Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

If you woke up today...

...and thought, I wish I could see more cute pictures of Elijah at the park, you, my friend, are in luck.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What We Do All Day

As a full time parent, I sometimes get the question, from my husband and others, "What do you do all day?"  I could be offended by this question, but instead I usually choose to believe that it is asked in the spirit of curiosity rather than criticism.  After all, a few years ago, I might have wondered the same thing about someone like me.  Elijah and I spend close to ten hours together without Kurt around, which is a pretty long time.

The answer, as you might imagine, is that it varies.  Yesterday, however, I was feeling like we had been spending many recent mornings doing thing that either had to be done (grocery shopping, visiting school) or that I wanted to do (mommy-swap, Value Village), so I decided to let Elijah lead the way for the day.  He was happy to do this, spatula in hand.  

So, the day's activities included, in approximately the order they occurred:

  • Making music (drums and xylophone)
  • Playing with trains
  • Eating chips and homemade salsa
  • Picking (and eating) tomatoes from the garden
  • Walking around the neighborhood collecting sticks and rocks
  • Going to the post office
  • Stopping in at Uncle Chip's Cafe for a cookie
  • Spending the afternoon with Brittany and Brianna
  • Buying peaches at the Farmer's Market

It was a day like any other, but a great day it was. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Now that Elijah has quite literally decided to get off his little butt, I figured it was safe to finally patch all of those holey pants created by his scooty-scooting.  Several pairs were fixable with just a row of stitches, no patch needed.  The three above, though were pretty well worn out in the seat area.  (Un)fortunately, one of Kurt's pairs of dress pants went through the wash with a permanent marker not so long ago, and I saved them for just such an occasion as this.

I love my antique sewing machine (more on that another day), but one thing is is not capable of is zigzag stitching.  So, I pulled out the pinking shears, cut up the old, marker-y pants, and got to work.  I was debating whether to hand stitch or go for the machine, as the pants were small and think, and rough combination for this a amateur sewing machiner, but I decided to give the machine a try.  I only accidentally sewed the pants closed once, and only for a few stitches, so I would give myself an A- for this whole undertaking.  The patches seem secure, and I believe they should hold up well.  Unless, of course, I end up with another booty-scooter, in which case, I may have to patch the patches.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bye, bye, board books

The era of board books has ended, at least for this first child of mine, and I can't say that I am too sad.  There are good board books out there, and their indestructibility was much appreciated, but the problem is that they are just too short.  Most take under a minute, so in order to read with your child for, let's say, ten minutes, you either have to chew your way through a giant stack of cardboard, or submit to reading the same 20 words over and over and over again until you hate a book that you didn't really like that much to begin with. 

But Elijah was never been much of a biter, at least when it comes to non-food objects, and his attention span and language skills have increased to the point where regular picture books are now a viable, and preferred, option.  Phew.  The nice thing for me, too, is that having formerly worked with children from preschool age on up, the older he gets, the more I can tap into my accumulated knowledge of books that kids (and their grownups) like to read.

At this point, we are still at the 10-words-or-less-per-page stage, and plot is secondary to whether or not the book prominently features animals.  With that in mind, here are a few of our current favorite series:

Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems 
Kurt loves these books, too, and the best part about them is hearing Elijah quote them at random moments.  "Thank you, Doctor!"  The Pigeon books by Mo Willems are favorites as well.

The Max and Ruby books by Rosemary Wells
I think the appeal of these books is that in Max, Wells has created a character that is the quintessential toddler.  Today, when reading Max Cleans Up, Elijah kept wanting to go back to the pictures of the motorcycle and the popsicle, two of his personal favorite things.

The David books by David Shannon
These books have few words, which can make them go by too quickly, but they are great nonetheless.  Plus, the lack to text leaves lots of room for discussion of what is happening in the pictures.

