Friday, June 29, 2007

FINE, Anonymous, HAPPY?

Yeah, I know, I've been away. I was preparing for a sizable meeting, attending said meeting in parts out of town, then debriefing (in other words, preparing for the next meeting) and I'm spent. But here's what we did before I was officially spent, last weekend.
We went to Rusty and Jennifer's house.

We enjoyed some cold beverages.

We played some croquet.

We looked fabulous.
We filled the pool and swam a bit.
And we ate. There are no pictures of us eating, but I promise we did.
Since then, Sarah has discovered a love for the warm air that shoots out the top of the vacuum cleaner canister. She has also figured out how to turn it off while I'm vacuuming. This is why I've decided not to bother vacuuming anymore. Ever. It's too hard.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Moments of Silence

I know, I've failed to post all week. I'd say I'm sorry but I promise, you haven't missed much. This week both girls have been fighting off a nasty cold. They have been goopy-eyed, stuffy-nosed and tired which makes them grumpy, whiny and intractable. In addition to that, work has been extra busy (end of the quarter, don't you know) and the hours of work I've lost to having to care for Sarah at home because daycare mistook her cold for pink eye even though it was not pink eye (they even posted that there was a case of pink eye in the infant room) cost me dearly.

Then there's the mess. The cat has been very busy shedding entire other cats on every surface in the house, including those on which we prepare our meals. The sick kids have left a trail of various toys and cat-hair-covered dolls in their unpredictable wakes and I noticed this morning that the dog puked on the living room floor last night.

Last night while she was eating some pizza at the kitchen peninsula, Kate peed. Pee everywhere. Once she realized what had happened, Kate broke down into a whimpering, sometimes screaming, mess. That set Sarah off. She was in her high chair, out of which she's pretty good at wriggling - once I turned around to rinse off some dishes and turned back around only to find Sarah fully standing in the chair, waving her arms and grinning from ear to ear. So Sarah's attempting to throw herself from the chair, there's pee on everything, Kate's screaming, the dog is walking through the see, I wasn't really thinking of blogging.

I was thinking of packing a bag and running very, very far away. Ultimately I opted to remain here because for some reason the thought of being without these horrible children and unsanitary pets makes me sad. I just wish the maid would come by.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Birthday Party

Thinking in terms of a tea party, I made bread and cut the slices into exciting shapes for finger sandwiches (pb & j and cheese), I made tea (iced, it was 92 degrees out for pity's sake), and of course there were the cupcakes. I dressed the girls in pretty dresses with their bathing suits underneath for when it was time for seriously gettin' down. I imagined they'd all have tea and biscuits and talk about the queen and THEN swim. When I brought Kate over to Steve & Joy's, we still needed to get all the alphabet mat pieces under the parts where the kids would be landing hard, since it was sitting on the driveway. Kate was so excited to get in that pool she was running in circles and squealing. Catherine, next door, caught the fever and was the first to join the party. In her dress, Kate danced around the pool as it filled, playing with the hose. Us grown-ups were watching but mostly busying ourselves with things like beverages and setting up chairs. Before I knew it, Kate was in the pool, dress and all. The party was a full on pool party and while finger sandwiches were eaten and tea consumed, it was only to power up for more swimming. Here are a few of the hundreds of pictures we took that day.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dad's Day

When I was an obnoxious teenager Dad and I didn't get along a lot of the time. It was especially frustrating to my mom who would declare "you two are just too much alike!" Back then I would take exception to that statement, insisting I wouldn't give my daughter such a hard time for not understanding trigonometry after 47 explanations. Once I went to college, though, my dad smartened up. Funny how they do that. And I've realized I am a lot like him and I'm pretty proud to say so. Dads are, by default, teachers so I thought I'd use this space to steal an idea I've seen often, and list just a few things I've learned from Dad so far.

1. Make a budget and pay yourself first

2. Don't put jelly on raisin toast - it explodes

3. If you can convince your opponent that the word you've put on the Scrabble board is real, even if your opponent is your elderly mother to whom English is a second language, it's not cheating.

4. No home should be without a dog.

5. Think for yourself. I don't know if it's ironic or not, but it's probably largely to my dad's credit that I turned out to be such a frothing-at-the-mouth feminist.

