Thursday, May 31, 2007

In the Wilds


Cue the heat and outdoor play around here. Since we are lacking activities in the backyard for now it's all about the water table and the kiddie pool, concocting sand soup and other murky mysteries. I need to find a sunblock that comes in a mousse form. I HATE applying greaZy lotion, even though the two pack I got at Costco is for kids and in a spray form, it's so greazy. If you're my brother and you're reading this you'll be especially amused to hear (in the spirit of cold-water-dousings during various showers growing up) that Jooge squirted me with the hose yesterday. Well, first she squirted her sister, then I came running only to get squirted myself. It was one of those things where she didn't really know what she was doing. Must have been quite comical to watch.
Our plants are going great guns. The preschool had a plant sale this spring so we invested in tomato, zucchini, and pepper plants as well as a half flat of dahlias. I was worried about the dahlias after reading how finicky they can be but we have them in a sunny spot on the front porch and for the most part they seem healthy. We also have a big rectangular planter of morning glories, sunflowers and black eyed susans that came in these cool seedballs my aunt gave Jooge for her birthday last year. That'll be a fun collection when they all come up.
We have this vine maple in our backyard that is badly overgrown. If it rains, the branches hit the ground. I agonize about it all the time and have called the rental agency to say, "Yo, tree emergency" way back when it needed to be pruned. I don't know HOW or have the tools, or else I would have attempted it, though it still isn't technically our tree to prune. So, for now it's providing my outdoor chair with a cozy shelter, lacy leaves fanning out to protect.
My latest craft project was to do a new lampshade for our playroom. I found an old copy of Where The Wild Things Are and decoupaged the shade with its' pages. Now I just need to rig up the insides and hang the puppy and voila, wild rumpus lighting up the room.

In Suburbia


I'm at my most content when I'm outside and if I'm also going somewhere or with people I love, it's ideal. I used to ride my bike around (and around and around) Eugene's river bike path back in the day. I remember passing families riding together, or bike trailers sailing along with little faces inside, watching everything pass quickly, content.

My husband and I have been looking forward to riding and towing our own precious little faces, especially after we bought our bike trailer for the kids last summer. Over Memorial weekend he bought himself a great bike and we hooked it to the Burley and took our first ever family bike ride. It was awesome. I loved following them and feeling a part of things yet free. My husband wore a huge grin while hauling the kids. And the kids LOVED it. What could be wrong with sailing along with so much to see and your favorite people nearby? With destinations galore, friendly routes, and warm evenings, summer, we have so much to look forward to.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I Love Toots!


Back in the day (we're talking from about 5th grade on) I was REALLY into collecting stickers. One of my favorites to collect were called Toots. I was so into them that I would actually have dreams about them and imagine the ones I'd never seen. When I look at them now, I still remember the thrill I felt when I found them at different paper stores. I think I had nearly 60 or so different ones and also had the larger wider strips called Message Units. I used some of my toots on letters back in college but do have quite a few left these days. I was awed to see what they were worth on Ebay. Does anyone else remember these?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bib City


These bibs, which I finished last week, were made in the same style as some made for me when I was having the Jooge. Simple, but cute. They started as a pack of twelve washcloths from Wal-mart. I cut them into the desired shape, sewed the bias tape around the edges,(leaving a good length on each end to be used as ties) then added appliques. I did them in sets of two, so the car/turtle is a set, the rectangle/elephant is a set and then the circle one has an exact twin underneath it. Everyone we know is having boys, hence the color scheme. You can check them out closer by clicking on the picture, though that will reveal my imperfect stitching and thus their, well, character. Rimbeys, you get first dibs, which ones would Mason enjoy?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pretty


Saw these botanical letterpress-made cardsat Crafty Wonderland. There is also a bird series as well as a love series but I love the botanical ones. So lovely.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Doctor Doctor Can't You See I'm Coughin' Coughin'

I'm happy to report we all lived through a terrible night last night, one of the worst. Both kids have had a virus for the past week or so. We've had TONS of sneezing, lots of coughing, snot, a bit of a rash. Yesterday after a few days of coughing that was turning progressively worse, I finally took Avery to the Dr. because I needed peace of mind that we weren't dealing with any more walking pnemonia or the like. He prescribed breathing treatments for her wheeze, giving me yet another copy of the requisite "Dealing with Asthma" booklet and we went home to Nebulizer-land.

Jooge on the other hand, was coughing on ocasion (not yet in need of breathing treatments or to see the doc) yesterday but last night that cough merged with the WORST CROUP EVER, so bad that her cheeks are covered with broken blood vessels today. I'm talking DEATH COUGH after DEATH COUGH. These coughs were so unlike any she'd ever coughed before. They shook her, they bent her over in utter exertion, she cried, screamed, it was hell. After a trip to the bathroom full of steam she was better but I slept with her last night just so she'd stay in her bed and feel okay when she woke up over and over again. I did not sleep too well, so I was exausted today.

