Thursday, December 16, 2010

3 going on 30

Lunchtime Conversation:

"Mommy, since I pooped in the potty at preschool, can I have a caramel marshmallow after my lunch?"

"Sure, honey. It can be your dessert."

"No, I still want dessert. Nice try, Mommy."

Thursday, December 09, 2010

It's official, she's a part of the family.

Anya's stocking arrived the other day. What a wonderful feeling to hang all of them together!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Obligatory Xmas Card Shot

Christmas 2010, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Turned out pretty good, didn't it?

My dad asked for a family shot, which of course, we didn't have because I'm always behind the camera. So tonight, I learned how to use the timer on my camera. It was late, so the sun was down (ie: after 4:30), but I did the best I could with the light, settings on the camera and iPhoto. Some day I'll figure it all out. But overall, I'm pretty pleased with it.

I love Rowan's feet. And how Lucy snuck in the bottom.

Who knows? Maybe I'll even get off my duff and make it into our own Christmas card. (Don't watch your mailbox. I think my record is Valentine's Day.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rowan's Christmas Email to Santa, 2010

State College, Pennsylvania,
United States

Dear Santa Claus,

My name is Rowan. I am a girl and I am already 3 years old!! I live in the great city of State College. Of course, that's in Pennsylvania, United States, but I'll bet you knew that!! This year I've been so good that my halo is just a teensy weensy bit crooked!

Santa Claus, some things I might like for Christmas this year are:
- Princess DVD;
- Princess computer; and,
- Pillow Pet.

Santa Claus, I almost forgot to say... Santa, I have been learning to go poop and pee in the potty. I'm doing pretty good! I go to preschool and I love it! And I love my dog and Mama and Daddy and Anya. I love funny guys. I hope your reindeer are well.

Love, Rowan

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Little Ballerinas


OK, I stopped. No more microblogging. Yes, it was irritating and dropping my visits. Sorry about that. Follow twitter if you like.

The open house went well. We supposedly had several interested people, and someone called for a showing today. I'm hoping it's someone wanting a second, confirming look before they make an offer. I can dream, right?

Rowan doesn't have dance class this week, for Thanksgiving break, so we're enjoying a relaxing morning. Well, as relaxing as making sure your house looks perfect and doing all the laundry can be. At least I'm still in my jammies at 8:48 AM.

The potty training struggles continue, but I feel like we had a bit of a breakthrough yesterday. She tried really hard to use the potty often, of her own volition. We had one small accident, but she begged to nap in panties, and managed to sleep for 2+ hours without wetting. She still wore a pull-up to bed and wet it, but that's completely understandable. I have no qualms with nighttime help if we can manage to get the day dry and clean.

Anya had her 6 month well visit yesterday, with a CNP who's also a friend from Band. She's perfectly healthy (except for a little patch of dry skin on her leg that we're treating, no big deal) and is officially "so cute, she's a Gerber baby!" She's slowed a little on her growth, down to the 50-53% for height and weight, 78% for head size. Like her sister, her chart is kind of up and down, but this is good for me as she's not yet outgrowing most of her 6 month clothes.

And the BIG NEWS! Anya had her first solids yesterday!!! 6 1/2 months old, organic oat baby cereal. Aaaaaannnndddd... she had absolutely no interest. Barely opened her mouth, thrust them out right away, didn't look interested at all. Didn't protest, but just not into it. She loves to sit in the booster at the table for meals with us, but purely for social reasons. So, we'll try again later.

With her, I've decided to just use Rowan's booster, as it works great for a highchair and takes up so much less space. She sits up fine, can be up at the table or use the tray that comes with it, and it's easily cleaned, so it works fine. Rowan prefers a big chair now, as well as big plates, big forks and spoons, her own cloth napkin and real glass glasses.

She's trying so hard to be a big girl. She talks often of turning 4, then 5, then going to Kindergarten. She can't wait. Just like her Mommy, she loves school and thrives there. I had her first conference this week, and her teacher said Rowan is thrilled to be there and loves everything about school (except going to the potty, but that's nothing new.) I was the same way; go figure I'd become a teacher. She is like me in that she likes a plan, structure, and lots of fun activities--and hates being bored. She's already begging to stay for the preschool lunch bunch and wonders why she can't be there for the afternoon session, too. She just doesn't buy this "Mom likes to have time with you, too" thing.

And yet, she still crawls into my lap every day for a snuggle. I'm treasuring every single one.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Enjoying a Brooklyn Brown Ale. :)
Tried to give Anya her first cereal tonight. 6 1/2 months old, and she still has absolutely no interest. Oh well, fewer dishes for me!

Anya's Devo Dance Party

Anya's Devo Dance Party from Ronica on Vimeo.

I am a cruel, horrible mother who makes my baby groove to music so I can film it and laugh.

Note, while watching this replay, she was dancing to her own music video.
Vacuumed and wiped down the car interior, hosed off the mats. Still kind of gross in there. Wish there was a car detailing fairy.
Just got complimented on my housekeeping by the busybody neighbor who came to the open house. Not sure how I feel about that. :-

Friday, November 19, 2010

Is this microblogging horribly irritating? And other stuff.

I'm sorry. Yeah. I was getting a bit stressed out because I wasn't updating the blog often enough (and didn't want to get in trouble with Blogher), so I pinged it. I hope it's not driving you crazy. It's much easier to ping than update all my social networking sites, so I've been lazy.

But here's what's happening in my life.

We found a house. Did I tell you this? I can't remember, and am too lazy to scroll back to find out. Yeah. So. We were thinking of redoing our flooring (because carpet is gross and never ever ever gets clean) and some windows in our townhome because we thought that we were stuck here anyway, might as well make the best of it. Then our friend (a mortgage guy) told us we could likely get a bigger mortgage for close to our current payment--one that would actually buy a house. Like with a yard. And a big living room. Bedrooms for each kid so naptime isn't such a crazy juggle. A basement. And a garage. A deck. Did I mention the backyard?

So we started looking. Didn't take long. 3rd of the first 4 houses we saw. Perfect. They are holding it for us as "sale pending" until January, but we have to sell this one.

So, we've been cleaning, magic erasing, touch up painting, staging, storing extra junk off site, breaking the attic stairway and generally just finding out how filthy our home really was. (It was nasty. Really gross. And once again, I really hate carpet.) Worked like crazy, manically. Poor Rowan, babysat by the TV during much of this--she really was a trooper. So it's ready. We had an open house.

Nobody showed up.

Yesterday, I got my first call for a showing. I was over the moon!

Today, they cancelled.


So that's what's up. It's like a state of suspended animation. I know it hasn't been long, but it's still frustrating. So close, yet so far. I know it hasn't been long yet, but still.

We've bought our tickets to go back to North Dakota for Christmas, and coupled with earnest money on the house, Dr. B's summer funds still not included in his paycheck, several consulting jobs that still haven't paid him, various expenses and more to come--well, we're broke. It sucks, big time. I am a bit frustrated because really there's nothing I can do about it. Christmas will be really, really lean this year. Thankfully, they're probably too little to notice. Our family understands that our presence is their present. At least I hope they do.

And for Thanksgiving, I have zero motivation. We've decided on Enchiladas. I might make them with ground turkey. You know, because it's festive. We had the church Thanksgiving dinner last week, so I figure that counts.


OK, it's out of my system now. I think.

So here's some cuteness to make up for my irritatingness. Will you forgive me?

