Monday, August 23, 2010

Birthday Girl

Jane's birthday party is this weekend, and she is really looking forward to it.

That might be an understatement.

One of my favorite birthday traditions with the kids is our much more low-key fancy family birthday dinner. Today is Jane's actual birthday, and so we had fancy dinner tonight.

It's just us, and we eat the birthday girl's favorite dinner on our very best china. We light candles, and, in a tradition we stole from the Metcalfs, we all say something we really love about the birthday girl. I know that sounds cheesy, but I think it should be required for birthdays. I LOVE it. I love telling people the things I really do like about them, but otherwise might not think to say, and I love hearing it of course. I love that our girls will think this is normal birthday behavior.

Anyway, this year Jane's favorite meal is macaroni and cheese with broccoli and fish sticks.


Last year she asked for beans and rice...she keeps us guessing.

She asked for chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and other than forgetting the salt, I think it went pretty well. Strangely, kids don't really complain about missing salt in their chocolate cake.

The birthday girl also got to open one gift, and specifically in this case that gift was a weird robotic duckling that Chase bought at Target about 20 minutes previously, and wrapped in a leftover moving box and some duct tape. Hurray for planning ahead!

The girls both loved it. Insanely loved it. It jerkily flaps its wings, emits creepy "quack" like sounds, and overall is just about the definition of inevitable toy recall.

It is currently nesting in Jane's bed, where Wren is also sleeping for the night, so she can help take care of it. It needs to be bottle fed, you know, like all baby ducks do.

And Chase and I have to go do the dishes, since FANCY dishes can't go in the dishwasher.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How much is in a peck, again?

So pickles...

It's possible I've gone slightly pickle crazy. First I read this and then I read this, and then I found some pickling cucumbers and our house hasn't really smelled the same since.

I have eaten a dill pickle and sharp cheddar cheese sandwich nearly every day of this pregnancy. Early on, that (or a cheeseburger) were frequently the only things I could even think of eating without throwing up. Now, I can get by okay on a steady diet of peaches, plums, watermelon, snickers and cinnamon toast- but I still like my favorite sandwich at least every few days. I prefer it toasted, on my homemade bread, if I can get it. And on HEB bread with lots of mayo if I can't.

Yeah I'll pause here so all you non-pregnant people can gag quietly to yourselves. The pregnant women are either thinking "Yum" or "It could be worse. I craved red Georgia clay, dryer lint and yak butter tea."

Moving on. Pickles. I love them.

Look at all that dill! And that pepper! I don't think I'll be able to bring myself to actually can them, in case the water bath takes away some of the crispness.

Which is fine because preserving food is really only necessary for foods that have a slight chance of going bad, and these poor pickles are not long for this world.

Here's the bread and butter pickles in process, before I gave them their little ice bath. These are more for my dad than for me. Every party growing up at my grandparents' house had the mandatory tray of black olives and bread and butter pickles. I remember putting the olives on my fingers and walking around pretending I had shut my hand in a door...probably not actually as hilarious as I thought at the time, but ANYWAY- my dad loves bread and butter pickles, and I love my dad, and he is (possibly?) coming to town to visit us for Janey's birthday in a week or two!

I gave my mom the results of our less than stellar salsa making experiment, so I'm going to give my dad some pickles.

Sidenote: the salsa was not stellar from my perspective, because it ended up tasting exactly like Pace Picante Sauce... but it was absolutely great from my mom's perspective. Since it tastes exactly like Pace Picante Sauce. So there you go. Different strokes, or whatever.

Aren't the bread and butters adorable? Posing there next to bruised bananas and an empty cookie jar? I think it's a good illustration of how my priorities become skewed as I enter the home stretch of this pregnancy. Two months, and many many pickles to go.

Another sidenote: I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to our new housemate Molly, for the pervasive and constant pickle odor in our shared living space. I'm just waiting for the dills to get -slightly- dillier before I jar them.

I wish I could say that this is temporary insanity, and in fact the smelly pickle part probably is very temporary. But I don't want to lead her to expect a general level of normalcy that my family is not capable of providing. This morning Molly woke to Ramona panting longingly and loudly two inches from her door, and walked into a bathroom that was mysteriously scattered with various tiny ponies. I see no point in raising unrealistic expectations.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What I'm working on

besides not going crazy in these last few weeks of summer with the kids at home...

- Firstly, I'm working on blogging in LIST form, because my brain is mush at the end of the day.

- Secondly, I'm working on potty training Jane. Oh wait what? Still? Wasn't that um... more than a YEAR AGO that I proclaimed success? Yeah not so much. August 2010 me looks back pityingly on smug July 2009 me. Although August 2010 me is also wondering what that damp spot on the rug is...

