Tuesday, December 29, 2009

RTT: I can do it with my own bare hands

I was going to write a post today, and then I decided I didn't want to have to make it coherent and then I realized it's Tuesday! That can only mean one thing!

Moira is now freaking out whenever I leave the room. Like, if I walk into the kitchen from the living room, and she can still see me and there's no door to close. Or if she comes back into a room where I was when she left and I'm somewhere else. Last night she screamed bloody murder because I went upstairs after spending some quality time watching Walker play Ratchet and Clank with her. Until 5 seconds after I actually left to go to quilt group. Then she was fine.

This too shall pass.

We got the kitchen cleaned up with record speed after both nights of Christmas parties. Even though we didn't have tens of guests descending on us again on boxing day. I'm impressed.

We still need to catch up on laundry though. Someone got a lot of new clothes for Christmas.

Moira was cranky and clingy on Christmas Eve and super angelic and hyper on Christmas Day. Partly because she napped better that day and partly because she realized there would be presents. Oddly, Walker and I seem to be the only ones who could tell the difference between the two behaviors.

I have all sorts of creative motivation right now and also organizing motivation. And very little time to actually do any of these things because they mostly need to be done without Moira's help. I was thinking of actually finding a babysitter to watch her while I worked in another room, but that seems unlikely to work right now. So, who wants to come over and take my child away?

At the November meeting of my quilt group everyone brought scraps of fabric and then we all brought each other coordinating fat quarters to the December meeting. I used scraps of this giant pin up girl print (each girl is 3"-4" tall) because I have a lot of leftovers from a dress I made years ago and then this year someone gave me the smaller version of the print in a swap. So obviously, I have to do something with them. I had no idea until I saw all the fabric together, and now I know exactly what I'm going to do and where I want it to end up in my house. It's inspired by Crazy Mom Quilts Film Strip quilt, but more film strippy. I can't wait to get started. Again, as soon as I can get a minute to play with sharp things.

Walker's new car arrives soon. Probably in the next week. That's right. We will finally have two family friendly cars!

Visit for more. You know you want more.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

RTT: Obligitory pre Christmas non post

I have no time to post lately. But look! It's Tuesday! How random is that?

We have reached the advent of crocodile tears. For instance, a minute ago Moira was asking for a rice bar, so I gave her the piece leftover from the bar she had this morning. Meltdown. So I put it in her bowl, told her where it was and walked away. Eventually she came over to eat it, still crying and looking at me periodically to make sure I saw just how horrible this was to her.

If the 21 things I put on the advent calendar, I only skipped one of them. Go me!

We made a lot of cookies; I even have pictures of Moira helping make her very first batch of Shortbread. But they are on the camera and I don't have time to deal with them.

Is the semicolon in the above paragraph used correctly? I've been trying to figure out how to use them, because it seems like they would be useful with the way I write.

We made treats for the birds today, and treats that Moira can actually eat. They both had a lot of peanut butter. I'm hoping to make strings of dried fruit tonight, since I don't trust her to watch me use a needle without being more helpful then I want her to be right now.

Christmas shopping is all done, despite Walker adding people to the list at the last minute. The sad part about that? The people he added are my relatives. Like I can keep track.

I've been going through our Christmas music to make a playlist for the big family christmas dinners we are hosting this year. The random play keeps clustering songs together. It was kind of awesome to listen to the version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" from the Rankin Bass special immediately followed by the version by Alice Cooper.

I'm tapped. Go visitThe Un Mom!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Moira recommends: Merry Christmas!

We have a huge stack of books about Christmas, but there's really only two she likes.

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto: She loves the faces of all the people in this one. Every time we turn to a new page, she points to each person and has me tell her who it is.

Die große Weihnachts - Überraschung by Monika Neubacher-Fesser (Published by Ravensburger, I can't find it on Amazon. The link goes to other books written by this author): She's liked this one since we got it, but I don't know how to pronounce the German and until tonight I had never heard Walker read it to her, so I made up my own story. It's short, it has a bear, mouse, rabbit and tiger. I think that's the beginning and end of the reason for her interest.

The rest of our Christmas books are too long, or preachy, or have black and white illustrations, which she is not a fan of yet. There are a few she WANTS to like, namely; Santa Cows by Cooper Edens (Weird with forced rhyming structure. We usually get halfway through it. It's okay especially if your kid likes cows and/or baseball, but the sequels are even worse and not recommended by me.), My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, (a personal favorite of mine, but she gets bored after Osbert shows up.) and A Wish For Wings That Work by Berkeley Breathed (we don't make it past the first page of this one, but she wants to like it. She points at Opus and says "Fly! Fly!")

I really wanted more Christmas stories she liked so I looked at the library, but the books I found are also duds. I think what she really wants are some pop up Christmas babies or something. Dad just gave us a copy of The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett and Moira loves her illustrations and things that rhyme, so I'm hopeful.

Bonus! Did you know that Jan Brett has coloring pages on her website? Awesome.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Originally uploaded by Maydela
Moira woke up at 4:30 this morning and didn't really go back to sleep. I really didn't get to go back to sleep, although I dozed until everyone got out of bed at 6. The end result is that today we were both cranky at each other. All day. With screeching on at least one of our parts.
It was still a good day. We went for a walk in the woods. A very short one, where we turned around at the second fork in the path and Moira insisted on taking off her gloves and then was angry that it was so cold.
But we both got to stop and listen to the birds and airplanes and crunchy frozen leaves. We got to look at the ice forming in the moss and around the mushrooms. We got to hold branches and lichen. We got to laugh and wonder at the world.
We spent half of today fighting against each other. Eat/don't eat. Upside down/right side up. Sing/don't sing. And yet, this is a day I will remember for a long time. It was magic.

On a side note, I have ordered pictures recently no less then 8 times, because I keep forgetting things, or miscalculating the number we need. But I want to order a copy of this one. It is far and away my favorite picture right now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

And so we're back.

Where should we go next?
I must say, I think we handled this trip better then the one we took to Canada for Halloween, in terms of managing Moira's needs. Except for the big driving day and the day we flew down to LA, we did something that Moira would find interesting. We went to the La Brea Tarpits, playgrounds, the Tuscon Zoo and for long walks. We also made sure there was a significant amount of down time. And plenty of fries. And dip.
She is also so much more of a person now. When we got to LAX, and she still hadn't had her nap, Walker ran off to get the car with the carry on luggage leaving me with Moira to get the carseat and checked luggage. Moira was more then happy to help me push the luggage cart and LOVED watching the baggage carousel and looking for our suitcases. We have lime green bags so that they are easier to find amongst all the black/blue/red/forest green, but there was actually someone else with lime green luggage on our flight this time. She got all excited when she saw it, but she believed me when I said it wasn't ours.
What does a flamingo do?
The low spot of the trip was the 9 hour drive from Lancaster, CA to Tuscon. We had plenty of stuff to entertain her, and we tried to sing lots of songs and play lots of games, plus we had Walker's brother and sister in law in the car, so there was always someone in the back seat. It was still too much driving, and when she woke up after her nap she lost it for about a half an hour, and was cranky the rest of the way. She seemed to time her super cranky times for places where there was no place to stop so we could let her out, so we just powered through.
I discovered that Moira figured out that a flamingo stands on one leg from looking at books and the flamingos at the zoo. I don't think I've ever mentioned that fact to her.
Oh! And she has started making up her own motions for songs. I'd kind of noticed it before but thought she was just dancing. Walker's aunt bought Beatles Rock Band, and I was singing "Get Back" and Moira kept pointing to her back every time I said that word. So, not a fluke.
She climbs the ladders at playgrounds (and the one in our kitchen) now. That's a bit nervous making, but she's really careful usually. I have a photo of her standing on top of the ferry in the Bellevue Square play area, but I keep forgetting to get it off. Soon I'll find her scaling the door jams.
She also slept through the night, twice on our trip. And the rest of the time she only woke up once. Walker thinks it was because it was warmer there, but I'm betting over stimulation had something to do with it. We are trying to replicate it here, but so far, no luck.
She was so happy to be in out car again when we got home that she didn't really complain on the way home. Now when we are walking to our car in parking lots she points to all cars we pass saying "no!" to each one, until we get to ours.
I should mention the results on her allergy test, but it depresses me, even though it was actually a pretty good result. Maybe tomorrow. Hopefully by then my migraine will be gone too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

RTT: I don't have a subtitle for this.

