Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another day in the neighborhood

Thing 1 and 2 are in the other room watching TV. I can hear their conversation through the open door. Thing 2 becomes inordinately upset and is wailing about a line on her foot. Thing 1 looks at it and says it’s just a line, just a wrinkle on your foot. Thing 2 says but I don’t want a line on my foot! Why is it there? Thing 1says “It’s just the way Jesus made you.”

For anyone else this would be normal, not particularly noticeable conversation. But for me, who has too long ignored my children’s religious upbringing, this brings joy to my heart. Somewhere along the line, from Church, from reading, or from me, Thing 1 has indeed picked up a little bit of religion.

This morning Thing 2 was quite excited about breakfast. She grabbed the Nestle strawberry milk powder from the pantry and galloped with it to the table. However the lid was not snapped on tightly and in her galloping, she was exuberantly tossing the container around as she galloped, the lid flipped off and about ¼ of a large container of pink powder went all over the floor, which she skidded on, and all over her clothes. Her response, not too unexpectedly, was to start to wail. No matter how many times she is encouraged to not wail as a first response, it is still her first response to anything the least bit negative.

Hubby came back from Italy on Sunday. The girls and I spent most of the previous week in Logan, culminating in a couple of days on Bear Lake with my brother's family. The girls had a fabulous time, I think their favorite part was riding on the chariot innertube thing with their cousin. But they really enjoyed jumping on the trampoline, riding in the boat, and playing in the water. We wore them down to the nub and even Thing 1, who isn’t much of a napper, fell asleep in the boat for a couple of hours. All in all they just had a fabulous time.

Speaking of which, when we were in Logan my uncle Glade and Aunt Vicki came up for a reunion the next day and since we were looking for a babysitter so I could go to the play with Kristin that night, we asked them to babysit. They said everything went well, but thought the girls exceptionally funny and cute. Glade was particularly amused when something happened that pleased Thing 2 and she said it was Fabulous. Apparently they’re not used to three year olds calling things Fabulous.

I came home and put up the 2nd tarp on the fort, so now both sections have shade. This was a no-question requirement for me, as the sun beating down really warmed up the decking, and from about 10:00 a.m. on the higher slide section was directly in the sun, and as the sun moved across the sky, the too-hot-to-stand-on section just got bigger and bigger. Yesterday we all had lunch on the fort about 2:00 pm. before Hubby left, and the whole deck was in the shade. I am very pleased with how the fort turned out. There are about three things left to do: We need to buy and dump in three or so more bags of sand. The two person swing needs to be put on, but I’m not sure I’m going to get to that. The rails are half nice redwood posts, and half shanty-looking cedar planks, but I don’t know if or when that will ever be taken care of. We do what we can...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Jim Bridger would be proud

We spent the WHOLE day working on the fort in the back yard.

It started several months ago, my sister brought her truck, her husband, and her stepsons and they helped us clear off a foot of topsoil off the top back bit of our yard, to level out the ground for the fort. They shoveled off a ton of dirt which we wheelbarrowed through the garage - the cedar shingled structure on the right - out the alley to her truck. She took the dirt home to put in her corral. Thanks so much to them!!!

The next step was to begin the building process. The fort will be on the left, out of the picture here.
Our postage stamped sized grassy area has been turned over to the girl’s fort. We’ve spent several half days, and two full days working on it.

The ironic thing is how much time we’ve spent ignoring the girls and getting them to entertain themselves while we were working on this fort we’re building to make their lives more magical and fun.

It has since been finished, with a tarp roof and rails on the sides.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I do windows, though

Hubby has been so overwhelmed with writing the book, working contracts, writing articles for technical publications, editing an issue of a technical publication, preparing workshop handouts/papers/presentations for conferences... etc. etc. etc. he's just running down to the nub. So...Sunday afternoon I asked how I could help. He suggested that I start making dinner.


This is a pretty dramatic change of behavior for me. I can immediately see several potential problems:
1) he is by far the better cook.
2) he enjoys cooking a lot more than I do.
3) more than once when i did start cooking he came in midway and would start to suggest changes... which sometimes goes over okay, sometimes not.
4) he can usually find some way to improve nearly every dish, no matter where it is in the preparation or post-preparation process, which is often annoying, though sometimes not.
5) if he is in town, when he'll be coming home can vary from 6:00 to 7:30 pm with very little notice.
6) when it is just me and the girls, we have frozen chicken nuggets, hot dogs, or meat balls for more often than Hubby would ever tolerate. That is my kind of cooking.

But fine, i can roll with the punches. I bought him a Rachel Ray 30 minute meal cookbook a couple of years ago that has been sitting unopened on the shelf, so I pulled it out and chose a couple of recipes, and went shopping on Monday. Maybe if it only takes 30 minutes I can stand to cook something. I also like that she suggests the whole meal, not just one item. I am famous for pulling a main course out of the oven and blinking in surprise when Hubby asks what else we're having ... "Ahhh... raw carrots and .... a slice of bread for everyone! Huzzah!"

The other challenge is finding something that the girls (Thing 1) will eat. Her menu of acceptable foods is quite limited.

I don't usually talk much to Hubby during the day, but Monday afternoon I needed to ask him something and he casually mentioned he'd be at the library until it closed. This was news. Admittedly he'd said something about not watching a movie or anything that night because he needed to work late, but I had interpreted that to mean that after dinner and putting the girls to bed, he'd need to do some more work.
Do I continue to cook for myself, or do i blow off my new dinner making routine for another day?

I decided I'd go ahead and cook for me and the girls and he could eat when he got home. I made a chicken with gravy, (Thing 1 does eat some chicken if I wash off any seasonings it has on it and hold the gravy) cheesy orzo (I told her it was a different kind of macaroni and cheese) and some vegetables cooked in Balsamic vinegar. (Our balsamic vinegar was so old it pretty much ruined the vegetables.)
Thing 2 fell asleep on the couch while I was cooking, and would not be roused. I finally carried her lifeless body to bed at 8:00.
Thing 1 was enthusiastic about dinner until she walked in the kitchen and saw it on her plate. Then she yelled that she didn't want that for dinner, she wanted waffles, launched into tears, and ran out of the room. No amount of coaxing or rational explanation lessened her overwhelming sorrow.

Skip ahead to ten minutes later I am sitting alone at the table, eating my dinner. Thing 1 comes in, the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth reaction has passed, and she calmly eats several bites of chicken, a decent sized serving of orzo, pronouncing them both "Good," but no thanks on any more than what she ate. She then asks for her frozen waffle, which has been the deal in our house. If you take a couple of bites of what's on your plate, I'll make you, within reason, something else. I am not completely happy with this deal, and think it’s going to change soon. But that’s another story.

Hubby had a plate when he got home.

That or something like it has been the story. Thing 2 of course wolfs everything down, proclaiming each dish "her favorite," and asks for more. When she's awake.
Over the course of the week, Thing 1's fits upon seeing what dinner actually was have lessened, last night she sat down and had her pork chop and cooked apple slices without hardly a peep, though she only ate three beans (one of each) of the three bean salad and pronounced them completely unpalatable.
Hubby has been high with his praise, has only made suggestions when asked.

So goes my foray into cooking.

This is Thing 1 all ready for her foray into the wading pool in our yard.