Friday, August 31, 2007

Flashback Friday

I have been enjoying all the great photos at Flashback Friday, and thought I'd start sharing some of my old photos. This picture is of me all dressed up for Mommy & Me class. I vividly remember that class and that we did a lot of jumping on little cushions, from one to the next, as if we were leaping from one lily pad to the next on a great, big pond. I am sure I was trying to re-create that exercise here by placing our sofa cushions on the floor. I wonder if this was before or after I colored on the sofa with orange marker (I was trying to make it look a little more hip, and I had only colored a few stripes underneath the cushions where no one could see before my mom caught me.). Check out my mom's awesome Dr. Scholl's wood-soled sandals on the floor to the right!

...and the living is easy

Since my recent post about how much I am going to miss this summer, I have really been trying to make the most of every day left in the season. Little Omi and I enjoyed this nice dish of berries yesterday, but we haven't been able to use the kiddie pool for a few days. We got a good storm yesterday, which was nice (although now the kiddie pool is quite dirty and needs to be emptied before it becomes mosquito larva habitat), and today the temperature barely topped 90°F, which is not hot enough to sit in the chilly water. Still, we added a new feature to our routine: feeding the goldfish in our little whiskey-barrel pond. Little Omi waves "hello" and "goodbye" to the fish and likes to poke at the lilypads until they start to sink under the water.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

P.H.P.D. (no spoilers)

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this morning. I know, I know—waiting until August to read the final book in the series automatically disqualifies me as a real Potterphile, but I have my reasons. And let me just say that avoiding all the spoilers that have been around, including in my very hands, has not been an easy task. (It wasn't quite as difficult as, say, finding and destroying Horcruxes, but it was pretty tough. My husband, Big Omi, was kind enough to remove several incriminating pages of Entertainment Weekly, only to hide them in his sock drawer. I know this because I put away his clothes, and promptly found the pages only a few days later.) My main reason for waiting this long was that I wanted to see the fifth movie, then re-read the sixth book and get all caught up before starting book seven. My memory just isn't what it used to be, and J.K. Rowling doesn't spend much time reminding her readers of what happened in the previous books. (Not like in, say, The Bobbsey Twins or Nancy Drew, where you got the same lengthy description of Ned Nickerson in every book.) So now, after all the waiting, all the catching up, and all the great lengths I went to to avoid finding out what happens, I know. I have read the final word in the final chapter of the final book. I am very, very satisfied with the way things ended: with certainty and no ambiguity (cough—I'm looking in your direction, David Chase). Now I have been officially diagnosed with P.H.P.D. (Post-Harry Potter Depression). When I was reading the book, it was at a breakneck pace. Sometimes I would have to make myself slow down or go back and re-read passages just to catch all the details. I just couldn't know fast enough. But now, of course, I am sad to be finished with it. It's like I sat down to a full-course meal, savored each bite through the entire dinner, then swallowed the dessert whole. Ah, well, I'm sure Phizer or Merck are working on a new lifestyle drug to take away the pain of P.H.P.D. Until then, I can always go back and start the whole series over again... I'll probably have forgotten what happens in book 7 soon enough.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dog days

The U.S. has seen an odd summer, weather-wise. We've seen rain, floods, drought, record highs, and record lows. Our neck of the woods received rainfall equal to its annual average by mid-June. But by August we seemed to be back to our regularly-scheduled 100°F days, although we got a break from the heat for a few days last week. Little Omi and I have been enjoying splashing in the blow-up kiddie pool on our new patio in the backyard. She's crazy about the water. When I ask her if it's time to go inside, she giggles and shakes her head vigorously. I can tell our swimming days are numbered, though. I keep finding dead or dying cicadas, and their evening cries of "cree-ee-ee-ee-eeee" are starting to sound so frantic, as if they're saying "must...mate...NOW!" While I do love autumn and all its glorious colors, holidays, and back-to-school fashions, I always want to hang on to the last days of summer, no matter how hot the weather. I will miss the overall lushness of this summer, the sheer opulence of green and the heavy, humid air. Until then, I resolve to spend as many afternoons in the kiddie pool as possible, splashing and laughing with Little Omi, and shaking my head to say "just a little longer."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Estate sale goodies