I had a dream that I went to lunch with Miss Zoot and she wouldn't tell me her name, so I had to refer to her that way. This confused my mom when I introduced them.


I like digging through the really old post archives on people's sites. And following the links to now defunct domains that are now all being squatted on by people trying to sell 1)financial services 2)hosting services or 3)porn. I'm surprised by how infrequently it's porn though. Isn't that what the internet is for?

You know what helps, when the weather gets cold? Bringing the winter clothes out of storage.

I had this conversation with Moira on Thursday morning:
Moira: Stomps a plastic stegosaurus around for awhile, then points to it's spikes.
Me: Those are it's spikes. Some dinosaurs have spikes.
Moira: Ike!
Me: Yup. Where are the dinosaurs spikes?
Moira: Points to spikes
Me: Where are your spikes?
Moira: Carefully examines her body. Eventually points to her tummy and looks confusedly at me.
Me: No silly! That's your tummy! Moiras don't have spikes.
Moira: Giggles.

Moira is either encouraging bad or good eating habits in us. Usually, she manages to eat most of the meat off our plates at lunch or dinner, which is good for me, but then we went for chinese today and both ordered straight meat (Honey Walnut Prawns and Sweet and Fragrant Chicken). We had rice too, but not a veggie in sight. Walker has been suggesting we got to a Brazilian place where they bring platters of meat around to the tables, kind of like Dim Sum service. There are sides, but you have to get up for them.

I thought I had figured out how to schedule posts, but apparently I hadn't since this was supposed to be posted last Tuesday. And I forgot to check and see.

Traveling with Moira went alright, and we learned many important lessons on how to best entertain the kid for long spaces of time in a confined space. None of which will probably be applicable the next time we try this.

Yay tree!
I want to use this picture for our Christmas card this year, but since it's a picture from last year, maybe I shouldn't? What do you think?

I'm tapped. Visit The Un Mom for further randomness

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moira recommends: Books about food

This pile of books is much more popular then last month's. At first she only wanted to read the two she'd seen before over and over. I guess the topic is interesting enough to her that she's willing to try books that I pull from the pile too, which is how we more then doubled the list of recommended books.
The 100th Customer by K T Hao: She found this one last month and kept pulling it off the shelf to be read. It hasn't lost it's appeal. Ben Bear & Chris Crock open a pizza restaurant and have a very poor business plan. But! It's touching and a good lesson in why you should be kind for kindness sake.
The Wolf's Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza: Mr Wolf is hungry, and goes to ridiculous lengths to try and fatten up one particular chicken. Sadly, all his hard work is ruined by unforeseen circumstances, and he never gets his Chicken Stew. But he does get lots of chicks.
Let's Eat! by True Kelley: Minimal text, and lots of fun pictures. A squirrel tries to steal a peanut from an elephant. A girl dumps noodles on her head. Babies and piglets nurse. Moira loves to look through this one and point to specific pictures so I can tell her what it is. Sometimes, she even manages to tell me what it is.
If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff: A harrowing depiction of what it's like to live with a toddler. But the pictures are cute.
Alvie Eats Soup by Ross Collins: This is the only one of the books we've been reading from this stack that I don't like reading too much. Fortunately, we are going to be gone for a week and a half and then it will be time for a new stack. Alvie only eats soup. His parents are overly worried about this and try everything they can to get him to eat other things. Including locking him in a padded cell with a table of food. Fun fun.

This is all new to me

A couple of people have recently referred to me as a "natural mother." I was confused by what that meant until I asked Pearl about it (who agreed with that assessment by the way). She said it has something to do with how calm and unworried I am about the process of raising a kid. Also, because I have fully formed opinions about most things.
I really have two things to say about that.
1) I am in no way calm. I'm at the end of my rope way too often, but that's the sort of thing you don't tend to see in other people because I think it's always harder when you are alone. I have yelled at the baby for not settling down and going to sleep (stupid and counterproductive!); I have tossed Moira at Walker the minute he came home, leaving her crying in his arms while I hid in the bedroom. Also I make stupid mistakes, like leaving our biggest kitchen knife lying on the counter in arms reach. Fortunately, she didn't hurt herself.
2) Whatever parenting calm and experience I have is, in no way, natural. Maybe I did have a slight edge, since I was one of those baby crazed teenagers. Which lead to the real reason for my skills. 12 years of constant babysitting and then nannying. Lori asked how many families I worked for, and I can't totally recall. The answer is around 7 or 8 who were repeat clients, or permanent positions. Then there was the volunteer daycare I ran for a sci fi convention for 10 years. And the other conventions where I worked with someone else who ran the daycare. All that child wrangling left me with the sure and certain knowledge that kids are actually pretty tough and easy to please. The only important thing in the long run seems to be that they are loved and respected.
I also had the benefit of seeing a wide variety of parenting styles. There were two mothers who I especially admired, whose kids seemed happy and fulfilled, whose kids still seem that way 10 years later. Pam and Susan, thank you for being such great role models.
There were also plenty of examples of ways not to treat kids. There was the couple who never said 'no' to their kids. They didn't really explain anything though, or give them any real choices instead. They just didn't use any negative language. Those kids were very confused, and very angry.
There was also a couple who belittled their daughter. Not, I think, on purpose, but in small ways, that made her physically shrink inside herself, whenever I witnessed it. She and I did a lot of art projects and there was a picture she was very proud of one day. We hung it on her wall, and when her parents got back, she proudly showed it to them and told them all about it. "You can't draw." her Dad said, "that's just a bunch of scribbles."
But, I also know the secret truth, which is that most of those little hurts? Are recoverable. Your kids love you and need to be loved. They will do what it takes to male you happy. And as adults, we all have secret hurts and fears from random childhood incidents. You can never tell what will be the thing that your kid has a hard time getting over, but we all, more or less, manage to get on with the living. If I could do one thing in my life it would be to worry less and laugh more.
So that's what I'm doing, one day at a time. And my guess is that most of the other mothers I know are doing that too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I am blogging this from my phone. Awesome, except that this little widgit doesn't have the same auto capitalize the rest of the phone uses, forcing me to think.
I watch Made Of Honor last week, because it was finally on cable (yes, I really wanted to see it in theater but did not manage it). It was awesomely bad, what with the caber off and the training montage. However! I don't think I can officially like the movie because they used the word blog wrong. Patrick Dempsey has a psycho stalker lady who writes a blog about him. Both he and said lady use the word blog to describe specific posts on said blog. Somehow, that upset me more then is healthy. Oh well.

RTT: A plague on both your houses!

