Thursday, March 31, 2011


I had a fabulous time in the Doll Quilt Swap on Flickr this round. In the past I've had very quiet partners, whose tastes weren't very similar to mine, and I struggled to figure out what to make for them.
Finished doll quilt
This time I knew exactly what to do. I even had exactly the right fabric already in the house, having bought all the colors of the unicorns from Heather Ross' Far Far Away when they came out, and not managing to figure out what to do with them. They were just waiting for this, I guess.
The only sad part is that she was so specific, and I was so on target that Allie Kat Mom was pretty sure it was for her all along. It was nice to have my partner comment on the quilt every time I posted progress pictures, but I'm thinking I should have made a decoy to post along with it, just to throw her off the trail.
And this is what I got back! Sadly, it looks like I wasn't as good of a partner to Rebecca's Rags. I'm not sure if I commented on this one at all, although I loved it all along. I think it's especially great that she used the same fabric I did.
Moira is always excited about packages, and tries to convince me that the contents are for her every time. I let her win that argument with the last doll quilt I got, since it went perfectly with the sheets I made for her crib, but this one is all mine. I'm going to hang it up in the tv room, as soon as I get over my strange fear of hanging quilts.
I told her she could have the ribbon the package was tied in, and that I would use it on an outfit for her if she wanted.
No pictures!
She decided it was perfect for dancing in, and also for helping her follow me around the house; I have to hold one end and pull her along. Of course, as soon as I started taking pictures she started yelling at me to stop, so you do not get to see her cute ballet moves. Maybe I can talk her into it after nap. Or maybe we will sit down and figure out what to sew the ribbon on to.
Thank you to all the organizers of this swap, and my wonderful partners!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Delicious and nutritious

We had to take Wheat and dairy (and spelt, rye, and pineapple) out of Moira's diet again. Just like before, it's an intestinal reaction and this is likely temporary, although our plan is to keep it our of her diet for the long term to give her the best possible chance of getting over this problem.
We don't have any problem with this at home. I make most of our food, and the few things we eat that are made with wheat or dairy have good options for her. Well, except for cheese, although she seems to like the rice cheese just fine. The problem is eating out. We love eating out, especially Moira, and there's a bunch of cuisines that are completely off the table, and while Mexican and Thai are easy to find and easy to alter for her needs, they do get boring after awhile.
Moira and I have been eating lunch together between library story time and gym class every Tuesday, and we've found a number of restaurants where everything on the kids menu is wheat based, and half of them have cheese. She'd be happy to have nothing but fries every day, but I'm not. I have been to a few places where the kid's menu has interesting choices, but they are few and far between.
I actually remember being pretty young when I started complaining about the limited selection on kid's menus. I believe my exact words were "Why are they all the same? We are at an Italian restaurant! I don't want a hamburger of mac and cheese!" My parents decided that if I was old enough to care, I was old enough to order off the adult menu.
That isn't an option for Moira yet. She eats a lot for her age, but not that much. For now, I've decided that I need to start writing letters, which means I should make templates. One as an explanation why we won't be patronizing this restaurant again, and one as a thank you for not catering to the lowest common denominator. Here is what I'm sending out to the restaurant we visited most recently.

Dear owner of the Wilde Rover,
We have loved your restaurant since we moved to Kirkland almost 3 years ago. Recently my daughter was diagnosed with an allergy to wheat and dairy, and on our last visit to your restaurant, I discovered that all the options on your kid's menu have one or both of those things in them. Because of this, we will not be able to patronize the Wilde Rover any more.
I know that it is easiest and cheapest to feed children hamburgers, fries, and chicken strips, and while I was pleased to see that you had one option on your menu that was actually an Irish meal, the Bangers and Mash have dairy in them so we could not order them. I ended up ordering the cheeseburger and fries for her without cheese or bun, but we were not offered anything to make up for the missing portion of the meal. At home, our daughter loves corned beef and cabbage, many vegetables, fruits, rice, quinoa, and many other foods. It is a shame that she cannot explore new options when we eat out.
I love it when a restaurant has multiple options for meals. Where you can pick your main course and one or two sides to go with it. Some restaurants are beginning to offer fruit, raw veggies, steamed chicken, rice, even shrimp, all of which we have ordered and my daughter has happily consumed. I am even willing to play a little more for a meal for her, if it is nutritionally complete.
We are sad to not be able to eat at your establishment anymore. If you decide to make changes to your menu to be more interesting and flexible for people with food allergies, we will be happy to come back.

