Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bye January

We put a tent in our playroom for the halibut. Oh if only I could zip the moments that make motherhood difficult deep inside it. This week has been exausting. It's been the wind or the impending full moon or something something something in the air. Anyone else having one of those weeks?

Yet, we just had a great getaway with friends to the coast. What weather! It felt GRAND to walk on the beach and feel a part of the waves and the fresh air and the sunset. The friends we went with are great. Our kids played together wonderfully. (Don't you love it when your kids play with friends and there's hardly a scuffle? Love that). We played pop culture Trivial Pursuit and drank Musket wine. We ate well and slept well and again, the fresh air and sand did us wonders. It does one good to get away. I guess it also can flub up your week afterwards, making it difficult to rediscover your groove.

February looms. With it will come hearts and attitude adjustments, mailing our miniswap, visits from in-laws and blooming crocus.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Another Celebration

This week we celebrated my husband's birthday with cupcakes and kids on the actual day and then yesterday I planned a little surprise "date" for just the two of us.

I hadn't ever planned a surprise for him before, so it was a little nervewracking, me being the person I am. First, I made arrangements for the kids to go over to our friends house for a few hours. This was a big step for me because I'm so bad about calling on friends for favors. The plan was for me to feed them dinner and then drop them off at 5:45 before I picked up my husband, which I had to do because we had one car, his was in the shop. The stressful part for me was that initially I didn't have a time planned to pick him up from work (it was more going to be him letting me know when he was ready and he had lots to get done so I was worried he might have to work later than normal) so I was not sure if my timing would work out. This was remedied by me pinning him down on a time that I would pick him up (6!!) to make sure it would work. If this all happened according to plan, we would then head to our dinner reservation at 6:30.

The one variable in the whole plan was that his car was in the shop and that there was a chance that it might be ready in time to be picked up before six. Sure enough, we were home from the grocery store unloading groceries at 5, kids snacking on goldfish crackers, when he called to say the car was ready and that he was ready to go get it. I had to call our friends and see if I could drop them off sooner, dinner included, since they hadn't been properly fed yet. I threw bagels, string cheese and dried mango into the diaper bag, figuring it was a good go-to meal. I dropped them off, and picked him up by 5:30, confident that we could still pick up his car and make the reservation.

When I picked him up at work he hopped in the car and said, "Hi family," without realizing that it was only me in the car. It felt so strange! I gave him a big grin and explained that we were heading out for sushi just the two of us. He loves sushi and there's a place that he'd never gone to that was recommended so I was excited for him to get to try it. He said, "Can we still get my car." I assured him that was our first mission, one which we accomplished after traffic that caused us to take 23 minutes to go two miles.

At one point during the day I let myself get really anxious about how it was all going to go. I didn't quite know how it would all play out with the car deal and dropping them off and picking him up. Now relaying the story it seems so silly that I was even worked up about it, but I was genuinely stressed trying to anticipate it all in advance. SHEESH TIA! RELAX.

During this little trip to Anxietyland, Jooge was watching Jay Jay the Jetplane (a new show she's seen just twice) and they were talking on the show about how you can't always control everything, sometimes you just have to let things happen and it'll work out. Yeah! Can ya believe it? PBS Kids comes through with just the right message when I needed it. I took a deep breath and figured that the worst thing that might happen would be that we might be late for our reservation, which could be fixed with a phone call. Of course we were early. And it went smoothly in every way, from us enjoying sushi and time together to the kids, who had a great time. No fights. No poopy diapers to change. Everyone was all smiles when I got there to pick them up.

Me? I was all smiles too. Sorry to be a big Mary Poppins on you but things do work out if you just relax and let them.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The New Adventures of Old Raggedy Ann

My mom made Julia a Raggedy Ann doll (pictured at left above) for Christmas this year. (Mom: FYI I trimmed the fro today, hope that's okay)! She did such a great job, even stitching "I Love Julia" on her chest. She also got us one of the old Johnny Gruelle books about Raggedy and her adventures. The stories are full of nice messages and uncommon language, which I really appreciate. They also keep Jooge's attention, something I didn't expect. I pulled out my old Raggedy and told her all about how special she was to me back when I was little and how she was probably 3o years old (or more)! (Upon closer inspection this would be terribly obvious)! After Julia saw me with mine she was even more interested in hers. I believe her actual words were: "You love yours, and I love mine." Though mine got to pose in this picture, she watches our world safely from a shelf. She wouldn't keep her legs long if Avery spent more than two minutes with her. It's funny to see her again, to study her smile and all the mending stitches running this way and that on her body. If dolls really did amuse themselves in the nursery at night, if Raggedy really could think and speak, I wonder what she would say about who I was then and who I am today.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snow Fun

So we've enjoyed the snow a lot around here. It's been pretty. It's been fun. And now that it's nearly melted, we're reeealllly ready for it to be gone. As in, BUH BYE snow. And DON'T COME BACK for awhile. For all our outdoor fun, the neighborly cheer, the snowman building, the trekking about to explore dressed in layer upon layer of warmth, (now THERE'S an aerobic activity: dressing two squirrels for the chilly temps!) mommy's been a bit stir crazy with Little Miss Preschooler home all week and no trips anywhere except for New Seasons with the kids wailing away in the Burley to buy daddy a cake mix and a new york steak because it was his birthday yesterday and mommy barely had ANY groceries in the house, not even butter or tortillas and how can we survive without that? Yeah. I sound a little nuts, I know. But today it finally got to me. And as soon as Avery is up from her nap we are OUT OF HERE to do things we haven't been able to do in weeks, glorious things like picking up Zyrtek prescritions and buying Turbo Tax and Chicken Apple Sausages at Costco. Never thought I'd miss that.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Time to Get Busy

