Wednesday, August 31, 2011


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Two months
Three months
Six months
Ten months
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Twelve months

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Stats

  • Moved 390 miles and 6 hours north
  • Rented 1 very large U-haul in April and paid Emily to rent one very small U-haul in August (and then she sweetly drove the remainder of our crap 390 miles up to us)
  • Multiple nights in the hotel - and multiple cable channel options to choose from
  • 2 weeks living with my parents
  • Moved into 2 houses and out of one house in 2 months - finally feel at home
  • First last day of 6th grade at the end of April in Kansas City; second last day of 6th grade at the end of May in Spirit Lake 
  • 1 laptop issued to one very excited 11 year old - 1 laptop returned at the end of the school year - 1 laptop reissued again last week
  • 133.2 miles walked/biked with the baby in tow
  • 25 lbs lost
  • One big first birthday celebrated
  • 3 library cards issued
  • 8,752 pages read (between Abby and me, not counting the books we read and re-read to Finn on a daily basis).
  • Sent letters and boxes 6,768 miles to Daniel in Kuwait
  • 3 trips to Minnesota to visit my mom and dad (which is probably 3 more times than we would have been able to visit if we still lived in Missouri.).
  • 1 visit from each of my siblings on 3 separate occassions (except Daniel, but Ady visited, so maybe she counts for him?)
  • 2 of Uriah's sisters and his parents visited for one very extended weekend
  • 1 part-time job and 1 new daycare
  • I have loved (almost) every minute of the 177,120 crazy minutes that we've been in Iowa!.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hello, 7th grade...I will miss your uniforms.

Oh, sweet Lord, this day could not have come soon enough!

I seriously feel like this has been The Longest Summer of my entire life.  I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Abby's break technically started at the end of April, when we moved, and was only broken up by a 2 week period where she finished up the school year here in Iowa.  And now here we are...staring 7th grade square in the face - this is going to be a year of volleyball and band; of Spanish and Literature - and looking mighty stylish while she does it (even if she does have to smuggle her mascara to school and frantically put it on in the girl's room...don't think I don't know that's what she's doing!).

I think I'll go inside and wash my pop-tart down with a celebratory gin and tonic.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Spicy Thai Noodles

If I miss one thing about Kansas City, it would be the easily accessible good food - and good food options - that a big city has to offer.  Uriah and I went out to dinner a couple of nights ago, and while we both had good meals - he had duck and I had lamb, and they were both amazing - we found ourselves listing the places to eat in Kansas City that we missed.  We also talked about the places that we didn't get a chance to try when we lived there.  And, subsequently, we found ourselves making a list of the places we'd like to go back to when we visit.  At the top of the list for me will be Thai Place in Westport.  I have had such a craving for their King & Anne chicken - and it's a recipe that I'm not even sure where to begin to try to replicate.

In the meantime, I'm going to make Spicy Thai noodles.  Authentic Thai food?  Probably not.  But they taste delicious and until I can get back to Kansas City and my beloved Thai Place, this will have to do.

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger*
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 12 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat.  Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute.  Transfer to large bowl.  Add next 6 ingredients; whisk to blend.  Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally.  Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.  Drain thoroughly and transfer to bowl with sauce.  Add sliced green onions and toss to coat noodles.  Let stand at room temperature until noodles have absorbed dressing, tossing occasionally, about 1 hour.  Stir in peanuts and basil; toss again.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve at room temperature.

* Sometimes I add a little more.  I love fresh ginger.
**Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2007.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I love to name things.  It is a not-so-secret obsession that I have.  I named the leather chair in our living room Larry the Leather Chair (and that is how he is referred to...or sometimes just Larry for short.).  I've named all of our plants...there are The Roberts (because they were were originally two rubber trees that I combined into one one pot, hence the plural), there's Eduardo (it was fun to say at the time), and there's The Wine Bottle Plant (because I rooted it in a wine bottle, obviously.).  Once we had a lime tree that we called Lorenzo Limeas (like Lorenzo Lamas - get it?  Uriah and I laughed when we thought of it, but we don't really talk about the lime tree; he lost his will to live one January day in the darkest part of winter.  Uriah still hasn't gotten over it.).  The funny thing is, if I ask Abby to water, for example, The Roberts, she knows exactly which plant I'm talking about.

