Friday, March 31, 2006

I will never again wait until 11:00 p.m. to start cooking club meals that are due the next day.
I will never again wait until 11:00 p.m. to start cooking club meals that are due the next day.
I will never again wait until 11:00 p.m. to start cooking club meals that are due the next day.
I will never again wait until 11:00 p.m. to start cooking club meals that are due the next day.
I will never again wait until 11:00 p.m. to start cooking club meals that are due the next day.
I will never again wait until 11:00 p.m. to start cooking club meals that are due the next day.
I will never again wait until 11:00 p.m. to start cooking club meals that are due the next day.
I will never again wait until 11:00 p.m. to start cooking club meals that are due the next day.
I will never again wait until 11:00 p.m. to start cooking club meals that are due the next day.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

This morning when Steve woke me up to say good-bye, he didn't mention anything about the bedroom. I noticed it in my groggy state, but I thought maybe he didn't want to disturb my sleep too much. When I got up, I called him to give him a chance to tell me how much he liked it. He didn't even bring it up! I was pretty annoyed, so I told him I was hanging up, and when he asked why, I said something stupid about not waiting anymore for him to say something that he obviously wasn't going to say. He was like, "Uhhhh...I love you?" It turns out he completely did not even notice the new paint. When I told him I painted it, he said he couldn't wait to see it, but it's too bad I had to go and spoil the surprise. Gah!

We have asparagus sprouting! I was so excited to see that this morning. We also planted our spinach seeds today. I cannot believe how many weeds keep growing in that garden. I've been keeping up with it pretty well, but I hadn't been down there since last Friday. Holy cow - the place was covered in new weeds! I think it's because last year I just raked the weeds into the ground, thinking they would be good organic mulch, when really I was just spreading around millions of tiny weed seeds. Today I filled two entire plastic grocery bags with weeds that I pulled, in between trying to stop Emma from stepping on our asparagus. As I was preparing the dirt for the spinach seeds, I noticed that there were a TON of worms. I hope this means that we have healthy, nutrient-rich dirt.

We have a pretty small front yard and a decent sized back yard. Both are full of weeds. Steve wants to hire a lawn service to come once a month and do whatever it is they do. This has really been troubling me. Not only do I think tossing chemicals around willy-nilly is potentially unsafe for Emma, the garden, and the dogs, I just don't feel right about dumping more toxins into the earth. We've discussed a compromise of doing the front yard only. Today the lawn service guy came out to give us an estimate. It would cost basically the same to do just the front as it would to do it all. I expressed my concerns, and he said a lot of their customers have kids and they've never had any problems. Okay, so that tells me absolutely nothing. He also said they only spray weed killer on each individual weed so there wouldn't be that much, but then continued on to say that our yard has so many weeds that they'd have to just do a blanket spraying the first time. As much as I would love to have a lush, green lawn, I think I'm going to have to veto this. Well, the backyard, at least. And I better get busy pulling weeds!

And, because I think all posts should have pictures, here is a funny one of Emma enjoying her smoothie this morning.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Remember many months ago when I was going to paint our bedroom? Remember also how, because having a toddler is not conducive to painting, I never got farther than painting the corners and cutting in at the baseboards? Well today my sweet and wonderful friend Julie watched Emma so I could finally finish it. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The color is cheerful, yet soothing at the same time. I haven't told Steve that I did it. Today is the five year anniversary of when we started dating, so it's a little anniversary surprise, I suppose. He probably won't realize it's painted until tomorrow morning, but it's the thought that counts. The only problem with its being finished is that the room is now screaming at me that it needs curtains, and I have yet to sew the curtains in the living room for which I bought fabric over a month ago.

I am really feeling sorry for Steve these days. He is so exhausted that I worry about him falling asleep when he drives home at night. He's been working 18 hour days all week. I don't know how he does it - I would have collapsed from exhaustion long ago. The good news is that he's taking next week off. He's planning to do some work around the house and yard, but I won't blame him one bit if he decides to lay around and be lazy and catch up on sleep instead. It's certainly well-deserved.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Last night Emma fell asleep at 7:40 after about ten minutes of nursing. Tonight I sat down with her at 7:30 again and she did her very best to not fall asleep for the next two hours and twenty minutes. At one point as she was struggling to get up, I was in turn struggling to not let her, and she ended up hitting her head pretty hard on the corner of the desk. I felt terrible. How come sometimes she goes to sleep like a champ, and other times it has to be such an ordeal?

