Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Malfunctions and Distractions

I'm experiencing a little technical glitch - camera-wise. I'm hoping it's simply a dead battery issue. I meant to go buy some today. But there was a more pressing errand to be run and the sun was shining, which (in my book) makes it a one-errand day. Sunshine is not to be wasted walking up and down the aisles of a windowless bulk foods store, even if one doesn't manage to make it out in the sun for more than grilling dinner. Even if one spends the afternoon in the kitchen doing puzzles on the hardwood floor while listening to the chink of aluminum bats hitting leather balls just outside. A slumbering baby, a toddler's pride at completing her puzzle, and a kitchen made new by a sunlit cast - all ample reasons to stay unplugged and put off batteries for another day.

So the only pictures I have for you are these of on-going projects. The first (taken with my phone) of Audrey creating her version of sock puppets - complete with arms and legs - using a kit given to her by a friend. The second, a picture I took a couple days ago as I worked on a project I hope to finish soon. Audrey named her creations: Audrey, Fluffy, and Gassy, ahem (I think she was actually naming it Cassie, but I laughed and said, did you say Gassy? - and it was all over then). I've only given mine first initials.

Maybe, tomorrow we'll go buy batteries. Or, maybe, we'll keep running on another kind of energy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

7:54 am

We awoke to a masked world outside and small energy-filled feet inside, just waiting to explore and uncover the day's secrets. From silence to stretching, lull to laughter, fog and frost to first moments of day. Here's to the magic of the everyday, to just getting outside your door.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pancake & Waffle Day

What, you ask, happens on a Pancake & Waffle Day (or Audrey & Daddy Day)? I came home Saturday night to find us the proud new owners of a tee ball set and a new baseball swing. New puzzles were stacked on the counter. Outside, lay the remnants of a house drawing lesson. (You see the line drawn between the houses? Audrey told her Daddy she had "attached" their houses).

The kitchen counter was punctuated with three blue mugs filled with water and germinating seeds. Which led...

to Pancake & Waffle Day: the sequel. Sunday was rainy. The connected houses had washed away. But the seeds were ready, so Jason went ahead with the planting. He assumed he'd be planting in the damp alone. But no sooner had he wrapped his fingers around the handle of a blue mug and Audrey was running to the closet for her coat and hat.

Granted, he did do most of the planting himself while she spent her time, shovel and worms in hand.

Until, she had amassed quite a collection (and told a few stories about salamanders and other such creatures),

who needed to find a new home, which Jason helped her dig in the garden. Ahh, those pancakes and waffles. I just can't seem to get my fill.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 63

Nathan and I took to the road yesterday to go visit some of my college friends while Jason and Audrey had a daddy/daughter day (or Pancake & Waffle day, if you will). Our day was full, and I didn't blog. Friday, I had built-in time for blogging. I had planned on making soup for dinner. It needed twenty minutes to simmer - bingo. But Audrey, sitting at the table snacking while watching other children playing outside, expelled some gas. "My fart said we can go to the park," she said. I don't speak fart (and really, is there any use arguing with a fart who means business?), so I left the stockpot empty on the stove and told her to grab her coat.

I could have blogged that night. I had a free hour. But there was this baby. He was smiling. I was smiling. If he had been farting, the fart would have said, play with me. So I did. I sang "Everybody was Kung Fighting," (it's a manly song, right?) while moving his arms in karate-chop dance moves. Our smiles grew bigger. Together we performed some baby calisthenics. We laughed. Both of us stayed up way too late. I didn't blog.

During the days, I marvel at faces, comments, firsts, and feats. I tell myself that there are things I will never forget: touching my newborn's back over and over again the first time she was handed to me because her skin was the softest thing I'd ever felt; my son's first deep laugh, the songs that calmed them down (and my awe and relief at being able to do so); and the ways she made me laugh. And, hopefully, I won't. But, just in case, I snap pictures. Pictures that I dig out on lazy Sundays (or search through digitally) with a toddler on my lap. I show her the pictures of her first birthday, her smashed pumpkin cake. She asks to see pictures of friends, her first friends, all of them just babes and all of them playmates still. I begin to notice things. The things I did not (could not) see - the full face and arms (so slim and muscular now) that I did not notice against the rolls of other babies, those that fell average on doctor's scales. I realize that even at nine months she knew who she was: a girl of dress-up and make believe and a rather clever repurposer of found objects, as well as the wearer of never-ending adventure-inspired boo-boos. While enamored with this baby who was (and those parts that still are) there was so much in front of us that we could not see. We could not imagine this girl before us who holds her alphabet-song-singing toy to her ear and exclaims, "There's a kid in there that knows the words!" So we watch, amused and awe-stricken from behind the lens or the keyboard and we try to capture it all. Because we don't know what his tight grip means, or his comfort at stacking his hand on top of ours to keep us there while he sleeps. We only know that it matters, and that time and pictures (or perhaps, his farts) will tell.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hello, Spring.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Little Project Preparation...

