photo courtesy of Fine Design Camper Sales
Orientation at Dorothy’s preschool went fabulously. We’re so excited for her to attend this great program. I feel like the teachers share my values and that she’s really going to benefit from this year or two, and that the harmony between the school’s values and mine should make an easy transition on to homeschool if that is indeed the route we take. Hooray for the start of something wonderful and new!
At orientation they told us each child needs a satchel-style bag and a resting rug. I’d already taken care of the bag, but she didn’t have a rug yet. I wasn’t sure what the other kids would have–if everyone else had a plain bath towel, I didn’t want my little princess to tramp in with some fussy handmade setup that would make us seem show-offish or materialistic. But the example our teacher showed us of a resting rug was actually a simple little floor quilt with a hook for hanging on their little hooks, so I decided to fix Dorothy up with one on that model. We tucked the baby in for a nap and then headed downstairs to the fabric stash where Dorothy selected purple as a primary color, and I dug out several fabric scraps, some hand-me-down fabric, a thrifted shower curtain, an old stained tablecloth, and two thrifted sheets that all came together in a pleasantly purple way. I just cut 3 inch strips of various lengths to make an intentionally haphazard stripe pattern, and I like the way it turned out. It’s solid purple on the back and I sandwiched an old stained bath towel inside to make it comfy for lying on the preschool floor during their wind-down time. She loves it and has slept on top of it in bed the last two nights. I told her when she lays on it she’ll feel like Mommy is giving her a great big hug.
And here’s a little pirate booty! I crocheted dark grey longies with a skull and crossbones motif on the bum when I found out I was pregnant with a boy, last fall. I was concerned he’d grow out of them before cool enough weather came, but fortunately I could still stuff him into them (and enjoy seeing how cute they looked) yesterday.
I don’t think they’d be good in a mixed drink, but these icy cubes of mushy squash are making a small member of my family very happy. He’s been gumming at crunchy breadsticks, sucking down water through a straw, shoving handfuls of banana in his face, and enjoying these nasty-looking cubes of squash (straight out of the freezer) in his mesh baby feeder.
We made our bi-monthly pilgrimage to Costco today and had kind of miserable time. Usually it’s fun to go to Costco; we buy $1.99 pizza slices for lunch, taste the samples, browse through the seasonal items and feel all mid-size-city-middle-class-suburbany, in a good way. Today was a different story. The baby started fussing before Dorothy and I were even done with our pizza, was grumping and lunging for his mama from the front of the cart before we left the paper products, and was full-on crying by the time we reached the massive vats of baking flour. The section with the granola bars–the last area we shop–saw me trying to bounce an unhappy 20 pound baby on my shoulder, maneuver a very full cart through the aisles, and herd a sample-stuffed 4-year-old to the checkout line. Both kids went home and slept all afternoon, and I figured our unusual Costco meltdown must of been related to the baby’s lack of a good morning nap, even though he’s usually pretty easy going about his sleep schedule. Then this evening I had the baby on my knee and was wiping remnants of (my) sweet potato fries off his chin and “recycling” them by poking them in his mouth when I felt–OMG!–a sharp protrusion on his bottom gum. The baby has his first tooth! I held him down and pried his mouth open like any good mother and took a nice look, and there it was. A tooth. Dorothy was 11 months before she popped out her first little chomper, so I would never have connected the poor babe’s miserable scene at Costco (or the subsequent extra-long nap) with teething pain, but obviously it was related. Poor kid. But wow! We have a tooth. It feels momentous.
