27 January 2008

Because it is cold and it is dark.

Post-haircut, trying to play with the toys at the salon just a little longer. That handsome boy in the corner looking in the mirror is Will.

Today is day three of our long weekend together. Shaun works all day every other Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which means V and I get plenty of time to get sick of each other. I mean, enjoy quality time together. And since our Buick got sick, we're down to one car, which means she and I stay home and talk to the plants and feed pizza to the toy tiger and dream of spring. Perhaps this cabin fever is contributing to my sudden desire to grow something. Yesterday, Jess and Will and Grandma Myra came to town and the little ones got haircuts (which is exhausting. No one tells you when you're about to be a parent that a simple haircut can suck all the energy out of a day). Don't worry about the photo above: V just got a bang trim, and it's pulled back in the picture. After haircut-gate, we went to Lowe's to use a couple of $10 off a houseplant coupons I found online (it's not there anymore; sorry!). For $9.98, we found two big, lovely plants, and they look very alive and grow-y in our two south windows. While at Lowe's, since I feel guilty just gettng $20 worth of free plants and nothing else, I picked up one of those plastic greenhouse things with pellets of soil for $7. It is taking every bit of self-restraint I have to not plant seeds in it right now, but since we're 5 months out from planting season, I would likely wind up with spindly pathetic tomatoes & eggplants and flowers that were done blooming by May. I've never started garden plants from seed before, but my friend Robby did it last year and had amazing success, so I'm hoping I can use his expertise this year to get me through the darkest part (figuratively, for me) of winter.

On the other hand, V loves snow. She loves it so much she likes to take off her mittens to touch it, and then complain about how cold her hands are. Toddler logic is impressive, I tell you. I made her a bonnet over holiday break from Angry Chicken's pattern, and it came together brilliantly if I do say so myself. It was almost embarrassingly easy, made from fine wale brown corduroy, lined with peach-y bird patterned fabric, with a lavender grossgrain ribbon tie, and I am so pleased with how it turned out. Plus, it helps when I can tie her headwear on, because she's less likely to yank it off.

Isn't she a sweet winter Holly Hobbie girl?

The best part of the bonnet pattern is that it comes with a grown-up size, too, so I made one for myself (minus the brim, which I think might be a hazard while driving). It even fit my giant head. I left it at work on Thursday, so I can't take a photo yet, but I will, I promise. I made it out of velvet and a stretchy plaid pair of pants, and when I wear it my English-nerd colleagues call me Elizabeth Proctor. Awesome.

Let me mention, too, that I adore all the comments on the last post. Comments are like the cocaine of blogging: once you get one, you just want more and more and more. So please continue to feed my habit. I especially like it when commenters talk to each other: Kathy and Sam, you two should meet each other someday. It would be a hoot! Such disparate parts of my life coming together in one location...it makes me a little giddy.

Hope your Sunday is warm and full of chocolate (unless you're my sister, who doesn't like chocolate, in which case I hope her Sunday is warm and full of raspberry ginger ale).

22 January 2008

I'm just Jenny from the blog

Ugh, sorry for the bad pun. My mom just wrote me an e-mail with the subject "Jenny's blog" and it struck me as very funny. Nobody who met me after 1991 calls me Jenny: I guarantee anyone calling me that is either related, a voice from my childhood, or trying to be cute. I guess that covers most people I know, though.

For years my mom insisted that she had named me JENNIFER, and that my kindergarten teacher had been too lazy and just taught me to spell Jenny, but even in my baby book, in my mother's own hand, I was Jenny. I'm only Jennifer at work or if I get in trouble. Again, that kinda covers a lot of ground....

On with the pictures! I haven't uploaded many lately, so these are from before Christmas. Please note that though our kitchen usually looks like this, we have since cleaned and straightened and done all sorts of things so it's much much better. For now. This is the first time V ever helped me bake. She found a box of cake mix and carried it around with her for three days, thrusting it at me periodically and calling out "Cake!" in a demanding tone. I finally caved in after my grades were turned in.

