Thursday, September 25, 2008

Homemade card

Today I had fun in my craft/laundry room creating a spiral pop up card (idea found on a website my sister-in-law introduced me to called Splitcoaststampers). Emmett fell asleep for this crafting session, so I was able to go with the flow and take my sweet time, having fun with the details.
I forgot to take the photo before I signed the card though, so don't look too closely!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The reason I normally exercise when Emmett is at Grandpa and Grandma's

I'm on a health kick. I found and am using it to return to exercise and a fitness focus. I have been meaning to since Emmett was born, and had a really great phase there for a while when he was about 5 months old until I got very sick and achy for months with Fifth's disease and decided to back off. It is now time again, and it's feeling great to have an organized approach.

I am blessed to have my retired parents living 7.5 miles away from me, and they are very generous with babysitting favors. It's great for everyone: the grandchildren get doted on, the grandparents get delighted by their progeny and I get a break from the 24/7 Mom/homemaker duties. I do various things with my "me time"; run errands, do yoga, take a walk, write, read...

I missed a babysitting date yesterday bringing Dakota to the vet (she is evacuated and feels and smells much better, btw) and so I decided to risk it and do my prescribed strength training followed by yoga this morning while Emmett was with me, and awake even! I know--what was I thinking?! It felt so good! Emmett sat on me if I was in a prone position doing ab work, and copied me if I stood up for wall push ups or resistance pulls. When I started doing yoga to stretch it all out he wandered off after a while. I heard him but couldn't see him over in his toy corner, and decided to go for a body scan to finish it all off and get centered. I was so thrilled that I got all the way through it and in the zone before the Mommy instinct kicked in and I realized it was... (say it with me) TOO QUIET.

Somehow while I was in the zone Emmett got in my baking drawer--his reach has really increased lately!--and found a delightful set of colorful, capped objects and brought them into the living room for closer inspection--squeeze bottles of food coloring! Thankfully, instinct kicked in before the coffee table got permanently stained. I'm afraid the birthday candles I had socked away for the next celebration are toast, though.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A teacher among us...

Today's snippet is merely an announcement from a proud mama:

Ellibelle was cast in the play! Yay, Elli! Yay, Elli! She will play (drumroll, please....) A teacher. Rehearsals begin on Wednesday, and the performances will be in the third week of November. Needless to write, we are somewhat excited here today :)!

Maybe in the photograph below (taken at rehearsals for her spring dance recital) she was already preparing for her role :).

spectacle face

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dinner preparations...

I love to cook. Well, I should rephrase that. I love occasion cooking. Everyday cooking turns into somewhat of a chore. But I love having a special guest or occasion to plan for and really enjoy preparing and enjoying a big spread.

Since I had baby #4, I have been pretty slow to get back into making a big deal over dinner, and my efforts at hospitality have been slim to none. I think I'm (kinda) hitting my groove again now. Emmett is 20 months today, after all. Wow. I think I should get back in to cooking and having friends over.

Clara and I planted a little pot garden this summer, and the basil was starting to flower, so yesterday I decided it was high time to make fresh pesto. I found an authentic Genovesan preparation of pesto on, which told me I needed to chop all the ingredients by hand which I was in the mood to do. It referenced homemade gnocchi to go along with it, which I've never had a go at, so... I bought the ingredients needed and a bottle of merlot and at dinnertime had fun sipping, chopping, kneading, sipping, rolling, boiling, sipping... It was definitely labor intensive, but I had fun and the family enjoyed the results.

I think pesto and gnocchi would be a fun group event. Get several couples together and have a party chopping and kneading and boiling, and definitely sipping.
When I was at Trader Joe's for the extra virgin olive oil and the 3 buck Chuck, I saw in the freezer section a Tiramisu Torte, which seemed an ideal choice to finish off the Italian meal. As it turned out, everyone in the family loved it! Even with the cocoa dusting and the hints of both coffee and alcohol. Even Emmett had a slice of it. I thought I'd share a picture of exactly how much he enjoyed the tiramisu. Not sure how much of it actually made it down the hatch, but as fingerpaint it really hit the spot. *sidebar* we have not bothered with a bib on him for months as he is a bib Houdini--it's off within 5 seconds and all you did by putting it on him was get his dander up.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ahh, Friday

That day when once the morning rush is over, and it's just you and the baby boy in the bathtub (you can imagine where I sit as I type ;), you can happily anticipate a little slower pace for the next couple days. Nat makes a big ceremony on Friday night of turning off his alarm, announcing it's deactivation with great delight. I'm sure now that she has a 6:45 wake up time, Elli will be feeling the same way of a Friday night.

