Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The "Busy Season"

It seems like this time of year everything picks up in our lives. Last Saturday we went to Chuck E. Cheese (Emma had fun, Bridey tolerated it), went to church, I volunteered to teach a crock pot cooking class at Enrichment April 12 (they had the class scheduled but no teacher), today I went shopping for baby shower gifts and stuff-- the shower is IN BETWEEN CONFERENCE SESSIONS on Saturday. Sheesh. (Yes, it's a ward baby shower.) So after Conference weekend this weekend we will have another busy week including Emma turning 3, then on Saturday a combined birthday party/Easter egg hunt, then Sunday is Easter (dinner at my mom's), then sometime the next weekend or the one after or something we need to have another party, for Emma and Bridget, then it will be Bridget's actual birthday, in the middle of all this my class at McGroarty will start, it just seems like we don't stop in this family until at least June. (I just listed the April events, May and June are all pretty full every weekend already, too.)

I am excited about all of it, of course. (The art class will be really great. L.A. area parents of children ages 3 to 5, you are invited to join us; registration begins this Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm, and after that you may register in the office or call from 10 am to 3 pm Tues., Wed., and Thur. Class runs Saturdays from 11 am to noon, eight weeks starting April 21. For more information and contact number see the website; there are a lot of other great classes, too! I know at least half of the teachers and they are great people.) I have to drop by McGroarty tomorrow with Sheri and find out where everything is and familiarize myself with everything. And birthdays are always fun. I need to start planning that party... I think Emma wants an Ernie and Bert theme this year. But it can get a little overwhelming sometimes with stuff going on EVERY weekend! I'm glad Jeff gets home early so we can get stuff done during the week as well.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What's Been Going On

This is just a general update post, I guess. The last few days eBay has been treating me well; I may have to take a few months off this summer to make sure my profits don't get to a level that's reportable on our income tax! So we've been busily e-mailing, packaging and shipping (Emma loves to help; she drops the wrapped clothing into the envelopes for me, and then helps me seal them. When we get to the Post Office, I use the Automated Post Office machine and she puts the "stickers" on and drops them in the bin and closes it. She has a blast.) I am almost cleaned out of inventory, I need to make another trip to SunThrift this Saturday (their half off day.)

We have a new little vacuum; it's a Eureka Cordless Quick-Up. They're $24 at Target right now and my aunt had me get one for her brother-in-law's birthday, but it's not until July, so I hinted that I would like one for my birthday, and they called me back in after discussing it to give it to me early. I'm loving it. We have a great vacuum and will still use it for that twice-monthly or so deep-cleaning, but for quick clean-ups, this one is more than adequate. It's light enough I can use it without hurting my back; if Emma didn't hate vacuum noise so much, she could even use it! Speaking of noise, it's much quieter than the big vacuum, and I hate vacuum noise too, so that is a big plus. I can pick up crushed Cheerio messes with it without a big hassle, and it even has a part that detaches to make a little hand-vac for cleaning the couch and such! Very cool.

We went today and did a preschool interview for Emma. I have been feeling more and more strongly that while I intend to home-school Emma when she gets to kindergarten, for the next year at least she needs more peer interaction than she is getting. Socially she is on track and intellectually she is very advanced, but she still has a few language difficulties that I think more time away from home would be a benefit for, and potty training has become a big resistance issue. I think she would benefit greatly by being around other kids who are using the potty and also by being "potty taught" a bit by an adult who is NOT Mommy or Abba, with whom she already has all kinds of other issues. She will be three in a few weeks and she is firmly resistant to using the potty at this point, just because it has become such a control thing between her and us. A week ago, about a month after I had started praying about how to get her more peer interaction, we noticed a new sign for a home-based Montessori preschool on the corner. We interviewed today and we are going to do it! The lady whose new business it is has been teaching in Montessori schools for 16 years. She had about 30 pages of references, just completed her Montessori certification (after two years of work on it), and has been inspected by the Department of Health and licensed by the state. She is really nice, Emma loved it there, the fees are reasonable (cheaper than anything I've had quoted to me), and my aunt has said she will pay half, and that she will speak to my dad because he will probably be willing to chip in some too. Emma will be going two days a week, and the best part is that we can take her for as many or as few hours as we wish; because it is literally a one-minute walk from our apartment, I will be able to take her and pick her up whenever I want or she needs it. We are all really excited. Besides the potty-training and language advantages, Emma is showing a lot of pre-reading readiness (she spends some quality time on Starfall, that's where she has learned most of it), and we think that in a Montessori environment (perfect for her learning style and Sensory Processing Disorder!) we think she will probably be reading within a year (although of course we aren't going to push it.) The schedule is very thorough, with a lot of structure but allowing for plenty of unstructured play, and I think that will be good for her, too. I think this is going to be a huge blessing in our lives, and if the monthly fee is split three ways, I think I can just about pay for our portion with my monthly eBay profits, it's that reasonable! And I just know that Ems will have a blast, there was so much fun stuff to do, they have music and Spanish (both of which she adores) every day, and she even has a swing set and slide!

