Sunday, May 25, 2008

Elijah discusses why he beat up some little girls this week

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The Fort

On Thursday, the children called for me to come into the living room.  The boys had been working for about an hour and created this fort all by themselves, complete with a "bed" for each of them.

And remember how Lavella just learned to stand on wednesday?

Now she's not just standing, but standing on top of things.
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hold me closer, tiny stander

Lavella started standing on her own today!!

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Popcorn all over the kitchen floor

Yesterday we ate dinner early, so by the time the children were done watching a few videos and playing together, they were ready for a snack before bed. We popped up a big bowl of popcorn, got out the roasted peanuts, and sat in the middle of the kitchen floor with books Andrew had picked out for us -- of course the all-time favorite, Make Way For Ducklings, and then a few others.

It's kind of funny how a spontaneous thing like that can become the very best part of a day. Everyone happy, content. My legs started to go numb from the hard floor, but it was totally worth the peaceful togetherness of the moment.

This week I read my new favorite book, Rockabye: From Wild to Child ($10.85 on, by Rebecca Woolf (of online zine's Straight From The Bottle and her personal blog Girl's Gone Child).

It's the most hilarious, blatantly honest, raw, moving look at motherhood that I've ever encountered. There are a myriad of parenting books out there, but this one touched me the way none else have. I actually cried and laughed out loud throughout, and I cannot say that about many books -- fiction and non-fiction alike.

What I appreciate most about this book is Rebecca's insistance on the fact that it's possible, and indeed desireable, to remain your own, individual self, even after becoming a Mommy. As a mother I've struggled many times with the issue of feeling swallowed whole by the new identity given to me by being Andrew's Mother. Elijah's Mother. Lavella's Mother. Motherhood is such a title -- how can there be any room left over for the Me I've always been?

Reading this book was like getting to know a new friend who could relate to so many of the things that I've gone through in the past 5 years, and who could give me the re-assurance that I don't have to be afraid of the things I think, or the way that I think, but I can just express who I am, and be a mother in the way that is best for me, and for our little family.

I'm not sure if Greg will appreciate it as much as I did, but I'm mailing it off to him just the same. This is going to become my new go-to book for New Mom gifts.
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Meet Rose

As many of you know, when Greg and I were dating and engaged, most of the time our relationship was long-distance. One day I found this cute, innocent little Precious Moments pig, so I bought it, scented it with my perfume, and sent it off in the mail to him. At the risk of this story getting even more saccharine-sweet, I named it Rose, so that it could be like a little part of me (those of you who know my maiden name will get the reference.)

Later on when we got married, Greg unpacked little Rose in our new house, and it seemed that she must have gone out at some point and got a few well placed pieces of jewelery.

Last week, Rose took a second journey. The boys and I decided to send her off to Iraq to keep Greg company and participate in photographic adventures so that the boys can feel a sense of familiar in the different things that Greg will be showing them. (Idea thanks to my mother-in-law.)

The boys are looking forward to seeing where Rose turns up next!

The boys in Greg's shoes:

When I got Lavella up from her nap today, she was wearing a pair of my shorts over her head, with her arm through a leg-hole.

I couldn't stop laughing! I must have left them hanging over the side of her playpen when I changed out of them last night, so she just decided to put them on herself.

Tonight at dinner, Lavella was learning to use a spoon for the first time:

Her beginning efforts were more like sucking on a lollypop, but thankfully the refried beans hung on to the spoon and were a good teaching medium. She caught on pretty well towards the end -- she has never been so fascinated with her dinner! The only trouble was that she would get super offended every time I had to take the spoon to re-load.

Two random videos for you. First, this 15-year-old girl can sing. Oh my gosh, can she sing:

Second, this was just hilarious, and reminded me of my mother-in-law, who will take any opporunity to multi-task, even when it comes to excercise. So Jill, this one's for you:

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Maple, stationary, and a bunch more

Once again, it's been a while, but with all of the beautiful weather we've been enjoying lately, I'm guessing you haven't been at your computer too much either.

First off, before I forget again, here is the link for the best maple products you will ever have in your life. (Someone is going to argue with me. Go ahead. I'll still hold my opinion.) =) Anyway, click on the "maple spreads", and you'll find the best thing that's ever happened to bread...well, I also dip pretzels in it, put it on crackers, smear it on a thick slice of get the idea. My husband actually just eats it with a spoon. (There is actually no dairy in it at all -- it's just maple sap cooked until it's a creamy consistancy, all deliciously thick and spreadable.)