I'm sure there are many books that I have missed, so please let me know your favorites for this just-over-board-books stage.  I would appreciate your recommendations, as I don't think that I can read No, David! one more time without falling asleep.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Team Artwork

Mom, you were right, again, as usual.  This time, I am referring to your (repeated) suggestions that I find time to squeeze in an art class or two way back in high school.  At the time, it seemed impossible, between the AP class, my beloved choir, etc, etc, but looking back, there had to be a way.  I think that part of my hesitation at the time also came from my own insecurities in regard to my artistic abilities, which I now see as a misconception of what art can be as well as what it is for.

Whew.  Fortunately, I have at least a few good years left in me, and I have several children in my life who not only enjoy making art, but who welcome my participation in the art-making.  Today, Elijah helpfully got me started by making what looked to me like a nest, using his Crayola Slick Sticks and some colored labels.  All that was missing was the bird, which I crafted using pictures cut from this book (I told you it would come in handy). 

With the twins, I sometimes get a little more direction.  For example, in the picture above, Brianna asked me to draw a "bad wizard", and I was happy to oblige.  So it seems my art-making days are just beginning.  I guess I was just waiting for the right company to join me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Do Not Read This Book: Fake Cookbook Edition

As we did our annual house-purge this past weekend, and Kurt rightfully tried to get rid of the book seen above, I realized that perhaps before I let it go, I should write a review for Endless Simmer, since that was the original idea behind my receiving a free copy.  The problem was that I really didn't have anything nice to say.  Fortunately, in the blogosphere unlike in life, that doesn't have to stop me.  So, I put on my snark face and let it fly.  Enjoy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mr. Stow-and-Go

One of Elijah's current favorite toys is a little shopping cart that was Kurt's many years ago.  He loves to load it up with whatever he can find and push it around the house.  As you can see from the pictures above, anything from newspapers to the Wii remote is fair game.  I just love watching him walk around, and he looks so determined when he is putting everything in.  Sometimes his baby doll rides up front, but sometimes the doll gets a little buried under all of his other "treasures".  When he's done, he "puts it away" by tucking it under the coffee table.  The whole exercise is almost too adorable for this mama to take.

Elijah is definitely in the stage of putting things into other things.  There's the shopping cart, of course, as well as the trunk of his little car, and any bag that he can find.  This is all well and good (and cute), but we do have to keep an eye on him, lest we lose a remote or two for good.   The other day, Kurt called me because he had been looking for the thermometer for 15 minutes with no luck.  He finally found it...in the watering can.  Fortunately, we never water our plants, so the thermometer emerged unscathed.  Now, if Elijah would just tell me what happened to my iPod...

Friday, July 13, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Al fin

Yes, the rumors are true.  At the ripe old age of 21 months, Elijah has decided to join the world of the upright walkers.  I have many thoughts on this (the main one being, "Hooray!"), but they will have to wait because after spending 3 hours to, at and from the doctor's office today, I'm tired.  But, let me just say, one more time, "Hooray!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sick day

Today, I introduced Elijah to the joys of a sick day.  The poor little buddy had  had a fever since last night, and I could tell he was just feeling generally crummy.  So, to combat this, he had a popsicle for breakfast (and 4 or so more scattered throughout the rest of the day.)  He got to take a bath every time he asked (4 times) and even got to play with the usually off-limits knitting needles.  Oh, and that nighttime/nap time only binky?  Well, it only came out long enough to put the popsicles in.

But here's to hoping he feels better tomorrow. Because the thing about a sick day, perks aside, is that they are really no fun at all, at least when you are actually sick.  I think he's still a few years away from appreciating the term, "mental health day".

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Insider's DC: The Yards Park

DC has many free public pools, and for this I am grateful.  However, they don't open until 1 pm, and the lifeguarding staff can be, well, annoying.  For example, Saturday a lifeguard told me that Elijah couldn't put his feet in the lap lane unless he was swimming laps, even though Kurt and our friend Ray were the only people using the lap lane.  Etc.

So, when it's morning, and it's hot, and we don't want to be bothered, we skip the nearby pool and drive across town to The Yards Park.  A mere fifteen minutes away and right next to Nationals Stadium, it is always worth the trip.  When we went there for the first time last month, I couldn't believe it had taken us so long.