Names for inanimate objects just come to me (it's like a gift from God or something).  But when it came to naming Finneaus, we probably changed our minds 37 thousand times, we bickered about it and laughed about it and vetoed each other's choices constantly.  It was the hot button topic of conversation for 9 solid months.  Last week, when I was sorting through our boxes of books downstairs, I came across the baby naming book and stuffed inside of it was the list of names we'd picked out.  My handwriting was wiggly because we'd been taking a road trip and our list is on the back of an old envelope - with doodles and names scratched out.  It was the beginning of June;  I'm sure we felt it was crunch time because at every doctor's appointment I went to, they kept telling us how big the baby was measuring.  We needed to, at the very least, narrow down our list of boy names.  A girl name was never an issue, we'd decided on that long ago, and Uriah was only half interested in coming up with a suitable boy name because he was certain we were having a girl.  A boy name, to him, was a waste of time.  I, on the other hand, knew we were having a boy - call it mother's intuition, but I always referred to the baby as a "he" - so I knew we needed a boy name picked out.  Finneaus didn't even make it onto the short list of boy names, because Uriah wasn't that keen on it at the time.  But when we finally had him in our arms, he didn't really look like any of the names on our list.  Now that he's a little bit older, it's sort of funny to look at Finneaus and try on other names from our list, just to see what it would feel like if we'd named him something else.  Maybe it's because we only know him as Finn, or maybe it's because we're just used to it now, but none of the other names fit him as well.     

Finn's new buddy, by comparison, was easy to name.  We call him Nigel - for no other reason than that's the name that came to me when the three of us (Finn, Nigel, and I) were playing.  Nigel reads bedtime stories with us.  He rides in the bike trailer on our bike rides, sometimes he gets punted off of the hearth and he's been pitched over the side of the wagon numerous times.  Once I even caught Finn stirring up Nigel in the big stock pot.  Nigel's ears have been chewed on, his tail has been stuck in the dirt and Finn has tried to stick his finger in Nigel's tiny plastic nose more times than I can count.

We sure do love us some Nigel.  His fur is soft, his body is squishy and best of all, he's just the right size to fit in the back of Finn's trike.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This is for Sars...

  • She tells me I'm lame. 
  • She says I talk too much.  And that I need to paint my fingernails.  And that I shouldn't eat carbs.
  • She tells me she only reads my blog for the pictures.
  • She's probably already scrolled through my lame writing to get to the pictures, which is why I can tell you what a truly lucky girl I am to have her for my sister.
  • She snuggles with Finn and fights with Abby.
  • I'm actually glad about the fighting with Abby part - she's getting a taste of what Emily and I went through with her as a little sister for years!
  • When I go on a walk with her I get a major work-out and a cramp in my butt and thighs that last for days.  She barely breaks a sweat.
  • She still lives in the basement - in the same room that I lived in after college when I moved home.  Only under her care it is much messier.  Seriously - Finn's not allowed to crawl on the floor because he might get lost in the piles of clothes and we'd never find him.
  • I don't think she'll stay as long as me.  But if she's anything like me, she'll secretly wish she can go back to those days...
  • She's such a good nurse.  She is so kind and so caring and she knows just what to say to take the edge off of tense situations.
  • I think you need to have balls of steel and an iron stomach to work in the ER.  She doesn't have balls of steel - she's a girl, obviously.  What she does have is a wicked sense of humor, steady hands, a sharp eye, and a big heart.
  • I want only good things for her.  And to drive her car.  But mostly the first part about the good things.
  • She takes a lot of crap being the baby of the family.  I think sometimes she feels like she's trying to catch up to the rest of us.
  • Truth is, I think we're usually trying to catch up to her.
  • And, in case you actually read all of this, Sars, here are your pictures.  I miss you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

You Capture: Ordinary Moments

This has been a ordinary moments, the ones that I love like coloring and story time and bike rides and afternoon snack of animal crackers...have taken on a whole new meaning.  

If you want to see some more Ordinary Moments, head on over here.

