Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

Environment, Schmenvironment July 28, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:31 pm

It is going to hit 100 here tomorrow. And has been in the 90s for days. I am (to put it lightly) so not a heat person. The whining around here has been almost unbearable (and I’m not talking about the kids). We did break down and get a few portable air conditioners so at least sleep is possible (and G can work in his tiny office without the computers bursting into flame). At least I am comfortable as I sit and watch our carbon footprint grow.

C is at a special arts camp this week which only runs from 9 – 12. We had visions of fabulous afternoon crafting together (well…I did. C said she likes this camp because she can spend “afternoons with me watching TV”. Which is odd as I never watch TV in the afternoon and hardly let her. Wishful thinking perhaps?) but the heat has meant that I spend most of the time trying not to move. The kids don’t seem as bothered, although they were both excited when I suggested a trip to Fred Meyer yesterday to search for a kiddie pool. No luck however—it is all fall and back to school stuff now.

Sunday we opted to skip the Bellevue Arts Festival (big crowds, uninterested kids, and heat? uh, no) and instead had a water fight and popsicles. This was our second water fight, using some sponge flowers made according to directions in Family Fun magazine (they are fulfilling my subscription to the much preferable Wondertime magazine). C loved making the flowers but doesn’t quite understand the water fight portion of the activity—she is too chicken to get close enough to actually hit me. Which is unfortunate, as the whole point is to get wet and cool off! M happily splashes in the water bucket (closely supervised of course). C gets quite wet and does a lot of squealing. I stood near a hanging plant with my (hidden) hands full of sponge flowers and told her to come over so I could show her something. C, being 5 3/4, fell for it of course and I doused her with water and sponges. She then proceeded to try to play the same trick on me about 20 times in a row, except she was never hiding her hands—would just run over with sponges and shout “I have something to show you” and then throw them at me (falling way short of course). The kid mind is an interesting phenomenon.

(In case you click to see these bigger…C applied her own sunscreen this day. It says it is non-whitening, but you be the judge).







The popsicles continue to generate the best faces from M.















I mean, I think she likes them…she certainly persists until the entire popsicle is gone. But you can’t really tell from the faces can you? And always gorgeous C enjoyed her popsicle as well (in addition to applying her own sunscreen she had also done full face clown makeup in the morning that she washed off on her own….let’s just say there was quite the bath this day).









Ah, my girls. Although I get a lot of people saying that M looks “just like me” I seem more of a resemblance with C. Except for the hair of course—no way did she get any curls from me.







Last Thursday I went to a “ladies night in” party in the neighborhood (G is always pushing me to get out and meet people). The ladies were for the most part slightly older than me (early – mid 40s). At the end of the party, a group of us was standing outside (about 10:30, so dark) and someone I hadn’t met walked up and actually thought I was the daughter of one of the other women. It was pretty awkward—I suppose more so for the woman who was around 43 and thought to be my mother. But then everyone felt the need to point out that I look “very young—15 or 17”. C’mon…seriously?? 15?? I look at these photos and see sun damage and wrinkles and gray hairs. Who wants to look 15?? I am (mostly) fine with being 35…but does that mean I need to start wearing real outfits, styling my hair, and applying makeup? Because if so…I guess 15 it is. 


Ask a Master Gardener July 19, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:09 pm

Meaning, of course, not us. Who seem to be the masters of getting things to flower that aren’t supposed to…like onions, cilantro, and hens and chickens.







On the other hand, it looks like we will have at least one ear of corn this summer, and one dahlia is blooming! 








C was in drama camp last week and on Friday there was a performance. There were two plays, C’s was “cats and dogs” and she was very into it—requesting that I read her the book “Watch Me Grow Kitten” the night before because it discussed how cats walk and run (both left legs, then both right legs) and she wanted to make sure everyone got it right. She also informed me that she played a mountain cat, but it was based on Boston (our cat). The play itself was as you might expect—a lot of kids huddled together while the teacher read the play out loud, every now and then the kids would laugh uproariously and run around. It was pretty cute. And for some reason the teacher dedicated much time to full face paint for every kid. 








Something about how the mouth lines up on this makes it a little freaky looking I think. The instructor also didn’t include time for removing the makeup at the end of drama camp…leaving C about 20 minutes to eat and change for the afternoon camp pool party (!) and me to scrub it all off with paper towels in the bathroom. Thanks for that, right?

