Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Little Brother Winning

Cocoa found all four Pretty, Pretty Princess necklaces AND his sister's sip cup, without them finding out. This is what it looks like when a little brother wins!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Wednesday Night

A gloomy evening is still perfect for a romp on the (gated) deck. The girls are resplendent in their neon Hello Kitty outfits (thanks Grandma!). It's been such a quiet week. Wonder Daddy is scarce on the ground right now with some extra work- I could have filled our days and evenings with activities and friends, but instead I found myself curling up with some good books and letting the kids move around the house in epic imaginary games, and watch a movie in the afternoons. (Mastiff, by Tamora Pierce, and The Sorceress and the Cygnet by Patricia McKillip. Don't let the terrible title or cover deter you- it's yummy fantasy). A decadent week for the introverts in this house! A woman from the next neighborhood over knocked on our door tonight with the sweetest dog on a lead- she wandered into the woman's yard, with no collar or tags. I was so tempted to tell her to leave the dog here! I want a dog... But I'm not ready to add caring for one to my daily tasks. Sigh. A sweet little black lab like her needs lots of walks, lots of ball throwing...but someday, when I don't have a baby to love on, we'll get a big dog :)

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Napkins

I let the girls pick out fabric from my stash and sewed up quick napkins for them. We've been using cloth napkins for a few years now- the original batch has recently gone to the compost pile, they were pretty worn out. I found a pile of napkins I'd forgotten about in the linen closet when I cleaned it out a few weeks ago and set them out in my basket. Seeing those pretty new napkins in the napkin basket made me happy... seeing Mimi pull out 4 napkins for each meal did not make me happy. So, now each girl has two napkins of her own, to be used until they need to be cleaned: happy girls. I have a pile of clean and pressed napkins: happy Myrnie. Happy happy! (I just folded a double hem while I stitched around the edges, and mitered the corners as I came to them. Simple, single-ply, napkins.). Is this gross? Would you be OK with your kids using napkins over multiple meals?

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Friends

I sang with a group of ladies at a women's conference this morning.  You WILL hear more about the conference, because I heard some amazing things.

But I'm just sitting here, thinking, watching my Cocoa toddle around the room and sing to himself.  Gosh, I'm a lucky girl.

Thursday night some girlfriends came over- we (this includes Aunt LoLo) try and get together once a month.  Seeing those girls is always just what my heart needs- we laugh too loud, we eat too much, we say more than is ever appropriate, and we walk away healed of the little things that have been hurting us every day.

We're closer now than we ever were in high school, and I think that's what amazes me.  We're all so different from each other, but still so similar.  We all follow different religions and have different families right now.  Two of us have little kids, one has a long-term relationship, one lives by herself.  (And let me tell you, her apartment makes me drool....in the heart of a cool little neighborhood in the city, white furniture, rice paper lanterns, a china hutch full of Grandma's dishes, a balcony full of organic veggie pots.  It's perfect.)

The past year we've come through the death of a father, the death of a dog, a miscarriage, unemployment, and ovarian cyst surgery.  We've eaten our weights in chocolate cake.  We've cried together a lot.  Inside me, the little girl I used to be is just shaking her head in wonder that I have these girls to love.

Girls Night Jan 2011

Girls Night Jan 2011

(Next month, I am pulling out the camera!  These were taken January of 2011- we've been getting together since Fall of 2010.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

To the Farm

I am exhausted.  Photos of our day!  We spent the morning doing school, and visited a bloggy friend's farm in the afternoon, and then drove up to see my grandpa for dinner.

Cocoa and his new favorite cup.  (Thanks, Mom!)

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Baby goat and mama...I felt a curious kinship with this ever-patient mama goat!  This little one is a week old.
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The girls in the "maze."  It will be a bit trickier once those plants grow up!
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Chicks in the bathroom- they just arrived this morning!

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Me and my grandpa!

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Grandpa and the girls.  Someone taught Mims to yell "cheesecake!" at every photo.  The "cake" portion of that makes for some amazing Mimi Faces.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day In the Life

2:00 am wake up with baby

2:30 am get up with him again- he's just sitting in his crib whimpering.  Poor guy.  I think it's gas.

4:00 am I'm still waiting to fall back asleep from the first time I got up.  I'd gotten used to him sleeping through the night!  He went to bed two hours early, and I suspect he's trying to wake up two hours early.  That being said, insomnia in mothers is a bad joke.

