Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On a Streak

So I went out a couple mornings ago to put some mail in the box. Piper, who can now operate doorknobs as well as any adult, opened the front door and ran out behind me. This has become a ritual for us most mornings. She runs outside, I shoo her back in. Except this particular morning, she had no clothes on. At all.

She ran (naked) around the driveway, giggling madly, and I chased after her, holding up my too-loose yoga pants so the neighbors didn't get the mother-daughter full moon package. Who really wants to see THAT at 7:30 in the morning?

She continued to run (naked) around the driveway and then started to run (still naked) down the sidewalk. She's a fast little bugger these days, and she got one house ahead of me as I changed direction and called out for her to come back. Telling her "hey, get back here!" only made her run faster. I saw a car cruising slowly down the street - like r-e-e-e-a-l-l-l-l-y slow - and wondered if they were creeps or just laughing at a wild-haired woman chasing a naked toddler down the street. The car got a little closer and I realized it was a police car.

Which meant that I was chasing a totally naked kid down the sidewalk, wearing the faded t-shirt and yoga pants I'd slept in, with uncombed hair, yelling "You GET BACK HERE! Stop laughing, it's not funny! I MEAN IT!" in front of our neighborhood police officers.

I wondered how many city ordinances I was breaking at that moment.

I caught up to Piper, who was laughing like this was the funniest thing that had ever happened. I scooped her up, blew a big raspberry on her belly, and carried her back toward the house. The police car, which had slowed even further for a moment, sped up as it passed us. I turned and waved before I shut the front door.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Raar II Makes a Break For It

Piper loves dinosaurs, and this guy is one of her favorites. She names them all "Raar" because according to her that's the noise they make. The original Raar is a gigantic stuffed creature, nearly as big as she is. We needed a more portable version, so Raar II came home with us from Target one day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rae Gun Ramblings: GIVEAWAY: Halloween Skirt

Rae Gun Ramblings is back at it with another cute little skirt. Oh man, I love Halloween clothes for kids. Go check it out:

Rae Gun Ramblings: GIVEAWAY: Halloween Skirt

Add some tights or legwarmers and a solid-color shirt...cute as a cupcake, I tell you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Bunny

We went to the library so I could pick up my holds (oh, man, do I love the public library's hold system) and this guy was sitting in a chair with a tag around his neck that said "FREE TO GOOD HOME." I thought they were kidding, which meant my heart sank when Piper climbed up beside him, hugged him, and started chattering away as though they were long-lost friends. She carried him all around the library, talking to him. Sometimes she dropped him and went to do something else - play with a hedgehog puppet, take all the pieces out of a puzzle, bang away at the keyboard on one of their kid-size computers - but she always came back to him.

I was trying to figure out how to get him away from her when we wandered past the librarian's desk and the woman sitting there said, "Oh, good. She really likes him. We were hoping he'd go to a good home. I can see he'll be loved."
"What?" I said.
"She can take him with her. We get so many stuffed animals, we don't have room for them all, so we put a tag on him, "Free to good home." She can take him with her if she wants."
I stared at her. I think my mouth was open a little. "I thought you were kidding. I mean, I thought the tag was kidding, I thought he was just here for kids to play with."
She smiled. "No, we get a lot of donations, we can't keep it all, and we just don't have room for this guy."
I was still staring, but at least I remembered my manners. "Well...thank you," I sputtered. "Thank you very much."

While I went to check out our books, my husband scooped up Piper. He tried to prevent yet another stuffed animal from entering our house and was defeated both by her death-grip around the bunny's neck and by the same librarian's well-meaning insistence that it leave with us.

She has been best buddies with him - taking him to the store, carting him around and sharing her snacks, talking to him and positioning him beside her on the couch. We'll see how long it lasts, how long it is before he is tossed aside and consigned to the graveyard of stuffed things the toybox.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

At the Playground

I've been going through a lot of older photos, trying to catch up on a massive backlog. I currently have 6MB worth of memory cards sitting on my counter waiting for me to load them onto the computer and go through them, plus another 3MB of photos already on the computer to sort through, crop, rotate, and whatever else I feel needs doing to them.

I did find these, which I took back in March at one of our favorite area playgrounds:

Robert L. Smith District Park, Charlotte NC - March 2009, 21 months old.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Apple & Pumpkin Pocket Pie Molds


Look what I could make! Don't they look delicious?
Think of all the time I'd save! I could just roll out the dough and presto! Mini-pies all ready to go in the oven.

I like to make hand-size pies, because I mostly make fruit pies and my husband only eats pie if it has cream or chocolate in it. Well, that's not entirely true, he has willngly eaten my fruit pies on a few occasions, but only because I made him feel guilty. The chocolate-bourbon-pecan pie he has no trouble demolishing, but the blueberry or the pear with asiago-rosemary crust is all mine. So I like to make little ones, freeze them, and have them for breakfast. But it's such hard, time-consuming work, and requires that I not be interrupted for at least 35 minutes while I roll and cut and fill and crimp. That is impossible in this house. Someone always needs something, and they always need it when I'm in the middle of something else. But with these molds, it would go so fast, I could easily knock out a dozen mini-pies in between disasters.

Originally found at The TumTum Tree.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Grosgrain: Indian Summer Shirt & Skirt GIVEAWAY!

What a sweet little outfit. It reminds me of...I don't know, I think the comment about it being something from Mad Men is right. Not that I know, since I've never gotten to watch it and Netflix never seems to have it available for me...

Indian Summer Shirt and Skirt GIVEAWAY!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Grosgrain: Made by Rae Backpack GUEST GIVEAWAY!

Go check out Grosgrain at the link below for a really cool giveaway from Rae of Made By Rae. Rae is a real sweetheart with some serious sewing talent. She's doing a guest giveaway - not only a backpack, but the pattern to make your own. Go check it out.

Made by Rae Jackpack Backpack GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Conversations With Piper: Mini-Parenting

The other morning, Ryan spilled something while we were all sitting at the kitchen table having lunch. "Oh, shit," he said.
Piper looked at him. "Did Daddy say bad words? Yes he did. It was a bad word. I'm sorry, Daddy shouldn't say that," she said primly.
I totally cracked up.

One day I asked her do do something.
"No." She went back to playing.
"Piper, I'm not kidding. NOW."
She walked over to me and hugged me, then hung off my shoulder and put her face close to mine.
"I say no," she said, and grinned. "Do you know what that means, Mom? I just say no."
I was so flabbergasted I didn't even object when she went back to playing.

"You have to be careful," she said as I opened the oven to take the muffns out. "It's berry hot. Don't touch it."

"That's sharp," she said, pointing to the knives in the diswasher basket. "Very sharp. They all sharp. Be very careful, Mom."

Okay, kiddo. I'll be careful.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grosgrain: Teachers Pet Cardi, Simple Tee and Poppy Skirt GIVEAWAY!

How cute is this outfit? The name says it all, because what teacher wouldn't love a student sitting there dressed in this getup? Go visit Grosgrain and link to win it.

Teachers Pet Cardi, Simple Tee and Poppy Skirt GIVEAWAY!!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mel's Interim House Contest

Please go check out my friend Mel's blog and her contest for a charity. You can enter to win a skein of her really cool sock yarn AND de-stash your knitting (or crochet) stuff at the same time. You have until the 19th to get a package in the mail. Here's a post with some needs/preferences/requests from IH.

I am sending mine out tomorrow; I would've had it done before but I kept finding more stuff to add. During my recent cleaning-and-organizing binge I went through all the messy junk closets - to the point of hauling out all the "what is IN here?!" boxes and opening them - and I kept unearthing more craft stuff. I wound up with enough stuff for ten dedicated crafters, including way more knitting stuff than I have room for. Skein after skein of never-used yarn piled up around me like mountains. So I have a big box of things to send, including:

- Yarn in colors I'd never wear. Pale, pale pink? What was I thinking?!

