Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wren's Present for Jane

This is about a month late, but I wanted to share the gift Wren gave Jane for her birthday.

When we started talking about what Wren might want to make Jane for her birthday, we tried to think about the things the girls love to do together, what games they like playing together the most. Any version of 'hide and seek' came out way on top, in Wren's opinion.

By my kids interpretation, hide and seek encompasses the hiding and subsequent seeking of pretty much anything. It could be each other, but it's just as often ponies, dinosaurs, my knitting needles, etc. It's really great that they love to play with each other, and it also means I can generally figure out -why- there's a lego house in the silverware drawer.

It doesn't mean I can find my knitting needles, but oh well.

Wren and I settled on an egg hunt game as a good present for Jane, and that meant we needed to find some eggs. My grandmother Alley has a little wire chicken in her house that is full of straw and a collection of the most beautiful marble eggs. They are a rainbow of colors, so cool and heavy to hold. I have so many sensory memories of those eggs- hiding them all over the house when we needed a rainy day game.

Somehow I don't really happen upon rainbowed marble eggs that often in my daily life, so that was pretty much out. Also, we have tile floors. But Wren and I did find some nice heavy wooden eggs in the craft store.

She went to town- stripes, polka dots, rainbows. The eggs are perfect. And when my mom was in town for the party she helped me put a coat of Mod Podge on top and we were done.

I got the chicken from an etsy shop that I now cannot find. That's what I get for waiting a month to document it. And when I finally went to take a picture of the finished product, most of the eggs we painted were, of course, hiding. But you get the idea.

Jane loved it, and they do in fact play with it all the time.

In other news, yes. I am still very pregnant. Thanks for asking.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Catalina Whine Mixer

We've been visiting whine country lately. Basically our whole family, me included, has been a whinefest.

And I don't want to name names (JANE JANE JANE) but one of us in particular (JANE) has been especially challenging. This is her first year with three mornings in school, and although she LOVES school, she is also very very tired by the time it's over. And fractious. And loud.

Obviously life is a bit overwhelming and confusing for her right now- new sibling any minute, new house, new school routine. She's seeing a lot less of Wren than she's used to, and when she does see her, Wren is tired too from spending a long day in Kindergarten.

So in the interests of not waddling off and leaving her at the circulation desk the next time she throws 'Good Dog Carl' across the library, let's remember some charming things about Janey.

She calls ambulances "Alien Trucks' for some completely mysterious reason.
She still calls clouds "Clowns" and talks worriedly about "Thunderclowns" when it looks rainy.
She LOVES her twinkle toes, and she LOVES her monkey boots. She really just loves shoes in general, although she will not keep them on her damn feet when we're out and about.
She is really afraid of 'piders' and anything that might potentially be a 'pider.' She's always on the lookout for them, and the face she makes when she tells you about a spider sighting is indescribably hilarious.
She is also still not a fan of heights. At all. And she's stubborn, of course, so no one can convince her to try something out once she's decided she won't like it. I respect that, and I'm also pretty glad that my little daredevil at least has ONE thing she won't do.

She is the most openly affectionate kid I've ever known. She regularly hugs strangers, usually taking them off guard by grabbing them around their legs and kissing them. When people she loves leave our house, we have to peel her off of them, while they dash for the door.
Out of nowhere she will grab your arm or hand and hug as tight as she can, and kiss whatever she can reach. She just loves so INTENSELY.
She does everything intensely, including talking, eating, singing, helping in the kitchen, and of course potty training.
Every single time she goes to the bathroom, she YELLS about the outcome. I'm sure our housemate appreciates the updates.
She eats raw dough of any kind whenever she can get it. She would rather eat bread dough off the counter than eat pizza later that night.
Although she will still eat the hell out of that pizza. Pizzas, like most other foods, are strictly 'top down' consumption for Jane. She starts at the top and works her way down, so with a pizza she eats cheese and toppings first, then she smears the sauce on her face, then she eats the crust.
It's sort of a cupcake approach to life.

She is a LOT of person for a little body sometimes. And she's a lot of three year old for 8 months pregnant me. This next month is going to be a challenging one, no matter what, but I know Jane will bring us so much joy (in addition to the crazy) and I am so grateful for it. And at least I can look forward to a nice vacation at the hospital in another few weeks.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Chores

I think this counts as nesting, right?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adventures in Home Canning

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love botulism.

So previously when we've done tomato sauce we've just frozen it. Mostly because I think my Ma Ingalls thriftiness would be slightly counterbalanced by keeping my family on respirators for six months, following paralysis.

But this time around our freezer is already totally stuffed, we can't afford a chest freezer, and I haven't even started trying to freeze dinners for next month's due date, much less ice cube trays of baby food. And of course we're going to need room for milk in there too.

If I just disgusted you, then I probably shouldn't mention that time we ran out of regular milk while I was making mac and cheese and I did a little swap...

Yeah Chase doesn't like to talk about that.

