Thursday, January 31, 2008

17 Months

Delly, you turned 17 months old last weekend. This has been a really fun month with you, mostly because you've started really singing. You have been sort of sing-song babbling for a while and sometimes it sounded like you were mimicking songs that we would sing or that your toys would play. Now there's no doubt about it, though. Your favorite song to sing is ABCs -- sometimes you sing B for every letter, sometimes it's sort of a generic "ah" sound for them, but strangely the one letter you usually belt out correctly even if you're grunting the whole rest of the song is G. ?? We beg you to sing for us all the time, but you like to taunt us and only give in once in a while. You have a little mini keyboard karaoke thing that Grandma and Grandpa gave you and when you were sitting with it in your lap this morning, you were saying "oh-ee-oh" over and over, and we finally realized that you were trying to sing "ee-eye-ee-eye-oh" from Old McDonald.

A few weeks ago you popped a molar. You have the front 4 teeth that all came out within just a few weeks of each other several months ago. We always feel around the front of your mouth for the next ones and there has been no sign of them whatsoever. Then when we were having lunch one day Daddy thoroughly checked your whole mouth and discovered that a top molar had broken through and we didn't even know it. I can feel the one on the other side getting close too. You have some crazy teeth, girl!

Last week for the first time, you grabbed my hand and started leading me around the house. A few hours later you did it with Daddy too, and now you do it daily. Most times you have no obvious destination in mind, you just lead us up and down the hallway, into and out of different rooms. Our own little leader.

You've become extremely particular about what books we read to you at bedtime. We have always just picked 3 books ourselves, Daddy has his set of regular favorites and I have my own, and you never really cared one way or the other. And then last week that all changed one day. Every book we usually read to you, you rejected with yells of "No!" and slamming the book shut. One night there wasn't a single book you'd accept, so you got none at all. I try to get you to pick the books you want yourself, and sometimes you do but sometimes you just take too long so I try my own picks. For days you'll reject Curious George and the Bunny, and then one day you'll be fine with it. You'll love Jamberry every day and then flat-out reject it another day. No rhyme or reason that we can detect. And you're definitely more interested now in participating in book-reading, looking for and pointing out certain things on all the pages and saying "hi" or "night-night" to characters in the books.

You say "night-night" to us now, too, though usually only when prompted by us. You always have a binky in your mouth at bedtime, and we tell you to say "night-night" and we yank your binky out so you can talk. You think that's so funny, so you give us your sweet quinty-eyed smile and say "night-night" in the most sweet and beautiful voice I've ever heard in my whole life.

You're still very tall for your age, in around the 95th percentile, so I think that between your height and your full head of long hair, people often think you're older than you are -- including kids. When we go to Temple on Friday nights there are usually other little kids there, and during the Oneg after services you all run around. You love following the bigger kids around as they chase each other and play games. This past week they were playing hide and seek. One girl, probably around 4 years old, told you to go hide. She turned to face the wall and counted, and you just stood there staring at her. When she was done counting she turned back around and saw you still standing there and was very confused. We parents just sat there watching it all and laughing. It is so funny to see you interacting with other kids, all of you trying to communicate with each other at different levels and trying to figure out how to play with each other. I love watching your fearlessly forge ahead and stumble out into the world. Watching you carve out your own path is so special and just shatters my heart. You make me so proud to be your mother.


Monday, January 28, 2008


I'm officially on the bandwagon, joining the hoards for crafters who've fallen in love with the Simplicity 3835 pattern. Love it! Someone somewhere suggested cutting the back out in one piece instead of in two pieces with a zipper, which I did, and it saved lots of work and stills goes on and off with no problem. I'll definitely make more of these, and will try the different arm lengths and shirt/dress lengths. I also will be a bit more careful tracing the pattern and cutting -- I wasted a LOT of fabric on mistakes this first time around. When I cut out the back, I cut out the dress length insteads of the shirt length. When I traced the sleeves, the whole pattern apparently shifted and I didn't notice til after I'd cut the pieces and started seaming. Oh, and I also cut out the long sleeves instead of short. Gah. lots of this fabric in my scraps bag now! Somehow I managed to fudge it enough to get a relatively decent and totally wearable garment. I'm very proud of myself. Go, me!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

socking away cash for upcoming fabric purchases

My girl Caroline at has started her own fabric line!!!! The line was designed by Jessica Jones, and after some googling I'm pretty sure it's the Jessica Jones of How About Orange.

These fabrics look super-fab, as does Amy Butler's new Midwest Modern line due out in a few months.