There's also maple jelly in this category, which is probably good (although not as rich and concentrated as the cream), and maple mustard which, while it seems to sell well, is not my favorite (I go for a more full-bodied, grainy mustard, and the base of this one is a simple yellow one). Anyway, get the cream. It's so worth it.

Their syrup is the best we've ever tasted as well (and we've tried it against several other brands, so I'm not just throwing out an untested statement here) -- my favorite is the Medium, which is sweet with floral notes, yet still has the dark flavor of maple around the edges.

In my last post, I mentioned going to a Gartenschau with Rachel, her children and Jillian. There were so many pictures...I don't know, I just didn't want to take the time to post them all individually. Here is a collage of all, and you can click through to the Flickr set if you want to experience the pictures at full size:

I was especially happy with this shot. I stood in one spot on a bridge and took about 4 pictures, then photo-stitched them together in Photoshop. I love Photoshop, 'cause it makes me look smart.

I mean really, it's not like it's the most awesome shot in the world. It's just that it used to be 4, and that just feels like a tiny bit of magic to me.

Moving on -- when I was younger, I wrote "real" letters to all of my friends, all of the time. My stationary was my prized collection, and I only used it sparingly, preferring note-paper most of the time, since I never had much money and couldn't afford to splurge.

I splurged a tiny bit just recently:

(The adorable cupcake set is from DogboneArt, and the hand-screened stationary is from BeansRiceRevolt)

Then I got this package. I am such a sucker for presentation, and seriously, any seller who can make me feel like it's been gift-wrapped just especially for me has my undying faithfulness. (I realized that it probably makes their overhead more expensive, and that not every seller will do this, and that not doing this does not diminish their seller-ness in anyway, but still, I appreciate the effort wholeheartedly.)

Included was a bonus notecard (the yellow with circles), and then I opened the little wrapped box to reveal my set of personalized note-cards.

I've never had any personalized stationary before, and this is just so heart-meltingly sweet! My total favorite. It was a good price too -- $25 for 25 note-cards. SilhouetteBlue, I will shop with you forever!

For Mother's Day, Jillian came over and made brunch for me with the boys.

It was very special and sweet, and we had a lovely day together (thank you again, Jillian!). I hope that all of you readers who are mothers had a wonderful day as well.

Last weekend we went to a Battalion BBQ on post. There was a jumpy castle, and the boys had a fine time sliding and jumping, for about two hours straight.

Hurrah for sunny, warm skirt weather!
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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A whole lot to say?

In the past two weeks, nothing really all that eventful has happened, but at the same time I've felt so overtired and overwhelmed that it's been hard to do anything extra at all, including posting to the blog.  I've also been writing a lot of letters to Greg, since that's pretty much the only form of communication that we have at the moment, so I guess that by the time I'm done living my day and then telling Greg about it, I'm pretty much done and done!

Lavella still isn't walking (she runs around pushing a box that she's loaded up with her toys, and occasionally stops to get into it.)

And then there was the bath time that ended with marshmallows for everyone.

(Seriously, if you're going to go and get all sticky, you might as well do it in the bathtub.)

Lavella got some more birthday gifts in the mail -- these are from Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Bob.

She was thrilled with the paper it was all wrapped in, but I was excited to find a set of Ralph Lauren babywear:

Just what every 1-year-old needs, don't you think?  Aunt Mary Ann and Aunt Terry have both made it a point to outfit all of the babies in the family (probably since I was born) in Ralph Lauren.  Seriously though, look at the ruffle on that shirt, and the dress is precious!  (Now if she would only walk so that she can wear all of the beautiful new dresses she's been getting...)

Thank you Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Bob!

On the day after my birthday (which was April 24th), I was having some of my friends over to spin (yarn) like I do once a month, and realized that it was just after my birthday.  I decided to turn it into a little birthday party for Lavella and I:

I made Fluffy Yellow Cake cupcakes with One-Minute-Chocolate-Frosting (both from Cooks Illustrated magazine -- thank you again to Aunt Mary Ann and Uncle Bob!!)  The cupcakes were fantastic, and I'll have to share the recipe at a later date.  The batter is made with melted butter and the egg whites are whipped stiff and folded in.  Such an interesting process, and the results were incredible.

We also went to a "Gartenschau" or Garden Show with some of our friends, but since I got tons of great pictures, I'll have to save that for another post.

Two more Lavella shots, just because:

(Jillian put her in Elijah's rainboots)

Well, I guess I did have a lot to tell you all about after all!  Huh, sometimes I just don't even know until I'm all done writing.
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