Next week's challenge: Peace

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I will always come back for you.

Finn has been to daycare every day so far this week.

I started a part-time job on Monday; I'm only going to be working 2 or 3 days a week.  And, realistically, if I work on Thursdays, which is usually Uriah's day off, that means that Finn will only be at daycare 1 or 2 days a week.  Don't misunderstand, I love staying home with my boy, and for the most part, I will still get the majority of his time during the week.  I will still be the one who gets him up in the morning and I will still be there every night when he goes to sleep (those were the rules for me to be able to take a job - I needed to be there for those important times of the day.).  I feel, though, that Finn needs some interaction with other kids his age, and I know that I need some interaction with adults (I sing Elmo's World, I have a hankering for apple juice and sometimes, I get crabby if I don't get a nap in the afternoon.).  However, he's got some major separation anxiety going on and it has given me my own anxiety leaving him in the morning.

On Monday, I put him down to play with some toys - and a very curious little girl crawled up and wanted to play with the handsome new boy - and when he wasn't looking (and before I could loose my nerve), I sneaked out the door.  But I heard him cry before the door closed completely and I had to force myself to take a deep breath and walk away.  And then I proceeded to count down the hours while we were apart.  He didn't look like he quite believed what he was seeing when I walked in to pick him up that evening, but he had a death grip on my neck as we walked out to the car.

I took him on a bike ride when we got home...dinner could, and would, wait.  We biked until I couldn't think, until the only thing I could concentrate on was pedaling and moving forward and the only thing I could hear was the sweet little chatter behind me.

And when I tucked him in that first night, so tired from a big day of making new friends that he barely made it through bed time stories, I reminded him that no matter what, I will always come back for him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nanny's Spiced Oat Drops

Uriah has been homesick.  I can just tell...and really, having lived far, far away from my own Mama for as many years as I have, I know the signs.  In an effort to give him a little bit of home over the weekend, I made his Nanny's Spiced Oat Drops and the sugary-est Sweet Tea ever (Nanny makes hers so sweet it'll make your teeth hurt. Allegedly.).

I don't drink sweet tea, it makes me want to curl up and die, but Uriah talks longingly about Nanny's sweet tea, so I brewed some tea and added the normal amount of sugar (I've gotten him down to a scant 1/3 cup of sugar in his pitcher, which is still a lot of sugar.), and then I added a little more sugar, for good measure.  And then, because maybe it wasn't at the Nanny level of sweet enough, I went ahead and made some simple syrup (if you'll recall, simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water - I did 1/2 cup ratio) and then I added all of that to the tea, stirred it up, shoved it into the refrigerator and waited patiently for Uriah to come home and see what a Missouri-baking-sweet-tea-making-goddess I turned out to be.

Apparently I went overboard with the sweet tea.  Uriah went into a sugar shock, actually, but apparently the cookies were just like he remembered.  Except that they were not the same size as Nanny would make (hers were smaller than mine) and they lacked that essential thing that I won't be able to give cookies for a long, long, long time...grandmotherly love.  But other than, you know, killing him with sugar and making mediocre cookies, I think I was successful in giving Uriah a little bit of Missouri in Iowa.

And, for the record, Finn double-fisted the cookies, so obviously he thinks that the love I added was sufficient.  And, if I aged the photo above just a little bit, you'd be looking at the spitting image of Uriah at one year old, blond hair, curls and all.

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking power
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 ½ cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 cups chocolate chips*
  • 1 cup nuts - chopped
Cream together the shortening and the sugar; add the beaten eggs.  Add all of the dry ingredients and mix.  Add the milk and mix.  Add the nuts and chocolate chips and mix.  Drop by small spoonful on greased or parchment –lined baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool 1-2 minutes on the pan, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an air-tight container.

*Can substitute raisins.
**Edited to add chocolate chips into the recipe...somehow I deleted the most important part!

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's not easy...

