Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Case of the Tuesdays

For some reason, the last several Tuesdays have been the hardest day of the week for me. Regardless of whether Ben is at home on Monday or not, at the end of the day on Tuesday I feel like I have been run over by a truck. I think that last Tuesday I literally handed Ben the kids and said I needed to lie down, and the Tuesday before that the whole family spent the whole afternoon/evening in bed together, reading and playing because I refused to get out. I'm happy to report that so far, so good today. In fact, the combination of another stunning day outside and a quick visit from my mom on her way to work have made it an all-around pleasant morning. Here's what we've been up to:

One big Montessori principle is having kids use real-world activities to develop motor skills. Here's Zosia hammering away at a little board with pegs with a hammer.

And this morning's artistic creation, entitled "Circle," by our budding artist.

And me and the girls while my mom was visiting. We tried to capture Lily's humongous smile, but couldn't do it!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Shout-out from the Back

I just stumbled upon a blog that two of my friends from Divinity school have put together in conjunction with an amazing book that they have co-edited called "From the Pews in the Back: Young Women and Catholicism." Kate and Jen are thoughtful, funny, and real, so it's no surprise that their blog reflects all of those qualities-- and explores some experiences of (duh) young catholic women with a depth that I could never do here. I will definitely be following it myself, and imagine that I will be stimulated and challenged by the many perspectives represented in the blog.

As I scanned the last several blog entries, one by Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello jumped out at me, specifically her discussion of Mary as an ordinary woman. She writes, "To think of this woman who must have burped, fed, changed, scolded, punished, hugged, helped, and loved the boy who grew up to be Jesus Christ is to see a female role model who is both “real” and “attainable." It seems like whenever we have a little baby in the house, my own personal devotion to Mary increases-- specifically, I think, because I know that she can understand what I'm going through. Jesus probably doesn't "get" the whole two crying babies, a poopy diaper, and you have to go to the bathroom thing. But Mary probably does-- and, if Jesus was anything like other "high acheivers," I'm guessing he was a handful as a child.

Often, when I have a trying moment with the kids, I will start reciting decades of the Rosary: I love using it as a centering exercise, it is a form of prayer that I grew up with, and it's nice to feel like someone gets the whole motherhood thing. Some feminists have thrown Mary out as outdated and irrelevant, but in doing so, I firmly believe that they have thrown out one of the gems of not only Catholicism or Christianity, but one of the gems of all world religions. How can the Mother of God not have something valuable to offer women, people?

Mary was a woman who was a parent to the son of God... but she was also the parent to a real embodied boy, and man, can those toddlers be a handful at times. I wonder what sort of parent she was? And what type of child Jesus was? And what I could learn from those mundane and precious interactions between them?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Giving More

Right now is a peculiar time in my life. On one hand, I drop down in my bed at night utterly exhausted. I have never felt like I have such a strong sense of purpose, such a strong sense of being needed, such a strong sense of extending myself to others, such a strong sense of living out our call to live love with these beloved beings under my roof. But as I interact with others in my community, whether that's strangers that I meet, people at church, or even friends, I can't help that I'm not really doing that much outside of my family. Of course, part of that is me reacting to cultural stereotypes about motherhood-- being a mother is not something that is considered to be a valid or worthwhile occupation in and of itself. Women are made to feel like they're inadequate simply because they're doing one of the most important jobs in the world: caring for their children.