They're all so gorgeous. Can you even stand it?? No, I didn't think so.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

vintage Sesame Street

We spend some time on YouTube almost every day with Delma now. She gets all crazy when we go into the office, because she's not allowed to touch anything in there, so in response she runs around touching everything to get us to stop reading email and pay attention to her. Enter: YouTube. We started off by looking for some Elmo stuff, and found these great clips of Elmo with Norah Jones, The Goo-Goo Dolls, Chris Brown (I love this one!), and this one with Andrea Bocelli that makes me sort of uncomfortable to watch because Bocelli gets all up in Elmo's grill in a weird sexy sort of way.

So then I started looking for classic stuff, and found all sort of really great clips that I grew up with. Here are a couple favorites that are in heavy rotation at our house. Enjoy!

Friday, January 11, 2008

doll quilt

I made my first quilt! It's just a little doll quilt, so it doesn't count toward my resolution of making a quilt this year, but it was good practice. This is for a Doll Quilt swap. I used a free pattern I found online and took the easy way out on sewing the binding -- I just topstitched it all around instead of being all tidy and fancy (I'll definitely take the time to do it right on my first REAL quilt). Not the cleanest finished product, but it still came out pretty cute. I hope the recipient will like it.



Details of front squares:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

crappy and crafty week

This hasn't been the easiest week. Josh has been out of town, and I've been sick and have been losing lots of sleep to awful coughing fits at night. I don't know how, but somehow in the middle of all that I've been feeling very crafty. Delma took a really long nap last Sunday which left me time to do lots of fabric cutting. I can do some sewing with her around, but not cutting. Like the cats, she has this irresistible urge to come and walk across or just sit down on any fabric on my cutting mat. Then in the evenings after she was asleep I was all alone and had loads of time to sew sew sew. Some evidence:

For a Handmade Gift swap, a covered photo album and covered tissue packet:

For a Stellar Swappers swap, photo album, tissues packet and Artsy Clutch (clutch is from Bend-the-Rules Sewing):

For a Pink and Green swap, some little "for you" notecards for the recipient to send out with her own swap packages:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

magazine clutter and meal planning

Part of my big home organizing kick is getting our magazines under control. When I cleaned out our office, I sent so many magazines out to recycling that Josh was forced to put all the (heavy) bags into one huge (really f-ing heavy) box and drag them down our stairs and across our lawn in such a manner that he jacked his back all up and spent a great deal of time laying on our floor and popping muscle relaxers every few hours. Like, for many days. That's a lot of magazines! I suppose that could have been avoided by the bags out one at a time, but whatever. I figure we're serving our philanthropic duty to keep the big pharmaceuticals in business.

To stay organized, the only magazines I am keeping are MS Living and Everyday Food. For my other regulars (BHG, Veg Times), I will read/leaf through them and rip out whatever little tid-bits are worth keeping. I am compiling images of home decor and gardening and things, that will all go into a notebook for ideas/inspiration/etc. All recipes are going into clear sleeves in my handy-dandy 3-ring binder. And if I try the recipe and don't like it, it's coming out of the binder and getting trashed.

This recipe binder also now houses all the recipes we've printed out from online sources that were sitting in random piles with coffee stains on them, or flour on them, or that we would throw out and reprint every time we wanted to make it (like my beloved VT Breakfast Pizza that I swear I've printed at least 6 times and then always manage to lose). I haven't gotten as far as actually organizing the recipes within my binder by category, but it's not so super-full yet that I really need to. I'll get there eventually.

And why do I need all my recipes organized? Well! One of the biggest changes we've made at home recently is weekly meal planning. We figure out a menu for the week, make a grocery list, and go shopping and only buy what we need. So simple and so brilliant! Why haven't we done this before??

This eliminates our daily "What do you feel like for dinner?" conversation. I know when I'm making something that takes longer, so I need to go straight home with Delma and start cooking, or when we have a little more time to run errands or play before dinner, or when I don't have to lift a finger because Josh will be cooking. It means taking time to sit down and create the menu and make a good shopping list, but it saves so much time that we used to waste hemming and hawing and seeing what we had in the fridge, etc. It saves us from wasting produce that we used to buy with no specific plan for it that would inevitably go bad and get tossed. And making more meals means ending up with more leftovers to bring to work for lunch, which also saves us some cash. And it makes it feel like we're one step closer to having a well-managed household. Like we're real grown-ups or something. It makes me happy.

possibly coughing up a lung (or two)

All that cleaning in our utility room and rifling through old boxes literally made me sick. I didn't wear a mask, and stirring up all that old musty stuff aggravated my allergies something fierce. I don't want to think about how much mold I must have inhaled. Last week immediately after cleaning I got a very scratchy throat. It has worked down to my lungs and now I'm a cough-y hack-y mess. Josh is out of town this week, and as hard as it is when he's away, I'm actually glad he's not here right now. With all my nighttime coughing, there's no way he would sleep and that would make me all anxious and guilty etc. I'll see a doc this afternoon, hopefully I don't have a case of black lung.