7:49 Cocoa makes a noise and I pop awake...my student is coming in six minutes.  Can I do this?  Yes I can!  Throw on fresh clothes, thanking my lucky stars I washed my hair yesterday.  Cold water splashed on the face and scrub my teeth.  Quick brush of mascara.  I brush my hair while walking into the kitchen, and grab Cocoa out of his crib on the way, to start the kids' toast.  Ernie already has dishes and sugar out for the toast, and I send her down to the chest freezer to find more butter.  I slice a banana in half for the baby and I to share.

7:55 First piano student is here.  I listen to her play and butter the girls' toast.  Ernie pours milk.

8:25 Second piano lesson is here.  I finish listening to the first student sight read her new pieces, and invite him to the Bench of Doom.

8:55 Shoo my second student out the door to his waiting mother (so he can get to school on time!), and Ernie walks up with an armful of books.  She's ready for her piano lesson, do I have time to teach her?  We have a deal- I'll give her a lesson whenever she's ready, so we can go as slow or as fast as she wants.  She's only six, I'm not too worried.  She loves it though, and is actually making really good progress- I'm especially happy with her finger strength.  They give her nice dynamics, a good curved hand position, and good rhythm.  Very happy piano teacher!  She's good at note reading too.  Very happy piano teacher.  Her last lesson was last week, so this is great timing.  I give Cocoa his morning milk during her lesson- there are definite benefits to teaching your own kids! Sitting on the floor and nursing, while teaching a piano lesson, is just one of them.

9:15 Finish her lesson, and send her away to start her math work for the day (telling time.)  I wash the breakfast dishes and sit down to get some budgeting work done, Mimi plays the games in her Friend magazine- it seems to involve drawing lines between all the pictures she can find, and then cutting them out.  Cocoa plays with toys on the floor.

10:00 Check on Ernie- she's doing the written work for piano.  I'm still updating Mint (our budgeting tool) and my own grocery tracking spreadsheet.  (Drat it- I'm missing some receipts.  I've been lazy at entering things this month, they got lost in the shuffle.)

10:30 Pry Ernie away from her music books- it's time to do the rest of school!  I give her corrections for her math work to do, and head downstairs to switch and fold and sort laundry.  I get the girls and my clothes put away, and come check on Ernie.  I pour trail mix snacks for the girls.  Cocoa is crawling up my leg- he is ready for nap #1!

11:00 Cocoa has had a diaper change and his milk, and he's in bed.  I go over the use of the words "was" and "were" and Ernie writes a journal entry using those words.  We practice saying our name, telephone number, and address and I remind her to never give out this information to strangers.  (She reminds me that when we're on the computer, we never use our real names- always nick names.  That's my girl!)  We practice writing sentences in script, and go over the word "I."  (It's always capitalized.)

11:30 I make lunch for the girls- ham and cheese sandwich for Ernie, bread and cheese for Mimi.  Baby carrots for both.  Mimi eats 2 slices of cheese and three baby carrots, and a few bites of bread.  (Ernie decides it's time to spend half an hour in the bathroom, reading.)  It's bread day.  Our Saturday loaves got dry really fast!  While I'm getting lunch things out of the fridge, I cull last week's leftovers: shrimp coconut curry, some scrambled eggs, and a tablespoon of baked beans.  They get scraped into the compost bin, and I tip the dishes into my sudsy water leftover from the breakfast clean up.    I tear a bit of deli ham into the leftover cous cous and warm it up for my lunch, and dry and put away the breakfast dishes while it's heating.

12:00 Remind Ernie that she can read later- if she's not going to use that throne she's sitting on, she'd best come eat her lunch!  She agrees, and eats her ham and cheese, and a few bites of the bread, and pours herself a glass of milk (Mommy forgot, whoops.)  I start grinding the wheat for our bread day, and Cocoa wakes up.  I refill the sink with hot water, clean the lunch (and leftovers) dishes.

12:15 I'm doing the final kneading on the bread dough, Cocoa is loudly reminding me that he hasn't eaten yet.  Ernie finishes her lunch and clears her dishes, and offers to read Mimi a story and tuck her in for her nap.  Thank you!!!  She asks if she can take her quiet time in my room today, and I say yes- she loves to take a stack of books and read in my bed for an hour or two.  I remind her that my room is so nice because it's CLEAN, and her room is currently buried under clothes and books.  She WILL need to clean her room today.  (Really, Mimi makes most of the mess, but Ernie's stuff is like icing on Mimi's cake.)  I also remind her that because she didn't start her math until AFTER piano lessons (she's supposed to do that during lessons) we still need to do spelling, science, AND art this afternoon.  And I'm teaching three piano lessons. This is going to be tight.

