Sunday, December 30, 2007

Checking in

What a wonderful Christmas Week we've had: several Christmas celebrations and a string of visitors, including two of my brothers & a girlfriend and our good friend from college. It has been very busy, somewhat tiring, and simply delightful. I'm loving it.

Little guy, big grin

Meanwhile, Pumpkin is responding to our baby talk with big open-mouthed grins and started sucking on his little fists on Christmas Eve. Awwww!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


  • Remember the delicious meatball & tomato sauce recipe I posted awhile back? The one I was ooooing and ahhhhing over? The one that made our heads spin? WELL. I have sad news to report: I've made it twice since, and it hasn't even come close to comparing to that first time. Not even close! In fact just last week, after I bemoaned this fact as we were eating it, Squeeze said, "We've had this before?" I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong! It's depressing. Maybe I screwed it up the first time, never to be repeated again? I will try again, though. It was that good [the first time].

  • While I have kicked the chapstick habit, it seems that I can't completely release myself from putting something on my lips. No, it isn't lip balm. Or chapstick. Or lip gloss. Nor do I put in on the 30-40 times a day like I did when I was hooked. But nevertheless, I am putting something on my lips. What is it, you ask? LANSINOH, twice a day, after I brush my teeth and/or take a shower. Ack! They get too dry if I don't, and it drives me bonks. So...while I'm pretty sure I kicked the chapstick addiction, these lips need some kind of moisturizing something-or-other on them. So I went with a "ultra-pure, medical-grade lanolin to help heal sore, cracked nipples, a major reason women discontinue breastfeeding". For my lips.

  • I've been hording tissue paper and gift bags from all the major events and holidays for the past 7 years. It is in my nature, I can't help it. However, as it has reached the level of complete insanity, I decided to go through them today and DITCH [read: gather them up and bring them to a thrift store]. I couldn't take it anymore. So...I went through bag, after bag, after bag, after box, discovering more and more until I couldn't believe how much we actually lugged with us from Minneapolis in our move this summer. Couldn't I have done this beforehand? Look! Three bags full. Of course, they aren't heavy, but they certainly take up space. The bag on the left is filled entirely with tissue paper that I meticulously flattened and folded after each event. The other two, chock-full of gift bags: wedding, birthday, Christmas, baby shower, miscellany. Insanity.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Jingle Bells, revised

Starbeans has been singing Dingle Bells of late.

Dingle bells
Dingle bells
Dingle all da way!

Monday, December 17, 2007

This week's obsession, in books

We keep a limited number of children's books downstairs at our house; most of them are upstairs, on a big blue bookshelf, in the Reading Nook. We have read through the ones downstairs approximately 200 billion times too many and I'm starting to get bored with them; furthermore, due to a system upgrade at our local library, we have been unable to check out books for a week, so there aren't many library books on hand either. This prompted me to start going through our own library to find books that I think Starbeans will like [we haven't spent much time in the Nook since Pumpkin was born, mostly because it is quite chilly (no duct work goes upstairs)].

I found several books that have become smash hits with the little tyke, one of them I didn't even remember that we had. Sheesh. I'm glad though, it was such a fun surprise to find and I've been patting myself on the back for picking it out ever since.

[I don't think I clarified this in the post on my beloved Reading Nook, but 99.99% of the books have come from thrift stores. I could probably find 2-3 books that I actually bought new. Everything else is used (or gifts). That means a lot of vintage books [which I love], and a lot of books with, "To my little Rufus on his first birthday, Love Grandma" inscripted on the front page.]

The first, Starbeans' main obsession, is Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. Before we even hit the last page, he is begging to read it again. It is a delightful book and the more we go through it, the more I, myself, notice things about it.

Like how the words are laid out just so: almost poetry. It forces you to pay attention to particular words or phrases and makes her writing more meaningful. There are also various animals hidden in the forest throughout the pages, which Starbeans finds great joy in seeking out. He didn't notice them the first 5-6 times we read it; it is very interesting to watch him discover them as he becomes more familiar with the book.

The second obsession is The Hare and the Tortoise by Brian Wildsmith. This was the one I didn't even realize we had. The illustrations are charming; each page is plumb full of different animals, which Starbeans loves to point at - even a chicken with an egg below it in the crowd of animals. He found special pleasure in pointing that out.

It is fun to read and the bunny is so cute when he gets full on carrots and needs to nap - his tummy is round and he looks so sleepy. I think I've enjoyed looking at the pictures as much as he has!

Finally, and I think this is just so cute, he loves Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. Out of the three, this story is the longest, with the most text on each page. I was amazed that he was able to sit through it, and he continues to be able to sit through it every time we read it. I've wondered if it is because it is a story about a gingerbread baby, not man or boy. All toddlers love babies, so this makes sense to me. He is definitely fascinated with this baby.

The illustrations are great and the storyline is fun. The gingerbread baby is quite mischievous and naughty: he runs all over the place, taunting the people (and animals) trying to catch him, while naughtily tying girls' braids in knots and tweaking the milk and cheese man's nose. The tweaking was Starbeans' favorite part. "Tweak nose!" he said, in the middle of the day once, when we hadn't even been reading the book. I love how he talks about the books we read - it is so refreshing.

Even better, this Wednesday, we are going to Gwampa and Gwampa's house to make gingerbread babies. I think he is really going to enjoy this. I know my MIL & FIL will, and I will too. I'm going to bring the book with, so my FIL can read it to him while the cookies are baking. Maybe we can even pretend that the gingerbread baby tweaks our noses!

