Monday, January 30, 2012


I was much more precise with my other babies.  We had nap times and snack times and play times and work times pretty much figured out.  Not this time.  In the past two months we've finally worked out a routine that works for us...pretty much.

The routine includes nagging at the back of my mind every Monday -Wednesday about whether I have babysitters lined up for the children not involved in the various lessons we go to.  It also includes daily (or nearly so) walks/bike rides. Weekly-ish grocery shopping with only half the kids along. Quiet time that partially lines up with nap time and reading time which means if I'm lucky 15-20 minutes of by myself time. There is time to shower but not generally time to bother with my hair or make-up. It includes laundry time, but usually not enough to get everything folded as soon as I'd like, and time when I wonder about what I'm going to make for dinner. Finally it includes time at the end of each day when I sit and think about all the things I'd like to do that don't quite fit into the routine we've finally mustered.

I have got to find a way to make things.  A way that does not include the sacrifice of sleep.  Without the outlet of creation I'm getting washed down like an old bar of soap.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eight months

The past month brought four or five new teeth, (He's got the top center four and three on bottom) and all kinds of new tricks. It always seems that he catches on to something new the very week before I'm due to write this post. Guess what it was this time?

And then there was also...

He's been working on crawling since early December, once he got that down it was only a day or two before he'd moved on. He found the next skill much simpler to master.

He's reveled in pulling books off the bottom shelf ever since he managed to maneuver himself to lay beside it. Imagine the joy he felt in discovering yet another shelf full waiting for him in his new upright exploration.

Tell me: what am I going to do with this boy who refuses to stay as tiny as I want him?

Things will always go your way

If you can manage to turn your math homework into an art project.

Monday, January 23, 2012


When I was growing up if I went into the kitchen and asked my mother what was for dinner, 90% of the time the answer was the same.


On good days I would groan and slunk out of the kitchen.  On bad days I would groan, stay in the kitchen and  complain about it.
Casserole meant that whatever contents of the kitchen could be rounded up would be tossed in the frying pan and cooked up en suite. This post is like that.  Whatever I can round up in my head will be tossed in.  Sometimes my mama's casseroles turned out really good, sometimes they were awful, most of the time they just were.  Not too good, not too bad (we ate really good food too, it's just that the really good dishes all had actual names) I imagine that's how this post will turn out. 

Duke got a wool diaper cover for Christmas.  Thrilling gift, no?  I've been reading about the wonders of wool since I started investigating cloth long ago while expecting Enzo. Diaper covers made simply of yarn? No plastic? And somehow your babe does not wake up lying in a pee puddle? Not to mention the claims that the wool was soft rather than scratchy. It was magic I wanted desperately to believe in.  I begrudged myself my lack of faith in the matter.  

I finally got around to using the wool cover today.  Guess what.  The magic is real!  He wore it all morning with no dampness seeping through.  When I changed him out if it I found myself contemplating wool covers of all kinds.  

Tomorrow it's my turn to teach pre-school again. This week, the letter O.  This letter is much more fun than the other letters I've been dealt.  I think I'll bring the blender to the table and let them help make orange julius for snack time one day.

I'm going to be re-painting my table soon.  I'd planned to do it this week but I just now realized the flaw in that plan.  I'll need the table for pre-school. What happened is, the table top that I spent so much time sanding, went all to hell once I got it in the house. 

The Polycrylic recommended by the man in the paint department is what did it.  That stuff grabs messes and holds tight with both hands.  If you write on a piece of paper, turn it over and write on the back the graphite from the front side will transfer to the table top.  Removing the resulting marks will take buckets of elbow grease and leave a dull smudge on the table's finish.  Imagine the trouble caused by substances more stubborn than pencil.  Substances that at times wind up being applied to the table top directly rather than transferred from the backs of papers.  

It wasn't long after I finished the project that I accepted the reality that I'd need to re-do the most time consuming portion of it. Meanwhile, as I've been working up to the task I decided to change the colors in the house so now, instead of just the table top I'll be painting it in it's entirety.

Zizza is sitting by me.  She ran out of things to do elsewhere.  She insists that she can sit beside me quietly without disturbing.  She cannot.  She tries, but she just has to talk to me.  She has to.  Right now she's crying at me about a preschool project she wishes she'd been able to participate in seven weeks ago.  Even when she has a book to read she can't manage to sit here quietly as I type.  More than once I've come out from under a paragraph to realize she's been reading a passage aloud and now wants a response from me on the hilarity of it's content. 

You'll have to excuse the lack of conclusion to this casserole, as my child is now pouncing and whispering the word "Pecaw" repeatedly.  This inhibits my ability to form sentences.      