- I'm also working on not taking it personally when people tell me how young/easily their kids potty trained. This goes double if the people talking are related to me, or actually talking ABOUT me as a baby. THANKS MOM.

- Another related item... I'm working on not stressing out about it, because Jane has to be potty trained before school starts in oh my God TWO WEEKS and there are just not enough gummi bears in the world to bribe that child. She is so stubborn. At least I know who will be standing up to peer pressure in those DARE classes in middle school. Oh yeah, she's gonna get a shirt. I mean, assuming she's not home schooled because she won't stop shitting in her pants.

- MOVING ON. I'm working on a quilt...

This one, specifically. Inspired by all the bunting I saw at the Renegade Craft Fair in LA, and by a quilt tutorial I saw that I cannot currently find the link for but I'm trying. I'll post it in the comments if I can turn it up.

Anyway, I love bunting, I don't care how trendy it is. And as evidenced by Wren's duvet cover, I love rainbows too, and we had all the scrap fabric left over from that, so I may end up making a few more of these. I bound this in a light yellow, but after looking at it for a bit I decided the yellow was wrong. I took it off and I'm going to bind it again in the navy blue I think... Or red?

- I'm (accidentally) working on things that look like faces.

This is a diaper cover. A weirdly anthropomorphic diaper cover. The pattern didn't mention that it was going to look like a little face. A face that is destined to go on my tiny baby's bottom, but whatever. Only the best for you, fetus! The pattern was a free download from somewhere, I can't remember. It was fine. Oh I am just not in blogging mode right now- sorry. GET OFF MY BACK GUYS. It's like a million degrees outside and I am really pregnant and did I mention that Jane still pees on the floor?

She does.

I'm working on other stuff but this is super long already. Maybe I'll break this into a couple of posts. I kind of lost my motivation because Chase just called and asked what kind of blizzard I wanted and now I'm just sort of staring off, in a haze, dreaming about the blizzard that will soon be mine. Also we're about to watch the VERY LAST EPISODE of the Wire. I better get some closure on this. That's all I'm saying.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

trip miscellany

Here are a few moments from our L.A. trip that didn't really seem to fit in another post.

The girls first (at least the first that they remember) In and Out burgers. Of the many things I miss about Southern California, In and Out is definitely up there. I somehow resisted the Double Double Animal Style, but the girls both quickly devoured theirs.

My trip knitting was a pair of very colorful leggings, that will hopefully fit a couple of tiny baby legs in a few months. I am always so drawn to earthy fall and autumn colors when I'm yarn shopping- it was fun to pick something super bright and colorful for a change.

This park in South Pas was one of my favorite places to go with baby Wren when we lived in Highland Park. The play area is completely shaded by giant sycamore trees, and there are so many fun play structures for all different ages- plus a giant sandbox with a permanent batch of communal toys. It was great to be back there with both girls. Wren immediately make friends, of course, and then made us really proud by insisting to her new older friends that Jane not be left behind in their game.

And here we are at LAX- the sight of many a miserable stand by experience when we lived in L.A. It was pretty great to be flying with tickets, and miraculously the girls kept each other relatively entertained during our wait times.

Unfortunately, the flight we boarded after this picture was also the flight we left poor Janey's special baby blanket on. I checked at Target, and of course they don't make that blanket anymore. It was the first thing I ever bought for Jane, blue of course, because the first ultrasound said we'd be having a boy. I think I'm more sad about losing it than she is, but I wish US Airways could find it. Apparently, they're not super great about finding lost items.

Oh well. Probably still better than flying stand by. And overall we had a GREAT trip. Thanks to our hosts and our wonderful friends. We miss you guys. Come visit us!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I found half a quart of chalkboard paint when I was cleaning out the pantry of our old house. I also find lots of other things that I will never ever talk about or think of again...

But chalkboard paint! Hurray!

I slapped several coats on the top of this gross old kid's table that had been living outside for the last two years.

In the table's defense, it's actually pretty nice. It's just been abused.

Anyway, now it's enjoying new life as the art table! It's right next to the kitchen table, and so far this arrangement is working pretty well. Better than keeping the paints up high in the kids' room. At least since Jane learned to build a ladder a few months ago and we ended up with a purple floor.

Now I can keep an eye on paint, staple, glue and glitter access, and in a few weeks when school starts, Wren will have a pretty central spot to sit down and do all her super intense kindergarten homework.

I have a feeling she's going to have some help. And I also have a feeling the scissors are going to have to move.