Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So thankful

Jamie just started saying, "nya-nya-nya-nya" yesterday.  Over and over and over again.  He's obsessed.  It is the cutest thing ever.

Attempting a camera-grab

I am so thankful for a happy and healthy, wonderfully fat baby.  Sometimes I forget.  Seeing pictures on a blog I stumbled upon this afternoon, Be "THE HANDS AND FEET", hurts my heart. 

It shouldn't be like this.  Anywhere.  Ever.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Massive, a.k.a. "I just can't resist"

I have been collecting children's books from thrift and used book stores for many years, before children were even a tangible glimmer in my mind.  I picked out what attracted me -- books I knew from childhood, fairy tales, classics, beautiful/interesting illustrations, etc.

After 7-8 (or maybe 9-10) years, I have a whole lotta books.  A whole lotta.  Blaine quit saying, "What?  More books??" years ago.  I think he just gave up.

An "upstairs" bookshelf
(the behemoth)

To sum in up succinctly, we have a "sizable home library".

We have gotten many beautiful books as gifts from family and friends over the years as well (thank you so much, we love them).  We also participate in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (a program to distribute children's books in economically-depressed areas), which sends one book each month, per kid, from age 0-5.  Some pretty terrific, others just kind of "meh".

So when a Friends of the Library book sale came up this spring, I started weeding through my collection.  I realized quickly that I would need to go through it several times to get everything, as it was too easy to just say, "Nah!" and put something back the first couple of times 'round.

I was finally satisfied after I went through every shelf four or five times.  I was ruthless and didn't let sentiment control me . . . and pulled out somewhere in the realm of 30-40 books.  Not too shabby.  (I did the book sale too, and some of them flew off the table.  Yesssssss.)

But that got me thinking.  Exactly how many books have I amassed over the years?  I knew it was probably in the hundreds, but I had never actually counted.  So I stewed over the idea for a few weeks, wondering, and finally got my chance to count them all out last week.  It was really fun.

Another shelf in the "book nook"
Novels and novellas

But first: I should clarify the locations of bookshelves throughout the house.  For the picture books, I have the blue monster upstairs and several other smaller shelves downstairs: one in the bedroom, one in the sunroom, and another (just one shelf) for the over-sized books in the living room.

Books for 9-12 readers and classic novels and novellas have two shelves upstairs and are intermixed in the rest of our books downstairs.  This reading level, btw, is what I've been focusing on the past couple of years while thrifting.  (Planning ahead, but I've also gotten much pickier with the picture books.)

So here are the grand totals.  Un-un-un-un.
  • Picture books: 527
  • Board books: 63
  • Children's Lit: 159
I'm sure this will make my family and friends never want to bequeath another book upon us again, but please! don't let that stop you!  We love books.  We are thrilled by anything that is passed along.  Some of our favorites have come from others.

But yeah.  I think I might have gone over-the-top.

(But I know you know I don't actually think that.)

Friday, June 17, 2011


The sky in this part of the country is glorious, something I finally realized last summer.  (We have been here for four years next month, how can it be??) 

These beautiful skies are such a sight for sore eyes and soul.  In a part of the country where very little, if any, natural landscape exists, it is such a blessing to have such a breathtaking view above us.  It leaves me astounded.

On Monday night, as I was returning from my Friends of the Library meeting, where I saw a double rainbow (double rainbow!) I might add, I found Squeeze outside, camera in hand, running for the west-side.  How I love that about him. ♥ 

The sky was un-un-un-un.  Truly inspiring. 

June and July must be the season for tearfully happy, maddeningly gorgeous skies.

Behold ---

Facing west




(my favorite)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Newborn blankie shots

I've been meaning to do this post since January . . . oh well, better late than never.

Look at all my sweet babes!  My MIL makes a special quilt-blankie for each of her grandchildren -- they are so special, I really love them. Neither of the boys have chosen it as their "special" blankie (for which I am thankful, because it would be in tatters by the time they turned 10) but we keep them around and use them frequently.

Lately I've been laying them across our gigantic queen-and-double patchwork family bed.  Or we use them as the play-area during an exciting game of Go Fish.  Or they snuggle down into them while we sit around and chat on weekend mornings.

Diego Kinder Dune
July 2005

Truen Jules Pumpkin
October 2007

Jamie Sterling
January 2011

Diego got the colorful FISH, Truen, the LION in autumn hues, and Jamie's is the sweetest little brown GIRAFFE.  (I'll have to post pictures of that later.) 

