Sunday, June 29, 2008

Suhweet!

We had a pretty fun weekend. On Saturday I put some stuff out to participate in a rummage sale that my downstairs neighbor's were having. They collect cool vintage/retro stuff and it's so fun to look through it all.

I didn't make much money. Only $81. But not too bad. Of course, I did spend most of it!

Let's see. So, from my neighbor I purchased a few very cool things. Note: all photos stolen from the internet.

This Ingrid party ball set for $20:




And this pitcher set (except mine is red, not white) for $7:




And the I bought Iris a cute little glass water pitcher so she can use it for pouring her own water for $3. (no photo)

My neighbor also gave me a set of five Ingrid square trays that I was drooling over. They are square trays with a little circle on the corner to set a cup in. Oh, and a cute picnic blanket. Price: free!

THEN today we went to Toys R Us, and remember the radio flyer wagon trailer I was drooling over a few posts back? Well, everywhere I looked online it was like $60. Too pricey for us! But, today it was at TRU and the sign said it was on sale for $25. We brought it up to the cashier and it rang up on clearance for $20! I almost fell over. I'm so excited about the trailer!:

We also bought a cart load of stuff from Bed, Bath and Beyond with the gift cards we got at the Bridal Shower earlier this month. It was a blast to shop for FREE! Even Matt was excited about the shopping trip, which I assure you, is very, very rare.

Other weekend highlights: Matt and I sort of got a date last night. I accompanied him to the At the Spine show and the High Dive. I have never seen ATS perform before and they were fantastic. You might not believe it, but Eloise stayed up the whole time I was gone, with her auntie, and wasn't in bed until almost 11:30. Oh, it was the third time this week she stayed up that late! It's crazy. But she's in a great mood, so whatever. I spent $11 each way on a cab, so total of $22.

Total made from the sale: $81

Total spent on other fun stuff: $72

Eh, pretty much broke even. Oh! And I folded a booty load of cranes yesterday during the sale, so that made it worth while!

We rounded out the weekend with trips to the dog park, a BBQ with friends, and lots of sun. I hate the sun. I want it to go away. I'm only kidding. Sort of. We also met a really wonderful family to see if we were compatible for them to do some childcare for us. They were so awesome. We loved all of them and I think it's going to be a GREAT match. Finally!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tantrums

Eloise is the Queen of Tantrums. I thought Iris was, but oh no, she's got nuthin' on Eloise.

Two interesting things are happening with Eloise's tantrums, however. First, they are getting more powerful. As she gets bigger and stronger and exposed to more things and more autonomous, she has much more precise ideas about what she wants and will stop at nothing to get it. Today she had not one, but TWO, full on tantrums about wanting (wait for it) diet pepsi. Um, yeah. So she screams, gets down on the floor, pounding feet and fists against the ground. If you look closely, there is steam exploding from her ears, as well.

But in addition to her will expanding, so is her ability to communicate. I can get down on the floor with her and have a rudimentary conversation about what is going on and what to do now. I tell her why she can't have soda. I explain that the screaming is hurting people's ears and that we can go sit in the bedroom if she wants to scream (which she never does) and often times she calms down from this. I mean, of course it's not 100% perfect every time, but we're getting there! It's so very exciting.

Too bad I smashed up the car so we're broke now . . .

Cause these are my new favorite things I want to purchase:





Isn't this the most adorable tent EVER? I want one in my size. Considering my obession with mushrooms, it would be perfect!



I have been dying to get one of these:








It is a trailer that hooks on to the back of Radio Flyer wagons. I have dreams of walking to the grocery store with the girls in the wagon and loading up on groceries and heading home. How buff would I be?!?!




And of course, still wanting one of these:







And still looking for one of these on craigslist:


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

PSA

I was involved in my first ever car accident today where I was at fault. I'd like to think having gone 14 years without causing a single accident is pretty good, but I don't really know. It was incredibly, totally stupid, none-the-less. I hit another car because I was paying attention to my cell phone and not the road. No one was hurt, it was a very low-speed crash, and I am glad that our car was damaged much more than the one I hit.


I'm so embarrassed that I did this. I have always been one of those people who was like "oh, I can TOTALLY look at/talk on/text with my cell phone in the car and still be safe!" but it turns out I absolutely couldn't and honestly, it's a wonder I hadn't ever caused a more serious accident. From here on out, the phone gets put away while I am driving and only taken out when I am off of the road-- not even at stop lights (that's where I was today when I hit someone).

Lucky for me, the person I hit didn't completely freak out. Yeah, she was upset, but not screaming at me or anything. The police officer was so wonderful, too. She was all concerned about the girl's car seats and went through all of this stuff with me to make sure we were using them properly. I was glad to hear that they were properly installed-- she said she has seen only three seats i the last six years that have been installed correctly! Isn't that crazy? So I had that going for me at least. Iris's straps needed to be raised and tightened, but Eloise was totally good in her seat. The officer even told me to talk to the judge about getting my fine reduced because she saw I had no violations on my record and am obviously a good driver (thank goodness).

