Monday, July 27, 2009

We've Moved!

We are officially moved into our new house! Now it's just time to unpack and clean the old house. We've already done a ton to make our new rental livable. The kitchen is put basically unpacked except for the pantry. The beds are assembled with bedding. We've started to unpack the playroom. Today the internet/t.v./phone was hooked up so we are again in touch with the outside world. It's all coming together!
Here are a few little snippets:
1) Grandma came to hang out with the girls all weekend: best idea ever. She kept them poolside and occupied while my husband and I worked really really hard.
2) Our new house has this pair of doves that hang out in our tree, backyard, and roof. We love them.
3) We had a wicked yellowjacket nest right near the front door. One of our neighbors brought us jam and got stung! Thanks to a pest control guy we should be bee free in four days.
4)We have a yard Mowing and edging, and pruning, oh my! Bring on the loppers!
5) My husband and I are sharing things we previously didn't: a walk in closet,an office, pictured above, and one sink in our master bath (when before we each had our own). I think it's going to be good for us.
6) Can I just say A/C rules?
7) This new neighborhood is grand. Little trails all over for bikes. We can't wait to go riding and explore. There's a nature trail for the school. Perfect!
8) I found this sweet U-Pick flower stand in a residential area on the way to our new house-it is AWESOME. $6 for a huge bouquet. I love the whole idea of putting your money in the honor jar and coming away with some choice blooms. I bought them to thank my mom for her help with the girls but she left them here!
9) The blue heron above was a present from my mom for my birthday. She got it for me at the Olympia farmer's market. I LOVE it. I can totally see it from my kitchen window, sticking out of the reeds.

10) We have the greatest deck. We have so enjoyed it already. Still working on a hammock locale.
11)I get to watch The Bachelorette finale tonight in our new house! My "Dudes" made it to the end! I like both Ed and Kyptin but I hope she picks Ed.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What kind of crazy person blogs in the middle of packing and preparing for a move? I guess the same kind of person who, when faced with packing the final boxes makes a coconut cream pie.

I really love coconut cream pie, especially when it's made from scratch. My dad made me one for my 17th birthday and it was the best tasting pie I've ever eaten. I guess it's both in memory of him and also of how good it was that I decided I wanted to make one. I was originally going to make one for my birthday next week but 1) I couldn't wait and 2)I figured the necessary kitchen utensils would still be packed.

Fast forward to the late afternoon and I will just tell you that my pie making endeavor was a complete flop. I didn't cook the filling long enough for it to thicken properly so it is completely soupy. The filling is also a touch too salty, with not enough coconut flavor. When I was making the whipped cream I was also talking on the phone. I left it whipping on high for no more than two minutes and when I came back the heavy cream had become butter. I had to make a second trip to the store for whipped cream.

What good came of this? I got the pie making out of my system. I don't need to try it again. Best of all, I don't have to worry about all the calories I'll be consuming.

It's safe to say that my attempts at distraction are failing me miserably and that there's not much else I can do to put off the joy of packing the final boxes. Rest assured the next time you hear from me I'll be moved. Phew!

I just love this post about having time for creative lives. It is really brilliant.

I was listening to KBOO today in the car and caught the very end of a live performance byArti Boyd. He is really good. I wish I could get my hands on an Arti Boyd album. Right up my alley.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Love love love Denise Schmidt's Single Girl quilt. I've seen it around the blogosphere, swooned over it and discovered it recently in the Pottery Barn catalog for a pretty penny. Love it.

Denise Schmidt, by the way, creates some of the most AMAZING quilts. Check out her website, which features many. Some of my favorites are: Lazy Gal,Drunk Love in a Log Cabin. What a bunch of squares .

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My grandma Becky gave us Beatrix Potter books for Christmas when we were young. The size of them were so perfect for little hands. My favorite was Mrs. Tittlemouse. I could retell it by heart. I also loved The Tale of Two Bad Mice and of course Peter Rabbit. Just hearing that story again brings back such feeling and imaginings about soft sandy passageways and crisp vegetables.

Have you seen Miss Potter? I had grown up with Beatrix Potter's sweet stories in my hands but never really knew anything about her, other than that we share a birthday. I really loved this movie.
Allergy update: I am only allergic to dust mites and mold but Julia is allergic to cats, trees, grass, and weeds. She and Zyrtek are going to be fast friends from February to September. It was totally worth doing the testing though poor Julia did not enjoy the way they apply all 24 prickers at once. Next timei: food allergies. Avery will also undergo testing at some point, but given the fact that her symptoms are milder, we don't have to move as quickly.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Happy to My Sis-in-Law Meg!

Happy birthday Sis! 30! WOO HOO! Hope you're whooping it up in Europe! Love ya!