For some reason (possibly related to childhood trauma I won't get into in this post) Walker has become obsessed with the level of cleanliness in out house. To the point where he might be willing to pay someone to clean our house on a regular basis. I would like to point out that our house is cleaner then it was before the baby because we have to be careful what's in her reach, so things actually get put away, and we have people over more often here, so the floor actually gets vacuumed occasionally. Still, everytime we are cleaning for guests Walker starts grumbling about how "we need to do better at keeping up with the dirt." Not that I want you to change your mind about the cleaners honey! I'm all for that plan.

We are flying to LA on Saturday, so of course I want to do a bunch of things that would be silly right before we are gone for a week and a half. Like buy another loaf of bread or make playdough.

I keep saying things like "I'm not really getting sick" or "I don't think I'm contagious" only to be proven wrong the next day. I should really just stay in the house for the rest of the winter. Moira can walk to the library by herself now right? At least I haven't said "I really don't think I have Swine Flu" which is actually what Walker said this morning. Awesome.

Because it turned out I was actually sick, I had to skip the potluck my Mommy group had last weekend, after I went shopping for supplies. I really want to make the rice crispy treats, but that's another thing I shouldn't make right before a trip. Not that I couldn't eat an entire pan in 4 days. Still. Bad idea.

Both my closest mom friends are pregnant, which makes me feel worse about the whole sick/not sick thing. Also, slightly left behind. Not that we are trying or anything. It's kind of how it would be great to win the lottery, but I never buy a ticket.

That came out wrong. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Or visit The Un Mom for more Randomness.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oo! Ee! Aa! Oh!

Down and up
Originally uploaded by Maydela
I've been trying to teach Moira to jump, but she totally doesn't understand the concept. Instead she has decided that it's fun if I count every time she takes a step down. Well, when she remembers.
Two days ago we went for a walk in the woods (It's been too long since we did that. I don't know why. I love how the woods look right now with no leaves.) and she would stop and stand on every twig on the ground and root that she could get onto on her own and wait for me to count. If I didn't notice, she would start bouncing and sating "Oo! Ee! Aa! Oooooh!!!" until I noticed.
Yesterday we went to the Science Center with Mika and we both had to say it before she would go down the steps in the parking garage. Today she started doing it on the perfectly flat road on the way home from the mailbox.
I'm glad she likes the raincoat. She wouldn't put it on at first, and then when I finally convinced her to put it on she held her arms out like she couldn't put them down. Today she wore it on our brief trip out to the fabric store and she was complimented on it no fewer then 5 times in 15 minutes. Now it's her favorite coat ever. She had to wear it, hood up even when it wasn't raining. I had to wear my raincoat too, because you can never be too careful.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Baby. It's what's for dinner

Baby on the table
Originally uploaded by Maydela

Moira has gone through some major developmental change in the last few weeks. Her level of comprehension has shot through the roof. Today I found her sitting on the kitchen table this morning. I believe because her cup was up there out of reach, and so she went to get it instead of asking for help. Last week she suddenly started doing all the motions for The Wheels On the Bus (extended remix version), Patty Cake and Little Birdies. She kept herself mostly entertained while watching Walker and his friends play a four hour long game last night. Today, while I was getting dinner ready to go into the crockpot she took off her shoes and socks and then took them into her room and put them in the hamper. Because that's where dirty clothes go.
Sadly, the last two days, nap has only been about half an hour long, which is challenging. But I am loving this age, where she's surprising me all the time. Since she's awake, I think we will go buy supplies to do more corn syrup painting.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

At the zoo

Bunny goes "hop hop"
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Adorableness. Not only was she happy to show me what bunnies do (and point sadly to the empty cage while shaking her head to tell me there were no bunnies there), but she made the right sound for every animal she could; cows, sheep, goats, owls, bears, zebras, wolves, elk, tigers, lions and a few birds.
I decided to try out the stroller after a long break from it because she was refusing to sit in it. It worked pretty well until I ran out of snacks, so about 3/4's of your visit. And most of the time she wasn't sitting in the stroller, she was happy to hold my hand. Win/win.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

UFO sighting

So, I'm taking part in Tall Grass Prairie Studio's quilt finishing challenge.
I plan to finish 4 quilts:
1) Sika's Wedding Ring. I have to finish hand sewing the binding on, clean and label it. Cleaning it will be a big pain, because of an old roommate's cats and improper storage.
2) Coulton's quilt. I sent his brother's quilt last Christmas, rather then wait to finish this one and send them together, which was a good idea I guess, because I got it quilted and bound, but it has been sitting for 11 months waiting for a label. I forgot it was still here until I found it a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for something.
3) Mariah's quilt. Needs to be basted, quilted, bound, labeled and washed.
4) Taylor's quilt (photos here and here mostly. Blocks helpfully made by members of the International Stash Busting Bee on Flickr. I needed to make 6 more for the layout I wanted to use. I have 1 left to make, then I have to sash, baste, quilt, bind, label and wash.

Those last three are for Walker's niece and nephews. I've been working my way through all the younger members of his family, which is hard since people keep having kids. When these are done, I have 3 left to do and then I can come up with my next long term grand quilting scheme.

Hey, it's election day. Don't forget to vote. As long as you vote the way I want you to!

Hey guys with long hair! When you finally decide to give a short hairdo a chance, you have to fully commit and get a style that will look good on you. It doesn't count if you just get it chopped into the longest possible bob you can still claim is 'short'.

Happy Random Tuesday!

Little Zebra

Trick or treating was a complete failure. Too much excitement and change for one weekend. Good thing I got pictures of Moira in her costume a week early. Science World was a big hit though.

I am thinking of participating in this Joy in the New Year challenge to finish quilt projects by the end of the year, but I only think I can manage 3 and one it almost done, so it kind of feels like cheating. It's probably not cheating though, it's just being realistic. Actual number of unfinished quilts I have? 11. Oh, I guess I could sign up for 4, because actually getting the label on Coulton's quilt in time to mail it Michigan for Christmas counts, right? I totally thought that had already gotten mailed out, but I found it last month while looking for fabric.

I want to make this kind of tutu for Moira for Christmas. Maybe in rainbow colors.

I pulled a new stack of books for November when we got back from Canada. It turns out we don't really have any about fall or Thanksgiving, so the theme is Food. We seem to have a ton of Christmas and Snow themed books, so I will probably split those up, Christmas for Dec and Snow for Jan.

For more randomness, visit The Un Mom!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Best $5 I ever spent

You stay in here
Originally uploaded by Maydela
I believe I've mentioned how popular this baby doll is at our house. I have been keeping my eyes peeled for a stroller for the baby, since that's the first thing Moira runs to at other people's houses. I was almost ready to buy a brand new one (they are under $20) or at least, convince someone to buy her one for Christmas, but then we found this one at Tree House.
Best. Thing. Ever. Baby has taken lots of rides in it. The bottle opener has taken rides in it. Occasionally, Moira tires to take a ride in it. I managed to convince her to take it on our walk to the mail box the other day, but there was construction going on by the street, so she got scared and abandoned poor Baby halfway there.
Moira is saying too many things for me to keep track of anymore. I'm particularly proud of her for grasping the concept and pronunciation of " Nakkie" the last time we were at the doctor's office.
Night weaning is going okay. She will now go back to sleep every time she wakes up with just Walker's help, but she's still waking up frequently. With our trip to Canada this weekend and Walker's on call shift next week, there will be some backsliding, since I will have to handle night time then, but at least I'm not super sleep deprived anymore. Getting through the day is so much easier with 7 hours of sleep.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hooray, beans!