Thank you for your time,
Shannon Hillinger

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A beautiful queen!

Moira is currently obsessed with weddings and I have been enjoying her misconceptions about weddings. She says girls wear big dresses, and then they are a queen, and they marry their Daddies (I've been trying to explain the difference between a Daddy and husband, but she really doesn't want to believe me.), then they dance in a castle. Most Indian .'restaurants are castles according to her, as is any fancy looking party in a book.
This morning as we are snuggling in bed, she noticed Walker's ring.
"Daddy has a ring just like you!"
"That's because we are married. He is my husband and I am his wife."
"No Mommy! You are not a queen because you are nakkie! Daddy is wearing jammies so he is getting married."

I think Walker is looking forward to this future wedding Moira is planning for them, if he gets to wear jammies for the ceremony.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Moira's lesson plan*

I just explained polarity to Moira, in the context of her trains. She came to the conclusion that "Polarity isn't nice."

In a similar vein, she would like me to stop erosion so that she can build a castle out of dirt that won't fall down.

She still doesn't understand the difference between letters and numbers.

She recognizes at least half the letters in the alphabet now though, but refuses to admit that she recognizes any of the numbers.

She loves to have me spell words for her, asking "What starts with cat?" Sometimes she just wants the first letter and will usually come up with another word that starts with the same letter. Sometimes she wants me to tell her the rest of the letters too.

She now knows how to spell her name, and loves to write it out, even though all the letters except "o" look the same. Today she made up a little song that went "M. O. I. R. A!"

A sea creature
She has started making representational art, this is a sea creature. She is likes to draw on this white board so that she can erase her mistakes with a paintbrush. I'm not sure if she came up with that on her own or not.

*All of these were self directed lessons. Or things that were bothering her that I then explained. We are planning on letting her lead the way with her learning.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Can you dig it?

I am so glad that the sun is back, at least intermittently. I have missed non rainy days over the last month or so. Moira is very excited to help me garden which usually means she scoops the gravel from the road while I dig holes and level ground.
We have two large beds on either side of the walk way to our front door that the previous owners dumped mounds of dirt on and then sparsely planted. Since we moved in these have mostly been taken over by grass and other weeds. With the encouragement and inspiration of Kimberly, I am knocking down the mounds and digging up the weeds. I'm also redistributing the few non weed plants, and the various bulbs that are doing extremely well in my yard. As she pointed out, it doesn't matter if I lose 90% of the bluebells, I'll still have more then I could possibly use.
All this gardening has meant a number of trips to plant nurseries. We are now the proud owners of 4 blueberry bushes, one of which is pink, and a japanese pussywillow tree. It is my goal to get the front yard looking presentable this year, at least, the non lawn bits. I'm going to try and do as much of the big digging now while the ground is still wet as possible. I tried to take before and after pictures of the 1/2 a bed I've managed to tame so far, but oddly, it just looks like weeds and dirt. I will try again the next time I'm out there.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The continuing continue