Best of the Day. Not saying much.
Rowan's first PT conference. She loves school and is doing well with everything. No surprise, but I wish she behaved the same at home! ;-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chocolate swirl marshmallows are surprisingly delicious.
First showing tomorrow! Woot! Finally. (Runs to frantically clean things again.)
Field trip to Giant (grocery store). Guess who ended up wearing the paper hat?
Enjoying a calm morning. Bribed Rowan with a surprise if she was cooperative and threw no tantrums. So far so good.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Watching Muppets from Space with Rowan while we eat supper. This is my favorite movie soundtrack ever.
Anya just rolled front to back! Yes, I know she's six months old, but she beat her sister by 2 months! We're a bit roll-challenged.
Checked her and walked back out of the room. She fell asleep again. Phew! Must break this weird nap cycle.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wow. 800 mg. of Advil is really something. I feel so amazingly good right now. Absolutely nothing hurts! And both my kids are napping! Woot!
Dentist adjusted and gave me big Advils since I couldn't get to the store until tomorrow. Can be tough on the stomach, good reason for cake.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rowan, upon seeing drawings of reindeer: "Look, Mom! Feather Goats!!!" Imagination is awesome. :)
Stuck my kid on the potty chair with _Babar: the Movie_ on her Daddy's laptop playing on the lid of the toilet. I call this parenting.
Worked my fingers to the bone for the open house, and no one showed up. Argh. I declare tomorrow yoga pants, ice cream and boob tube day.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Anya slept for 13 hours. Huh. So that's where Jean-Paul Gaultier got the idea for those cone bras.
3 hour rehearsal: just what I want to be doing the day before perfect strangers are coming into my house to judge me and my housecleaning abilities. :- *tries to let go*

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It appears Amazon has pulled the offensive ebook. About time. Can't believe they sold it. Shame on them.
Mmmmm, pork chop gravy. :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Just cleaned the living room carpet. Wow. Gross. I need one of these machines. This should be done weekly.
Enjoying homemade stir fry leftovers. Glad hub was willing to drive to Chinese place for rice when I ran out. Bow tie pasta would be weird.
Yay! Staircase is fixed for $10. Woot! Knowing a metal forger in town is a handy thing.
Hubby's off to Ace hardware. Hoping to fix the attic walk up ladder thing. Open house Sunday, no time to order a new one. ARGH.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Was going to shampoo the living room carpet, but somehow managed to break the attic ladder thingamabob. Ugh. Will we ever get it all done?
taking a break from scrubbing, spackling and magic erasing.
Confession: I buy Spaghetti-O's with meatballs. And sometimes, I share them with my 3-year old.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Will's Sleepy Haircut

My friends' son, Will got a haircut. Also, he fell asleep in the middle of it.

Lucky he didn't lose an ear. This cracks me up.

The Queen has joined Facebook. Pretty sure that's the last nail in the coffin of coolness.
Is it just me, or does Big Chris on Roary the Racing Car look just like Elliott Gould (except clay)?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Vacuumed the lampshades. Huh. They were white all along!
Difference between my husband and myself: to me, the safe place for a very important teeny, tiny key is a keychain. For him, it's a windowsill.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Does anyone have a crappy chili recipe? No matter how big a batch of my chili I make, my husband seems to think it equals 1 serving.
is trying to limit Xmas gifts. Big gift is our trip, she won't get much. Rowan said she wants a computer. Parents: suggestions? Leapster?
Must grocery shop today with 2 kids in tow. Will be glad when preschool is back next week. Pray for me.
Is trying to consolidate my social networks. Bear with me, it may get repetitive.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Wonder Woman!!!

Today, I earned my golden lasso. And satin tights (but no hot pants, please. I have had two kids.)

And my three year old? She's definitely in the running for the role of Evil Villain in the next movie. That kid has major tantrum stamina.

I used to feel guilty for not doing aerobics (I get dizzy and faint), running (ditto), lifting weights (I'm muscular without--I don't want to look like Conan the Barbarian. Or Conan O'Brien for that matter.) I do yoga when I can because I like to.

But I've shown that I'm definitely a contender. An hour-long screaming, crying, kicking, fighting tantrum. Epic proportions. Temperature taken on the back of her neck (102.5). Advil snuck into juice and refused (and finally taken from a cup.) Food refused, drinks refused, and lots and lots of snot and tears. A phone call, an appointment. More screams, shouting, refusals, finally begging. For naught.

We arrived, and she kicked me as I tried to put shoes on her. So, I hauled her out of the car, shoeless. Lifted her sister in the carseat on one hip (26.5 lbs.), her on the other (31.6 lbs.) She kicked and flailed and screamed and wiggled and cried. But she was going to the doctor, come hell or high water.

Ear infection, severe. Both ears.

Post workout, I caved. Princess chicken soup for her. Ben & Jerry's for me. We earned it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tips for Puking Kids

  • Garbage bag, over the pillow, under the pillowcase.
  • Mattress protectors: 10 bucks and half an hour of wrangling the thing on over the mattress, no scent of barf embedded in the mattress forever. Barf smell sucks.
  • Cover the couch in towels, top with kid, keep a bucket handy.
  • Lysol.
  • Backup DVDs or a preschool cable channel is worth it when you're trapped in the house for 2 days.
  • Have Sierra Mist, chicken soup, saltines and chocolate in the house at all times. (The chocolate is for me.)
  • Buy a comforter that fits in your washer.
  • Woolite Oxy Deep carpet cleaner works.
  • When puked upon, remove clothing and get dressed again before trying to change her sheets. Half-asleep naked moms on Benadryl are not effective linen changers when shivering so hard we can't stand up.
  • Be thankful you bought the mega-mini-van-jogging stroller so at least you can get out of the house for 20 minutes to walk the dog.
  • Bake a cake to cover up the smell of puke. Eat the cake.

Sigh. She's recovered, thank goodness. And so far, no one else has caught it. Phew.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Star Bright

Star of David, Kennicott Bible

I hauled her sister's carseat up the stairs, gave her a hello kiss, and watched her run off again to play on the playground as I went in to the preschool to check her cubbie. In her neighbor's was a glittery star of David, the daily craft. I didn't see Rowan's. On the way home, I asked her about the art projects they'd worked on.

"Did you make a special star today, Rowan? Cool! Where is it?"

"I don't know," she answered, too busy eating her goldfish crackers to consider where it had gone.

"Oh, well. Maybe the glue wasn't dry yet. I'm sure we can get it next time," I said. "So, is it a star of David?"

"Noooo!!!" You could practically hear her rolling her eyes in the back seat.

"Mom, it's a Star of Rowan!!!"

Photo by 
zeevveez, on flickr.

Let's Dance!

Strike a Pose, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.
Rowan is loving her dance class, Dancing with Grace with Hannah. Every Tuesday we meet downtown and they fly around like baby birds, galop like ponies, jump over mud puddles, and flip scarves around, to the delight of their parents, watching through the windows (and occasionally sneaking off for a coffee.) The rest of the photos I took of her before we left are mostly blurs--she loves to dance! Check them out here.
Rowan with Miss Hannah from Dancing with Grace

Bathtime Grin

Bathtime Grin, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

It's a teeny bit blurry, but I just can't resist that smile. 5 months old.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Best Compliment Ever

I was reading her post this morning, and it kind of touched on something I've been thinking about for a long time. Back when I read this article and then the book, Nurture Shock, it got something percolating in my brain.

Compliments, praise. When are they real? When do they matter? When do they change our behavior? Our perception of ourselves? Our reaction to others?

How can a compliment mean something real to someone I care about? How can my own interaction with them matter more?

I thought about answering her question. I could answer half of it, my favorite compliment ever. But the second half has me stumped.

Do I give to others, the way I hope I do? Does what I say and think matter? Is it just lip service, or does it matter to them? Does what I really feel come across to them in what I say?

I don't know where I am going with this. I don't want to make any crazy vows, or promise to journal my meaningful interactions, or ask you to tell me how I've impacted you. That's not what this is about. But it's got me thinking.

