Monday, July 21, 2008

Okay, so more and more of my friends have blogs, and tons of interesting other people have interesting blogs on which I lurk and blogger only allows for this too-small number of blogs and websites on the side over there. Hmpf. How am I supposed to pick my favorites??? Is there a way to add more that I just don't see? It doesn't SAY there is limit, it just won't let me add more. Right now it's full and I either have to start throwing people off, or, or, something else.

My gardening wiz neighbor came over yesterday to inspect the garden problems I have been having. Apparently my potatoes and tomatoes and peppers have blight and I need to act fast. I am not supposed to water them from the top anymore. How do I not water three huge beds with the sprinkler? It will take me hours each day to soak the beds by hand. He said I need to put copper on them or maybe it was fungicide. Or maybe copper is fungicide? Hmm. I will need to check that out. He thinks my pumpkins are not getting watered consistently and that is their problem. Sigh. I don't know that I can really pull this garden thing off this year.

Here is an idea I got from another blog--it's a survey of what's going on here today.

Outside my window: The sky is clear and cerulean with no clouds. My neighbor's dark purple clematis is in full bloom.

I am thinking: About my mom coming to visit this week and finally being able to knock off the prescription meds for the wisdom tooth pain.

I am thankful: For my garden which provided enough peas, strawberries and our first tomato to go with Princess' peanut butter sandwich for lunch today.

In my kitchen: Leftover chocolate cupcakes from the batch I made for my friend Deborah's birthday on Saturday. These are the very yummiest and have yogurt and pudding in them.

I am creating: An email reminding the ladies in my writing group that we meet this week, and my assignment piece of writing for the meeting.

I am working on: Laundry, listing some things on eBay, tidying the kids' room to move the blow up bed in for mom.

I am wearing: Dark blue jeans and a pale aqua Old Navy t-shirt from the "messy" stack in my closet (as my Mama Dress Code requires). NO SHOES.

I am reading: Started reading on Friday to my husband "Rendezvous with Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke. I listened to this on tape ten years ago and picked up a copy at Goodwill. It has been sitting on my shelf for ages. I was looking for something to read the other night and pulled this down and then thought how much my husband would enjoy it, so I just sat down in the office next to him and started reading. We are on chapter 8 now.

I am hearing: Bear fuss for me to get him up from his nap, Princess whispering to a toy about making it lunch and building it a house.

Out of the house: Bear had his first dental check up this morning. It went great and he had fun. The dentist said he has great teeth.

In my house: There are many messes.

I am enjoying: The breeze, the warm air and having to be anywhere else today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tons of Photos, Egyptian Maus and What Bears Eat

Well, some of what I wanted to blog during the Wisdom Fog is returning. As of today I am just on Ibuprofen and feeling a lot better. Still not sure I will be up to 3 hours of child hauling tomorrow, but we shall see. Anyway, I have tons of photos to share today!

These are the works of art Princess brought home from Nature Art Camp. The pottery bowl story is that I was ooh-ing and aah-ing and telling her I was so proud of the great job she did on it and she had this funny, sort of sheepish look on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she couldn't remember which one was hers to take home so they gave her an extra with no name on it even though she was positive she hadn't made this one because hers had not been round. The stuff on the pine cone is salt dough, but seriously, after all the mashed potatoes I've eaten this week I could have sworn that is what it was! I was impressed by the very cool fish prints they had made and then she told me they used rubber fish. Sheesh. We always used real stuff when I was a kid!

This is what Baby Bear is eating these days--little bits of lots of stuff. He loves broccoli, cheese, chicken, hot dogs, and most fruit (no raspberries)--I love chopping things up and putting them on his tray and watching him investigate and snarf!

My friend Lisa blogged a while back about her new cat, and finding that he is likely at least partially an Egyptian Mau. As I was reading the description she gave, I though, "Hmm, that sounds like my kitty." So I checked around online and found tons of info that confirms my sweet cat is definitely, at least partially also a (bronze) Egyptian Mau! Then my sister send photos of her new kitten and he must be too! Very cool. The quirk about these cats that fits my fabulous Mau the most is that the moves her tail constantly when she is happy or content--in most other cat breeds this is considered a sign of aggression or distress (at least this is what my vet has always said), but in Mau's it means they are at peace with the world.