Eloise didn't seem to mind the accident one bit. Well, other than waiting after we pulled off the road. Iris talked to Matt on the phone and told him I smashed in to another car. They both got badge stickers from the officer.

Now I no longer get to brag to Matt about what a great driver I am. What a sad, sad thing indeed (hee hee).

But really, you guys, put your phones away. Really away. Not just on the seat or something where they are still stealing your attention. Nothing is THAT important, you know? Surely the email I was checking wasn't worth all of this.

And because this just wasn't my day, Iris destroyed one of my very favorite paper lanterns that I've had for over ten years. Sigh.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Menu planning

I have been planning menus for the family for months. It takes a little work initially, but I find that it makes our nightly meals a total breeze. Even if the item on the menu is a little complicated it still stresses me out less than if I had to, say, throw a frozen pizza in the oven (which, for the record, we never do).

So I thought it would be fun to share the menu I've planned for the next couple of weeks:

23rd- spaghetti with homemade sauce and turkey meatballs
24th- seitan stir-fry
25th- Italian garden frittata
26th- Green curry with chicken over brown rice
27th- burritos with lentil filling
28th- soba noodle salad
29th- Matt's night! (he is making pita pocket sandwiches this particular night)
30th- baked chicken with mushrooms and rosemary with rice pilaf and steamed broccoli
1st- red bean and quinoa chili
2nd- manicotti and salad
3rd- asparagus-cashew stir-fry
4th- out-to-eat
5th- pasta with herbed ricotta and pine nuts
6th- Matt's night! (hmmm, phad thai maybe?!?!)
7th- curried lentils and cauliflower
8th- Karen's sesame noodles
9th- burritos with lentil filling
10th- veggie burgers and spud puppies
11th- homemade chili with cornbread
12th- Thai noodle salad with Thai cucumber salad

Some of the items are recipes I just sort of made up and several of them (if they have more official sounding names) came from a couple different cookbooks this go-around. One of my favorite cookbooks was written by a woman who taught a couple of my classes at Bastyr University. The cookbook is called Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair. A few of them this time came from a cookbook called The Fifteen Minute Gourmet: Vegetarian. I was given this cookbook a few years ago by my father, I believe. I hadn't given it much thought for a while but the few times I got recipes from it I really liked them, so I pulled a few yummy-sounding ones for this particular menu-planning session.

If you struggle with getting dinner on the table every night, I seriously suggest you give menu-planning a try. For a while we had literally maybe ten meals that rotated through, and that was fine, but now I get a little more interesting. Menus not only make making dinner easier, but they make grocery list making easier, too! I will just look at the menu and buy stuff for about the next ten days out or whatever random cut-off I give myself. Usually it depends on the menu's ingredients. I won't, for instance, buy the asparagus for the July 3rd dinner while I'm out shopping tomorrow, I'll likely get it next weekend, instead.

It also should be said that these menus are largely planned for Matt and I. Most of it the girls will try, but alot of times I end up tweaking things for them or giving them something different. I really don't mind making two different meals, especially since their meal often consists of cut up tofu, noodles, some sort of fruit and/or veggie. Not exactly a culinary masterpiece, but it's usually reasonably healthy and it keeps us all happy. Matt and I get healthy, yummy "adult" food and the girls get something they like, too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My sweetie is FOUR today!!!!

I can't even believe that four years ago today Iris was born. Our lives changed in unimaginable ways that day.

Iris is sensitive, creative, beautiful, passionate, loving, amazing little girl. She tests our limits every single day and expands our hearts every single day, as well.

Happy Birthday Miss Iris Lynn. I love you to pieces.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Eloise is 22 months!

Today Eloise turns 22 months. Two more months and she will be two! I don't have much to update this month. Her language is gradually expanding. She is liberally toying with the boundaries of how gently to treat other children. Her sleep goes from super crappy to super great, even from night to night.

Mostly, though, the exciting news is that four years ago on this night I was in labor with a certain red-headed little girl. I can't believe tomorrow is her birthday! More to post on that tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Losing/Restoring my faith in humanity

I hate flying home from my parent's house. It's like being thrust out of the womb again every time I do it. Leaving their comfy home where I do little all day besides handle the crises of my daughters (which, really, should be enough) back in to the normal world. I get to start this transition at the airport, of all super fun places, alone with two small children.

Luckily getting through General Mitchell International Airport was painless and we encountered lots of nice people at security. Once we boarded the plane and I realized who was sitting in front of us, my heart just sunk. It was three of the absolute WORST people to be seated behind when you have small children. A mid-twenties dude who had no children and two elderly people. Young child-less people don't know what it's like to have children, nor do they care, because the world revolves around them. Old people, in my personal experience, don't remember what it's like to have children. Both of these types of people inexplicably seem to have some crazy belief that airplane rides should be quiet, calm and peaceful. Then they get seated in front of us, poor suckers.