Solid food has arrived in Worth’s life! I was planning to wait until his six month birthday, next week, but after two days of listening to him emit annoyed pterodactyl noises and pound his chubby fists against the metal table as a soundtrack to every bite we ate I decided to introduce a few days early. He can sit unassisted, has more than doubled his birth weight, and whoa–he was eager. I’ve been letting him gnaw on a spoon while sitting in his high chair for a few weeks, and he’s pretty much got the spoon-to-mouth thing down. (We do baby self-feeding.) So now the experiments truly begin! He actually seemed to hate last night’s experience with mushy sweet potato–I don’t know if he didn’t like the feeling of it on his hands or what. But we gave him another chance today at lunch and it was much better. He may have just been tired last night. So the bibs I made months ago came out, and we’re on to a whole new phase of baby life.Speaking of messes, the advent of baby meals in my house again has made me remember just how glad I am that we don’t use paper towels. We made a switch away from them about three years ago, and it makes me wonder how they ever caught on in the first place–they are horrifyingly expensive and they simply don’t wipe up messes as well. I keep a little stack of clean rags in the same spot we used to keep paper towels and we just reach for a clean one any time we need one. I keep a little re-purposed trash can next to our real trash can to hold the dirty laundry. If I get a rag totally wet (like rinsing off chunks of sweet potato and then wiping up the floor) I hang it over the edge of the laundry can to dry so we don’t get mildew in between washings. Since we’re already washing cloth diapers every couple days I just throw our rags in with them, but when we weren’t washing dipes I put rags in with towels or just ran a separate load as needed–it never seems burdensome. We have several dozen rags, which are actually inexpensive white washcloths, so we can grab a fresh one as often as wish, and I have only white so I can use bleach on them occasionally. It seemed a little wasteful in the beginning to buy so many washcloths, since I could have found things to cut up into rags, but for me to actually sit them out in the open in the kitchen (key to actually using them), they needed to look nice too. Seems like a fair trade-off given how many paper towels we would have used in the last three years!
A sort of rambly blog post tonight. The rest of the family is asleep but I’m up, kind of on edge, watching over this huge pile of boxes ready to be put in storage tomorrow. I’m glad our realtor is having us put all this stuff away, actually, because it is a good reminder that we probably don’t need to own much of anyway. I’m not an anti-stuff purist (if vintage glass dishes put a smile on my face, is their existence in my home really something to be ashamed of, even though I already own other dishes?), but I don’t want needless clutter in my space, or to be caught up in its acquisition or preservation just for the sake of it. It’s a small leap from “can I store this for 3-6 months” to “can I live without this altogether?” So maybe after this move I’ll shed some of these things for good and feel lighter for it.
In the meantime, it’s prime time to enjoy my favorite sandwich. I didn’t grow a garden this year because of our housing situation, but we’ve still been able to get our hands on enough fresh, local tomatoes to make my very favorite grilled cheese sandwich. It’s mutli-grain bread brushed in olive oil, the inside smeared with pesto, then melty cheese and slices of juicy ripe tomato. Yum, yum, yum. So tasty that eating it just wasn’t enough–I had to be a dork and photograph it for my blog. 🙂
This tank was an embellishment from earlier in the summer. I thought I’d photograph it on me to show how the sun design wraps around, but I never remember to. I love how it turned out and I’ve worn it over and over. It was another $5 tank top from Target, and I used a compass to make pencil circles on fabric for the sun design, cut them out and attached them to the shirt with double-sided fusible web (Wonder Under), then zig-zagged around them on the machine. It was inspired by a beautiful shirt I saw on someone at an art fair last year.
We had a fun weekend with a happy baptism celebration and out-of-town guests. We’re having a summer that is fun but never lazy. So lately I’ve been finding my afternoon energy in this yummy blended drink that seems much more appealing to me in this nearly 100 degree weather than a hot cup o’ joe. I blend 10 ice cubes with 2/3 cup of cold coffee, 1 tablespoon of powdered milk and 1 tablespoon organic chocolate syrup. Yum. Ordinarily powdered milk is not something I’d consider putting in a drink (I keep it on hand to thicken homemade yogurt), but this drink is too watered down if I use regular milk and too fatty if I use cream. This version gives me just the right caffeine kick, tastes just the right amount chocolately, and is only 75 calories. Happy mama.