Here are some photos from our 4th of July picnic at the park on the bay. The sunset was amazing and the weather that night was perfect in every way. It is the first time we have gone down there to see the fireworks and it was SOOO worth the hassle! They were incredible. I did have to carry Bear, in the stroller, up and down about 10 flights of stairs each way (and that is not an exaggeration--we parked at the top of the towers as there was no parking at the beach level), but other than that it was delightful in every way.
Are you tired of garden photos yet? I love my garden in case you can't tell.

I have peppers! These will be red bell peppers eventually :)

Can you believe there are this many tomatoes on one little vine? These will be Yellow Canary tomatoes which are supposed to be little tiny things.When my mom came to live with us a couple years back she brought me all her rose bushes. They spent almost three years in pots, and finally got planted next to the driveway during the spring before Bear was born. They spent a year in recovery from my horrific mistreatment of them and this year most of them bloomed beautifully, including this Queen Elizabeth. One day Princess came in and told me she needed to "paint the garden". After some discussion and compromise, I got out the easel and picked one rose for her to do a "study" (how cute is that?) with and she went to town.These amazing little creatures love the lavender under the driveway trellis. I can't believe I got a picture of a dragonfly!!!Here are photos of the aforementioned yard clean-up my husband did this week. This is out back yard.Happy new little pumpkin.Still happy larger pumpkin.Turned yellow but still strongly on the vine pumpkin (I even tugged on it).What happens shortly thereafter :( WHY?????See all those cute little Blue Lake beans?This was one day's harvest from only three of our pots! The strawberries are doing well this year.I have no idea what kind of tomato this is--it is one of the orphan plants I picked up on the side of the road with the "free" sign on it--but it looks as though it may be ready to eat soon!The Snap Dragons have been roaring this summer--they didn't bloom until November, and then, quite pitifully as you might imagine, so I was surprised they survived and surprised they thrived!I have corn with feathers! I have 4 corns with feathers!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Birthday stuff and lists

Today we got the kids' birthday photos back for their invitations and I love them. There are more than I remember ordering, I think since we are part of the buy-one-get-one-free club, but I am thrilled to get to send these out. I put them in these matching adorable birthday shirts--Princess' says "Birthday Girl" on it and Bear's says "1st Birthday". So I got some of them together and some of them separately. Since this was Bear's official birthday shoot there are a few more of him. Princess will have her actual birthday shoot probably in September with her new birthday dresses. Maybe we'll do them outside this time. She will also get fairy wings added to her photo digitally because she won our local Sears' photo contest with her St. Patrick's Day portrait (she has a definite little leprechaun look to her).

Anyway, tonight I will have my husband help my address the invites while we watch SciFi Friday. There are 2 cute photos of Bear we can send--in one he is standing by that huge studio prop shaped like a "1" which is neat, but you really couldn't see the words on his shirt, and in the other, he is sitting and you can see the words on his shirt pretty clearly. I think I will do the "1" picture for the invites and send the others out as Thank You's and just to family and friends in general.

I am waiting on only a couple things to be party ready except for baking cake and fixing ice water. Since Constance mentioned list making on her blog I think it's only fair for me to show I have some obsessiveness--er, skills--in that area.

Still Need for Party Prep
-Fabric pens for the star quilt friends will sign at Bear's party.
-An old pot for a double boiler to melt glycerin in to make soap favors. Does anyone out there make soap? Does the glycerin wash out of pots safely and easily? Could I use a good pan?
-Princess' invites and candy wrappers--the lady emailed and said the were sent Wednesday, so hopefully they'll arrive early next week.
-Recipe for divine carrot cake to make the ladybug for Princess' cake.
-Foil for the candy bar favors for *under* the cute wrapper--Hershey's doesn't wrap them in foil anymore so they look weird unless you have foil to wrap them in apparently. This is ordered and is coming with Princess' invites.
-Recipes for divine blueberry cake and strawberry cake (yes, 2 kinds) for Bear's birthday cake--Princess chose the flavors so I must comply :)

That's it! The rest is here and ready to be assembled. I really only have 2 weeks from tomorrow for Bear's party to be ready so I must make haste!