Here's to freezer paper, x-acto knives, late night thoughts of a hot cinnamon-scented bowl of oatmeal, and those tempting projects that just won't let you go to bed - yet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sight. Sound. Taste. Touch. Smell.

This evening, I had barely left the neighborhood before noticing a car stopped in a turning lane. The driver was getting out. I tapped my brakes, hesitating - thinking she needed help. Then I noticed the camera. I peeked into my rearview mirror. Just over my shoulder was the most brilliant, full-bodied sunset, framed by leafless branches. I found myself thinking, good for her and feeling gratitude that she had also let me capture the moment (if only I hadn't just taken my camera from my bag). Sight. Sound. Taste. Touch. Smell.

Have you indulged your senses today?

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Fresh Coat for Coats

Do you have lingering projects? Say, you start painting your kitchen New Years of 2009. You remind yourself to not forget to paint the teeny space under the built-in desk. In the wee hours of the morning, due to things you can't remember (fatigue, perhaps) you decide not to pull the refrigerator out to paint the wall behind it. By this time, you've totally forgotten that you've forgotten not to forget to paint under the desk. Come another day, and a clearer mind, you realize your mistake. You think, it's just the space under the desk and behind the fridge, it will take only a moment - some other day (after all, you can barely see it). Fifteen months pass. Yes, months! You would plead the baby, but there are those pesky three months pre-pregnancy or baby that you can't really spin. Never happens to you, you say?, neither (holding my nose in case it spontaneously doubles in size).

As much as I'd like to tell you that after fifteen months I just couldn't stand myself anymore and had to drag out the paintbrushes in utter shame, let's call a duck a duck (I hear the first step is admitting the problem), I only pulled out the paintbrushes because I had a new project in mind. I decided to paint the closet.

Several friends have mentioned Dave Ramsey's "snowball" method of paying off debt. It goes something like this: you pay off the credit cards with the least amount due on them first, therefore getting the first one paid off faster, which gives you the adrenaline rush needed to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and pay off the next bigger debt, followed by the next, until you're debt-free. I've been using this same theory in regards to cleaning for years. I am not a cleaner/organizer by nature (in college, the only thing that could bring me to clean my room was finals avoidance - study for finals? Have you seen this mess?). I need a little snowball action to give me the chutzpah needed to think I could possibly undertake the seemingly daunting task of cleaning the entire house. I start with the smallest room, typically the laundry room (although, I'm not above counting the tiny closet that houses the toilet as its own room). This method works for me. Seeing one clean (albeit, tiny) room typically gives me the jolt of accomplishment I need to tackle another room. So, when I made the goal to get a little more organized this year, I decided to do it snowball-style, starting with one small closet: the coat closet. Which brings me back to the paint:

One of my first steps in organizing the coat closet was to paint it the same color as the kitchen that it enters into (this step got overlooked at the same time as the wall behind the refrigerator and space under the desk). This might seem like a ridiculous step for a "room" in which most of the walls will be covered by objects, but I'm aiming to make the closet a cohesive, functional, and peaceful-looking part of the kitchen, which to me, means a worthy paint job. Paint job done, I'm ready to move on to organization. I have a few ideas that I hope to employ this week if I can get a little time at the sewing machine. So stay tuned...and wish me luck.

Oh, and if you're wondering just what you're looking at in the picture above, the fish "drop cloth" is really an old shower curtain that we repurposed when we changed our bathroom decor. The aluminum foil lining the paint tray is a quick clean-up trick my Dad taught me. (And if you need to step away from your paint for awhile but don't want to bother with clean-up, tuck the wet brushes and paint tray in the fridge and it won't dry out on you. My friend, Jill, gave me that piece of advice and it worked like I charm when I had to step away from my work to eat dinner).