It is not easy, this being a mom.  Why did nobody tell me?  In all fairness, I'm sure someone told me that it is hard damn work - the hardest out there.  And I'm just as sure that I didn't listen.  I stuck my fingers in my ears and hummed the Brady Bunch theme with my tongue sticking out because I can do anything I set my mind to.  Nothing is too hard for this girl.  And I wanted this so badly.  I've wanted this for so long, to be a member of The Club.  And here I am, in a world inundated with infertility and IVF and last resorts and retirements spent...all in the name of Mama...and I have it and it was just. that. easy.  And so I tell myself that I shouldn't complain about it.

But it's not easy being a mom.  It takes a plethora of patience and sacrifice.  It requires getting up early and staying up late.  It steals time and saps energy.  It requires an abundance of hugs and kisses and hand clapping and occasionally some gagging.  It means that you get peed on and pooped on and puked on, on a semi-regular basis.  It means that you sometimes have to change your shirt...three one one day.

It's not easy being a mom.  But being a step-mom?  I know that nobody told me that this would be a lot of work because, really, when you love someone - when you're in love, you're quite certain that you can accomplish anything.  And the world looks pretty good through rose-colored glasses.  How hard can it be, you ask yourself, this raising of someone else's child?  No potty training, no late-night feedings, she could entertain herself, get her own cereal in the morning and she knew how to make her own bed.  If I'd had to venture a guess, I would have said: "Score!"  Well, let me tell you how hard it can be.  It feels like being in a teeny tiny boat in the sea and the only thing visible for miles and miles are the angry white caps; the beautiful green of the water, the deep turquoise blue that you know is out there, is hidden under the waves.  And don't even think about taking a moment to smell the salt on the air or laugh at the seagulls circling overhead; you're too busy holding on for dear life and praying, praying, that the waters are calm enough up ahead to cinch your life vest a little bit tighter.

It's not easy being a mom, but I can look at my son and I see my eyes in his; I see his dad when he smiles. I see that together we did something pretty dang awesome and even when he's inconsolable because his teeth hurt; even when his feet are in my face at 5 in the morning because he just can't get comfortable - not in his bed and certainly not in mine - I know that I'm molding and shaping this person.  That I get to start him out in life with the knowledge of the things that I think are important: treating others as you want to be treated, saying please and thank you, brushing your teeth twice a day, asking to be excused from the table after dinner, cleaning up toys when you're done playing with them, saying your bedtime prayer, being thankful.  I know that he looks to me for guidance and reassurance and I can give that to him; I don't have to explain myself or justify my actions.  He believes me and he believes in me.  And even on the worst days - and we do have them, the worst of the worst - I love being his mom.  There is nowhere I'd rather be than right beside him.

It's not easy being a step-mom.  Some days - most days - I feel like I am failing.  I look at her, and if I squinch my eyes real tight and tilt my head to the side, I can just make out some of her dad in her.  But mostly she is the spitting image of her mom.  Every day, I feel like I am trying to teach an old dog new tricks - and this is not a new situation; these are not new rules.  We've been doing this dance for 3 years but suddenly it's as though I'm asking the mailman to perform open heart surgery.  I feel like the time to mold her and shape her is long gone, packed away with the Barbies and the Pollys.  I feel like she's got her habits - most I can live with, but the bad ones, oh the bad habits I can't change and she refuses to try.  I feel like my connection to this girl, a connection that comes so easily with my son, is missing. I don't know how to get it back, and some days I wonder if it was ever even there to begin with.

It's as if I have short-circuited my life and I am lost.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sidewalk Chalk

Spirit Lake has a Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival every summer.  Next summer Abby has decided that she is going to sign up, but for this summer, at least, we just enjoyed some of the beautiful sidewalk art as we walked around downtown last week during the Farmer's Market.

The Mad Trio was Uriah's favorite.  Not surprising...he probably secretly refers to Abby, Finn and me as his own Mad Trio.

Abby likes anything that has a quote on it.  This one said: "Sitting, admiring a far away sun, who is as certain as the next dawn and wise as a rising moon."

This is my sidewalk chalk art, on my back patio.  I think I would have won first prize...for the art and the baby!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Finn's Birthday - Part Two

Once, a long, long time ago (or about a month ago), we hosted a lovely little first birthday party for our first son. It was a spectacular fete, filled with balloons and presents and cupcakes and family and...the crowning achievement...a Cookie Monster cake.