12:30 My dough is resting under a towel (I've been keeping Cocoa happy with nubbins of bread dough.)  I pop my head in and say good night to Mimi, and go sing a song for Ernie (Choose the Right, the current favorite song.  We've been singing it every nap and bed time for over a month.)  I pour some milk for Cocoa and get him set in his high chair, and peruse the fridge.  Roasted sweet potato...he loves roasted sweet potato!  I mash up a plate full for him, and he's a happy camper.  Dry and put away the dishes.

12:45 Mimi comes out- "Can I come out of my room now?"  NO!  I will TELL you when it's over.  Oh my.

1:00 Cocoa is done with lunch (and throwing it around.)  Kitchen is clean.  We head downstairs- I have my blogging work bag, and he plays with the pretend kitchen.  He's found a ring box and a spoon, and is eating lunch.  Yum!  He then excuses himself to a corner for some privacy- he has some business to do.  I excuse MYSELF to go find a clean diaper and some wipes.  Not yummy.  I bring down the rest of the dirty towels, fold and sort the dry laundry, switch the whites to the dryer, and put the towels in to wash.

1:30 Mimi comes downstairs- "Can I come out of my room now?"  OK, fine.  Let's go clean your room.  We put away the laundry, clear off the floor, re-dress the dolls, make the beds, put the books away, hang the church dresses, throw away trash, and put all the jewelry back in the jewelry box.  Ernie has chosen to stay in bed reading till 2.  I should be grumpy about that, but I'm not- it's easier to throw things away when she's not there!  (Crumpled paper bookmark, cut from a coloring book, I'm looking at you.)  Cocoa plays with the girls' toys while Mimi and I clean.

2:00 All that's left is Ernie's laundry from the second load, and some random toys that need to go downstairs.  I leave those things up to her, and go tell her so.

2:05 Ernie comes out.  Did you put away your laundry?
"No."
Did you put away the toys?
"No.  But I put away the books I was reading!  Now I'm going to use my magnifying glass to look at pictures in this book!"
Actually, no.  You're going to put away your laundry and toys, and then we'll do school.  Honey, yes you need to put away that book you're holding.  If you left out everything you were going to do later, the entire house would be a mess.  Mimi starts clearing off her desk (by tacking up every scrap she cut from her magazine this morning) to she can play with her mini microscope.  Cocoa experiments with eating random garbage on the floor.  Hmm.

2:15 Ernie still isn't back, but Cocoa has climbed into my lap and is signing for milk while saying "num-num-num-num-num-num."  A man of few words, I like that!  Ernie is wandering in and out putting things away.  Mimi is rolling around in the corner talking to herself.  A perfect portrait of my three kids!!

2:20 Ernie's done cleaning, and I send her to find a clean shirt, hers is spotted and smells like she's been sucking on it.  (I know she doesn't!)  A week's worth of laundry consisted of 2 pairs of pants, 1 dress, 1 skirt, and 4 shirts.  1 pair of underwear.  1 pair of socks.  We have another chat about changing our entire outfit, EVERY day.  Every SINGLE day.  She only had one bath night last week between laundry days, we'll try and remember to do more this week.  (I just realized what the smell is- she licks and bites and picks at her lips constantly, and probably does it more while she's thinking and reading during quiet time.  It's just a thinking habit she has right now.  She must wipe her wet fingers on her shirt.)  Mimi is clearing off her desk, and gets out her mini microscope.

2:25 Ernie's back.  She still stinks.  I tell her to go wash her hands from her wrists to her fingertips, and in between.  Scrub for 20 seconds.  Rinse really well.  Her face turns red, she starts to cry and stress, it will be harder! (Harder than the two second rinse she just did.)  "Do you want me to wash your hands for you?  OK."    I scrub her hands, and wash her face, and scrub her with a towel- she's giggling madly, and we're OK again.  She smells great.  Mimi asks for the Mancala game, AND SHE PUT AWAY HER MICROSCOPE ALREADY.  I feel like giving her a medal, that kind of thing rarely happens here.  Woot!

2:30  Spelling test time!