Need some organizational inspiration to get your spring cleaning/organizing underway? Let me suggest a perusal of this blog, Penelope Loves Lists. Blogger Meredith (she refers to her organizationally like-minded kindred spirits as Penelopes), an organizational maven, gives tips and suggests products to help organize just about everything - and this week, she's hosting a give away. I might have to go enter now, aspire to Penelope-status.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 62

I love Saturdays. They have a rhythm all their own. It starts out slow: the rattle of a baby gate, the cry of an awakening baby, pajamas and unkempt hair. The day quickly progresses, a crescendo to banging pots and pans: lots of hands pounding out dough or whisking eggs before heading off to solve puzzles or update ipods. Saturdays are a gift of time. Time to sit and eat. Time to talk, to plan adventures and gardens that will be. Time to study baby smiles and dimpled hands and laugh when we hear him laugh in his sleep (what was he dreaming about?). Time to reminisce and tell the stories of the week:

(Let me preface this first story with an apology. A and C, this story is by no means a reflection of your relationship, but rather, a reflection of my ability to be a complete buffoon. And, it's too funny not to share.)

Jason often plays video games with my cousin online. Sunday, at breakfast, Jason began to talk video games (I was feeding Nathan and not 100% focused on the conversation):

"Your cousin might get Tiger Woods golf. He's moved back in with his wife and kids."
I look up. "What?"
Jason, realizing I've missed a step, starts to tease. "Yep. Turns out he only thought his wife was working nights. The second kid isn't his," Jason laughs. "I'm talking about Tiger Woods."
"I was so confused," I said.
Audrey looks at me. "The second kid is someone else's."
(Yes, now would be an excellent time for us to start having our Tiger Woods discussions out of ear shot of our daughter - nothing like having your three-year-old connect the dots for you).

Tuesday morning, Jason had left a box of Rice Krispies laying out on the counter. Audrey saw them and told me she wanted some. I poured them into a bowl.
"No. Not like that," she said.
"Do you want them with milk?" I asked.
She agreed. I poured. She looked at the bowl thoroughly disappointed.
"That's not how they come at Mamaw's," she said.
"Honey, they don't come out of the box as Rice Krispy Treats."

Tuesday afternoon:
"What does M & M start with?"

Thursday morning she said, "Daddy's not here. He went to work. I don't like when Daddy goes to work because I want to keep him." A few minutes passed. Then she asked, "He has to go to work to buy us money?" I told her that her father earned money, but that she was right, he basically used his time and skills to buy us money.

Thursday afternoon:
"If Daddy is at work does that mean I get to hang with you?"

This week, Audrey has asked to play hide 'n seek several times. It goes something like this:

She asks me to create a hiding place for her using the sheets and pillows of the master bed. She hides and asks me to come find her, portraying some sort of character (her favorite is a scary skeleton - as I said yesterday, she stays true to her season). I wander around the bedroom and surrounding rooms growling like a scary skeleton (they do growl, you know) until I find her hiding (always) under the sheets. Then we play again. Sometimes she brings friends (in the form of stuffed animals) to hide with her. This morning, she began teaching the game to Jason. She showed him how to create a hiding place. She brought a few friends along and hid them under the sheets. She had Jason join her underneath. They sat quietly, hiding. A few minutes passed. "We need a skeleton," she said.

Tonight, we took advantage of the warm weather and grilled out for the first time. Jason told Audrey she could come outside with him while he prepared the grill. She grabbed her coat and he helped her slide it over her arms. "Oh, thanks," she said. "You're my big helper."

Now, the kitchen table has been cleared, bellies are full, and thoughts have moved to quieter rhythms of Saturday evening: a collecting of toys, the giving of baths, slumbering of babes, and settling in with cups of hot chocolate to watch a movie. Here's to Saturdays and the rhythm of home. I hope you're enjoying yours.

Friday, March 19, 2010

One Down

Our little girl stays true to her season. The Halloween books get pulled out all year long. She has yet to stop talking about trick-or-treating and keeps asking when we're going again. Just last week she asked me what I was for Halloween, followed by questions as to what her grandparents went dressed up as for Halloween. Headbands with rabbit ears or flower petals or crowns attached frequently find their way from the playroom floor to the top of her head. This week she's been stealing a whisk from the kitchen drawer to use as her scepter as she runs through the house telling me about the other creatures who live in her kingdom. I didn't have to brainstorm too long before deciding that a trunk filled with costumes for dress-up would be an Audrey-perfect gift.