Praise is such an interesting thing. It can mean the world to you, or it can mean the opposite of the intent. The timing can skew it to take on whole new meanings. Tone of voice, what happened earlier in the day, how you're feeling about yourself--anything can color it. It's so rare that the intended meaning is the perceived meaning. And yet, we all really need it. It's important.

I wonder if what I say to my girls will sink in. I hope they will grow to be strong and confident, that they will value themselves the way they deserve. I hope they won't succumb to the feelings that make them believe they are less than they are, because they are so very special. I hope I can be a part of their building up, an example to them of a strong, confident and loving person. I hope that on the days I am impatient or frustrated or downright angry they don't forget how wonderful they are and how much I love them and that it's not their fault. I hope that I am showing them that making a mistake does not make you a bad person. And that pooping in your pull-up may be irritating, but that Mommy still loves you and believes that you will be potty trained some day. I hope that they can see my joy, my pride, my love. I hope they can someday understand how much they have expanded my life.

And yet, the things that stick with them will probably be ones I don't remember doing. Some weird, random thing I say that I didn't even think about. Because we never quite know how what we say will impact someone, do we?

So, my favorite compliment ever. Yeah, you probably wouldn't expect it. It's not from my husband, or from my daughters. Had nothing to do with how I look, music I played or sang, or what kind of person I am. The person who said it likely has no idea that it meant so much to me, but it did.

"If they had a Lefse-Off, you would totally win!"
                                          -Katya Delak

It just struck a chord. The right time, the right frame of mind, an achievement I really cared about. No grand pronouncement, but it really did mean a lot to me. Thanks, Katya. It still makes me smile.

(Note: Lefse is a Norwegian potato flatbread, very popular in the northern plains states of North and South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. It's a pain in the wazoo to make, takes a long time [2 days], and makes a real mess of your kitchen. But it is delicious, and I've tweaked my grandmothers' recipes in a way that makes it my own. I've never seen a Lefse-Off, but if I ever do--thanks to Katya--I will enter. And I'll win.)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I’ll Show You Mine, Now You Show Me Yours


She asked, I delivered.  Yep, that's me. In powder blue terry cloth that matched my sister, and the ubiquitous girl mullet. I just wish my dad had scanned in the one with me "thinking about" my sister as  her face floated above my head. (What was up with that anyway? What a weird thing to do.)

Worst part is, there are much more embarrassing photos in the set it's a part of on Flickr. And yeah, with a tiny bit of clicking, you can see those, too.

On the bright side, compared to that? I look pretty darn fabulous now.

So I did it. Now it's your turn. Let's see your awkward photos. And please, link me back so I can find them. On days like today when there are no naps and many, many poopy diapers and wet "big girl panties", I might just need it.

*EDITED to add:

Trying to get a good Xmas card picture.

I just had to. Is that not the worst photo ever? The perm! The "wet look" gel! The pattern on my shirt and the pinky ring!

Yep, looking at that photo definitely boosts my self esteem now. Uff da.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Sioux Fan!

"MOM! I pushed a poop out!!!"

"In the potty?"


I ran up the stairs, yelling "HOT DOG!!!" We examined the evidence.

"Is that corn?" she said.

"Yeah. It is. One kernel. Um, good job, honey! Way to go! You earned the right to use the Dora soap, and a jumbo marshmallow! I'm so proud of you!"

Yes, one corn kernel. But she pushed it out, by herself, without prompting. At this rate, she'll have a whole bag of marshmallows for a real turd. But hey, whatever it takes! (She will get it, someday, right? Please? We've been potty training for 10 months, for one stinkin' corn kernel. I'm starting to lose hope.)

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Fun at the Farm

Joy, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Rowan's first field trip was last week, at a classmate's grandparent's farm, tucked along Spring Creek. Though our first day was rained out, we were able to go on Wednesday. The kids had a blast feeding the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig (had to be 2 or 3 pots in there, if you ask me), chasing the free ranging chickens, going on a nature walk, and listening to a story next to the creek. But the best part of the day, apparently, was this--our best efforts to distract the kids from walking into the creek was to get them running in circles around a tree through the crunchy fall leaves. You've got to love the 3-year-olds' ideas of a good time! Next week we head to the pumpkin patch down the road.

Today, the girls and I joined our neighbor and his kids at the Penn State Great Insect Fair. We saw live cockroaches, beetles, walking sticks, bees and butterflies, and Rowan and I even sampled some cricket candy. (It wasn't very good, and I'm pretty sure it's still stuck in my throat.) We came home with a butterfly larva (I think?) in a little container. It will be fun to watch it change and grow.

Well, if I don't manage to accidentally kill it, of course.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This smile

My pretty baby, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

makes those two days of no naps and Clingy McClingsalot totally worth it.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Pink=Girl. DUH.

Day One:

Pink flowered summer one-piece outfit, with ruffles.
Pink socks.
Pink flowered shoes.
Pink pacifier with pink floral ribbon clip.
Denim bib. (I guess this is my mistake.)

"What's your brother's name?"

Day Two:

Black, white, TWO shades of pink and red flowered top with a bow.
Light and dark pink striped pants.
Two-toned pink socks.
Pink pacifier with pink floral ribbon clip.
Pink mary-jane shoes WITH pink flowers.

"This little fellow is really wide awake!"


If it happens again, I think I'm going to have to write, "I may not have hair*, but I have a vagina!" on her head. In Sharpie. PINK Sharpie. With glitter.

Drag queen on dolores park

*Her sister also didn't have hair at this age. In fact, she didn't have hair until she was at least a year. She's now three, and it hasn't even hit her shoulders yet. I'm working with what I'm given, people. Give me a break!

Hilarious photo by gregoirevdb on flickr. Thank you!!!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

My love, my love

My love, my love, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Today was Rowan's first day. I went up to wake her up after another night in the igloo, and though she was groggy and confused, she hurried to get ready and ate her breakfast without dawdling. The first day of school was too exciting to wait. We brought her in, and she immediately began walking one of the school babies around the room in the shopping cart. We begged for a kiss and hug goodbye as we tucked her things in her cubby. She squeezed me around the neck, but her eyes were already searching for the next new toy to play with. She was ready for school.

I dropped her dad at work and headed to Target and Wegman's. Nursing Anya in the parking lot without a toddler climbing over the seats was peaceful. At Target, I was able to browse and no one raided my purse for snacks 8 times. At Wegman's, I actually got everything we needed and nobody sat on the bread. I thought I was golden, but somehow got in the lane of the slowest, most talkative (though quiet so you couldn't hear her anyway) and worst packing grocery checker in the history of the world. After reshuffling everything in the car, I zoomed back downtown to pick her up, only 4 minutes late.

She seemed glad to see me, but wouldn't have been upset had I not shown up until 3. She was in her element, eating crackers with her new buddy Sophie, a girl who's "nice and she has a pink dress like I like". On the way home, though, she decided to reassert herself, and announced that the fruit pops in the trunk that we were racing home to get in the freezer before they melted would be her dessert after lunch. "No, they're for snack after naps," I said. A tantrum ensued, and she cried for a good 45 minutes before finally accepting that Mom was not going to give up. She ate her lunch, played for a few minutes, and then threw a feeble protest before being hauled halfway up the stairs for naps. At that point, she agreed to walk herself, and climbed up and into her bed. We argued again about the curtains, and soon she was calling me back, begging for a hug. We had a talk, hugged and she climbed back up to nap for real this time.

During her nap, I went to load the photos from my camera of Rowan and her new teachers, and I found my punishment. She'd chewed the end of the cord that hooks the camera to the computer, beyond repair.

But this time, the talk must have worked. When confronted, she immediately apologized.

And then, she got her fruit pop.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What you need to sleep in an igloo

I set up her igloo tent in her room, a cozy spot to read a book and play with her puppets. Of course, she insisted she must sleep in it. Comfort? Who needs comfort? (Besides her mom--but I am admittedly pretty old and decrepit.)

