Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day #2

The first significant storm of the season landed CP two consecutive days at home. Snow days always mean a chance to do some things out of the routine:NS tries on my sneakers:On the first night, Auntie A and Uncle D braved the icy streets and came over for pizza, rummy and a movie. They had both had the day off, too:
NS helps Papi tune up his new bike:NS plays in the snow. Note the bags over the shoes. (In fact, she was more interested in climbing the still-icy steps than playing in the white stuff.):CP plows through Gone with the Wind, while NS peruses a favorite from her shelf, This Little Piggy:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Things To Do

It's a typical Monday once again, which means that I'm baking bread and doing laundry. Today it's Pan de Agua (similar to whole wheat French bread, I think, though this is my first go at it) and diapers hanging on a drying rack under cloudy skies and sifting snow flurries.

Almost every day except Sunday I write myself a To Do list. In fact, I often write it the night before and then add things as they come to mind. Take today's list for example (in no particular order):

call ____________
call ____________
make supper (I have a fat little notebook for jotting meal ideas and page numbers of recipes. Over the weekend I brainstorm five or six meal plans and write a grocery list accordingly.)
wash diapers (this is necessary every two or three days)
jog (sometimes this happens if weather, napping activity and all other factors are favorable; often it doesn't, or morphs into a cardiovascularly innocuous walk)
call _____________
dishes (Although CP claims that dish washing is relaxing, even he sometimes gets sick of coming home to a day's heap of pots and pans.)
bread (I scrutinize ingredient labels in the grocery store and seldom can bring myself to buy loaves whose first few ingredients include water and high fructose corn syrup: all of them. Besides, homemade bread is one of my favorite foods.)
lunch options (Packing CP's lunch for the following school day is often what I do while he washes the supper dishes. Bread and cheese are staples.)
email ____________
baby book (NS was 13 months old yesterday, and she made it through the entirety of a formal church service in the pew--with a little help from Grandmommy and Granddaddy.)
sing (CP and I have some gigs scheduled for the first time in almost two years, so we need to get back in musical shape. Lately, though, practice has been complicated by NS' pulling my pant legs and howling in protest. It seems she's jealous of the guitar and my/our divided attention. But then sometimes she really is tired and hungry...whatever the cause, it makes singing, let alone guitar playing, virtually impossible.)

What doesn't make it on the daily list, but always gets done:
feed NS (six or more times)
nurse her (four or more times)
change her diaper (eight or more times)
play with, read to, and hold her (innumerable times)
check email (innumerable times--an excessive habit, thanks to DSL. This is how CP and I communicate during the work day since he doesn't have a classroom phone extension.)

8:06 p.m. Monday's list is 67% checked off.

Monday, January 19, 2009


This is especially for Auntie HB, who has yet to see proof that NS has real hair, and who was herself a little Goldilocks once upon a time:

My Monday

It's been full of pleasant surprises.

*I tried out a five-minute artisan bread, which emits a satisfying crackle as it cools.
*A quick snow shower dumped a white frosting, no more than an inch thick, prompting me to listen to Vivaldi's Four Seasons (winter) and resulting in an early release for CP's school. Now the sun's back out.
*The broker called to inform that our offer on a country farmhouse has been accepted. We're meeting to sign a contract today!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Overheard After Church...

One gray-haired lady to another, admiring NS:

"She's beautiful, ain't she?"


"And that hair. I know a lot of ladies would pay big money for hair like that!"

January Picture Potpourri

CP and I celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary by going out for Chinese, then hot chocolate (note slightly warped self-portrait):
At an especially messy dinner, NS models one of the notorious homemade (still unfinished) bibs:NS lounges nonchalantly on the sofa after laboriously hauling herself up via the footstool...while I wasn't looking!

Scrapbook Addendum

Here's a peek inside NS' child scrapbook from Great Grandma H.
Inside front cover:Inside back cover:Sample pages:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


My maternal grandmother was a master scrapbook maker. As a history buff, she filled page after page with clippings of news items and family happenings and photos. But Grandma's creative streak inspired another kind of scrapbook that she industriously churned out for each of her thirty-some grandchildren (and as many of her great-grand-children as her health allowed).