We watched a Youtube video of ear piercing, I was frank about the fact that it does hurt, but she was motivated. I wonder if a child at Bible School last week had earrings, but Dorothy didn’t mention it. To make a long story short, Dorothy ended up getting one ear pierced and then changed her mind about it. Although I’d stayed quite neutral to that point (I was neither discouraging or encouraging the piercing–this was her thing), once we had one earring in I thought it would be a bit odd to walk away without both done. I hugged, consoled, bribed her with new earrings and ice cream. She sat back up in the chair to get the second one in, but just couldn’t go through with it. She’s four, after all, and it does hurt. The young woman doing the piercing felt like if I could hold her still long enough, she could just get it in there (I’m sure she’d done this before), but there was no way I was forcing my kid to get an ear pierced. What a breach of trust! So we left, with one earring.
Unfortunately we’d parked right in front of the restaurant and it also had outdoor seating. I never turned around to see how many people were watching us, but we were only a few feet away so I’m sure we had at least some corner-of-the-eye audience, which is just what you want when you’re trying to clean poo off yourself and your son on a public sidewalk. I grabbed the bag I’d packed for the day and located wipes, a bag and a clean diaper, but to my chagrin I realized Worth’s change of clothes had been left with some other items in the bag I’d packed for church yesterday and accidentally abandoned under our pew. Never fear, I thought, because I keep an emergency change of clothes for both children in a bag in the back of the car.
I fetched the emergency stash and pulled out…a teeny tiny newborn jammie that I could not even have tugged over the feet of my enormous 4-month-old chubster (please notice his tummy rolls in the photo above, jammie laid out on the car seat to show scale). Too bad I hadn’t updated that emergency stash lately! So I scrubbed him down with baby wipes–poo-soaked shortalls pulled down, poo all over lower half of baby; poo-soaked onesie pulled up, poo all over upper half of baby. But I had a Costco pack of wipes and I did get him all cleaned off, in the front seat of the car, with an audience of sidewalk diners, and put him in a fresh diaper. He looked radiantly happy and grinned and cooed at my the whole time I tried to clean my own skirt off with baby wipes, napkins and a bottle of water, all still on the sidewalk and with an audience. At this point I was both totally grossed out and starving. There wasn’t much else I could do, so I walked back into the diner with my soaked but still visibly dirty skirt and my nearly-naked baby. This time our neighbors pointedly avoided looking at me, which might have been for the best. I choked down what turned out to be very disappointing french toast (fried Wonderbread, anyone?) and tried to laugh.
A couple months ago Dorothy and I repotted some basil I’d grown from seed into bigger pots. It was really ready to cut and eat a week or two ago, but we finally got around to it today. Dorothy decided we should eat it on pizza, so tonight I baked vegetable pizzas with pesto, yellow squash and sundried tomatoes. Rob and I thought it was delicious; Dorothy picked off the visible vegetables, dug in, then declared that our basil was “nasty.” Luckily I’d thought to bake a separate pizza with more traditional toppings. If you’ve never made pesto at home, it’s fun and easy. Fill a food processor bowl most of the way with clean basil leaves, then drizzle with olive oil, throw in a handful of pine nuts, a handful of shredded parmesan cheese (the real stuff, not its bastard cousin that comes in a plastic can), sprinkle with salt and whirl. Yum.
So yesterday I went shopping with my mother. Being the generous Nana she is, she bought Dorothy some new clothes from Children’s Place–clothes Dorothy picked out herself. The girl selected one of her new outfits this morning and put it on first thing, instead of the usual time spent lolling in jammies. She put on this shirt with this matching (skimpy) shrug. My first thought was, sheesh, my mother bought my daughter hootchie-girl clothes! Why must little girl clothes be so much like skanky teenager clothes? Can’t they be little and non-sexy for just a few years? Then I got totally knocked off my high horse. My kid said, “Mommy, in this outfit I look just like you! See this shirt? It has a nursing bra!”
All the sunhat-making I did a couple months ago for the kids inspired me to alter the pattern a bit for myself. So I did, and this is the result. It’s made from one of the sheets from my thrift store buying spree of a few weeks ago. I have, it turns out, a particularly small head (spare me the jokes–it’s too easy) and thus have a very difficult time finding hats that fit. I adjusted the toddler pattern up just a wee bit, and now I have a hat to fit my own just-bigger-than-a-toddler (oy) head.