Wednesday, November 26, 2008

3 year old feetsies

I always used to wonder why 3-4 year olds always seemed to tromp around in rain boots, no matter what the weather. Aren't they for splashing in puddles? Ahem. Now that I have a 3-4 year old, I understand perfectly. In fact, this is exactly what Diego wears when we leave the house: his dino rain boots.

Why? He can put them on himself. Glory be! I love that. One less thing I have to wrestle with. They are lined with some kind of felted material, so they're warm(er) - but first and foremost, he can slip them on totally on his own (usually on the wrong foot, but that is another story - I mean, really - aren't the odds 50/50??). And they are so cute - I love seeing him traipsing around in them. I found the dino pair, a replica of his previous size, which Truen will wear next spring, at a thrift store and I snatched them up as quickly as possible, clutching them to my chest and cackling like an old hag.

While on the subject of footwear, we have inside shoes as well (or slippers, as it may be). Robeez: I still have him wearing them! They are terrific - warm (with socks), skid-resistant, adorable. Again, he is able to put them on autonomously and best yet: they keep his socks ON and CLEAN. His rain boots are a little bit big for him yet, so I usually have him slip his boots on over the Robeez - then he's always ready for a little indoor visit wherever we might go. We alternate between the blue Pirates and brown Dinosaurs I got on ebay a couple of years ago (he wore them last winter too).

The rain boots mystery has been sol-ved.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Portrait of Pumpkin

  • 13 months old
  • 6 teeth
  • 4-6 steps at a time
  • Attempting to walk most places, smiling all the while (with plenty of balance checks, squatting, and a full-out crawl when he needs to get there fast)
  • Nicknames: Little, Diddle, Diddles, Vous
  • Says, "Tah! Tah!" when he sees our cat, Toots. Or our cat Bay. Or our outside cat, Outside Bay.
  • Gets excited about bathtime and attempts to take his Night Diaper off to get in faster
  • Waves bye-bye just a little too late (and with just his fingers curling up and down, up and down)
  • Will press his little mouth to mine when asked for a kiss
  • Small, much more petite than his chunky brother at this age
  • Doesn't take a pacifier and hasn't since August - to the point of ripping it out of his mouth and throwing it on the floor if I put it in his mouth
  • But really enjoys pulling Diego's pacifier from his mouth and rolling around on the bed with it (one of our nightly games)
  • Loves books, particularly Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees, a teensy-tiny boardbook, and I am a Bunny (illustrated by Richard Scarry), one of the Golden Sturdy books [I love this one especially]
  • While he's paging through them, he smiles happily and make an "Aurschhh! Aurschhh!" noise - he also tilts his face up to the ceiling and fake-laughs
  • Loves spearing food with his fork and attempting to spoon things up - drinks from his sippy cup like a champ
  • Eats table food - carrots, celery, beans, pasta, eggs, and potatoes are favorites
  • Usually goes completely nuts and cries/whines/insists on being held during mealtimes (unfortunately for us) unless he is totally immersed in his food
  • Obsessed with Diego's potty chair: OBSESSED
  • Still nursing throughout the day and night
  • Occasional Morning Naps
  • Naps is in the same bed as big brother (we read before naptime and then snuggle off into sleep)
  • Always wakes up from his nap first - I like this, though, because it gives us some sweet cuddly alone-time in the late afternoon.
  • Favorite song: When the World is Running Down by The Police. When he hears it, this baby boy will stop in his tracks to dance the entire song through.

And finally, a story:

Today this little baby boy saw our Maya Wrap hanging from a hook. He shakily toddled towards the wall and pulled on the sling, looking at me with an expectant smile on his face. I said, "Ohhh, do you want me to put the sling on, Little One?" and pulled it off the hook and handed it to him. He smiled at me some more and handed it to me saying, "Eh! Eh!"

I put the sling on and popped him into it, and I could see by the look on his face that was exactly what he wanted. Then he rubbed his mouth on the shirt over my breast like a little newborn; I obliged and he nursed contentedly. Amazing. The communication skills blow my mind. And to think: he was just a little baby. How does this happen?


Monday, November 24, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Read about ANGER - for me it has been most enlightening

I read most of The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships (by Harriet Lerner) a number of months ago and have recently checked it out again to finish it and mull things over. I will probably have to buy the book, as I want to re-read it again and again. It is filled with powerful, life-changing, and revealing information that I would recommend for anyone who struggles with anger on any level - whether it be fearing it, reveling in it, understanding it, or controlling it. Read this book. Read it!

