also for turning the canoe around for Pearl. It's true, she shouldn't have been standing so close to the edge when we hit that log. And I'm glad you "taught her a lesson" on canoe etiquette- when you fall out you have to swim home. Nonetheless, I'm also glad you scooped her out again. In spite of the fact that I still smell a little bit like wet terrified dog.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blog Problem

Unbelievably, I actually have a backlog of posts right now, that I just can't get to post.

Right this minute I'm on my third cup of coffee, Wren is still shirtless and Jane is bottomless, (I like symmetry?) we are not packed for our trip this weekend, I haven't worked out pet sitting for Ramona, and I haven't worked on my group project for library school. So fixing the blog problem (whatever it is) is not going to happen soon.

This aspect of blogging was much easier when I could just yell in the direction of Dave's room- "No more cookies until you fix my blog." There are many things about communal living that I truly miss.

So to make up for the lack of all those magical wonderful work of art posts just languishing in the wings, here's a look at some delicious gingerbread:

Yes my food photography still needs a lot of work. Feel free to sign me up for a photography class, folks.

And tonight we're off to visit my family in Beaumont. I am looking forward to a canoe trip with my dad, and to seeing my BF4E Kelly (and giving her two enormous rubbermaid tubs full of maternity and baby clothes). If folk wisdom holds true, I will be pregnant within a week of giving away my last baby items.

So, just in case, I may hold onto a few of my faves...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Story in Pictures

Presumably, this is the moment at which the (probably abused) poorly minded elephant spies the unguarded beer can in the cup holder of the stroller.

Here, in a line pile-up, he seizes his chance, and stretches his truly unbelievably long trunk into the group of slack-jawed yokels pressed up against the fence. (This is also the moment at which Chase has a heart attack because he sees the trunk reach into a stroller- luckily empty. He was pretty sure we'd be spending our mortgage money on therapy, for a minute there, though).

Here is his moment of pay-off, shoving the ice cold beverage, still in its aluminum can, into his gaping maw. Go Elephant! I have seen the size of his butt, and so I'm not really worried for his safety in digesting/passing this. I'm happy he's having probably the only happy moment of his life since he got his tusks taken off after the mauling incident accompanying his last brush with alcohol.

Here he begins, oh so casually, to turn back into line, probably eying the easily distracted leaders with their cattle prods. Who can blame those guys, though, really? Not much education or respect for animal rights in the Renaissance, from what I understand. Also, the super gay outfits for all the minimum wage workers at the fesitval are a special form of stripping away dignity.

My favorite part of this last picture is the lady on the far left- "All Ya'll gotta look at this elephant! He done ATE that lady's BEER!! YEE-HAW!" This is the point at which the SUPER AWESOME AND SMART (read: douchebag) crowds began trying to lure the elephant over and pour beer down his trunk. It's also the point at which I began, in some part of me I'm not proud of, to hope I would witness a mauling. Or at least a thrashing.

No such luck. We wandered away to the King's Swing, ye old snow cone stand (or apparently ye olde bee-stingery) and then on towards the exits. The whole thing was so bizarre- this incredible opportunity- an awe inspiring moment- to be so close to such an enormous and incredible animal. And then this sadness that the only reason I'm so close is because this animal has such a terrible life. Sometimes people can just be so disappointing, you know?

Anyway, Wren had a blast.

Sketchy Arm, etc.

I thought you all might like a rundown of a half day's worth of links from Chase. If you talk to Chase on the computer, you know his eerie skill with finding strange things. This covers one conversation, from around 9 am to noon.

First some youtube:
Grab the Hand may be my favorite, but there's also another effort closer to my heart, as it deals with librarianship.

And of course Chase's long love of Bjork, predating even the swan outfit, was represented this morning. It's true Bjork, we shouldn't let poets lie to us. (I guarantee you Chase will give me crap for not putting the umlaut on her name).

And another of Chase's great loves- dachsunds.

Thanks for sharing, HON. He prefaced that link with a quote: "This is a first. We've never had to put out an alert before on willy spread, chocolate-flavoured or otherwise."

That was followed by a sort of uplifting story, with a bizarre conversation in the comments.

And then the legendary John Stewart appearance on Crossfire. I couldn't remember if I'd seen it before. Thanks, helpful Chase. It turns out that I'm too big a wimp to actually watch it all the way through. I squirm with awkwardness and have to read a mommy blog for a few minutes before I hit play again.