M spent the week not sleeping, so that was fun for everyone [insert heavy sarcasm here]. Luckily she slept pretty well last night and took a great nap this morning. The ped. was pretty insistent on M needing more sleep at her appt. on Wednesday…but we haven’t succeeded much at that yet! Sigh. M and C had both been going to bed around 7:30/8 but the dr. wants M in bed at 6:30. We’re trying. Here is little M today in a better mood, seconds before trying to eat part of the hens and chickens plant.









One last pic…the girls ready for swimming class last Thursday.  [Ask me if M gets to bed at 6:30 the day she has swimming from 5-5:30…]


Summer of the Princess July 15, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 12:05 am

Last weekend we went to the Seattle Center to see a special Jim Henson exhibit at the Experience Music Project (C is a huge Muppets fan, especially Pigs in Space). After that we wandered over to the carnival section of Seattle Center and stumbled upon a face painter. C watched a boy get “zombie” makeup, but for herself picked…princess. I see a pattern developing.









She went on several rides as well—our much braver kid who now likes rides that go up and rides that go fast (a far cry from Disney 1.5 years ago). I went on a little roller coaster with her—about four or five other kids got on and two other adults. The controller started the coaster, we went up the first hill. Stopped suddenly. And then shot backwards back to the start. He said it was too heavy and the other two adults got off with their kids. Then he started the ride up again. C was thrilled the whole way; I thought I was going to pass out from fear and worry. Too heavy?? All the seats weren’t even full. The ride seemed far too rickety and unstable. I guess I am getting old. Thank goodness the big roller coaster on the other side wasn’t running! This shot is just from a space craft that went around and up and down. 







I forgot to mention a few things in M’s 15 month update. She continues to love Peek A Boo, and we play several times a day. She is much better about putting her hands over her eyes now, which makes the game much more interesting. C and I were discussing M’s nicknames (Meds, Meds sans frontiers, Smoodge [oo as in book, not as in food], and C’s nickname of choice….”Little Miss Grabby Hands”. Also, as predicted, her sleeping has gotten worse again (the curse of bragging lives!) Sigh.

A few C things…she is going to drama camp this week and reported back that they had to wrap a string around their finger and tell a story about themselves to the group. Her story? “I told about my three cats. That I had two cats but they both died. And now I have a new cat.” An uplifting story for everyone no doubt. C tends to tell a lot of stories about death and bring it up at random times. Today out of the blue she said “Did you know that I have three grandmas? But one of them I never, ever get to see.” We have recently experienced a vegetable breakthrough, as C has requested a single carrot be served with her dinner. C recently started the morning by asking me “But where does the baby actually come out?” I have learned in these situations to just calmly say “What do you think?” and her response was “The intestines?” I was able to just say “nope” and then the conversation died out. Phew. She is taking swimming classes on Tues and Thurs afternoons and Friday afternoons at camp they have a pool party. She said swimming was her most favorite thing. So last week I asked if she wanted to go to the lake after camp on Friday for our standard picnic/farmer’s market/beach and swimming outing and she declined. I pointed out that swimming was her favorite thing and she said “Well, you know, you can have too much of your favorite thing”. We switched her sunscreen after the rash incident and now I catch her singing a song that goes “Burt’s Bees Chemical Free”. Just seems like an odd phrase for a 5 year old to get obsessed with.

Height and weight info coming tomorrow for M! 


15 months July 8, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 11:31 pm

I feel like this past month has been one of real growth for M. She made the leap from babyhood to toddlerhood. Not only has her walking improved a lot, her interest in walking has also grown—she is walking more than crawling now, and makes the change from sitting to standing and walking quickly and accurately. Her interest in books is more specific, her play is more purposeful, and her wants more obvious.

She is one spunky little bug. M definitely wants to be out and about exploring the world and deplores any sort of confinement to a stroller. I regret somewhat purchasing the three-point harness model now…although five point still wouldn’t hold her. Perhaps there is a seven or nine-point available? In any case, this makes outings a bit of a chore sometimes, especially for the earlier weeks where there was still more crawling than walking—one doesn’t really want to let the baby crawl freely at, say, the zoo. In addition to exploring on foot or all fours, she also is an intrepid climber—climbs up jungle gyms to go down slides much bigger than expected, climbs onto the windowsill when cuddling on the couch, climbs onto C’s bike when she isn’t looking, climbs into the rocking chair. Luckily, we haven’t had too many falls yet. There is a lot of reminding her about going backwards to get down though! For some reason, she is fairly content to sit in her car seat and likes shopping carts as well, so there is the occasional break for us.