We are trying to clean up the living room and keep it clean. Emma is helping because she wants to go to Chuck E. Cheese (insidious viral marketing! They sponsor Sesame Street), and we told her that if she helps clean up and keep it clean, we will take her on Saturday. (We don't really mind much. Jeff likes pizza and I like skeeball... And we have coupons.)

I have started on chasteberry extract (Vitex) to hopefully regulate my cycle, which has been wonky ever since that miscarriage. It seems to be having an effect already, we will see what it does long-term.

So that's pretty much our week so far. Hope you are all having as much good news in your life as we are having in ours!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SingShot-- make a fool of yourself from the privacy of your own home!

So a friend on Hatrack got me started on SingShot, a free online karaoke site, and my new mic came in the mail (as I discovered that the old one had been chewed through by a cat, had to get a new one), so I have been going all night (since I haven't been sleeping anyway.) Most of what I'm doing is pretty awful but hey, it's karaoke, so I'm not gonna let that stop me from sharing it with the world! Check out stuff I've done on my profile page, and register yourself and join in if you like! If you do, let me know (either in comments here or through the SingShot feedback feature-- add me to your favorites or comment on a song I did and tell me who you are.) I'd love to hear all YOUR musical foolishness!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Chef of the Day

I am the featured Chef of the Day on Recipezaar, my favorite recipe site, today! Coolness!

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Pictures of Emma

I was playing with the new camera the other day (got it on Tanga for less than half the retail price, woo-hoo!) It has neato settings for black and white and sepia effects, among other things, as well as a "kid capture" setting that is great for pictures of fast-moving toddlers. I got some good ones of Ems and thought I'd share. :)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Can you say "irony" with me, girls and boys?

So. I followed an ad link to the Little Me website, just out of curiosity. They were making a big deal about dressing kids like kids. (Something I agree with.) They had on their home page a picture of a little girl covering her face with the caption, "Please don't dress me like a teenager." (Again, I agree completely.) So, I checked out some of their offerings in my daughter's size. And what to my wondering eyes should appear?


"Little bellies never looked cuter in this two-piece halter bikini." Yeah, huh. Whatever.

Irony, or hypocrisy. Take your choice.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sometimes random acts of kindness and the tender mercies of the Lord...

...are the same thing, I think.

For instance, today I was walking with Ems and Bridey in the double stroller. We were stuck at the little island between two crosswalks that cross a very busy street. I put the brake on, but apparently it didn't catch all the way. I went to go and push the crosswalk button, about five feet away, and as I pushed it, Emma started wiggling, because she wanted to keep going. I saw the stroller start to roll into fast-moving, oncoming traffic, and lunged, knowing as I did that I was not going to make it, and all I could hope for was cars to notice and swerve until I could pull it back-- and at that exact moment, a mother walking her young son was passing it, and was paying attention despite being a little past it. Without a word or a thought, she turned around, grabbed the stroller, and held it until I made it there. With a smile, she moved on. And I praised the Lord and thanked Him for this act of kindness from a stranger. Because it was both an act of kindness and goodness, on her part-- and an act of love and protection on His. God knows when we will be in need and provides the instruments for our help and protection well in advance-- often in the form of putting those around us in the right place and position to help us. I truly believe this. Maybe we can all pay attention to these opportunities to serve others in small ways and recognize them for what they are-- an opportunity to be the instrument of the Lord's tender mercies in someone's life.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It is positively balmy outside.