Then we had a discussion about what kind of person designs their house to look like an enormous um... ladypart. "Please, step through the speculum-- I mean front door."

And that's it, because now it's time to pick Wren up from school, which means the morning of leisurely chat is over. I will add a few last links of my own though, before I head out:

A lovely and sad post up at Sweet Juniper that reminded me of one of Chase's favorite books.

And some truly bizarre and awesome cards/art supplies that I may be putting on Wren's Christmas list. She is all about drawing faces these days.

Ramona is Whining and I Have No Idea Why

I want to share some things I am really liking this fall:

I've loved Moop for a long time, and their addition of another bag to the mix is not going to help me come to a conclusion in my years-in-the-making decision between the market bag and the fraulein bag. But the new one is pretty.

Nikoart- A little stamp shop. I bought the Red Riding Hood set for a friend and it came wrapped in prettiest little blue box with a rainbow ribbon. Craftpudding also has an amazingly cute selection, if you are into stamping, which I am really not, but they are still adorable.

The little blue elf hat I made for Jane turned out so embarrassingly badly that I'm not even going to show a picture. I did a craft book swap many months ago, and I think it's time to ask for my Amy Karol book back because I think there was an actual pattern in there. Hurray for embracing patterns.

And finding non-bank-breaking, non-poisonous, and non-breaking in general alternatives to all our plastic Ikea dishes and cups got easier when Chase remembered that Ten Thousand Villages sometimes has dishes. So now we need to find cups and we'll be set.

Also, I have a coat that I'm happy with. I found it last February at Goodwill, and so really it's only been through half a winter, and it still counts as a new coat. But, but... have you seen this? And this? I am banning myself from the store. Because anything on that page is a big chunk out of the grocery budget, or in some cases the ENTIRE grocery budget. But still. They are lovely.

I am also hoping to make an Advent Calendar for Wren this year- I think she's old enough to have a great time with it, and I'm trying to decide between a candy one, or an ornament one. There are some really great, (and really intense) ideas out there.

If you want, I'd love to hear what you are enjoying this fall...

Homework Break

I have a little breathing space this week, but lately my end-of-semester homework for the MLS has been a bit overwhelming. Chase and I are still having all our hippie commune discussions (this morning Chase asks "How hard do you think it would be to mill your own wood? I mean we'd need to clear the land anyway...") I used that resurgent interest as a jumping off point for my research assignment, and if anyone needs a pretty comprehensive bibliography (including annotations) for resources on sustainable building practices, I am your girl.

By the way, in true hippie fashion, I responded to Chase's question by saying it would be better if we could salvage some milled wood, rather than using resources to make our own. So there.

This is Jane at the Texas Renaissance Festival last weekend. I was taking her picture while Chase and Wren were both trying not to throw up on the weirdly violent version of the teacups. I think it's called "ye olde spinning tankards of mead." That was the first and last ride we rode all day, even though there were other cool ones- giant swings, and llama rides and so on. Wren just wanted to look at all the people in costumes and find out where she could get a princess hat. Chase and I kept wishing we had brought some other friends along. It was a bit isolating, being the only people in a three mile radius who did not want to make wax hands, or respond to vendors in an "English" accent. The turkey legs, though, were worth everything. Truly outstanding.

And there's Wren moping by the bathrooms. I think because I filled up her water bottle before I knew she wanted to do it herself. That was the sign it was time to head home. Not before shooting 10-20 pictures of Mopefest '08 though. We got quite a few disapproving looks for openly mocking her drama queen antics. I'll have to tell you sometime how it feels to have your parenting criticized by adults in hose, velvet doublets, and chain mail, carrying pythons, and pulling their wizarded-out offspring behind them on a wagon.

I'll just go ahead and tell you now- it feels AWESOME.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quilt on Hold

The girls reading together sweetly, next to Wren's new old quilt. Grandma heard about Wren's bigger bed and offered this incredibly beautiful wedding chain quilt. I would take a better picture but so far it's always in use. Wren has loved looking at all the different blocks and picking out her favorites. I am dreading having to wash it- any tips on washing imminent bed wetting out of delicate antique quilts? It's a glamorous life I lead.