She loves to play and splash in the bath, and will walk right into the lake. I thought she would love swimming classes this summer, but at the first class yesterday she was fairly nervous and whimpered to be held after each trip across the pool. I think we will stick with it however—as the other option is to follow her around the small outdoor pool twice a week for 30 minutes while C has her lessons.



  She will eat anything, or at least try it. Korean noodles, sushi rice, soup, veggie nugget…whatever is on your plate, she wants a bite. Anything she doesn’t like just gets pushed back out, and the game continues. Her core remains the toddlers triumvirate of fruit, dairy, and pasta. M insists on feeding herself (sometimes if she is super hungry she will let me shovel yogurt into her though) and typically tires of the bib about 75% of the way through a meal. We go through a LOT of outfits a day, and I spend more time than I thought possible wiping up food from the floor, high chair, and table after every meal. We go to the dr. next week and will get an updated weight check then—but she looks so healthy that I am not too worried about where she will measure out (recalling that at her 12 mo. checkup her weight was fairly low).

Seven teeth—four on top, three on the bottom. No idea when that other bottom tooth will come in (the one side came in months ago, since then the two top side teeth have both come in…). Most of the time she is an eager teeth brusher, although more eager for her turn than for mine. Pretty good about helping when getting dressed, but loathes diaper changes and will flail and repeatedly attempt to crawl away—or just stand up on the changing table. Maybe she’ll potty train early??



She is a scruffy little creature with mostly straight hair (hello, my genes) but a little bit of party in the back with this single layer of curls. Sturdy little thighs, and a back that is almost as wide as it is tall. Love it! I do get a lot of comments that she looks like me…? But the blue eyes are definitely all G.




What else… Sleepwise, I think we may have turned a corner (writing this is bound to curse me). This week at least she has taken 2 naps every day, with most of them being closer to 90 minutes than 30 (although sometimes waking in the middle and needing help to go back to sleep). Her nighttime stretch has increased as well—several days she hasn’t gotten up at all until 4 am, and then sleeps nicely in the bed with us until after 7(!!). We went through a week or so where she was getting up around 4 and then wouldn’t settle back down…that was absolutely brutal. What a difference there is (for me!) between three hours and five or six hours of sleep. She of course, always seemed fine. (I know, I know, going to bed before 1 am could help me….I’ll think about it).

She figured out how to make a kissing sound and makes the cutest little fish faces. But if she actually kisses you it is a slobbery, open mouth affair. Gives really great, tight hugs—sometimes too tight, especially for a certain big sister. Likes to be flown like an airplane, to be rolled around on a ball, and to climb on me when I am exercising. Will also climb on me if I am on my back…and bite my nose.

Actually seems to be saying less than last month. Well, fewer words—she “talks” constantly (and also does some vigorous pointing and grunting) but the recognizable words are few. DAAAA (daddy), HIIII CAAA (hi cat), bub (belly button) are the standouts. Also, “wheeeeeee” which she will say over and over when being pushed on a swing or going down the slide. Does a “rrr—rrr—rrr” sound for playing with cars and airplanes. And if you say “yay” she will clap. Also, can give a very gentle high five. So all the important messages have been nailed.

Plays by herself pretty well—transferring puzzle pieces from one box to another, loading things into the metal steaming basket and carrying it around the house, attempting to get any phone and/or remote within reach, and finding any tiny bead, marble, pen, scissors, etc. that C has left out. She also has shown an early penchant for dressing up, and is often found wearing discarded C bracelets. Today we had quite a bit of fun playing with a hat.









She has the best smiles.  






Man, I love this kid.