Early on in the fight Eloise was pissed about something. She wasn't screaming bloody murder for hours on end or anything, but she was making her complaints known as I tried to talk her down. The old guy in front of me turns around and says "can you quiet her down?". I ignored him, like I do all ridiculous unsolicited advice, but inside I was like, "What the fuck? Do you think I want my kid to keep this up? That it makes ME happy?" And I have to wonder, why wouldn't he turn around and smile at us? Ask us if everything is okay? If there is anything he can do to help? Make a cute joke about how tough it is to travel with kids? I noticed he had a hearing aid in. Maybe I should have suggested he would be more comfortable if he removed it for the duration of the flight?

Then later in the flight the young dude seated in front of Iris seemed annoyed with her over little things, like she hit her hand against the tray table a little too hard. I saw him whip his head around the seat towards her but wasn't sure if he said anything. The next time he was annoyed he turned around again and said something to her, which I didn't catch. I said "don't you dare address my three year old daughter directly. If you have a problem you can talk to me about it, not her" and he said something about how disruptive she was being or whatever. And you know, she was being a normal three year old three hours in to a four hour flight home. Not the most well-behaved, but not the worst, either. I said to dude that I thought she was doing just fine. To which he replied, I kid you not "I am sure if we took a poll of the people around us they would not agree." I just sat back in my seat. Iris very quietly asked me what he was saying and I loudly replied "he's just being mean."

We finally landed in Seattle and Iris and Eloise started chatting up the man in the seat across the aisle from us. Turned out he was a father of three girls, the youngest two Iris and Eloise's ages. My remarked how good the girls did on such a long flight. Of course it felt very nice to hear that after feeling so defeated by my unfriendly neighbors!

Once we got down to the baggage area a woman came over by us and said she was on our flight and was wondering if she could help us get our bags? I smiled and thank her and let her know I was waiting for my husband (I always call him that to other people. It's easy.). I mean, how sweet is that?!?! As we were getting our things an elderly woman came over and said how well behaved the girls were on the plane. Wowza. Just like that my heart felt all warm and fussy and I had proof that the people in front of us were just being assholes. My girls were fine. People in the world DO offer to help when you appear to need it. Not always, but they do.

Anyways, it's really good to be home. I miss my family, but it's good to be home.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bittersweet

This is the last night at my folk's house before leaving for the airport in the morning. It is likely really, truly the last night at this house as they have their home on the market and, hopefully, it will sell fairly soon. I haven't live in this house for too much of my life. We moved here right before my junior year of high school and then I moved back home briefly after a year away before moving out for good. I'm really going to miss this house, though. I will likely never come back to this town, which is odd for me to feel sad about considering how much I've always hated it. But it's familiar and there is history and plenty of memories here.

Today my sister hosted the most amazing bridal shower for me at her family's house. I always struggle a little being the center of attention (and being plunked down on a blanket in the middle of a circle of chairs to open the gifts didn't do much to ease my anxiety!) but it was so fantastic to have such a fun party to celebrate the upcoming wedding. I get to see my extended family so infrequently that it's a real treat to spend time together when we get the chance. My sister requested that all of the guests send her a favorite recipe on a card and she assembled them in to a binder as a surprise for me. It is so neat to read through the binder and see all of the names of my family and friends and different favorite recipes. Of course, the most special has got to be my grandmother's special sugar cookies. I love them more than life itself and I can't believe I have a copy of this recipe now. Surely they won't be the same when they aren't made by my grandmother's hands, but maybe, if I'm lucky, I'll get good enough at making them that they will become a favorite of my children and grandchildren.

Needless to say, there are a lot of emotions and nostalgia floating around us while we wrap up our visit and prepare to head back to Seattle and in to full-fledged wedding planning mode. I can't believe it's only two months away now. I was talking to my sister about this today after the shower was over-- she put literally months and months of work and planning in to the shower and then *poof!* it's all done! Just like that. Now we have the beloved memories, the pictures and stories of the special day-- much like we will have after the wedding is over. I can't imagine that in two short months all of this planning and work and the big day will be behind us. Then what? We go back to the normal work of maintaining a beautiful relationship and family, just as we've always done. Only now, married!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

In the land of storms and cows

The girls and I are in WI right now-- we got here Monday night and will be back in Seattle on Sunday afternoon just in time for a little Father's Day celebrating!


Having tons of fun, but not much computer time for ol' mama, so this will be short. I'll update more when I get back to Seattle!