Since the season for Farm Tots is running down, and Moira loves the big bins of beans they have there, I decided it was time to make one of our own. I found a big bag of beans at Costco yesterday, and today, while she napped, I filled up a box and hid a bunch of toys in it.
It was a huge hit. She spent over 30 minutes digging around in there happily and making strange noises when she found something new. Eventually she came over to see what I was doing, so I went over to clean everything up.
This is what she did. It was totally worth it though. Next time, I think I'll put down a sheet first.

Itsy bitsy Spider

Itsy bitsy Spider
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Moira loves this song.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Upholstery FAIL

Walker's chair
Years ago, Walker and I went to Arizona for the specific purpose of renting a big car and driving this chair back to Seattle. It was the first piece of furniture his grandmother bought when they finally moved into their first home, because she had read an article that a comfortable chair for your husband was the most important piece of furniture. Walker has very fond memories of it, and I think it's a nice chair too. It's also the one we've been taking pictures of Moira sitting in every month to track her growth. The original covering had been slowly disintegrating, and when Walker's grandmother took it in to get it recovered originally, she was quoted the price for leather. Since that was ridiculously expensive, she had the cushion and the ottoman recovered in fabric.
When we got our tax return, I decided to get a quote on the recovering. Leather, as expected was ridiculously expensive, but the lady giving me the quote was looking at the rip in the side to tell me if she could fix just that part, and she pointed out that it was, in fact, originally pleather. Score. Walker's plan all along was to keep as close to the original chair as possible, so for 1/4 the price of recovering the chair, we decided to get the chair and both ottomans we have in the living room recovered.
Sadly, pleather right now seems to be coming in a range of almost pastel colors. I spent a while waffling between the color you see on the chair now, which was closest to the original color, only much, much lighter, and a brown I thought Walker would like better. I picked the brown one, but then I didn't pay enough attention to the work order that was being written up and she wrote down the wrong color name.
I complained after it arrived, knowing of course, that there was no way they were going to fix this problem for me. Walker was pissed, because OMG giant pink chair in our living room. Fortunately, the internet has cosplayer forums on it, one of which had instructions on using cheap acrylic paint (the hobby kind from Michaels) to change the color of pleather. We tested it out with the ottoman that is not part of the original set first, and it works beautifully. This is one coat of black, rubbed on with a sock. It's a two person job, since someone has to paint and someone has to rub quickly before it dries, so we will only be able to work on it on weekends, but I love the results. Moira was even kind enough to test it out and make sure the color wouldn't wash off.
Thanks cosplayers!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween books

Baby pumpkin
It's possible that Halloween is my favorite holiday. This is a little odd, since I don't like horror or suspense. But I do love dressing up, and babies in pumpkin shirts. We always go to Canada to trick or treat with friends, and when I was packing last year, I realized that I had a Halloween outfit for the five days we would be there before Halloween. This year, Moira's Halloween wardrobe is significantly smaller but only because there was nothing in the dollar spot at Target that would fit her. I looked.
I decided to pull all the Halloween books I could find (and the books about monsters and wizards) from her vast picture book collection. They have been sitting in a little stack by the fireplace, and she has been digging through them. The favorites are:
A Job For Wittilda by Caralyn Buehner - This keeps her attention despite how long it is, probably because of all the cats. And the chance to practice meowing.
Scary Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting - Another book with cats in it, but they really only appear on the last page. Moira seems to like the fact that it rhymes more then anything. The pictures are by Jan Brett, which I like
The Whingdingdilly by Bill Peet - This one is only good to look through on your own. She actually used to bring this to me to have me read it when she was first pulling books off the shelves on her own, but each page has multiple paragraphs of text on it and it's just too long to keep her attention. The pictures captivate her, but I'm not sure why.

Bonus non Halloweeny book:
10 Little Dinosaurs by Jim Harris - With the Halloween books pulled off the shelf, she can get this one off the shelf, so it's always coming out. There is a big pair of wiggle eyes attached to the front of the book, and holes in each of the page. It's written in the 10 little monkeys style, but each page is a different kind of dinosaur and each dinosaur type is doing a different silly thing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Road trip quilt update

I'm almost done with the states I had already cut out, so I needed to figure out what to use for each state from what I have left. Using Google Maps to remember our route, this is the list of states visited, in order. If I've finished the block, there's a link to the picture. If I have the fabric, it's named next to the state.

BC - Y2K
California - Velvet panties
New Mexico
Louisiana - Space sheet, heart panties, pink chiffon
Mississippi - Lemon scarf
Alabama - Green floral skirt
South Carolina - Houses & trees
North Carolina
Washington DC
Maryland - Maroon scrunchy
Delaware - Purple floral scarf
New Jersey
New York
Massachusetts - Lighthouses
New Hampshire
Maine - Moose
New Brunswick - Autumn floral ribbon
Ontario - Mirrored halter
Minnesota - Animals fabric
South Dakota
Montana - Cowboy fabric
Idaho - Pumpkins
BC - Sunset

42 states visited. BC and Washington are listed twice because I was living in BC and my boyfriend was living in Washington, so we did drive through them twice leaving and getting home.
16 blocks completed, one in progress, Massachusetts. I should remember to check my spelling on that one, since I keep misspelling it here.
I'm missing 9 fabrics. I distinctly remember buying fabric for Washinton while we were in Spokane. I talked to a lady who liked to go on motorcycle trips with her husband and two young daughters. She told me way more then I wanted to know about the logistics of that. I'm actually surprised I'm only missing nine, since I didn't do a good job of keeping things all together for the first 6 years after we got back. I'll have to do one last search through my bins, and then if I can't find them, I'll cheat and buy fabric now. I suppose I could try and find online vendors from each state to buy from. Hmmm....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fashion show

Since I've been mysteriously losing sizes, but not weight, I've been doing a lot of shopping lately. I was telling Pearl that I want to get back to how I used to dress before I dated the guy who would complain if I wore more then one color at a time, or if that color was not red or black. I didn't mean to change how I dressed for him, but it's hard not to want to look nice for someone you love.
I thought this was a good combo at the time
Pearl thinks I'm crazy, since according to her I have been clashing the entire time I've known her, but as I've been scanning in my childhood photos, I'm being reminded of just how quirkily I dressed. These are the best examples I could find last night.
I thought this combination was great at the time. Actually, I still really like it. Both shirt and skirt a pure silk, so I never got to wear either one very often. I had that skirt for at least 10 years and I probably wore it fewer then 10 times. I wore it to my sister's rehearsal dinner with a bright green shirt and white tights.