Finally we are back to our regularly scheduled schedule. Walker is back from both his long long business trip and his yearly get away with friends. They used peer pressure to try and convince him to drink Four Loko. It backfired on poor Eric who informed me that it tasted nasty. I'm shocked.
Anyway, he went from a calm and drunken weekend of this
286: PC
straight back to getting up early and putting up with a vaguely crabby wife. I must say, he handles it very well. Right now Moira is screaming "No way! No bath!" at him.
Since so many people have asked, I am feeling much better. My vitamin D levels were super low, and now that we are correcting that I am much less tired and when I'm less tired it's easy to be less anxious.
285: Baby blankets
I even managed to sew while Walker was gone last weekend and got all the little blankets made for the EAP baby shower. And I discovered that when Moira is acting silly and refusing to do something, the best thing I can do is walk away and tell her to let me know when she's ready to brush her teeth/get out of bath/put on jammies/etc. It usually takes about 5 seconds before she shouts "Ready!" and I don't get frustrated. I feel a little silly for not having tried it earlier.
Look at that!
This has been a good start to the week. We got together for coffee with friends we haven't seen in a long time and ran around in the drizzle jumping in puddles. Moira is finally over her dislike of rainboots and puddle stomping. Her poor little friend has sadly just entered the phase where being dirty is scary, so he didn't actually participate much after he fell in the mud, but Moira did her best to get him to have fun with her. She has been so nervous of other kids and had such a hard time sharing and playing with them that I really relish every time she throws herself into playing with friends.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Things I've learned this week

All the way to the top!
It's good to take advantage of every sun break possible.
If I keep making the same requests over and over in a gentle way, eventually behavior will change.
Self regulated bedtimes work really well for Moira.
20 minutes of sewing while Moira is playing outside feels great.
I really will regret eating that milk based treat.
Flash drives dry out.
Never delete your back up before you make a new back up.

Also, a few things I'm thinking about:
New mediation techniques.
Co-op preschool
Giving up cheese for Lent, and beyond.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Princesses love the dirt

I was outside gardening today, and after a fruitless search for her rake, Moira came outside with her shovel and a little cloth doll.
"Look Mommy! It's a princess! She is getting married. She and her daddy are dancing. They are dancing in the dirt. They are dancing and she is getting married (note, she still hasn't figured out the difference between husband and daddy, so I'm not actually sure if the princess was dancing with her father or her husband.) and dancing in the dirt. Princesses love dirt. And so do their fathers."
"Yes they do honey. Do you love dirt?"
Eventually I had to kick her out to go play in the other bed so I could fit the eleventy billion beets I bought into the first one. That's when she started making a dirt mountain so the princess and king and queen could go skiing. Everyone loves skiing apparently. But she's not building a magic carpet, so they will have to hike to the top of the mountain.

I mentioned in passing on Facebook when I was offered a free copy of "Cinderella Ate My Daughter in exchange for a review, you know, if I felt like it. They even managed to get my name and the name of my blog correct, which is always nice.
I wish I had been more excited about this book, but it just felt a little light. Peggy wrote the article that was the impetus behind this book just last year, and I think that the rush is probably my reason for feeling that way. Plus, she's really preaching to the choir with me, so there wasn't anything mentioned that I didn't already know and/or agree with. I really wish she had explored a little bit more how princess culture is affecting boys, something she briefly touched on. I would have read it even without the review copy, but I'm glad I didn't have to pay for it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Compare and contrast

Compare this video from December with this from today:

It's quite a difference in tone and volume control. Thank goodness. She has also started singing songs she makes up (very occasionally) but usually only in the car.
She wanted me to take a video of her, but at first she just stood there perfectly still without saying anything. When I explained the point of a video, this is what she came up with.
She took this photo of my lunch today on her first try taking pictures with my phone. Is it bad that I'm kind of jealous that I didn't take this picture? I'm not sure why I think it's so great, but I really do.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What do you think?

276: Sleeve
I'm making a 18th century country dress for Norwescon this year. I forgot to remove the extra hem and seam allowances on the sleeves before I sewed them together, so they are way longer then I was expecting. Unscrunched, the sleeve goes all the way to the middle of my hand. If I were to add elastic to make the top part poofier (I tried to replicate that here with the scrunching) this is probably the shortest I can make i. Should I do that, or should I rehem the bottom layer shorter, or do both?
The bottom is a darker color then the top, but you can't tell that in the picture. I am planning on adding a band of red satin where I would put the elastic, even if I don't add the elastic.