The child's scrapbook, let's call it, is a smorgasbord of pictures--flowers, birds, animals, scenes from Bible stories, houses, children, trains and tractors, autumn landscapes--ranging from full-page to nickel-sized, cut from magazines, greeting cards, and newspapers. My mom (a picture-lover herself) was tickled to inherit what's left of Grandma's collection of pictures, probably hundreds of them, organized in categories.

Interspersed with the pictures in the scrapbook are poems about animals, the seasons, and virtues such as kindness, Bible verses, and nature articles (the busy lives of ants, how animals change in the springtime, a family's maple sugar farm). Most of the poems and verses were typed by Grandma herself--on an old-fashioned typewriter, Mom tells me--and cut to size with pinking shears.

NS is the privileged recipient of one of my grandma's last child scrapbooks. Its pages (laminated, fortunately) can hold her attention for an amazingly long time and probably will for years.

Monday, January 12, 2009


It's official: I hate sewing.

I got the bright idea to make some large bibs for NS (she's outgrowing the "Got Milk?" and "Drooling is Cool" ones). Sister-in-law AL graciously agreed to let me use her sewing machine Saturday morning. Armed with a few pre-stained tea towels, bright orange second-hand trim, and a vague pattern in my head based on homemade bibs I'd seen around my mom's house long ago, I hunched over my task.

An hour and a half later, my back hurting and neck aching with tension, I was reminding myself to breath deeply and fighting the urge to literally throw in the towel. The pattern in my head wasn't materializing as I'd hoped. I didn't have material for the tie in the back, and the seam kept veering aimlessly off the trim and into maddening oblivion. (I was having flashbacks of grade school standardized tests--the section ominously entitled "Spacial Relations" that required identifying a 3-D object turned on a different axis, producing panic as the time limit approached.) It didn't help that the machine kept sticking and I'd promised to be home by noon.

"Maybe you need an 'I Hate to Sew' book," brother DH suggested helpfully, referring to the life-changing I Hate to Cook Recipe Book that my sister GG made for me for my 14th birthday at a time when cooking engendered the same pain in the neck that sewing still does.

Believe it or not, I walked away from Christmas at my parents' house with a nifty apron sewed by yours truly from my recently deceased grandma's cape dress. This was only possible, however, because sister CJ sewed one, too; she thought up the design and demonstrated each step, dashing headlong with characteristic disregard for the possibility of Messing Up, while I tagged timidly behind. When it was getting late on the last day of the visit and I was frantically trying to finish, Mom took pity on me and did my buttonholes and buttons.

"If you had to learn, you could do it," Mom tried to reassure me when I ranted over the phone about my more recent clash with sewing. It's true; my lifestyle does not require sewing as a basic necessity, which is probably why I abandoned the art that she so valiantly tried to teach me. Even so, it would be nice to have the skills (like certain people I know) to create something useful and attractive--let's say, a handmade gift or simple article of clothing--without a dangerous spike in blood pressure.

The unfinished bibs lie on the dresser along with the additional trim and scrap material that I later bought in a burst of determination to get the pesky things sewn. I guess some people are just cut out to enjoy sewing, while others of us occasionally get suckered into it and end up in a tangle of chagrin.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Holiday Snaps Part II

Getting acquainted with Sarah the cat (NS' attempt at "gato" or "cat" comes out "caca" and is now being applied to most animals): Romping by the toasty woodstove after bathtime:Playing with the jack-in-the-box:Playing outside:Helping Grandmommy with dishes:

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy Holiday Snaps Part I

Decorating gingerbread cookies with friends (note the looks of intense concentration):


Blowing out the birthday candle:

Taking the cake:


Opening presents--the packaging is the most fun part!

Walking the walk:

Reading with Grandpa:

Reading and riding with Grandma: