Friday, November 30, 2007

Reflection

Today has not been the pinnacle of mommyhood for me. I actually raised my voice to my toddler. Multiple times. And when it comes right down to it, the behaviors that were angering me were nothing but what an adult should (and does) know to expect from a two-year-old. Two-year-olds are stubborn. And persistent. And easily frustrated. Some days I easily go with the flow and it's intuitive to empathize with a little person who is having a hard time navigating a big world of challenges. Today was just not one of those days.

I'm grumpy and impatient and both my girls are weathering the snarls and disapproval. It's not fair. They don't deserve to have to walk on eggshells just because I'm not doing enough to control my emotions. Poor kiddos.

So I'm taking 15 minutes to vent on my blog and chill out. And then I will pull myself together and show them the patience and respect they deserve.

:::deep breath:::

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Self-Pity

It's my blog, so I can whine if I want to. Right? Right.

My hips hurt. At this point, I don't remember if it was worse with my last pregnancy or not. Up until the last week or so I've been able to mostly get by without admitting there's a problem. But now it's too obvious to hide (very well).

About halfway (give or take) through my pregnancy with A, the symphysis (cartilaginous joint) between my hip bones gave up the ghost and refused to properly hold the bones in place. This is rather painful and caused all sorts of fun complications. Plus, it took over a year after A was born before I could take stairs or go hiking without pain.

I had high hopes that I'd get through this pregnancy without dealing with this... every time I had hip or lower back pain, I'd tell myself to slow down and back off the physical activities and would pretty much feel better the next day. Despite going much lighter on the housework, yesterday, I have not recovered from Tuesday's nesting.

When it hurts so bad to roll over in bed that you get tears in your eyes... the jig is up. When you can't stand up without holding your breath to keep from swearing... well, you get the picture.

I hate feeling weak. I hate feeling needy. Right now both feelings are completely overwhelming me.

And what really makes me angry is that there's nothing I can do about it.

Complaining doesn't help. But using my deeply ingrained stiff-upper-lip technique is making things worse because nobody understands that I've been pushing through pain and have pretty much reached my limit... the point where sucking it up and pushing through the pain becomes a physical impossibility. I tell my legs to go and they simply won't do it.

And I'm really really really angry that this makes me feel like such a useless wimp and I don't know what to do.

But if you'll forgive my obsessive need to find something to be thankful for (yeah, I was way too into Pollyanna as a kid), I need to end even a self-pity post with something positive: Today is the first day of my third trimester. I've made it through the majority of the pregnancy without major issue. Even if I'm stuck in pain for the rest of the pregnancy, I only have three months left to deal with that. I can do this.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nesting

If I had any doubts before, they have been overrun and drowned in Pine Sol. I am nesting.

Yesterday began innocently enough, as I faced a rather dingy kitchen. First I decided to reorganize the drawers (once the dishwasher was already running, of course). Halfway into drawer #1 (the junk drawer), I realized that I should probably dust off the range hood. OK. The exterior shed its dust easily enough and then I foolishly peeked underneath.

I've read in my housekeeping books that these things should be scrubbed down and degreased at least twice per year... but I uneasily ignored that advice, hoping it could be banished to the realm that shelters such notions as keeping hand-crocheted doilies covering all horizontal surfaces and teaching the servants to properly polish the silver (and counting it when they're through). No such luck. In thirty-two years, I've managed to never take apart or scrub a fume hood. Until yesterday.

Short recap of things that don't work: Soaking the metal filter in soapy water does nothing to degrease it. Scrubbing does little more. Dishsoap won't cut through years of grease built up on the underside of the hood. Comet will, but it will get all over your brand-new stove and give you panic attacks about scratching its pristine surface. Elbow grease? Overrated. Chemical arsenal? Good clean fun.

What ultimately worked: letting the dishwasher do its pots and pans thing on the filter and lightbulb cover. Straight-up pine sol (orange scented - I'm not a barbarian) and a teflon-safe abrasive sponge cut through the years of grease build-up like nobody's business.