2:40 Spelling is over (she only misspelled one word- it's definitely not "dersses."  She found the problem and wrote "dresses" correctly four times at the bottom of the page.)  We read our science pages and talk about how heat can change liquids- it will melt solids and turn liquids into gases.  She does a word search while I get the art project ready.  I can hear her singing and cheering to herself.  "Woohoo!  I found evaporate!  Evaporaaaate, evaaaaaporaaaaaaate!"

3:00 I'm done with my painting, and notice my bread dough.  I thiiiiink it's done rising, yeah?  I punch it down and form it into loaves, and Cocoa toddles through the kitchen holding a piece of white chalk and a bracelet, singing, while I'm washing the dough bowl and knife I used to divide the dough.  I love that kid, and it tickles me pink every time I see him walking of his own volition.  He's just so darn PLEASED with himself- definitely walks with a little swagger in his step and a twinkle in his eye.  We're drawing an undersea picture with crayons on watercolor paper today, and then using watercolor to paint the whole thing blue.  The wax resist effect is pretty cool!  My watercolors are leftover egg dye from Easter- I filled some mini glass jars after we dyed our eggs.  I made our own dye, following the instructions on the package of food dye.  I was tired of mixing up new ones with water and food dye every time we wanted an art project :)  We were burning through the food dye!  These ones are nice and bright- I used "neon" food dye drops.  (Mimi chose to draw big blobs all over the page, and paint the whole thing spring green.  That's so Mims.)  Ernie based hers on my drawing- bed of sand, and oysters, and bull kelp.  I'm happy to see that she made a few oysters, with technicolored pearls.  She added her favorite sea creatures, like dolphins and narwhals, too.  I'm happy to see her using her imagination!

wax resist watercolor paintings

3:20 I put corn tortilla chips in the girls' bowls for a snack, and search for Cocoa.  I find him, lonely, in the playroom.  I see that he rooted around in my plant pot by the front door on the way by, and sweep up the dirt and dump it back in the pot.

3:30 My first afternoon lesson is here.  Kids are happily munching on chips, Cocoa is eating Cheerios.

3:45 Mimi has requested MY bowl of chips from the kitchen, and Cocoa has tossed his milk across the room- I mop it up.  Student plays me his own composition, from memory.  Awesome!  Yes, it's just arpeggios and I chords, but it has a key change in the middle!  I love it!  We just need to decide what meter it's in.  He says 3/4, but can't find all the beats when he counts it out.  We'll get it sorted out next week, when he brings the written copy.  Love seeing him stretch himself like this.

4:00 Second student is here.  We spend half the time playing songs, and half the time sight-reading from a different book and practicing finding notes on the staff on the chalk board.  I let the girls start their screen time- they play games at "PBS Kids Go!"

4:30  Third student is here.  Cocoa has wandered away with the red and green chalk we were using in the previous lesson.  He comes back with the green, and starts to draw on her foot.  I take it away.  He comes back with the red, and starts to draw on my collar.  I take it away.  He is beyond tired, but doesn't want to fall asleep for a nap.  I start tapping the beat with some rhythm sticks for my student, and he takes the rhythm sticks.  This is our sixth piano lesson today....he is just so DONE.  

5:00 My last student has walked out the door.  I shut down the girls' game, and give Cocoa some milk.  The girls come in- can they please have some measuring cups and some stuff to make trail mix outside?  For tomorrow's snack?  (I think a character in the latest Friend magazine made trail mix??)  No, I'm going to make dinner.  We've been waiting for sunshine all day- GO PLAY!  Everyone is pretty hungry, the girls barely at any lunch at all.  Dad calls, he's just leaving the office on bike, he'll be home in about an hour.  Glad there's a sunbreak for him to ride home in, hope it stretches all the way to downtown.  (Y'all know what sunbreaks are, right?  It's...when the sun breaks through the clouds for a little bit.  Just a hole in the cloud cover.)  

5:20 Cocoa falls asleep in my arms and I lay him down for a nap.  I finish making the meal plan for this week, and start poking in the cupboards for my ingredients.  It's potstickers, sauteed eggplant with black bean sauce, and rice tonight.  I know the kids will eat 2 of the 3 dishes....