Me & Izzy
This isn't the best picture of this skirt, but I wore that skirt to death. With everything. It was just one of those tissue thin, cheap, elastic waist circle skirts. I think I got it at the Punjabi market in Vancouver, BC. It was constantly ripping and I would carefully whip stitch the holes closed. By the time I gave up on it, it was fully an inch shorter on one side then the other because of all the mends on that side. The lace shirt I'm wearing is a leotard. Aaaah, crotch snaps, the most comfortable thing on a piece of tight adult clothing.
I haven't found a picture of the electric blue unitard I wore a lot in high school. Sometimes I wore it with cut off jean shorts and a vest, but sadly, sometimes I just wore it by itself. Or the green velvet stirrup pants that were given to me by a guy who wanted to date me, who got them when I girl he was cleaning out his closet. Yes, he used to wear them. And then I did. Eeeew.
Me at age 3 (I think)
When I was at Goodwill yesterday looking for long sleeved shirts I found a little red velvet dress with a white pinafore. I got all excited because of this picture of me when I was 3 (I think). Hurray for recreating your childhood with your own kid's outfits. I'm glad she hasn't tried to exert any form of control over her own wardrobe yet, and I still get to pick out her Halloween outfits and party dresses. Not sure she'll be able to wear it this year. The sales tag said it was 24m size, which would be perfect, but the tag on the pinafore says 4T. We shall see.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I miss you, Oxytocin

We spent Sunday before naps doing some reorganizing. Bobbe put some sliding shelves in our pantry two weeks ago, and I hadn't finished putting the food back in there, so I emptied the last two boxes. Although, come to think of it, I think there's still another box somewhere in the basement and there are also some dry goods in canisters that haven't made it back in yet. Walker also moved our exercise bike into the big unfinished rooms so we could close the closet door in the tv room, since Moira has started climbing over it to get to the garbage can and electronics in there.
The big project was Moira's room. There have been mounting piles of outgrown clothes in there for 6 months. Also, she's figured out how to open her closet door, and was playing with the china dolls that were in the wicker chest in there. So Walker entertained her while I spent a few hours packing clothes up and reorganized her closet. The China dolls are no out of reach, and the other ones are out where she can play with them. Shanny (I used to name my dolls after nicknames I hated, so when someone called me Shanny I could say "Why are you talking to my doll?" I started doing that when I was 5) has been a big hit, but she really needs a bath so I guess I should google that. I also reorganized her drawers so that the top drawer (the one Walker always opens first) is now full of complete outfits. He has been pulling out the same three shirts over and over and then not being able to find pants to go with them. Hopefully I can keep up with this and her clothes can get more even wear. Certainly this way, she'll be less likely to be wearing her blue plaid pants and red zebra print shirt.
Ever since Becca & Andrew's wedding, Moira has been waking up three to four times at night, instead of the one to two from before. This wouldn't be so bad, except that at least one of those wake ups, she doesn't settle down for over an hour. Or rather, she's most of the way asleep, but changing position every few minutes. Nursing, sucking on my finger, rolling away from me, sitting up, flopping her head onto my chest (and frequently hitting my head instead), rolling over me and starting all over on the other side. This is really frustrating. I've been trying to stop that cycle before I get too frustrated, but it's hard to remember at 3am. I think instead we need to try some night weaning. This is guaranteed to make her more pissed off in the short term, but I'm hoping that if she can't get milk in the middle of the night, she will start sleeping for longer stretches. We are both waking up so tired in the morning, and it's getting really hard to make it through the day.
Wish me luck.

Monday, September 28, 2009

That was exciting.

Yesterday, while looking at pictures from Becca's shower (taken with a camera that frames all the photos with Hello Kitty) Moira started saying "Hi Kitty!" Unfortunately, she also said it at 1:30 this morning when she decided that she didn't want to sleep anymore, because of her stuffy nose. Unfortunately, this means whatever cute thing I was planning to say about this picture has been knocked out of my head by sleep dep. But look! She figured out how to color! Yay! Next up. Playdough!
She's eating less in general, but still a lot at dinner. Possibly because everyone is there with her and eating and she can be just like Mommy and Daddy. Possibly because after a whole day of running around and trying to convince me to give her something different for a snack that what is being offered, she's starving. I decided after the hives joined the other two symptoms of "Hey Mom! I have a food allergy!" that we should take dairy out her diet to see if that was the problem. Fortunately, it was, because wheat or corn would have been so much more of a pain, but the removing dairy is still hard. Walker forgot and fed her some of his buttered bread. I decided pizza would be okay if we just took the cheese off the top. Not so much. Anyway, I think that's part of her problem with food right now. She wants me to find the bunny crackers, or the cheese sticks. We are going to give it a go for 6 months and then try some cheese. If that's not a long enough break, then we get to wait a couple of years, at which point I will probably investigate fake cheeses because I don't think I can go that long without mac and cheese.
Oh! I forgot to mention the fork! She loves to eat with a fork. Sometimes she wants to try out all of her forks to see which one works best with her meal. Adorable.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's all good

This is serious business
Originally uploaded by Maydela
See that serious face? This is how she looks every time she swings. It's the only thing she wants to do from the moment she sees one, for about a half an hour. I'm pretending that pushing her on the swings is good upper body exercise.
In the last week she has:
Learned how to do the motions for The Itsy Bitsy Spider
Learned to high five
Said No, twice
Said Hi, a few more times then that, but still not regularly (The first time was to Stewie when we woke up in the morning and he was asking to get out of his crate)
Started doing the motions I do for some books, like moving her hand in circles over her belly when we read the page of "Tickle Tickle" where they scrub their bellies
Started leaning back and forth when she either wants me to sway her on my knee and sing "This is the way the Farmers ride" or I have mentioned farmers
Rubbing her belly when I ask if she's poopy and the answer is yes
Wiping her face with a cloth, or if she doesn't have one, pretending to do it
Feeding her baby while it sits on my lap
Moved from brushing only her hair with any brush she finds to also brushing mine, and trying to catch Stewie so she can brush his
Can open the door in the TV room, which has a door handle instead of a knob. She's working hard to figure out the knobs

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Long term WIPs

Now that I'm done with the stuff I was doing for the wedding (well, not the quilt I'm making them, I should really finish that) and caught up on the swaps I signed up for, I've been poking again at a couple of quilts I've been working on for me for a long long time.
Weency blocks
These little drunkard's path blocks are for a quilt I designed in 1996 or 1997. Each little block is 2.5" and the quilt is supposed to be Queen sized. When I sat down to figure out how many blocks I needed in 2000, I discovered it was something ridiculous around 2000, or possibly 3000, I haven't looked recently. So of course, I decided to hand piece it. Partly because I didn't have my sewing machine with me, and partly because I am crazy. I'm also cutting a maximum of 8 of each piece (outside arch and inside wedge) from each fabric pair.

New Jersey
These blcoks, (and more on my Flickr) are for a quilt I'm making to commemorate a road trip I took 2000. We went around the US and parts of southern Canada, and I tried to get fabric from every state/province we went through. Because my boyfriend at the time refused to go out of his way for anything and we didn't have the internet everywhere to easily find fabric stores, most of what I bought were premade items, like a bandana for New Jersey. I have knit shirts and a free thong thrown off a float in New Orleans, so it wouldn't work to try to piece it. I decided to make these applique houses, and embroider the state name and some scenery on each block. It's a lot of fun, but I put off starting for so long, I'm no longer sure what state each fabric is supposed to be for. Tillie, who was on the road trip with me, said that is kind of in the spirit of our whole trip, so I may as well just randomly pick fabric that seems right when I'm not sure.
I still have to put wheels on the cars on New Jersey, but I keep forgetting to grab my black floss when I'm working on it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Good old Murphy