Last night, I decided to spend the last few free minutes of the night sitting in front of the sewing machine rather than the computer. And, voila, today we have a pair of wings - butterfly wings. I used the Fluttery Butterfly pattern in Deborah House's Quick Costumes for Kids as my template to make this costume. House suggests that you use craft glue to create this cute costume in a mere hour. We're a bit rough and tumble at our house, so I'm not sure how a glued costume would hold up. I decided to double her pattern, so to speak, creating a front and back. I sewed each stripe and circle to the material (all felt that I had on hand) and then sewed the two pieces together, making it much sturdier. The elastic loops seen in the picture slip over the arms, while some elastic sewn in a figure-eight shape will hold the costume secure against Audrey's back. As for the hour timeline, I can't really say how much longer my version took. It's a bit like that song in Rent, which measures time by coffee cups. This project took a few bath times given by Daddy, one free night due to an evening meeting Jason had to attend, several 2-minutes here/3-minutes there to sew on one stripe or circle as Jason had Audrey preoccupied, and one final sewing session to connect the wings last night.

Now this costume gets tucked away for secret keeping until November or December. My plan is to make a costume a month until her birthday or Christmas (and to find the perfect wooden trunk to store the costumes in - if you find one, let me know). I'm hoping to have ten or so costumes (I bought a couple on clearance for a few dollars a piece following Halloween last year to add to the stash) to give her. We'll see how it goes. One costume down...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


We took to the yard in light-weight jackets.

Nate napped outside, nestled in his car seat on the patio.

I took down the, ahem, Christmas lights still clinging to our fence posts that between the baby, the surgeries, the sicknesses, and all things everyday, I had forgotten were still up (and our neighbors, too sweet to mention it, had let go without the faintest hint of a "you realize it's almost EASTER, don't you?).

Audrey played a game of tag with the neighbor's dog, neither one the least bit deterred by the fence posts in between.

We came in and invited the outdoors to come with us, closing only the screen door.

I did the dishes while watching two grown children swing in perfect unison.

As the sounds wafted in, we tossed together a pinch of this and cup of that. (Did you know they made measuring spoons for dashes and smidgens? Sometimes, even the smallest amounts count. Of course, these spoons were a gift from my mother, because mothers tend to know that the smallest things count.)

We made this bread that eats like cake. We broke into it before it had properly cooled and didn't bother to sit at the table.

Some days are bread that eats like cake: warm to the touch, sweet to the nose. They contain hints of forgotten magic (even if that magic is best stored away until December) that make you laugh at yourself. They remind us that barriers only exist where we see them, playgrounds need only be outgrown if we desire them to be, and sometimes, all you need is a smidgen.

For those of you interested in the bread, here are a few of our baking notes:

The recipe says to preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. We preheated ours to 350 degrees F. We baked our bread for around 40 minutes, our oven tends to bake on the fast side.

The recipes calls for 4 bananas. We used 3, because that's what we had on-hand, minus one bite - apparently, they didn't look overripe to Audrey.

The recipe uses 250 g of flour. We used 1 1/4 c.

It also calls for 125 g of dark or milk chocolate. I found a king-sized Hershey bar in the pantry and chopped 3/4 of it into tiny pieces, since the 2 bags of dark chocolate chips I had bought for just this recipe, ahem, disappeared a chip at a time with no final food product to show for themselves (I guess they eat like cake, too).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hello, Promise.

If promises took on a physical form, they'd look like this. Hello, promise, may I call you spring?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baby Blues

It's called the Pebble Vest and it's a free pattern at THE.THRIFTY.KNITTER. And, I love it!

Seriously, a pint-sized boy in an old man-inspired sweater vest - what's not to love?

The vest is made with Moda Dea's Silk 'n Wool blend yarn in Aquatic. It knits up

quickly in one piece, and the button-up side makes slipping it onto your wriggling babe

a snap (not to mention the adorable detail it adds to the side). This little photo shoot was

taken a couple weeks ago (no worries, my sick little guy wasn't forced to model this morning). Nathan happily served as my fit model before this little vest got packaged up and sent in the mail in time for my sister's baby shower this past weekend. While we hated missing the day, it made us feel a little closer sending a tiny blue handmade something in anticipation of another sweet little something soon-to-arrive, all wrapped in blue.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 61

I feel as though the keeper of an overgrown bee colony decided to address her problem by stuffing her overpopulated bees into a mason jar, shaking them up, and depositing the now infuriated bees into the cavity between my eyes. My head (freakishly small as it is), is undoubtedly, smaller than her beehive in the first place. Those bees want out! They've been ramming my temples and forehead all evening trying to dig a tunnel.

This headache would be distracting if it weren't for the game of medical "Who's coming to dinner?" we've been playing today. Does Nate have a cough? Yes, yes he does. A fever? Yes - 101.1. Is he agitated? Yes. Upset stomach? Could be. So who is our dinner guest? The same guy who came to visit his sister a week ago? An extremely early tooth? The croup? Hmm. Sounds like a full table.