6. Mow the lawn in alternating patterns each week so it doesn't grow in funny looking.

7. How to hammer a nail.

8. How to make crepes properly.

9. Common sense is not that common

10. If you don't have something nice to say, push way down deep inside until you just can't stand it another second.

11. Sometimes the person sitting in the room with you and your mother, reading the newspaper, truly isn't listening to a word you two are saying so maybe you shouldn't make plans and assume his silence is consent. (Alternately, now's the time to do just that...he's not listening...)

12. The most important portion of the evening news is the weather report.

13. Hiking and bicycling are superior modes of transportation.

14. When you vacuum a room you have to move all the furniture and vacuum under it. Then you have to vacuum the seat cushions on the couch and if you don't someone will notice and make you do it again while berating you for not taking time to do a job well.

15. Sometimes if you do a job poorly enough in front of that person, you can get that person to just do it for must be willing to be repeatedly told "what your problem is..."

16. How to hook a worm. Although, I probably can't remember how to do that now.

17. How to argue. No really, that's a valuable skill.

18. How to avoid falling prey to the unstable social security system.

19. One can be spiritual without being religious

20. Read.

21. Photography is an accessible hobby that can help you learn to appreciate beauty in all kinds of new ways. (it might take awhile to master that tricky timer...)

22. You can probably do it yourself. (For nearly anything, if you have the will).

23. Make a budget. Pay yourself first. Yeah, I know I mentioned that early - it's a lesson that has to be learned repeatedly.

24. My assertion that I am fat is so ridiculous that it's amusing to refer to me as "thunder thighs", it's facetious, see? No? 24b. Girls are perhaps a little neurotic.

25. Exactly what kind of man I wanted to marry. No, Jeremiah isn't just like my dad (I've got that covered myself) but I knew enough to settle for nothing short of someone who is kind, respectful, smart and funny.

There's so much more, I'm sure I've missed some really important stuff but that means I can expect dad to call and say "you know what your problem with that post is..."

Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Impending tea party

Tomorrow we officially celebrate Kate's birthday with a little tea party we're holding over at Steve & Joy's. We're inviting all the 3rd Ave kids and besides, their house is just nicer. Since it's a tea party, I decided Kate should have cupcakes that look like teacups. I have a carefully laid out plan in my Whimsical Bakehouse book for this sort of thing, but they do three 6" cakes and I think that will not do with a bunch of 3-year-olds. Everyone will need his or her own teacup. So first, I had to find the right vessel for the teacups. My immediate thought was...teacups.

Those worked out well enough, but were tricky because porcelain, while oven-safe, isn't the best conductor of heat. Even when you stick an aluminum pan beneath it (though I can attest that doing that helps). Joy found an aluminum pan at JoAnn's fabrics for me. I still owe her the $11 for it. She's been very polite and hasn't mentioned it.
The shape and size is nearly identical to my tea/coffee cups which is to say a bit too large for a single serving of cake and icing but what the heck, it's a party. So they wake up with the telltale low blood sugar tummy ache kid's birthday party hangover, it's childhood!

I experimented with the pan to find out how much batter should go in and how long I should bake the cakes. Jeremiah, Steve and Joy and I took care of those results. I think you know what I mean.

I had tested all the cake-making tools but I hadn't tested the decorating. I have not previously decorated a cake in my life. Not once. So last night and today I spent nearly every waking non-child caring moment I had up until now decorating tea-cupcakes. The style of my frosting skill reminded me of something I'd seen recently...

Still, I'm pleased with the results. My first handles broke off and I had to remake them and insert them after the decorating was done which was tricky. The humidity is making the icing not harden. I tried the fridge.

Two of the white chocolate spoons broke (make that 3, Jeremiah just confessed to breaking one while I was up here writing this).

All that aside, Kate is extremely excited to eat them. I'm excited for them to get eaten. The stress of worrying about their well being around her and the pets is making me feel a little sick. Or perhaps it's the tremendous amounts of frosting and white chocolate I've consumed during this process, who can say?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Apros Pro of Nothing...

...except cuteness. Here's a shot of my niece with her American Girl doll that Keith sent me. I thought I'd share it here. That kid is way cuter than the doll.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007