But I think that there's a little part of this feeling that is grounded in something healthy. Infancy is an extremely demanding time of parenthood-- probably the single most demanding time. Which means that while one's kids are little, there really isn't any extra time or energy to devote to other ministries, to social justice work, even to other relationships. But sometimes it's easy (especially for introverts like myself) to continue that inward focus even when kids are moving into less demanding periods of childhood. And so I think that my longing to be able to do something more-- no, not more, because I don't think that giving much more of oneself would really be healthy, so maybe just giving of myself differently-- is partly just healthy and necessary, because during my life, I will be able to give of myself in different ways. And I hope that my kids will get to see me giving of myself in different ways. But, I'll be honest; probably not right now.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Updates, Odds and Ends

I realize that periodically there is something that I talk about or report on that requires an update, and I am bad about actually following up. So here, in no particular order, are some updates that are long overdue:

We sold our beloved mystery piece of furniture, but are totally done with our mourning period. Here's what the living room looks like now:


Lily is not, as I predicted a full-time cosleeper, but firmly maintains part time status. She goes to bed in her own crib, and at her first or second feeding (whichever is close to 5 or 6 in the morning), I pull her into bed. Which so far, has been the best of both worlds, because I think everyone sleeps better, but we still get to snuggle!

I have actually found a couple of dresses that more or less meet the stringent criteria of a mother of a toddler and nursing newborn-- and most of them were just old dresses that I had forgotten about/ had not unpacked since being no longer pregnant. Although I must confess, the skirt/shirt combo has been probably the most popular around here this summer. Below is the "crazy flamingo dress" which is called so because it has flamingos all over it (and yes, that is a baby toilet by my legs...and no, we are not toilet training Zosia).

That's all I can remember that needs to be updated! Call me out on any other odds and ends.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Balloon


"Let go!" we had beckoned
But her tiny hand grasped
clinging to that tentative string
with unknowing ferocity

Until one day
her palm blossomed
sending blue latex and white ribbon sailing

leaving behind silent wonder

and then anguished cries.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cloister Walk


I just finished Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris, which means I am officially back in the swing of reading after a relatively long (for me) hiatus. I was super excited when I found this book at the Pimmit Hills used book sale, since it's been recommended to me by lots of friends. And, I am happy to report, it was a lovely book to read. I love how Norris incorporates the wisdom of the desert fathers, her poetic eye, and her apparent desire to give the monastics she encounters the most sympathetic witness possible. I was a girl who was convinced that she was going to become a nun for years (it still sounds so romantic, doesn't it?), and until a year or two ago told Ben that were he to die, I would raise our kids in a cloister (not so much anymore), but I remain a sucker for all things monastic.

There are some things that get on my nerves about the book (one of the pesky remnants of academia is that it feels impossible to read a book without developing a list of critiques). I don't like how preoccupied Norris is with being a "poet", which seems like a trite differentiation. And sometimes I feel like Norris is being a little too sympathetic to monastics, who, let's face it, can be misogynistic, petty, obnoxious, just like the rest of us. And sometimes the book feels too fragmented-- revealing the truth that the book wasn't really written as a whole, but rather as a patchwork of individual articles and commissions that weren't originally intended to be a book. But enough about what I think about it... here are a few passages that, leafing through the book, I apparently liked because I've highlighted them:

"In the medieval era gardens were designed to suffice for the loss of Eden. The garden I've grown into, in my middle age, seems more a kind of Purgatory, but I love it. It's a ratty little garden, not much at all. But I can call it mine." (those following my garden progress can understand why this resonates with me)

"The monastic life has this in common with the artistic one: both are attempts to pay close attention to objects, events, and natural phenomen that otherwise would get chewed up in the daily grind." (which, at it's best, is also how I feel about blogging)

"[Sisters] are often quick to point out similarities between a celibate commitment and fidelity in marriage. 'Both are a discipline,' one sister said. 'Both can be a form of asceticism.'" (don't worry, things are great with me and Ben! ;-) I just thought it was an interesting comparison)

So, the passages are obviously a hodgepodge, but in many ways, so is the book. Let me know if you want my copy of it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Hunt Begins

We are officially looking for a mother's helper.