While the dishwasher was coping with its job, I tossed A (tutu, cowboy boots and all) into the car and we went to the local hardware store. For those of you who grew up in my homeland, I thought I'd mention that this hardware store makes me nostalgic for Linton's Big R. They have the same kind of stuff... everything from Wranglers and Ropers to John Deere ride-on toys and veterinary supplies for livestock (and 2-3 times per week they have a mobile veterinary clinic in their parking lot... wally world could learn something about one-stop shopping). They also have furnace filters and hardware. So A and I bought two furnace filters and some wall hooks... and then I noticed that they also have the big old-fashioned bags of candy, so I bought some of that, too (cinnamon bears (remind me of my Dad), pink wintergreen candies (Grandpa used to always buy me those) and circus peanuts (I don't know why I like those)).

A and I came home and binged on candy. She wasn't terribly impressed with the cinnamon bears. Woo Hoo! A whole bag of candy I don't have to share! I think I'm beginning to see why my Dad liked them so much.

After that fine, nutritious lunch, I changed the filters (hauling all necessary ladders out of the garage, up the stairs, put them away, etc.). After all that, I also did the "normal" stuff of sweeping/vacuuming/dusting, etc. Then the day was gone and it was time to make dinner.

I think I've mentioned that I instituted family-member request-specific dinners. Tuesday nights are A's dinners. I made pork lo mein stir fry.

One last little helpful bit of information: Cast iron skillets are fabulous for most things. Not so much for stir frying.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Favorite Things


We always decorate the tree on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year I got my perfectionism under control and let the kids put the decorations wherever they wanted... some branches are still bent from the strain of multiple ornaments. Some branches float gracefully unburdened. The kids are proud of their tree.



The best thing about two-year-olds? Their impeccable fashion sense. This is the ensemble A composed for running errands today. Ooh la la!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sisters

"Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don't know what your rights are, or who the person is you're talking to. Then on the way out, slam the door." --Jack Handey--

This is the quote on my sister's blog, today. I will be chuckling to myself, recalling it, for the rest of the day. If you roll your eyes and think it's dumb... well, you're probably right, but it would be a good indication that you and I will not amuse each other in a positive way. I'm a humor-of-the-absurd kind of person. The kind of person who still giggles gleefully, just remembering the Monty Python Silly Walks sketch or the Dead Parrot sketch. Jack Handey's Deep Thoughts are right up there on my happy list, amongst any recitation from The Princess Bride. Yes, I'm one of those people. No, I'm not into D&D.

I miss my sister.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Real World

In the midst of waiting for a new stove, and waiting for my husband to get home so I can go to the dentist, I'm reminded how thankful I am to be who I am, living where I do. I don't have time to do my whole rant. I'll get to that later, if I can.

Meanwhile, please read this news story:
Saudis defend punishment for rape victim

And by all means, comment!

I may come across (in fact, I may be) a bit of a cultural relativist... but there are boundaries which - when pushed - find my sympathetic nature shutting down. This is one of those.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hausfrau Joy

I have several subjects waiting for long, wordy, quasi-intellectual rants.

But those subjects will have to wait.

Right now there's just too much excitement in "The Little Life" (a favorite concept of my lit and art professors, back in the ol' Jr. College days).

Yesterday G had her 2nd grade Thanksgiving production. She played the part of the "T" - and did a mighty fine job.



video


Today I must do my T-day Costco shopping because I need to be at home all day tomorrow.

Why?

I'm glad you asked.

Tomorrow the fine folks at Lowe's will be delivering my new Whirlpool range. It's my Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas present from my awesome husband.





