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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Melissas + Joy | FAVORITE THINGS | Grapefruit

We have quite a few of our groceries delivery weekly from Green Bean Delivery. Every Thursday, they bring local, organic, or in season fruits and vegetables to our door. I also have them deliver milk, eggs, bread, and meat. I'm pregnant. It's winter. Grapefruit is in season. Green Bean Delivery brought me some and it sounded really good. I ate it, and discovered two days later that I wanted more. I eat one every couple of days. Yum.
Grapefruit is a polarizing topic. It seems people really like it or really hate it. I had my first one in 2001 when I went to France for the summer. They laid out the sugar in case we wanted to put it on top. That is disgusting. It's like drinking Red Bull...way too sugary and plain nasty. Grapefruit doesn't need anything besides a spoon. This little one that had absolutely no function prior to my grapefruit habit has come in handy. Maybe a special serrated one is in my future.
I decided that I would create a animated gif file because not only do I love the taste of grapefruit, but I love watching my grapefruit get eaten section by section. Beautiful taste, beautiful process.  The last picture is reminder that you should never forget to squeeze and drink all the yummy juice out from the bottom.
I've also included another of my favorite things in the photos, my new countertops. Some might think they aren't super special...just laminate. We've been living with these impossible to keep clean ceramic tile countertops that were also the same color as the floor, the cabinets, the backsplash, and the paint color. Dirty and blah. We did splurge and get the integrated sink. I have died and gone to homemaker heaven. No more grunge to build up where the sink and countertop meet.

Check out Joy's photos here, and our new collaborator Melissa here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yep, synchronized swimming is available in Indy for eight year olds.

I don't want to be a soccer mom. This means I don't want to spend a significant amount of my time chauffeuring my kids from one activity to the next. I don't want to wait in the pick up and drop off line at school just to turn around and drive my kid to dance, piano, sport after sport, etc, etc. I don't want our evenings to be jam packed with activities that hinder us from doing homework, playing with the neighbors, doing chores, cooking dinner, eating dinner, and winding down for the day ahead. I DO NOT want to spend my entire weekend at a field, court, or pool. I don't want to spend a considerable amount of our income on organized activities.
And yet, I do want my kids to have the opportunity to learn things that I cannot (or find quite difficult to) teach them. I want them to view their bodies as athletic. I want them to discover that they are musical...that they are artistic. It isn't about competition. It isn't about them being the best. It's about discovering what brings them joy in life so when they are adults they will have the confidence and tools to sing for themselves, to play music for themselves, to keep their bodies active, to play for fun, to create, to sew, to dance...
I find these two values conflict with each other, the value to have a quiet, uncluttered life and the value to give my kids opportunities to learn what I cannot teach them. Multiply that conflict by five.
I've tried to find activities that are inexpensive and close by. Last summer, we paid $15 a kid for 45 minute tennis lessons twice a week. That was the price for the entire summer! The location was right. Just five minutes away at Garfield Park. It did interfere with our schedule a bit since we signed up too late and got stuck with afternoon times. I would prefer to do our activities in the morning and have the afternoon to nap and be quiet.
D'arcy and Julian take piano on the same day with the same teacher so that consolidates that activity. D'arcy has a strong desire to learn to play violin, but I'm reluctant to change because that won't work for Julian. When D'arcy is ten, I think we'll give her the opportunity to make that change.
Julian will be playing flag football this spring. I selected a league that has seven games with practice the hour before the game. It's a one day commitment for two months. The say they are focused on teaching the rules and having fun. I hope that is true.
D'arcy is in synchronized swimming. We began this activity last year as a one hour, once a week class. She was then asked to be on a team. She was excited, and I was hesitant. How much will this cost me? How many times will they ask us to practice? We agreed to a team that would have mandatory practice once a week, but many of the girls go an additional day or two for practice. I have felt pressure to take D'arcy more often. They want her (and every other girl) to get better and I just want her to be active and have fun. And get better, but we are in no hurry for that. That will come as fast as one day a week will allow. I think she is happy that I've protected her time.
I haven't done so well protecting my money. There is the regular fee, and then special swimsuits and headpieces, and the cost of traveling to meets. Plus, every family has different ideas on what they want to spend their money on. One of the moms wants to get the girls together once a month for a playdate and her suggestions include Mokey Joe's, Build a Bear, and the movies. I suggested going to someone's house to play. She suggested that when the weather gets nice we could have a big barbecue. That's a LITTLE bit closer to my idea.
One of the benefits that I didn't foresee to having D'arcy in this activity is that it puts the spotlight on her. She loves being one of four (almost five) kids. She keeps asking me to have more kids. It's been nice for her to have the our full attention for a couple hours or a day. I think it gives me an opportunity to fall in love with her individually instead of seeing her as one of a pack.
Thus far, I don't feel like a chauffeur. Normally, the kids have activities just two days a week. The kids ride the bus to school so there are many, many days that I don't get in the car at all. In fact, I haven't left our house for 48 hours. (My friend, Christie, and her kids did came over this morning to entertain me and the toddlers. That detail is for those of you who might be wondering if I'm about to go insane.) I'm worried and (better yet) prayerful that we'll be able to manage this low key feel as two kids in activities slowly creeps to five. Did I mention that we intentionally only have one car? Yep, that is all part of that first value of a quiet, uncluttered life. We might have to give in on that one someday.
Here are a few photos from D'arcy's first synchronized swimming meet.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kids say the darndest things...