I got the idea a while ago, when I saw how thrilled Zosia is to play with her 4th and 6th grade cousins. When they're around, she's so happy, and they (especially the very mature 4th grader) are excited to hang out with her. So the idea of a mother's helper, which is basically a kid that comes in while you are at home to help with your kids, sounds pretty good. After talking to some moms who love having one themselves (and love the cost, which is less than half what you would pay for an actual sitter), I'm on board. Not only would it give me time to catch up on stuff around the house, but it would be amazing to actually start up some real writing, which I am looking forward to. And since I would be around the house, it would be a nice and easy transition for Zosia.

Now, I just have to find one such kid, which unfortunately, might be slightly difficult. Here in the DC suburbs, kids are overscheduled to say the least. So by this point in the summer, it's going to be hard to find a kid that doesn't have summer camps or other activities scheduled. But I've started asking around, and am hoping to post something at the pool up the street. My fingers are crossed!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Open Spaces




This year we had a Father's Day weekend. And not just any weekend-- a LONG weekend. Which was fun, because on actual Father's Day we knew that we would be preparing for and then hosting a big old family party, which is really fun, but totally exhausting, and not really a fitting "Father's Day" for Ben. Saturday we went to see friends in the morning, and then had one of those wonderful lazy Saturday afternoons where you wonder what you'll do, and then end up doing nothing, except sitting in the front yard and watching your toddler play in the kiddie pool while talking to neighbors.

Sunday was, despite our best attempts at getting ready before hand, a day of scrambling to get everything together for the family barbecue, which ended up being a lot of fun. Man, we're lucky to be raising our kids in this amazing extended family.

And then today, we packed up the family and drove a couple of towns over to Frying Pan Park, which is this wonderful farm open to the public. Zosia is obsessed with animals, so she was in heaven running from one animal to the next, and Ben and I got to just soak up the joy of being together as a family, being outside in stunning weather, and being on a farm.

We love our cozy little home tucked away in a poplar forest. It's so shady and relaxing and nice. I like that we are so tiny compared to the towering trees, that it gives you a sense of perspective. The trees were here way before we were, and will probably hang around for a long time after. But there's something so breathtaking about the open spaces that you see on a farm. I was amazed by the clouds, and made some comment to Ben about them, and he was just like, "Yeah, those clouds are normal, but you just can't normally see them because of all of the trees." Which is true. So it was really nice to spend the morning on a farm where you get a sense of how spacious the world really is.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Black Bean Brownies

I hope I'm not violating any nutritionist secret pacts by sharing this, one of our favorite brownie recipes from our beloved nutritionist friend, Lauren. It may sound wacky, but it's really amazingly good, especially if you put in some chocolate chips. Annie from Once Upon a Parent (who is a real life friend and not just a blog friend) asked me for the recipe this morning, and I figured that others might enjoy it as well!
Bean Brownies

1 cup black or Romano beans, pureed with liquid
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon baking powder (I add this)
1/2 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* ~1 cup chocolate chips (I add these)
Non-stick spray

Spray a 13X9 inch baking pan with non-stick spray. In a mixing bowl,
combine beans, sugar, flour, cocoa, salt (and baking powder). Add oil,
eggs, and vanilla. Beat on low speed or by hand, scraping down sides of
bowl until smooth. Stir in walnuts (and chocolate chips). Pour batter
into prepared pan, spread into corners and smooth top. Bake at 350
degrees F for 30 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out
clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 24 servings.

NOTE: sprinkle with powdered sugar or ice if desired (I iced with
Nutella). An icing may be made by creaming together 1/4 cup softened
butter, 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 2
cups powdered sugar. Add 2 tablespoons skim milk as needed until
desired consistency is reached. (I have not tried to make this icing.
Other times, I have iced with a mix of store bought dark chocolate icing
and creamy peanut butter- delicious!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pimples and Hairloss

Here's a little story about things they don't tell you about pregnancy. During pregnancy, most women develop a gloriously full, thick head of hair. You know how usually in the shower, or when you brush your hair a good amount comes off? That doesn't happen. And your skin becomes totally clear-- not a blemish in sight. The whole "pregnancy glow" thing? Totally true. All of this, of course, makes getting to be ginormous much more bearable.