362 pictures on the card July 6, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 12:02 am

Kinda disappeared there for a bit…we are redoing our “craft room”. The so-called bonus room that all larger houses seem to have out here, which most people use as a TV room (judging by the blue glow in the later hours) and which we use for scrapbooking (me), sewing (me), painting (G, when he did) and most computing (me). It had been a hodge-podge of leftover furniture pressed into service….and a huge, embarrassing mess. But with some help from an architect friend, multiple IKEA trips, an awesome contractor, and (maybe) a fight or two…well, we are nearing a beautiful, functional, able to be shown to other people room. Just nearing though—a bunch of the old furniture is still in here, computer stuff is mid-set up with wires everywhere, and we are still moving all the craft stuff back from the guest room. Someday though, I promise to post pictures. Anyway, long story even longer, between packing up the room for several nights, and then being computer free (I mean, except for the five other computers in the house) for another two weeks while the construction was going on, and general life stuff…well. Blogging took a back seat.

But not (as much) picture taking. Your gain, right?

Let’s see…when we last left our heroine(s), it was pre-K graduation. Since then we had the actual end of school, the start of camp, the end of gymnastics, several outings, a holiday weekend, lots of gardening, and an increasingly comfortable walker. I think the post may ramble a bit through these…I mean, even more so than usual 😉


Night before the real last day of school, I decided to make C’s teacher and teacher’s assistant some fabric covered journals. I mean, I had been planning on it for a few weeks—purchased all the supplies—but left it for the night before to make them. Not my best idea (and yet one that occurs to me over and over again). I followed a tutorial but…linen is a PITA to sew with. My iron is not so great. And “beginner” should still be lodged firmly in front of my sewer status. But they got done, and after G stopped laughing at me staying up until 1:30 am sewing journal covers (do they even journal??) he said they weren’t too shameful to give as a gift. Perhaps he just didn’t want to be sent out then to buy some gift cards?

I finally cut into some of my “nicer” material for a dress for C—using the same pattern as the flowered dress from just before Boston. Attempted to make my own bias tape for the arm- and neck-hole trim and used that instead of a hem as well. This is Underwater Sisters from Heather Ross’s Mendocino line. Perfect for a mermaid crazy little girl. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to machine stitch the backside of the bias trim neatly and ended up hand stitching it all. And then I went ahead and made a duplicate for her friend and had to hand stitch that sucker too. But (despite C’s grouchy demeanor) the girls seemed to love them! My last project before closing up the craft room (although the hand sewing part lingered for a bit and quickly got done before the friend left on vacation). 

Although I missed sewing and scrapbooking, I did knit during our renovations…but have no pictures. Will have to get some pictures soon—I have lots of almost-finished items to share.


Our little SFG continues to flourish thrive grow. Most of it. The spinach all bolted, the cucumbers I think are not going to be coming up, the pepper plants have not really grown bigger than they were as starts. The leeks look more like blades of grass. The broccoli almost all died. Other than that…

I posted before about our onions flowering. Apparently, they are not in fact supposed to do that. We tried pulling one anyway. Lots of stalk, little onion. But it tasted fine in some guacamole.









The zucchini (we think) is blossoming, the snap peas are sweet and crisp, the lettuce has composed many a salad, and we have the prettiest, if not necessarily most edible, bok choy ever.









On the fruit front, as long as you only want one or two berries a day, our garden can keep you satisfied. Three or so strawberries, a blueberry, a (small) handful of raspberries, black currants, and the mysterious goumi berry.















We are hoping for a bumper crop of tomatoes, for now at least they smell terrific. Tomato is my favorite smell.










C and a friend at the penguin exhibit at the zoo. C in “princess” face paint at the strawberry festival. M and G goofing around at the Bothell July 4th parade.









Around the house

Fun with a bubble blowing toy, until baby sister tries to grab it. We see this face A LOT from C.







M loves to be outside—always wants to be sprayed with the hose, stays very busy with her cart. Oh, and humorous attempts to solve a “pants too long” issue. 









M continues to figure out how popsicles work.







Also…C suffered and then recovered from some sort of rash (allergic reaction to sunscreen? no clue…but we are just using the chemical free Burt’s Bees on her for now), won the Great Imagination award at camp (but also got in trouble for, prepare yourself—kicking someone), M has become a climber extraordinaire, we have had about 30 straight days of sunshine and general great weather (although the rain is expected to return this week), and the cat seems to have mellowed nicely—whether from loneliness during our Boston trip or because G insisted on letting her outside a bit, we don’t know. 

This week, G is out of town. C has a special ceramics camp (I think it is mostly painting pre-made ceramics, but she will still love that) and starts swimming classes. Oh, and M turns 15 months. So hopefully my posting won’t be so shoddy.