Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Cuties:

Ember Jane

and the boys.

Just Life

Highlights in the last week or so: Little Miss Sunshine. This was hilarious, of course I am a Steve Carell fan. Which is why I was so happy to see that The Office is back on Thursday nights.

What else? Beck is almost swimming. He surprised everyone in his Tadpole swimming class by plunging his head under the water and starting to swim. Not just once, but over and over. I think he figured out how to keep the water out of his nose and suddenly he's trying to do the strokes. To see his face - huge smile and happy chlorine red eyes - I felt a swell of pride myself. He was so excited.

After class that day, I stopped at the mall on the way home to run a few errands and decided that it might be easiest just to eat lunch there. We stood in line at the Nordstrom cafe and after what felt like a long wait, finally got seated and served. After about 30 seconds and one bite of macaroni and cheese, Beck said the 5 words that make any situation come to a screeching halt: "I have to go potty!!" And since there is no bathroom in the Nordstrom cafe - not even on that floor, I had to pack up everything and everybody and that was the end of lunch. We rushed to the elevator and through a bunch of women's wear departments and did make it on time, but barely.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mindless Days

I started out my day my trying to "line" my coffee cup with the baby bottle liner. Which reminds me of the cornbread I made the other day where forgot to add the cornmeal. These are hard times, my friends.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Infant Preschool

Ember and I had our infant preschool class again today. The main activity was to "interview" another mom and then introduce her to the rest of the class. And I had to laugh when at one point during the introductions the instructor cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted, "Are you getting this?? CAN ANYONE HEAR??" Of course we couldn't hear - not with all the crying, screeching, moaning, etc... coming from all the babies. What can you expect from 20 babies who have all missed their morning nap?! And my only thought was, no, we can't hear, but what in the world are you going to do about it anyway??

Ember had fun. She sat in a tub of balls for most of the session and when any other babies climbed in, she grabbed their clothes, faces, hair, - basically anything she could get her hands on. She's very grabby.

The CCC Secret again!

I did a quick search today for an explanation of what exactly a "farmhouse" cookie is and the first result was this blog with the post titled "the perfect chocolate chip cookie". Can you guess what her secret is??

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Resting the Dough

Hello out there. I am so dog tired right now. I don't it me or are things getting harder? We've only had this schedule for a few weeks, but it feels like so much longer. And I'm starting to crave desserts. In two weeks I've made two cakes with frosting and now I'm thinking about making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I think it's a sign of stress this craving of sweets.

Anyway, while I was on my walk tonight I was listening to The Splendid Table podcast. I'm not really a foodie and I don't have the time or energy right now to develop my cooking skills, but I love listening to this show - and it's the closest I come to being a gourmet. It's fun to hear people talk so passionately about cheese, or sub rolls, or heirloom tomatoes, or the Coffee Crunch Cake at Blum's. Really I could listen to anything that Lynne Rossetto Kasper has to say: her voice is so warm and smooth and perfectly relaxing all by itself.

Tonight on her show, she interviewed some guy who was trying to perfect the Toll House Cookie recipe and he shared a "secret" I'd never heard of before: resting the dough. He said the longer you let it sit in the refrigerator (up to 36 hours) the better the result - both in taste and texture. Here's the recipe. Looks a bit fussy to me, but I'll at least try the resting part. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lightning Man

Modern Art Museum
Museum by

Another masterpiece I created on Dumpr!

Ember Exhibit

Modern Art Museum
Modern Art Museum by

Here's a site that will suck up a good chunk of time: Dumpr "The coolest place for digital photography hobbyists". Check it out!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Solution

This week I took a few minutes to figure out how to make these days go better. Seriously, I feel like each day I just run in a state of panic trying to catch up with the cleaning and organizing and laundry and getting the kids where they need to go. The muscle tension in my back - a long time issue for me - is getting unbearable so I decided to start with taking a closer look at what needs to be done and how I can make it more manageable. Here are my solutions:

1. Do at least 1 load of laundry every day - no exceptions.
2. Assign all the weekly household cleaning tasks a different day since there is no way on earth for me to do it all in one day any more.
3. Each evening after cleaning up the kitchen, prepare as much as possible for the next morning.

And it's working! The muscle tension isn't any better yet, but my days are better so it's a start.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


From: If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
by Brenda Ueland

"the imagination needs moodling--long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering"

And this is why I have no imagination lately.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When you give a kid a camera...

