Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Indoor Energy Burn

I'm in frantic mode lately. This mode seems to happen when 1) Fritz has a lot of deadlines at work, 2) one of the kids is under-the-weather, 3) one of the kids is in a high(er) maintenance developmental stage, 4) one of the kids refuses to sleep/nap, 5) I've made some volunteer commitment, 6) we have house guests, or 7) too much time indoors. (Wait a minute... am I always in frantic mode?) Well, all seven of those things are happening now and might continue for the next FOUR weeks. And then life will simmer back down to normal.

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So, instead of obsessing about it (I really could go on and on...) let me post some photos of the last few weeks. Even if nothing else gets done around here, I will have managed to blog:

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Here's Noah making pasta, our first attempt ever. I think I mentioned that I'm trying to buy stuff at the grocery store that is only one ingredient? Basically, I'm tired of all the indecipherable ingredients on labels. Like a lot of people, we've cut back on the carbs and gluten around here. Fritz and I generally feel better eating less of it; however we're not so radical as to totally eliminate anything from our diet. (Give up cookies? Ha! That's a recipe I would fail!) Also, the kids still love pasta and bread. We do find that we eat less carb-y gluten-y things when we make them ourselves. Maybe you could say that making it ourselves forces us to eat carbs and gluten only in moderation? We tried to make spelt pasta, but the dough was too thick to roll. We gave up on the spelt and used white flour instead. Next time, I would really like to try einkorn instead of white flour. Even with remaking the dough, the whole process was really much simpler than I thought it would be. All that cranking the pasta machine turned out to be a greatly engaging for both the boys.

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Here's another old-fashion, engaging activity. This typewriter was from Fritz's grandmother. As a child, Fritz loved to play on it. I pulled it out of the basement the other day, thinking I could use it as a prop for some cheesy Etsy photos. (Just in case I happen to open an Etsy store, you know.) Then I used the typewriter's case to barricade the bottom of the stairs for Trixie. So the typewriter was just sitting around. Turns out, it makes such a great noise and requires such a good amount of focused effort to strike those keys that an awful lot of child energy can be burned up by typing away. And yup, you can still get semi-visible letters out of the 40 year-old typewriter ribbon.

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Trixie is getting her workout by pushing chairs around the house. If anyone wants to sit at the table,  he or she needs to track down a chair first. Keeps everyone active.

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Or maybe just having an extra dishwasher keeps us on our toes.


Over the years, it has been suggested to me many times that I should only let my children play with one toy at a time, such that they learn to pick their toys and put them away. I'm sure my house would be a lot more organized (and maybe my brain, too), but would my kids still build such cool things? I love this Dock City! For the record, I not only let them play with these toys together, I let them leave it out all night long so they could resume play in the morning. Oh man, I'm such a rebel mom. (Joking!)

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Noah is pretty sure I'm doing everything WRONG on purpose lately. I asked him to hold his upset face yesterday while I got the camera so we could document just what it looks like when I am WRONG. Here it is. Noah took one look at his photo and decided he, himself, Noah Wyse, is hilarious. I'm going to go with that.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines 2014

Noah still doesn't like crafts much, but he's come to accept that he will be forced into crafts on two occasions: 1) friend's birthday parties, for which I insist the party goer make a card for the birthday kid and 2) Valentines Day, when I refuse to buy cards. This year, Mattias needed Valentines cards as well, and luckily for me, he was much more interested in crafting than Noah at the same age.

Here's what we ended up with for Noah:


These are rocks from the yard with fingernail polish hearts (I had to do that part myself), wrapped in tissue paper, tied with a tag stamped "you rock." This idea came about because I recently made these rocks for the boys to help with separation anxiety. They liked the rocks a lot, although I don't think they made much of a dent in the separation anxiety.

Mattias's valentines were a toned-down version of Noah's from 3 years ago. We made these in a single morning, because they're simpler (than Noah's old version) and because Mattias is just happier to craft AND because I'd already spent too much time with Noah and his cards. I taped smarties candies on them, which was probably unnecessary: second child lapse in judgement or something.