So when I took Jooge in (Hello Dr., here we are again today!) first I put her in the car without shoes on. Sometimes I do this and throw the shoes in for later but this time my sleep-deprived brain forgot. Then, when we were sitting, hillbilly-like in the waiting room sans shoes with her seal bark cough sounding every ten seconds lemmie just tell ya, it was TERRIBLE. I gave her encouraging pep talks about catching her cough in her elbow as one mom tried to get her little guy to come back to her and away from us. Oh the relief when the nurse came to call their names. One mom with two newborns who was sitting a few seats away took her carseats to the furthest corner of the waiting room, just to get away from us! At Target later we got lots of stares. I wanted to shout, "It's not as contagious as you think," and, "I'm just waiting for our prescription here, people, normally we wouldn't be out and about like this."

Hours later with food in our bellies, naps in full swing, Jooge's steroid crushed and mixed in with a bowl of Haagen Daaz cookie dough ice cream, things seem more hopeful. According to our Pediatrician, the night will not be as bad as last night. Will she miss swimming lessons? You betcha. Will she miss the last day of school tomorrow? Possibly. But tonight? We don't have to fret like we did last night. I don't have to wonder if I should take her to the E.R. She's exausted today,soon the steroids will be snarling through her veins, but she's going to be okay.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tax Dollars Hard At Work


Check out our new main library branch. The opening is today. After being snugly housed in a strip mall, this is WORLDS better. I can't wait to see how cool it is.
Woo hoo!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Gross With a Capital G

Today at swimming lessons we were taking a shower when a mom brought her pooping child to the shower to finish the deed. No, she did not bring him to the nearby toilet. Her offspring deposited his terd in the showers and then they went about their business. It made me want to SCREAM.

I calmly inform the nice janitor lady, accessibly cleaning a nearby toilet that this had gone on and she said, "Oh thanks, nobody told me."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Apple Strudel, Cockadoodle


Remember that smug post I wrote at Halloween about how my daughter wanted to be a butterfly and not a princess and la de da da?

Sure enough, now Julia LOVES princesses. She eats drinks and sleeps in her purple velvety princess dress. She dreams of getting married. She sings The Little Mermaid song verbatim. Whenever we're out and about she's gasping every other second at the Disney Princess item currently in front of her. You name it, backpacks, cereal, books, those princesses are everywhere.

Now let's get one thing straight, there's absolutely nothing wrong with her loving princesses. Kids are big on good vs. evil themes at this age. It is developmentally appropriate. Princesses are beautiful and good. In loving the princesses, they need to know that good prevails. I get that. I just don't believe that we have to only love the Disney and fairy tale princesses, obnoxious in their dependent and weak representations of women. I worry that this response is as cliche as it is to love princesses. Still. I can't help feeling that way.

In fighting the Disney lure, I've been trying to supplement our princess-focused minds with other stories about princesses, like Lady Lolipop by Dick King-Smith, a great story about a child princess who undergoes a character upgrade upon getting a pet pig. We also read Shrek, which originally was written by one of my favorite authors, William Steig. Jooge just can't get past the fact that the princess in that story is so ugly. (Which is what makes it so rich). Lauren Child of Charlie and Lola fame has also done some GREAT fairy tale books that I approve of, both The Princess and the Pea and Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?

As we approach her fourth birthday, (I will share this little gem of a website devoted to sharing SCADS of ideas for birthday parties.), I feel like a real jerk for avoiding the Disney invites for simpler non-Disney ones. I want to avoid Ariel, Aurora, Jasmine, and her posse. Not so for Jooge, who threw a minor fit in Target because we did not get to keep the Disney invitations and stickers in our cart. I guess in my mind it feels so limiting to only go that route, but at the same time that seems a little cruel when she's digging on them so much. It sure would be EASIER to shell out a little dough for a bunch of Disney decor and be done. But for me, it's creatively taboo.

And so, this Queen deliberates: Can you fight Disney and win?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day, The Recap


My Mother's Day actually began on Thursday at Jooge's school where I attended their Spring Tea. I got all welled up as I stood at the door and her teacher announced, "Julia's guests are here," and she came and got us and we were escorted to our table. The kids provided darling entertainment: amazing renditions of "I'm a little Teapot," "Skinamarinkadinkadink" and the play: Three Billy Goat's Gruff. They made really tasty lemonade that we drank and we ate gluten free cookies. She also gave me this lovely little pot painted by her. I loved the whole dang thing.

My husband gave me a beautiful bouquet of 2 dozen roses on Saturday in appreciation of me as mother. They are so pretty. Thanks, hon!

On Mother's Day, I called my mom to wish her a happy day. I'd already sent her a pretty funny Hoops and Yo Yo e-card and a pair of those mary-jane Crocs which should be soothing to her poor bunions. I would have really loved to spend the day with her but I get to see her next weekend, so that's good.