Gramma S. didn't have Jamie's blankie done by his birth day (the usual), because she was waiting to find out if he would be a boy or a girl.  She said that she was "going to really pull out all the stops" and make it the most ridiculously girly blankie she has ever done had he been female.

But, you know.  The Borealis men only shoot out little boys.  One girl per generation for the last four generations, and we already have our girl (Borealis cousin) this time around.

Not that I don't love my boys.

After seeing a few of 'em, I've come to the conclusion that we have one boy that looks like Blaine (Diego) and two boys that look like me (Truen and Jamie).  They certainly look like brothers, but Blaine got trounced in the gene dept.  Kind of sad, since I'm so ugly.  Ha!  Kidding.

Aren't my little darlings just darlin'? 

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Boy-ohs

Wow, three posts in one week.  That used to be the regular goal.  Now . . . it seems excessive.

All three of my boys are sleeping at the same time.  I suppose it probably happens about once a week, and you can imagine how I just revel in it.  It feels so good.  I mostly want to just sit and stare.

But I think I'll write an "update" on each of the boys.  I bet my parents and sibs would like that.  Shoot, I will too.

Age almost-6
(July 30th)
  • Re-obsessed with butterflies this summer.
  • Love playing with and holding his baby brother.
  • Never wants to take a bath alone, or much of anything else really -- he loves people and wants to be around them pretty much all the time.
  • Though he does regularly become absorbed in picture books and Blaine's old comics for extended lengths of time.
  • Loves to snuggle.
  • Still loves to "touch my neck".
  • Invites Truen to play by saying, "My guys are about to land and blow up your spaceship!" and anything else along that line.
  • LOVES trying to make Blaine laugh -- I often watch him eyeing his daddy while pulling out the old one-liners (or whatever funny quip) to try and get a chuckle.
  • Has recently started HATING to see people kiss.  Whether his parents or people in a movie, he is repulsed and will avert his eyes while yelling, "Nooooooo!"  (LOL, he also said he "doesn't like" Uncle Erik because he kisses Ashley.  Riiiiiiiight.) 
  • He also told me yesterday that when he gets bigger and has a girlfriend, he's not going to kiss her.  Riiiiiiiiight.
  • Is embarrassed by his new hair-cut.
  • Is very obedient and helpful.
  • Tends to get too wild (his main downfall, sound familiar anyone...?)
  • Still says, "schickens" vs. "chickens"
  • Has resurrected my favorite nickname of all time, "Truen HisBees".
  • Frequently calls Blaine "Da" and in the past has called me "Shaw".
  • Regularly pats me to show his affection (and as a reassurance of his love if/when he's upset).
  • Favorite color: blue
Age 3
  • Told the Story Hour reading volunteer this week that "the only thing I know how to make is scrambled eggs" when she asked the group if they liked helping in the kitchen.
  • He does love to help in the kitchen and makes the scrambled eggs (almost) by himself.
  • Frequently shows me affection by kissing my arms.
  • Will ask, "Is your armpit available?" when snuggling down for bed or a nap.  (He still loves touching my armpits, of all things.)
  • Has been saying, "I want to be alone" when feeling cranky, and frequently re-emerges cheerful and pleasant once again.
  • Has been saying, "I'm too tired to walk to bed" and absolutely LOVES in being carried. [Adjustment from being the baby...?  Wow, I just thought of that!]
  • Absolutely loves being babied by his daddy.  Squeeze will croon and fuss over him (Diego too) and I can tell, that kid revels in it.  Not much of a snuggler, but that will tip him over the edge and get him nuzzling.
  • Always wants to make sure his daddy knows if/when he is hurt.  Again, the "fuss-factor".  Loves it.
  • Still wears a 2T (three-and-a-half years old).  Wears clothes that Diego wore when he was two.  Likewise, the baby (at 5 months) is wearing things that he wore when he was 10-11 months.  He's tiny.
  • Has the cutest little chipmunk grin.
  • Loves to play with his baby brother.
  • Very keen on concocting "magic potions" of whatever powder/liquids he finds in the bathroom.
  • Calls me "Ma" (no joke!)
  • Adores banana chips.
  • Favorite color: purple
Age 5 months
  • Very interested in our cats, loves to watch them and will reach out to touch or grab them if they come close enough.
  • Wiggles ALL. THE. TIME.
  • Pukes ALL. THE. TIME.
  • Loves to grab faces and suck on them.
  • Smells so good, like a fresh bale of hay.
  • Loves taking baths.
  • Will grab Diego's face (particularly at night, when he's tired), scream, and suck on it ferociously (latching on in that back-and-forth motion when babies are looking for a nipple).  This pretty much always ends in him (the baby) getting so amped up that the happy screams turn into crying-screams.  It is the weirdest thing.  Diego thinks it is hilarious.
  • Sometimes hums himself to sleep.
  • Loves to be wrapped (arm-swaddle).
  • So soft and fat and sweet-smelling.
  • Nicknames "Stinky" (pronounced "Schtinky") and "Voos".
  • Wiggles and smiles if he even hears Blaine calling to him from a distance, gives HUGE grins when he sees him.
  • Thinks his name is Stinky.
  • Understands 6 words: milk, Dada, Brother, Toots/Bay (the cats' names), Stinky
  • Takes four naps a day: Two 20 minute morning naps, one 2-3 hour afternoon nap, and another 20 minute evening nap.
  • Nap locations vary.  First morning nap: swing.  Second morning nap: my arms/swing.  Afternoon nap: bed.  Evening nap: swing.  (We keep the swing in the kitchen.)
  • Gives a HUGE grin as soon as he wakes up enough to look around in the morning.
  • Wake-up calls sound like this: "Ahhhhh . . . maahhhhhh . . . awwwwwhhh"
  • Loves the reverberations of humming while sucking on his fist.
  • His feet go *boing*, up in the air, the second his diaper is off.  He loves holding his feet and sucking on his toes. (and this is actually how we have relatively-peaceful evening meals of late, by taking his diaper off so he can have easy access to his tootsies).
  • Sits very well by himself (with supervision).
  • Rolls over either way, but mostly to his left, and always starts the roll-over by grabbing his feet and laying on his side.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