But then, right about two or three months after the baby is born, just when you've started to believe that maybe, just maybe, by some miracle, these remnants of pregnancy are yours to keep, the spell is broken. You wake up one morning with pimples on your chin and gobs of hair falling out in the shower (I remember my mom told me she wasn't informed about this, and grew convinced that she was dying of some horrendous illness until someone said, "Nope... it happens to all of us"). The clock has struck midnight. Argh.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finally Some Lily!

Sorry I've been so slack about Lily pictures. The truth is, newborn babies sleep A LOT. And during the day, literally every time that Lily is awake, Zosia is awake too, and happens to be obsessed with the camera. Which means that every time I pull it out to take pictures, Zosia runs after me yelling "Camera? Camera? Picture!" and tries to grab the camera. And then Lily's awake in the evening for a bit after Zosia, but the lighting sucks for pictures. So today, finally, I had a moment that Zosia was entertained with something else and I could take some pictures of this cutie-pie. Ta-da!



If You Have Some Time to Kill

Yeah, I've got nothing today. But I had a good laugh looking through these signs. Thanks, Ben.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's an Extrovert?

I think it may have happened. Our happy little family of introverted hobbits has finally found its match in an extroverted child. I honestly didn't think that Ben and my genes, when mixed together, could produce an extrovert. But, alas, here she is.

In many ways, Zosia was a challenging child. But, at the end of the day, I had/have no problem with her, because I really get her. Her tendencies are so similar to my own-- she doesn't like being around a lot of people, she recharges during independent playtime, she puts a lot of value on her inner-circle of friendships. When she starts crying because we're in a new overwhelming place, I get it. She is my child.

Lily, on the other hand, is easy-breezy. She's sweet, easy-going, happy go lucky. But so many of her tendencies are new to me. She loves seeing a new face, smiles and laughs when interacting with people, delights in every little social interaction. This is a social child. Dare I say an extrovert. Obviously, this little baby is just two months old... so much can change, and we'll continue to figure out who she is. But I'm bracing myself for a kid that pushes the boundaries of this family. Which, who knows? May be a good thing.

Don't Try this at home

A friend gave me some formula that her daughter never used up. As you all know, we are not a formula family. Zosia has never had a taste of the stuff, and I would love to keep it the same way with Lily. But, I'm not super into the pumping since I'm essentially always close enough to whip out a boob, so I gratefully accepted the formula, should there be some sort of emergency situation when I'm out of the house and Ben has a hungry baby.

This morning we ran out of milk. Ben doesn't mind his coffee black, but I have a strong preference for milk in mine, and that can of formula was just sitting out on the counter, so I thought, "Why not?" One scoop gave the coffee a nice creamy color. It's just glorified milk, right? Unfortunately, it tastes like junk. I spat it out. I guess formula is fortified with iron, so it tastes really... metally. Which is, I suppose, why most people don't cream their coffee with formula. Next test: breast milk.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sprouting

We have all sorts of sprouting happening here in the household. Which is wonderful, because a) I had started believing that Virginia soil is cursed, b) I am feeling very sleepy today, so it's nice to have some gratification.
First, in the garden:
Some lovely little basil sprouts, which will hopefully turn into:

Some lovely mature basil plants.

The first fruits of our fig tree, the best mother's day present ever from Irene and Robbie. (Fresh figs are my favorite food, but hard to come by, so now I have some on my deck).

An adorable little baby sprout. Possibly one of the sweetest, gentlest babies ever created, but currently a fitful napper... which is why my shoulder is sore from carrying her in a sling, and I am really tired at the end of each day. But I don't think we could love her more.

Some sprouting creativity from our resident artist. Z requested to sit on the back porch to do her coloring yesterday, and after completing this composition, announced, "Trees." Once again, I have to say, not too bad for a one and a half year old. And below, her inspiration (the trees you can see from our deck... I tried to capture them, but they're too darn tall).

