Sunday, April 27, 2008

Now that April is nearly through, here's a poem by a favorite poet in honor of National Poetry Month.


A baby, I stood in my crib to hear
the ding-ding of a vegetable truck approaching.

When I was bigger, my mom took me out
to the street
to meet the man who rang the bell and
he tossed me
a tangerine...the first thing I ever caught.
I thought he was
a magic man.

My mom said there used to be milk trucks too.
She said, "Look hard, he'll be gone soon."
And she was right. He disappeared.
Now, when I hear an ice-cream truck chiming
its bells, I fly.
Even if I'm not hungry-just to watch it pass.
Mailmen with their chime of dogs barking
up and down the street are magic, too.
They are all bringers.
I want to be a bringer.
I want to drive a truck full of eggplants,
down the smallest street.
I want to be someone making music
with my coming.

-Naomi Shihab Nye
Photo by Julia, taken 4/27/08 Stewart Stubbs State Park

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Possum and the Peeper by Anne Hunter is yet another spring-friendly book. The main character, a possum, keeps hearing a mysterious noise that he and his friends eventually discover the source of. The suspense made this story fun to read. I was really aware of how every time they talked about the noise they gave it a new name: DIN, RACKET, etc. which was great for subtly building a child's vocabulary. It had incredibly sweet pictures which reminded me of Melissa Sweet's illustrations a little bit. Best of all, nature was at the soul of the story, nature as it is celebrated in the spring.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fabulous Finds Friday

The thrifter in me has been pleasantly pleased in the last month or two with the scores I've made at Goodwilly's. In this photo you see I found a pair of brand new navy saltwater sandals in Julia's size for the summer. There is a fancy little retro dress for Averita. I scored a hefty Plantoys car. I found a cool retro game with these funky bird pieces/nests that just beg to be reinvented into something. I found two bigger frames. I also found a copy of Alice and Wonderland that I'd considered buying new on Amazon for a mere 2.99 in ship shape. Illustrated by Lizbeth Zwerger, I might add. There is a doll carrier for the kids to play with. I found a bag of sewing notions, too. (Lots of old wooden spools of thread and a few packages of bias tape). There was also a package of knitting needles/accessories. All in all such a worthwhile trip. Maybe walked out of there about $30 lighter.
Another trip yielded a bag with all these patterns in it for 2.99. I was looking for the Vogue Amy's Book one at some point and was THRILLED to see it tucked in with a few rich apron patterns and this totally cute 80's kid's backpack pattern. SCORE.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Down to the Burg

This week we had no preschool due to conferences so we took a little jaunt down south to visit the grandparents and uncle Ry. It was a great little trip. Avery enjoyed the owl in the front yard. We celebrated her 3rd birthday with two bite cupcakes and princess themed gifts. Grandpa stayed home from work and watched Ratatouille with them. Uncle Ry took them up to the tennis court to ride bikes and run. We did some exploring in the yard, spotting many a live wild turkey. We visited grandma at work and went to lunch with her. We did some thrift shopping. My brother indulged in a few episodes of my favorite (and might I add crappy) reality t.v. We also made these cookies per my request, something straight out of my youth. (The cookie presses, made by RYCRAFT, are still available today). Thanks for a lovely trip you three! We love you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Old Hat, New Hat

Now that I know how to knit hats, I made another one, modeled here by the Jooge. I followed a pattern in this book for the roll-up hat. For anyone intimidated by lots of knitting directions, the ones in this book are simple and straightforward. My one beef about the book is that there aren't photos for every project and sometimes the directions are simple and you're left wondering, now what? My yarn is some sort of Japanese wool, totally splurged on it but am really happy with how it turned out.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I spoted Miss Suzy, by Miram Young last week at Powells. I'm glad I did because what a sweet story.

