Sunday, November 28, 2010


We won't have a backyard at the new house.  At the new house it's more like a side yard.  Maybe we'll call it the garden, instead of the side yard.  Side yard sounds rather silly.

Here's one thing I will really, really miss about the old house:

Backyard.  Private.  Fenced in.  The perfect size for playing.  No matter if you are 3 years old or 33 years old.

The Days before the Move

Moving Day is Monday, November 29th.  Not really sleeping so well these days.  I've been planning for moving day for so long that I forgot about the days JUST before Moving Day.  The days when our house is filled with boxes and even if we are really organized, I start to feel claustrophobic.

This photo is from our move from Munich to Denver.  How do you like that big roll of bubble wrap on the right had side of the photo?  I'd like to say it's easier this time when we are (only) moving across town.  But this time, we are doing a lot more work ourselves.  And we've had two years of collecting more piccolini stuff.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Glass Shower Doors

More on my like/dislike list:

Oh boy, I can just hear the designer who suggested putting glass shower doors on this tub.  "Such a beautiful, unique glass block window!   Let's fill the room with light!"

And it IS pretty cool looking.  The problem is the functioning.  Just try to give piccolini baths.  They're hard to reach when they are in the tub.  They hit things against the glass.  They grab hold of the glass to get in and out of the tub.  They lick the glass instead of sitting on the toilet.   And just imagine if the glass ever comes out of the track!  This is one item we might actually disassemble if we were living here much longer.

Dimmable Light Switch

I'm making lists of things I like and dislike about our current abode. You know, to help me adjust to the idea of moving.  Here's one I'm not going to miss:

First, the 2 year old learns to turn the light switches on and off.  On and off.  On and off.

Then, the 2 year old turns 3 years old.  He learns to turn to lights up and down.  Up and down.  Up and down.

Then, the 3 year old gets imaginative and it's day, sunset, and night.  And sunrise.  And day.  And sunset!  And night!!  And sunrise!!!  Day again!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lost Socks

Do you think your washing machine is eating your socks?  Well, it probably is.  Check out this podcast from Sendung mit der Maus, a German children's program.  It's only about 2 minutes long.

You don't need to understand German to understand that you are NOT getting your sock back.  Unless you repair washing machines professionally.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Moving Slowly

When I was in high school, I took the ASVAB.  It's a test for those who are intending to go into the military. I never had any intention of doing military service, but I was one of those kids who liked taking  standardized tests.   I seem to remember the test being sold to us as some sort of reliable way to test our aptitude for various vocations.  And I thought that sounded interesting.  What will you be when you grow up?  Apparently, I was well suited for a "mechanical" career.

My guidance counselors called me "goal-oriented" on my college applications and off I went to college, then grad school, and then I got myself a professional stamp and some letters after my name.  None of which helps me at all in my current life as a stay-at-home-mom.  And lately, I'm pretty sure that being goal-oriented and mechanically-inclined are two character traits working directly against my success as a SAHM.  Our "best" days around here are when I have no plans to execute and there are no details to figure out.

Case in point: packing for our upcoming move.  Today, I thought I would tackle (with the piccolini, of course) two bookshelves in our basement.  Before I began, I hoed and hummed a little bit about the keeping the books.  Most - almost all - are from the days before the piccolini.   If I ever use them again, I'll be surprised.  But am I ready to part with them?  The answer came back a definitive, sentimental no.

While Noah was at school, I did my planning.  Measure the books, decide on the perfect box size, buy the boxes (much easier with only Mattias in tow!), haul the boxes home and to the basement, set up a safe place for Mattias to play, pack according to subject... one box done...Mattias is fussing, feed him...time to go pick up Noah at school.  That part went Really Well.  I was feeling good.

Home with Noah.

"Noah, you know what we are going to do?"
"What, Mommy?"
"Pack some boxes."
"Yay!  I'm a good helper, Mommy."
"I know, Noah."
"Mommy, let me help!  Let me help!"
"Okay, Noah, we're going to put all the reference books in this box." I put two books in a box.
"No! No! Let me do it!  Let me do!"
Noah dumps three thick dictionaries into the box.
"Ahhh...okay, but these books are heavy.  One at a time..."
"Like at the library?"
Noah puts a little travel dictionary in the bottom of the box, followed by a big book on top.
"Noah, let's put the big books on the bottom." I take a book....
"I want to do it!  I want to do it!!"
I give him the book, Noah puts the book in the box.