Emma amazes me every day with her expanding vocabulary. She says the funniest stuff. Every time I ask her to stop doing something, she stops and says, "Sorry, guys!" She also just learned the word "now" and loves to use it. When she wants something, it's, "Drink, NOW!" "Outside, NOW!" "Applesauce, NOW!" I can see that getting old (for me) real fast.

Today I knitted this cute little egg. I'm probably going to do a few more and put them in her Easter basket.

Last night I totally bombed the whole not eating after 8:00 thing. I was waiting up for Steve, and around 11:30 I was feeling pretty famished so I gave in and had a muffin. Awhile later when he got home he went in the kitchen to get himself some ice cream. When he came back he had two bowls of ice cream - one for each of us. I have willpower enough that I can resist ice cream when it's hiding in the freezer. When it's handed to me in a bowl, not so much.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I think I have crafting ADD. I really want to get Emma's Swing Coat finished by Easter, but yesterday I decided I had to learn how to do intarsia. Intarsia is knitting a picture or pattern using two or more colors. I chose a simple design, but still had a little trouble following the chart. Apparently I can't count any higher than six. After finishing it, I decided to felt it into a potholder. Because I was lazy and just carried the pink yarn across the back instead of having two separate pieces for each side, the flower shrunk more than the rest and now it's not a perfect square. It's really not a square at all, actually. Now that I got that out of my system, I am back to working on the Swing Coat.

Lately I've been patting myself on the back a little bit because my worms seem to be thriving. At first I wasn't giving them very much food because I was worried about overfeeding them and ending up with stinkiness or, worse, mice. I've increased the amount of food quite a bit and they are really chowing down. I am amazed at how much they can consume. Whenever I add new food to the bin, I think they are contentedly smiling up at me with their full bellies.

Recently some idiot wrote an article for the L.A. Times about LLL and breastfeeding "militants" causing deaths in poor countries by speaking out against formula. The article is so stupid that I'm not posting a link. One sentence, however, said "At the prodding of the militants, the World Health Organization now recommends that women nurse at least until the child is 2, which would be quite a cultural sea change unless you live in a hippie commune." I've been thinking about this sentence, and how sad it is that there really are so few children in the United States nursing at two. I am so very thankful for my local AP group (otherwise known as a hippie commune)! Pretty much everywhere we go, we can look around the room and usually see at least one nursing baby or toddler at all times. I am so glad that Emma sees this as the norm, and not the exception.

This is a cool link.
My parents and youngest brother came to visit this weekend. Every time they leave I am always SO sad they they don't live closer to us. We had a great time while they were here.

I've gotten in the terrible habit of late-night snacking. Mostly because of that, I've gained four pounds in the last month, after weighing exactly the same for the past year. Also, I think Emma is nursing a little less, but I am still eating as much as before. Starting tonight, I am eating nothing after 8:00 p.m. ever. NOTHING. And I mean it. Really, I do. If only I could stop thinking about that Edy's Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie Ice Cream in the freezer. Stop it right now! Ack! I'm going to bed before I cave!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

At 7:30, I sat down and started an entry that began like this: "Emma is already asleep. Is it too good to be true?" That's as far as I got because, alas, it was too good to be true. Now, three hours later, she really is asleep.

I've been knitting this sweater for Emma for awhile, and really hating it. It probably wasn't going to fit her right, and it wasn't that cute, and I was bored silly every time I worked on it. Even though I was probably 2/3 of the way finished, last night I frogged the whole thing. What a relief that was! Today I started a Girlfriend's Swing Coat in it's place, and I'm already loving it. Why didn't I do that long ago?

I can't wait until it gets warmer again. My garden is calling me! Tomorrow it's time to transplant my tomato seedlings, so that will help me get my gardening fix for awhile. Today Emma and I braved the cold for a little bubble blowing. She's very intent when it comes to bubbles!

A few weeks ago we got a bird feeder, and Emma and I have been enjoying watching the birds. I've also seen squirrels eating out of the feeder a few times, and when I do, I open the window and yell "Go away, squirrel!" or something else equally threatening. Tonight Emma and I were eating dinner, and I asked if I could have one of her grapes. Without waiting, I reached towards her plate. She swatted my hand away, yelling, "Away, sqwerrel!" I guess she told me!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Awhile back, I tried to volunteer for Meals on Wheels. I thought it would be fun for Emma and me to bring a little cheer to some elderly people who can't get out much. The first time I spoke to the coordinator on the phone, I mentioned that I had a two year old who would be coming along with me. Clearly, no one had ever tried to do that before, because the woman stammered and stuttered for about three whole minutes before telling me that she'd have to talk to some other people about it. Okay. She called me back the next day to say she'd talked to some people, but they weren't sure, so she was going to talk to some other "higher-up" people and get back with me. She called back a few days later, saying those people weren't sure, but they were going to bring it up at the next board meeting. Really, is it that big of a deal? So, again, she calls back and it was decided at the meeting that it wouldn't be safe for me to bring Emma along. Huh? She asked if I could leave Emma with a baby-sitter and do it by myself. I assured her that wasn't an option, and promised to call again in a few years. This was all about a month ago. Well, today she called me back again to tell me that they'd had another board meeting, and talked about us again, and good news! They decided to let me do it if I kept Emma buckled in her carseat, locked in my car every time I went in! Uh, no. I almost said to her "Are you for real?" Not only would that be a completely miserable time for Emma, but some busybody type might see her in there and call CPS on me or something. What were those people thinking?