When I woke up this morning I realized that the busy week I had thought I had was actually pretty empty. Especially since Moira has been falling asleep too early to make it worth it to try and go to the 11am play date I was hoping we could go to. I said something on Facebook about having nothing to do today.
Moira and I went to the grocery store and when we came home I discovered tiny pink spots all over her front and back from neck to crotch. So I called the Doctor and got an 11:30 appointment, and we hightailed it over there.
After our last round of shots, Moira suddenly developed a fear of bandaids and stickers. That is gone apparently, at least for stickers, and she has developed a more rational fear of anything the nurse or doctor might do to her, including having me take off her clothes in the exam room. So, the exam was fun, with the screaming because we were measuring her and then more screaming while I had to hold down head, legs and arms so the doctor could look in her ears.
Fortunately, the most likely culprit is a viral infection, which isn't contagious and should clear up in 7 to 10 days. The second most likely option is that she had an impressively severe reaction to the three sunflower seeds she had with mid morning snack. We get to monitor her temperature and look for itchyness, and wait.
Of course this makes me think of something that happened 13 years ago. My Mom called and told me that there was new research and scientists now think MS was caused by a virus a kid gets sometime in their first year that causes a rash, but no fever. I hung up the phone and before I could step away, it rang. Sarah called to tell me that her 1 year old had a strange rash, but no fever or itchyness and it was so weird. So of course I told her. That was maybe not the most comforting thing to say.
So, when Moira gets MS in 40 years, remember, you heard it here first.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mental note

I suppose you are wondering why I called you here?
Sometimes it takes me a while to catch on. Like a few years ago during the record heat wave when I realized on the last day that I should get in the pool in our backyard. That would have been a good idea.
Similarly, Moira has been very clingy lately, and also bringing me the sling and making me carry her baby in it. It suddenly occurred to me yesterday that maybe she would actually want to sit in the sling, so when we took Tillie to Greenlake, I took the Babyhawk and Moira happily rode in it for the first half an hour. I had to force her back into it so we could get back to the car in time to get lunch before we took Tillie to the bus station, but she calmed down eventually.
Picture from my new phone
I kept that experience in mind and when Moira started getting cranky this morning, got us suited up and took a walk to the park, since Walker took my car to get it's oil changed today. Moira was so happy to be cuddling me there and back, and seemed like she might even fall asleep on the way home. I figured she was just extra cuddly though, since the idea of her falling asleep at 10:30 is ridiculous, but by 10:45 she was inconsolable, so we went off to bed. To make her week more difficult, we are trying her in her own bed on the floor, so I can get some time in bed where I'm not twisted into a pretzel. The first few days she did not want to lay down on her bed, but yesterday she suddenly decided it was okay, and will jump into her bed when I ask if it's nap time. I even found her leaning on it while playing with her toys yesterday.
I got a new phone, and while I remembered to use it to take pictures at the park today, I forgot to take into account the fact that the sun was directly behind where Moira was playing, so this is the only shot that turned out. She had a great time climbing up the stairs and then sliding down the slide all by herself. I'm glad we tried it because now I know that Big Finn Hill park really is walking distance for me, although coming home up the hill with the baby strapped on my front was a bit hard. Next time maybe we can take the stroller. It will be a long long time, if ever, that she'll be able to walk there by herself, since you have to cross Juanita Way on a curve, and there are no crosswalks, lights or even sidewalks between here and there.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Favorite books at 16 months

Tickle Tickle by Helen Oxenbury
I don't mind this one so much. It's short, it's cute, and she's started doing the motions I was doing (pretending to wash her tummy, brush her hair) and giggling as she waits for the 'surprise' tickling at the end.

Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Another one that's not so bad to read, because there's not many words. Plus, Moira is starting to make the surprised mouth when the wife realizes that all the animals are in her bedroom. Walker thinks it's highly unfair that the Armadillo is the only one without a stuffed version of itself (it has an Ernie doll instead).

The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too! by Mo Willems
I would kick Dad for having bought this one if Moira didn't like it so very much. I'm surprised she's that into it since it has such simple illustrations. I guess I should read the other books in the series to find out why he has such a bad relationship with the Bus Driver, or at least the one called The Pigeon Loves Things That Go since there's a bus on the cover. That probably explains it, right?

Where is My Teddy Bear? by Frida Bing
An exciting and suspenseful book. Moira's favorite page is the one with the duck on it. Fortunately, the flaps you lift to reveal the hidden toy are big and sturdy enough that Moira can't accidentally rip them.

My Nose, My Toes and Me! by Frida Bing
This is the sister book to the one above, and Moira greatly prefers it. She reliably points at all her body parts mentioned in the book, except her eyes, which are first. I think she's worried she'll accidentally poke her eyes. Which, given how hard she likes to jab my eyes, is a big possibility.

Opposites by Robert Crowther
Another new book from my Dad. When Moira noticed this one and we read it for the first time she thought it was the best thing in the world. In fact, I had to hide it on the counter eventually because she threw a temper tantrum everytime I finished the book and closed it. We read it 5 times in a row before I decided it was time to calm down. It's a pop up style book which is exciting and opposites is her favorite thing to read about, so I guess it was destined to be a favorite.

One Moose, Twenty Mice by Clare Beaton
There is a cat hiding on each page and Moira can find most of them, except for the pages where all you can see is the tail. And the page with the Moose on it, because apparently Moose are that exciting. I like this one a lot because all the pictures are made of felt and beads.

Petit Poney printed by Grund
I can't find this one, is in French and I found it at a thrift store. The book is pony shaped and has flaps to lift. She really seems to like anything we read in another language out of proportion with the actual interest of the book, so that may be most of the draw. You'll be happy to know that the little pony does eventually find someone to play with, although why a cow, a pig and a goat are hiding in a hay pile, I don't know.

How to Be a Cow by Shelly Meredith
This one I will kick Dad for buying. It rhymes, it's nonsensical, and it seems to be pushing some sort of strange pro conformity message (yay herd mentality!). The best part is when it ends and I hide it so Moira can't insist I read it again 5 seconds later.

Pajama time! by Sandra Boynton
I have such a love/hate relationship with Sandra Boynton. Some of her books, like Doggies or Moo Baa La La La are great, but for every one of her books I love, there's one like Pajama Time that I hate. This is the book version of a song she wrote. I've never heard the song,but I have to assume it's better with music then it is in text. Moira seems to like it best after the ugliest pajamas ever make an appearance, but sadly they don't show up for the big dance party scenes. The warthog must be to embarrassed.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Where is it?

Where is it?
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Moira is too interesting for me to properly record now. I've given up on her baby book. I made it through the first year, and I figure that's good enough. It was my original goal, because I never thought I would get all the way through the two plus years the book is designed to cover.
A small list of things she has started doing recently.
  • She holds her hands out (or more recently, up by her ears) in the classic "I don't know!" pose when I ask her where something is.
  • She can say "Up!" It was "Bup!" at first, but it is sadly losing the b really quickly.
  • She requests our drinks by saying "Ein!" which I think is because we tend to say "That is my drink, this one is yours" when she asks, and she wants the "My drink."
  • She can climb onto everything and it's a short time before she manages to scale the baby gate.
  • We would take the baby gate down, but she refuses to crawl down the stairs now, and if we aren't there fast enough to hold her hand, she tries to do her silly stair climbing walk without holding onto anything and takes a big tumble.
  • She likes to help put things away, to the point where I'm kind of abusing it by asking her to put away whatever she's playing with that I don't want her to be holding.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dear Picasa facial recognition program

  • If the faces you are clustering come from the same photo, they are probably not the same person
  • Not every baby in my family is either Mark or Moira.
  • Please remember to include the part of the face below the nose in your search box. That will make it easier to cluster photos properly. And for me to figure out who it is.
  • I love you, despite your faults.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

I have like, 1/4 of a post written and saved so I can more properly ignore it, but I'm hoping that doing this again will remind me of how easy it is to actually post.
Holger working
My great grandfather, Holger was a mason back in the day. I think he's the one second from the right in this picture, but it's too small for me to be able to tell entirely.
Brickwork in progress
This is one of the houses he built in progress. When we were looking for a house last year, Walker fell in love with a brick house hand built by the owner. Not a single project was actually completed. My favorite feature was the light switch next to the sink that was not actually mounted in the wall, but instead surrounded by a protective tent of bricks. We didn't get it, thank goodness, but we tried. My aunt Bobbe is a contractor, so she came over to give us a bid, and after being horrified for awhile, she finally said, "Well, Holger would approve."
Outside their home which was built by Holger
My Nana with her younger sister, Marilyn and her mother Oline outside their house. Again Holger did the brickwork. I think I remember my sister telling me that he would build one house at a time and they would live in it until it was sellable and then move to the next one. But I may have that confused with her sims.