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thanks, Ziz for the blog post

Zizza is learning about birds this quarter.  Today she brought home an essay she wrote on the topic.  Here it is for you to enjoy.

Tiny Bird
 By Zizza Earl

I am a tiny peger (peregrine) falcen in a warm soft egg.  I love my egg it's cozy inside. 

Hay, I hatched now I'm a cute littel fluff ball. I have fetheres but I can't fly yet. I don't have the right cinned of fethers. I can flap my wings but I won't go any where.

My mom just flew away to get food I love pigens I hope she cachis one! She cot one time for dinner! Mmm this pigen is yummy.

Time for bed I tuk my head under my wing nighty night. It's morning mom cot another pigen mmmm this one is good to.

ot-ow the wind blew aur nest. Owell time to rea bild.  Bey

I added a few periods and capitals but everything else is as she wrote it.  They've been working on contractions  this week. I didn't add a single apostrophe.  I'm high fiving her in my head right now. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Anything that's not about elephants is irelephant

My last few posts have been such a pity party. "My baby's sick," "I'm sick," "I cut my finger," Boo-Hoo already, geez Eva. So today instead of posting about how Moo was sick last night, (four separate barfings within the hour of one o'clock) I'm going to show you a project I did. 

Did you even remember I can sew?

 Yeah, me niether.

 I'm a big fan of Jodie's I have a whole stack of her patterns. I finally got around to making one. I like it so much I went head and made it in quadruplicate.

When Parsley and Beet the two elephants who are not quite big and not quite small first made their way onto my computer screen we were all (me Ziz and Enz) head over heels for them. In so much that those two still remember and occasionally ask me for "The elephant story on my computer," It went without saying that I bought the pattern as soon as it was available for purchase. I just didn't get around to making it for a few years, but I was determined to have an elephant per child this Christmas

I was lucky enough to find nice wool flannel that was already grey, thus saving me the trouble of dyeing it. I ordered it in more than plenty of time and when it was delivered I found it much greyer than my computer screen had portrayed it to be. So much for saving time dyeing fabric. I had to put it through a number of bleachings to get it light enough to suit. They're still decidedly on the dark side (Not in a may the force be with you kind of a way. My elephants are in no way affiliated with the Sith) but they'll do.

 One day, as Christmas drew near, one of our favorite babysitters offered her services free of charge (See why we like her?) I took that opportunity to get stitching on these guys. I'd had them cut and ready for weeks but I hadn't found time to sew them without being observed. That day I did all the machine sewing on all four of the elephants in 1.5 hours. Not to shabby.

 I planned to finish up the stuffing and hand work in the car on out way to Utah. That would have worked just fine if I hadn't run out of stuffing mid journey. Once out of the car my time to sit and stuff diminished drastically.

 On Christmas Day while the kids were napping (yep, I totally enforced quiet time on Christmas) I was trying my best to get these little guys finished up. Before I knew it the kids were up and there beside me. With the surprise factor out of the way I lost my drive to get the elephants done and put them away.

 Three days ago when I finally pulled them out and completed the remaining minutes of work (four sets of button jointed arms and legs) I lamented that they'd already been spotted. They would have made fantastic valentines for those kids of mine.

 Anyway, I made them and they are loved. Most notably by the eldest and youngest though the middles are fans as well.

 Duke took his elephant in his hands gave it a shake, tasted a foot and thoroughly approved. He also enjoys manipulating the ears and grasping the trunk. Unfortunately for him, button joints mean close supervision so he doesn't get as much pachyderm play as he would if it could live in his bed.

 Ziz carried her elephant with her, held it in her lap while reading and generally adored it all day. In the days to follow she worked on finding a suitable name. While gazing at the movies on the shelf she toyed with "Charlotte," or maybe "Enchanted" my comment on the latter was that an elephant named "Enchanted" could easily come to be known as "Ella Enchanted" (she got that book for Christmas) Now it wasn't safe to call her elephant anything. She was rotating through names at such a rate you'd be sure to use the wrong one. How many times did I say "Ella" when her name was "Charlotte" or "Enchanted" when her name was "Ella" and Etc? Yesterday she finally settled on a name for better or for worse. The Elephant's name is "Giselle" but her nick name is "Charlotte" so that's what you should call her.

Zizza's elephant being the most played with was also the first to break. Do you spy the buttonless hip joint in the photo above? See, I got to the jointing part and realized I didn't have any suitable string for the job, so I just used black embroidery floss. The result is; I'm going to have to re-do all the joints as soon as I get some good string. Also, I didn't have a good shade of floss to use for "character lines" on the trunks of my little friends so I'll have to sneak them away one by one and add those lest these playthings be accused of undergoing botox treatments.