So, I sit - left hand cradling a sick little one who seems most content sleeping right here, and right hand slowly, slowly pecking the keys. It's hard not to be distracted, to steal glimpses of the little guy (even if it does increase the pounding of bees against my forehead each time) who looks so peaceful (finally) and so much like his Daddy.

Distraction is, sometimes, exactly what we need. And, around here, most times comes in the form of a vibrant little blond:

I woke up at 5:45 on Monday and sensed that something was off. I noticed that Audrey's bedroom light was shining into the hallway and got up to find her sprawled, belly down, asleep on her chair. Afraid to move her, I left her until she woke just a little while later.

"When did you get up?" I asked (really meaning to ask what had woken her up).
"Um. Seven o' clock," she said.

Still congested this week, on Tuesday she told me she had "squirmies" in her nose.

That night while playing with Jason, she said, "Daddy, you're a good guy, except when you put me in time out. You're not nice when you put me in time out."

Wednesday, while outside, she looked at the playground near our house. "Someone is at my park and that's okay. I'll share my park."

That evening, Jason asked, "What did you do at school?"
"I cleaned up. But I didn't clean up fast enough, but they gave me a sticker already," she said (let that be a lesson to the teachers - don't give a sticker to this one until she's done cleaning).

Friday, we took our chances at the zoo in the drizzly weather. While at the zoo, Audrey wanted to know where the Lorax was and just why the zoo didn't have one.

No Lorax to be found, and the rain finding us an easy target, I decided to steer us toward home. Audrey, game for more animals, wasn't too sure about my choice. As I buckled everyone into their seats, she rattled off a chorus of "Dang it. Dang it. Dang it." When I didn't respond, she asked, "What is dang it?"
"Dang it is something people say when they are frustrated."
"What's frustrated?"
"Frustrated means upset."
"Dang it. Dang it. Dang it. Dang it. Dang it. Dang it."
"Audrey, are you frustrated or upset?" I asked.
"I'm frustrated because I'm cold."
"Sometimes, when I'm frustrated, I ask God to help."
"To help you not say dang it?"
"No, Audrey, to help me with whatever I'm frustrated about."

When Audrey is doing something we would prefer her not to, we give her a choice, something like, "Audrey, you can stop smashing your brother or you can go to your room. What is your choice?"

Tonight, Jason was about to leave the playroom when she said, "No, stay up here. You have a choice."
Jason told her that she hadn't given him a choice, that a choice meant he had another option. "What's my other choice?" he asked.
"To do something bad," she answered.

Shortly after Jason and I were engaged, someone told us we would have beautiful children. I remember thinking that that was quite possibly the weirdest thing I'd ever heard. When genetics and probabilities come into play, all bets are off. (Okay, I'm sure that geneticists could come up with some pretty accurate bets, but I'm no geneticist). But, this person was right. I caught myself staring at Audrey this Friday as she ran toward me en route to the dolphin show. She was laughing. I found myself transfixed, thinking, this is who Jason and I became - this striking girl who loves the rain, caterpillars, and her brother. The very best of both of us. More beautiful than I could have ever imagined, and growing too fast for me to keep up.

Dang it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Just Feel Like Skipping

Oh, sweet yesterday. Have you ever woken up to a Volvo of a Wednesday to find that she drives like a convertible coupe with the top down? Yesterday was such a Wednesday. Bright sun, blue skies, out-of-town friends and others not seen in a while, an evening that played like the afternoon - all the makings of a should-be-Friday. It was the sort of day that makes you want to play hooky. So I did.

I was never the type of girl who played hooky, which is probably why the idea seems so appealing to me. The girls I knew who played hooky were bold and brassy and had no problem telling teachers what was what. I had nothing to be bold about; there are bags of flour that weigh more in volume than I did in high school, and the only thing brassy about me were my braces. As for the teachers, there are only two whom I attempted to give a piece of my mind, one in middle school and the other by means of a written letter that I proofread and revised (I'm surprised I didn't type it) before slapping it under the windshield wiper of her car.

I didn't use my newfound collegiate freedom for purposes of hooky, either. In fact, I missed fewer days of school in college than I did high school (yes, it's possible I'm the biggest nerd you know): one for illness and three for a trip to DC (my priorities weren't completely skewed). It's not that I wasn't pulled by the first warm days of sunshine back then, it's just that I had plans. I was going to become a psychologist and counsel patients. This plan came with fears, the first being not getting into graduate school and the second of me sitting across from a couch-laden patient while saying, "I'd love to help you with your psychosomatic issues, Mrs. Jacobson, but you see, I skipped that day."