I wish I would have read this book back when I was a kid. I would have loved it because any book with miniature cozy houses in trees instantly appealed to me. I would have also loved the main character, a squirrel named Miss Suzy. I wrote stories about squirrels like this when I was in second grade, so maybe I did read this book but just don't remember. Anyway, she is a fastidious little creature who enjoys her cozy, clean space high in a tree. Unfortunately some naughty red squirrels threaten her independent tranquility, and the story that follows shows how she manages to return to the life that pleases her. Miss Suzy has a neat message about how simple things can be just as satisfying as bigger, shinier things. Julia said, "I liked that the squirrel saved these tin soldiers." (pointing to the cover). Hope we haven't given too much away. Check it out!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Keepin' It Real For My Peeps

I'm no Betty Crocker, but I have baked some seriously yummy things in my day. For some reason though, when I make cakes they burn, they don't raise, they're difficult to get out of the pan, their seven-minute-icing tastes tangy when it shouldn't, you know, stuff like that. Bottom line: the cakes I make are never normal, and because they're usually baked for an occasion, there is always panic and a plan B put into place last minute.

Last week I set out to bake a cake for Avery's birthday. After baking, I was able to get both layers out of the pan with the help of my carefully cut wax circles that were also greased. BUT when I laid them on my cooling rack face down, they stuck! When I tried to remove them, the whole center of the cake came out. When I tasted them, they tasted STRONGLY of baking soda. I realized I'd added three teaspoons of baking SODA but the recipe called for baking POWDER. I am a doofus, people.

On Avery's birthday she went to her friend Haley's house for the morning. Haley's mom made her confetti cupcakes from a cake mix. Luckily some came home with us because this occasion's plan B was a lemon poppy seed bundt cake that turned out fine but that she took a few bites of and then forgot during present time.

Moral of the story: Use a fricken cake mix, Tia. Just face it. You don't do cakes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Dear Avery,

Today we drove by the hospital where you were born. I can't believe you were born there three years ago! You turned three on Friday. When you read this letter you'll learn about the special little person you are these days. Daddy, sister and I love you so much.

Sometimes when you eat you rest your ear on your hand, elbow on the table, and you're eating and thoughtful all at once. I love it when you do that. You like eating jerky, asking for three pieces at a time. You like drinking your milk warm. You love having popcorn during movie night. You also like hot dogs and hamburger patties. You've taken to saving your food in baggies for later. Ziplocks are your best pals these days.

Right now you like sleeping in your "nest," a little area of blankets on the floor at the foot of your bed. (It's no use to even try to get you to sleep in your bed). Sleeping is definitely second fiddle to other night time pursuits, like lots and lots of looking at books. (Several piles surround you each night). You still take naps most days, though I've been limiting how long they last so you'll go to sleep at night.

You LOVE LOVE LOVE books. Many times a day I find you sitting, one leg crossed over the other, quietly telling yourself the story. Sometimes they're the actual words, sometimes they're your own story. You ask me when books are, "Dued." You are particularly fond of "Bob" books and "Board books" and you're not ripping the pages of books anymore, thankfully.

You're taking your first swimming lesson and were so brave in the water with your teacher. You also like to ride your trike, but I'm sure a bike is coming soon. You can write three letters from your name, the A, V, and E. (Your E has many little arms). I love watching you run because you run with your arms. You are very coordinated and love to scale the couch and jump off even though it's not allowed.

The other day we were in a store and you walked along scrunching up your shoulders to the beat of the music. I love it when you're somewhere by yourself and I hear you singing, "You are sixteen" from Sound of Music. We take Music Together once a week and you sing along next to me. (Sometimes you branch out and go sit by the teacher like sister).

You love to tell me things and your way of saying things is so earnest that you add an "actually" or an, "I'm afraid." It seems like you've been able to talk pretty completely since you turned two. When playing, you let your sister be boss and you go with the flow. Sometimes you pretend you are the mommy and you are so tender and sweet with your sister. You both have started laughing the way you think beautiful princesses laugh and I love it so much I wish you would do it again and again. You asked me yesterday if me and daddy have made up our minds yet about you and your sister having a sleepover with Tenne and his baby brother Manning (logically Manning is your buddy since Tenne is sister's buddy, but Manning is a baby). You say you'll sleep in his crib with him.