When we moved into our house, a year-and-a-half ago, I was dismayed to discover that the stove in the kitchen was... what's the word... wonky. The burners were perpetually crooked, no matter what I did to try to level them (it didn't help that they didn't sit in the reflection bowls properly and I think the connecters were crooked) and there didn't seem to be any predictibility to the temp of the oven. So I've been coping, since then, while hunting classifieds looking for a used range. A year (plus) of looking wasn't getting me closer to something usable... and NOW... I get a brand-spankin-new one. Delivered. And they'll take away my hated old one. Woo Hoo!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's All Fun and Games...

Yesterday was a little more exciting than I'd hoped.

A, my darling dynamatrix, was playing with her little toy vacuum. J was out for a run. G was playing piano up in her room. I was taking advantage of the moment of presumed unneededness to read up on bread making techniques. Ah, a quiet Saturday afternoon...

Until I heard A scream.

My clever little girl had decided to pretend the mallet/stick for her triangle (we're talking about the musical instrument, here, not a geometric concept) was a screwdriver and had been "fixing" her vacuum. I, admittedly, was not paying adequate attention, or I would have realized her little game looked like this:




Yeah. You could put an eye out with that thing, and I wasn't paying attention.

Sure enough, she slipped on one of her toys, fell, and stabbed herself in the eye.

I haven't had such a huge adrenaline reaction since G broke her arm, years ago. Unfortunately, while I deal quite well with blood, gore, etc. in the general population, seeing my child hurt completely shuts my brain down and I freak out.

Sometimes I think I just don't have the emotional fortitude for this parenting thing.

Whether I do or not, here I am. I love the family practice physicians we use. I called and they told me to just come to the office as quickly as I could - despite the fact that it was nearly time for them to be shutting their doors. The doctor on call was calm and thorough and carefully checked her eye. It's painful and red from the irritation, but otherwise looks OK.

It AMAZES me how resilient kids are.

So, as J says, "All's well that ends." Hopefully today will be the boring day we'd planned for yesterday... and I'll continue my struggle to find the happy medium between prudent vigilence and overprotection.

Friday, November 16, 2007

On the Menu

I've instituted a meal-planning change, recently. Each family member has a designated day of the week to choose what to have for dinner. In the case of the girls, they then get to help me shop for the ingredients and prepare the meal. (For J, I told him I'd take requests, but otherwise just plan on making his favorites... I'm guessing he wouldn't have quite as much fun meal-planning as the kids do.)

Friday's are J's dinners. I'm pretty proud of how it turned out. This was the menu:

Salad
(Baby Spinach with dried cranberries, maple candied walnuts, red onions and feta, with a homemade poppyseed vinegraitte)
Sirloin Steaks
(marinated in a worcestershire/pepper brine before being seared to med rare)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Broiled Acorn Squash Stuffed with Carmelized Granny Smith Apples

Mmmmmmmmm... It was good.

Surprisingly, the squash seemed to be the hit of the evening. I was afraid no one would eat it. Go figure. Thank goodness no one has thought to ask about dessert. I didn't bother with that. :o)

Rainy Day




If you take a look out the living room window, you might notice that it's a lovely gray, rainy day. A is busy building lego castles and hasn't even thought to ask to watch TV, yet. I've been free to clean the kitchen and get caught up on email and friends' blogs. So far so good.

A declared, this morning, that she didn't want to get dressed because she's a mermaid. Apparently mermaids wear nightgowns all day. OK. Learn something new every day.

I ought to do some grocery shopping, today. Since I've been doing so much more cooking and baking, we've been going through the cheap staples much more quickly. But I don't really want to leave the house. I love feeling all cozy and baking/puttering while the rain drums down, outside.

However, I did just receive an email notice, this morning, that my two requested books on the science and practice of bread baking are waiting for me at the library. It would be awfully fun to dash out and pick up those books and a little more flour and have a bread baking day. I've been perfecting my French bread/baguettes and I'm about ready to move on to the next challenge.

But... it feels so good to just be at home. Maybe I'll wait and do the grocery shopping tomorrow, when I can go all by myself.