Flash forward a decade. I didn't become a psychologist, nor do I know a Mrs. Jacobson. If she does struggle with psychosomatic issues, she's going to have to seek help elsewhere. I'm busy - playing hooky.

*I know the picture above has nothing to do with the kids and I playing hooky yesterday, other than the fact that we played hooky from the camera as well, focusing on visiting and playing too much to remember to take it out. The picture above is one of my favorites. I don't know the year it was taken, but it is of my grandmother and great-grandmother sitting on my father's old motorcycle. Their expressions (not to mention the peace signs) make me think they were having a convertible-coupe-with-the-top-down sort of Wednesday. Those are some women about to play hooky.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Guess I Do Do Windows

So, the construction of the windows and door to our playroom project above isn't going to win me a blue ribbon at our state fair, or our local fair for that matter. It's been a month and a half since I finished adding the eyelets to hang our playhouse from the ceiling, and I was getting a bit antsy to get this house up and functioning. What happened in the fifteen minutes here, thirty minutes there that I managed to find in the last month and a half can best be described as "sprinting with needles" (which is about as good of an idea as it sounds). Tonight, with a chunk of time to myself, I pulled out the ironing board, switched on the sewing machine and serger and finished the last two window frames, door frame, and hem.

We kept things simple. We plotted out where we wanted the windows and door to be, made an outline using painter's tape, cut around said outline, and used bias tape and quilt binding to sandwich our fabric (keeping it from fraying) and create a clean door/window frame look. A little frenzied sewing and this little abode got illuminated in a big way.

I added a couple of lengths of bias tape to the top of the door so Audrey will have the option of keeping the door open if she likes. And, while it isn't blue-ribbon worthy, I think it will be 100% kid-approved (Audrey hasn't seen it yet, not that Jason and I didn't each take a turn sneaking inside to try out her new digs). Besides, last time I checked, three-year-olds weren't handing out ribbons.

Next step: paint.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Superhero Fruit

This morning, I awoke to bright sun, and it was glorious. Almost. My sinuses had decided to declare war - kamikaze style. Still, I persevered. The morning was productive, bouts of play interspersed with bouts of chipping away at a deskful of clutter.

Outside, it was 58 degrees. Kids trickled outside all afternoon, their numbers increasing with each bus drop-off and parents' commutes from driveways to backyards. I couldn't wait to get outside and spend the afternoon "finding spring" with Audrey. I had a plan. It was glorious. Almost.

First, Audrey ignored my warning about her decibel level while singing and woke her brother. In a rare display of fussiness, he could not be comforted until I resorted to cozing him into the infant carrier and walking around the house with him as my kangaroo pup. Out her usual one-on-one time, Audrey resorted to the any-attention (read: negative)-is-good-attention mindset. She brought her A game, as did I. She upped the ante. I bluffed with the best of them. We carried on this way until well after her father arrived home. I kept hoping for a mulligan. But they don't have mulligans in poker (or parenting). Finally, she called, and there I was forced to play my hand. I went all in. No walk to the playground. No finding spring.

An afternoon spent in a behavioral stalemate while the first warm day of spring slips you by is anything but glorious, no matter how necessary. The day may have gone down like a sinking ship, but thanks to a fun bath time and a favorite dish, the evening was rescued.

I informed Audrey that I had made a favorite dish of hers, a dish that my mother used to make for my sisters and me, one I have been referring to as Hot Fruit (I can't remember what we called it growing up). She smiled, excited. Then she said, "I wasn't very nice today," followed by an apology. I might just have to rename the dish - something more in keeping with its superhero powers. Hot Damn! Fruit, at the very least.

Hot (Damn! Wonder Woman Wishes She Had Some of This Hiding Under Her Cape - Toddler Apology-Inducing) Fruit:

1 large can sliced pears
1 large can sliced peaches
1 large can cherry pie filling
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Drain the pears and peaches. Combine all items in an oven-safe dish. Bake on 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes. Stir occasionally (although, given the days events, stirring took a backseat tonight and it turned out just fine). Glorious.

(The picture above doesn't do the dish justice, but that's what happens when the day and good natural lighting pass you by).