I mean, I've heard the term before, but it was the first time I've ever been walking outside and the word "balmy" popped into my head to describe the night. I was getting the laundry out of the dryer, and it is just a lovely night. I'm tempted to find a project (or a book and a drink) and go outside and sit by the door, just to enjoy it. No one's out there to see my pjs (which are nice, anyway; my daddy got them for me after Christmas when they went on sale because I liked SherĂ­'s so much, and they are white with red cardinals and flowers and soft blue spots on them; Ems calls them my "chicken jammies") and it's nicer outside than in right now. Mmmmm...

In other news, we got a package from Bridget and Emma's "Auntie" Yvette today, with some late Christmas presents (which they loved.) Emma is thrilled that the Spot stuffed toy matches the Spot books... If you're reading this, thank you, Auntie Yvette! We'll send a note soon.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"We awe habing a picpic!"

(Picnic, that is.)

Last night we were talking to Wendy and Max, our new neighbors. Max wanted to play with Bridget but Bridget needed a nap. So I asked if he would like to have a picnic tonight and play with Bridget and Emma after dinner. He and his mom said yes, so we did!

I made breaded chicken tenders, rice (Max said he liked rice when I asked him what he likes to eat, but he actually ate more chicken than rice), chicken gravy, and veggies. The kids had apple juice and we grownups split a bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider. We all sat on a blanket and towel on the ground on the back patio area, except for Bridget, who sat in the baby rocker and was fed jarred baby food. While we ate we talked, and then we grownups cleaned up while Max and Emma both played with toys (they each have some outdoor toys stored on the patio, and played with each other's to their hearts' content. Max also taught Emma how to dump dirt with a toy dump truck.) Then we had the fruit cocktail cake that I had made, and some cookies and cream ice cream that Wendy brought. The kids played more while we finished clearing up, and then we said good night.

It was really fun! I love having neighbors we can hang out with, and Max and Emma seem to be fast friends already. I think that she was not very close to the last little boys who lived here because there were three of them, 4, 5, and 6, so they always played together, and also they were much rowdier than her, plus their parents smoked so I never wanted her in their apartment. Since Max is an only and Emma just has Bridget, who she loves but who is after all just a baby so far, and because Max is a much gentler, quieter kid, they seem set to become good friends. Also, Wendy doesn't smoke, so I don't care if Ems goes up there to play with Max. Anyway, it was great to eat outside (the weather has been nice) and have friends to share it with.

Odd Snacks

I'm having one of my favorite late-night snacks: corn and cheese. I know a lot of people think that it is very odd, but it is delicious. I dump a can of cream-style corn in a bowl, zap it in the microwave for about one and a half minutes, and then stir in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (or three cheese blend; we always have either one or the other around.) Then I eat it with a spoon. Mmmmmm.

I have come up with some of the best snacks and sandwiches late at night, especially when hormonal. For instance, one of my husband's all-time favorites was invented when I was up late not sleeping and reading fanfic one night. Here's what you do:

Cut one piece of white pita bread in half to form two pockets. Using one or both (one is one sandwich), put in a generous handful of deli-shaved turkey. On either side of the turkey (next to the pita), put one or two (depending on size) bread and butter pickle slices. (Home-made are best, but if I don't have access to them I use Klaussen's that I have taken a little of the juice out of and added about 1/4 cup sugar to and shaken up. They're not quite sweet enough for me otherwise.) So now if you took a cross-section it would go bread, pickle, turkey, pickle, bread. Now, pull the turkey away from the pickle on one or both sides and drizzle down into it some Hidden Valley ranch dressing. If desired, repeat the ranch on the other side. (I do for my husband, don't for me.) Mmmmm. Sounds weird, but is really delicious; the mix of flavors and textures is excellent.

What are some of your favorite late-night snacks? What snacks or sandwiches have you invented that others think are weird when they hear about them, but are delicious?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Late-night Vent

I am having a grumpy day. I know this is probably my fault, but it's my blog and I'll vent if I want to. (WARNING: COMPLETELY UNRIGHTEOUS GRUMPING AND COMPLAINING AND WHINING AHEAD.)

I have blisters on my hands from untangling my hair last night. I'm shedding, and it was pretty awful. It took about two hours of washing, conditioning, combing, conditioning, untangling, conditioning, untangling, conditioning, and untangling before it was braid-able. I weighed the hair I lost (what didn't go down the drains despite my best efforts); about 4 ounces. My head feels lighter, but my neck hurts from the tugging.

Testimony meeting this morning was okay, but I didn't get to enjoy it much because both the girls were grumpy. And hyper. At the same time.

In Relief Society, we had a lesson about Relief Society. And how wonderful it is. Whatever. I was just not in the mood. After a wonderful SS lesson (the high point of church today; I wished it could have gone on for two more hours) I just wanted to keep that good feeling going after my grumpiness from not getting to enjoy testimonies. I might have tolerated it some weeks, but this week I sat in the back and made snarky comments to a sister who knows how I get and loves me anyway. She had the good grace to giggle and try to cheer me up.

Also, during SS and RS my hands kept turning purple and red and white and blotchy and I was getting dizzy and seeing funny visual things. I thought I was over that. Apparently not.

Jeff had gone home during SS to put Bridget down for a nap, so I had to call him to make him come back (I had baby clothes in the car to give to someone, and he has an after-church calling, and I needed to go to choir.) It didn't make much difference. I only got to do about a third of choir anyway because the girls were so grumpy and clingy and because Jeff was busy in the clerk's office I couldn't just have him watch them. A sweet Mia Maid I know watched Bridey for about half an hour, and I actually got 15 minutes in, but then Ems started acting up and I had to take her out so as not to disrupt the entire choir practice. By that time Bridget was screaming, too, and I had to hold both of them because if I put one of them down the crying would start again.

We got home and I didn't feel like cooking dinner. But I had promised and we didn't have enough leftovers in the fridge for everyone to eat, so I made cheeseburgers. And oversalted them. At least our new dishwasher works really well so I don't have to do the dishes.

In RS today they announced a joint baby shower for two of my friends (sisters-in-law, due a month apart, one with twins), and the woman in front of me said, "I hope it's not at so and so's house (one of the pregnant women), it's so small and a ton of people always turn up for a Saturday baby shower, it will be so crowded." That ticked me off. We can't all afford rich fancy big houses, and what a thing to criticize for! I'm sure she didn't mean anyone but her friend to hear, but I did, and it just added to my bad mood. And whoever scheduled the shower did it on General Conference weekend, how much sense does that make? Not much. I think it might be between the sessions, but still.

Emma is still awake. Again. Her schedule is all out of whack.

And she's afraid of the toilet and no amount of Mr. Rogers book reading will get her over it and I am SO SICK of changing her nasty diapers (she's a big fruit eater and often has a virus, to boot.) She doesn't like diaper changes, either, unless it's really bad she runs away and screams when you change her. I have tried to explain that the way to avoid this is to do it in the toilet but that just makes her madder. I know I have to wait until she's ready but I'm just fed up tonight.

And sometimes I am just so sick of living where we do and like we do and not having a car (I don't think I even remember how to drive, it's been so long) and our dumb landlord and one bathroom and no washer and just... Everything. And then I feel REALLY guilty because I know there are SO MANY people who have less than we do, in fact I've been one of them, and I know we are so blessed because the Lord has always provided for us, often with help from friends, family, neighbors, and because I must be a horrible person to be so covetous but it's hard not to WANT. *sigh*

I'm also sick of my insomnia and sleep disturbances and difficulties. And being sick. And tired. And ugly and fat and horrible.

And I miss my friends. I'm surrounded by friends, but not, you know, my soul sisters. And I am lonely for them and they live so far away and I wish I could visit right now but I have to wait.

There. That feels somewhat better. Sorry about that.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I am no longer spam in the eyes of Blogger.

And about time too. Their e-mail was almost polite, and their response was quicker than I expected. But good grief. I couldn't believe that when I read it! Sheesh.