Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Stitches Today

Today Cocoa had his first "That thump actually sounded dangerous, Mom is leaping down the stairs trying to get information from the kids as she runs, oh wow I think we need a towel" moment.

Ernie was my helper, getting medical supplies, telling me what happened, and getting herself and Mimi ready to go if we had to.

Thankfully, since he was not punctured, is not vomiting, is not spurting blood, and the wound is not gaping more than a quarter of an inch.... We get to treat it at home. I really thought we were going in for stitches- gaping is not a nice thing to see on a toddler's head! Near as I can tell, he was reaching into a cabinet, lost his balance, and hit his head. Top heavy toddlers.....oh man.

Two hours of rest and clear liquids, cold compress for any swelling, and later he can have medicine and food if he wants. He can nap, but should be checked on after two hours. He needs to keep that bandage on, and needs to sleep with an adult for two nights. (Well, THAT'S no problem, we do that already!).

So, Grandparents, THERE is your report on the intrepid Cocoa. He has a big, hard, head. He is also currently watching Mary Poppins, with socks on his hands. Best way I could think of to keep him quiet and bandaged for two hours!

I think I need a hug! That kid scared me!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nativity Festival

Every year a neighboring stake puts on a festival of the nativities. The entire church building is transformed- dozens of Christmas trees, hundreds of nativities on loan from local members, a room full of paintings of Christ, a room full of "children's" nativities, a photo room where your family can dress up as characters in the nativity and have a portrait taken, a room just for kids with coloring and books and toy nativities.

The festival goes four days, with live music in the evenings and half the day on Sunday. Of course, that was today. Nine different musical performances today, not including a capstone children's choir, and I was in four of them! Oofda, my book bag was heavy today :). My family sang Christmas carols, and I accompanied three other singers throughout the day. (Each musician was scheduled for a half hour slot.). A long day, a tiring day, but what an amazing day!

I love seeing the nativities from all over the world. I snapped pictures of some of my favorites. Really I was taking a lot of photos of my favorite Mary figurines.

















Saturday, December 1, 2012

Birthday

Someone turned... Older :). Woot! Another year in the bag.

We met Daddy at a Chinese (Hong Kong comfort food) restaurant- yum! Deep fried tofu, beef and tendon soup with wide slippery rice noodles, and honey walnut prawns. (Deep fried and doused in a honey mayonnaise sauce? Yes please.).

Oddly enough, we recognized the family at the table next to us.... Since it was my sister's family! Twins. Geez. (Oh yes. Happy birthday Aunt LoLo!)

After dinner we went on our yearly trip through the city's public gardens, all lit up for the Holidays. Absolutely gorgeous!

Our chosen restaurant had an attached bakery, so a Swiss roll cake made its way home with us to celebrate. (A moment to reflect on my hands in that photo. I have earned those hands!!). Also, Ernie. Ernie is really into singing that Happy Birthday song.

I was absolutely spoiled with gifts- I'm a lucky girl. I'm also a very happy girl, because my husband bought me an electric blanket and a sunlight replacement lamp. It's like going to the beach... With out the swim suit :). If you've thought about getting a "happy light" do it! Seriously. Awesome.





Monday, November 26, 2012

A Better School Day

School has been... Bad lately. Really, really, bad. Apparently it's super hard for a seven-year-old to concentrate with a holiday season that stretches from October to January 1st. (We also celebrate six family birthdays in that stretch, not including folks that don't live near us.).

Mimi has been begging me to do school with get, and loves her workbooks. It takes her about two days to finish a little twenty page book. Yikes. (She is also adamant that she is going to GO to school, not stay home with me. That would mean no kindergarten for her till after next year, because she turns five after the cut off. No kindergarten till two weeks before her sixth birthday. I don't think she's going to stick with that plan, do you??).

Anyway, Mims begged me to do a learning game with her, so we pulled down Chutes and Ladders while Cocoa slept. We played with new rules: if you can't answer the math problem I give you, you can't take a turn! Ernie was whipping through her double-digit, carry the one, addition problems. Mims added her piles of plastic jewels, AND did subtraction. Flawlessly.

