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.