L M N Oooooooh

L M N O by They Might Be Giants, from Here Come the ABCs, a favorite at our house these days.  Highly recommended.  The songs are interesting and fun vs. a drudgery.  Better yet, both parents and kids enjoy it.   

They Might Be Giants also do Here Come the 123s, another fave.  You are all familiar, right...?

Monday, June 06, 2011

The annual hair-cut

I'm not the only one in this family to get my hair cut but once a year!  (A year-and-a-half this last time around, but who's counting?)

Diego's curls make it so easy not to cut because they look so cute.  Truen, on the other hand, with his straight hair, needs a regular trim.  As does Squeeze, who looks like a dandelion gone to seed when his hair gets too long.



Look . . . a butterfly!

I've been asking Diego if he'd like his hair cut since this winter and he has continued to say no, that he likes his hair long. I finally put the kibosh this past weekend on that and insisted on cutting his hair, due to ticks (yuck-a-roo) and the coming hot weather.

He doesn't like the way it looks, but I can tell he likes the way it feels.  I think it turned out pretty good.  Curls are so much easier to cut than straight hair.  So much easier.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Yadda Yadda Yadda

I don't have much in me today, but I do want to post more often than every week-and-a-half.  That just isn't enough!  (But it is so hard to find the time.)  Anyway, this will be a list-post because it is so much easier and I don't have to worry about cohesion.