Full Service

Zosia washed our car this weekend. A classic case where pictures speak louder than words.




Mystery Solved


We have been carefully watching a plant that has wound its way around our front rails. One of the joys of spending the first spring/summer in our new house, is that we honestly have no idea what kinds of things are going to pop up in our yard-- someone who lived here in the past planted some wonderful perennials, but the yard was also very unkempt, which means we're never sure if a plant is a beautiful flower or a weed.

So, Ben thought that this one was a weed, and I fought many a time to save its life, and I am happy to report, it is a FLOWER! Woo hoo! And a beautiful one at that... although just opening its first petals.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

You've Served Us Well


We bought this piece of furniture while we were living at my parent's house and felt like we needed something to cook on. We didn't actually end up doing much cooking on it, but it came with us to our house, and we use it for many things: it has our "junk drawer," we use it as a buffet table, we store toys on/in it. We never know what to call it, because it's sort of many different things.

But, for a long time, we have known that it doesn't fit in our house very well... it takes up what could be much better used space. So, sniff sniff, we sold it on craigslist and someone is coming to pick it up tomorrow. Ben and I were both in agreement about selling it, but we're both feeling really sad that it's leaving us. It's almost like a member of the family. Well, hopefully I'll have some amazing pictures to show off our newly arranged living space once it's gone. Or I'll just cry.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Whew, Time Flies!


I was looking at some old pictures with Ben last night, and realized what a difference a year makes. Now that Zosia can talk, can communicate, and can express herself creatively, I feel like I have this deep understanding of who she is. It's so funny to look back at pictures from a year ago, when she was basically just this big, cute baby. Now that I feel like I really know her, I can almost imagine what she would be saying in each picture. Lily pictures coming soon!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Gift of Flexibility

Some of you may have noticed that I often don't blog on Wednesdays. And the reason isn't any particular aversion to Wednesdays-- just the fact that Ben actually works from home on Wednesdays, which means that he is on the computer for the bulk of the day. I realize that a lot of women (and men) out there who take care of kids don't have flexibility because they can't-- because their partner is working a full-time job and they don't have the option of getting extra help, because of economic necessity. And in many ways right now, we don't have much flexibility financially, which means that were I to want to have more permanent child-care help (like a few days ago when I was feeling totally overwhelmed by parenting a toddler-- which, btw, has totally smoothed out over the last few days), it wouldn't be an option.

But honestly, just getting a little breather on Wednesdays is awesime, and totally powers me through the week. We try to be good about not bugging/distracting Ben during the work day. But having breakfast together, having a little help while I'm getting ready in the morning, being able to pop out with Zosia while Lily naps in the morning (last week we went swimming! this week not so sexy... just target), is such a huge gift. And really, I think that sort of having people around is a much more natural way of doing things than the way our culture does it, where generally the woman stays by herself and the children. In most cultures, there are aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents living under the same roof, or even in the same room. That idea of having a community of support is something that is so hard to recreate, even with the help of moms groups and kiddie reading times and music classes.

So every Wednesday I give thanks for the added flexibility that an extra pair of hands affords, and don't mind not checking my email.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

one day it will be worth millions...



This morning Zosia was very hard at work painting. After completing one painting, she announced, "Popcorn!" as she looked at it. Not too bad, if you ask me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What I Did This Morning


Last night I prayed-- a lot. Both with and without Ben. Needless to say, despite the fact that we had a lovely weekend with lots of family time, it was a tough afternoon, punctuated by a extremely acute tantrum while out on a walk. We had one of those moments after Zosia went to bed when we looked at each other and were like, "Where on earth do we go from here?" We consulted a Penelope Leach book (if you ever have to read a parenting book, this is woman to look to), which gave us comfort: everything we're experiencing is entirely age-appropriate, normal behavior, and we even have it quite easy as far as the toddler spectrum goes. Which was reassuring, but doesn't make it easier.