On the up-side, Cadbury Mini Eggs and Creme Eggs are now available. When I stepped into CVS the other day and saw them, I think the heaven's may have opened up and maybe there were some angels singing. It was glorious.

Monday, January 7, 2008

the world is my compost heap

We basically live in the woods. From the farthest corner of our back deck, you can toss food scraps right into our woods. I am not really prepared to publicly admit that we do this after just about every meal, and that when we clean out our fridge we just walk onto the deck with all our containers and chuck it all, or that we have contests to see who can throw things farther, or who can smash rotten tomatoes onto the big log in our swamp or anything. But I will say that the vegetation over in that area is really flourishing, like it's all being somehow veritably showered with foodstuffs that will fertilize it. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Well it is cold out, and wet and icy and not fun to go running out into the yucky wintery weather so often. And we can't throw wet stuff like food scraps into our garbage anymore, because we use corn-based BioBags that will start to break down right in our trash can if they get too much moisture in them.

So a couple of months ago it finally occured to be to just get a kitchen compost container, and shortly therafter the Norpro 94 Stainless-Steel Composter Keeper came to live with us.

I pretty much adore it. I read the reviews, read that they really don't smell and that this model's lid is easy to lift on and off and doesn't get stuck. It was all true. The little filters in there are great, you really can not smell the stuff in there at all. Even when you open it up to put more in, you'd expect the odor of the stuff that's been in there a few days to puff out like a stench-cloud, but it doesn't. It's like the filters block the air enough to somehow keep the scraps from decomposing and getting all smelly. Now we only have to take our hillbilly trek to the back of the deck once or twice a week. It would be great to start some well-managed composting going back there instead of just a pile in the woods. We're not quite there yet, though.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

fresh start

2007 was a good year. The past few years have all been sort of full of major events, getting married in 04, then buying a house in 05, then having Delma in 06... And some job promotions mixed in there too... This year didn't bring any major life changes. It was just a nice year of adjusting to being parents and living our life. I got a sewing machine and spent lots of time getting crafty.

And this has been a really nice holiday season. This was our first year of exclusively celebrating Chanukkah at home. We visited family on Christmas and spent it with them as usual, but there was no Chrristmas in our house. It was great. There was none of the usual pressure to be in an appropriately festive mind-set, to rearrange furniture to accomodate a tree, buy gifts, etc. I did make some gifts, like wheat sacks, and one gift that I was really pleased with but of course forgot to take pictures of: I made aprons for my nieces and nephew, and got them a mini muffin pan, some small little spatulas and little mixing bowls so they have their own kid-size tools to bake with. They loved it all, and pranced around in their aprons and fought over who could carry the gift bag with their little baking things in it.

I also tried out some new patterns for some swaps. I made the Bend-the-Rules Sewing Simple Tote, along with my little fabric-covered photo albums that I make for any and every occasion, and a little fabric tissue cover based on this pattern. I overlap the sides of the opening for a more secure fit.

We have been doing some serious cleaning and organizing at home. I feel like for the first time since we bought the house 2.5 years ago, I have a handle on what our living space needs really are and how to meet them. I know what we need to store and what can get Goodwill-ed or trashed, etc. Our office has been a nightmare catch-all room for forever, and it's finally a tidy, comfortable, functional space. Our family room is sort of a random mish-mosh of our TV area, play area for Delly, and my crafting area. It still has to fit all those bills, but there are ways to make it all a bit more cohesive and comfortable. Our utility room has been a wreck, piled floor to ceiling with boxes we haven't even opened since we moved. We're getting rid of tons of crap and are getting some shelving to help us tidy up in there too. The goal is to get the room cleared enough to put the treadmill in there, and maybe some other exercise equipment. Our house is small, and we need to make good use of every square inch. I feel like this year we'll get there -- or pretty damn close, anyway. One of my resolutions for 2008 is to continue on this organizing kick.

And speaking of resolutions, here they (almost all) are:
1. Finish organizing our utility room
2. Finish our little odds-and-ends fix-up projects (tile in family room; replace all icky goldy brassy door hardware with brushed nickel; paint doors; paint office; paint family room)
3. Plant a vegetable garden
4. Learn how to use the fancy features on our fancy camera, so I can take better pictures
5. Plan weekly meals, shop accordingly, try new recipes (started already, more on this soon in another post)
6. Make a quilt

All of my goals are realistic and attainable, and will make me happy. Yay, 2008!