Where Pumpkin spends most of his day

Friday, December 14, 2007


Awww...holding hands, even

I think it looks like Pumpkin got a surprise pinch in the butt for this picture. He's so cute (and has grown so much - it is amazing).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

FF >>

I've been feeling like my life is in fast forward and I just can't keep up with it. Not necessarily going too quickly, but more like there is so much that I want to do that there is simply not enough time for. The day ends without much accomplished, except a baby cuddled, a toddler read to, meals prepared, and a few connections with the outside world. Writing this out makes me realize just how proud I am of what I'm doing (and how much I enjoy it).

But...I always have a backlog of books I want to read, blogging, letters to write, small projects to complete, and wishing my house was always clean and tidy.

[My mom is going to laugh out loud at that last sentence. No really, I really do like it when things are tidy! It is just hard to keep it that way, especially my bedroom for some reason: that space has always been the black hole. Thank goodness I am married to a Tidy Man; he usually keeps the place in good order. Before children, all I did was clean cat litters and wash dishes semi-regularly - he did everything else.]


I've really been craving books recently. Surprisingly, I've been able to plow through a several in the last month, which has been a balm to my soul.

Another thing I've really enjoyed within the last 2 months has been poetry. I checked out a couple of different volumes selected by Garrison Keillor from the library: they contain poems with a wide array of moods and topics, which really hits the spot. The first compilation, Good Poems, I knew of from seeing at my brother's apartment; I looked through it last winter and it piqued my interest, specifically after seeing a poem by Wendell Berry. I have usually bypassed poetry, mostly because my exposure to it left a dry taste in my mouth - work that didn't pop or sizzle or breathe, but just kind of drug on and on - but now I am finding it to be quite exhilarating.

The very first flirtation I had with it this fall was a book of poems by Bill Holm called Playing the Black Piano. I picked it up at the library because I noticed he was a local to my new area of MN and I thought it would be interesting to read his observations and ideas. Well, it was very interesting. More so, very thought provoking and entertaining at times. I even cried through a few of the poems, and I was hooked.


I've been delving into children's poetry as well, thanks to some encouragement by Gladys Hunt in Honey for a Child's Heart. Her book recommends Good Books for youngsters, advocating Family Reading Time, unabridged classics, and poetry. The edition I got from the library is copyrighted in the late '70's, so there nothing was newer than 30 years old on her Recommended Reading list, so I enjoyed seeing a lot of books I grew up with! I plan to borrow the 2002 edition from my SIL, to see what has changed in her book list and/or to see what has been added.

Anyhow, I've always been a sucker for vintage books and children's books are no exception. I pulled out Poems to Read to the Very Young by Josette Frank (my edition is from 1958) and have been reading them to Starbeans: we've both enjoyed it very much. I also found a 1979 copy of A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa at the thrift store this last Tuesday. Amazingly, it was on my list of Books to Find.


Finally, I just have to talk about Starbeans' longest running favorite book: Babies by Gyo Fujikawa. He has enjoyed it for well over a year, longer than any other book in our collection. He laughs devilishly on the page where it says, "Sometimes babies are naughty" [the next page has the same children with halos over their heads & looking sweet and it says, "Sometimes they are little angels"]. He loves seeing the babies being naughty - fighting over a doll, tearing pages out of a book, spilling milk on purpose, etc.

Funny, because he also enjoys saying, "Naughty baby!" about and/or to Pumpkin. I always tell him, "Babies are never naughty" and he replies with a congenial, "Okay." He has the same response when I say, "No, that would hurt the baby!" when he asks, "Pinch baby?" or "Poke baby's eye?" or "Bite baby's fingers?" Thank goodness he has never actually done any of it! He just says, "Okay" and that is that.

I must end this post before it takes on a life of it's own! It has been too long since I've posted and I have too much to say, not to mention the actual time to say it. THE END.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Butt plant blooms!

My sister calls Lithops "butt plants" because they have a little crack down the center. They are succulents and exist amongst my favorite indoor flora; native to South Africa, if I remember correctly. We don't have the tag for this one any more, so I don't know the exact name, and this is the first time it has bloomed (others have gone before it). Intensely interesting plants with beautiful flowers: what more could a girl want?

Lithop [unknown species]

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sick of worrying about being sick

We've been sick over here.

Starbeans is still finishing with his congestion, but I don't think that is where we got it [he got it from the waiting room at Pumpkin's newborn exam - that place was loaded with sick people]. Squeeze and I are both ill [we think we picked it up from our early Christmas party last Saturday]; I got it first, on Monday night; then he came down with it on Wednesday morning, when he was supposed to be staying home from work to take care of me. So much for that! He moved up in line and became the sickest, so I took care of him.

Somehow, through all of this, we have still avoided Pumpkin becoming sick. I am so thankful, but also very worried (and have been for a couple of weeks). I don't necessarily know if he is in the clear yet, so I am very paranoid about cross-contamination at all hours of the day and night. It is getting very old, although it will be completely worth it if he avoids illness. I'm just so tired of being on guard.

I'll be back to more regular posting once I can get my life back together. Every other day or so, it seems like we have to wash our entire stock of dishes and cooking utensils (we're so behind). Don't even ask me about the state of our home! Ack, it's a Sick House. But it will be a happy Sick House if Pumpkin stays healthy.