At my own bedtime, I go to check up on her and find her snuggled up with her pillow and security blanket, her dolls Harley and Mimi tucked in next to her (with their own blanket), and of course the necessities. A cell phone, brown flats with pink velvet bows and a pair of pink, fur-lined snow boots.

The next morning, I asked her what the boots and phone were for. "In case someone needed rescuing, Mom!" Of course. She plans ahead pretty well for a 3 year old.

"And, my igloo didn't melt, either."


Monday, August 30, 2010

Grandpa Ron meets Anya

Grandpa Ron meets Anya, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

My dad and Pam came to visit us last weekend. They stayed for 5 days and we had a ball. Hanging out at the pool, Spikes game, bowling, and lots of eating--we were tired when they left. But it was a really fun visit.

In this economy, having a job is a very good thing, and having a good job you like in a great town full of wonderful friends is a fantastic thing. But even so, I wish we were closer to home.

Maybe we could just erase Ohio, Illinois and Indiana? Or perhaps one of those Chunnel things under the Great Lakes? (OK, maybe not. Just the thought of that kind of terrifies me.)

Now we're saving our pennies again. We'll need a lot of them. Plans are in the works for a trip back to North Dakota for Christmas. (Yes, we know what the weather's like there that time of year. We can handle it.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What Will I Be?

First thing in the morning
During the nightly tuck-in:

"Mommy, why you are tucking me in?"

"Because I love tucking you in."

"When I'm a big girl, what will I do?"

"I'll tuck you in, as long as you want. And when you don't want me to tuck you in, I won't, but after you fall asleep I'll sneak in and give you a kiss anyway."

"Mommy, when I'm a big girl, what will I be?"

"What do you want to be?"


"OK, you can be five."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sun, here are your orders.

On the way home from Wegman's, Wednesday, 4:30 PM.

Her window cling sun shade proves too tempting and she begins peeling it off. Of course, then she can't get it back on. "Mommy! Mommy! I need help! My shade is falling!"

"I can't help you now. I'm driving. You'll have to wait until we get home."

The sun shines in the window and hits her face. Arms raised, she gives it the what-for.

"ENOUGH with the shining!"

(I burst out laughing. Then she did, too.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

"Mom!!! She SMILED at me!!!"

She still checks on her first thing in the morning, before saying hello to us. As I sit checking facebook at night, I hear her get out of bed, and watch as the video monitor goes all wonky when she leans over Anya's bassinet for one last look.

"Rowan!!! Get OFF her!!!" I must yell that fifty times a day. Yesterday, she even knocked the bouncy chair backwards by leaning over it. Anya was squalling like a cat in a rain barrel. "I was just giving her some love!!!" I know, I know. "Honey, just love her a bit more gently, OK?"

She loves her sister. And now she's starting to see: her sister loves her, too.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Just a swingin'..., originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

It's been a hot summer. Where the usual weather for our town is pleasant and in the 70's for all but one week of summer, with plenty of rain to make the long mountain a lush, green-carpeted hill to the west, this year we've seen 90's nearly every week, and lots of humidity, though little rain. The grass is brown and patchy, prickling your feet when you run through it, and the new rain boots sit waiting for some action. Trips to the park are frequent, but short. The heat just gets to you, sending you home on the hunt for lemonade and a nap.

Rowan's reaching the point where her naps are getting in the way. Though many of her friends no longer take them, she still will go down for two or three hours in the afternoon. Where a few months ago she could still fall asleep at 8:30 and stay in bed for 12 hours, now she is having more and more trouble falling asleep at night. We're hearing about "Monsters" in her room, and even the elaborate ritual of curtain cracking, night light illuminating, "Jesus Loves Me" music box winding, "Monster Spray" spritzing, and prayer saying isn't cutting it. When her dad was out of town, it got even worse. Tuesday night, she finally succumbed to sleep at 11:45 PM, on a little bed she made for herself directly under the overhead light in the hallway. I woke her gently 15 minutes later, leading her into my room to sleep on her dad's side of our big bed, where no monsters could get her. "Thanks, Mommy," she said, falling asleep again as she bent to pick up her lovey or doudou, a security blanket known as "Cover Blanket". Face down, bum high in the air, she snored into the carpet until I lifted her under her arms and led her into the bedroom.

When he came home, her dad was able to help, laying down with her at 8:30, snuggled between the bears, Groovy Girls, babies, stuffed monster toys ("But they're nice monsters, Mommy!"), a red Chevy Impala and the porcelain music box she likes to sleep with on her pillow, close to her ear. We're glad we've got a double bed in her room, for nights like this.

As I type this, she's gone up for an afternoon snooze, sweaty and sticky with sunscreen. I'll wake her this time, after an hour or so. With a kiss.

Monday, July 19, 2010

What she doesn't like about Jesus

Conversation with Rowan as we walked the dog, Saturday evening.

"So, you're going to go to Bible school next week!"

"What will I do there?"

"Hear stories, do crafts, play games, sing songs..."

"What else?"

"Learn about Jesus! He's a pretty awesome guy, right?"

"Yeah," she says. "But I don't like his hair!"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

She is so much cooler than I ever will be

La Petite Girl Destroy, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Who could resist putting a 3-year old in an AC/DC t-shirt? Not me. I am soooooooo Target's demographic.

BTW, the app that did the effect is FXCamera for Droid. We had a ball playing with it.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Jeff and Anya, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Our first little girl was so much. She changed us, from a couple into a family of three, from marrieds into marrieds with kids, from people into parents. She was a challenge from day one, and never let us forget who was in control. One hundred percent her own person, she let us know her when she was ready. She was nothing we expected, always a surprise. Never easy.

So many parents say they bonded with their child before they even left the hospital. An instant link, stronger than they ever thought possible.

It didn't work that way for me, the first time. It took longer than I thought it should have, months rather than minutes. I felt terribly guilty for that. But though it was a slower process, the bond is strong, deep, lasting. Enmeshed. Now I can't imagine a world without her, a time without her, as if she was always there, before.

And the second time, it's different again.

The instant bond, it happened. The moment she was in my arms, she was mine and I knew her. The glow was instantaneous. I slipped into the old routines, the ones so hard won, broken in and comfortable. The easy baby they all talk about: zen, calm, predictable. A delight, a snuggler, smiling and relaxed.

Perhaps it's partly due to confidence, a knowledge of my own parenting abilities, or simple genetics, but whatever it is, this time it is easier. This time, the feelings of guilt are for the relief I feel, the ease I didn't have with my first baby. But it is what it is. Every moment with Rowan was worth it, and every moment with Anya is, too. They are just different.

As I typed this, Rowan came down the stairs in her favorite pink nightgown, fuzzy and worn. She sat on the floor next to her sister's bouncy chair, hugged her, and serenaded her with "I love you, a bushel and a peck!" She then came to me, and sang it again, hugging me around my "pretty neck", and ending with a big kiss.

I am so very blessed.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Anya, 8 weeks: Dimple!, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

She's changing so quickly. Gaining weight, outgrowing her newborn clothes, and even some 0-3 month ones, holding her head up and making her voice heard. She's bigger than her sister and has a very different personality, though she looks so much like her. Anya loves Devo, long walks outside, warm baths, and snuggling. She hates her car seat with a passion, and for some reason, cucumbers make her poo green. She still nurses like a champ, and is a great sleeper, though not quite as much during the day as she used to (but still sleeps well at night, so I am not complaining!) Her right cheek has a little dimple that up until now has only been visible while she's nursing. I was thrilled to pull up this photo in iPhoto and find it there for all to see.

With the second one, there are never as many photos. Too busy taking care of two little miracles--picture time gets taken over by juice-fetching, bottom wiping, and tea party having. Hopefully, I can sneak in a few here and there, though. These are moments I do not want to forget.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I finally admit it. I am no longer a size 8.