You know life is good when your big quandary of the day is whether it sounds better to go to the library or cozy up at home... and the library is only partly tempting because you already have four unread books on the coffee table.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ignorance

Yesterday I took A to the library so she could participate in toddler story time and I could collect the 23,000 books I'd reserved (I love being able to access the library via the internet... it's a beautiful, beautiful thing. The librarians who have to pull books for me almost every day may disagree.).

After the morning packed full of errands, I schlepped my toddler and my pile of books back home.

Have you ever been ravenously hungry as the first course of a gourmet dinner was served? Dinner could be a Big Mac and it would be divine (you're that hungry!), but you know that you can expect so much more that you can't help but be thankful for being painfully hungry because - hopefully - that will mean that you have the appetite to enjoy every course through dessert without ever feeling too full.

Maybe it's just me.

But that's how I feel when I bring a pile of books back from the library and sit down to contemplate them. And when it's the library, it's like going to a chef friend's house (yes, I've been fortunate enough to do this) where you could try exotic fare with no worries about the final bill... worst case scenario is that you don't like one particular offering so you move on to the next with no disappointment or obligation (probably just feeling thankful that you experienced something you might not have been adventurous enough to try elsewhere). Conversely, going to a bookstore is like going to a four star restaurant, where surveying the menu produces nothing so much as anxiety. Can you afford more than one course? Should you meekly select something a la carte and hope it will be OK (and that the waiter won't get all attitudey) or blow your budget trying a bunch of things you think you ought to like, but inevitably feel a little cheated because, even if it's fantastic, it's definitely consumable and it will end... and you'll be left with a blown budget and nothing much to show for it... and if it isn't wonderful, you'll be left feeling cheated and unsatisfied and (if you're anything like me) berate yourself for being so unsophisticated that you can't appreciate the foods that people with cultivated palates must love.

Yep. That's what a trip to Barnes & Noble is for me. It doesn't keep me away. No matter what, I still love being surrounded by books and potential knowledge. But, unless I went in intending to buy one particular book, I've come to dislike purchasing time... and in most of my subjects of interest, B&N just doesn't carry specialized enough material (Powell's Books is a whole other beast for a whole different analogy). So if I spend money in B&N, chances are very good I'll leave with some buyer's remorse. No matter how much I love books in general.

So... back to my fresh-from-the-library stack of books...

The first was a dud. It was Someone's in the Kitchen With Mommy: More than 100 Easy Recipes and Fun Crafts for Parents and Kids by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD. OK, dud might be a bit harsh, but most of the recipes I contemplated required fake ingredients. I realize she's an RD, but if I'm going to take the time to cook good foods with/for my kids, I'm not using fat free egg product or diet margarine. That's not what I want to teach them about food. If you want to healthy-up a recipe there are many substitutions that can be made which replace fats with fruit, beans, etc. I'm not in this to add the latest chemical crap to my kids' food in the name of whatever current food fad is considered healthiest.

But hey... it's a library book. I didn't have to buy it. I get to take it back. I'm still happy.

Next I somewhat nervously began Pot on the Fire: Further Exploits of a Renegade Cook by John Thorne with Matt Lewis Thorne. Oh, rapture! John Thorne is such a brilliant essayist that I can forgive him his Amherst education (I'm deeply prejudiced against Amherst - mostly illogically - long story). Yes, his essays seem to orbit around a food or cooking method. But they're so much more. Subject matter aside, I rarely stumble across a writer who can evoke this kind of visceral, almost animalistic joy in me. I love words even more than I love food.

Which brings me to the title of today's blog entry: ignorance. Last night, I devoured a paragraph that brought me to a complete standstill. The kind of reading moment that freezes all the little brain cogs and you have to go back over it, three or four times, breaking down each word to suck the marrow out and try to reconstruct the essence of a concept just out of your reach. I knew I'd need to come back to it, so I actually defaced a sacred library book. I dog-eared the page and highlighted the paragraph with the first tool at hand - a jumbo washable crayon (red). Here it is:

"The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard once observed that, despite our persistent belief to the contrary, our ignorance is rarely a blank slate waiting to be written upon. Instead, it has the assured grip of deeply felt, fully formed (if unarticulated) assumptions that - no matter how hard we try to shake them - prove dismayingly durable, even regarding the simplest things."