Let me tell you about this Cookie Monster cake.  Actually, I take that back, let me start by telling you about the thought process that went into this birthday party, and subsequently, the Cookie Monster Cake.  It started when Finn was about 6 months old - roughly one half a year into his life.  It occurred to me on a blustery January day that my sweet baby boy would be turning one year old in six months.  After a good cry - because you know, six months goes really, really fast in baby time (much like counting in dog years.), I logged onto the world wide internet and began researching what would be the most fun, most amazing first birthday party theme.  I tried to keep in mind that this was a party for a person who currently didn't know any words, was fascinated by blinking and would remember the party only from pictures later in life.  I consulted Uriah (only because he is the dad and I thought it might be nice to include him).  He wanted a robot theme - old-school, grey, boxy robots.  He wanted to make a robot cake and have robot decorations and he wanted to send out invitations in the shape of, you guessed it, robots.

For awhile I was on board.  I had visions of grey and orange balloons and I found some vintage robots online and some robot invitations on Etsy.  All systems were a go for a Robot First Birthday.  But somewhere between moving and having a semi-mobile baby and playing with him every single day, I realized that a robot-themed birthday party was probably a little too advanced for a one year old.  Plus, I threw my back out and I lost my will to even move to go to the bathroom for about a month, so I didn't have time to order the invites online and Uriah's family was coming in a two weeks.  If I wanted to get announcements in the mail, I needed to do it yesterday.  And so, mid-game, I changed the theme to Sesame Street.  Red, blue, green and yellow would be easy enough to handle, the dollar store had super cutie Sesame Street cups and plates, blue and white streamers were super on sale (leftovers from the Fourth of July) and I found the cutest picture of Sesame Street cakeballs online that I was totally going to make.

The cakeballs never happened.  In fact, I still have the rolled cake in my freezer (I think I will use them for Thanksgiving or maybe for my own birthday.).  Instead, in a small panic at realizing that I did not have the creative talent to pull off Big Bird cakeballs, I resorted to red, blue, green and yellow frosted cupcakes and one big Cookie Monster cupcake that I found a picture for online.  I made the cake part and then Uriah frosted it in manner befitting the Monster.


I need to point out, in case it isn't overly obvious, that in this relationship, I am the idea person and Uriah is the executor.  Except for the teeny, tiny little fact that I think that I can be the executor up to, and including, the last minute and then, when I realize that I cannot do it all,  I have to delegate.  It's hard for me to delegate.  Really hard.  But I'm glad I did, because Uriah made that cake look so much cuter than I ever could.  The eyes were not edible because the only thing I could come up with were marshmellows and a black sharpie (there are no craft stores or cake decorating stores of any kind here.  Surprise.).  And Finn didn't actually eat the Cookie Monster cupcake - I think he was a little bit intimidated by it - but he polished off a green cupcake and even licked some of the frosting off of his arms.

All things considered, it was a memorable first birthday and a memorable first birthday party - well, memorable for us, at least.  We'll just share the memories with him as he gets older.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Practice makes perfect.

Since I got my big girl camera last winter, I have been reading how-to books and practicing until my fingers cramp and my eyes hurt.  I read photography blogs and participate in a couple of challenges here and there to test my skills.  Usually I take pictures of my kids.  They're readily available and lack the ability to tell me to stop taking their picture - well, except Abby, who is getting to the "I don't want to have my picture taken today, thank you very much" stage, but I usually just ignore that and take her picture anyway.  Recently I started to take pictures of food.  For the most part it stays in one place and it doesn't roll its eyes.  Sometimes I take pictures of my extended family - one step removed from taking pictures of my kids and they tend to be a little more forgiving if, for example, it takes a girl a couple of months to get them a disk of the pictures from their kid's party because said girl was in the process of moving 500 miles away at the time and aforementioned pictures were on the computer that hasn't been hooked up yet.  

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, Uriah came home from work and asked me if I wanted to take some pictures at a birthday party.  As it turns out the daughter of one of his waitresses was turning 1 and they were having a big  birthday party with lots of extended family in town, so Uriah may or may not have volunteered my services.  I had a moment of panic.  I am, after all, not a professional.  I haven't taken any classes (although I've looked and hope to eventually); everything I know (and it is a pitifully small amount) is self taught, mostly by trial and error and lots of practice (see above).  But Uriah assured me that Caitlin and Josh both knew that I was basically going to be using them to practice and that they weren't going to expect Annie Leibovitz to show up at their party.