Lerner talks anger as a signal of something gone awry: anger as warning sign that we must pay attention to, and not dismiss or squelch or feel bowled over by. Anger exists for a purpose in the human range of emotions; it is important to understand why it exists and how to deal with it. She speaks specifically to women, as our gender and cultural roles are different from men. [The more life experience I gain, the more I understand this concept. I used to think there wasn't much of a difference, and worse - that being a boy was better. As an adult, I am so very glad I am a woman.] I really appreciated her tailoring this book specifically to women: I related strongly with much of what she wrote.

Reading this book has helped me understand myself better. Throughout the text, I had many moments of clarity - realizing how and why I act or react in certain ways (or why other people do the things they do). Or why we often participate in a circular dance, the same old crap over and over and over again. She lays out a practical foundation for WHY we do this and how to opt out: though we may face resistance if we attempt to change. She encourages women to stop and reflect on their anger - give ourselves pause to fully understand what we are feeling - before taking action. Or, if giving ourselves pause isn't the problem, ensuring that we take action. She also teaches that the only person we can control is ourselves: we can change our own behavior, be it over or under-reactive.

The "dance" of anger refers to the roles we play in our various relationships - underfunctioning or overfunctioning - and that the people we are most connected with often expect us to respond in certain ways, whether healthily or not, and when change is initiated, they often try to revert back into the old, comfortable way of dealing with things with what Lerner calls the "Change back!" response. I have noticed this in my own life - when I have been able to calmly step out of the old cycles in various relationships (as I am the only person I can truly control), the "Change back!" resistance is easy to notice.

One of the biggest problems on every level of relationships in my life is that when conflict arises or anger rears its ugly head, unless I am completely prepared for that moment, I am often left speechless. I know I'm upset or angry, but I couldn't tell you why. I need time to think about things; time to connect things in my mind; time to organize what I will say. Lerner talks about this very thing. I'm not alone (or strange) in my self-perceived ineptitude. In fact, I am not inept at all. This book is extremely eye-opening to the all the different ways we deal with anger. There are many varying shades of "being", yet we all share similar actions and reactions.

All in all, wherever you land on the spectrum:
I highly recommend reading this book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I have only enough time to say that the Friends of the Library meeting went very well. We had a smaller turn-out than expected, but those who showed up (about 12) were extremely enthusiastic. They were also very pleased with the tea. Evening in Missoula was a smash hit.

I will write more later, but for now: survival. I have to take a show-pow [pronounce "shaow-pow"] while the boys are entangled with their father. Cleanliness is next to godliness.

What lovely man calls taking a shower a "show-pow"?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thar she blows

Remember how I said that I was involved in a project to start a Friends of the Library group in our town? Yes, well. Our first meeting is Tuesday.

In the last two weeks, we (the librarian and I) have joined FOLUSA, conducted a pre-meeting meeting to for strategy and preparation, adapted bylaws and a mission statement for the group, written up an agenda, and tomorrow morning we are going to tour the building we have our sights set on. But perhaps more importantly, we have 20+ people signed up for the first meeting, with 5 more unable to attend. Amazing. You could definitely say that the time was ripe.

I am leading the meeting, which is a little intimidating for me; because while I am used to leading meetings within my expertise, I also expect that in a town of 703 most people will probably know each other (and not me). I'm not sure if being an outsider will play to my advantage or disadvantage. I'm not sure exactly how to approach them, or whether I should even worry about it. Whatever the case may be, I plan to make a solid showing. It will be interesting... I will report back to you on Wednesday and let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

American/Canadian Gothic

Amongst the 900-some photographs taken at my brother and sister-in-law's wedding this past August, one of them sticks in my mind's eye like pollen on a bee's knees: it has captured my fancy like no other wedding portrait.


Erik n' Ash

The pitchfork even has poop and straw stuck to it. The mood, their faces, the way they're standing: it's perfect. My SIL is a 100% Dutch Canadian hailing from BC, and was unfamiliar with the acclaimed painting; but I think she did a great job nailing her own lovely rendition nonetheless. They both did.

I'm in love.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our very first egg

Here it is: our first egg. Squeeze found it in one of the nesting boxes this morning. Isn't it beautiful? So tiny, but what a thrill it was for all of us. [Diego sucked in and gaped at it while Squeeze and I grinned from ear to ear.] I fried it in the cast-iron skillet and we shared it for breakfast. The yolk was a deep and brilliant gold - a good sign that the pullet is eating well. The brighter and deeper the yolk, the more beta carotene the chicken is eating: from greens. In addition to its beauty, it was delicious.

We've been checking the nesting boxes every day for the last few weeks, as we are aware that the pullets are approaching maturity. It will be interesting to see how things take off from here. We only have eight pullets left after our unfortunate dog attack the other week. Before that, we had twelve. Sad.