A better day of school! We finished our current book, A Little Princess, and did a spelling test, a dictation exercise, and Ernie wrote an e-mail (what I am letting her so for composition, instead of writing papers. Helps with her typing, spelling, sentences, AND family relations. Winning!)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas is Coming

We put up our Christmas tree yesterday- after years of real trees from Ikea (can't beat the $10 price!) we picked up a plastic tree this year. No more dropped needles, no more nearly losing the tree on the freeway ( that would be me), no more fire hazard. No more wrapping lights on te tree. And no more good smell, but I'm going to make some swags this year!

Daddy and I put up the tree and the girls put up the ornaments. We aren't decorating much for Christmas this year- Cocoa is a wrecking ball, and a lot of things didn't meet my threshold of durability testing.

After we decorated, Wonder Daddy went out for errands and came back with a new light fixture for the kitchen- our fluorescent lights died a week or so ago and I've been cooking by table lamp light. Charming, but awkward :). We installed that, and we all had a movie night to watch Arthur Christmas- seriously great, sweet, movie. We all loved it!





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Right after this I was beaten

...beaten with a sock snake. Yeah, things get nasty around here on Wednesdays! Ernie is off playing with her cousin at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and Mimi is playing with her cousin at her aunt and uncle's house.

We made a brief trip to the grocery store this morning for some buttermilk ( my store was out last night when the intrepid Wonder Daddy took my list for me!). We also briefly lost Mimi in the nearly empty store when she left the line to return her mini cart (one lane over) and somehow found herself in the candy aisle. I told the checker I was missing one princess and we called her on the loudspeaker.

"Mom? Did you know they have FLOWER suckers? Can I have a sucker Mom? Ah.... No. No you can't.

Cocoa took his nap while I burned through a few pounds of sugar and a dozen eggs to make pies for tomorrow (lemon chess, brown butter-buttermilk custard, and chocolate cream with Oreo crust.). There will be a pumpkin pie as well. I'm considering making an apple pie, too, but that might just be crazy talk.

The Halloween pumpkins are in the oven now, roasting, to make a vegetarian coconut curry soup for tomorrow, and all the egg whites left over from making all those custard pies are in the other oven, as meringues. Of course, I misread the recipe and tripled the sugar. Pretty sure no one will mind around here!

Wonder Daddy and I will go on a date tonight, while the kids eat pizza and watch a movie with their grandparents. I think I'm just going to have to find a smoothie shop, to make up for all the sampling I've done today, and for what I know I'm going to do tomorrow!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Slow Day

A slow Monday here. Lots of cartoons and book reading. Cocoa caught a cold over the weekend, so no Zumba for me this morning (which helped to slow down our schedule!).

Ernie is sick with stomach problems again- it's been a long time coming, and we've turned to medication again as well. That's always a bit stressful for her, dealing with the effects of the medicine. Poor thing.

We made our "Thankful Tree" tonight for family night- Daddy wrote on leaves what everyone is thankful for. I've been anxiously awaiting my next turn to teach the lesson or lead the activity, but it takes a while to rotate through everyone! Glad my chance came before Thanksgiving did :)





Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Bigger Canvas

Ernie loves to draw, doodle, and color right now. I pulled out some really big newsprint paper for Cocoa to color on the other day and her eyes got so excited. She drew while I read to the girls during school- this picture was made especially for Mimi. Amazing how exciting it can be to just have a bigger canvas and a bigger box of crayons!

Ernie says it's Mimi, wearing a necklace. She's surrounded by rays of her favorite colors of the day :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Sang for 1,000 People Last Week

Did I mention my resolutions and goals this year?  Probably not.  I really, really, REALLY wanted to sing on a stage.  An actual stage, with lights and microphone and someone or something great to accompany me.  A hard goal, considering I had to convince someone to give me that chance....and I only have one shot at a stage like that right now.  Our stake (a collection of 12 or 13 wards designated on a map) puts on a yearly Christmas show.  Auditions were back in September for the solo parts- this year, the solos were from Handel's Messiah.  I found out about the auditions 6 days before they happened, and decided to prepare for the alto AND the soprano auditions.  Because learning 4 arias in 6 days is totally a good idea.

Auditions happened at 8:00 am at the church- I had already been up for hours setting up a garage sale for our homeschool co-op.  I totally underwhelmed them.  In fact, the response I got back was ""Lovely tone at times and nice range. Vocal chords became fatigued by the end of the audition losing some of its earlier suppleness and tone resonance. Needs more confidence on notes, especially during descending runs."  See how smart I was to try and learn four technically demanding pieces in 6 days, and then try and sing them one after another at 8:00 am after working at a dusty garage sale?  YES!  GENIUS AWARD!