And I probably never will be. And that's OK.

Over the past few weeks, in stolen moments, I have been going through my closet and purging things that are worn out, out of style, too short, too tight, or too uncomfortable.  Many items came from my teaching days before we moved to France, so they were pretty ancient, and unlikely to be worn again. The entire trunk of our car is full of bags of clothes and shoes on the way to Goodwill. And honestly, I'm sure there is more that should be in there, but I just got to the point where I needed the process to be done.

And when it was, I still had little to wear. The closet is full of clothes, but there were very few pants or skirts that I could fit into and I liked. But I'm trying to be a grown up. It's time to accept it. I've had 2 children, and I have never had abs of steel, even before my babies grew under them. My clothes just don't fit the same, and may never again. And that's OK. Our daughters are worth that price.

I bought two new pairs of pants the other day. I don't like the numbers on the tag, but I like the way they fit. I like being able to breathe. I like the confidence I have when I know I look good again. And I'm worth it, too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Kai Lan and Rowan, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

I may not be a big fan of amusement parks, weird characters in giant suits, and souvenir shops, but the joy and wonder on her face when she saw Kai Lan was worth the admission price. So glad that Nickelodeon now sponsors the park at the Mall of America.

Guess we will be going to Disneyland at some point after all.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Catch Up

Birthday Girl, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

You're probably wondering where I've been. Sorry about that.

It's been a busy 5 weeks chez nous. Anya is a dream--she sleeps well at night, takes long naps during the day, and her fussy period is really nothing compared to the colic we dealt with when Rowan was little. Rowan is loving being a big sister, and is a great help to me. She is growing up so fast, and seems to have turned from a baby to a girl overnight. Though she hasn't gained a pound, she seems heavier, denser, and bonier all at the same time and her vocabulary and imagination have grown in leaps and bounds. While serving dinner at her restaurant (sandbox), she'll ask us what we'd like to eat. "Well, actually," she'll say, "we don't have cappucino but we do have lemonade. Would you like some pancakes or do you want a hot dog?"

I am trying to juggle both of them as well as keeping up with life as we know it. I'm not always succeeding, but with 2 kids, I think the fact that I'm not completely blowing it is success in its own right. The house may not be quite as clean as I'd like it, but the chances are that won't happen ever in my lifetime anyway, so I'd rather spend the time gluing sequins on foam butterflies with Rowan, and holding my little Anya in my arms. We've been very blessed with friends who've dropped off meals for us, making our first weeks with our two girls so much easier.

Dr. B's folks visited us for a week at the beginning of June, and during that time we had Anya baptized and threw a birthday party for Rowan. Anya's baptism was a rather last-minute thing, but I managed to order a cake (which was awesome--Wegman's rocks) and we took a few pictures. The last day of their visit was Rowan's third birthday, and we'd planned a party for about 35 adults and kids at a local park. Unfortunately, that was the one day of the week that wasn't 75 and sunny. Yep. Pouring rain and 60 all day. We had reserved the shelter, though, so we persevered. The kids played in the rain and the mud and generally had a blast, the adults ate burgers and talked, the kids played games and everyone had cake. It was so much fun, and probably wouldn't have been any better in the sunshine, if only for the comic relief of Rowan constantly pulling up her pants as they sagged below her tush, wet and muddy. Again, we took a few more pictures. After Dr. B's folks left for the long drive back to North Dakota, I let Rowan open her presents from her other grandparents, knowing she'd be sad and craving the attention she got from them. Brilliant plan, or so I thought. You'll never guess what they got her. *head desk*

So this week we've been catching up. Trying to get more organized and keep up with housework and laundry, running errands, going to the library, a trip to the pool. We've restarted our afternoon walks (not possible during the last month of pregnancy), and my clothes are starting to fit a little better (though still not great, but honestly I needed some new summer things anyway). We're finding our new routine, different with two kids than one.

And tomorrow we throw a wrench in the works again, but a good one. We'll be flying off to Minneapolis--our first big family trip! We're going for the weekend to meet Dr. B's brother's family and his parents. We haven't seen the Montana Brownsons in 2 years, so we are excited to spend some time with them, and hopefully will see my sis and another friend briefly as well. It'll be a very short trip, but jam-packed. We plan to go to Valleyfair and Rowan is looking forward to tea at American Girl place in the MOA with her cousins. Then we'll be home again, and anticipating visits from my dad and his wife, and from my sister and her husband later this summer.

And I hope that when we get back I'll have more time to post here, and more than just "this is what we did" posts. I make no promises, though. There are a lot of sequins that need gluing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

3 years, 1 day

Cloud gazing, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Paint Joy: Rowan, during Anya's audio test

Smart phones + kids' apps + toddlers= Good thing.

What are your favorite kids' apps?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nos deux filles

Nos deux filles, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Who knew lightening could strike twice?

Two beautiful girls. We are so blessed.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First thing in the morning

First thing in the morning, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

People warned me. Jealousy, they said. She's not the star of the show anymore. She'll regress. She'll struggle.

Thankfully, they haven't been proven right (yet). Rowan is so in love with her sister, she often forgets everyone else. First thing in the morning, she wants to greet her, kiss her, hug her, and hold her. Twice she has requested that her dad take her bed and she sleeps in with me and her sister in the pack and play bassinet at the side of the bed. Her eyes open, and she turns to greet "her baby" before even saying a word to me. When Anya cries (which is blissfully rare), Rowan tries everything her little almost-3-year-old mind can think of to soothe her and then runs to me in desperation, "I don't know how to get her to stop, Mama! She's crying!!!"

And I've finally found a way to get her to pose for pictures willingly, and with truly genuine smiles. Well, some of the time anyway. (More to come from the real camera soon.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Anya Genevieve

Anya Genevieve, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

Birthday May 13, 2010, 2:08 AM.

7 lbs. 14 oz., 20.5 inches long.

A beautiful gift from God.

Perfect, beautiful, calm and sweet. Her big sister adores her! Her dad is already suffering from the sleep deprivation. (Wimp. Ha.) He's going to get her sis and dog today, and take them home for one night while I stay in the hospital with the baby. Before she was born, he was incensed by the idea that they might kick him out of our room at night. (Officially, dads are supposed to leave at 9, but it's not enforced.) Today, his tune has changed and he wants to sleep in his own bed.

She and I will come home tomorrow. Until then, I'm taking advantage of having a full staff, personal chef, and free Wifi. And complete control of the thermostat. (Plastic beds are hot.)

Welcome to the world, Baby Girl. We are so thrilled you've joined us. Thank God that you are healthy and perfect--we are so very blessed.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Mom, I'm sorry you're so mad."

Everyone says I'm close to delivering. I hope so. I have been desperately trying to get things finished. Of course, not everything is, but it's probably good enough. My husband is irritated with me because I'm irritated with him (because he's not doing the things I NEED him to do, obviously.) My daughter has been loud and talkative and energetic and kind of driving me nuts, but she has also figured it out, so spends a lot of time apologizing for making me mad. I'm really trying not to be mad and to enjoy my last days of having only one kid, but it's hard. I am trying to hug her a lot and tell her I'm sorry I'm cranky. We sing songs. Tonight, she told me, "I love you, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck and a barrel and a PEEP."

Confession: I think I have PTSD for colic. Is that possible? (Please God. This one? No colic, OK?) My hunch is there won't be colic. But I've been wrong before. And I'm scared of the colic. It was so bad, really. Colic sucks.

Another confession: I spent about an hour alone in bed Saturday night crying because I miss my mom. It's been twelve years now. I wish she was here. I know she's watching, and she's proud of me, but I wish I could talk to her. She totally would have helped with the slipcover. And my freezer would be full of homemade food, not Wegman's premade (which is good, but still.)