I come from a long and illustrious list-making heritage and have been making lists since the moment I could hold a writing utensil. I also married a list-maker. Princess is doubly cursed and has begun her quest for list supremacy by making lists of squiggles (since she doesn't write enough words yet to make a convincing list) and calling it her List. I can't decide if this is bad or good.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Post Op

Well, the maxillofacial surgeon gave me a thumbs up and a long stemmed rose at the post-op appointment today! He also gave me more medication, for which I am extremely grateful. When I explained the pain, he looked at my original e-rays again and said "Ah. Well that explains it. Considering that I had to shave off about half of your jaw bone in order to get the bottom teeth out, you're right where you should be as far as pain levels go." Wow. Way to make a woman feel better! He also commented that he was glad my husband was home taking care of me--most women are not able to take enough time off to truly heal as they should, and that from meeting my husband in the recovery room after the surgery, he could honestly say that my husband was the most concerned and interested husband he'd seen in all his years of practice :) I am so blessed :)

Today Princess finished her Nature Art class through the County Parks and Rec department. She brought home all kinds of wild art projects during the last 2 weeks and I think she enjoyed it. I am less impressed by the Creative Kids Cooking classes. No information can be found about the instructor on the website or through Google, and so far from the last 2 classes, she enjoyed "all the kids going out to his truck to meet his dog". Hmmm . . .

I started to get some garden photos tonight, but I got really woozy and the battery on the camera died, so this is all you get. Strawberry yield for the day, peppermint, basil, English thyme, peas, yellow crookneck abundance. My husband fertilized the garden last night and weed-ate and mowed tonight. He's such a trooper! The yard is not his favorite place to labor. WHY are my pumpkins getting 2 inches in diameter, turning yellow and popping off the vines??? Help!?!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From the Land of Less Teeth

Well, I am a little more coherent today, I'm off the Percoset and down to the Vicodan (which I like a lot less frankly--it makes me majorly grumpy). This isn't likely to be long since I am still pretty woozy, but I can now officially share with you all that I have no wisdom teeth! Wow! It hurts a lot, but the meds help and my darling husband is taking amazing care of me and whipping up all kinds of delicious smoothies and texture-free foods for me to eat. I've been in bed for almost a week now, thinking of things to blog about and now of course I can't remember any of them.

The garden is going great! I will try to get some photos in the next day or two. Baby bear is amazing! He now walks just fine with no help, he's done with baby food. I can't believe it is already time to phase out bottles. It seems like just yesterday that he was a tiny baby.

I just joined a new reading website called Shelfari (safari on your bookshelf)--it is interesting to see what people are reading! Feel free to ask me to be your friend; when you do it sends me an email saying how smart you must think I am!

Most of the party stuff has arrived for the kids' parties, and I am hoping to start crafting some of the fun favors with Princess next week. We've got lots to do and the projects for favors are things she has been wanting to do anyway, so I think it will be fun.

Mom will be here a week from tomorrow, and while I know she doesn't want me to fuss, I do want there to be some space and organization and be a little more ready for Baby Bear's party. I want to spend my time with her relaxing and enjoying not cleaning and tidying! I haven't seen mom since spring when we went to visit in Idaho, so I am really excited to have her come and play for a bit.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

We have a new church ladies book group! I have started reading our first book, The Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho. I've only read the introduction and the prologue and already am enjoying the truth there. I adore self help books written as stories--I have several on my shelf already--and was excited to try this one out. From what I have read so far it will be an easy read, but one I will go through more than once and mark up like crazy.

Yesterday we had a fun 4th of July. Aside from visiting with my friend Julie's and the neighbors' families a few times over the years, this is the first time in my married life we've really done something other than staying home and watching the big Seattle fireworks on television. It's also the first time my husband and I have initiated a get together for the 4th. I entertain a lot, just not around Independence Day I guess. We called up a few people we thought might be without company and told them we were going to to the big park on the bay for dinner and to watch the fireworks show. We ended up with just us and four other people but it was fine--we had a great evening! The fireworks were gorgeous and the weather was absolutely perfect.

This weekend we are watching a 2-year-old daughter of a woman from church who is in dire straits. 7-4 yesterday, today and tomorrow. Since we don't have a car big enough for three little kids, I'll be walking to church tomorrow with them all in tow! Princess has loved having someone else to play with and it hasn't really complicated life (except for the transportation bit). The little girl is pretty easygoing--a definite two, but well-behaved.