Three sopranos, two altos, and one man came to audition.  I was chosen as an understudy to a friend with an absolutely amazing, polished, glorious, indefatigable voice.  Totally disappointing, and completely understandable.  Ah well.  I attended once a week rehearsals for the choir, and then added once a week rehearsals for the soloists.  Busy, busy!  We worked as a choir, we had master classes to help fellow soloists polish up, we worked with the orchestra to get the timing down.

And that wonderful girl informed the director 6 days before the show that I would be performing the soprano section of "He Shall Feed His Flock."  

*Beam*

Picture me, hair done up, make up on, and in a ridiculous red sparkly dress, in front of a thousand people.  With a Jumbo-Tron behind me.  And very, very nervous.  

I start at the Messiah section (#3) at about 26:25.  If the player below doesn't work, the link is here.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween (And a winner!)

Congrats to J., the winner of our Halloween contest.  I was, in fact, Sara Crewe from Frances Hodgson Burnett's Little Princess.  I got tired of reading stories about dinos with a penchant for bad choices (and watching the hilarity ensue) and pulled out my old favorite.  The girls love Sara almost as much as I do.

I tried to get pictures of me, in my costume.  Somehow, all that ended up in the frames were random bits of me.  An eye.  A nose.  I need to to talk to Ernie about looking through the viewfinder.  Ha.  (And no, no one here ever guessed my costume.  I looked remarkably like a lazy witch....all black, and no hat.  And since I make jewelry, no one batted an eye at the foreign coin and baker's twin confection around my neck.  Ah well!)  Her pretty little necklace will be in the mail tomorrow.  And no...it's not a coin on a string ;)

We had such a full Halloween this year- just too much fun.  I taught my morning piano lessons and we hustled out to the YMCA for my weekly Zumba class.  Afterwards, we did school while Cocoa slept, then got all dolled up for our day on the town!  Wonder Daddy's office hosted a Halloween party in the afternoon- going into downtown Seattle is always a huge adventure for the kids.

Here's our raccoon.

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We came home in the afternoon, and Wonder Daddy too Mimi out to pick his bikes up from their annual tune-up.

I don't know.  Does she look excited that it's Halloween?  It was SO FUNNY to see my dancing blonde as this brunette.  Her Dad and I kept thinking my niece had snuck along with us.  But, you know that Snow White has to have raven hair.  It kind of got lighter as the night progressed- by the time I put her in the shower before bed, she had old-woman-gray hair.

(The shower.  OH the shower.  This spray-on hair color is awful!!!  It's chalky and rubs off on everything.  I tried putting it on Cocoa, but he kept rubbing it.  I put him in the bath, which left a huge black ring around the tub...it was like the Cat in the Hat had visited!)

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Cocoa LOVES our neighbor's apple tree.  As soon as we get outside, he runs across the driveway shouting "APPUH!"  (And Nana, we all love our Halloween shirts :)

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There was a costume contest at work.....but only if EVERYONE dressed up.  Here's our fearless lumber jack, sporting my grandpa's plaid shirt.  A plaid flannel shirt he gave me in high school, after he'd worn it for a few decades.  That's good stuff right there.

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This girl.  Oh man.  Could she get any more beautiful?  (Don't answer.  Teen years are going to be a trial around here!  Big blue eyes, her dad's l.o.n.g. limbs....oh boy.)  Oh, and Cinderella has yellow hair.  It HAS to be yellow, Mom.

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I knew the girls would be cold in the evening, so we made felt capes for them.

Ready for trick-or-treating!  No more pictures, MOM!

For the first time ever, we all went out trick-or-treating.  I left a bowl on the porch.  It was SO much fun!  Cocoa was such a hoot.  He finally figured out that going up to the door meant he got more candy, but he really wanted to trade with the nice ladies.  He'd fish out a piece from his bucket and leave it in theirs :)  Mimi was sprinting house to house, cape flapping.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Clue #3

I wear a six-pence piece on a string around my neck, to remember by. I managed to bore a hole through it, so I could put it on some old string and tuck it into my dress.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Give Away Clue #1 and 2

I'll be sending a prize to the person who can guess who I'll be on Halloween! I'll do two clues today to kick it off.