  • I love prunes.
  • Note to self: when confiscating the obscene excess of Easter candy, don't let it sit in the bottom of your bag until it melts and congeals everything together.  Throw it out in when they aren't looking, say, 1-2 days after the fact.
  • I got my hair cut when I was at my parents' house in Western WA.  I wasn't too pleased with it at first, since it wasn't at all what I asked for, but I am learning to like it as it grows out.  It was a good cut (just not what I thought I was going to get).
  • I'm obsessing over Indian food again.  I ordered every cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey that I could find in our library system.  Next step?  Find the time to read them.  Right.
  • We are going to order an entire hog from a local pig ranch in our are.  (Pig ranch?  Is that right?)  It will be an Ossabaw hog and I am going to ask for every last bit of it.  We love pork and the thought of being able to eat a heritage breed with NO ADDED CHEMICALS sounds so wonderful.
  • Buying whole/half/quarter animals for food (not to mention butchering chickens) always brings into consideration what being a meat-eater actually means.  Moreso than buying meat at the store, I would say.  I think about that hog, and think about it as a living entity, destined to die and become food for my family.  That I (we) will be eating the entire hog vs. a nameless ham here or a unidentified slab of bacon there.
  • I really love bacon.  And bacon fat.  And cooking with lard.  I can't wait to have my hands on some pig fat from a CLEAN hog.  Up until this point, I have only had access to lard from the butcher, which is probably from a conventionally-raised hog, which are some of the most antibiotic, drug-filled "farm" animals in agribusiness.  Poor things.
  • We've eaten lettuce, radishes, chives, and scallions out of the garden this year.  That ain't much.
  • We had our first truly warm day yesterday.  Actually, it was hot and muggy.  Spring has been a long time coming and now, all of a sudden, it is summer.  At least it felt like it yesterday.
  • I might get to see the majority of my family next fall for my cousin's wedding.  Yessssssss.
  • I cut off all my fancy long nails, they were too annoying and a lot of maintenance.  I like the way they look, my boys loved having their backs scratched by them, but whaaaaaaat?  I can't believe how much work they are!  Bah.  Back to the drawing board.
  • As a result, many of my tender fingertips dried up and cracked open.  Yeeeeouch!  That hurts.  Ladies, is this normal?
  • I am finding our home to be more homey and desirable as the years go by.  It is nice.  I like feeling like this is my house, not someone else's house that I just happen to live in.  It seems like I have felt that way since we moved here.
  • I suppose it helps that we finally rearranged the living room satisfactorily, where it verges on looking nicely put together.  And with that, we hung our wall-hangings were we wanted them, instead of on the pre-existing nails. 
  • It feels really good.  I like looking around now.
  • FACT: Our living room (the "addition" that was added in the mid-80's when the home owner was paralyzed in a car accident) is the size of our first apartment, about 600 square feet.  Very nice for children to romp around, but tell me -- how on earth can that possibly look cute?  It is really hard.
  • FACT: We've lived here for 4 years next month.  Yowza.  How is that possible??  Has time really gone that fast?  We have now lived here for the same length of time that we did at our house in S. Minneapolis.  And I cried so hard when we left there.
  • I'm reading The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  Holy smokes, a lot of her recipes leave me drooling.  (Aside from using way too much white flour and worse, vegetable shortening.  I'd rather use the real deal.  LARD.  White flour can be subbed just as easily, but still.)  I like that the food she presents is so simple, and a lot of what "your average folk" eat (or ate growing up).  And I really like that her recipes are hearty.  Yo, it gets the stomach growling.
  • Often, when Stinky is nursing, it is like his left-hand is alive and jealous of my breast, working evil.  Somehow, it is always creeping in . . . fighting for the space, trying to get in his mouth, and he has to decide whether to drink milk or suck on his thumb.  It mostly happens while he is sleepy, so it really is like his hand has a mind of its own, taking advantage of the situation and its hapless prey.  (We're talking about a hand here.  A baby's hand.)  It has made me laugh so robustly that it actually startled the poor babe and diverted the malicious intentions of his rogue left-hand.  Argh, matey.
  • I better close up shop . . . this list is getting long.
  • I think I'll post some pictures of my boys.  See below, sisters.

Como Park with Unky Brent

Poor Diego cried on the carousel the first time 'round.
He was on a horse and thought he might fall off --
Riding in the sleigh was much, much better.
(Though he did wonder if he could fall off that too.)

Truby was unfazed by the carousel.
He wasn't bothered by it last summer either --
and he rode all by himself then
(with me standing next to him).

Everyone in my family says that
Jamie looks like Brent when he was a baby.
"I see Brent," is pretty much the word on the street.
(Check out Stinky's monster socks!)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Great Memorial Day Weekend Garden Blitz

We attacked the garden with unrelenting force for three whole days last weekend and ended up with something we are very, very proud of.

Goodbye weeds! Goodbye horrors! Hello gorgeous future-garden.

We look at it as an investment. If one doesn't gain control of the garden at the very start, when the plants are still tiny babies, you will spiral out of control with embarrassment and spend the rest of the summer wrestling with weeds. It is a battle worth fighting. A battle worth an 18-20 hour investment over a (formerly leisure-filled) 3-day weekend.

Green! Weedy! Unsightly!

Brown! Brag-worthy! Packed with potential!

Squeeze did the bulk of the work, but I came out in force during the baby's long afternoon nap. We are the perfect workmates in a garden, even in weeding. I like the big stuff, like thistles (which he hates), and he gets a charge out of eradicating the teensy things, like crab grass babies (which could put me over the brink of pathos).

Perfect! Go get 'em, team.