I couldn't pass up these gems when I spotted them at an estate sale the other day. These were clearly "grandma's house" toys, without the normal signs of wear and tear that toys like these would receive with regular rigorous play. Little Omi took to the house immediately, enjoying ringing the little front doorbell (it's a real bell, of course, not some silly battery-operated electronic gadget). She's not quite up to riding the scooter yet; she prefers to "ghost-ride" it, by walking along side and steering with one hand.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I picked up this little tote (sans strawberry) for $1 at Target a few months ago. If you can't tell from the photo, it's about six inches tall—just the right size for Little Omi to carry around. Looking at the blank bag, I just knew it had to have a big strawberry appliquéd onto it. Weeks went by, and I finally picked up the fabric for the strawberry. More time passed, and I bought some fusible web material. Then I had to go back to the fabric store to buy matching thread (does anybody else forget to buy thread as often as I do?). Finally yesterday, while I was doing an obscene amount of laundry, I remembered to toss the fabric in the wash to prepare it for the appliqué. I got lucky today and my dear mother came over and played with Little Omi while I furiously cut, ironed, and stitched. The original lining for the bag had to be removed (and, subsequently, the handles) so that I could add the appliqué, so as long as I had taken it out I figured I might as well make a new lining out of matching fabric. The big payoff came when the bag was presented to Little Omi for inspection and she immediately smiled and pointed to the strawberry.

When I began this blog, I wrote that it would be "another crafty mommy blog." It seems like I've been long on the mommy and short on the crafty lately. Here's hoping I get up to some more crafty soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Day of firsts

Today was the first time I got to use the reusable grocery bags that I ordered after reading Amy Karol's post on plastics and finally deciding I need to take charge and phase out the plastic in our lives. I used them at the farmer's market this morning (corn, plums, tiny cherry tomatoes, basil, and fresh eggs) and then at the grocery store this afternoon (pine nuts, parmesan cheese, parsley—can you guess what we had for dinner?). It was actually easier to use the bags at the grocery store; the folks there were pretty impressed by the design of the bags. The farmers were so in the groove of stuffing everything into a plastic bag that I actually had to remove some of my produce and give the bags back.

At dinner, Little Omi ate tomatoes for the first time. We were so proud of her. Lately she has developed a bit of a picky streak, but today she was up for trying everything, then shaking or nodding her head depending on whether she liked the food or not. After the first bite of tomato, she raised her eyebrows and said, "Mmm!" Then she ate about 8 more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Simply the best

I mention in my profile that one of my interests is learning to cook. What I mean by that really is learning to like to cook. Ina Garten's TV show and cookbooks got me started. After seeing Ina say "How easy is that?" enough times, anyone would be willing to give one of her recipes a whirl (plus they're all so delicious). With some confidence gained after roasting approximately fifty chickens, I was ready to take on this behemoth. Intimidating only in its size, The New Best Recipe offers 1,000 recipes—some quite basic, others advanced, but all extensively tested to make them literally the best. My favorite bits are the detailed essays included on how they arrived at each recipe, like how it worked better to cook a meatloaf on a baking sheet instead of in a loaf pan, or how to bruise the basil leaves before making pesto in a food processor to mimic the action of grinding in a mortar and pestle. Delightful! My sister just gave me The Best Make-Ahead Recipe for my birthday, and I can't wait to give it a try.

The most hilarious show in the room

Have you been watching Flight of the Conchords on HBO? It makes me laugh out loud.

New shoes

Little Omi has some new shoes. They are her first "real" shoes with rubber soles. She insists on wearing them every time we leave the house, and loves to wear them inside, too, marching around on the wood floors—clomp, clomp, clomp!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Saturday was my birthday. I turned 33, placing me squarely in my mid-thirties. (My rule is the -0, -1, & -2 years are known as the "early" part of the decade, then the -3, -4, -5 & -6 are the "mid" years, and finally the -7, -8, & -9 are the "late" end.) This age is a bit of a hum-dinger for me because I remember when my mother was 33. I don't remember her being 32, or even 30, even though I was born when she was 28 (see photo—doesn't my mom look fabulous just hours after I was born?). I'm also reasonably sure I remember that number so well is because I had trouble pronouncing it correctly, instead saying "thirty-thwee." This was around the same era of my life when my mom had a friend named "Wuth" (Ruth) and my sister had a friend named "Wowa" (Lola).