First clue, I'm a classic literary character.

Second, I'll be wearing a fancy black dress ( too small, too short), black stockings, and old black leather boots. They're pretty worn out now, though.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where I've Been

Sometimes.... You just don't feel like writing! This was one of those weeks. I can't wait till this election is over and all the meanness can get off my radar. There are some doozies on our ballot this year, including pot, charter schools, and gay marriage. Nasty, nasty, nasty words being said up here in Washington state! Combine those things with the regular mud-slinging for the governor and land commissioner and treasurer and what have you... I am sick of it all. Tell me your stance, don't lie, and then leave me alone to make my decision!! And, concerned citizens.... You seriously don't need to knock on my door to ask me how I'll vote and then try and guilt me into voting your way. Dinner is burning on the stove, my toddler is trying to escape out this open door, and... I don't even know you!

We had a wonderful week with Grandpa here, the kids adore that man! He was a sweetheart his last night here , he agreed to put the kids to bed for J and I so we could see Tony Lucca downtown. We had an amazing night- I drowned myself in a vat of tonkatsu ramen, we went window shopping on Capitol Hill, and we nabbed some VIP tickets that got us in the door early to meet Tony! And, we got zero pictures. What kind of geeks are we!?

I have to laugh about our music choices over here. I currently have REALLY REALLY sore hands from playing too much TSO on the piano (You know Trans-Siberian Orchestra....right?). On the way to Seattle I had the classical station cranked on either a really terrible alto or a pretty decent countertenor, and was giggling whenever a really witty chord came along.

Today we ran errands. Well, I ran errands and I dragged Ernie along with me. (Disclaimer: She's my little shadow. If I am going anywhere at all, she wants in!). We picked up our produce basket, toured Target, talked with the really helpful man at the tire store (that was sarcastic, but I'm a bit grumpy) , dropped off our library books, stopped for breakfast at a sandwich shop, trekked across the floating bridges to Seattle to pick up my dad's moto gear from a consignment sale at a dealership, and finally came back and cleaned out Costco. (Have you tried the peppermint barked pretzels??? Ugh, so good.)

Cocoa fell asleep on the ottoman (ornament, says Mimi.). Ernie called and invited her cousin over to play. Wonder Daddy and I are chatting about Christmas presents. I have Messiah rehearsal (the first with choir AND orchestra) tonight. Life's just seeming really good right now.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wire Pumpkin Necklace

It took a couple tries to get to this point. You know, the point it looked like a pumpkin. For the first time, Google and Etsy failed me in an inspiration search. I knew what I wanted, and no one else is making them! Ah well, I can take the road less travelled sometimes I guess :)

Just my favorite copper wire, looped and bent and twirled into something from the u-pick farm. I kind of love it, even knowing that the first time Cocoa grabs it, it will look like a spider (and not the live kind.). Beauty is fleeting!

Co-op and our own school work is done for the day.  My house is tidied, so that when our (blessed) cleaning lady comes, she can actually see the counters and floors.  Most of them.  We had a huge purge in the spring to get rid of everything we didn't need, and I'm doing another (slower) one right now.  I think the kids should have just as many clothes and toys as I am willing to take care of.  Am I right?  They're still learning to do tasks on their own, and when we work together cleaning...well, I'm a lot more efficient.  I don't have to play Cinderella every time, like some girls I know.  They take turns being Cinderella (the one doing all the work) and the sisters (the one sitting on the couch and being bossy.) 

 In a little bit I'm headed up to my sister's house to pick up 22 pounds of fish I ordered from a dock sale. (We averaged about $2/lb for coho, crab cakes, and cooked mussels.  Not bad at all!)  After that, my husband's dad is in town, so if you need us, we'll be hanging out with Grandpa :)  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Candy Necklace (And contest results)

Doesn't this look like candy? Yum! It must be Halloween season.

I think I am on a stash-busting kick- I've marked down the prices on everything in my shop, and I'm working on new designs to move through my piles of beads! Beads like this are too pretty to be left in a box, yeah?

