Friday, October 24, 2008

So far, so good

See kid, this isn't so bad
Originally uploaded by Maydela
So far, Moira and I are both still healthy and happy. Walker comes back tonight, so it looks like we may survive.
Mom and Dad came over for dinner last night and since Moira was in a relatively good mood (despite not having slept for long for the afternoon nap, more on that later), they kept an eye on her while I washed my hair. I have discovered that there are two ways to make her happy while other people hold her that work equally well at different times. The first is to hand her off and then stay in eye sight and be amusing. This only works if she's not too tired. The second is to put her down, walk away and stay out of sight while someone else picks her up and entertains her.

Dad read her stories and them Mom held her for awhile and sang her a song, and she was in fact, still sitting happily on Mom's lap when I got out of the bathroom. This is a major step up from the screaming the minute Mom touches her, from as recently as a week and a half ago.
I tried to sneak into the living room to take a picture of the happy baby before she noticed me, but Dad said "Look! It's Mommy!" and I was all, "Are you insane man!?!"
Tonight we are going to Bam-O-Ween! at the Bellevue Arts Museum. There will be a lot of activities that she can't participate in, but it gets us out of the house.
I think she misses Walker, because she's fighting sleep like crazy. To the point where try to put her to sleep and she's so tired she's rubbing her eyes, but she refuses to give up. This started late yesterday afternoon, about the time we might start expecting him to go home. In order to finally fall asleep last night, we had to watch Grey's Anatomy in the dark TV room downstairs. I seem to have gotten enough sleep despite the not going to sleep until 10:30 and waking up at 5:30.
Stewie just licked her and it caused her to shriek in fake pain. Note to baby: This means you should go to sleep.

But Mom, I'm too cute to sleep!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

No theme this week

I have a big headache, so I have no theme for the plants this week. Or maybe the theme is, "I can easily talk about these things"

5. Kiwi
Already knew: Kiwis are a small, fuzzy fruit with green, tasty flesh. They are native to China, and therefore I thought, didn't grow in Seattle. You can eat the skin if you want, but it's a super weird texture.
Recently learned: To fruit, Kiwis need a male and a female plant. I have both in my yard. I can't be sure until I see the flowers (the male flowers are smaller) but I think the first picture is the female and the second, the male. Kiwi is difficult to pollinate, because bees don't like the flowers. The best way to do it is to stick a bee hive in the middle of kiwi orchard. That seems like more work then I would want to do for one kiwi plant, but it also explains why we didn't see any fruit this year.

6. Purple Clover
Already knew: Purple Clover is a happy little ground cover plant. You can suck the individual petals for a little tasty treat. Bees love purple clover, so maybe I should plant some near the Kiwi.
Recently learned: The flowers have both male and female parts. You can also eat the roots. The stems make a good broom. The plant lives for a few years, then dies after flowering.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Caged baby

Caged baby
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Walker is going to Mountain View tonight and won't be home until Friday late night. I'm so nervous about being alone with the baby for that long, especially at night when I'm used to having help. I've made dinner plans with tonight and my parents tomorrow.
I'm posting this to remind myself that it's not all bad. 1)She's cute and funny. 2)We have a play pen now and Moira can sit in it happily for awhile while I zone out.
3)I can always play Rock Band 2. Moira really likes Lump by the Presidents of the United States of America.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Advent Calendar

I have this nifty advent calendar that my mom made when I was little. She used to wrap candies and cheap toys up and tie it to the rings, and my sister and I would take turns unwrapping it. We used to fight vociferously over who would be the evens and odds because we were convinced that one of them got more stuff then the other, although the last time I looked at it I think I decided it wasn't true. Also, my mom, being the third of four children was religious about making sure that things were exactly the same, so if Mika got a chinese yoyo on day 6, I would get one on day 7.
Anyway, I've been trying to decide what to do with it for Moira. Obviously she's too young to really participate, but if I'm going to start these traditions, I may as well start them now when I can do it half assed and no one will care. Walker and I have agreed that we are going to strictly limit the amount of cheap plastic crap that we buy for her, and a bunch of candy seems like a bad idea for obvious reasons.
I think I've figured out a good thing to do instead. I can write experiences on pieces of paper and tie them to the rings. Then each day we can do a different, Christmas time experience, and if there is eventually another kid, everyone gets to enjoy every day. The only problem is coming up with enough things I can either do easily with a 7 month old baby, or was going to do regardless.