I think 33 also qualifies me as "thirtysomething," and the TV show by that name was definitely popular at my house in the 80s. I could never decide if I wanted to be like Hope or Nancy when I grew up. Nancy wrote that terrific children's book, but was also divorced and got cancer. Hope was married to Michael, but they never seemed to finish their remodel and she just seemed sort of sad all the time. I really wanted to be like Melissa, Michael's wacky single cousin. You could tell she was wacky because she had that asymmetrical haircut and wore a single huge earring. She was also a photographer, and I dearly, dearly wanted to be a photographer, too. Well, I don't think I turned out to be like any of these women, mostly because they were just TV characters, however well-written. At 33 I am married to a wonderful man, I have a beautiful and clever child, and I still love to take photographs. At 33 I am me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Two excellent books

We have two new favorite books in our house. Little Omi is absolutely in love with Taro Gomi's Where's the Fish? It's a very basic Where's Waldo-type book from the author of such classics as Everyone Poops and Spring Is Here. I was quite surprised to see Omi-chan point out the fish on every page on the very first read. Of course Big Omi (my husband) and I decided she must be the most brilliant 15-month-old ever. (This is quite similar to the time we visited the pediatrician for her regular shots-and-measurements check-up and her head circumference was in the 99th percentile. We were practically popping buttons with pride over our daughter's enormous noggin.)

Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year is my new love. I read the first 100 pages yesterday while Little Omi napped beside me, and I had to stifle my laughter every few minutes just to keep from jostling her awake. Lamott's writing is so conversational, humorous, and so very, very honest. She reveals her deepest, darkest thoughts with such refreshing openness that it makes you feel better about the times you wanted to throw the baby on the dung heap just so you could get some sleep or read more than a few bleeping pages of Harry Potter in one go. I almost hesitated to post about this book because reading it is like spending time with a wonderful new girlfriend that you don't want to share with any of your other friends in case she likes one of them better than you, or a really great band that you love but secretly hope doesn't become too successful so you can always be cool for liking them. Having gotten over that feeling, I have to say I highly recommend this book to any mother, especially those who have just made it through that first special year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Making it happen

Every summer I tell myself that this will be the year I make regular trips to the farmer's market, and every summer I completely forget to go. Until this year. I'm sure part of the reason I've started to make a habit out of going has to do with wanting to feed my daughter (let's call her "Little Omi") delicious fresh vegetables, and part of it has to do with wanting to eat locally and lower our carbon footprint, blah, blah, blah. But mostly I think it helps to break up the monotony of the week. Wednesday mornings are particularly wonderful at the market, because it's so small and not too crowded. Saturdays are more exciting, with the hustle and bustle of the crowd, all the flower vendors, and often there are big animals to be seen (A couple of weeks ago there was a horse show! Very impressive to the little girl who has only seen dogs and cats up close.).

Here's hoping that this is the start of a trend in my life: making it happen. Getting off my duff and actually doing the things I've been saying I would do for years now.

I bought these zinnias last Saturday—don't they just shout summer? Today we picked up some fresh tomatoes, okra, and an acorn squash. I was always intimidated by the big squashes until I read in The Joy of Cooking that we could microwave acorn squash. Who knew? Just pierce the skin a few times and pop it in the microwave (I put it on a plate first) for 3 minutes, then turn it over and give it another 3 minutes. When it's done, slice it in half, scoop out the insides (discarding the seeds), mash it with a fork and toss a little butter and nutmeg on top. Delicious and quick enough to have at lunchtime or as a last-minute vegetable at dinner.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Here it is. The miniature version of my Skip Hop Duo diaper bag.
And the start of another "crafty mommy" blog.

Let's call it crafterbirth: the surge of creative energy a woman experiences after giving birth to her first child. What's interesting is that before the baby, I had all the time in the world to do crafty things, and I did on occasion. But now that the minutes to myself are few, I want to fill them with creativity. I think the blog serves that purpose when it's too late at night or there's not enough time to get out the sewing machine. I hope so, anyway. We'll see...

Oh, yes—the thing I like most about the mini diaper bag is that the little cell phone pocket actually fits a toy cell phone!
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