I made a necklace. You like? I like very much! I think I have just enough materials left to make another. Or I could make two bracelets, or some matching earrings?   I can't decide.  The big beads are glass, shot through with rods of colored glass.  The little green beads are stone.  The whole necklace is made up of 20 individually strung pieces of wire, linked together.  It's longer than I normally do necklaces, but for this kind of chunky weightiness, it works!



My little "Guess what Mimi is saying" contest is over...and no one won :(  Aw sad!  Even sadder, only two people had guesses!  But cheer up, I'll have more contests.  The next one is easier.  You don't have to be a sleepy mom, who has stewed in baby babble for 7 1/2 years.  (I swear, I used to have a REALLY high IQ.  Straight A's in high school, honors classes.  Started college when I was 16.  Now, I can't remember why I opened the fridge door.)  

Want this answer to what Mimi was saying?  OK, watch this.

"Mom, you've got to get a new friendship!  Because people are going to SPY in the 'quarium!"

(You should know, when I asked her to clarify, she held her hands up to her eyes in the most adorable "binoculars" you've ever seen.  Just to make sure I understood what she was saying.)  

Ready?  OK, what could I have at an aquarium that I'd need a new one?  My MEMBERSHIP.  I need a new membership to the aquarium.  Why?  What do memberships do?  They EXPIRE. 

See what she did there?  Because she didn't know either word, and just subbed in words...she....no?  Watch for the next contest!  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Filigree Flower Earrings

I have found a place I can work, while the kids are awake! My bed is so tall, and so wide. none of those short little arms and legs could ever reach me. Mwahaha.

Ahem.

I have some resin flowers and filigree settings left over from my recent bridal project. I can't decide if the dangles are too much or not. I showed them to my husband, his only response was a placating "They're very large, honey." But then... Sometimes you have to go big or go home!  The filigree portion is about an inch across, so these are about 2 inches long without taking into account the earrings.

I am going to make up a few more colors of these and put them in the shop- I'll let you know when. So much fun!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guess what Mimi is saying, win a necklace!


"Mom, you've got to get a new friendship!  Because people are going to SPY in the 'quarium!"

Seriously.  What did she hear me say on the phone?  Can you translate the whole thing?  E-mail your answers to madebymyrnie@gmail.com, I'll choose someone on Wednesday to get a pretty little necklace in the mail!

Awesome goggles

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Took My Shower Alone Today

Perhaps Cocoa is not ready to be unsupervised? So long as Ernie leaves her dry erase marker on the table?

The Salmon Have Returned

Our little town hosts a fish hatchery- every year the salmon return home to spawn.  The eggs and sperm are harvested the mixed, the fish are sent to either the food bank or the cat food plant.  Once the eggs hatch, the fish are kept in large tanks, and then they're released into the stream that runs next to the hatchery.  The fish travel through streams, lakes, and two rivers to finally make it to the Pacific Ocean.  When it's time for them to die, then travel the long journey UPSTREAM to where they were hatched to repeat the process.  (These are the same fellows that run through Alaska, that fishermen and fish-eaters love so much.)

My nephew was pretty impressed looking at the tank full of hundreds of 8-inch rainbow trout (another fish that the hatchery keeps.  The rainbow trout are put directly into ponds and lakes, to stock them for fishing season.)

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Looking into the creek, with all the salmon that have returned.  A small dam was built here to stop the fish from going any further upstream, and a gate to the right opens periodically to allow them enter the fish ladder.
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salmon returned home to spawn

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Here's the fish ladder- they allow a few fish in at a time, and they continue to fight their way upstream, jumping each level to the next.
The fish ladder

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A little daunted at taking five children out, ON MY OWN (my sister was busy,) everyone chose hand-holding buddies, to prevent any sprinters.  Then, I assigned everyone numbers.  When I yelled "Count off!" you better believe they ran together and bellowed their assigned numbers, IN ORDER.  Military precision, that's how we take kids out in public.
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This was the third part of our Adventure Day.  After this, we all piled back to Aunt LoLo's house for dinner. Wonder Daddy, and two of my very good friends, joined us.  Us big girls stayed to chat a bit and drink steamed milks, while Wonder Daddy took our kids home for bed.  Can I brag and say that my (unmarried) friends had stars in their eyes when Wonder Daddy kissed me goodbye, and took all three kids out to the car to take them home and put them to bed?  They didn't know such men existed outside of fairy tales.)