Suddenly I'm digging through my psyche and knowledge banks, searching for all those little denials I know are hiding comfortably amongst the truths... examining all the things I think I know... yet knowing that my ignorances will probably not be so easily identified and dismembered. I can't quite explain why this is so exciting to me. I guess I'm just enchanted by finding a lucid description of an aspect of human nature that I could never quite describe.

My life is never so full and colorful as when I have a new concept to mull.

Life is good.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tact

Today A and I were getting into the car, prepared to commence our morning errands, when My Lovely Russian Neighbor emerged from her house, kids in tow, ready to start her day as well. She had tried to call last night and I let it go to voicemail. Nevertheless, I summoned all my cool social niceness and said hello in what was intended to be a warm and friendly way.

Silly me.

She stopped to talk. OK. I made small talk for a few minutes until she said, "Oh wow! You still don't even look pregnant! You just look like you have a big bloated beer belly!!!"

And then she giggled.

And frankly, I couldn't help but laugh, too.

I mean -REALLY- either she's a total bitch or completely socially inept. Either way, there's nothing to do but shake my head and wish her a nice day as I drive away. As "compliments" go, that's certainly the worst I've yet experienced.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mommy Wars and Other Nonsense

This morning I was reading my email and an MSN headline caught my attention: Five tips to handle competitive moms. This is a topic that interests me - but perhaps not for the obvious content.

If you read the article (which will take all of 5 minutes... it has all the depth of a pancake), the basic idea is that many women have difficulty adapting to the notion of self-as-mother and so alienate the women around them by wrapping up their identities in their kids and bragging/competing constantly. Sorry, but I call BS on this tired issue.

Do some parents get competitive? Sure. Are some parents overly involved in the achievements of their kids? Probably. But there's so much gray area between being too involved vs. not involved enough... and every article you read will make you worry that perhaps you're too ______ (pick any quality, there's a parenting magazine article out there that can make you feel inferior, if you take it seriously).

But these particular missives are the most distasteful to me. It falls into the manufactured "Mommy Wars" category. If I believed the headlines or the characters on popular shows, I'd think that women were a bunch of shallow materialistic jerks who thought about little besides using their kids to satisfy their own egos. Whatever. I'm tired of articles that state that work-outside-the-home mommies think stay-at-home mommies are spoiled and backwards. I'm tired of essays suggesting that stay-at-home mommies think work-outside-the-home mommies are selfish women who put material comforts above the welfare of their kids.

I have yet to meet or talk to any woman who truly discounts the mothers around her in such a judgemental, cavalier manner.

I have many friends who work outside the home and do a fabulous job of parenting... and from what they say, they've usually found that this arrangement works the best for their family for many reasons. They've never passed judgement on me for doing what works best for our family - even when it's different. I have many stay-at-home mama friends and don't know any of them to have harshly judged another mother for having a paid career.

The insidious message of such media - as I see it - is that women should believe that they are constantly under attack from the people they most need to support them.

Seriously. Popular media would have us believe that we are lazy and indulgent if we stay at home with our kids. They would have us believe that we are selfish if we choose to work for a paycheck. They would call us unwise if we don't put our kids in preschool and alarmist or over-protective if we homeschool... all the while trying to terrify us with stories of school violence and promiscuity. News would have us believe that all men are likely child molesters and that there is mortal danger around every corner. Don't praise your kids or they'll never find self-motivation. Don't be too critical or your kids will never have decent self-esteem. Don't feed them sugar or they'll suffer from countless health maladies. Don't deprive them of sugar or they'll have eating disorders. Put them in sports, piano lessons, countless enrichment activities or they'll always lag behind their peers and never get into good colleges. Don't overbook them or they might burn out.