Squeeze wasn't able to go into work today because SW Minnesota was frozen in a sheet of ice. Sleet came down all morning; everything was shimmering like glass and even our gravel driveway was shiny under the layering of ice. He got ready and went, like usual, but couldn't even leave our driveway. Good thing he knows how to drive on icy roads (or as it were, long driveways).

Today was like a special treat: not only did we find our first egg, but we were able to stay home together, cozily, and see the beautiful white world outside our window. Squeeze even lit a fire. I was also able to finally finish processing our apple harvest. What a relief! I canned 6 quarts of applesauce this afternoon. That gives us a total of twelve for the winter, and there is nothing I like better than applesauce on my pancakes.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gingerbread Baby Pancakes

Diego has been on a Gingerbread Baby binge again. We read it every day, sometimes several times a day. Interestingly, the more I read it, the less I enjoy it. The illustrations and storyline are great, but the writing is tedious. It has absolutely no rhythm and is somewhat of a drag to read aloud. I gladly plow through it, though, because Diego loves it so much (and I do love the story).

He has been talking about going to Grandma & Grandpa's house to make gingerbread babies again, and this morning I was so pleased to find a gingerbread pancake recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook. We tweaked the idea and made Gingerbread Baby Pancakes, so delicious, and extremely thrilling for my little "baker", as he calls himself. ["I am a baker, Mama" he says.]

Keeping the Gingerbread Baby Pancake under wraps
We were pretending he was going to run out of the pan --
That naughty Gingerbread Baby Pancake!

He was very excited to eat it --
We used frozen strawberries from last summer for topping.
It was delicious.
That sippy cup is actually Truen's,
but Diego is obsessed with drinking from it.

Post Script: Incidentally, The Gourmet Cookbook is edited by Ruth Reichl, author of Tender to the Bone: Growing up at the Table, Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table, and Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise - all books I enjoyed thoroughly. So while I have no connection with Gourmet magazine, I did have a strong pull to this cookbook via my affection for its editor. I like it (and use it), although it isn't my most frequently referenced cookbook.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A favorite children's poem (I love the 4th stanza the most)

Hide and Seek

A.B. Shiffrin

When I am alone,
and quite alone,
I play a game,
and it's all my own.

I hide myself
Behind myself,
And then I try
To find myself.

I hide in the closet,
Where no one can see;
Then I start looking
Around for me.

I hide myself
And look for myself;
There once was a shadow
I took for myself.

I hide in a corner;
I hide in the bed;
And when I come near me
I pull in my head!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sing it, Patti

Today, while listening to the exact version of this song on iTunes, Diego asked me, "Are you fond of sand dunes, Mama?" to which I replied, "Oh yes...I am very fond of sand dunes."

And I am, extremely so - but my beaming grin was for him.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Because I love lists:

  • The two injured pullets in the hospital-box in our garage died - that means we have one survivor from our dog attack. His left wing is a little lower than the right one, but other than that he seems to be back to normal.
  • The chickens seemed to have gained a bit of wisdom since the dog attack and spend a lot of their time under trees and near cover. They are only teenagers, after all - and before the attack they ran wild in the wide-open as if they were, as my dad likes to say, 6 feet tall and bullet-proof. No more.
  • Two good friends from college were here for the weekend: lovely. We canned 8 quarts of applesauce, ate good food, danced, talked & laughed, and the domestic diva Lyndi made an attempt to quell bread-making fears for Jen and me. The loaf she made was delicious.
  • Diego got his eye pecked for the second time by a chicken this past weekend. Squeeze subsequently made the executive decision that Diego is never holding a chicken again for the rest of his life. It healed within 24 hours, but seeing the corneal abrasion right over his pupil was enough to make any parents writhe in pity and fear.
  • I met up with our little library's librarian "in town" over the weekend (while showing Lyndi and Jen around), which sparked the conversation that led to the budding formation of a Friends of the Library group. Our first meeting is November 18th and she has suggested that I take the role as president. Gung-ho, here I go!!
  • It is supposed to snow this weekend, but the past couple of days have been in the 50's and 60's - I have been taking advantage of the warmth by washing everything-I-can and hanging it out on the line to dry. Lovely.
  • Diego and Truen are playing together more and more - Diego likes to copy Truen's baby antics and they crawl together all over the house and up the stairs making baby whoops and shrieks. And they laugh and laugh and laugh together during lunch. It makes me excited about their future as friends.
  • Squeeze has been reading us Fairy Tales at night, and I must say - I really enjoy being read to. I love being on the receiving end of a story. And his old woman voices make me chortle.