When I get my chickens, this is the chicken coop I want. I think I will live in there with them!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I finished knitting this dress for Emma. It's the Smocked Frock from Little Turtle Knits, and I love it. Apparently she does too because she was WAY upset when she had to take it off. It fits her perfectly. This is especially exciting for me, because it seems like everything I knit is either a tad too big or a tad too small.

So I've recently decided that I want to get some chickens. We wouldn't be able to have them here, but maybe at our next house. Steve is not as excited as me ("We got you some worms, we are NOT getting chickens!") but I think he'll come around. In the meantime, I have to learn all I can about chicken ownership.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I think something is wrong with Emma's plants. Her pumpkin and watermelon seedlings don't appear to be dead...just collapsed. Not sure what I did to cause this, or what I can do to fix it. She thinks they are "night-night" so I really hope they don't die.

Today I am cleaning my kitchen. Every little nook and cranny will be spotless, and I will be so happy. I will promise myself that, because I enjoy cleanliness so much, I will keep it this way. But of course I won't. Don't ask me why. I love when my house is clean, so why isn't it clean all the time? It's not like I hate cleaning or anything (except the bathtub). Last week I cleaned every inch of the office and vowed to keep it looking nice. I've been trying, but slowly falling behind. It's like I'm running a race with Clutter and Mess, and I just can't quite keep up with them. Every once in awhile I'll pull ahead, but they always overtake me.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

This time of year, which is Steve's busy season, is always really hard for us. He always talks about looking for another job and I always wonder why I'd ever want any more kids because I'd be basically raising them by myself anyway, but then it ends and we forget about all that. This week has been especially hard for me because my brother David is out gallavanting around Europe, intead of staying home like a good brother and chatting with me on the phone or via IM like he usually does. This weekend my mom and dad are at separate conventions and are also unreachable. This is all really annoying me right now because I just got back from a terrible lunch with my crazy, bitter MIL. I want to call someone and complain about her but I have no one to call! At least David will be home on Monday. Also, in a few weeks busy season will be over and I might get to see Steve more than four hours a week total. Maybe we'll even get to eat dinner with him once in awhile too.

Friday, March 17, 2006

This movie should have been nominated for Best Picture!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Last night was my first attempt at dyeing self-striping yarn. I started to wind my yarn around two chairs, like this, but almost immediately it got tangled. I sat down to straighten it out, and within moments it looked like this:

I worked on it awhile longer, succeeding only in making it more hopeless, so eventually I just chucked it in the trash. I'm so annoyed about that. What a waste of 440 yards of perfectly good merino wool. Lesson Learned: Wind the hank into an easy-to-handle ball BEFORE stringing it onto the chairs.

Of course I ordered more than one skein, so I broke into the second one. I managed to get this one wound, and all set up in the dye pots. The colors I chose were a baby blue, a sage green, and a light yellow. Well, apparently I put way too much dye (Wilton's cake dyes) in because the colors aren't even close to what they are supposed to be. When hanging the yarn to dry, I noticed that that colors were all splotchy. I was reluctant to stir them because I didn't want to yarn to felt, but another Lesson Learned: Stir them, at least a little, for more uniform color. At the very least, I was hoping for a sort of mottled tye-dye effect instead of just a plain old horrible dye job effect. This morning I worked the beginning of a sock to see how the stripes would look. Not too bad, I suppose, for my first time, but I would rather have the lighter colors I was hoping to get.