Since I'm not slip-shodding my way through a fast quilt for Wren, I got inspired by Rachel and made a batch of cute baby wipes. We usually just use washcloths and a spray bottle, but I cut up one of the gazillion flannel receiving blankets in the house (I swear they reproduce in the closets) and backed it with Ikea washcloths and ta-da! We are wiping baby asses in style! The Rodens are nothing if not chic.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Backpack Weekend

So much for my couch potato plans. We ended up spending most of Saturday on a picnic at some land Chase's family owns in Bastrop (and then driving around bustling downtown Bastrop looking for someone selling pumpkins. No luck- we'll go to the grocery store I guess).

It was piney and remote and we had all kinds of cobb house/straw bale house/Roden commune daydreams.

And Sunday, in a consumerism backlash, we decided to organize all our closets- which necessitated a trip to Ikea. We discovered THE BEST shortcut EVER, and Chase was spared the dreaded Ikea Fatigue Syndrome. We did forget the enormous and shitty picture frame we've been meaning to return for months. It broke as I was unwrapping it. THANKS SWEDES. It is still propped all wonky against our bedroom wall, waiting to crush a child. Anyway...

Yea for cinnamon rolls! And yea for getting our tiny-ish house in order, finally. We took mountains of computer cords and ugly clothes and all sorts of things to Goodwill. And now we can open all our closets without shame (for about a week anyway...)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Neti Pot Fail

Sinus Infection Win-

As diagnosed by my new doctor and his friendly tag-along med student this afternoon. Sinus infections are NOT FUN. Also they make you throw up. Who knew?

So no camping, obviously. I'm currently fighting back against the disgusting lingering antibiotic taste in my mouth with a bowl of ice cream. Take that sinuses! You're not the boss of me.

In other news, my dad is attending his 45th class reunion this weekend. Quote: "Well I paid the money so I might as well show up..." Indeed. I think he's looking forward to it, and I hope he has a nice time.

I will spend this weekend moaning weakly, with my head slightly elevated on the couch. I plan to knit when I'm feeling up to it, demand beverages from my helpers, watch an entire DVD of Gossip Girl episodes, and wean Jane. No antibiotics for baby. I've been putting it off for a while because it's so permanent, but she only nurses once a day now, and it's such a sweet quiet moment in the afternoon. Time to let that go, I guess. I suppose this also means I have to join a gym or something...?

Obviously after I feel better, oh and after I make Wren's quilt, and that other quilt, and do my homework. Okay maybe I'll just try to walk the dog more.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Desperate Times

So I've heard a lot about this thing, and due to a week of congestion and the threat of a cancelled camping trip this weekend if I still can't breathe through my nose, I'm going to give it a shot.

If I don't drown myself in the attempt, I will report back on how it works.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hat! And Contagion!

I wrapped up this hat last night on double pointed needles, staying up late listening to This American Life. It was the one where the baby girls are switched at birth- so bizarre. The hat is not quite that muddy green, more olive- difficult to get a representative picture of that color. It's the free Soule Mama pattern, and it's going to be wrapped up and put away for someone until Christmas. I predict that I will forget it and scrounge around desperately for a present, only to discover it at the last minute and be happily relieved.

Chase fell asleep putting Wren to bed at 8:15 last night. He -finally- caught the hell virus that has laid the rest of our family low for weeks. He had a fever and chills after dinner, and then when I checked on him "helping" Wren brush her teeth, he was stretched out fully clothed in the empty bath tub, resting his face on the cool tiles. Poor poor Chase. I am sad to see him suffer. However, I would not be human if I weren't feeling just a tiny bit vindicated. A tiny bit.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Emergency Quilt

This weekend we (by we I mean Chase) lengthened Wren's bed a bit, since she's getting so tall. It's sort of an encouragement for her to spend more time in her nice big girl bed and less time in ours. Her bed is awesome, but it is not a standard size for sheets or blankets. We've been using her old crib blankets and her red baby quilt, but with the new big size, she needs a new big girl quilt.

She helped pick some fabric from the (massively diminished) stash, and I got to work on Sunday. I'm making a very informal coin quilt type thing, and I may call Rachel and get some advice on tying. I've always wanted to try that, and since this has to be fast project, my usual hand quilting probably isn't the best idea. Any advice?

Just So I Remember

Whenever this phase is over, I want to remember the time when every morning, at 6:00 AM on the dot, Jane screeched until Chase went and rescued her from her crib, and then she snuggled into bed with us.

