Jaded Optimist

Mothering, making, and generally blathering on

All of a sudden, fall September 29, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:54 pm

Rainy, cold, getting dark early…yep, it is fall in Seattle. The good weather (sunny, 70s) lasted until this past weekend, but now fall has settled in. All of a sudden we noticed that the leaves have started changing. This is the last weekend for a bunch of farmers’ markets that I frequent (big sob). But fall does bring one big thing…

Our 10 year anniversary!

Where does the time go? 10 years seems like a big deal, so we are leaving town for a long weekend…without the girls. I am fairly apprehensive about this, having never spent a night away from C, much less little M. Grammie and Grampie will be here with the girls, taking over school, homework, birthday party attending, and diaper changing duties for a bit. Hopefully there won’t be too much crying (by anyone). G and I are headed to San Francisco for some good food and hopefully a last gasp of good weather too.

What I won’t miss? Foot stomping, poopy diapers, the endless asking of girls to sit down, sit still, finish their milk, and stop picking their nose, that no-fail 6:30 alarm clock (which often still occurs after a 4 am practice run), the whining that occurs during hair (C) and teeth (M) brushing, reading the same book for the eighth or ninth time in a row, 20 minutes of scraping food off the floor after a 5 minute meal, making a big, fresh, veggie rich meal only to hear “but what am Iiiiiiiii having for dinner?”, and did I mention poopy diapers?

What will I miss?    









Do you think maybe they’ll take a call?









I worry most about little M of course, although at least Saturday and Sunday she will have her big sister looking out for her.






She does love that big sister—now known as something like “sha sha” in little kid language.

However, whenever I think of sleeping in and eating at a restaurant without kids…I get a little bit giddy. Hopefully my parents will still be speaking to us when we return (especially as they are staying on another three days after that). Look at those girls..angels, I tell you, just little angels. No worries Mom and Dad!


Random September 16, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:38 pm

When we were visiting the grandparents, C’s grandma was telling her about a tree out back that had borers and was not doing so well. Grandpa had cut off some branches in the spring, but it still looked like it was going to have to be cut down. C piped up “Don’t worry Grandma! Maybe the tree will persevere!” Using persevere in a sentence, correctly, unprompted at age 5 3/4? I guess reading to your kids works.

While we were driving home from the first day of school, C was playing with an acorn she found. She was scraping it with her nail and getting dirt all over her uniform. C, says I, you are getting dirt all over! “This isn’t dirt mommy,” saith C, “it is nature crumbs.” What do you think dirt is? [Much smaller voice]: “Nature crumbs.”

M has learned the word “hot”. She loves to eat my food—particularly soup, multigrain hot cereal, and roasted carrots. She wants each bite fresh (i.e., you can’t scoop a bunch in her bowl at once) and for each bite you put in her bowl she looks up solemnly and asks “ha?” She has also started to use it when entering a car that has been sitting in the sun.

I have been lifting weights at the Y for a few weeks and there is nothing like a small room filled with classic rock, someone discussing tricked out Hummers, and a musclebound fellow in a Crocodile Dundee hat trying to impugn the competitiveness of the other muscle bound guys to motivate you to finish your routine quickly and get the hell out. Better than our old Somerville (well, strictly, Medford) gym though which was classic rock, neck tattoos and extreme grunting. That place you were pretty convinced there were just jars of steroids in the men’s locker room. The Y locker room is filled with naked old people (at least the women’s is, so I assume the same of the men’s). I am just getting back into lifting, but the program I am following promises that in a few months I will be able to do unassisted pull-ups. I have never done an unassisted pull-up (even for the Presidential Test of Physical Fitness I did the lame “arm hang”) so we’ll see what happens.

I hate to admit to this publicly (or, to you, my three readers), but the kitchen is suddenly filled with fruit flies. They are like that though—one day, you think maybe there is a fruit fly, and then the next…that’s biology for you. The place has been scoured for rotten fruit (none found), the cleaning lady came today, but still there they are. The web, in its infinite wisdom, suggests apple cider vinegar as a lure (catch more flies with honey doesn’t work for the fruit variety apparently). Lacking apple cider vinegar, I attempted to use Umeboshi Plum vinegar (what? not a pantry staple at your house?) but a one night trial proved it is not an adequate substitute. Before cracking open my bottle of Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar I decided to drag the girls to the grocery store and shell out the 97 cents or whatever for the apple cider variety. I am hiding out upstairs right now, a bit afraid to brave the kitchen again in the morning. Hopefully they will be dead and not angry—and organized.

Two of our best tomato plants fell over (due to weight) while we were in Cleveland. The tomatoes continue to ripen but since they are closer to the ground a different problem has arisen. Tomato looks beautiful…until…aaaaaaaaaaa.






Oddly, the garden is undergoing some sort of rebirth—the pepper plants that remained two inches tall the entire summer suddenly started sprouting peppers, the tiny, stunted cucumber plant had blossoms today, and a second dahlia finally started blooming!








Our area has way more spiders than any place I can remember living. The backyard is filled with them—between any two vertical items there is a web and with a fairly plump fellow like this one. Makes harvesting the tomatoes…a bit questionable for one freaked out by spiders such as myself. If only they were close enough to the house to get all the @#)$(@*#$)(* fruit flies. On the other hand, we also have a lot of honeybees, and not everyone does, so that is, uh, optimistic-izing. Or something. 






G is gone this week so I’ve been a bit frazzled. Bedtime has not been going so well. But this one always seems chipper during the day—who can be grouchy around this face? (A: me) Also caught the girls in some spontaneous yoga. That is some bend, eh? (C’s form is usually better, but she was on to me with the camera.)