You always go poop on the potty and we change back and forth between underwear and "training pants" for peeing. You're not a big fan of brushing your teeth, but you will, and you love swallowing the toothpaste. You're really good about taking your flouride, and especially love to squirt it in your mouth. You drink a ton of water every day. You like bandaids and especially like taking them off the minute they've been put on.

You are tall, so tall that at Target you nearly measured up to the 4T measurement on the wall. At the stores you like to take hangers off the rack or rearrange things hanging on pegs. You prefer dresses to pants, and getting dressed is something you do well but in your own time. You love wearing tights. You love to be barefoot, well, naked. Jumping on the bed "maked" is one of your favorite things. You prefer getting naked at the worst times, like right before we need to go somewhere. Whenever you get naked you shout, "I'm maked, maked, maked maked maked." You get sad when you have to walk up or down the stairs alone and everyone else is already up or downstairs.

Life as your mom feels great. I love that we have time together each week while sister's at preschool. You are very very important to me and every day you do things to make me smile, and things that teach me how to be a better mommy. I love you bub!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal came out in time to give to Julia for her second birthday. Now, Avery got Little Hoot, recently released by Chronicle Books, for her third birthday. What's genius is that both titles fit both kids. Julia is our "selective eater" like Little Pea and Avery is our night owl, unlike Little Hoot.

Little Hoot is the story of an owl who doesn't want to stay up all night like all owls are expected to do. A GREAT twist on the nightly bedtime battle so many face, in this book it's the parents that are offering water and one more story to prolong Little Hoot's bedtime. The pictures are adorable, the story is clever. It's another Amy Krouse Rosenthal LEGEND and, one of Avery's favorite birthday presents.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Spega Fever

We were invited to brunch last weekend at a neighbor friend's and when she served my daughters milk in these sweet little glasses, I was instantly in love and wondered where they'd come from. It turns out they were yogurt containers, Spega La Natura yogurt containers specifically. I made it my mission to track them down and buy us some for both the yogurt part, but also the glasses. We were short on kid glasses around here and I'm feeling SO DONE with the whole pastic sippy cup thing, having recently invested in these for when we leave the house.

Oh my. I found them a mere week later at Trader Joes. The yogurt is really tasty and the glasses are sturdy, perfect for little hands and just plain cute. Was it worth $12 for eight? In my mind, yes. Thanks for the tip, Sally!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Move over Lavar, It's Storytime Saturday!

I'm always on the lookout for great kid's books and am constantly finding ones that I would love to tell the world about. At the right is a growing list of titles we've loved, but I also wanted to share details about some individual books I read to my kids. Each Saturday you can come here and find a synopsis of another book we loved. Hope you enjoy!

This week's book is called On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole. It's the story of Caroline, who lives on Meadowview street, a street that ironically has little nature around it, save the square boring lawns in front of every identical house. Motivated by a few wayward flowers growing in her lawn, she goes about cultivating a happy wilderness in her own yard. For me, any story where kids are loving nature is a favorite of mine. I like how the parents in this book were willing to help her with her goal, and how the neighbors caught on, too. Designed for preschoolers, the story has really pleasing illustrations and a great message. Julia said, "I like that it has lots and lots of flowers." Check it out!

Friday, April 04, 2008

We've had really beautiful weather the last few days and the wheeled activity level is high. This weekend we're going to be spending some serious time finding the ideal place where we can ride around together, preferrably a bike trail with low traffic. Jooge is now really into the bike (formerly covered in flames)that her Bumpa got for her before she was born and the husband is bringing home a new bike bought with his REI dividend. All in all, we're so mobile. Bring on the sun!