I hand him another book.
He puts it in the box carefully.  But it doesn't fit well the way he has rotated the book.  It's driving me nuts, so I reach in and rotate the book.
"No! No!  I want to do it!  I want to do it!!"
Noah grabs another big book in a jacket; it slips out of it's jacket as he puts it in the box.
"Oops - oops - oops - stop, honey - no, don't put it in the box like that..."
The book jacket folds and crinkles as he drops it into the box.
I reach in to rescue the book.
"I want to do it!  I want to do it!"
"Okay, let's take the book out and fix the jacket..."
"What jacket?"
The poor book!!  The poor jacket!   I must rescue it!  I'm sentimentally keeping these books, remember?  I reach in...
"No!  No!  No!!  I wanna do it!!!"
"Now we tape the box closed."
"I want to do it.  Can I do it, Mommy?"
"Hmmm... tape is for grownups."
"Why, Mommy, why is tape for grownups?"
"Because is has this sharp cutter on it?  I don't want you to hurt yourself."
"I can do it, Mommy.  I'm really careful."
"You can hold the box closed while I tape it." Yes, brilliant!  "Ummm.  Noah, can you move your hand a little bit?  Ummm.  Can you hold it at the ends, over there?"
"No, Mommy.  I need to hold it here."
"It's more helpful if you hold it at the end..."
"I can't, Mommy."

Do you think the books need to be well packed if I donate them?  I've got a lot books here.  And at this rate of packing, we won't be moving until next spring.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Enamel Bowl

I love this enamel bowl.  It was Fritz's grandmother's.  To me, the simplicity is beautiful: red on the outside, white inside, and the little black rim.  Smooth continuous surface that curls at the rim.  I like to imagine this design and color changes are directly connected to the process by which these bowls were manufactured. It's probably just wishful thinking, however.  I'd love a whole set like this.  So far, the only place I've found them is ebay.   Most of the ebay ones are not in very good condition.  I've always thought of this one as being rather rough - but it looks like a superstar by comparison.  I'm hoping some fancy kitchen store adds them to their inventory in the next few years.  These things cycle through, right?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hour Gained

In spite of his cold, Fritz rallied the piccolini at 5:30 this morning to make bacon AND pancakes.  They even had to go to the grocery store to BUY the bacon, because, duh, vegetarian-mommy-shoppers don't buy bacon.  Luckily, the grocery store was open at 6 am.

As if that wasn't enough, Fritz then vacuumed all the floors and cleaned the bathroom.  And it's not even lunchtime.  The bathroom must have been pretty bad because Noah noticed the toilet was clean.

I helped out by taking photos and writing this blog entry.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Comando Crawling

After a month of pushing himself backwards across the floor, 7 month-old Mattias is pulling himself forward.  It's comando-style crawling. I have high hopes we might see real crawling in the next two weeks.  Why?  Because in addition to forward-comando-crawling, he's backwards-real-crawling. Ah ha!

I know lots of parents bemoan the beginning of locomotion.  But I couldn't wait for Noah to crawl.  He seemed frustrated by his inability to move.  When Noah finally figured it out, he seemed soooo happy to have the independence.  Mattias?  Well, he's pretty happy about his new-found locomotion.  But honestly, I don't think Mattias is nearly as bored or frustrated as Noah was at this age.  Because Mattias has a big brother.  Noah's 3 year-old antics keep Mattias totally entertained, crawling or not.

Having two piccolini of different ages is convenient.   I wish I had figured this out when Noah was a baby.  I would have arranged playdates with the neighbors' preschoolers (instead of the babies).

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Moon in the Suncatcher

My grandmother recently moved out of her large ranch home and into assisted living. Last winter was especially difficult for her.  Even for a fully functioning adult, it's lonely when the snowdrifts cover the cornfields in Iowa.

This fall has been full of preparations.  Most of them focused around the pragmatic issues of how - exactly - one reduces 2000+ sf of life's belongings to 800sf.  We've inherited a couple sentimental items in the process.

One item is this suncatcher.  I hung it above the kitchen sink in our house, just as my grandmother had hung it above her kitchen sink.  Noah asked me, "why is there a MOON in a SUNcatcher?"

Isn't is funny the way our minds categorize things?  When I saw the suncatcher design, my first thought was: When was the moon one of a dozen popular kitsch designs?  The 80s?  The 90s?  Is this retro yet?

A better question: When did my thinking become too complicated to see simple connections (or contradictions)?