We were listening to ABC by the Jackson 5 in the car the other day. The chorus says ABC easy as 123.

Julian says to me, "Mom, actually singing your ABCs is easier than counting. There are only twenty something letters and you're done. Numbers just get higher and higher and once you start you could count for your whole life and never be done."

Oh, snap. Take that ten year old Michael Jackson.

I'm doing a little work here and there.

I was really happy to walk into a house that had such fun colors and beautiful light not to mention a really sweet family.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

BOMBS! do damage with FIRE!

Julian brought home a science project folder.  Week one we were asked to write down five questions our little scientists had about the world around them.  Knowing me this happened at 6:30 on a Tuesday 7:30...when Julian's homework is due on Wednesday morning.  He came up with these five questions and I didn't edit him.
What is the earth made of?
How do bombs work? 
How do you make a chemical?
How are bananas grown?
Where do zucchinis grow?  

The folder demanded of us the next week to narrow the four questions down to two main interests.  Again, I didn't edit Julian, and he choose bananas and bombs.  We came up with several questions for each.  

I assumed we would do a research project, and I was fully prepared to force him to do it on bananas.  We would look up information to answer where bananas grow and why they are called bananas.  

BUT...the next week we were asked to plan an experiment with a question and a hypothesis.  I felt stumped on how to turn his banana questions into an experiment.  I thought about starting from scratch, but I typed in "easy bomb experiments".  I found directions for a super easy "Plastic bag bomb" that made Julian really excited and totally seemed safe.  

All was settled until I got a yellow sticky note on Julian's Friday folder from his teacher asking us to talk about testing "bombs".  

I hadn't really considered that he would be presenting this to a classroom of kindergartners   He came home with a sample script for his presentation.  I started to laugh when I inserted what his responses would be.  

My name is (Julian).  I'm interested in (BOMBS!).  One question I had about (BOMBS) is (how do bombs do damage)?  I thought (my bomb would do damage with FIRE!).  This was my plan to find an answer to my question:  First I....then I....and it caused (a sandwich bag to blow up and spew water all over the kitchen)....  New questions that came from this experiment are (are there any bombs that would explode and cause FIRE?)


So we kept the experiment, but dumped the word BOMBS! and called it a chemical reaction instead.  Looking back at his initial questions, he did ask about chemicals!  And for your information, the bomb was a little lackluster.  The bag did pop and it did make Julian jump, but the water stayed in the bag and just a small hole was created to let the carbon dioxide escape.  We were certainly NOT thrown against the side of the cabinet from the force of it all.  So, I would recommend it to all you super cool, slightly oblivious parents such as myself.  Here are the instructions

Friday, February 15, 2013

This baby is still cooking.