I had a pretty typical morning, you know, lovely details like dumping Avery's terd from her diaper to the toilet, splashing pee/poop water in my face/mouth and then while I was talking to my mom Julia spit on the window and drew a design with her spit and then said, "Mom, I made you this for Mother's Day!" My husband had a long run so while he did that the kids and I had an outing to Goodwill where I scored the cutest vintage crib quilt for Avery and a neat game for Jooge. As we were walking in the door to Goodwill some stranger in a big pick-up shouted, "Happy Mother's Day" to me. It was so rich. I loved it. After that we went to Donut Day and they shared a chocolate donut with sprinkles, which Julia proudly ordered at the counter all by herself, and I indulged in my FAVORITE, a coconut cream one. Picture a bismark but with a thin layer of vanilla frosting and coconut sprinkled on top. No trans fats either. AW YEAH. We stopped by the grocery store to get a few things and I couldn't believe the store that was usually humming on Sunday was SO DEAD! Blissfully dead.
An intersting phenomenon, really.

Once my husband got home I was able to get out alone and I spent about three hours shopping/browsing/trying on clothes and ended up buying the coziest robe at Nordstrom Rack. When I got home everyone was outside having fun so I joined them and played catch (so fun!)with the husband in the cul-de-sac while the kids ran and played. We had thai for dinner and I watched the Survivor finale.
It was a wonderful day.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

This Little Baby Said What?


I once asked Jooge what I could do to be a better mom and she said, "Wear make-up and dresses." She has also said, "I want you to wear shoes like that," pointing to someone wearing high heels. Good luck there, girlie. Today I asked her, "Do you think I'm doing a good job being a mom?" Her response was not positive, insisting that I was mad too much. Gulp. Ouch.

Mental note: be cheerier.

I imagine that the response to this question might change each year, (each moment, really) so I've got that going for me. To each and every one of you, growling or cheerful, coasting around in some kind of pump or plodding along in your Danskos, Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Shout Out


We went to the coolest place last week: My Masterpiece Art Studio. I love this concept: Two art educators opened this business which offers an art studio where kids and adults can come and get creative. Their facility is beautiful: fresh, bright and colorful. You pay for supplies and then get full use of the studio space which includes a place to carve your clay into a genius sculpture (or simply, a mountain, like we made) a place to draw, access to colored pencils and chalk, and a huge area to paint. One whole wall is covered in a metalic "easel" and there's a rainbow of paint colors to help yourself to as well as a variety of brushes. While we were there there was also a Mini Masterpiece class going on, which looked great. I would love to own a business like this. It's definitely worth visiting if you're in the Portland area. The proof is all in the satisfied face on my artiste!

Monday, May 07, 2007

More Trees Please


This weekend for me was spent in a state of serious low motivation. We did manage to get out for some forest time which did us all some good. Avery and I were ambling along the trail when we turned the bend and found Daddy and Jooge who had a poop on deck. She and I hoofed it through the forest at top pace so we could reach the park's bathroom on time. Once we made it safely and she was sitting doing her deed, she was thoughtful, taking her time. I could learn a lot from her. I am always rushing. She was particularly focused on the smell of the bathroom. I noted a heavy dose of cleaning solution but she thought it smelled like m&m's.

Today I have a to do list a mile long so there's no more time for being low on motivation. There are maintenance requests to issue, a call to the library to ask that awful question: how much do I owe? (I've repaired thousands of books. You should see all the page taping I've done. And finally, it was on The Littles Have a Party that I neglected to properly fix the poor binding of that book). There's laundry, and I mean lots of it, maybe even re-doing some that sat wrinkly and forgotten once out of the drier. This will mean an outing because I'm low on detergent. I have to get an oil change for our poor neglected car and mail a package. The whole upstairs needs to be picked up and put away. There are dishes to unload and reload. Above all else, there is a chill pill that will need to be taken. No need to get overwhelmed. I'll get it done.

Today, in taking on my to do list, may I leave Low Motivation Land yet have the ability to stop and smell the M&M's. I'll let ya know how that goes.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

An Ode of Sorts


My mom made a real impression on me. SO many of the things I do in my life are
because of the way she did things and the way I looked to her as someone I admired. From putting us in preschool to joining a sorority to napping when my kids napped,to choosing a t-shirt because it reminded me of the t-shirts she wore,so much of it, I now emulate as a woman, and as a mom.

One thing I just did because she did, was to sew. All through high school while everyone else was taking cooking or computers for their electives, I was making aprons rimmed with colorful bias tape for preschoolers in sewing class. I was sewing sweatpants and pillows. I was really into sewing. I credit my mom for that because she sat me down with a needle and thread when I was about 3 or 4 and taught me to hand stitch. I will do the same thing because she did it. We're getting quite near that moment, I'm sure.

My mom made me lots of clothes when I was growing up. I can still picture this darling long sleeved smock type shirt she made me out of a dark blue corduroy with squirrels on it. When I was four she made these awesome little summer tops for me that were basically a triangular shape with bias tape threaded through the top and bottom and tied at the neck and back. RICH! I can still remember the fabric.

I am now at a point where I'm feeling the urge to sew some things for the girls, like my mom did for me. As I mentioned in my last post, I was working on doing button holes on an actual garment for Julia. The fact that I made it without a pattern and that it morphed into a little summery top for Avery instead due to my novice skillz as a seamstress, well, no matter. Here it is in all it's finished splendor. (Lots of flaws here people but for the most part a rewarding outcome). I have my mom to thank for that.