My Big Girls September 8, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 10:49 pm

This one started K today:









She is quite excited about wearing a uniform and had her first day outfit picked out weeks in advance. She agreed to pictures with and without the sweater, but as you can see from picture #2 didn’t want any “in progress” photos in between. The first day at her school is just a half day with parents staying and an assembly and picnic lunch. There are 16 in her class (9 boys and 7 girls) including a few friends and one young man she has had run-ins with before. Hopefully that won’t be a problem this year. Her teacher seems to run a pretty tight ship but I think C will do just fine.

This one turned 17 months old:








She is a cute thing but can bring the attitude pretty quickly. For some reason, the library is a favorite tantrum spot. At 17 months, M:

–still in 12-18 mos. size clothes. No real idea about height or weight. Eyes still blue, hair blonder than ever (swimming + sun we think).

–blows kisses, gives big hugs, semi-willingly holds hands while walking, loves baby swings and slides, insists on climbing up and down stairs (and really walking everywhere), holds out ouchies for kisses, struggles like a wet cat for diaper changing time

–takes a wee nap every day but is getting pretty good about bedtime. Our trip, with a redeye flight and time change, has screwed things up a bit, but overall she goes to bed willingly (sometimes even reaching for the crib) and sleeps through the night about 1/2 of the time. However last night I did spend an hour trying to sleep on her floor with one arm reaching up through the bars of the crib to hold her hand. So, you know, things aren’t perfect 😉

–is getting used to the daycare at the Y for my thrice weekly 45 minute workouts. Again, the trip may have screwed with this (we’ll find out on Thursday) but she tends to let out a big sob when I drop her off and be totally fine and playing when I pick her up.

–likes ketchup on her fries and butter on her bread. Big fan of the dairy, grain, and fruit groups. Will eat any kind of ice cream at any time. Pretty willing to try anything (i.e., has had sushi) but tends to chew things and then let them fall back out of her mouth. It is like eating with a combination wine taster/food mill and makes for some pretty disgusting clean up experiences post-meal. She also lacks an understanding of the concept of “unripe” and thus can be found plucking white strawberries and hard tomatoes out of the garden and eating them.

–finally got that 8th tooth.

–signs a little (more, all done) says “da da” all day long, a little “ma ma” here and there. Also says dog and cat, but makes the same noise for all animal noises (sounds like a little cough). Seems to understand that most of her important thoughts can be communicated with a combination of vigorous pointing and screams.

–loves books, Little People, sand, stacking puzzles, unloading cupboards, the cat, and whatever C is playing with.

–will play on her own quite contentedly until she realizes that I am doing something in the kitchen involving hot pans and/or sharp knives, at which point she must be held right then.

–puts on all sorts of hats, shoes, and jewelry to play dress up but continually takes off sun hats outside and her normal shoes while in the car.

–is growing up way, way too fast.


Home again, home again, jiggity jog September 7, 2009

Filed under: Personal — bonniep @ 11:10 pm

After eight days in Cleveland, we have returned to Seattle rain, fallen over tomato plants, and a last minute run for new school shoes. Tomorrow C starts kindergarten and M turns 17 months. Never a dull moment around here.

And never a dull moment in Cleveland either. C and M had a great time and were pretty good on both flights (even the redeye out). If there was a theme to the week, it was ice cream. One day they even had ice cream twice! Other than that…two sets of grandparents, other family members, beach, hiking, Amish country, zoo, Natural History Museum, backyard wildlife, a huge playground, friends from out of town, a dog, a frog, and did I mention ice cream??

First, the coordinating outfits I made for C and M—a patchwork skirt for C from a Pink Fig pattern and a dress for M, both using a fabric line called Good Folks. I love this fabric! I don’t really have a good shot of M’s dress…will have to address that later. She got a lot of loving from the second cousins at our mini family reunion. C debuted another homemade skirt on the trip, but I have no pics of that one. Again, later.








My cousin french-braided C’s hair…the pressure is on now for me to learn how to do it too.







“Hiking” at Nelson’s Ledges. Pic by me is all about the family, pic by my dad is all about the rocks. Hmmm.






Afterwards, to Amish country where M quite enjoyed my Blue Moon ice cream. As did her sweater.







G learned about maintenance for a large sized lawn, C modeled unusual lawn maintenance attire. Later Grampy found his resident toad.










Fun at a huge playground.








Beach day! It was a Wednesday after school had started, so although the weather was pretty perfect the beach was not crowded at all. C and M played for hours in the sand and braved the water as well. We did learn an important lesson: don’t let the man with the super farmer’s tan take sole responsibility for covering a child with sunscreen. He was such a good kid burier though we had to forgive him. M was all about the snacks. Some friends joined us from Columbus later in the day and the kids all enjoyed playing together.















Last day, we visited a neighborhood beach where C got to play again with her second cousin once removed (I think I got that right) which she later noted as her favorite part of the whole trip (sorry grandparents!) M dashed in and out of the water, getting pretty soaked and requiring significant sand and rock removal. C had grand plans for all the rocks she collected, but we did manage to leave them behind when she wasn’t looking.








One of the things I did while home was unpack many of the boxes of my stuff that has been in storage in my parents’ house since they moved when I was away at college at age 20. I unearthed many treasures, including an illustrated “romantic mystery” entitled Donut Bust which I wrote at age 12, letters from my grade school penpal in Ireland, and my favorite childhood doll, complete with her custom made wardrobe from my paternal grandmother. Softina has now become C’s favorite doll and we have grand plans to whip her up some new outfits. Well, C’s plans might be grander than mine. For now, the plan is unpacking, laundry, and figuring out how to get C to kindergarten by 8:45 every morning. Wish us luck.