She's on a barstool here, and soon after these pictures were taken, she realized the benefits of life from this height. Now she climbs up on it regularly, and she especially loves to pepper everything in sight. Cauliflower, milk, dishwater...all peppered. She likes salt, too, but that she mostly uses to pour in her little play cooking pots and then dump on the living room floor.

Thank god for hardwood.

This is a photo I adore. She clearly has both her mother's love of chocolate and graceful eating skills.

One of my goals of parenthood (what? I have parenthood goals??) is that V will know that cooking/cleaning/thinking is not gender specific. But Shaun doesn't cook, so that one will be hardest to prove to her, I imagine. Of course, neither of us clean or think very often, either. In the kitchen realm, though, I mostly hope she won't be like me: when I had my first babysitting job, when I was almost 12, I was supposed to make macaroni and cheese for lunch. I had to call my mom and ask how to boil water. Once she stopped laughing at me, she graciously talked me through it, and I graciously pointed out that if she had just shown me how to do that one time we never would have had to have that ridiculous conversation.

The moral of this story is, V can now bake a cake mix. Soon she'll be bringing me French toast in bed. Merci. Etcetera.

04 January 2008

Holiday Recap

Yesterday, Shaun and I took down the tree (partly because V has continued to ask for Santa to come every night since Christmas Eve). I'm impressed with us, because last year the tree didn't come down until at least March. Maybe April. But I know you're sitting there wondering what the Ganyo tree looked like this year, so here you go. V asked me over and over to take a picture of it, so I did. The barstool is V's addition: she likes to drag it around with her from room to room.

Ah, so much to catch up on. I always have big plans during holiday break: I'll blog everyday; I'll sew 45 new stuffed things, I'll make V and myself both new wardrobes. Hm. Stupid family and housecleaning and...grocery shopping and bathing getting in the way of my plans. Dammit.

Now, on with our story! Here is V, just meeting Mr. Squawkers (which she has named on her own; thanks for your naming suggestions, but it's pretty cute when the two year old says "Good morning Mr. Squawkers.") That's Uncle Steve and Pseudo-Aunt Johanna with her: Mr. Squawkers was courtesy of Uncle Steve.

She looks kinda scared in this photo, and actually she still is (remember, she used to be afraid of bubbles. And pumpkins). She talks to and about Mr. Squawkers often; she just doesn't get too close to him. He really is remarkably lifelike. Except no pooping. Thank god.

I made everyone in Shaun's family a beautiful homemade gift, which they all opened at once. I only got David's picture, though, because after the opening and subsequent wearing (and that was my favorite part: they all simply put them on, with no questions), V started screaming at the top of her lungs, so they were quickly removed. But oh, I laughed and laughed. Imagine Steve and Johanna and Shaun and Great Aunt Joy and David and Mary and me, all in one of these:

(actually, David's was the only one of that fabric, because it was a bear to work with. The others were out of either brown corduroy or grey fleece. The fleece was easiest to work with, but had a tendency to distort. The corduroy was my favorite). These were inspired by Mr. Moustachio, from Shawnimals. I omitted the eyes on most of them, because, well, I didn't want to be ridiculous. Also, I wanted them to wearable. I debated a long time on that white elastic: was it too garish? Too obvious? But then I remembered I was making stuffed mustaches, and obvious and garish need not be my main concerns.

Here's a blurry picture of Uncle Bill (of Fat Daddys fame) modeling his, the only one with eyes. I nearly passed out at this hilarity.

Christmas morning, Santa had delivered a bright shiny drum set. It was pretty sweet to hear her gasp as she came down the stairs: "DRUMS!" She's taken right to them, and it's not nearly as irritatingly noisy as I feared. Now when we play Rock Band on the X-box, Shaun sings, I play bass, and V plays her drum set. It makes my heart feel all tingly in a Von Trapp family way.
There are more photos, of course (though for some reason I didn't take any for Christmas Eve in Hendrum). It was all so so so lovely and busy and full of cookies. I hope yours were the same.

This weekend, V and I are off to Grandma and Grandpa's, and Shaun will enjoy a Weekend of George. (I am both utterly pleased and a little queasy at the fact that there's a Wikipedia entry for that). We will all return refreshed, I hope. Next week, I get to go back to work! Wanna come with?