Self portrait. Ember up close. Part of me. Half of Ember. Yogi. Chris, Susan, and Yogi. Look carefully!

Getting out the Door

In my opinion the hardest part of my job as a stay-at-home mom is getting all three kids out the door - especially if we have somewhere to be at a specific time. This year I have somewhere to be four mornings out of five and it's now crystal clear to me that I need to work on streamlining my routine.

The other day I was working through my morning tasks - packing up bottle and diaper stuff, a bib, extra clothes and a pair of underwear for Yogi (just in case), a bottle of water for the car, my wallet and things, lunches packed for the boys for school, sweaters, indoor shoes (required for preschool) -- believe me, the list goes on. And while I'm packing and preparing all this, I have ongoing drink requests, food requests, help with the potty, I try to make the beds, get a load of laundry going, shower, dress, etc... So by the time I'm actually assisting with putting on shoes and buckling Ember into her car seat, I'm sweaty and panting. Not kidding.

And the other day when I was just at this point Yogi pops out the front door, then turns back to look at me and says with a little mischievous smile on his face, "Mama, I'm in the lead!" And I think to myself, Yes, little man, you are in the lead. And that is exactly how it feels!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Baby Feelings

When we met Ember for the first time and took her back to the hotel with us that first day, we didn't really notice any obvious signs of stress or nervousness with us. But now when I look at how different she is, I wonder if Ember really was scared to be pulled out of her little world at the Thomas Center, her quiet life in her crib. For instance, when we first got her she would scream almost panicky before she got her bottle. Was that how she learned to act in order to be fed among 14 other babies or was that because she was unsure of who we were, where she was, and how she'd get another bottle? She acts a little irritated now when she's hungry, but nothing like the first week.

And I remember clearly when we had her on the bed with us back at our hotel, alone for the first time together and I sneezed. Initially she was startled, but then she cried in a way that was so clearly sad and scared. She cried like that two times the first day, but I haven't heard anything like it since. Mostly she seemed her content happy self so we didn't really think much of it, but now my heart hurts a little for her when I remember it. I'm sure there will be more times in her life that she'll be sad for a loss that our boys will never experience. And as her mother, that makes me sad too.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Favorite Superhero!

Infant Preschool

Ember and I had our first day of infant co-op preschool last week. I know, I know, it seems crazy to me too, but I get 3 credits for each quarter and I need the credits.I'm not sure who thought up this idea of preschool for babies, but just as you would expect the "students" were nursing, sleeping, screaming, crawling around, laying around talking to themselves -- you get the picture. But the good news is that Ember loved it! She sat up straight, eyes bright, watching all the people and full of smiles and giggles. She kept leaning forward to look at the moms sitting adjacent to us and then she'd smile big. She really is so cute.

And it's a little strange that she can sit up so well already. She's one of the youngest in the class and so many of the babies were still laying down on their backs unable to sit yet. To see so many of them together reminded me of big baby seals lined up on the dock. When you consider that Ember was basically flat on her back in a crib for the first four months it's even more amazing. That's my girl! I'm looking forward to seeing her in this class as the year progresses and it'll be fun to have this special time just with her.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

From the Library Bag...

From our latest batch of library books, here are two that I thought were especially cute! If you have a little person in your life, check these out:

Alphabet Adventure by Audrey and Bruce Wood
You'll never look at "little i" the same way again!

Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara

A very sweet and simple story with the perfect solution for dealing with ghosts the house!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


A few weeks before we left for Ethiopia I decided to knit a sweater for baby Ember. How hard could that be, right? She's only a few months old which means small! So, I got started on it 2 weeks ago and managed to cast on the stitches and knit the first two rows. That's it. And it's been sitting there ever since and every time I look over and see it I think to myself, you must have been out of your mind. The funny thing is that Yogi wants the sweater for himself and the other day he noticed it and asked me if it was finished. Well, if you are a #2 pencil it would make a very nice sweater, but that's it.

Anyway, the whole point to this rambling nothingness is that I keep forgetting how to knit and purl properly and I found these wonderful teaching videos which are just perfect for rusty knitters like myself. And advice for anyone else who wants to knit for their newly adopted baby? Start now before you bring her home!