I am still looking at the blank canvas of the day and imagining different effects without a sense of commitment. Perhaps I'd better go get the second cup of coffee and just get moving in one of the directions I'm contemplating. Walk to the park? Shop for dinner and some extras for that care package I've been meaning to get out? Clean Clara's room? Nah! Go downstairs to the craft room and lay a few greeting cards by? Maybe what I'll do is this (and I'm sure you are waiting on bated breath to know): walk to the shopping center and come home and do some crafting. Ah, there's the plan, even without the aid of caffeine to clear the fog.

Speaking of crafting, here's the latest card (glue not yet dry) I made. Nothing particularly special, just a way to keep a visual record of things that go out the door. This one's a thank you to a wonderful co-worker of Nat's who met Elli recently at a get-together and was inspired enough by Elli's love of reading and writing that she went out and bought Elli some books. Thanks, Sharon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our drama queen

My oldest child just started middle school. It has been quite traumatizing... for me! She was more than ready to dive into a new learning environment (where a special IBMYP curriculum is taught) with a completely new group of people, count-em, FIVE whole miles away from me. She switches classrooms between periods, has all the usual components like physical science, math and language arts, plus she gets to start Spanish and continue with band and choir. And one of her favorites is a brand new experience, Theatre Arts. The work they do in that class really brings out her dramatic side. I get to pick her up after school every day, and it's a real joy to hear about her experiences on our drive home (the photo I'm sharing is of her just arriving at the van after school has let out--I didn't quite catch her but somehow I like it:).

Last night I drove Ellibelle back to the school an hour after it let out, because she had an AUDITION! The middle school is putting on the play, My Teacher Is An Alien. I am feeling very proud of Elli for being bold and putting herself out there. Callbacks are announced tomorrow, cross your fingers!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Decree from the baby: "Take those off"

The snippet for today is from my 19 month old baby boy (pictured here dressed after a bath by his big sister and looking a little bit like Obi-Wan to me). This morning we heard the pitter-patter of little feet in the hallway and knew Emmett had awoken and was about to join us--such a sweet sound it is, too. Then he saw me and started reaching out, clearly displeased. Though he is at that age where he has learned the power in expressing his displeasure, this was a genuine bother. As it turned out, he wanted me to take my glasses off (and this is not the first time)! I guess now I have the clear answer to the question, "Do I look better wearing glasses or contacts?"

the new glasses on the old face

Monday, September 15, 2008

You Betta believe it!

Several weeks ago my 11 year old, Elli, had a hankering to start an aquarium. She loves animals and considers herself somewhat of a champion for living creatures. She makes us take insects found inside the home outside rather than disposing of them by other means, she scowls at us if we refer to living things of any kind as "it". She has declared that when she is old enough to have her own apartment she will have her very own ferret (I wonder if she'll feel that way when she gets a good whiff of one?). Since she would absolutely love to add to the animal component of our family, fish seemed like a good way to go.

We went to the local pet store and perused the offerings. We priced out the extras one needs like the tank and pump and fake fauna and calculated out allowance savings required before the parent matching or doubling program might kick in... And decided we'd need to wait a couple weeks.

Then we got a fresh idea at the wedding we recently attended. For the table centerpieces at the dinner reception the bride had chosen large, clear glass vases tied around the neck with tulle and filled with water, a handful of colorful marbles, a peace plant with roots dangling, and a pretty little betta fish swimming around. As it happened, our church friend, Carolyn sat with us during the reception and is a happy owner of several betta fish herself. She described how to set the habitat up and how to care for the fish, and even better, how inexpensive the whole deal is!