It was Mother's Day on Sunday. Rowan kept saying, "Happy Murz Day!" We went out to brunch, and our server forgot to put in our food order and she cried. We got our brunch for free. It was really good, even though we didn't eat until 3. I ordered dessert. For supper, I had more ice cream.

Today I burned through the house putting crap away and being mad at everyone who left their crap out and cleaning and finishing slip-covering the chair and changing my pants three times because they were all falling down. Apparently, my hips are spreading even more. Even my undies are too tight. This sucks. I had to do laundry because I only have a couple of things that are comfortable to wear right now.

I got the bathroom upstairs reloaded after Dr. B painted it yesterday, and cleaned it, and got all the painting stuff put away again. If I'm not in labor, tomorrow I'll clean the downstairs one. Vacuuming is done, chest and bassinet are moved, Rowan's room is fairly clean, clothes are put away, one more load of laundry is done (not folded, though). Dishes are done, kitchen is fairly neat, chair is finished, sewing crap is put away. Extra junk is up in the attic. Patio is swept (50 mph winds left piles of leaves and sticks everywhere. It really was necessary, I swear.)

Blogging, check. Boring, rambling, yes. Sorry about that. This is how my brain works right now.

Tonight, Dr. B ordered me to call his mom. I did. I complained about some of the stuff he's been telling me lately and she laughed at him and made me feel better. I love having her for an ally.

Here's an example, 20 hours after his last final exam was graded and grades were turned in, he complained of "that anxious feeling when I don't have a project!" So I bought paint and told him to paint the bathroom, which I've been asking for going on 3 years now. His response? "I don't like doing other people's projects!"

Huh.  I don't much like being pregnant. You do it.

Or your laundry. Or cleaning your toilets. Or picking up your shoes every stinking day.

His mom laughed and laughed. And swore she taught him better, but she was pretty sure it's a B man thing, because his dad does the same thing.

So during our phone conversation (probably when he realized she was totally backing me up), he took the dog for a really long walk. I got the house half vacuumed before he got home. Then he went upstairs and put the stuff in the attic that I had asked him to do 2 weeks ago. He noticed I'd moved the heavy cedar chest, and he said, "Bootsie's coming soon. You've got a lot more strength tonight than you have had in a long time."

Not necessarily. I think I just have a lot less patience.

We'll see... the next time you hear from me, it might just be good news. Here's hoping.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Nestorama!!! Now! With Upholstering!!!

Two weeks to go. I must be nesting. I'm getting stuff done right and left, but still feel like I'm spinning my wheels. My list is shorter, but the things that are taken care of are kind of minor. (That's OK. I like crossing them off, so I'll take it.) I have new contacts (that aren't dry! It's wonderful!) I have a dentist appointment next week, with Rowan (her first.) She did great at the eye doc, though she wasn't examined, but it kind of gave her a taste of what will happen. Hopefully it will all go well at the dentist.

I called the doc about her, um, blockage issues and got her started on Miralax. Glad she can't read or she'd be mortified that I am telling the internet even more about her poop. Things are much easier now, though the potty training is completely gone. Oh well. I give up. Now is apparently not the time, and she is not ready to be done. So fine. She's not. Sigh.

I have packed her bag and started mine (though there are so few things that fit me right now, I think I'll have to wait with a list on top until the moment labor starts to finish.) Laundry is fairly caught up. Little cleaning projects have been happening. Yard sale stuff is gone to the church.  Baby stuff is down from the attic, the infant car seat is waiting in the hall, and we are just waiting on the pick up of our new dresser to finish putting all Rowan's and Bootsie's stuff in the right places. Just in case, I culled it down to a few weeks worth and gave them each 3 drawers of Rowan's dresser for now, and left the big plastic boxes stacked in her room. Dr. B hung the colorful lanterns high over the crib (Rowan destroyed her mobile), and the crib skirt is ironed and in place. (My mother would be proud. I never iron anything anymore.) Sheets are waiting--I don't want them to get dusty. Batteries have been bought, though need to be inserted in all the various battery-needing things. I have confirmed Rowan's and Lucy's caretakers, and Rowan got a new sleeping bag for her first big sleepover. She's very excited.

Dr. B's HoneyDo list is still there, but all I can do is bug him about it. Since school is wrapping up, hopefully he'll get on the stick ASAP. He promised to shampoo the carpets this weekend, pick up the dresser (I may put it together, I haven't asked him yet.) He also promised to shave the dog, which I hate doing, but I did buy a new trimmer kit, so hoping it works. If he doesn't do it soon, I'll take her in to the vet and have it done. I still want him to paint our bathroom, but would be surprised if it got done in time. He still has finals and grades to deal with. I begged off the boring banquet last night--don't know if this was the best idea as Rowan's lack of a nap also seemed to have affected her lack of being nice. Long night. But whatever, I didn't have to get dressed up, eat banquet food and clap for 274 individual student awards. (Not exaggerating. Worst Banquet Ever.)

I am in the midst of upholstering a chair (at the moment actually--I'm taking an ice cream sandwich/blogging break), and when that's done  I will start the marathon shopping, cooking and freezing session. I need to sew tabs on my BumGenius diapers, but have enough econobums and g diapers that it can wait if need be. We have plenty of baby clothes, blankets, hats, and diapers, including disposable backups as well as cloth. I have a few things to order of the internet, but nothing that we won't survive without (most is not baby-related anyway.)

So we're kind of ready. But not really.

Anybody want to come over to dust and do windows???


Monday, April 26, 2010

Vote for ME!!! (Please?)

I am in the running to win a Baby Bunad for Bootsie.


You have no idea how excited I am by this. Here's a link to a baby in a bunad photo (I don't have the right to post the photo, but go see. It's soooo cute.)

My story is #1, about my aunt Kathy's first experience with Lefse. It may not be the funniest of the five, but if I get enough votes, I still win. Yes, I guess I am a corrupt politician at heart--I want that bunad!!!

Could you please take a moment and go over to the post and comment? All you have to say is Story #1, and they'll count you. And spread the word! I would really, really appreciate it.

And I promise to post pictures of Bootsie in the Bunad. Heck, if I win, maybe I'll even post my mom's awesome Norwegian meatball recipe. But sorry, my lefse recipe is still a secret--I'm holding on to it just in case some day I find a Lefse-Off to enter. Heh.

Here is a link to My Little Norway's post on what Bunads are.  Here's one more link to the voting post.

And THANK YOU!  Takk! Mange takk! Mange tusen takk!

Monday, April 19, 2010

In her blood

The paints were a BIG hit., originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

I have been a musician since the day I was born. You couldn't stop me--I was always singing songs, making up my own lyrics, playing any instrument handy (including my own body), and even tapping out rhythms on my teeth so no one could hear (yes, my dentist yelled at me.) My dad's #1 rule (that he no longer remembers) was "NO SINGING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE."

Rowan loves to make music, too. So far, she's still kind of monotone, though she's still young, but her rhythm and ear are excellent. She identifies instruments like kids much older than she, and is already asking to learn to play the piano. Her first big hit was a song she wrote called "Broken Doors". Broken doors...are...broken. Broken tables... are... broken. The broken toy... is... broken. We have no idea where the inspiration for that one came from, but she sings it often.

Dr. B is musical, too, but has always been a visual artist. His mom tells stories of his complete and utter meltdown when the dragon he drew at age 9 had the scales going the wrong way, and how he simply had to be excused from class to sit in the hallway of the school and painstakingly erase and redraw every single scale. He won awards with his artwork through school, and still sketches when he needs to think.

We were invited for Easter dinner (her wife made lamb, NOM) at a dear friend's home. She happens to be an opera singer, and has a baby grand piano in her living room, as well as lots of animals to entertain us. Rowan was in heaven. She had also brought along her new watercolor paint and book set that came in her Easter basket, and insisted on trying them out after we finished eating.