With that in mind, I arrived at Avery's first birthday party with sweaty palms and a lot of bravado.  It was soon apparent that being around Caitlin and Josh and their families was very easy and I calmed down immediately.  Both of their extended families were excited to have family pictures taken; like a lot of families, they aren't together very often and when they are, there is usually one person missing from the picture because that person is behind the camera.  What better time than celebrating a little person's first year?  I was happy to be able to help them out with some pictures.

Avery - oh, pretty little Avery - she was so darn cute with her pink bow and her pink sparkly shoes.  Once she got used to the crazy girl crawling on the floor with her and the camera in her face, she turned on the sweetest smiles.  I wanted to squeeze her little cheeks and invite her over for a play-date with Finneaus!

I took a ton of pictures, it's the amateur in me hoping that at least a couple would turn out all right.  And I think I surprised myself.  Although, I have to say, it's not hard to take a bad picture of such a sweet family.  I came home so excited because I had such a good time.  I will totally do that again!  I'm not perfect yet, so who's family wants me to practice on them next?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The shopping trip.

The task of going back-to-school shopping loomed heavy in front of us this week, but my Mom invited us home, or maybe I invited myself, either way, suddenly I was just...calm.  Well, maybe not totally clam, but more calm than when I thought about embarking on a huge shopping trip - the nearest mall is an hour and a half away - with just the two kids.  Uriah is working like a crazy person, so time off, when he has it, is best spent doing fun stuff together and I don't think back-to-school shopping with an 11 year old and a 1 year old qualifies as "fun."  It was much easier to drive 3 hours and have Mom and Sarah help me keep my sanity.

Abby was a good shopper, she didn't try on anything too inappropriate (although I did tell Uriah that sometimes she has the fashion style of a slutty 80 year old lady - lots of lace in inappropriate spots, some crochet and even a shapeless cowl neck sweater that was made for old ladies, but would reveal too much elderly cleavage.  It was rough going for a minute.).   Mostly it was so nice that we had more than just the Wals-mart to choose from for shopping options.  Sarah came along mostly to help lead Abby along a better, more age-appropriate fashion path (because we all know I'm partial to yoga pants and cardigan sweaters.  Hell, I bought shorts this summer for the first time since 1993.  Seriously.).  And it was nice that I had my mom to remind me that this is not forever - the eye-rolling, the heavy sighing - the whole-tween-attitude-package is not forever.  I repeat that to myself daily.

Abby wasn't too excited when I made her pose with the cardboard cut-out of Justin Bieber at the mall (there was lots of eye rolling and heavy sighing), but I think that was more for show.  It will be "so totally awesome" to have this glorious picture hanging on her locker door for her entire 7th grade year.  And if not, I'm having one made to hang on the refrigerator.

Countdown to the first day of school: 16 days!

Friday, August 12, 2011

You Capture: Happiness

My mom canned some fresh, summer peaches last week and I took advantage of the setting sun while we were home to capture a little bit of happiness.  I will be really happy to eat them this winter when the ground is packed with snow, when the temperatures are below zero and the wind is whistling a lonely tune that curls around the house and leaks in through the cracks.  In January, these peaches will remind us that summer isn't just a fleeting memory, and until it returns, we will be able to open up a jar of sunshine on a cold day.

A load of happiness can be found over here.  

Next week's challenge: Ordinary Moments

Sunday, August 7, 2011


We are getting a package ready to send to Daniel this week.  Finn thought it would be fun to sit in the box; I think we'd need a bigger box to send him overseas (and probably some air holes and maybe some goldfish crackers to tide him over.)!

Countdown to school starting: 22 days.