Basically, everything you do will probably be wrong and any hardship your child ever encounters will be your fault.

And don't bother trying to have friends, because they're just judging you anyway.

Aaaaaargh! Enough already! Stop it!

I want to hear about my friends' accomplishments and the accomplishments of their children. I want to be included in their joys and sorrows. I want to be party of the good, the bad and the ugly. It's all part of life, and the more you make taboo - off-limits to discussion - the bigger the rift grows between people who should be supporting each other.

And whom, exactly, does this serve?

Well, I think it's pretty obvious. It serves all the companies who post the neat, colorful ads in strategic places around the article. The best way to make us buy crap we don't need is to make us fearful and overwhelmed with a false sense of inferiority. The more alienated we feel, the more desperate we'll feel to belong to something... to fit somewhere... and the more desperate we are for camaraderie and closeness, the more likely we are to keep our mouths shut and not rock the boat when we think the people around us concur with all the crap we're being fed.

Enough.

There is no Mommy War. Your friends really do want to hear about the great things junior did, yesterday... and when they share their moments of joy and pride, it's not because they're competing, it's because they want to have someone to share in their happiness. Most of the other mamas out there support you! No matter what is said or unsaid. Is your child throwing a tantrum in the middle of the mall? Those looks you're getting probably aren't judgement. They probably mean that the people around you have been where you are and sympathize! They just don't dare say anything because they're so afraid it will come out wrong or you'll be mad if you know they noticed you're having a tough time.

Yes, sometimes the sahms will be jealous that the wohms get a paycheck and some adult conversation. Sometimes the wohms might feel a little jealous that the sahms are getting more one-on-one time with their little ones. That's HUMAN and has nothing to do with whether one group supports the decisions of the other.

The vast majority of us are doing our very best to navigate this life and do the best we can for our families. Don't let some advertising agenda convince you otherwise.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Reality and Parenting

Yesterday I watched my two-year-old feed silver spoons down the crevices of the sofa cushions. I didn't think much of it... just normal toddler antics. Besides, I thoroughly vacuum the sofa at least once each week, carefully wedging the crevice tool between every cushion, all the way back to the frame.

So I half-heartedly admonished her to refrain from putting the nice silverware in the sofa and plunged my arm into the abyss to retrieve my fine flatware.

Before retrieving all four spoons I salvaged 12 jumbo crayons, the mallet for the xylophone, numerous barrettes and other coiffure accoutrements, three socks, and a whole mess of Annie's Organic whole wheat bunny crackers.

I've often wondered how we manage to go through crayons so quickly. I just assumed the socks had disappeared in the dryer. That the vacuum missed the crackers altogether is somewhat disconcerting, but I'll certainly be more careful in the future.

A's name means "bird-like." The imagery in my little world was always graceful and airy... I hadn't thought she'd live up to the name by decorating a hidden "nest" with flashy contraband like a magpie. Live and learn.

Meanwhile, she has been seriously trying my patience on other fronts. It's a little overwhelming to go into too much detail, right now, but the short version is that she has boundless energy, endless enthusiasm, and a need to perpetually be in motion... and while her sparkling personality can be all charm one minute, she doesn't have a highly refined sense of empathy (very different than her older sister in this detail) and can be quite (to use a friend's description of her son) prickly. I'll spare the detailed list of events of the weekend. The bottom line is that J and I didn't get to go out for our anniversary dinner, yesterday. Today we had to leave Barnes and Noble in a hurry and I didn't get a book. And I've been coping with tantrums each and every time A doesn't get exactly what she wants when she wants it... and sometimes an extra tantrum or two just for kicks, even when she is getting her way.