My ideas so far:
Put up Christmas tree
Make paper snowflakes for front window
Make handprint ornaments for grandparents
Play in the snow
Sing Christmas Carols
Make shortbread
Wrap presents
Hang stockings
Make Moira's stocking
See Santa
Buy presents
Read Father Christmas (and/or other Christmas stories)
Write Christmas letter
Mail Christmas letters
Visit Nana
Visit Great Grandma

Can you think of anything else I can do? I need 24 things.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pernicious weeds

In honor of [info]galixie's fancy new disease, this week I am featuring pernicious weeds for my 100 species challenge.

3. Bindweed
Already knew: Also called False Morning Glory is the devil in plant form. People around here tend to call it Morning Glory, but that's because we don't have real Morning Glory around here. Real Morning Glory looks exactly the same, climbs up fences and trees. It is delicate and hard to take care of everywhere except California. The False version does the exact same thing, except if you don't keep it in check and, it will kill your trees, and take over your yard. The only way to get rid of it is to pull out the tendrils, by the root, before it flowers, dry the bits on a non porous surface and throw them in the trash. Then, cover the infected area with bark, or a plastic tarp if you are hard core, and repeat as necessary. This process could take a few years, if you are lucky and the source is actually on your property. If it's coming from your neighbors, like ours is, you are screwed. The house we lived in when I was a teenager had False Morning Glory growing under the deck, and the eventual solution was to rip out the deck and put in brick pavers.
Recently learned: The latin name is Convolvulus, which makes me giggle. Apparently the evil variety that grows around here is related to about 250 other varieties of Convolvulus, many of which are not evil. Go figure.

4. Himalayan Blackberry
Already knew: This is what grows alongside of every untended road around here. Sometimes you will see Bindweed and Himalayan Blackberry fighting each other for dominance. I root for the blackberry, but only because it bears fruit. Speaking of the fruit, while not as tender as the local wild blackberries, it is sweeter. Plus, Himalayan Blackberry makes a quick easy jam, as it has a ridiculous amount of pectin, therefore, you barely need to add sugar. Just make sure that you pick some under ripe fruits along with the ripe ones, which is easy enough because you can't see past the thorns well enough to see all sides of the berries you want to pick. Picking season around here is the end of September through the end of October. There are no berries that look like a blackberry that are poisonous, so if you are ever in the woods hungry trying to decide if the yellow blackberry looking things are edible, yes.
Recently learned: It's also called Armenian Blackberry. It arrived in the US in 1885 as a cultivated plant, and quickly escaped. Bad berry.

1. California Poppy
2. Chinese Lantern

Monday, October 13, 2008

Best shot Monday

Originally uploaded by Maydela
I'm trying to remember through this very cranky day, how wonderful it is that she has a personality. Even if that means that she can now be annoyed at me.
For more best shots go toMother May I