Emma and I often count things together, which pretty much consists of my saying the numbers and her repeating them, or sometimes just my saying the numbers and her ignoring me. Today we were at Price Chopper, just walking through the aisles, and suddenly I noticed her pointing to the flowers on her pants, one by one, and saying, "!" Wow! This evening, I've been encouraging her to count more things and it usually goes, "" or something like that, but sometimes she does get it right. Those times may be luck, but either way, I'm pretty impressed!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Today was a busy, fun-filled day. This morning we went to Paradise Park with some friends, then home for nap time, then to Target, and then to the dentist. Emma sat on my lap like a perfect angel at the dentist, but that's where the dentist-related good news ends. I've never felt that the teeth cleaning process was painful before. Until today. Good Lord! I have not been in that much pain for quite some time. At one point the hygenist said my gums were really "bleedy" today. "No kidding!" I wanted to shout. "That's probably because you are tearing them to ribbons with your sharp, pointy little torture device!" Thankfully, I (barely) survived that, so to celebrate Emma and I went to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. Afterwards, I decided there was still more fun to be had at Paradise Park, and since the passes are good for a whole day, we headed back there. Well, apparently there was NOT more fun to be had there, because when we got there only part of it was open, and not the part we wanted. That'll teach me to not scroll down when I'm checking closing times on a webpage.

Emma's little seeds have been growing so rapidly that I figured tonight it was time to move them to bigger pots. I recently read that when you have more than one sprout in one little container, you are just supposed to use scissors to cut off all but one. I couldn't bring myself to murder such happy, ambitious little sprouts so I moved each of them to a separate pot. Their root systems were already pretty elaborate, and I did my best to keep each of them intact, but some itty bitty root pieces did end up breaking. I hope they all still survive. Here they are...three sunflowers, three watermelons, and two pumpkins.Also, in other gardening-related news, my tomato seeds are starting to sprout!!We are only planning to have six tomato plants - three each of two different kinds. The problem is that I planted eight of each, thinking I'd manage to kill most of them before it's time to plant them outside. Now I know that, should they miraculously all live, I won't be able to kill any of the survivors. We'll have six plants in the garden, and then ten more scattered around the garden in various pots and buckets. Tomatoes, anyone?

Monday, March 13, 2006

I am waiting for three things in the mail. They are not coming, and it's driving me crazy! I know for sure one was shipped the 3rd, and one on the 8th. Where are my things????? My mailman is probably living it up at his house, knitting with my yarn and reading my worm book! Ha ha...somehow I think that's unlikely!

What a nice papa!
This morning Emma and I went swimming at the community center. We hadn't been there in two, maybe three, months. When we used to go, Emma would fearlessly run around in the water, not caring if it was over her head or not. Today, not so much. At first she was really excited, but as soon as we walked into the pool area, she tensed up and clung to my leg. I carried her into the water, but she was absolutely terrified, crying and clinging to my neck with all her might. We only stayed about fifteen minutes, with her begging to go home the entire time, and not once did she release her deathgrip on my neck. She did, however, have a great time playing house in all the lockers!

I'm thinking it's time I turn to Emma for all my gardening advice. Her plants are putting my tomatoes (which have yet to sprout a single sprout) to shame.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Well, I knew it was only a matter of time, but that didn't help to make it any easier. I saw a snake today...the first of the year. I'd been doing so great working in the yard, telling myself I was going to be brave this year, and thinking that maybe the snakes wouldn't even be a problem because I hadn't yet seen any. Last year the first one showed up at the very beginning of February.

So today Ems and I were playing in the yard, and I decided to check on the contents of the compost bin. I flipped open the lid, and there he was, curled up inside, flicking his little tongue and looking all sinister. I am ashamed to say that I screamed loudly enough to frighten Emma - way over on the other side of the yard - into crying. That little snake brought back all the memories of last summer: opening the door to get the mail and seeing snakes laying right across my stoop, being too scared to take out the trash because I know the snakes hang out by our trash cans, and not wanting to eat outside because of the snakes that lived in the flower bed next to our patio. We have so many snakes. Why do I have to be such a wimp? Why can't snakes just be worms?

Before we buy our next house, I'm asking the seller about snakes. If there are snakes, I am not moving there. Period.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Today I am consumed by all things gardening. Emma and I made one trip to Suburban Lawn & Garden, and two trips to Lowe's. Our tomato seeds are started, and our other seeds are ordered. Here is the final list of everything I am growing this year:

green beans

The watermelon and pumpkins are iffy, because I just got little kiddie gardening cups of those and Emma planted them herself. I was hoping to have garlic, sage, and lavender, but I have missed the planting time for those. I'll remember that for next year.

I am SO excited!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I got worms! Woo-hoo! This morning Emma and I went to a local worm farm and purchased approximately 1000 Red Wigglers. The guy who owns the farm talked to us for a long time and showed us his many different worm beds. He said there are over four million worms in his farm! It was a really interesting experience. The point of owning the worms is that they will eat our trash and poop it out in the form of nutrient-rich compost. It sounds like an ideal way to cut down on food waste and enrich our garden soil at the same time. Now I just have to worry about keeping them alive! More on worm composting can be found here.