We added the accessories. I think it's a good look for her.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dueling GPS

We had a free day today, so Rowan and I went to a nearby town to do a little shopping. Since we are a small town (despite the enormous college here), we don't have all the common stores, and sometimes it's worth a 45-minute trip to head out, just for a bit of fresh air.

I had decided a few months ago that it was time to get new dishes for the kitchen, because the ones we got for our wedding, nearly 14 years ago, had seen better days. Chipped I could deal with, even a few broken pieces, but when all of them started to show gray knife marks that couldn't be removed--well, it was time. I remember when my mother got her second set of stoneware--probably after about 20 years of marriage. She was so excited to have something new and different.  I scoured the internet for something we both would like, looked in all the local stores, and still couldn't find what I wanted. I had our phone rebate cards to spend, and nothing to spend them on.

Then I figured it out. I wanted something sort of Pier One-y. But of course, our Pier One closed last year.

So we headed to Altoona. I pulled off the highway, figuring it would be near all the other stores. Drove around for a while, no luck. So, using my smart phone, I pulled it up on the browser and punched in the address. It showed me the route, but none of the street signs matched the ones I saw, so I brought out the backup GPS. On that one, the address didn't exist.

So we drove around for over an hour, dueling GPS machines fighting it out in the cup holders, and me getting more and more frustrated. We stopped for directions. And a potty break. And ice cream. (Hey, DQ is just as good a place as any...) Asked a person, but of course she didn't know where it was either. Drove more. Stopped for gas. Rowan kept saying, "It's OK, Mommy! We'll find it!" She was a trooper.

Finally, I gave up.

Called the store. Found out they were near Walmart. (Of course.) Punched that in. Finally got there. (Only had to turn around twice.)  YAY! And found dishes I liked, at a decent price, and 8 place settings. (They aren't shown on the website.)

But no mugs.


Stopped at Kmart (we also don't have one of those, so I thought I'd check, just in case.) I stuck a salad plate in my purse, and we walked in, hoping. They didn't have enough of the solid color mugs I liked that matched, but these mod florals went with them and they had enough. I grabbed 8, and off we went. We snuck back into town with minutes to spare before my rehearsal, and Dr. B walked in the door as I walked out. As I ran out the door, I said, "do you like them?" "YES!"

It's a done deal. We have new dishes. They are NOT WHITE. I'm happy. The picture is kind of awful (from my phone, and at night), but it gives you an idea. They're a sort of ecru/taupe with earth tone stripes around the outside in espresso and a kind of rust/pink/orange/reddy color-ish. Sort of. The mugs are shown here. They match, and they're not too huge so your coffee gets cold.  Yay!

New stoneware. Yippee!!!

Now it's time to box up the old stuff for the church rummage sale, and finally cull all the unmatching and just plain ugly dishware we've collected over the years. I guess this is nesting for baby #2--when Mommy gets new stuff. :) Bonus!

Friday, April 09, 2010

10 Fingers

34 weeks, 6 days., originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.
Sometimes, I feel enormous. Other times, I barely notice I'm pregnant. (That's usually when I'm vegging on the sofa and all crunched up under an afghan.) I get more tired, dizzy when I climb the stairs, and wake up often (to pee. Or because her father is snoring). As of 2 weeks ago, I'd gained 16.5 pounds (they don't tell me, I had to ask.) The baby weighs about 4 pounds now, though it feels like a lot more when I'm supporting my enormous bulge with my hands as we walk the dog up the hill to our house. Both Rowan and I are thankful for warmer weather, because our walk has shrunk from a mile and a half to a mile with a break in the middle on a grassy hill.

This pregnancy has been much easier on me than Rowan's. For one thing, I didn't tear my ACL, lock my knee and have to have surgery and physical therapy, nor were there the worries about the pain killers (and yes, I needed them. The pain was horrendous--much worse than labor). I was allowed to take Prilosec the whole time, so heartburn was a non-issue. I never barfed, and the morning sickness only lasted 10 days. And I guess I either knew what to expect, or after doing it once plus 17 months of breastfeeding, my body was more used to the wacky hormone surges.

Plus, we were here, where we are. Settled. No questions about the future, no worries about finding a job. And though I've heard others talk about their concerns about not loving a second child as much, I've had no feelings like this at all. The anxiety I felt when pregnant with Rowan has just been absent this time. It's been wonderful. The big leap from woman to mother was the hardest step--mother to two just seems natural. I am excited to meet my second daughter, and I can tell that the baby will be very different from her sister, unique in her own way. Dr. B is happy, and more relaxed about this one. I think he secretly is hoping that Bootsie will be a bit more like him. Rowan is so much like me, he jokes that I just budded. (Note, she has his bootie, his eyes, and many of his personality traits. She just looks like Mini-Me.) Rowan is so thrilled she can barely contain herself. I am blessed that her personality seems to be made to be an older sister--she loves having friends around, is very sweet, caring and thoughtful, and doesn't seem to struggle with jealousy. Yet, anyway.

Dr. B's grandmother Mitzi summed it up pretty well--"You have ten fingers on your hands. No matter which one you hurt, it hurts the same." They're all different, but they're all equally important, and they are all a part of you.

I am hoping this one is the part without colic. That would be good.

Friday, April 02, 2010

What not to put in a sippy cup

Rowan, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

"Mom, can you put something in my sippy cup?"

"Sure, honey. What do you want? Soymilk, juice or water?"

"Can I have FUZZ water?"

(She means carbonated water, which, by the way, is pretty hilarious when randomly squirting out of the sippy cup's nozzle.)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Help!!! Reliable freezer recipes needed ASAP

The baby's on the way. I am at 33 weeks, so the urge to nest is starting to kick in. No, my house is not spotless (as if), but I'm planning for the practicalities, borrowing a bassinet in preparation for Bootsie's arrival (planning on setting up the pack and play with bassinet and changing table downstairs--this came later last time but was very helpful.) Since this time I have 2 kids sharing one room, Boots is going to need to be with us for a bit (I'm hoping she isn't as loud of a sleeper as Rowan was.) Rowan is getting used to sleeping in the double bed in her room and plans have been made to reset up the crib, banishing her toddler bed to the attic for a while. I'm on the hunt for a new dresser to move Rowan's clothes into (found one I like, but am waiting on a friend who may have one due to some estates in her family that are being cleared out).  I'm researching strollers, because we pretty much wore ours out, but since the baby will be little, for the first few months she'll be in the Bjorn for walks anyway, so it's not pressing. The carseat is in the attic and can be used again, and I have boatloads of clothes. I do have the tabs to sew on the cloth diapers, but other than that, it's all little stuff to do. Except for painting the upstairs bathroom and our bedroom. But those are pipe dreams. If I can get the bathroom done, that would satisfy me. (For now. Ahem! Honey? You reading this?)

However, I do want to begin stocking my freezer with ready-to-go meals. A friend recommended this book, but our library's copy is lost. (Though now that I see the price, I may just order it. Gotta wait a bit though, because we are in the process of switching banks to a local one rather than a big corporate bank and I currently do not have easy access to funds except cash. And knowing our local Barnes and Noble, they'll charge 3 times what Amazon does. And they're both big corporations, so I have to stick it to at least one of the men by going with the cheap one.)

SO! This is where you come in. Do you have some reliable recipes that you make ahead and freeze that you can send me? I have a big, upright freezer, so have plenty of room. I'm looking for things that are healthy and easy, and am trying to avoid huge amounts of either dairy or tomato because of Rowan's lactose issues and my memories of her screams when I ate anything acidic while breastfeeding during the first months (seriously, one fry dipped in ketchup meant hours of crying.) I won't avoid them entirely, but if I can have some good alternatives that I can trust in there, that would be great. I have done some internet searches, but would loves some "I make this and my family loves it" recommendations--proven recipes are always the best. Please send thaw/bake directions, too! If you have links, great, if you want to email them to me, just look on my site for the email link (I think it's still there) or if you know me on Facebook, send it there.