"And all the best words together couldn't hold the happiness."

"She was old and round like the world. She was sun-toasted." This is an example of
the beautiful language in Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan. There is something special about this story. From the language to the story to the watercolor illustrations, all of it, every little crumb will find its' way pressed into the tines of your fork, satisfying.

Emmaline lives on Shipshape Street in Neatasapin. In Neatasapin children must be quiet and careful. All houses are required to be spic-and-span. Emmaline,jumping through puddles and shouting silly phrases, does her thing, alone mostly. She is not an ideal candidate for Neatasapin. To complicate matters, what Emmaline wants more than anything is a bunny. When she finds one in a wild space called Untidy, she learns, through a mystical character called The Old One, just what the bunny might require if it were to come to live with her in her limiting world of concrete and containment. The reader will be delighted with the way Emmaline's wish changes not only her lonely state, but her parents, and the whole town.

Themes of nature, loneliness, control, and happiness pervade this gentle children's tale. Dig into it and enjoy.

Get Out!

We're having a lot of luck with this method of containing Julia's bangs. Kind of reminds me a little of Elaine Benes.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Last year when Julia was taking swimming lessons she was PETRIFIED of jumping off the diving board. We would be driving to lessons and in the back seat she sat worrying about what she might have to do all the way to the pool.

Today, when she jumped off the diving board into the deep end and swam to the side of the pool, I had a lump in my throat. She also took two trips down the slide alone and without a life jacket and found her way to the edge of the pool, unafraid.

Right before the certificates were handed out at the end of class, her teacher led them in a game of Red Light Green Light. When the light was green the kids swam towards her back. When she turned to face them they had to stop and tread water. I watched Julia to see how she'd do, and saw her panic. Her teacher calmly said, "You're all right," and moved closer to her. Julia's face was a mixture of fear and relief. She was crying. Her teacher held her while she led the kids in the remainder of the game. Julia attempted a nervous smile, feeling a bit better. Again, mommy tears welled up.

One mountain climbed and a new once introduces itself in the distance. The bravery and the fear all wrestle for space in one tan and shivering body, standing at the edge of the pool.

All Avery did was ruin Julia's Lincoln Log cabin. Julia got rough and a few fierce kicks later her sister had a mini-shiner.

Julia had her requisite time on the step, we talked about what else she might have done that would have been safe, she spoke with her sister, (sweet hugs and a sorry ensued) and then she had to come up with a consequence. She decided that she would write her a letter, with six or seven sentences, saying she was sorry. What follows is her letter, complete with her spelling. Things are over and done now, and hopefully next time she stops herself before black eyes follow.

Deer Avery
I am soree abwot the I. I am mab abowt the log hows. You shood be mor carfl. I promis to not do it agen. I am saing soree in this ledr. wuns moor I sa soree. Frum Julia

When you schedule stuff for your kids in the summer, you never really envision all the driving to and from involved, the busy days that will result. I was fairly zealous in signing them up this summer and though next week will include one more week-long art camp, we've nearly arrived at the end of the madness.

First there was nature camp for three days in June. The girls LOVED it. We just finished four Wednesday afternoons of Trampoline and Tumbling. We are treated to demo after demo of hilarious tumbling moves performed on their beds. Today also rounded out two weeks of daily swimming lessons. Avery is in Catfish 3 and Julia moved from Frogs to Goldfish during her class. I have enjoyed sitting in the shade reading my book and watching their progress. I won't miss trying to find a parking spot, or just needing to be somewhere every day, but hauling them to these activities has only helped them develop new skills and confidences.

Throw in other things like play dates and doctor appointments, story time and grocery shopping, Tuesday market and life! Add all that comes with a move and things have definitely been busy for us. Crazy busy. And our weekends? Full, every one of them. We are definitely going to crash soon. August, I predict, will be our month to crash. Maybe in the midst of crashing there might be a trip to a roller rink and maybe a lemonade stand but top priority: RELAXATION. Hopefully I'll also get some hammock time when my husband installs my hammock somewhere in our new expansive yard(hint hint). Just thinking about all the stuff we've been up to makes me tired!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Today I'm having my allergies tested. The girls, allergic to peanuts at this point, will be having theirs tested on Thursday. To do allergy testing, you must stop taking your allergy meds for three days. I miscalculated and so I will have had four days off the Zyrtek, with a dose of Benadryl on Sunday for relief because you are allowed to have that more than 24 hours before the testing.

I am SO ITCHY, it's AWFUL. Whatever it is I'm allergic to will reveal itself today. I will enjoy knowing, but in the meantime, oh, I've suffered. My back is covered in scratches and hives. I itch all over. What is up with this?

