Thursday, May 14, 2009

Seven Quick Takes



Go check in with Jen to see more Quick Takes.





This is one of my favorite things in my kitchen. It's just a bottle that I used to use for olive oil, but awhile ago I bought a new one that fit in my cabinet better. So my old olive oil bottle became a dish soap dispenser. It makes me happy every time I see it and I like to think it contributes to my attitude about the cleanliness of my kitchen. The recent challenge I've issued myself is to get every last dish taken care of before heading to bed just because I feel better about my day when I come downstairs to an empty sink in the morning. When it's full it's just one more thing I have to take care of and I resent it.


Pretty soap bottle?


Totally helps.






I've been working all kinds of late the last few weeks. One more week of this insanity then we're off to the lake for a long weekend, I'm off work for a week and my brother is getting married on May 30th. Then summer- short work days, lots of time at the pool and in the mud, and best of all lots of time in the kitchen and at the sewing machine!



Speaking of crazy work stuff, I've apparently been playing too much music lately. The pain started in my wrist, migrated to my elbow and now I'm having a lot of shoulder pain. I've struggled with tendonitis in my left arm since high school- back then I was practicing violin 4 hours a day. Now I'm getting minimal practice time but all the demonstrating for lessons and chord work I've been doing lately for piano has brought it back. The shoulder pain is new though. I'm sure that's a great sign.



Superman and I are adding a new step to our diet change in a few weeks.  We've already worked on eliminating caffeine, eating more homemade and not  bringing  things home that we shouldn't eat- after all if it's not even in the house you're less likely to eat it, right? Well, our next step forward is to eat less meat. Neither of us think there is anything wrong with meat, it's just expensive and we're trying to cut back our budget without changing the kinds of foods we eat. So we're going to try to have meals centered on beans or rice twice a week instead of meat. This was actually Superman's idea and that totally surprised me- he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy. We'll see how it goes.



Wanna know what happens when your toddler wakes up at 5 a.m. you settle him back in and he's completely quiet? I can tell you for sure that he didn't go back to sleep! Instead he did this:

 That would be his train border that he systematically peeled off until he cried for me to get him up a little after 6.


It's like that on the other wall along his crib too. *sigh* Fortunately it's only ripped in on place so I'm going to attempt to salvage it this weekend.


And move his crib to the middle of the room.



I finally managed to get all the way through the boys clothing and pack up their winter stuff. Now it's on to the closets- I need to pack up the winter jackets, hats, mittens, boots, etc. so we can exchange them for ball caps and beach towels. I should probably do something about the disaster zone we currently call the closet in our master bedroom. It has become the collection point for all the bags and boxes of stuff we intend to donate, but it's stuffed to the point that it's getting difficult to get to the clothes we actually do wear. I suppose I should actually make that trip to Goodwill.



If you don't hear from me again that will be because I had a nervous breakdown. As you read this I'm probably at the car place getting the oil changed and a car inspection for our van while my 1 and 3-year-old boys are with me. Then after that I'm supposed to hit the DMV and renew the tags. All in one morning.  Hopefully I'll have brought enough games, snacks and books so that we won't even notice the passage of time, but there's no way to be sure.

Recent Fiction

Books have always been extremely important to me. Superman and I hope to one day own a house with a library- we already have enough books to fill it! Superman is pretty much a genre guy- a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but he does appreciate classic literature as well. I'm eclectic in my reading choices. Mysteries, suspense, urban fantasy, chic lit, classic lit, historical fiction etc. I read a little of everything. At the end of last year I read mostly historical fiction for some reason, and now I'm on an urban fantasy kick. Eclectic, right?


My reading year started with two gigantic books- Kushiel's Chosen and Kushiel's Avatar by Jacqueline Cary- that took me until pretty recently to finish up. In the last few weeks I've read The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory, Undone by Rachel Caine and I'm most of the way through Little House in the Big Woods. I haven't read Laura Ingalls Wilder since I was 7 or 8 years old!