Yeah, I realize I'm whining. And yes, I understand that two-year-olds are, by default, willful and prone to tantrums. But this is different than what I went through with G. Very different. So different that I actually found myself, in a moment of despair last night, reading articles on symptoms of ADHD in toddlers and preschoolers. Yes. Seriously.

I'm hoping this is just a phase. Just normal for her and her dynamic way of being in this world. Hoping that I can just hang in there and try to enjoy the lessons she has to teach me. I know this time goes by too quickly. But sometimes... Sometimes I really need a break when there is no break to be had. During those times I reserve the right to whine just a little bit.

And not be embarrassed to admit that I don't think my children are 100% delightful 100% of the time. Parenting is HARD. I love it and wouldn't trade my job for anything in the world. But right now... Right now I'm just getting through the evening and hoping tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Salvage

OK, I confess... I am so stinkin' proud of myself, right now.

For months, I've been lusting after new play kitchens for the kids. I wanted one made out of wood, with individual appliances for maximum rearrangeability, painted bright colors... and I found various versions ranging from $120-$1200. I wanted to give this fabulous gift to the kids for Christmas... which was distinctly impractical because we'll be celebrating the holidays with the grandparents, rather than at home. Such gifts don't lend themselves to road trips - not even with the generous trunk size of the Taurus.

Whilst obsessed with all this wood-kitchen-coveting, I had a dirty little reality niggling at the back of my mind.

We already have one, you see.

No, it's not a lovely little wooden kitchen. It's the monstrous Little Tykes version I bought for G at a yard sale, several years ago. This Summer I'd become fed up with how much space the thing takes up and decided to move it to the back yard so the neighbor kids could enjoy it, too, and I would no longer have to creatively arrange the real furniture around it.

J was skeptical about my decision. He is well versed in the life cycles of toys outdoors. He graciously supplied the brute strength to haul the thing outside, all the while thinking we had just junked one of the kids' favorite toys. But, ever amicable, he obliged me... and out it went.

So, last night, when I mentioned my desire to spend hundreds of dollars on a new play kitchen, he was less than thrilled. If he was an emotional man, he probably would have been angry... but, being the mellow wonder that he is, the best way to describe his reaction is... hmmmm... that he was perplexed in an unfavorable way. So, as far as I was concerned, that was the end of that idea. (Don't get the wrong idea... this isn't a meekness/submissiveness thing. My husband hates saying no to me - so when he even expresses dissent to one of my fabulous ideas, I take it very seriously.)

Thus our story arrives at this lovely, cold, foggy morning. I decided to salvage the Little Tykes kitchen and try - again - to find a way to incorporate its garish plasticness into my decor. Leaving A watching Dora the explorer, I armed myself with an abrasive sponge, hot water and Pine Sol and braved the dirty, nasty kitchen.

Half the spiders in the Pacific Northwest had taken up residence in the various nooks and crannies. I evicted them. I scrubbed off the layers of dirt, dumped the leaves and standing water, and carefully removed all the chunks of various weeds that had served as make-believe food in the course of a backyard Summer. Then I sprayed it down and thoroughly dried it off with old towels. Bravely ignoring my increasingly ginormous belly, I then flexed my womanly muscles and maneuvered the thing back inside.

A was thrilled. I'm proud. And J will be so relieved. All in all - a good morning's work.


The results. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Scrapping

Today is the 7th anniversary of the day I married my husband. Yay! It's hard to believe that we've actually been in love with each other the majority of the years we've been alive. Wow.

In other stuff... I wanted to post a few examples of digital scrapping for the people who aren't familiar with it. I'm a hardcore proponent of digital storage (more to the point - I'm ANTI-CLUTTER) and I rarely have the energy to break out all the tools and supplies it takes to scrap the old-fashioned way. So here ya go:



I'm sure people with a better eye for layout could compose more professional looking results... but I'm happy with these and I think the kids will treasure their scrapbooks in years to come.
And lest you think I came up with all the embellishments myself, think again! I get most of my ribbons and other digital materials from Shabby Princess. Pretty painless.