This pregnancy has been uneventful.  That's not to say it hasn't been full of pregnancy symptoms.  

The first trimester included headaches, nausea, and  constant tiredness.  

Now that I'm in my second trimester....wait...maybe I'm in my third already.  Hold on.  According to my igoogle, I'm twenty-eight weeks along today.  That snuck up on me.  

My most notable second trimester symptoms included rib pain, stomach muscle cramps, the uncomfortable feeling that this baby might fall out if I jump, and the constant need to blow my nose.  Bloody snot every morning.    

I actually made my midwife check me to make sure I wasn't dilating.  I wasn't.  She told me I should do some keegal exercises.   Too much information, I'm sure.  I'm thankful, though, that I feel comfortable enough with my midwife to ask her silly and ridiculous questions.  Questions I could guess the answer to, but questions that nag me and tempt me to worry.  She put my worries at ease.  

I went to her house a couple of weeks ago to watch a birth movie.  One of the moms on the video said that despite it sounding arrogant, she was just so proud of herself after she delivered her daughter.  I feel the same way about my births.  I'm so darned proud of myself.  Not that a woman shouldn't be proud of herself for choosing a different path.  I hope she does.  I'm proud of myself for following MY heart, MY gut, and facing MY fears.  That being said, the movie reminded me that I have to do this again.  I'm so looking forward to it (not just the baby but the birth process), but dreading it all the same.  It's empowering and exciting.  It's uncomfortable and painful.  

One worry I'm facing is that my labor will not move as fast as it has the previous two times.  I would prefer to only have ten contractions, but, mostly, I'm worried that I'll worry something isn't going right if I labor for over an hour.  Yep, you heard that right.  I'm worried that I'll worry.  What scripture in the Bible says, "Thou shalt stop being ridiculous."?

I'm beginning to feel fully round which I would also at times describe as whale-ish.  I'm enjoying the sweet kicks that Penuly only shares with me.  No one else knows this baby like I do right now.  She is mine.  He is mine.  If only for a short while.  

And, yet, the beautiful hilarious thing is, I don't know whether it is a he or a she.  My mom and dad, father-in-law, brother, sister, friends all know that.  Even my dental assistant knows.  That makes me smile every time I think about it.  My dental hygienist knows the sex of my baby before I do.  People keep asking me if I'm tempted to look in that little envelope in my wallet.  No, I'm not.  I'm enjoying this whole silly game too much.

Look what I received for Christmas.  Sweet little art prints to hang above Penuly's crib. Check out Sadly Harmless' website.  Stephen tipped my mom off to the fact that I was wanting them.  I thought they were going to give me money towards our kitchen renovation.  These took me by surprise and made me cry.  So much of what this baby will use will be handed down from it's siblings, but it's wonderful to have just a few things bought just for THIS baby.  A new crib will soon sit under these prints in our room.  
Baby also received his first CD thanks to our friends Kelly and Jon, and I purchased a few little shirts for a newborn at Goodwill.  I got to the register and discovered they were each $2 bucks which I wasn't sure was a very good deal.  I looking forward to getting down and washing what baby clothes I have and supplementing by shopping garage sales this spring.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I love being Aunt Mel.

My brother and sister in law are in the beginning process of adopting again.  This time they will be adopting domestically.  You might remember Rogi, their two year old, who was adopted from Ethiopia in 2011.  The process is a bit different this time.  For domestic private adoptions, birth mothers get the opportunity to select the family that there child is placed in.  Kyle and Emily have to put a book together giving potential birth mothers a glimpse into their house and life.  They are self described as "photo poor" so I was happily called into to assist in this area.  I took a few of their home, Kyle and Emily alone, and, of course, tons of Rogi.  A couple times I bribed him with a drink of Aunt Mel's tea which he thinks is a big treat.  I can't wait for another little brown girl or boy to add some more color to our VERY PALE family.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Husbands say the darndest things...

Stephen is thoughtful and pretty fantastic at gift giving.  He never bemoans going out for Valentine's Day (or any other special occassion).  If we could just pinpoint when Valentine's Day is, exactly.