ANYWAY. If this picture doesn't fill you with terror, I don't know what's wrong with you. Do you see all those warnings on there? Pretty much all of them end with "IF YOU FAIL YOUR HOUSE WILL EXPLODE!!! JUST BUY TOMATO SAUCE FROM THE STORE YOU IDIOT."

And you can't even hear the awful hissing noises it was making.

Here's the first batch of sauce- I more or less used this roasted tomato sauce recipe from Catherine Newman, although my amounts weren't anywhere near exact, and we threw a bunch of basil in there too. $3.84 of tomatoes made 5 pints and 5 half pints, and so far none of them have exploded!

Those jars are waiting for lids, of course, and you can already see in that picture why at least two from that batch failed. I didn't leave enough headspace at the top of the jars. You'd think I might take time out of lovingly photographing crap in my kitchen to sort of just look at it, and see if I'm doing it wrong.

Oh well.

We made pizza for dinner last night, once we ran out of jars and still had tomato sauce. Honestly the sauce is pretty good. And even though I'm going to end up freezing some of it anyway, due to various canning fails, I'm still glad we mustered up the courage for an inaugural pressure canner run. Maybe the next time won't be quite as terrifying.

Anybody want to borrow it?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

silver lining

In the midst of what was a very difficult week for our family, there was a definite bright spot. We got to spend quite a few hours in a lovely city.

Lots of unbelievably delicious food, although not a lot of air conditioning. I can't wait to go back, under better circumstances.

Believe me, I am bringing a list of restaurants, as well as a game schedule for Tulane, the Saints, LSU, Ole Miss, and anybody else whose win or loss might conceivably make people MORE crazy on the streets. Maybe the trick is to go on a Tuesday?

Either way, I'll watch out for the sousaphone players. Those guys are crazy.

We are happy to be home, and crossing our fingers for a very uneventful few weeks.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

party time!

Good morning sunshine!

We don't have many pictures of the party- I never can remember to actually -take- pictures after charging the camera.

We mostly have before and after pictures. Here's Janey, still in her PJs. Chase had her new dollhouse, with the stain -just- dry, wrapped up in a big pink bow on the table when she woke up.

This was Jane's standard "present opening" face. It's pretty great. She also did a little dance. I think in this picture she's opening a My Little Pony from Nana.

The girls are eating some party food before the guests arrive. Jane is taking a break from her waffles to eat a lollipop, but we let that kind of thing slide on a birthday.

Wren was a pretty great sport about a "Jane gets all the attention and presents" day, and I was proud of her for being such a sweetheart. Even if you don't have the kind of personality that enjoys the spotlight, a little sister's birthday can be kind of a challenge.

Especially when you're little sister is given a pair of Twinkle Toes shoes. Which are either the ugliest most horrible or loveliest most wonderful things you have ever seen, depending entirely on whether or not you are a little girl. Thanks Aunt Anne! I will always be able to find Jane in the dark now. In fact I'm surprised we can talk her into taking them off to go to sleep at night.

Overall it was a pretty awesome birthday, and it took Jane about 8 hours to wind down from all the excitement. She really did not stop talking or making noise for about 3 hours straight. Just constant. I know parents say that kind of thing, but I am serious. No hyperbole. Just CONSTANT. My mom was here with us for the weekend and I think she was a little floored by it. I was forced to conclude she'd thought I'd been exaggerating about Jane's volume and energy level. Nope Nana, and when can you babysit again?

It was an auspicious start for another year with our precious wonderful amazing Jane. I am so incredibly grateful to have her in our lives- she is a constant surprise and joy, and I pray we will have the wisdom and patience and grace to be the parents she needs this year, as a big three year old!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of School

I'm only a week late with this post-

Happily for Wren, we were not actually late to school. Wren's bedtime prayer the night before school included asking God that she please not be late for class. Five seems kind of young for punctuality anxiety, but Wren is just a very particular child, I guess.

For the first week of school classes dismissed at 12, so really this next week will be our first experience with the full day of school, which includes separate dismissal times, an hour apart, for the girls. I guess Jane and I can go hang out in the library for a while.

Yeah she looks like she'll settle right down and quietly read a book for an hour, doesn't she?

The girls are both doing great so far. No accidents for Jane (Continence WIN!) and Wren only cried once. So overall a great start to Fall! Now for some actual Fall weather...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

walk in the woods

We went to Mayfield Park to explore early on Saturday morning. We were up with the watercolor painters and the wedding photographers, but we didn't stick around the ponds.

We headed for the woods.

Wren found a spot where the trail was bordered on one side with ferns and the other with cacti.

We crossed a few creeks.

Before finding one Wren wanted to build a dam in.

And Jane wanted to fish in. And of course take her skirt off in.

But we didn't leave without seeing the peacocks! You can hear them brawking even from far away in the woods, and when you're walking along, and just happen to glance up and see a tree full of them... ! It's a bit unnerving.