We are going school clothes shopping this week (I'm not sure if I'm up to this, so please pass the gin.).  We're going to my Mama's and she is going to come shopping with us - for moral support.  We've already gone through Abby's closet and gotten rid of the stuff that no longer fits (about 90% of what was in there; this growing taller thing is so lame.).   Based on that, Abby made a list of what she needs and a list of what she wants.  She knows that I have the final say in this new world we're venturing into - a world of 7th grade and "Why can't I wear make-up?" and after-school sports and no school uniforms (again, please pass the gin - if I were running for Miss Universe, A) I wouldn't be married and B) my platform would be school uniforms for everybody!.).  Abby went to a dance last night with some of her school friends and, upon threat of torture, would not tell me if she danced with a boy.  Then she went to an overnight slumber party and when she got home this morning, she looked beat.  If I had to venture a guess it's probably because they stayed up until 4 in the morning so that they could freeze someone's bra.      

Finn spent the week on the injured list.  He got a red wagon from Auntie Emmers and Uncle Jerad for his birthday, which was hand delivered last week when Emily came to visit and is so much fun to play in, to push around and to be pushed in.  Uriah and I took him on a walk to the park last week, where we got to discussing the bike trail map and completely forgot about the one-year old who was getting bored in the wagon.  Finn fell out; luckily his forehead broke his fall.  He had a bruise and some scratches and he only cried for a minute before he was ready to play again.  Uriah hyperventilated and spent the rest of the evening feeling like the world's worst dad, which I can understand since this was his first experience with a baby injury.  I am an old pro, so it didn't phase me - it was nothing a cold pack and some neosporin couldn't fix.  Finn has decided that he can kind of, sort of, maybe stand on his own without holding on to anything, but he hasn't taken any official steps yet.  He has, however, lost his balance and hit his chin on the faux-marble hearth that our non-working new fireplace has.  His chin was fine, but his top teeth bit his bottom lip and that was swollen for most of the week.  I kept asking him, "Whatchyou talkin' 'bout, Willis?" which was probably in poor taste on my part because now he thinks his name is Willis.

Anyway...the unpacking is going really well.  I've been sorting through a bunch of stuff in our basement to hopefully have a garage sale before the season ends and all of the tourists go away.  I can't decide if I should keep the baby stuff - thus jinxing us and ensuring we would have a girl baby (please, please, pretty please pass the largest bottle of gin you can find.), or if I should sell it all - thus ensuring that we would have a boy baby (and then would have to re-outfit said boy child with all new boy clothes.).  Or if I should feel good/content/blessed/lucky with the 2 kids I've got (in which case I can buy stock in Tanqueray instead of Huggies.).  In any case, there will be a bunch of furniture, books, and Polly Pockets in that garage sale!

Here's to a week of packages in the mail, easy shopping, and mental clarity.  Not necessarily in that order.  Oh, and gin.

Monday, August 1, 2011

This is life...

...and life can't always be a picnic.  Because then it's no longer a picnic.  It's lunch.

We are moved, somewhat, into our non-descript, probably built in 1980 not 1890, home. 

Don't get me wrong, it suits us okay.  We have a back yard again and doors that close tightly (This comes in super handy when you have a curious 1-year old, by the way.).  We have 3 large bedrooms and a large basement - and room to grow if we want to.  We are only 2 blocks from the park, instead of 8, an easy walk with the wagon.  Abby will only be a couple of blocks from school (which starts in 28 days!  Hooray!!).  I don't have to worry about Finn turning on the gas stove or Abby falling down the stairs (if only she would learn to pick up her feet)

But, character...that is lacking here.  No arched doorways or wood floors.  No claw-foot bathtub.  No large window that looks directly onto the bustle of the town.  No front porch sitting.  So we will infuse this house with our own character.  I am busy picking out some new pictures to have printed and to hang on the wall, the easiest way to add character to our space - and something that I didn't do in our other house because I knew - I just knew - that something wasn't quite right.  We ignored that feeling for as long as we could, but I guess sometimes it's best to listen to your gut after all.  Anyway, today my gut is saying: "New throw pillows!" so I'm going to sew some new pillows for the living room.  All of my plants are back from Kansas City, courtesy of my sister, and I have a container garden of herbs in my back yard that I transplanted from the first (second, technically?) house over the weekend.

And I am settling in - we are settling in - and looking forward to a little picnic soon.