So, helpless, and realizing that we're doing the right thing when confronted with difficult toddler situations (re-directing attention, helping set expectations, comforting but not caving during tantrums), I felt this need to pray for our family, specifically for me. I'm never sure if prayer works. I've had a couple of almost creepy experiences either of my own prayer working, but more often the prayer of someone who apparently has the inside track with God working, which make me believe that often, it does. So I gave it a try. We prayed for our family, for Zosia, for Lily, for our own patience. And, I can't explain it, but this morning was amazingly beautiful and smooth. Lily napped, Zosia played independently and played with me, we went on a walk without any major conflicts, and Zosia surprised me when she left a friend's house (transitions are very hard for toddlers) without any incident. Wow.

So since this morning was so smooth, since the babies seemed to be in total equilibrium, I had a burst of energy and a swath of free time that enabled me to finally tackle our bedroom. Of all the spaces in the house, our bedroom is the one I struggle with the most. It is dark, we picked the wrong paint color when we moved in, and so I generally avoid the room altogether. Repainting the room is on my to-do list (along with enlarging the windows one day down the road), but in the mean time I arranged the furniture in a slightly more flowing manner, and gave it a good tidy. Not perfect, but much better.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cleen Sweep


After spending one frustrating hour trying to get a quarter out of our vacuum cleaner, I actually swept the floors upstairs. While I am generally a fan of labor saving devices (I could write an ode to the dishwasher right now), it was actually quite satisfying to use my body to accomplish a household task. And since it's absolutely stunning out, it was wonderful to have all the windows open, a breeze running through the house, and only the silent sweep of a broom against hard wood floors.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Getting My Library On


Today I had the perfect morning. After lazing around at home with my peeps, drinking some coffee and playing with my favorite toddler, I got to go to the library for their monthly used book sale-- by myself-- with the windows down and bluegrass on the radio. Ah, life is good.

Ben and I are horrible library patrons. We inevitably rack up library fines, which wasn't a big deal in Somerville, where we could usually barter our way out of library dues, but around here, Fairfax County takes its library dues seriously, and there is no bartering involved. So I love the used book sale, because for the price of a couple month's library fines, I can actually purchase several books-- to keep!

I scored big with several national geographic childrens' books with pictures of animals (baby animals, pets, and dining animals) for our animal-crazed toddler. I found a novel for Ben, many cookbooks, a few books for friends/family, and, much to my surprise, several very cool women's spirituality books. I was surprised. Given the fact that I don't hear much about women's spirituality in my church or in my community, I sort of assume that it's pretty fringe. But there were like dozens of amazing books about women's spirituality (a book about starting a women's circle, a book about exploring the feminine face of God, a copy of Dance of the Dissident Daughter, and Cloister Walk, which I've been wanting to read, along with several old-school books about women in the bible from the 70s which were too theologically retro for my tastes).

So, I'm wondering, why are all of the women's spirituality books on the shelves of the library's used book sale? Is it because a lot of women are getting interested in women's spirituality? Is it because a lot of women interested in women's spirituality donate to libraries? Is it because a lot of women bought these women's spirituality books and decided they were total crap so gave them away? Or, as Ben speculated, is it because one woman with a large collection of women's spirituality books donated her stuff to the library? I'm thinking about it, but in the mean time very happy that regardless of the reason, I am the beneficiary of all of these wonderful books that have already started enriching my understanding of the divine.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Setting the Mood


Lately I've been experimenting with setting a calm, peaceful atmosphere in our house. This is especially targeted at Zosia, who has the potential to be extremely centered or extremely manic depending on her mood on any given day. My latest experiment has been with lighting a candle around the house in the morning (which is our crazy time). Here you see Zosia still in her early-morning stupor eating something for breakfast. Whenever I light a candle, Zosia says "Happy Zosia!" which is her way of saying that she wants me to sing happy birthday to her. Which I do, and then explain that no, she cannot blow this candle out (incidentally, she does try to blow out everyone else's birthday candles... so beware!).