On our first visit, there was some sort of bike and beer festival happening.  Elijah was particularly partial to the empty keg drum set that was set up.  The park plays host to many such events, it seems, including free concerts every Friday.

The real reason to go the park, though, particularly on a hot summer day, is the e-normous wading pool.  Complete with a waterfall, trust me when I say this thing is huge.  And, on the upper deck, there is a splash park with jets of varying heights.  Basically, the twins have decided that this place is heaven.  Elijah, well, he's not so sure, as water is still not really his thing, but he'll get there.  Until then, he thoroughly enjoys going up and down and up and down the stairs.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reading Down the Shelves: Books 1-3

At this house, we love books.  The book to every-other-kind-of-thing ratio is probably about even, unless books are ahead.  Lovely as this is, there are a few problems.  One: books take up space.  Two: books are heavy, especially when you have to move them.  I don't know when we will leave this house (if our landlord had his way, it would be never), but when we do, I will not be happy if I have to move a literal ton of books, particularly if they are ones that weren't even worth keeping.  So, inspired by our continual quest to eat down the fridge, I have started a campaign to "read down the shelves" around here.  It takes a lot longer, but unlike eating, it involves subtracting pounds rather than adding them.

So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on the first three books to go.

1) Windy City Blues by Sara Paretsky
Summary: Think Agatha Christie goes to Chicago in these short stories, featuring Paretsky mainstay, private investigator. V.I Warshawski.
My thoughts: This book was pretty much exactly what I was expecting.  The short story form was perfect for this sometimes-sleep-deprived mama.  3 stars (out of 5).
Verdict (Keep, Pass on, Donate): Pass on, though to whom, I'm not yet sure.  Any takers?

2) Shelter Me by Juliette Fay
Summary: Recent widow with two young children finds help all around, just as soon as she can accept it.  Also includes porch as metaphor.
My thoughts: Some memorable characters and a realistic depiction or family life counterbalance the spotty writing.  A perfect beach read, because if it gets washed out to sea, you can pretty much guess what it going to happen.  A few of the sentences made absolutely no sense, though.  Juliette, I think it's time for a new editor. 2.5 stars.
Verdict: Pass on.  I know several new moms who are potential targets for this slightly wobbly arrow.

3) Sweet Country by Caroline Richards
Summary: A fictional account of the 1970's Chilean revolution told from shifting perspectives. 
My thoughts: If you are only going to read one book about the Chilean revolution, read Paula by Isabel Allende.  This book is nowhere near as good.  There's plenty of info, but the book is just kind of boring.  1.5 stars.
Verdict: Donate, although I imagine it will be languishing on the thrift store shelf for some time until someone takes pity.

Three down, lots to go, and no keepers yet.  Stay tuned, as this could take awhile.

Friday, July 6, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Just beachy

Sorry I've absent for the last few days...we have been staycationing, and as with all good vacations, I have lost track of the days.  I figured that since my mom is on vacation, too, she wouldn't mind, but I forget about her extra appendage iPhone, which apparently still works in Canada.

For the only non-stay part of our staycation, we took an overnight trip to Cape Henlopen, DE, for a little camping.  As you can see above, Elijah loved the tent.  Sleeping in the tent, well, that took a little more work.  It was absolutely stifling in there, so who can blame the guy?

Then, there was the beach.  Oh, the beach.  I must confess that I am actually not the biggest beach-goer.  It's the sand.  It's just so...everywhere.   And particularly when camping, you just can't get away from it.  It's in the food, it's in the bed, it's in every crack and crevice.  Elijah, however, was all about the sand.  He made castles and smashed them, made cakes and smashed them, made mountains and...you get the picture.  Compared to his puny sandbox at home, this was incomparable.

The ocean, though, was not as a well received.  I don't know if it was the temperature (cold), the waves (unpredictable) or the size (vast), but he did. not. like it.  After his initial dip (I believe he got wet up to his knees), he would shout "No! No water" anytime we tried to take him close.  Elijah is not presently known for his bravery, so I can't say that I was surprised.  Oh, well.  For this year, he had plenty of fun in the sandbox of his dreams.