And I'll get cooking! At soon as the shooting pains in my butt from the sciatica stop, anyway.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nutella is health food, right?

She loves Nutella., originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

She must be going through a big growth spurt. Clothes that fit last week don't now, and in a span of 2 days went from wearing her shoes to "these hurt!" She wants to graze all day long, and eats more for breakfast than I do. The other day, that was Silk, 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and nutella, a banana and a yogurt. Remember, she's not even 3 yet. She prefers crackers and peanut butter at all times of day, is eating apples by the bushel, but tends to not want to eat her meals. (And I know, I shouldn't let her and should make her eat her meals, but she is normally a great eater at mealtime, so I'm not stressing about it. She's craving carbs right now. It's a phase.)

But I guess I don't need to worry too much--half the nutella ends up on her face, anyway. ;-)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rowan's new Freecycle Tricycle!

A friend suggested joining Freecycle to look for a piano. I've just gotten started, but it's a really wonderful service. When a neighbor put a perfectly good mountain bike next to the trash, I listed it and it was taken hours later with a nice thank you. I just *hate* seeing perfectly good stuff go into the landfill, so this service is really fabulous.

The other day I was looking at trikes for her. She's ready. Her own little scooter is too small, and she's growing up fast. I thought it was worth asking, and lo and behold--look what we got! Less than a week later, a practically brand new trike--probably the one I would have bought anyway (it's still listed on Amazon) and in fantastic condition, not a scratch. For free. LOVE it. So thanks to Barb from Bellefonte--Rowan is thrilled with her new Big Girl Trike!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day

We had two gorgeous days this weekend--65-70F, sunny, neighbors out and chatting, and things were really looking up. Everyone was in a great mood. We ate on the patio, walked the dog without our jackets, and played in the sandbox. It was lovely.

Today was not gorgeous. Cool, cloudy, rainy, and one of those days where everything that could possibly be annoying just was. Rowan wanted to eat constantly all day long, except when I made actual food. Money is tighter than we'd like it and there are more zits on my chin than ever!!! Things that had been taken care of weren't, glitches happened, and someone forgot to refill the TP. Facebook was full of complaints about politics and THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT OMG, the yogurt soured, the projects I wanted to complete got waylaid and Dr. B didn't make it home in time for dinner that looked horrible but tasted good, even though Rowan wouldn't eat it although she wanted a PB&J and apples and applesauce and crackers. The laundry still isn't put away.

But, I'm trying really hard to look on the bright side. The magnolia tree on the next block is blooming, and Rowan thinks they "feel like socks!" God bless her, she was in a great mood even when her mother wasn't. I can look down and watch my stomach moving like dolphins surfacing. (Or sharks. Nope, looking on the bright side. Going with dolphins.) I have a lunch date with a friend after my doc appointment tomorrow, and am picking up a free tricycle from our local Freecycle. I goofed around with my template again and the new Draft Blogger tool thingee is much easier to use. Still not perfect, but more interesting, I hope. (Do you like it?)

Spring is coming, things are getting done, and progress is being made. Not always easy to see that through this flurry of hormones, but I'm trying.

Friday, March 19, 2010

French pj's are so cute, wear them as clothes!

When we were in Paris last May, Aimee got us into the Message group's annual brocante (tag sale) early by manning the snacks table, and they let me in on her say so. This allowed me to scope out the cute stuff and score several darling dresses, books, and this little outfit for Rowan to bring back to the US. It was too big last year, but when I heard 70 degrees predicted for today, I knew it was the perfect time to break it out. A Japanese print on a delicate cotton lawn, with tulip cuffs and contrasting borders, it's absolutely adorable.

As she "swam" in the bathtub, I read the tag. It's pajamas. No Dora the Explorer--French jammies are gorgeous.

Pbft. Who cares? It's darling, and it's her favorite color.

Sigh. I miss France.

*PS I am not sure what is up with the goofy faces whenever a camera is present. I hope this is just a phase.

UPDATE: on a walk, she tripped in the grass and tore a hole in the knee and grass stained them pretty badly. Really delicate fabric. Darn it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I had a good idea.

S'mores Brownies

S'mores are pretty good, but they're too messy and a tish too airy for me. I like something a bit more substantial with my sugar and fat. Years ago, I tried to perfect the perfect S'mores Brownie. I failed miserably. The graham cracker crust was never anything but dry, the browned top I wanted meant the brownie itself was too dry or else I overcompensated and it was undercooked, and I couldn't come up with a way to get everything I wanted all at the same time.

I went to this site the other day, and came upon a great method while reading the reviews. It totally worked and the brownies are awesome and were super easy.

Here's the method I used. It's not that site's version exactly, but it's pretty darn easy. You can adapt it to any size pan and you can use your own homemade brownies or cheat with a box like I did.  Excuse the photo--it's from my phone. As you can see, I've sampled them already.

S'mores Brownies

  • your favorite brownie mix or recipe, prepared according to directions (with eggs, oil, water or coffee, etc.)
  • mini marshmallows
  • chocolate bars, broken, or chocolate chips
  • graham crackers, crumbled
Preheat your oven and spray your pan with cooking spray or grease as you like. Pour in your batter and smooth. Bake as long as the box (or your recipe) tells you MINUS 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle with handfuls of marshmallows until it's mostly covered. Sprinkle with chocolate and graham cracker pieces. Return to oven for last 5 minutes until the marshmallows are puffed and gooey and the chocolate starts to melt a little.

Wait a while before cutting unless you like it a gooey mess. (It's good either way. The gooey mess version would be great with ice cream.) The marshmallows will stay fairly gooey even when it's cool. They aren't browned like the perfect campfire marshmallow, but you won't smell like woodsmoke all day either--it's a trade-off.


Monday, March 15, 2010

I do not have the skills.


Hate this template. Super bored with my old one. No abilities to make a new one worth a darn. Not enough readership to justify plunking down a chunk of change for a pro to do one, either (as evidenced by my paltry ad checks that show up about twice a year).

I don't even have photoshop, much less know how to use it, and I am really quite lost. This is what I've done for tonight. I guess you could say it's a little bit of nesting. I want it to look fantastic, but really am stuck in 1998 when it comes to web design. Blogger doesn't make it exactly easy to make it look good (you can change it, but only within their parameters), and I don't have the energy to figure out switching everything to a different site at the moment. So there you go.

If the template fairy wants to show up, she'll be welcome. For now, I'm going to eat another S'mores Brownie and then go to bed.

I love this.

The arm swoop, the "actions", and especially the strut off stage at the end--it will be stuck in my head for months.

I think I'm going to download the ringtone.

Yes, I grew up in North Dakota. Loving the Lawrence Welk style is in my blood--even if it is Soviet Russian Cheez.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Girlie Girl

Shoe shopping partner, originally uploaded by MrsBinParis.

She loves to wear dresses while she plays trains and cars. She tromps through the mud in her pink tights. Rarely leaves the house without a necklace or bracelet, but runs faster than the boys and hasn't met a jungle gym she can't conquer, even at 2 3/4.

The day I snapped this shot with my phone, we spent quite a bit of time shoe shopping, just for fun. She loves red heels, just like I do. (I would have bought these, but they were too big for both of us.) We giggled and pranced in the isles of Ross, trying on silly shoes we didn't need just because it was fun and they were really inexpensive, anyway.

I am so proud of my little girl. She is her Grandma Judeen's granddaughter. I have no doubt that she, too, will be bailing hay in a miniskirt or stomping across the cow pasture without looking down, perfectly accessorized.

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