- Duplicate needles - my mom snatches up bargains wherever she finds them, so she frequently buys shoebox-fulls of knitting needles at yard sales or bargain baggies of them at designer-discount stores. I'm weeding out the duplicates in sizes I don't use much, which just happen to be the sizes that IH is looking for.

- Yarn that is too warm to work with. I just cannot do super-chunky wool or bulky alpaca in a climate where it's 85 most of the time.

- Extra tape measures. For some reason, the little retractable tape measures have become a popular corporate swag item. We have a lot of them around here, so I am sending some.

- Yarn that I bought because I didn't know any better.* I was a new knitter, okay? But it's been almost four years and I still have those skeins of fun fur, eyelash yarn, yarn with nubby bits, super-fuzzy yarn, yarn with glitter and yarn in day-glo disco colors. I don't know what to do with it all, but the IH ladies love it (check out their blog for some pics of projects).

- Single skeins that I am not creative enough to figure out what to do with. Everyone in my life has enough scarves already.

I would've posted this entry sooner, but I am a dumbass and apparently unaware of the way that time works (see earlier posts about Fall's surprise arrival in my life).

*I would also, at this point, like to publicly apologize to Mel, because the year I learned to knit I put two skeins of green fun fur in her Christmas stocking. What?! She loved green and it was bright green. I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know what good yarn was. I'M SO SORRY, I'LL NEVER DO IT AGAIN I PROMISE!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Wait, where did summer go again?

I know that the weather turned Fall-ish promptly on September 1st, and I even blogged about how much I was looking forward to the change of season, but it hadn't really occurred to me that summer was over. Somewhere the dark recesses of my brain held the fact that school was starting, temperatures were cooling, and apples were coming into season, but my mind as a whole had not quite processed the fact that summer is gone. The thought "Hey! Fall is here!" was flitting around my little brain like a butterfly.

All the things I was going to do this summer (go to Michigan for a visit, start sewing again, finish the Pay It Forward packages before Labor Day, knit the six different shawls my mom wants, make and send off the birthday presents for all the August birthdays, get started on some sweaters for Piper, start work on the October birthday presents and the Christmas stuff) have slipped through my fingers like sand. But I wasn't worried, because hey, I still had some summer left, right?

Then I woke up this morning and saw a yellow leaf on our back stoop. I raced to the windows on the side of the house and there they were - patches of reddening leaves scattered throughout the trees. My happy little butterfly went away and was replaced with "HOLY CRAP, IT'S FALL ALREADY AND I AM SO SCREWED."

Looking at those trees, thinking about that leaf, I realized the following things:

* The preschool I had hoped to send Piper to started this week.
* I have not even looked up dance studios around here so I have no clue where to send her.
* The August birthdays have come and gone, and I have not even started their projects.
* Labor day is over, and neither the Pay it Forward packages nor my package for the charity I'm sending stuff to are ready to go out (click that link and check out Mel's contest; it's a really worthy cause).
* I can't even find all the yarn for the first of my mom's six projects. I seem to have misplaced a ball.
* If I want to get to Michigan for a visit before Christmas, I'd better get plane tickets NOW.
* We are almost halfway through September.

I have no idea how I'm going to catch up. Apparently I have some sort of time problem, because this is not the first time I've had this issue. I bop along, content to make half-hearted stabs at my gargantuan to-do lists, blissfully filing almost everything under "do later." Then when it actually is later, I scramble and work like mad to get everything done in time. I was never this inefficient when I worked in an office; I just don't get it.