So yesterday I went to Michael's and found the large vases and little sacks of colored marbles and river rocks on sale, woohoo! I bought a peace plant at Cub foods and split it three ways, and that turned out to be the most expensive and laborious component--who knew it took so long to rinse dirt from plant roots? That left a trip to Walmart with the three musketeers so they could choose and name their new companions. We are proud to announce 3 new additions to our family: Ringo (Elli's), Poseidon (Deven's), and Sweetiepie (Clara's). The vases are pretty to look at, the kids got their own new pet, and at $12 a pop we're pleased with the investment cost--everyone's happy!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Best Wishes to Anne and Paul

We got home not too long ago from attending (and helping out in) the wedding of some church friends today. I am worn out! Why is it that I somehow always choose to wear brand new shoes to these events? Perhaps I love blisters, deep down.
The wedding was beautiful and everything came together very well, thanks to our little church family who pitches in and gets things done. It was my first time trying to be the "coordinator" type person, which really means doing things the bride would do if she could be everywhere at once. Thankfully, all the important stuff seemed to happen according to plan.
One day last week I finally got around to cleaning and organizing my craft/laundry room, a task that was long overdue. This morning before I dressed for the wedding I went downstairs to make the wedding congratulations card and the freshly organized area inspired me to create. This is the first card I've made in a while, amazing what a clear tabletop and knowing where the supplies are will do for creativity :).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Starting to close a chapter...

Today I dismantled Emmett's crib. Because Nat and I have a family bed approach to the nursing months, he never really slept in it anyway, except for naps when he was much younger. I was unexpectedly nostalgic as I loosened screws and stacked parts. This crib became a part of our home in 1996 as we eagerly awaited Eliana's arrival. Since every one of the kids has used it, I've set it up and taken it down several times before. But this is the first time that I dismantle it with the full intention that it will not be used again. Always before I stored the baby supplies away again with the hope that one day I would once again have the privelege of participating in the miracle of life. Today I filled up a hefty bag of baby accoutrement that Emmett has now outgrown, put the low lying toddler bed in the cribs place (wondering how exactly I'm going to get him to start using it) and started my goodbye to the baby years.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Is that smell mandatory?

Dakota with a faceful of snow

We have been in our current home for 5 years. One of the reasons we chose to sign on the dotted line was its large back yard. Large at least comparatively, our starter home had a much narrower and shallower space for the natives to be restless in. When he first set foot in what was to become our new back yard, Nat termed it a "dog yard". At that time, the idea of joining the masses and adding a dog to the family really appealed to me. Probably because I'd never had a dog.

A few months after we moved in, I attended an annual woman's cookie exchange with a group of my lady friends. Lo and behold, one of the women present had rescued a real, live pound puppy in her home state of South Dakota, and needed to find a home for her because she already had two dogs and couldn't keep another (pesky community laws!). I brought Dakota home to meet the family, and everyone agreed that she should be ours. If she wasn't already responding to the name her rescuer gave her, I might have called her Cookie, because that was all I expected to bring home from that little party.

Of course, that was before I knew her by her smell. Based on that knowledge, I might call her Fishy Stinkbomb! She's a sweet, patient and good-tempered girl. She has been known to let children stand on her for minutes at a time or grab fistfuls of soft rust-colored hair without complaining. Clara was not yet two when she came to live with us, so she has a devoted love for her and dotes on her with treats and combings and a special game I'm sure Kota looks forward to with relish where she is put on leash and taken throughout the house.

But the smell! We bathe her so often it's ridiculous, but it only takes a day it seems for her to get that horrible smell that makes us shoo her away so she doesn't pollute the air. I really don't know what to do about it, except I have a vague notion there are some glands that are supposed to be squeezed on a regular basis in the hind quarters somewhere?!&%?! A girl once alluded to such a process at the PetSmart groom room, but I promptly tried to erase the memory completely.

Please tell me, all you who have lived with a dog at one time in your life, is that smell mandatory?!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Starting fresh

One of the best feelings in life isn't it? A blank page, a new leaf, a fresh start. I've got that feeling right now for a variety of reasons.

My older three children have just begun a new school year, leaving me at home during the school day alone with a toddler boy and time to spend on things I love to do. Like writing, taking photographs, going on long walks in the cool autumn air, cleaning toilets, doing laundry, washing dishes... Wait, I was writing of the enjoyable things, wasnt I?

Blogging falls into that category for me, which is why I am starting back at it with this fresh new blog, Suburbian Snippets. I regularly blogged about daily life in my home for some time before my youngest child was born (evidence of that can be found here). I even kept up with it for a while after the little monster (I use the term in the most affectionate and loving of ways, of course) became a part of the fabric of our family. Then I discovered digital photography, and transferred passion for some time.

But I am ready to return afresh to my original love: writing with the added benefit that someone might actually read it, aka blogging. Disclaimer: I still love to play with my camera, so any readers will be subjected to my photographs frequently.