For more vintage photo friday, visit Paper Dolls for Boys

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

Tomorrow is my Nana's 90th birthday, and in honor of her, I'm finally getting my act back together for vintage photo friday.
Bathing beauty
Maggie Hillinger, July 21, 1940
I've been scanning in family photos for the last few weeks to make a slideshow for her party. Except it's not a party, because she told us at my Dad's "I'm not turning 60" party that she was also not turning 90 this year. I've loved getting this glimpse into her early life.
Good swing
I always loved spending time with Nana. She was full of energy and enthusiasm. She would pose for silly photos with me and play my games. Now that I've seen more pictures like this, I realize that that wasn't just something she did for her grandchildren.
Nana in WW2
She joined the WAAC during World War 2, where she met my Grandfather on a trip skiing in Switzerland.
Happy unbirthday Maggie! I'm so glad you are my Nana.

For more vintage photos visit Paper Dolls For Bys

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Farm time is the best time

We should go over here
Originally uploaded by Maydela
There's a small farm in Redmond that has a Farm Tots program. Every week there are animals to pet, songs, crafts, a big bin of beans Moira loves, a hay ride and we get to pick a child sized portion of some crop. We've gone about 4 times this year, and it's really cool to see how the farm changes with the seasons. Right now it's incredibly lush with the sunflowers, corn and beans.
This time they had a bean maze, which was designed for kids, but not adults. We walked through the maze the first time together, and then when Moira and Evelyn wanted to keep going through, we let them go. They had a great time chasing each other, and pretty much stayed on the main path, ignoring the two dead ends.
I've loved watching Moira's relationship with the kids we see most often develop. They remember each others names and wave hello. They influence each other. Always after spending time with Evelyn or Jenna, Moira tries to talk more, Jenna pays close attention to Moira and Evelyn being brave enough to walk down the stairs. We went to a park earlier this week and when Evelyn got scared on the slide, Moira followed her around with a concerned look on her face until she stopped crying, Evelyn did the same thing when Moira started crying because she took a tumble.
Here is to many more years of friendship!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I can do it myself!

I can do it myself!
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Moira's physical abilities have taken a sharp leap forward. She started walking up and down stairs while we were in California (fortunately, she usually insists that someone hold her hand while she does that), if there's a railing she'll hold that instead. Today at the park she climbed up the playground equipment walked right up to the twisty slide and started sliding almost before I could spot her. Fortunately, the twist slowed her down enough that she could pretty much do it by herself. It was a great hit, so she did it over and over stepping further and further out on the slide before sitting down to see if that worked. The only times she really had a problem were when I stopped her because she was headed down head first, and when she tried to sneak around another kid who was sitting at the top of the slide and went down the way too steep part.
She keeps trying to grab my camera, so I showed her how to push the button and let her take pictures, now she wants to run around and try to take pictures without sitting on my lap.
Today I handed her her clean clothes one at a time and she put most of them back in the drawers, tasting each one to make sure it was "done". I need to find more ways to let her help with the chores while she still thinks this is a great game. I should also probably assemble the step stool so she has something secure to stand on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

B is for Broccoli

88. Broccoli
Already knew: This kind of Broccoli has skinnier heads and more slender stalks then the kind you can buy at the store. I cannot tell the difference in taste, but I'm sure there is one. It is excellent in stirfrys because there's fewer little bits on the head to break apart and get everywhere. I didn't know until I grew this one and left it in the garden too long, but the little things that comprise the head of a broccoli are flower buds. The flowers are white. I should have known that, it just never occurred to me. It is a Brassica, which used to be called Crucificous, but like the Brontosaurus has changed it's name for some random reason.
Recently learned: Broccoli is a cool weather crop. It does best between 65 and 75 degrees, so I can blame the summer heatwave on my Broccoli bolting.
Butterfly Bush
89. Butterfly bush
Already knew: Also called Wild Lilac. This is a big stalky bush that has lone cone shaped clusters of flowers in many different colors. In my yard I have three different colors of purple and yellow. One of my neighbors has a white one. As you can guess from the name, butterflies like it. It is also invasive in cooler climates like ours.
Recently learned: Latin name is Buddleja. It should be Buddelia, but Linnaeus wrote it down wrong and it has never been changed. The most commonly planted variety, which I think this one is, is from China and thrives in dry soil.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I miss LJ icons right now

Well, one specific icon I appear to have deleted.

In a desperate bid to have an activity to do with Moira this morning (for some reason the hours between Walker going to work and nap time are particularly cranky), we went to Toys R Us. For some reason, I feel bad about just playing at local independent toy stores, even though when I do spend my money on toys, it tends to be at those places. Mayne what I'm really doing is trying to take the big box stores down by causing wear and tear on their unsold merchandise? I don't think that will work. I should remember in the future that small toy stores are much more likely to actually have toys out to play with, where as at Toys R Us, everything is safely encased in it's original packaging. Moira had a good time pushing the accessible buttons anyway.

Just spending half an hour there reminded me why I stopped going to that store years ago, when I was buying lots of things for Norwescon's KidKon.

1) There was a whole section of randomly gender coded toys. The 'girls' dog had pink ears instead of brown. Because otherwise a girl won't play with it, I guess? Girls are well known for thinking that animals are boring and stupid? There was a pink Doctor kit, despite the fact that the primary colored version also had a picture of a girl on the front and no boy. So maybe what they are trying to say is that being a Doctor is now a girly profession? There were also a pink popcorn popper push toy, pink rotary telephone (I used to own the old version of this and I LOVED it, but why are they still making this? My college aged cousins have never used a rotary phone. Do kids still recognize this a phone type object at all?) and a pink school bus. You know, I have only ever seen a pink school bus once in real life, and it was at a gay pride parade. I'm sure the message intended with this toy is "Pink is a girls color, and therefore you should only use your imaginative powers on pink toys, here have some little girls to ride your pink bus so that you don't get imaginary cooties touching boy dolls", or something, but I think it's actually some Gay propaganda slipped sneakily through the Little Tykes marketing department encouraging girls to strive for a world where men are kept in ranches far from civilization and Lesbian love is the standard. I for one, relish my new Lesbian overlords. Or ladies, I guess.
2) 96% of the toys sold were made out of plastic. There was one small aisle labeled "Wooden Toys." When we went down it, there was a selection of the really cool, realistic animals (made of plastic) and some realistic stuffed animals, so only half of the actual aisle had wooden toys. Then there was a big hole in the Melissa & Doug section that had been randomly filled with a plastic play table. Sigh.
3) They make toddler exercise equipment now. I saw a rowing machine and an exercise bike. I guess this makes sense in the way that you can get baby cell phones and PDA's, because kids like to imitate their parents. So I guess if Mommy & Daddy work out a lot, this would be something your kid would really like, but it kind of horrifies me in principle. Please, just go run around outside with your kids.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Oh Stan, I've missed you.