Cranky pants

Moira & Shannon
Originally uploaded by ellishillinger
It was Walker's birthday yesterday (Merry unbirthday , so we had friends over on Saturday and then went to dinner with my parents and sister on Sunday.
The party was lots of fun, brought her guitars and showed almost everyone how to make a power chord. Most amusingly, she owns the Guitar Hero song book, and we looked at that while downstairs, Walker, Alex & Becca's Andrew played Rock Band. (On a side note, there are too many Andrews in my life. I used to refer to them all as additions to the women I knew who were dating them, even if I spent more time with the Andrew, but now Tillie's Andrew is no longer dating Tillie, and I really don't know either of his new ladies, and Becca's Andrew refuses to let me call Tillie's Andrew Canadian Andrew, purely based on the fact that Becca's Andrew is still technically a Canadian, so now I have to refer to Tillie's Andrew as Breklor and hope it doesn't confuse my parents too much.)
Anyway, much fun was had, Moira didn't want to miss the fun so she mostly stayed awake until everyone left around 9:30, and then didn't want to calm down to go to sleep for another hour and a half or so. From yesterday through now, she's been too overtired to sleep well. Last night there was a lot of her waking up enough to wake me up all the way, so she could have a suck and fall back to sleep. Like, 20 times. It also means that occasionally, she'll freak out very suddenly, so dinner last night she was in the sling most of the time, even though we brought her brand new baby chair thingy.
Alex was talking about his love of parenthesis at the party. (I too love parenthesis) It was agreed that they are a good way to make a run on sentence even longer.
Hopefully today we can have nice long naps and Moira stop freaking out everytime she knocks her toy out of the way.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The 100 species challenge

One of the things that I didn't like about living in California was that I didn't know most of the plants that were growing where we lived. I've always liked to know the names of things growing along the side of the road, and I was never organized enough to have the camera along so I could take a picture and research it.

Suffice it to say, when I heard about the 100-Species Challenge scsours started doing this summer, I really liked the idea. Sadly, fall seems to have stopped her, and while there is a flickr group, it is composed of 1 person and no photos, but I'm still going to do it. The rules are in the link I posted, who knows how closely I'll stick to the rules. You know, cause I'm a rebel. I'm going to try to post two new plants a week, for as long as I remember.

1. California Poppy
Already knew: A Californian I never saw while in California. It really likes the weather here and wants to take over my yard. This picture is of one of the sad few remaining poppies, but for 3 months they dominated the front yard and made all the bees and butterflies happy, which made the dragonflies happy. This self seeds and will keep coming back unless you rip it out before it blooms.
Recently learned: It's drought tolerant, score! It beat out the Mariposa Lily to be the state flower of California. It is a mild sedative when smoked, although not actually an opiate because it has different Alkaloids.

2.Chinese Lanterns
Already knew: These are a good plant to dry, and will keep that pretty orange color with very little effort when you do dry them. Every craft store and grocery floral department right now is trying to sell you predried ones for Halloween decoration. They are cool though, with a little papery flower that looks very much like the origami balloons my sister used to make.
Recently learned: That little papery thing is actually the fruit of the plant and not a flower. It is edible and has medicinal uses, but it causes miscarriage and abdominal cramping, so people don't tend to use it. It is related to the Cape Gooseberry.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's going on, Mom?

What's going on, Mom?
Originally uploaded by Maydela
After almost five months of mostly ignoring her, Stewie has spent most of the morning licking her. She must be particularly tasty this morning. Moira is really not sure this is fun, but she hasn't complained. I'm keeping a close eye on them in case Stewie decides to try and 'play'.
Happy 5 months baby.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I can haz drinks?

I can haz drinks?
Originally uploaded by Maydela
In the last week, Moira has gone from watching the food go into my mouth very carefully to trying to grab it from my hands. She especially likes bottles, which are fun to chew. She also likes to make chewing motions when she sees us eat. However, when I've tried to give her sips of water, she tries to suck instead. Dear baby, you are obviously not ready. Calm down and figure out how to sit up on your first, then we can talk about food.

My next door neighbor invited me to join her quilt group and showed me the quilts she's made, including a take off on the Candyland board with coffee instead. She even made little playing pieces and a die. Now I'm both excited and totally intimidated. Also, she told me that the giant vine taking over my side yard is a Kiwi. She thinks the gigantic one is the female, and the tiny one in the corner is the male, so theoretically we could have kiwi fruits. I wonder what the growing season for those is.

I've decided to make Moira a set of plushy dice for Christmas. I got the 4 sider most of the way finished this weekend. I'm really pleased with it. We'll see if I still think this is a good idea when I get to the 10 sider.