When I had Julia the pregnancy ended with the WORST ITCHY RASH I've ever had. Pupps, I think they call it. Sounds terrible, and is. Then after I had Avery I was basically covered with hives all the time and went on Zyrtek. It's going to be good to get to the bottom of this with both myself and the girls.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Cabin

Over the 4th of July we headed up to our family's cabin, built by my dad and grandpa back in what we figure to be about 1981. We met my brothers and mom up there and had the best time!

Today We Did Vegetable Prints

It might surprise those of you who think me a crafty lass that I am very apathetic when it comes to crafting with my kids. It is a rare day when I haul out an actual art project for the beautifully worthy artistes in my care. We just don't do it enough. Let me tell you, it is always worth doing, though. They love it. Look at the focus!

I was very aware of all the 4th of July crafts out there on the internets, but me? I don't think about art projects like that. I see the possibilities in the vegetable stems left behind upon chopping up some serious crudites. It's like that each time I cut up broccoli, my mind imagines how cool it would be to make vegetable prints,but this time I didn't throw the stems away. I also had pepper tops, complete with handles, how convenient, and an old potato that I carved into two stamps.
T'was totally worth trying. An art project a week, that's what I'm aiming for this summer.
"The three old ladies fill their bags with homemade jam and flowers and magazines and say, "What a wonderful show the summer put on this year!"
-Garmann's Summer

Garmann's Summer, by Stian Hole is a quirky gem we picked up at the library last week. There are the collaged illustrations, both humorous and brilliantly beautiful. There is the story itself, told about a boy's sixth summer. There is the gift of poignant and ironic moments, like when Garmann, so anxious to lose his first tooth looks at his aunt's dentures suspended in a cup of water. This book is about fear, the things we fear as six year olds and 86 year olds. Fears are magnified when twin neighbors can do everything "Garmann doesn't dare to do: bicycle, walk tightrope on the fence, and hold their heads under water. And they can already read, and they can spell "rhubarb"-backwards and forwards." As summer comes to a close and the aunts leave, Garmann finds both solace in his backpack filled with school supplies, and also wishes his sixth summer didn't go so quickly. I saw school supplies in Target the other day, and can completely relate to the feeling that summer will be gone in a blink of the eye. I loved this sweet and zany book. Check it out as we literally did. See what you think.

It's Fun to Frolic in an Empty Rental

I am happy to report we found a new rental house. We signed the lease last week and move in mid-July. WOO HOO!

We looked pretty seriously at four different places. Our top choice was one in our neighborhood, ironically the exact same house we are living in now but three blocks away. It had A/C and the rent was lower than ours. We could have literally moved everything in our house into the exact same place in that house. The bummer is, we turned in our application behind another family and lost out. Obviously something else was in store.

The one we picked is in the same town but in a new neighborhood with a family friendly reputation. If I had to move Julia to a new school, this was about the only one I would have considered. Apparently from talking to a few friends all the first grade teachers are great and they stay with the kids to second grade, so I am excited by the prospect of her having two solid years with someone and am especially excited for her to make some great new friends. The neighborhood has a pool, tennis courts, and little bike paths that weave their way behind the homes. Our new house has an actual yard surrounding it, room for the kids to run and play. It boasts a huge covered deck which I guarantee we will spend lots of time on. There are some fun things growing in the yard, like peonies! It's on a cul de sac so it will be bike friendly for our little bikers. My husband will actually have an office, and we will have a/c. It's all one one level, built in 1983. It has a wood burning fireplace and tons of storage in the attic above the garage. The people we are renting from are very sweet, too. It feels right going through homeowners not rental agencies. They are flexible and human with less silly fees and regulations. Most importantly, they are not planning to sell the house out from under us.

The downsides of the new house are the curb appeal (it looks.... well....granny with its' bird bath out front) and size. We will only lose about 200 square feet but I'm fairly sure that is made up for with our yard. I will also really miss the current cupboard situation in our house now. I'm going to have to get creative about where all this kind of stuff goes because there's no areas like this in the new place.

I am looking forward to moving in and making it our own. I am also looking forward to purging some of our current junk. Before me lies packing and packing and more packing and then lots of cleaning. Tomorrow I will schedule movers.

Change is in store, change we didn't ask for, but change I think we're really ready for. I'm excited!

Friday, July 03, 2009

The girls and I took a trip to my mom's last weekend. We did some cherry picking with uncle Ry, lots of swimming at the neighborhood pool, hit the Arts Festival, and also took a trip to the fish ladder, seeing a few spring chinook and summer steelhead. Our visit was like summer, slow and warm and easy.
Uncle Ry documents the girls' growth in a doorway each time we visit.