Tonight we are going to a Holistic Moms meeting about organic gardening. I've also been fervently reading The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, which has tons of really great information. I was totally doing it all wrong last year! This year is going to be SO much better! (I hope, I hope!)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

E is for Emma. (Big surprise, right?) I took this picture tonight during one of our many daily games of "house".

Monday, March 06, 2006

On Saturday, I finished these socks. They're not too bad for my second pair (considering my first pair was horrible - sorry Peter!), but there are a couple things I don't like. I knitted them with Cascade Fixation yarn, which is comprised partly of elastic. A few inches into the second sock, I read somewhere that when using this yarn, you're supposed to not stretch the yarn out at all while knitting. I changed the way I was doing it, and consequently, the entire second sock is different than the first. The colors pooled differently, and the second sock is noticeably more comfortable than the first. Oh well, live and learn, I suppose. Mom, I promise I'll knit you a better pair of socks at some point.

It was lucky that I finished those socks when I did, because I got this yarn in the mail Saturday. Mmmmm... I'm going to knit a pair of Jaywalkers with it. However, last night I looked over the pattern, got intimidated, and started a totally different pair of socks. Those Jaywalkers and that yarn are calling me, though, so I'm going to have to break my rule of no more than three projects at a time.

Last night we had the most delicious dinner, I just have to share it. Even Steve, who I know is always thinking, "Um, so where's the meat?" when we have a vegetarian meal, loved it. I got it from that same old great book, The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook. Make it. You won't be sorry. We had them with whole grain pita bread, tomatoes, and (of course!) sprouts.

Falafel with Tangy Tahini Sauce

4 cups cooked garbanzo beans, drained
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup minced onion (I skipped this.)
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup whole wheat flour

Tangy Tahini Sauce:

1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup water

Puree falafel ingredients in food processor until smooth. Add a little more water if necessary to get a smooth consistency. If possible, let batter sit for one hour before cooking to thicken and intensify flavor.

Use your hands to form patties approximately 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Cook patties using either of the two methods below.

1. Oven method: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place patties on an oiled baking sheet adn bake for 10 minutes on each side, until brown and crisp.
2. Pan method: Warm a skillet to medium heat. Pour in just enough oil to coat pan. Drop in patties and grill 10 minutes on eahc side, or until brown and crisp. Add additional oil if needed during cooking process.

Make sauce as follows: puree yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, and sea salt in food processor. While blending, add water a little at a time until desired thickness is achieved.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

That is my grandpa. Of all the people I know, he is one of my most admired. I've never heard him say a single word that was not respectful and kind. His soft-spoken, gentle manner shows through whether he is playing with tiny babies, giving gardening advice, or telling a good joke. My grandpa was my inspiration for running track and cross country in high school. How many 75 year olds do you know who are still running marathons? He came to every home sporting event, and many of the away ones, of mine and my brothers'. He and my grandma now spend much of their time traveling around to watch my younger cousins play volleyball, basketball, soccer, etc. We are all so very blessed to have such a supportive and loving grandpa.

Today I found out that my grandpa has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. If you have a minute, please say a prayer or send some good thoughts to him and my grandma.
So I just sat down on the couch with my knitting, and set a huge mug full of the last of my delicious Japanese Cherry tea on the floor next to me. About three seconds later, I kicked the stupid mug over, completely soaking three library books and the carpet. Lovely.

I don't ever want to see another tuna casserole again. I love the stuff, but after making 10 pans of it in the last two days, and then eating it for dinner tonight, I think I've had enough for awhile. A good long while. On the bright side, I am SO looking forward to filling my freezer with many delicious homemade meals tomorrow!

Steve is home, and will be for the next week, at least. Yay!

Friday, March 03, 2006

A large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life,
by him who interests his heart in everything.
- Laurence Sterne

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

David wants me to take a picture of the contents of my fridge. Well, here you go, buddy.

Nothing much of note in there...eggs, OJ, broccoli, grapes, chickpeas, etc. I would, however, like to draw your attention to the little bag of sprouts on the third shelf. Recently I was thinking about my favorite sandwich (Dagwood Club from Planet Sub) and it's ingredients, specifically sprouts. Never having bought sprouts before but being well aware of their health benefits, I decided to purchase some. Whoa. I will never again make another sprout-free sandwich. Yum!

I'm tagging Katie, Julie, Catherine, and Melanie. Come on, let's see what's in your fridge!