I'll leave you with a photo of me at a year old that I got from my mom's big box of pictures:


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Turning it around

So after the debacle of yesterday, Iris was a true joy today. The high point was shopping with her and Eloise and how amazingly well-behaved she was, even as I let her look over the entire section of candy for something-- just one!-- to pick out for the plane ride we will be taking next week. We laughed with each other, shared stories, collectively decided on what to purchase. It was like, oh, wow, this is what it can be like when we're getting along!

Earlier in the day, while we were on a walk, Iris was asking for a sno-cone treat from the grocery store. She had forgotten about it by the time we got home, but I didn't. You should have seen her eyes light up as I suggested during dinner that we go over to the store to buy some! I love getting chances to surprise her.

Even Eloise was a joy today. She and her sister were being so silly over breakfast. The kind of stuff where you think, man, these are terrible table manners, but wow, they are having fun! Our lunch consisted of fart talk, but whatever. We were laughing and eating and it was great.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Okay, I've recovered

Thanks to those of you who responded so kindly to my last post! I feel like it can very much be a no-no to feel so strongly in your anger about your child, but you know, that is really where I was at. Definitely stll learning. Always learning.

As we drove around this afternoon the girls both fell asleep so I got a latte at a Starbuck's drive-thru and cruised around for a bit. After we got home Matt showed up and I took Heidi out for a nice long walk. All was well when I got home and, as always, tomorrow is another day. A better day!

Our awesome morning*

My older daughter can be such an asshole. Oh my god. It's insane. This morning I dressed them in their rain clothes and we drove over to Lincoln Park in West Seattle to meet some other mamas and kids to explore the low tides. It was so amazing. I could have stayed out there all day exploring all of the creatures that were hiding amongst the water, seaweed and rocks. But Iris? She screamed her fucking head off. I couldn't believe it. She hated pretty much everything about it and was especially afraid of the crabs, which she never even got near, but holy cow, they were terrifying. Eloise was a little ambivalent. She enjoyed some of it, was upset by other parts of it, though I don't know how much of that was just being upset because her sister was. So after dragging a screaming Iris around for a while and attempting to have conversation with other mamas and listen to the naturalists speak I finally gave up and decided to walk back towards the beach with them. Of course, that took forever because every step she had to completely freak out. You know, maybe the low tide isn't her thing, fair enough. But to scream your fool head off? Why? I just don't get it. I tried to explain to her over and over that she was safe, that the crabs couldn't get her, that nothing was going to happen to her. It didn't matter.

After that we got our lunch and sat down and hung out with the other kids and mamas. This was the one nice part of the adventure. My girls were fairly well-behaved at this point, it was a nice break.

All hell broke lose when it was time go home, though. Iris completely fucking lost it. She screamed and tantrumed and freaked out when I took her stick away after she came extremely close to hitting her sister with it. Twice. I tried to chat with another mama as we walked back to the car, but pretty much all I could do was repeat my internal dialogue of "Do not strangle your child. It's not cool. You would go to jail. Just don't do it." She head butted me in the mouth, I had to pick her up, drag her and listen to her scream bloody murder. My new friend was, I am sure, horrified, but was nice and supportive anyways. Bless her heart! By the time I wrestled Iris in to the car her tantrum was finally over.

It is so funny because just last night at the parent meeting at Iris's school we discussed setting limits and the like. The director was saying that you should just let your child know that the discussion is over, end of story, and it will be done. I'm like, yeah, you obviously have never interacted with my child because that is NEVER the end of the story. She screamed about her damn stick for a good fifteen minutes despite me saying the discussion was over.

I'm exhausted. We were supposed to have so much fun and it was mostly just a gigantic pain in my ass.

*yes, this title is facetious

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sweet, sweet bliss!

My weekend of bliss is over. Matt took the girls to his parents on Friday morning and they didn't return until late Sunday afternoon. I really thought it would be one of those things where I looked forward to it coming, but hated the alone time once it got here. Um, nope! It definitely helped recharge my stores of energy and I crossed a million things off of my to-do list. Lots of shopping for wedding stuff was done, which is SO MUCH FUN without children in tow! I was on the phone with my mom in IKEA and emailing her pictures of things from my phone to get her opinion. Trying on clothes at Old Navy, staying up late and sleeping in and watching whatever movies I wanted to were also highlights of the weekend.

I was so glad that Eloise did fine without me. It was the first time she has ever slept without me for an entire night and although it sounded like the nights started out a little shaky, she slept right through after she fell asleep and didn't ask to nurse at all. Of course, the first thing she did when she saw me upon returning home was ask to nurse, but that was to be expected.

We are jumping right back in to the chaos around here, however. A very busy week this week and a busy weekend coming up, as well. The girls and I are leaving next Monday for a trip to WI for a week-- I'm very much looking forward to being there, but not so much to the travelling that is required to actually get there. Please send little Eloise lots of calm, patient vibes for the plane ride!