It's so interesting re-reading books from my childhood. I remember this book differently from how it actually reads. It seemed so large and the chapters so long when I first read it, and the story so big and wild. I loved this book tremendously as a child and I can remember exactly what our copies looked like when my mother gave them to me and what they looked like after I'd read through them several times. I had this same feeling when I re-read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry a year or two ago. That book had such a tremendous impact on me as a child and on really directing me to see what truly important things are. Reading it as an adult brought a different direction and depth.


Ender's current favorite is The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. We've read it at least once a day for the last week or so. He has such empathy for the little house as the city moves in around it and the house is abandoned by his owner. He cheers when we get to the page where the little house has someone to live in her again! Empathy and compassion is a big theme in Ender's life right now and I see that reflected in his reading choices.


Ezra is obsessed with Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. Besides the fact that this book is a classic, I think Ezra is attracted to the book because he can say most of the animal noises. This book is important for Ezra because it's the first book that he will sit all the way through and often will ask to read it again. For a child that refuses to sit in one place for longer than three seconds it's quite an accomplishment to get through a full book.


Superman? Well he's been on the same Star Trek book for months and months now because sadly his reading time is full of text books. He does listen to audio books while driving for work and currently in his truck is the Left Behind series. I believe he's on the fourth book now.


I'm pretty sure you can tell that books are an important part of our home. We seem to have stacks of them everywhere and we have a weekly visit to the library. I always seem to have non-fiction books I'm working on as well- I'm sure I'd get through fiction faster if I didn't have 3 books going at once!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Plants and Animals

We planted a few things this week: tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, carrots, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard and a few different kinds of flowers. Ender is hyper-aware of the plants' presence and asks to water them about 100 times per day. I'm just hoping that I don't kill them too quickly. I've never grown anything before, so we'll see how this goes.


Ender also has a little cactus that he is enthralled with- I'm hoping that that is a little hardier than the other plants and less likely to die since Ender is treating the cactus like a pet. I expect him to name it any day now.


We also managed a family morning at the zoo last week. This is the first time that Ezra really remembers going. We went last year right around his first birthday and I think he enjoyed the animals then, but this time he was really ooh-ing and ahh-ing.


This giraffe ended up coming just about as close to us as it could get. Ezra was in my arms at the edge of the fence trying to reach over, pointing at the giraffe and opening and closing his mouth like he wanted to say something but was awe-struck. Ender, on the other hand, backed up as far as he could on the trail when the giraffe came close to us and said, "I can see him fine from here!" That perfectly demonstrates my boys- Ezra inviting the excitement of adventure, Ender being cautious in the face of the unknown.


Ender asked immediately to go back to the zoo when we got to the car. We have passes for the year, so we plan to go back quite often over the summer and fall. There are a few different sections to the zoo that are all big enough to take a full morning at our pace, so each section is perfect for a long morning, grab a bite for lunch then head home for afternoon nap and quiet time.


Other impressive animals were the peacocks with their feathers fully on display, the elephants (where Ezra could have stayed all day!) and the hippos. The hippos can walk under a small bridge at our zoo and they did right when we were standing on top of it! The boys got a very close view of the hippos from above. Ezra even tried to say hippo, he was so fascinated by then!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


A happy Birthday to Superman, who is 30 today, or as we've been saying around here:




(that is, until I turn 30, then 30 is the new 20.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Practical Life

 Ezra is just starting to drink from an open cup. We've had a few of these little coke glasses since we got married and they're a great size for Ezra's hands, even if they aren't a very traditional looking Montessori item.


Ezra started to take a very active interest in our cups a few weeks ago, so I started him out with just enough water in the cup to have 1 sip. After he was able to control that I started giving him a little more each time. He still spills on occasion, but he's very careful in general. Once he's really doing well with drinking out of the glass I'll put together a pouring activity so that he can pour his own cup and drink it. Now if only I could get Ender to be as equally interested in drinking from an open cup!


Ezra has also started to try to fold things. He watches me fold laundry almost every day and Ender has the fun task of matching socks. Ezra wants to have a job too so I've been directing him to hand towels and washcloths, showing him how to make the corners meet and to smooth out the fabric. He doesn't quite have the patience for it though, so he usually makes one nice fold and then crumbles it all up on the second fold and throws it back into the basket. Work in progress.
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