I thought about doing the same rock theme for both kids, but decided that giving three- and four-year-olds rocks might not be a good idea. Also, Mattias was pretty sure that "you rock" was literal.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tools to Extract a Lego from a Disk Drive

Oh, brother. Don't try this at home. Unless you're really desperate.

Provided that you can open the drive, just a wee bit, here's what you need:


Maybe the internet has already figured this out. But since I spent about 45 minutes today racking my brain for the solution, I'm going to post it.

Somehow, the DVD drive continues to function. Whew.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Miscellaneous Thoughts for Thursday

I really dislike skinny jeans. Sorry. I think even the models look bad in them. For a long time, I made fun of the models in my head. You know that way they all stood with their toes pointed inwards? Is that how you have to stand to look good in skinny jeans? I'd ask myself. Apparently, the answer is yes, because the models stopped doing that, and it's even more evident (to me) how bad almost everyone looks in skinny jeans. In my opinion. Which you can, and should, take with a grain of salt. Fashionability has always been extremely low on my priority list. I'm one of those people who believes in words like "classic" and "timeless" and "proportionate." In other words, I will never be a fashionista.

***

It was MINUS TWELVE when I dropped Noah off at school today. MINUS TWELVE is cold on a level that we don't usually see around here, especially during daylight hours. During times of unusual cold I try to compensate with comfort foods like soups, homemade bread, warm cookies, hot chocolate, lattes. I try to enjoy a chance to wear my super warm boots and a thick stocking hat and long gloves and a long wool coat. When I was living in Portland, Oregon someone gave me the advice to just gear up for the rain (or wetness!) and it would be okay. And mostly, it was. I find the same is true of the cold. I think I've already covered that I'm not fashionable, so you'll believe me when I tell you that I have a stash of (old) comfort clothing reserved just for weather like this.

***

There's been such a good amount of cold around here this winter, that I'm a little worried about our bamboo.  In this most recent round of cold, it has flopped itself over on the deck like it's defeated. Usually, it stays green all winter; this winter, it's gone brown. Hmm. Instead of getting upset that it's dead, I'm going to take the opportunity to point out that this, THIS, is the reason why bamboo is not invasive in Colorado. I hope. I think. We'll see.

***

Lately, I've begun actively attempting to indoctrinate the children with MY VERSION OF REALITY. Among the common mantras in the household:

  • Oh! Your lego design is MUCH cooler than anything in those lego books!
  • Homemade food is so much yummier than that stuff you buy in boxes at the store. That stuff from the store has SAWDUST in it. (Over the past year, I've lately been attempting to buy only things that are One Ingredient at the store. We're having a lot of homemade goods, including yogurt and bread.  I haven't gotten rid of my favorite Simply Organic Salad Dressing, because it's addictive.)
I do believe that if you say/think/do/imagine enough, it starts to become reality. Within certain parameters, of course. 


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Changes!

I'm spending a good amount of time mediating between Trixie and Mattias lately.

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Mattias hasn't really figured out how to play in Trixie-safe places with Trixie-safe things (i.e., not the floor with legos). And Trixie's abilities are changing so quickly, it's hard to keep up. The 3 year-old is a little panicked. The 9 month-old is ecstatic.

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She loves to play under the table. Loves to pull up on the chairs. Loves to find pieces of food. (Ah-hem.) And then, there was this discovery the other day:

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Today I barricaded the bottom of the stairs and installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs. Mattias had broken our previous baby gate. It pained me a little bit to RE-install a baby gate. I can't be sure how long we used our last baby gate, but it wasn't too long before I felt that teaching Mattias how to properly crawl up and down the stairs was more important than keeping him off the stairs. For now, Trixie protests when we try to have Stair Transversing Lessons, so I guess she's not ready yet. Maybe tomorrow.
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In the meantime, I'll be working on teaching Mattias and Trixie how to play together. It's kind of exciting. Between nursing and being at home, there's been so much mother-baby-mother-baby-mother-baby relationship in the first six months. It can be a little overwhelming, even for me, the third time around. BUT NOW, it's changing. I feel both a relief and excitement to see Trixie expand her social circle and increase her interactions with others. And I'm really happy to facilitate as much as possible.