She is very cuddly but not in a way that allows anyone else to relax. She is a demonstrative, full body, intense cuddler. And if you forget that, she will give you a bloody lip. Her favorite (read: only acceptable) position is straddling the chest of the person she wants to "cuddle" with and repeatedly, at odd intervals, slamming her body down into her cuddle resipient. She will usually aim for your neck, but its early, and her aim is frequently off. You can sometimes throw up your hands to catch her head as it comes crashing down, and try to redirect it, maybe off your clavicle, to a pillow or something, but Jane is not cool with this. She will screech her displeasure.

When her head hits the target, she will bring her arms up and wrap them around you, snuggle her hot blond head up under your chin, and go completely limp. You have about 4 seconds to snuggle, to appreciate her wonderful delicious babyness, to think, "we are so incredibly lucky to have this little lady in our lives," to sniff her head sweetly and think, "huh...maybe we should give her a bath today..."

After 3 or 4 or 5 seconds, she will wiggle and twist and swing her body back up, maybe smack you in the face a few times, screech like a bird of prey, and crash down again. This happens so many times every morning that Chase and I pretty much always have bruises on our collarbones. If you try to restrain her, or redirect her, or put her back to sleep, you will fail. The only thing that will break this cycle is a banana, cut up into little pieces, and a handful of cheerios.

I am her favorite right now, and so although Chase is the one who usually gets her out of bed in the morning, I am the main recipient of the "cuddles." It's funny because we've been here before with Wren, and although right now I would give one hundred million billion dollars for a morning free of crashing, face bruising baby heads, I know that someday soon she will stop wanting to snuggle with me so much in the mornings, and I will miss it.

And here, so as not to start a picture-less post trend, is a picture of the two constant blurs of motion in my house, "helping" me make piece a quilt top this weekend.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Everyday I tell Chase "I really think my cold peaked today. I think I'm getting better. So far I have been very wrong. I've been taking pictures but I think the sheer amount of snot in my body has cost me the ability to focus, because they're all pretty blurry. That's a picture of a little banner type thing I made for Wren a long time ago. It recently found a new home on our porch, next to my bright yellow lantana (my mom's favorite flower). It's not long enough to go around the whole porch, just one side. Those things are the easiest thing ever to whip up, and I've actually seen a tutorial for them using just various shapes and clear plastic thread that looked awesome. I'm thinking about making some of the felt scraps I'm always finding bunched up in my sewing basket into leaves, and sewing a little fall banner like that. Too Martha? HEY I LIKE FALL. Even this cold cannot change my mind. I'll make a banner if I want to.

If my pictures had come out, they would be of a really yummy peach and blueberry pie, a super successful attempt at tikka masala (which I could actually taste! hurrah!) and a little elf hat I'm working on for Jane. It's blue to match her eyes (Awwwww). This is the recipe we used for the masala, but if you do it, follow the advice in the comments and take out almost all the salt.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nevermind John I didn't mean it

And now you're playing okay stuff, it's like my scorn worked as a tonic for good music. Anyway, I wouldn't want you to get your feelings hurt during what I suspect is your habitual daily self-googling, so here are some pictures of cute kids to help you feel better.

All is forgiven?

Shut Up, John Aielli, For Real.

I have a love/hate relationship with KUT's Garrison Keillor wannabe morning DJ. No I don't want to visit your blog. Please stop talking. Argh. Moving on...

Yes that is a finished quilt those ladies are playing under. Hurrah! It has been washed and dried and is momentarily dog hair free- so I'll need to get it in the mail in the next 20 seconds.

Here's the back, with some posing help from Wren. I'm really happy with it, obviously. I'm sorry, I promise I'll stop talking about it now.

We had a dinner party last night. It was a super stressful day, up to the last minute- dirty house, dirty fussy children, last second recipe change, overlong meeting at work... but then the actual dinner was so nice and relaxing. I didn't want to be considerably more weird than I already am by taking pictures of the delicious frittata that Chase and Wren made, but it was lovely. As was the berry crisp thing with a topping from this recipe cheat sheet. When Chase and I were washing dishes together afterwards, and watching the Daily Show on the laptop, we both said we'd thought about canceling, and were really glad we hadn't. Hurray for making new friends!