Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sesame Street Quilt

A Sesame Street Quilt for my niece's 2nd birthday. There are a lot of special fabrics in there-- some of Talia's clothes, fabrics I used in Talia's princess quilt, fabrics I used in Marley's baby quilt and especially a receiving blanket that was my brother's when he was a baby. I used the 9 patch cut into 4 squares and rotated technique (I'm sure there is a name for it) so it didn't take toooooooooo long. This is for a girl who has everything-- every Elmo thing, anyway. I figure I'm not going to be able to get away with giving her a quilt instead of a toy for too many more years and with a new niece or nephew coming in the summer I suspect Marley won't be getting any more quilts from me for a long long time. While making this quilt, Alex finally figured out who Elmo is and now points to the quilt and says "Melmo!" Sadly, this does not translate into Alex watching Melmo on TV for 5 minutes so I can clean the kitchen. Oh well.
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Inching toward the light...

We're just trying to stay sane until the warm weather returns-- only about 10 more weeks. It does seem like life is on hold during the winter. I can't wait to see people peeking their heads out of hibernation. That was probably my most favorite time last year. This is a picture of the kids playing sleepover party. Gotta get creative to make it through the winter! In those next 10 weeks we have two exciting trips planned along with some birthdays, anniversaries and holidays to celebrate. I know we can make it!
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

a different glimpse

Another quilt I'm working on. Enough friends read my blog that I can't reveal my quilts until they are received. Which sucks because I have three others I'm in the middle of.
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New Play Kitchen

Now the kids are fighting over who gets to be at the stove. Now I'm cleaning up play pots and pans and play food all day in addition to the regular pots and pans and food. Oops.

Actually, it's a really nice kitchen. It took a lot of research and time to pick the right one but I really like it. I think the manufacturer is Kidkraft, if you're interested. It took me about 3 1/2 hours to put it together and I'm pretty good at that stuff.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

What a ham!

Alex is turning out to be such a ham! I used to think he had no personality but now I see that was just a misinterpretation of his generally easy going nature (less so now that's he almost 2). He's really funny and really cute and will do just about anything to get a laugh. When I take the time to actually pay attention to my kids (see here and here and here...) I find they are truly awesome people to be around. Have to remember that...

Alex just started his first swimming class today. In this class I am supposed to gointo the water with him for a few weeks until he is comfortable with the teacher and then hopefully inch further and further away until I don't have to go in anymore. Alex did great. He smiled the whole time. He has very little fear of the water, which isn't ideal but better than the alternative I suppose. He went with the teacher right away, although he did seem nervous at times and clearly wanted me close by. He loves jumping in and doesn't seem to care if I'm ready to catch him. Note to self: Remember this information when we go on vacation next month! Do not take your eyes off Alex while near the pool! It's so funny to see someone trying to give Alex directions. We just recently realized that Alex does understand us. Hearing the teacher say "kick kick kick" and then seeing Alex follow the direction is enlightening. We're also supposed to try to help Alex learn to jump so he doesn't just "step off the ledge" into the pool. Alex doesn't jump by himself yet. That's a major milestone type of skill. I guess we should start treating him like more of a big boy and less of a baby. He's starting a Little Gym class next week so I'm sure all those skills will present themselves soon.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Full Circle: Inauguration Day 2009

It was barely a year ago that I decided to support Barack Obama. The thoughts I had then are still how I feel now. I feel hopeful and excited and like I want to hug everyone and say, "Can you believe it!?" I feel electrified. I am so proud to be an American today. I cannot remember the last time I felt that way. We will be a great nation once again.
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Saying Yes

I say no all the time. All day long. And my yesses all come with qualifiers, as in, "Yes, we can play Wii but only after I clean the kitchen" or "Yes, you can have a snack but only after you eat something healthy" or some bullshit like that. All the while hoping she'll forget about it and find something else to do. I haven't enjoyed playing with my kids that much lately. I know that's a terrible thing to say but it's true. Of course it's due to the cold and the snow and the fact that we're shut-ins most of the time. In addition to all that, I have other things I want to do and I spend my whole day trying to get them involved in something so I can do my own thing. I am rarely successful. Because of this, I decided to start saying yes.

It worked, somewhat. Talia wanted to play "pin the donkey on the tail." I mean, how long does it really take-- 5 minutes? 10? 15? It turned out to be really fun. I drew a bullseye on some paper and got out a few stickers. When it was my turn I made a big show of going to the complete opposite side of the room and sticking my sitcker on the window. The other time I stuck it in Talia's hair. She laughed her ass off. We let Alex play without a blindfold and he won. Talia wanted to play Uno tonight (she knows better than to ask to play Candyland. That's what I pay Supergirl for). So we played Uno. It's a fast game, she can beat me fair and square (once in a while) and I can easily adjust my play to make the game quick or long. She wanted to read three books. So we read three books. They're books, right? Reading is, of course, a major value of mine. So I still had no time to do anything for myself. I'm slightly worried that she'll think we should read three books tomorrow and I'll have to say no. But she was a really good girl today-- really good. I kept praising her behavior and helpful attitude. It was nice.