D'arcy came home the other day with a flyer saying they were having a dance at her school on February 21st.  (On a side note, it's during school hours for K-5 grades in lieu of Valentine's parties.  D'arcy brought down a pair of earrings the other day and said, "I think I'll wear these to the BALL."  Julian informed me that it isn't a slow dance kind of thing, it's just a crazy, fast dance event.  He proceeded to show me how he plans to dance.  He should fit right in to the crazy part.)

Anyway, Stephen says, "Well, you know what else that day is, don't you kids?"

Knowing that he can NEVER, NEVER pinpoint Valentine's Day on a calendar, I egg this conversation on.  I say, "Isn't that the day after your mom's birthday?"

Stephen, looking confused says, "Isn't that ...."  He trails off because he knows what my mean smile means, and follows up with, "Well, when is Valentine's Day?"

February 23rd??????  

Monday, February 4, 2013

San Francisco is warmer than Indiana this time of year.

In the last six months, Stephen and I both taken the 5 love languages test.  We both had very high scores for quality time.   Date nights happen often around here.  We are not disciplined or intentional about them. Which is to say, we don't have to set a specific day every week or put a reminder on our to do list.   We sort of have an internal timer that goes off and says, "We haven't been outside our house together without kids in too long."  This timer goes off every week or two.  Thankfully we have awesome family and friends who are up for watching our kids.  They really use this time to not just make sure our kids stay alive, but to build relationships with them.  

I have it in my mind that that I'm not asking too much of my family for Stephen and I to go away for a weekend each year.  I'm not sure I could ask for a whole week, but I've been bold enough to ask for a weekend.  So far they've graciously gone along with it. Keeping my fingers crossed that won't change.  We've been able to go to Brown County, Rhode Island, Chicago, Madison IN, New York, and now San Francisco.  

Here's a lesson we've learned traveling just the two of us.  We are extroverts.  We really like each other, but after twenty four hours together we could really use some PEOPLE.  People to talk to, to eat with, to hang out with.  About a week into our two week honeymoon we were slowly going crazy, desperately seeking out people on the train to converse with.  On this trip, Stephen went out to San Francisco for work, and I met him there on Friday.  We had the opportunity to hang out with a coworker and his girlfriend on Saturday.  We got a chance to see their apartment, to see a movie, to go to their favorite Mexican restaurant, to window shop with them, to eat awesome chocolate with them.  They even talked to us.  It really enhanced our weekend.  We still had plenty of time just to ourselves.  I'm thinking we need to take our next weekend alone with another couple.  
That might be a weird question, "Hey, do you guys want to take a romantic weekend away with Stephen and I?"  Two couples could do this, right?  Travel together, hang out half the time, and spend the other half just with your spouse. 
The last time I was in San Francisco was June of 2007.  We went with lots of friends and had a wonderful time.  D'arcy, age two, and Julian, nine months, came along for the ride.  I was totally not expecting for the memories of my sweet babies to come rolling in and make me cry.  Truthfully, D'arcy and Julian getting older hasn't been bittersweet for me.  I have two other little toddlers to take their place.  That might seem awful, but it is what it is.  It's been great to parent older kids.  I've so enjoyed it.  But the memories from that San Francisco trip where little D'arcy blew bubbles, Julian slept in a suitcase, and we painfully pushed them up Knob Hill each afternoon came flooding in and whacked me over the head.  I came home with a little extra incentive to treasure each moment with my big kids.

So this little trip was sort of a ten year anniversary trip for us.  We'll be celebrating our ten year anniversary in May.  Stephen keeps asking, "Hey, what do you want to do for our anniversary?"  My response, "Have a baby."  IT will be arriving just in time to celebrate with us.  

I showed up a few hours before work was done on Friday.  I found the whole office drinking a beer from the keg that permanently resides in the break room.
My new favorite shirt.  I paid $4.00 from Target's clearance.  It's not maternity, but I paired it with a maternity tank to cover the bump properly.
One day, Stephen will own one of these cars, but today he'll just drool on this one.