5:50 Cocoa wakes up with a yell.  Poor guy.  I wonder what's eating him, and why he can't sleep?  I didn't get dinner started before- I saw the girls in the yard with sunglasses and umbrellas, and snapped on my telephoto lens to capture some candids.  Wonderful girls, I love watching their childhood :)  Cocoa and I measure rice, and I show him how he can run his fingers through the rice and watch it drip out of his hand.  He's slightly disgusted at the feel, and mostly fascinated.  I measure out the water into the pot, and hand him a frozen turnip cake to hold.  I forgot I had that in the freezer!  My sister's MIL gave it to me before she left for home a few weeks ago, she's a fabulous cook.  He's done with the radish cake, so I stick it in the microwave to defrost, and start dicing an eggplant, and call my sister for a recipe.

playing with sunglasses and umbrellas

playing with sunglasses and umbrellas

playing with sunglasses and umbrellas

6:15 Wonder Daddy gets home, and scoops up Cocoa.  Hooray!

6:30 Dinner- steamed rice, boiled dumplings, stir fried eggplant with fermented black bean sauce, and slices of steamed radish cake.  YUM.  After I finish eating, I leave Wonder Daddy to wipe the rice off the three kids, and I start washing the dishes.  Wonder Daddy gets all the kids in the bath, and I decide it's a good time to take my shower today.  

7:15 Everyone is clean, dry, and jammied (including me!) and we start Family Home Evening.  Ernie gives the opening prayer, Mimi picks the song (Once There Was a Snowman, which is HER perennial favorite right now), and we discuss family business- it's going to be a busy week!  Daddy asks what my Primary lesson was on yesterday (Following Jesus Christ) and gives a mini lesson on that.  I pull out some extra activities I did with my class yesterday, and we have a nice lesson.  We play Simon Says for our activity- the girls get a glint in their eye when it's their turn to be Simon.  Bossing folks around is fun!!  

8:15 We've done family night, and Daddy pulls everyone to the table for dessert: chocolate chips.  (Daddy's choice tonight :)  By this point, I am prostrate on the couch with a sharp headache, and nothing is going to get me up.  Not even a handful of chocolate chips.  Ernie asks to do exercises (in the past, Daddy and the girls have run laps around the house when they need to burn off steam.)  Daddy biked 18 miles today, so no running- they do sit ups and jumping jacks, and the girls go brush their teeth.  We can hear the girls arguing- Mimi wants Ernie's toothbrush, because it has a Princess on it (Tiana.)  Ernie vehemently tells her "No!  It has my germs on it!"  Ernie comes back, but we can hear Mimi stomping in the bathroom, beating the counter with her toothbrush yelling "But I WANT that toothbrush!  I LOVE PRINCESSES!"  Oh my.

8:30 We read scriptures, and Mimi is just about melting down.  What a tired girl!  We all say our prayers.

8:45 Girls are tucked into bed, and lights out!  Wonder Daddy brings his poor, pathetic, invalid wife a glass of water and some Tylenol, because he's a darling man and I love him.  Cocoa is climbing all over me on the couch- he's exhausted.  He asks for milk again, so we do that, and he's still just cranky and wired.  I remark to Wonder Daddy that I have a BOGO coupon for Krispy Kreme that expires tonight...and they close at 11.  He suggests I get in the car with Cocoa!  I'm sure that driving through the donut window at 9:30 at night, in my pajamas, for a free chocolate-covered sprinkle donut is just a little pathetic.  He says "No- it's normal!  Why else would they have a drive-thru window open so late?"  The man loves donuts.  

9:15 I peel myself off the couch and grab the broom to sweep up the day's crumbs from under the table- Cocoa comes over for a snack, and snags some Cheerios.  Yum.  He always comes running when he sees me with a broom near the table- it's really kind of gross.

9:30  That's it, Cocoa.  Bed time.  I hold him close, sing "I Am a Child of God," and tuck him into bed.  Lovingly and firmly.  He knows I mean business, and doesn't make a peep.  G'night kid!  I shut the girls' door, and put the kitchen to bed for the night- package up the bread I baked today, clear off the counters, put away the dishes.  I want you all to know that this is the first time, possibly ever, that my kitchen has stayed in control the entire day.  I want a medal.

11:30 Bed.  I spent my evening blogging, studying my scriptures (I'm so excited the new conference edition of the Ensign magazine is here!!!), chatting with Wonder Daddy, reading a few blogs, etc.

A productive day...but I still wish I'd had time to go plant some veggie starts in my garden beds...haha.  Not sure where I would have fit that in :)  I can't believe we went to bed with a clean house.  Like, every room is picked up and tidied.  What's happened to me????  I didn't even lose my cool with the kids.  Am I an adult now???