I think you have a cavity
Moira and I went to have lunch with Walker at Google today. Partly to meet a coworker of Walker's who didn't get to meet her before we left, and partly to recreate this picture. Walker was sad that I didn't bring the sling (we still use that same one from time to time) but I pointed out that trying to stick her in it in Stan's mouth would be dangerous to the point of sheer stupidity on our part, what with her tendency to jump out of things. Someone stuck a strawberry on one of his teeth, and that's what she's trying to grab.
Then we had lunch at my favorite of the Mountain View cafes, Cafe 150 (all the food is grown withing 150 miles of the campus), where it was taco Tuesday. We sat outside where it was fenced in and Moira could throw grapes and then eat them off the ground to her hearts content without getting away. She woke up before 6 this morning, so by the time we were eating at noon she was exhausted and cranky. The grape game (also good to play with beans) was enough entertainment to keep her happy until we ran out of food. Then we all grabbed our trays and headed back inside. As she was waiting for us at the door, Moira saw a wasp on the wall and grabbed it. Walker noticed and I threw my tray at him and opened her hand so the wasp fell to the ground. I think the wasp was too surprised to do anything while she held it. She also managed to grab it right around the middle. Great reflexes on that kid.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Old stomping grounds

We are in California for a week, so Walker can meet some people at the main office, and I can run around and see old friends and places. Moira seems to be dealing with the novelty of the hotel pretty well. It helps that the TV is low enough that she can turn it off and on her ownself.
I checked a few books out of the library and bought some small toys for the plane ride down here. She fell asleep as soon as we started taking off, and woke up about 15 minutes before landing, but they were perfect for keeping her busy when we were just sitting on the tarmac. They are less interesting now that we are here (plus, they have to be spread out between the car and the hotel room) so I went to the library to see if I could check out books, even though I forgot to bring my card (No). Then we went just down the block from the hotel and signed up for a free introductory class at the Little Gym, and Moira tried to steal the snacks another little girl was eating.
There is a party store next to the Little Gym, and since my plan to get more books had failed, I went in to see if there was anything she would enjoy playing with. We got a balloon, some bubbles (since I left ours at home) and her first Playmobil set! I'm ridiculously excited by the Playmo, but she seemed happy about it too. She insisted on carrying the box for most of the walk back home, even though that meant I had to carry her, because the box kept getting in the way of her feet. I plan to hand the actual contents of the box out one piece at a time, once she starts getting bored of the balloon and the rock she picked up from the rock bed outside our door.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm happy that it's not as unspeakably hot today as it was yesterday. We are currently hanging out outside, which was not possible yesterday without risking heat stroke. I filled the water table up with fresh water, so Moira could use her cups to drink/spill half of it immediately. This is a learning thing, right? She practicing drinking from a cup, without Mom taking it away the minute she starts dribbling it down her front.
Bonus! Our silly, fluffy dog who has been ignoring his water dish (and the lovely cold ice I drop in it periodically) can drink from the puddles that form around Moira while she plays!
We went to the library today to escape from the heat before naptime and were randomly there in time for story time, which was not only free story time, but specifically targeted at young toddlers (1-3). It was our first time trying a library story time out, I've heard bad stories about large groups and older kids, but this was perfect. Moira loved the songs and stuffed animals for the first 10 minutes or so, then she wanted to see what was in all the purses. This was the last one of the summer series, and the librarian said it starts again in September, but getting information out of the KCLS website about scheduled activities is ridiculously hard. I will have to try again later.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cute baby tricks

Action shot!
Originally uploaded by Maydela
I don't want to be yet another Seattlite complaining about the horrible, horrible heat wave. I'm slightly tempted to be an annoying ex Californian saying that it's not that bad, c'mon people. Seriously, it was hotter then this in June last year, when I had to try and figure out how to keep Moira cool enough, without her hands and feet turning blue because of poor infant circulation.
So yeah, instead, here is a picture of Moira's new hairdo. So cute! She can also point to her nose and hair, and sometimes her eyes, mouth and ears. She's also learned to shake her head 'no', but she frequently uses that for yes. Especially when we are in the car and I'm offering her a book.
Last week I showed her how to put ice in Stewie's bowl. We filled it up today, and then a few minutes later I found her sucking on the ice from his bowl. I tried to give her her own bowl of ice, but it was not nearly as exciting and only entertained her for 30 seconds.

The first tomato that grew on my plants has been roughly the same size and color (green) for the last month and a half, and I was sure that it was just going to be like that forever. I noticed today though, that it has suddenly started turning red. Hooray!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Level up!

The last few weeks have been really long and tiring for Moira and me. With the teething, and going to one nap a day, and Moira's seeming inability to nap for longer then 1.5 hours no matter how tired she was, the days were getting progressively harder and harder. You know things are bad when the baby is so tired when she wakes up from her nap that she fusses to get down when you hold her, and then when you put her down fusses to be held, fusses when you read the book she brought you to read, fusses when you try to wash the blueberries before you give them to her and throws a screaming fit when you try to give her the wrong cup.
But! Yesterday there was a nap that was over 4 hours long. I had to wake her up so we could have dinner, but she was happy the rest of the evening, and is still pretty happy today. She's been playing by herself again for longer then 5 seconds. She is reading her books again, not just throwing them across the room. She is giggling. She woke up a few times during that nap, but went back to sleep pretty quickly. Her nap today was only about 2.5 hours long, but that included me taking her out of the car (asleep) and getting her settled back down after we got to the bedroom.
I know this is only a temporary relief. In a few days another tooth will start coming through or something and there will be more tears and tantrums, but while this lasts, I am going to enjoy it as much as possible.

Vintage Photo Friday

I don't have a theme this week. I just liked these photos when I was looking through my files.
The kids table
Thanksgiving at Helen's house.
I don't know who most of the kids are, although the second one from the left is Walker's aunt Sharon. The lady in the middle with the awesome hair is Helen Brown. She was, by all accounts, a firecracker. I have a lot of photos of her as a child performing daredevil acts, and her hair is always long and wild.
I love the paper cowboys on the table.
I think this is (l to r) Sharon Matlack, Corky Brown, Allen Brown, Christine Matlack & Elizabeth Matlack. The outfits on the Matlack girls were made by their mother. I didn't notice the kitties when I picked this one out, but they are so cute. They are totally trying to escape.

For more vintage photos visit Paper Dolls for Boys

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dear game designers

I think maybe if I'm running a zoo with elephants and lions, the cage walls may need to be bigger then 2'. Also, I think other zoos would probably not consider my zoo so well run if the animals are spending 1/4 of their time awake in the hospital.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Pig tails!
First important milestone of the week: Pigtails! Moira's hair has been long enough for this in theory for awhile, but I haven't been able to find the packs of multi sized, multi colored, tiny rubber bands anywhere, and the "These are the ones that won't hurt her hair, OMG don't use those little packs of rubber bands they are evil!!!!" I got from Pearl are way too big to actually use on Moira's hair, despite the fact that they are tiny. I mean, when you have 1" of hair to put in a ponytail, winding a rubber band around 4 or 5 times is ridiculous. Also hard to do with a squirming child.
Today we visited my Aunt Carol, and my Cousin, Wynne, gave us the leftover rubber bands from her braces. They are the perfect size. The one's Moira is wearing here were about 1/4". Yay!
Bitty pepper!
The other big milestone this week was the appearance of this little bell pepper. Yay! I am successfully growing peppers!