Swimming Lessons

The boys had their first swimming lesson today - in the same pool where I learned to swim about 34 years ago! The pool and the most of the building has changed since I took lessons there, but I did notice that the ceiling tiles were the same. Anyway, they did great! It's so fun to see my boys start doing things since I'm not sure yet how they'll act or what to expect. Even though Beck is a much stronger swimmer, Yogi was the one who seemed to be having more fun. He just goofed around and loved every minute of it. Beck followed all the rules and tried so hard.Actually the fun started for Yogi even before we left the house. As we were walking out the door he shouted to Beck with a big smile on his face, "Look, Beck, we have our own swimming bags!"

Monday, September 8, 2008

One Last Time

Good-bye dipsy doodles! Good-bye pencil jumps!
Good-bye truth or dare! Good-bye Freddy Foo Foo!
Good-bye hot tub and swimming pool! Good-bye summer...

The Last Step

I delivered the last pieces of paper to our attorney today so that we can re-adopt Ember in the United States. This means that she'll be an American citizen and have a US passport. It's also the last step of our adoption process minus a few more post-placement visits by our social worker. The attorney has a fixed fee for adoptions ($500) plus any related court filing costs and photocopies and fees for copies of birth certificates etc... and he says that it should be complete within a month or so.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Half Birthday

Here she is! She was giggling and squealing with delight so hard I was afraid she might hyperventilate. It was adorable.

Tomorrow is Ember's half birthday and this time around I just feel like it's all going too quickly. She is such a little cutie and I'm so enjoying all her babiness. I love the way she rubs her little face with the blanket to help herself fall asleep and then sleeps with her arms up by her face the way babies do. I love the way she sucks on her toes when she's on her back. I love the way she looked at me when the sales lady at Nordstrom gave her a balloon - serious with awe and gratitude just before she went crazy, squealing and kicking her feet she was so excited. I love how she coos softly to herself when she's waking up. I love how she sits with her arms fully extended like she's ready for take-off. I love how her face lights up with a big toothless grin when she sees me. I feel so lucky to have her with us.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Textile Management

It is almost 9pm and I'm still dealing with laundry. I used to wonder what stay-at-home moms did all day and now I know: textile management. It's a never ending job and the most time consuming and boring of all the mostly boring home management tasks that I do.

This is how it works: I get up, haul a load of laundry downstairs. Bring up the clean load, dump it on my just made bed (and making the bed is only a 2 minute per day job, and I know because I've timed it!) Throughout the morning more laundry accumulates - the boys' jammies, the bibs from breakfast, Yogi's clean outfit that he got all wet while playing with the hose on the way to the car to go to preschool, the pile of white bar towels that we use to clean up spills and little messes. Ok, so now I have another load to bring downstairs. The loads just keep moving through until it's evening and we've just put the boys down and I start in on the folding. And the putting away.

But it's more that just doing the laundry. It's the ongoing job of culling through the drawers and closets pulling out the things they've grown out of. Sorting them for donation or hand-me-down. It's buying new stuff in larger sizes and then returning things that ended up being the wrong size. It's a huge job. And, I'm not even kidding, I have to go now so I can finish putting the piles away that are still sitting on my bed so that there's room for me to get in it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Go, Batman!

Overheard while working in the kitchen as the boys played Batman in the living room:

Yogi: Batman, there's a bat over there!
Beck (as Batman): I'm not afraid of bats!
Yogi: You just tackle them?
Beck: No, I kick their asses!!

Christmas Shopping?

Idea for Chris: The condiment gun.:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Green Spoon

This is what you look like when your brother gets the green spoon and you're willing to let your Cheerios go soggy while you wait for him to finish so you can have it.

There are a lot of conflicts here over green tableware these days.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Late Summer Afternoon

It's Over

It's the last day of summer for us and I think I have a little case of the "end of summer blues". It's not that I especially love the season, it's just that it's the only season that I do certain things like wear short sleeved shirts, or sit outside in my parents' hot tub with the all the kids in the family, or pick blackberries, or visit Yellowstone. I don't think the other seasons have exclusive rights on some of my favorite activities like summer does. And when it ends I worry and shuffle back through the days in my mind trying to remember if I did all that I wanted and enough times. It's cold out today too. Cold enough that our furnace keeps trying to cycle on and I've been wearing a fleece over a long-sleeved shirt all day.

The boys start back at preschool this week and we just added swimming lessons which start next week along with Ember's infant co-op preschool. We'll have a busy schedule and the structure is nice in it's own way, but I'm going to miss that summer sun on my skin. I didn't get enough of it this year.