Friday, March 5, 2010

For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 60

The theme for this week has been fever, as in Spring Fever and those ranging between 99.6-100.7 degrees. And, while it seems as if the physical fevers should have more pull on our days, it's that spring one that has staying power. Perhaps, that's why this first week of March, with its high-forties-degreed weather and resurgence of the sun, of whose finger-like rays I try to stay within easy grasp while going about my work, has us feeling a bit joyful, in spite of our health-challenged selves. Maybe it's the brush of warmth against our faces hinting at promises of walks and picnics to come that's making us smile. Or, maybe it's the coos and laughter from a certain little guy every time he peers closely at his Daddy's face as if he's already figured out who the fun parent is in this duo. Of course, the following moments with Audrey didn't hurt, either:

On Sunday, Audrey was in the bathtub splashing around with a toy replica of Nemo. She also has a replica of Marlin (Nemo's dad) that, apparently, she couldn't find. She told me that Nemo's dad had gone somewhere.

"Where did Nemo's dad go?" I asked.

"Probably to a meeting," she said.

My little sister is about to have her first baby (not "about" as in any day now, about as in a month and a half from now). Audrey and I were talking about this on Wednesday. Some friends will be throwing her a shower soon.

"Your aunt is having a baby, so they are throwing a party called a shower," I said.

"Her baby can't have a shower. He's too little. She has to wait until he's bigger," she said.

On Thursday, she asked me if she could move to the neighbor's house.

"I want to live with Jaila," she said.

When I explained that she couldn't live both places and asked if she didn't want to live with us anymore, she said, "Well, I want to play with Jaila."

Later that day, she found the lady bug seen in the picture above. Nothing makes this girl happier than discovering a lady bug around the house. She carried him around for the next fifteen minutes (and would have carried him around all day had she not dropped and lost him) referring to him as her best friend. I overheard her telling him (in no uncertain terms) that he needed to raise his voice.

"I'm glad we had this talk," she said.

(Is "blackmail" the first word that pops into anyone else's head when viewing this picture?)

Last week, a friend called me to tell me about a great online deal she found on some FuzziBunz pocket diapers. The catch? The only ones on clearance (for almost half off!) were daisy-patterned. I thought about the future ramifications of dressing my son in daisy-motifed diapers for all of three minutes before I ordered them. Nathan was wearing this red pair (I also have them in blue) on Thursday when he let something go that would make my uncle, the truck driver, blush. Audrey was sitting next to me as I changed his diaper. She looked down at the filled diaper with its floral print.

"I don't think its his kind," she said.
I laughed. "You don't think he likes it?"

This morning, Audrey asked, "Can we go find spring?" (We let her watch Franklin and the Green Knight a couple weeks ago in which Franklin goes on a quest to bring back spring). Blame it on the sunshine, or the sound of the basketball drumming my neighbor's drive, or the daisies that have been springing up around here lately (even if only on bums), but I'm ready to pack a snack, grab a middle-weight jacket and go. But our quest will have to wait. The medicine I gave Audrey this afternoon to rid her of her cough, has managed to do something I haven't been able to convince her of for a year-and-a-half. Twenty minutes ago she decided to take a nap. As grateful as I am to see her finally having a peaceful slumber, it's kind of freaking me out. I guess spring will just have to wait. At least until tomorrow.

Wishing you a weekend filled with flowers in unexpected places...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happiness with a Zipper

I don't know who said to find what it is you love to do and then find a way to make money at it, but it sounds like a recipe for happiness in business to me. And, it's just what my friend, Meredith, over at Spire Design Group has been doing. (You have heard me talk about Meredith here.) Shortly after dusting off her old sewing machine, Meredith taught herself how to make a little zippered pouch. And, well, she never looked back. Over one hundred bags later, I got an email from Mere telling me she was beginning a side venture to her interior design business, a collection of bags under the name SDG. The bags above are just two of numerous designs you can find at her website. How sweet is that hummingbird fabric? It just tweets spring to me. (Happiness!)

Were you hoping for a little double happiness today? Well, I can deliver. You see, when I visited Meredith's blog this morning to check out her bags, I noticed she was hosting a give away, a personalized necklace from one of the etsy shop owners (Valerie) of Spunk & Sass. So, take a moment to visit Meredith's blog (take in the bag eye candy - so wonderfully spring) and enter for a chance to win a little something pretty just for you.

What? You want a chance to win a SDG bag for free? Well, I just discovered that Valerie is doing her own give away on her blog Next to Heaven. Be sure to check it out. Is that a triple happiness? Told you I could deliver. ;)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Think He Loves Me

In the 1996 movie, Phenomenon, George Malley (portrayed by John Travolta) falls for the tough exteriored, yet soft-on-the-inside, Lace Pennamin (played by Kyra Sedgewick). Lace has a passion for making chairs, which (unbeknownst to her) George buys - every single one. Of course, Lace does eventually find out about George's penchant for her chairs, George wins over the girl, and his friend, Doc, puts another townsperson in his place when he explains, "Every woman has her chair, something she needs to put herself into, Banes. You ever figure out what Lisa's chairs were and buy 'em?"

This week, when I told Jason that I was having yet another problem with my laptop, he confessed that he'd been checking out some laptops that he thought would make my days (or at least my blogging) much easier. Last night, he bought me one. There's more than one way to fix a computer.

Just to give you an idea, the computer above is the one I've been using since I began blogging. Audrey performed this face lift on the keyboard in October of 2008 as I was attempting to load the car for a two-day getaway. The keys have stuck a bit ever since. (Notice the sticker in the left-hand corner of the photo. This is a picture just primed for Leno or Letterman, no?) Not long after that, my battery began to wear down, only lasting fifteen minutes or so before the computer would shut down, which meant that I had to be plugged into the wall to blog, because a fifteen-minute blogger I am not. Then, at the end of last year, I lost the ability to upload pictures from my camera to the laptop (we never figured out if it was a cord problem or a computer problem). So, each morning, I would run down to the computer in our basement, upload my pictures, save them to the blog, and then write the blog later on the laptop as I had time. That brings us up to last week when the pictures stopped loading from the computer in the basement to the blog. No idea why. I'm sure I would have continued on this way until Nathan grew old enough to toss the laptop down the stairs.

But why worry about such quibbles with a guy like Jason around? So here I sit, typing on a new working computer with a built-in SD card reader. Living with a man who buys your chairs and being the new owner of a computer that fits in your purse - double happiness!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Technical Difficulties

Yesterday, I had planned on beginning a week of posts focused on happiness. But we experienced some technical difficulties, both computer and family-wise. I have been unable to upload pictures to my blog the last few days. I am not tech savvy and have no idea why. My husband, who is much more tech savvy, also has no idea why.

As for the family, well those little loves of mine sure know how to keep things interesting. Jason, ever the medical adventurer, piggy-backed his knee surgery recovery with a tooth extraction yesterday. His was the sort of extraction that elicits comments from the oral surgeon like, "you're going to make me earn my money today," and "Holy mother!" from the rest of us (or, perhaps, just me) as we investigate the trim job to the corresponding gum tissue, making it appear as if this scant piece of tissue missed the memo about wearing heels on picture day, the shortened gum line made ever more obvious by the two-popcorn-kernel-sized hole above.

Our sweet Nathan, although rather congested, got a clean bill of health at his two-month check-up yesterday, along with a vaccine to each thigh. We spent a good portion of the evening trying to place him in a comfortable position to ease his crying and taking turns with the bulb syringe. He continues to whimper a bit today each time I move him, but rather than cry, the last time I stuck the bulb syringe in his nostril, he smiled at me. Poor kid.

Audrey developed an alter ego yesterday, culminating in an attempted eye roll (she managed to dart the blues of her eyes to the corners of her lids while fluttering her eyelashes) by late afternoon and the discovery of a fever at 3 a.m. The two of us had quite the forcing-down-of -juice party until 5 a.m. when Jason settled her back in bed. By 8:20 she was fine, asking me to play in her playroom and requesting pancakes. (Although, she keeps asking to sit in my lap with my hand to her forehead, because she finds the position "cozy"). As I made the pancakes, she sat at the kitchen table, attaching stickers to a bag she had used to collect Valentines at school and singing "Jesus Loves Me," with an extra verse thrown in about her mama loving her.

As for the lone healthy individual of the household, I am thankful for the sunshine today, and finally feeling awake enough to not squint at the sight of it. Around 10:30, I began slugging around the kitchen making those pancakes Audrey had requested. All seemed to be going well. Audrey was content at the kitchen table with stickers and Nate had finally settled into a comfortable position in his car seat out of harm's way on the counter. The pancakes were coming together, or so I thought. I poured the batter for the "test" pancake onto the skillet. It came out looking like a deflated whoopee cushion. I realized I had never added the baking powder with the other dry ingredients. I had taken it out of the pantry, sat it on the counter, and then in my lack-of-sleep stupor, returned it to the pantry without ever using it. I threw in two teaspoonfuls, stirred, and hoped for the best. The batter looked bubbly as I poured it onto the skillet. What resulted was a batch of, perhaps, the lightest, fluffiest pancakes I've ever made.

Discovering the secret to pillowy pancakes because you're a blundering mess in the kitchen - happiness!