Alex, however, is another story. Let's say he's "asserting his independence." For him I really do have to say no-- if I let him play with the Chapstick even once he thinks it's his god-given right to smear it all over his face all day. He's in one of those periods of quick cognitive growth-- acquiring language and learning how to communicate. He's even using his few sing language words more now. He just all of a sudden figured out what communication is. Now that he can tell us what he wants (through words, pointing, gestures, signs, stamping his feet etc.) he *really* wants his desired object. Especially my new Blackberry phone, my ipod, my camera, the computer, etc. See a pattern here? So I'm trying to set limits, at least for the important stuff. Or the messy stuff at least. Or at the very least, the most most most important stuff. I'm trying to correct the mistake I made with Talia (too few- let's be honest- no limits) by being different with Alex. That is, when I have my act together. Which isn't all that often.

Remind me to tell you the story about Alex shitting on the floor today. My fault entirely. But that's another post.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Arizona Trip

We took a trip to Arizona to get away from the freezing cold of Wisconsin. Last year, my first winter in Wisconsin seems like a novelty and sort of a fun challenge. This year there is no novelty and it's just a real fucking challenge. The last couple of days were so cold that school was actually closed. NO JOKE! It wasn't snowing or anything, just TOO COLD TO SEND THE KIDS TO SCHOOL! So it was easy-- keep the kids home. This weekend, the temps are back to normal (20's) so I don't really have an excuse to stay home all day but there really is nothing to do. I mean, I could take them to the children's museum or the mall park or ice skating (indoors) or bowling or something but... who wants to? Ron is working in the mornings this weekend and maybe we'll go out to dinner somewhere. I guess I can take Talia out when Ron gets home but I'd really just like the time to myself! Remember when I was complaining about not having time to myself over winter break? Well, with this weather and our vacation Talia has only been to school THREE TIMES since then. I know.

But back to our trip. The weather was nice-- 70's in the afternoons but much cooler in the morning/evening. The accomodations were fantastic (Thank you Aunt Barbara and Uncle Allen!) and the children were really well behaved. We went to a train park and a fantastic children's museum and a nice park etc. The traveling was a nightmare, as usual. They gave us a 45 minute layover in Chicago each way and both times we landed in Chicago at precisely the time our next plane was supposed to take off. On the way there we booked from the end of terminal G to the opposite end of terminal K (a REALLY LONG distance!) with the kids, the backpacks, the kid's backpacks, the car seat, the diaper bag and a bag of food (who knows when you're going to get stuck somewhere?). The first time we missed our connection and had to wait three more hours for another flight. On the way home we ran again, from terminal K to terminal G and luckily the plane had been delayed by 20 minutes. We got there just in time to board and then sat for another 20 minutes, which you *think* would be enough time for our luggage to get on the plane but... no. And you wonder why I pack so much to carry on the plane? We did get our luggage the next day. So, a nice trip ruined by the travel experience.
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tiny Glimpse

I'm working on a new quilt for someone special. It's a whole cloth quilt and I'm hand quilting it. This is the first time ever that I'm hand quilting. Until now I've only done it for special details. I'm really enjoying it.
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

almost... made... it... (not quite)

The winter break started out well-- we spent time crafting and decorating, playing with friends, even playing in the snow a little. Hanukkah was nice; we went to the Dells on Christmas and slid down all the waterslides. For New Year's we had friends over and the kids played together so well they just disappeared and we didn't hear from them again.

And then... this last weekend basically sucked. Saturday we went out to breakfast and then spent the rest of the day inside. Sunday we went out to lunch and then spent the rest of the day inside. The snow is disgusting-- all frozen over and old. Alex has a new phrase: "No! Mine!" and he basically uses it all day long-- even when he doesn't mean it. Dinners were early and then we had this weird hour of time that we don't usually have. We played duck duck goose and did a family yoga DVD and it just sucked, in general. Yesterday most of Talia's friends went to school and we were still home. We asked pretty much everyone we knew if they could play and alas, they could not. I was grumpy and pissy. Finally Supergirl came over for two hours and she was a godsend, as usual.

I was still grumpy and pissy though and I still am today-- even though Talia is at school. The kids got up an hour early and it just threw everything off. I'm not complaining (much) about that because I am grateful that they usually sleep until 7:30 anyway, I'm just mad that their schedules are off. Talia will likely take a nap at school and that will ruin my night because she will go to bed at 10:30pm instead of 8:30. I had to put Alex down for a nap at 10:30, when I usually nap him now at 12 or later. He was just impossible today. Alex can now get into my spice bin and wants to spread cumin and paprika and cayenne everywhere and he threw a full blown tantrum when I took the bin out of the pantry and put it up high. Then he bit me and I put him in time out (for like, the third time ever) and he just wept and wept. He's been asleep for almost 2 hours now so hopefully he'll feel better when he wakes up. And hopefully I'll find a place for those spices and put something fun, like a bin of play food in its place.
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