Much of my recent time was spent working doggedly around the house. The mess and clutter and boxes still unpacked after almost 18 months finally got to me and I couldn't take it anymore. We bought actual bookshelves and cd racks so we could finally get rid of the boxes in the spare bedroom. I packed up or gave away most of the (approximately) two tons of baby clothes & toys we owned. I got all my craft stuff together, organized it, and packed most of it up so it can go into the attic until I have a craft room (or, at this point, any little corner would do). We've been tackling one project or so a week, trying at least to tame the chaos of moving our stuff four times in two years. Although my House Project List is by no means finished, my brain is a lot happier and better able to think now that some of the physical disorder is gone.

I am still working on my items for Cris, Jen, Emily, and Lana. I had a wee little setback last week, because I bought the wrong supplies the first time and had to go out and get new and start over. I would up buying the stuff that I wanted to buy in the first place. I should've just trusted my instincts, because then I wouldn't be out the first round of supply money and six hours of time, nor would I have found myself charging through the hillbilly-est Wal-Mart in the area at 9:30 pm. There certainly are some, uh, colorful shoppers at that hour. Oh, well. Live some, learn some, right?

9/17/09: I changed the date of this post retroactively. My apologies if it shows up twice in your feed reader.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day!

To all my U.S. readers, anyway. You folks enjoy your barbeques and take one last swim in the pool while you can. Since we seem to be friendless losers at the moment, we are not going to do any of that. We're going to indulge our daughter's repeated and extremely specific requests to go to Ikea. Because a day off work should always be spent eating meatballs.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Fall Preview

Is there anyone who doesn't love Fall? It seems be be coming 'round, or at least poking its head out with surprising promptness at the turn of the month. Monday the air suddenly cooled; there were even some gray skies and rain. The cool weather is sticking around for the moment, although by "cool" I mean 78-85 degrees. The mornings are chilly; I have worn long pants three days in a row for the first time in months. Our windows are all open and the breeze blows through the house. It is bright but not too hot outside and the drying leaves rattle against one another on the trees.

After weeks of muggy, 90-plus-degree days, it is a welcome reprieve. The summer weather here is always so punishing for me; I wake up in the damp, hot air with a headache that waxes and wanes throughout the day, and finally turns into a full-blown migraine if I spend any time outside in the sun. I do not know why this is, since I guzzle water, wear sunglasses, and reapply sunscreen regularly. I try very hard to protect myself from the sun. I choose to believe at this point it is just a component of my genetic makeup - my very fair skin, red hair, and blue eyes did not come from people who spent a lot of time sunbathing. My forebears are apparently all from climates where the mere appearance of the sun was cause for a three-day festival. Whatever the reason, I've had to buy ibuprofen in huge bottles from Costco just to get through the summer.

This cooler weather brings the promise of Fall, it reminds me of the looming apple season (pie! pie! pie!) and the return of all things pumpkin - pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin muffins, and the pumpkin cheesecake a nearby friend has already put me on her list for. I offered to swap her for a pie, and she immediately took me up on that offer. Our weekly produce box from the farmers' market contains apples and squash now, as the peaches and tomatoes dwindle to nothing. I am making soups and pies and ratatouille and trying not to cut my and off while I hack open the various kinds of hard-sheathed vegetables appearing in my kitchen.

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

--Emily Dickinson, "Nature XXVII, Autumn"

My mind also turns excitedly to thoughts of the scarves it has been too unbearably hot to wear (I couldn't do even the sheer jersey ones that are suddenly ubiquitous, not in this heat), my beloved slouchy newsboy caps, and of course, BOOTS.

What trinket will you be putting on this Fall?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Stuff Under Twenty Giveaway: Woven Bracelet

The wonderful ladies of Stuff Under Twenty are back with another great giveaway. This time it's a beautiful woven bracelet of your choice from Etsy seller Brooklyn Thread.

I spent 45 minutes looking at (and drooling over) Brooklyn Thread's offerings. I love bracelets, and these simple, elegant designs totally hit the mark. Check 'em out, and enter the giveaway!