So far, so good. I think part of it is that it actually centers me, which means that I'm then a more easygoing person. But I really believe that something about having a candle burning keeps this family calm and grounded.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Difference 5 Weeks Makes



Did I mention our baby is huge? Well, she is. Totally huge.

Rise and Shine


I've been majorly struggling with mornings around here. Part of it has to do with the fact that I've been waiting to get up until Lily gets up, which means that first thing in the morning I am bombarded with the care of two small children. Generally, I try to get everyone ready for our first activity of the day before Lily goes down for her first nap (which these days, is just about an hour or two after she gets up) so she can just fall asleep in whatever travel device we're using (making my life easier). But that means that I just have that hour or two to give everyone breakfast, dress everyone, take a shower, get dressed, prepare supplies for our outing, and get out the door. Which may sound like enough time, but really is not. So generally I have been running around totally unprepared, scrambling to get everyone together, and getting totally stressed out.

I'm not much of a morning person-- although I would love to be. I'm especially not a morning person when I feel like I'm not getting as much sleep as I want. These days, Lily is right on the verge of giving me enough sleep to feel rested. But not quite. So this morning when I dragged my butt out of bed early (because Ben had jetted off to work earlier than usual, and Z woke up a bit early), I was dreading the morning. But, it's been awesome. I currently have gotten ready for the day, had breakfast, dressed Zosia, started some laundry, unloaded dishes, loaded the dishwasher, and still have time to blog (and drank a lot of coffee). And Lily's not even up yet!

So maybe I'm going to turn over a new leaf and become a morning person? Hopefully?

Note: For the record, this post originally said that I posted at 5:15 AM, but I was definitely not up at 5:15 AM... more like 8:00, but that's still good.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sickness Margarita


We've been under the weather around here. Zosia started out with a case of the sniffles, it moved onto Ben, who experienced it as an all-out cold, and Lily and I have been the last victims of the germs. In the first days of the sickness, when it was Z and Ben, I started making some strong Lemonade to give them a dose of Vitamin C. Then, as the lemons ran out, I started making Lemon-Limeade with similar hopes. Ben apparently loves the stuff, and dubbed it a "sickness margarita." I often have straight lemon juice with honey when I'm sick and find that if I take it right before bed, it scares my sore throat away. Ben had a similar experience with this stuff, which, while tasty, is a pretty potent mix.

Juice of 1 lemon plus juice of 3 limes (yields approximately 1 cup juice)
1.5 cups cold water
1/2 cup sugar or honey, or mix of both

Mix together, refrigerate, and enjoy. If you absolutely have to (or want to share with a loved one who is not sick), you can dilute it with a little extra water, which makes it less medicinal and more tasty. I suppose you could also add a little tequila and ice.

Monday, June 1, 2009

It All Balances Out


Ben and I have frequently commented that it's good that this stage of toddlerhood that our beloved eldest is in is marked by an increase in amazing cuteness along with an increase in amazing... let's call it "ability to focus" (read: obnoxiousness). They seem to balance each other out well, with cuteness ultimately winning out, but not without a good bit of teeth grinding along the way.

Take this morning's trip to the playground. The entire trip there we were (in a whiny voice) reminded that we were going to the playground. And once we were there, we were reminded that beloved eldest child wanted to go on the swing. And once we left, we were immediately reminded that beloved eldest child wanted to return to the swing.

But who couldn't love this beautiful smiling face while she was in that swing?
And I'm sure years from now said child's amazing ability to focus on a goal will save the world from imminent doom and we'll all be thanking God for these early exercises in focus. Either that or we'll just let out a huge sigh of relief that she's outgrown this stage. I don't know.

Social Smiles


...have officially arrived. There are few joys greater than watching a teeny baby light up a room with her smile!