 I'm going to let each kid chose fabric for his or her elephant's wardrobe and dress the herd in the coming weeks.

 I like toys.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My house smells awesome

I made cinnamon rolls today.  I used P-Dub's recipe except I prefer brown sugar and cream cheese frosting to the white sugar and maple glaze she uses so I did that instead.  They are lots of kinds of good.  I have to tell you, that dough smells divine.  The rolling process was especially enjoyable because the warm sweet yeasty aroma wafted so pleasantly.

Less pleasant was the part near the end when my finger got in the way of my super sharp slicing knife after which, I had to spend thirty minutes with my hand elevated to stop the bleeding thus making me late for the remainder of the day.

Zizza thought I must be overreacting. "How did you cut yourself with a butter knife?  A butter knife is just a regular knife.  They're not even sharp.  I don't know how you could cut yourself with a butter knife,"

She said all of this while I was at the sink washing sugar and blood out of my finger and groan-screaming.  You know, a long sustained "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh," but not real loud and sort of guttural.  After a minute as my vocal reaction subsided her monologue started to wear on me and I managed to growl out "It's not a butter knife, I use it to spread butter but it's not a butter knife and it is very sharp." Then I betook myself to the bathroom  where I attempted to staunch the bleeding long enough to get a bandaid on.  It took a while.

The good news is; only two puny end of the roll-rolls were involved in the accident.  The rest were safely nestled in pans far out of contamination's way.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Snow ball

Say you're seven years old and you're having "snowman day" at school. What do you wear?

A snowball skirt of course!

The night before snowman day I was struck with the necessity of such a skirt. I had a crinkly eyelet button down blouse in my refashion pile courtesy of my mother-in-law which proved to be just the thing I needed.

 I cut off the top just below the sleeves and straightened out the shirt-tail hem. With the resulting tube of fabric and some white knit from my stash I fashioned a bubble skirt. Then I unbuttoned the still functioning shirt buttons and stuffed it with poly-fill.

When she first put it on it was just as plump at the top as the bottom. Unfortunately, there's such a thing as gravity which has the audacity to apply it's force to novelty clothing items just as strongly as anything else.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Are you noticing a theme?  Yesterday we discussed the baby's ill-health, today I'm 'bout to tell you about mine.

I have an aunt who can't yell.

Well, she sort of can.

I mean, she tries but her voice cracks every time she raises it.  If an announcement needs to be made at a family gathering; she is not the one to make it.

Today I sound just like her.  Enzo, Duke and I went shopping while Moo was at dance class.  Enz could barely hear me  above the din of the grocery store and the louder I tried to talk the worse it got.  I have new sympathy for my aunt.  How frustrating not to be able to yell at you kids. (Though I think her's learned to respond to croaking)

I keep laying my cold fingers against my neck hoping that their chill will somehow soothe the raw soreness of my throat.  It actually sort of works, though not as well as if I could figure out a way to apply a cold compress from the inside out. (I just figured it out. Ice cream. But did I buy any? No)

Between the essential oils I'm using and the raw garlic I just swallowed I pretty much smell like a pizza.  Maybe I should invent a tomato based poultice to smear on my chest just to round out the similarity.  One thing science's pharmacy has on natures, it's much less...pungent.

Aaaand, I'm out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is there anything as sad as a sick baby?

On Sunday, Duke and I simultaneously caught the hacking cough others in the family (all but Ziz) have been enjoying.

It's the weirdest thing to have a deep, settled cough with no other congestion.  It's never happened to me before.

Anyway, poor little duke is so busy coughing and feeling sickly (his nose is runny) he's not even interested in eating.  This is odd as the consumption of any and all food he comes within reach of is generally his main concern.  Not this week.  This week he throws his hands in front of  his face and bats away any spoon that ventures near.

Very sad.

In his happy moments though, he perches on my hip and sings "la la la la la" (his first and favorite repeated consonant syllable)  as long as his voice holds out.

It's one of the great paradoxes of life that things considered enchanting when one is seven months old become quite the opposite well before seven years have been achieved.

In the mean time, while it's still adorable, I mean to enjoy every incessantly repeated "la" and do my best not to let my heart break when his little voice wavers with his infirmity.  That is one of the saddest, sweetest sounds I think I'll ever hear.


Monday, January 9, 2012

2011- The hardest year of my life to date.

Started out with Moo coming home.  This was harder for me that her leaving was.  Happier. For sure happier, but harder.

I guess because when she was leaving I knew it was going to be hard.  All my friends knew it was going to be hard.  I had mental preparation and support and a crazy number of sewing projects plus a long trip as distractions. Not so when she came back.

When she came back what I had was an aching pregnant body, and a tentative cautionary attitude (would she settle in ok? would she be mad at me?)