My mom and I once recovered an old wingback chair that a neighbor was getting rid of for a great price. It was a satisfying project with an impressive outcome, considering the fact that neither of us have ever been officially taught how to upholster something. At the time I chose a Waverly fabric that soon afterwards corresponded with the Waverly patterns Target sold. (It was a rusty red tiny floral for the chair but Target sold the corresponding larger floral fabric in curtain form, then stripes in pillows, etc....) Anyway, one project I'd like to take on this year is to learn how to make a slipcover for the chair that now doesn't quite mix into our black/beige living room. My fabric of choice is actually this "bedspread" bought from Urban Outfitters. (They call it a bedspread but it's definitely just a peice of fabric hemmed on each side).

I also bought this fabric, (again, actually a "bedspread"). Not sure what I'll be doing with it but am thinking curtains for our bedroom. And the coolest of all projects: I was meandering around some blogs I read regularly and came upon this. We got our partners last Friday and the possibility of projects for Melissa's Sam is getting me quite excited.

It did snow today, four beautiful inches! It continues to fall and cover the neighborhood with that safe and muffled magic snow can be. School has been cancelled, so no doubt as far as projects are concerned, I will get pretty far with the snow exploration and the warming up with hot chocolate. It is so beautiful out. Happy winter day everyone!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

On Herons

Last summer above Diamond Lake
a heron flew
like hope
and a feather escaped its' wake.
I watched it float then fall,
grabbed it down the beach
for good luck.
Ironically,
the one with the feather
now shoved into cupboards
you don't have
(amongst a calculator and a camera)
doesn't need it so much.
And if you had an address
I'd send it to you
because you believe in their magic, too.
You had one made
out of wrought iron
for me one Christmas.
That steel heron still hangs,
loyal to our front door,
a favorite among gifts
from a favorite person.
If we lost you
my heart would splinter.
I love you
and I let you go.
No expectations.
Just beliefs
in things that fly awkwardly
both imperfect
and magestic.
Take your cue
from our feathered friend
and try flight.
Be the heron
that gives hope
to everyone watching.
For my brother Ry

The Latest Thing We're Celebrating

These lovely blooms were a gift from my husband for our fourth wedding anniversary this past week. He also got me asian pears. (Both flowers and fruit are the traditional gifts on this anniversary). The modern gifts on this anniversary are appliances so he got a Dustbuster. I have a guy who enjoys cleaning and initiates it regularly, so what better gift! Anyway, I love him and I love us, each easy moment and each hard has made me a better person. Here's to 40 more!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Order in the House!

Organizing for me all began when I was a little kid. I would actually willingly clean my middle brother's room for him, taking pleasure in tidying his chaotic space. I remember cleaning and organizing my grandma's baking closet. Clean Sweep? Love the show. Very satisfying to watch.

Anyway, today, we got a visit from a very proficient maid: me! Order? My number one mission. Julia's bedroom was pure danger to enter. When I nearly drew blood by stepping on a dinosaur I knew it was time for some serious effort. There were tubs of clothes to organize, zillions of things to remove from the rug. Following her room, I tackled Avery's room, which also houses our guest bed, my closet (my husband uses our large walk-in closet for his office) and my "office."

Our whole upstairs looks so clean and nice. I basically act like a basketball player on defense when my kids step towards it, shouting a little too loudly,"Please don't touch that. Don't touch ANYTHING. I just...want...order." The result? Things look magazine fresh and like nobody lives here. It's actually kind of sick that I need this once in awhile but the effect, well, it's quite magical. My overhaul left me physically exausted afterwards but so deep-down-in-satisfied. What you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.

When it was time to head downstairs and tackle the toys, I hung a shoe organizer in our front toy closet (where the toys stay when out of circulation) and Julia and I sorted them into seperate areas. We will see how this works. Still, with all the toys we have, there has to be a system. They don't play with things when they can't even walk across the room. I see a total difference in the way they approach play when their things are organized and they have access to stuff. Of course their play is to UNorganize everything. We all have our passions.

In closing, I highly suggest a cathartic cleaning for anyone yearning for a blissful albeit temporary foray into the world you occupied before children. And after that, take a deep breath and say goodbye to order, as I did hours ago. My neatly made beds with fresh sheets? Rumpled. The floor? Littered with plastic dinosaurs, books, blocks, and stuffed friends. Order has left us again, running down the street squealing in pain. I think it stepped on a dinosaur.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Coat! Mittens! Shoes!

This is a post about Avery the amazing, our little 21-month-old bundle of spunk. She continues to wow daily with her speech, large motor skills, and, well, in how gosh dang cute she is. Believe it or not it was she herself who gave me the title for this post.

Anyhoo, I'll stop bragging and just say this, I look forward to great things from her in 2007: becoming potty-trained,(since she already shouts, "POOP!" and then when clothes are removed goes and does that on the potty) singing all the words of a Christmas Carol, not just most of them, putting the two and three in when counting instead of reciting 1,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13. And maybe, just maybe she'll sit through a whole half-hour show so mommy can write on the computer, instead of hopping down right away and saying, "I draw mom? I color?" as she stands next to me and wants paper and pencil.

It's the little things we'll be working on.