The garden is happy! We picked another dozen strawberries for lunch today and a few peas. We have more pumpkins, yellow squash and zucchinis and the wax beans and growing well. The corn just keeps getting taller and we have open blossoms on the pepper plants! Lots of tomato blossoms but only 2 actual toms. I have got to figure out what to do about the cabbage! Something is eating the heck out of it and it won't last 'til the first frost at this rate. The celery amazes me. I am amazed that I can grow real celery that looks like celery! Now, I don't LIKE celery, but the rest of my family does (as do the Wonderpets who come and play at our house occasionally) so it's good we'll have a nice supply.

I'm finally telling people that I have a blog. Like, people other than the people who randomly found it because they have a blog too. I figured, I've been doing this a year almost and I should fess up :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Guess what time it is???

As of last year I have two kids and their birthdays are one month and one day apart, so from now on, August will officially be Birthday Month at my house! I am once again consumed by birthday prep and I love it. I've read a number of negative articles in the past year or so about the wickedness of creating extraordinary children's birthday parties, especially if they are really little kids like mine are . . . and yet, I come from a tradition of beautiful birthdays and I have yet to think they are really a bad idea--I was going to say within reason but I realize that "reason" means different things to different people, and my parties will seem particularly unreasonable to a segment of the population.

What's it about for me? Well, for one thing it is NOT about anyone else's parties. I am not trying to out-throw the party of any other mother of any other kid. Period. It's not about me looking fabulous, or organized or creative or better than anyone else. It's about what I was raised to believe a birthday celebration to be about. Celebrating to the absolute best of your ability, within what you consider to be the realm of reasonableness, the child whose birthday it is. Will the child appreciate every speck of it? Probably not, even when they're thirty. But I don't buy into this being a reason to tone things down. While I do want my child--whatever their age--to be pleased, it's not about impressing the socks off them. It's about me creating a day that I feel celebrates the wonder of who they are and the adoration and delight that they bring into my life. I want the day to be a gift to them, a part of the story of their miraculous births and let even the years they don't remember still be part of our family lore.

I guess that almost makes it sound like it's about me . . . and I suppose in a way it is . . . but that is because they are about me, or I'm about them maybe. It's not the stuff of the party itself that matters--we've had years when it was just us hanging out at home with a couple of close friends and a cake from the grocery store. It is about the way we do the day and the care and attention put into the celebration no matter what shape it takes or the size it ends up being. Elaboration is not always the mark of a lovingly planned party.

The older they get the more input they'll have (and I swear I will let Princess make her own decisions when it comes to her wedding), but I think I will always adore giving my kid the gift of their own celebratory event (although limos and rock stars and live animal entertainment are on my personal "unreasonable" list). I have wonderful memories the ones my mother gave me--she knows how to throw a party!

This year Princess hemmed and hawed and poured over the Oriental Trading Company party catalog. First of the year we were having a bird party with a nest cake. Spring brought a princess theme with a castle cake. Then she became adamant about Spiderman. Now, she's never seen the movie (or read a book about it), but it's popular in the preschool set and all her friends were talking about it and she had to have Spiderman. I waited for the whim to pass. It didn't. So we sat down and I said, "Look. Mommy is the one who does the carrying out of the party--that means Mommy does all the work--and we need to find a compromise here that will make both Mommy and Princess happy." She wanted to know why Spiderman doesn't make Mommy happy. Well, I didn't think the explanation of how wrong I think Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire are for the parts of Peter & Mary Jane and how they (plus pathetic dialogue in all of the recent film versions) have totally ruined it for me was going to fly. And she adores bugs and I have tried very hard to make sure that my own dislike of the real life nasty pesky insects doesn't dampen her own love of them. So I side stepped and we talked about why she liked Spiderman, and of course it had to do with the fact that she loves bugs and saving the universe appeals to her. So I said, "How about a bug party?" Big eyes. Big smile. "You mean worms and everything?" "Of course, honey . . . and butterflies and ladybugs and dragonflies . . ."

Was Spiderman truly the desire of her heart? After our talk, I really don't think so. What she wanted was something she didn't know how to describe and Spiderman was the closest thing she could think of. I think the playground at the park, and a ladybug pinata and cute little bags of gummy worms will work out just fine, for both of us!