During the first few weeks she fit back into place easily and I relaxed a lot. Then things got harder.  She was getting more comfortable and accordingly more screamy, frustrating and etc.

Meanwhile I was growing larger, more uncomfortable, less patient, more self centered, and less aware of anything happening outside the cocoon of my body and it's hormonal cocktail.

Also, having a kid in school every day for the first time.  That's a big deal.

And then there were four.

Again I had myself convinced that everything was good on the Moo front. Sure, she was difficult, but three year-olds are. I watched for signs of jealousy toward Duke and didn't see any.  Probably should have taken a moment to evaluate my own emotional health in the relationship between the three of us. Live and learn.

I've heard it said that the transition from two to three kids is hard but after that adding more is no big deal.  This was not my experience.  I had some extenuating circumstances, it's true, but I find four exponentially more difficult than three.

So to sum up.  2011 beat me bloody with a combination of the most difficult and painful of my three pregnancies and the strain of reincorporating the once lost child back into the family. I have every confidence that 2012 will be a healing, growing, reprieve of a year.  In the 9 days of it I've lived it already has been.   

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's always pajamas

Whenever the topic of Christmas traditions came up in gatherings during my child hood there was always someone who'd raise their hand and say "We get to open one present on Christmas eve and it's always pajamas,"

This is a fairly wide spread tradition so you may assume I mean one kid or another in any given situation was bound to mention it.

 I don't. I mean one specific girl raised her hand and said it every time. I don't know how she managed to be there to make the comment every time it warranted making. She wasn't even in my grade at school so you wouldn't think she'd be there to answer every time but some how. She was.

I haven't jumped on the Christmas Pajama bandwagon previous to this. Sure, a few years ago I happened upon matching footie pajamas for dirt cheap at The Children's Place Outlet in sizes to fit the 3 kids I had at the time and went with it, but that was more a halfhearted hop in the direction of the bandwagon than a jump.

 Anyway, in October when we visited the Mr's grandma I relieved her of some various yardages of fabric among which was a high volume of red cat patterned flannel. The three kids with the vocabulary to express it pledged love to the red cat patterned flannel so I told them I'd make matching pajamas for Christmas.

Does this count as jumping on the bandwagon? I didn't wrap them or anything. I just made them and allowed them to be worn for the first time on Christmas Eve. If it counts as a jump, I'm ok with that. I just want to know where I stand in relation to the bandwagon. you know, for safety reasons.

Here they are on Christmas morning in their matching sleepwear. What's wrong with Enzo you ask? Why does the boy stare tearfully at his empty hands?

He wanted to be the one to hold Duke for the picture.

So then of course this had to happen.

Will I do the matching jammie thing again? I dunno. Maybe. It is kind of fun seeing the set of them all lined up. I think it will largely depend upon whether the appropriate fabric falls into my lap again in the future.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Seven Months

He's practically a grown up.

So close to crawling. He can do the hands and knees thing and he can do the propel himself forward thing, but he's still working on getting them both going on at the same time. After a long stretch working on it both his knees and nose wind up red from being rubbed in the carpet. What happens is, when rocking on hands and knees fails to achieve forward motion he face plants, scrunches his legs up under himself and gives a mighty shove in the desired direction dragging his nose along the ground as he goes. Any day now his arms will catch up with his legs and he won't need the nose anchor anymore.
He's working just as hard on fine motor skills. During the past two weeks he's gone from extreme frustration over his inability to release hard won cheerios from the vice of his fist into his waiting mouth, to working the pincer grasp like a pro.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


It's a fact.  The longer I wait between posts the harder it is to jump back on the wagon.  Today, right now is the first time I've even turned on my computer in well over a week which is nice, but also leaves me feeling terribly behind.  I keep sifting through the post fragments in my brain and feeling pressure to write them all RIGHT NOW which leaves me terribly discouraged, also guilty because they're not written and if they're not written they'll fade and die and then what will my children have to look back on?  I already lost all the photos of the past how long was it? If I don't write anything now I may as well erase the rest of the year as well.

I posted every day of November.  I did it and it felt good.  I went to bed later than I would've liked for the bulk of the month but I posted and by the end of it there were no post fragments pestering me.

Anyway, I guess what I'm getting as it a commitment.  Not to post every day but four times a week. The trick will be figuring out how to do it without sacrificing sleep because friends, I love me some sleep.

On a completely different topic.  I'm in the market for a high chair.  I'm on my fourth baby and I've never had an actual high chair before. True story.  Anyway I don't want just any high chair.  I want a sweet vintage beauty like this one.  If you see anything like that kicking around for sale and you'd be so kind to pass the information along to me I'll count myself in your debt.

That is all.