Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Already With the Complaining

We fetched the new car this morning. It is a lovely thing. I am most excited about the air conditioning, since both kids have decided that they hate wind now and my old 18 year old Volvo is hot and stuffy even with the windows down. Homestead Mama's favorite thing is the Fabric Coverage Plan. She is still cackling about them selling it to us with TWO TODDLERS right there with us in the showroom. All I can think is that I had used bibs for breakfast and they looked angelic and clean. For the seemingly low price of $300, for the next 5 years they'll come to our house and try to remove the stain every time Monito unscrews his sippy full of cranberry juice and dumps it down the back of the drivers seat in a fit if pique that Mommy won't stop at the ice cream stand. Or let's envision Pequita leaving some crayons on the seat as we park in the direct sun. Or say I have an uncharacteristically clumsy moment and slosh my coffee as I drive, drink coffee and answer a text on my phone while simultaneously fishing Monito's excavator off the floor of the car. If these Elves of house-call cleaning can't return our upholstery to like-new condition, we take it back to the dealer for a new seat cover or carpet. I'm actually a little excited about this too. I did bring up the MSDS and toxicity and potential off gassing of chemicals used to treat the stains to a crowd of black stares. Homestead Mama was undeterred as well. Spotless car, here we come. I do have fantasies of waiting 4.9 years and then calling them in, but we'll see how much I want to work the system.
I must say I HATE HATE HATE the big key. I love a low profile keyring; part of it is that I don't like a big bulge in my pants pocket, but the other part? If I lose it [which I always do] I have to pay $300 for a new one. I usually just make a handful of nice streamlined copy keys and leave one in the car, one I send to my mom - she always keeps my keys - and a pile in the house. This prima donna car won't start without the chip inside the bulky black housing; my nice cheap copy keys will get me in the door but won't start the engine. This really chaps my hide.
This picture is of the offending key was taken against the crumpled paper table cover at my REs office upon which I had just scooted up my naked butt and gotten the ultrasound wand treatment to check out my innards. I had a little extra time between the nurse drawing blood, the other nurse giving me the ultrasound, the insurance specialist coming in to go over my coverage, and the doc coming in at the end to give me a hug, say welcome back and let me coo about the existing babies. All is in order for a cycle of unmedicated FET whenever I want. I say bring it on.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Duck Derby

Releasing 36OO rubber ducks into a gorge river was a truly magnificent event. Each duck was numbered and the numbers raffled off for a fund raiser for our local cooperative extension. We will make a tradition of this for sure.

Spring Sunday

On Friday, we woke up to ice in the kids toys in the yard. Saturday and Sunday it was over eighty degrees. I love my town.

Softball practice has started for Homestead Mama, and the kids really enjoy the sideline activities of racing around, playing with Auntie Kiko, drinking from the water fountain, and tormenting Mommy by running into the parking lot.
We spend time snacking in the shade whenever it gets hot. Monito bringing me back his hat; he sports his skort and floral top like a real champ, eh? He picked it out himself.

There is a new fun thing to do this year. Both kids are fully able to scale chain link fence. Oh boy! I had to make a rule that they may not climb higher than they bar at about 5' off the ground. Boggling that we still haven't made a trip to the ER, isn't it? There was no crying after Monito's dismount. He just picked himself up and started climbing again.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

First Hot Day

We had a really full, nice day. The Volvo was leaking oil so Homestead Mama took it down to get looked at this morning; the kids refused to be left behind, so she took them along and to a diner for breakfast. I slept in.

At 11am we attended the season opening of the local Children's Garden with some friends. There were festivities and lots of playing in the sandbox, watching the mating frogs trail eggs in the pond, playing in the tiny house made of straw bale construction, and building fairy houses. Pequita really got into this, and ours was rudimentary by my standards, but she insisted it have a bed made of cattail fluff, a picnic table and enough chairs for the fairy and her friends, a little walnut shell of water in case she gets thirsty, and some seeds for food. We built it at the base of a tree so we could do it in the shade, as it was eighty degrees and sunny. It was so much fun - this is definitely something we'll do around our house.

At noon we jumped in the car and headed to the closest Mazda dealer which is an hour away, ensuring the kids would nap on the way. We bought a car today, an 'O9 Mazda 5 micro-minivan crossover. Whatever. Consumer Reports loves it, and it gets great mileage for a car with 3 rows of seats. It is still under warranty, as it has only 6k miles on it; some Mazda manager had it as a job perk. It is superfluous that it is a beautiful red, comes with a spoiler, moon roof and - Homestead Mama's favorite thing - custom carpet mats. What really matters is that *I* will have to be the primary driver, as H-Mama's commute will blast through the warranty in a few short months, whereas my in-town meandering will take a lot long to reach 36k miles. I am going to make waterproof slipcovers for the seats, since they are pale beige it would only be a matter of days until the specific slick layer of toddler goo permanently marred the perfect interior. We'll go and finalize the deal on Tuesday. I have a doctor's appointment a few miles from the dealership anyway that day to start seeing about filling up the other seats of the car. More about that in another post.

We stopped on the way home for Mexican food and the kids were so good that we decided to give them the gift of their first A&W root beer float for dessert. Both H-Mama and I have really wonderful memories of going to A&W as kids, the wooden-handled mugs, the joyful treat of it all. Our kids loved it; you can still sit in your car and order food, but we sat inside at a table. You have to order your food from a phone hanging in your booth, which was the source of much amusement.

It was a super day. Full, sticky, too sunny, really busy, but successful on every front. The kids were asleep quickly, as will we be shortly.


I wanted to call her Zippity, but was outvoted*. We bought her a couple hours ago; we go back on Tuesday to pick her up. We got a good enough deal, and had them throw in some extras like a roof rack and cargo net and cover. I swear, I should have had the salesman to throw in a set of snow tires too after Pequita dropped a big metal ramp on her foot while we were ignoring her and signing paperwork. My goodness the sales team mobilized quickly at the sound of her screams.

We took the kids to the McDonald's indoor playground next door to the dealer afterwards to reward their patience, such as it was. It is like the Lord of the Flies in their.

*I'm TOTALLY having a third kid so the tiebreaker can fall in my favor next time.
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Friday, April 24, 2009


My daughter calls horses 'horse ride' which comes out sounding like 'ho-wide'. Every horse we drive by or bike by is a 'ho-wide!'.

Monito is IN LOVE with the story "I Stink" by the McMullens. We have the dvd and the book. He has his own garbage truck that he got for Christmas and he calls it "I 'tink" and zooms it around the living room while watching his show. I just bought him a nice German-made plastic excavator, and he spends tons of time gathering the carpet fuzz and dust bunnies up in the scoop and transferring them to the garbage truck. I suppose I should let him play with the vacuum more, eh?

Pequita is a big girl now; she tells me so many times a day when she wants to do anything she isn't allowed to do. Primarily I hear it when she wants to do 'gymnastics' which means endangering her life and limb by dangling from the banister or performing acrobatics that would cause a teenager to blanche. She helps me let the dogs in and out, make my coffee, feed the dogs and fish, carry heavy items, and use the computer mouse. She wants to dress and undress herself, put her own diapers on, and bathe herself. Monito, who is physically bigger than
her, is 'a leetle baby'.

When we are outside Monito has developed a habit of running laps around the house, garage, or playground. He gets a wry, slightly naughty smile on his face, tucks his head into his chin and takes off at a steady sprint. Calling after him does no good, he MUST RUN. He stumbles and wipes out all the time but just put himself to rights and keeps going.

Pequita has shifted somehow and become part shepherd dog. If her brother drifts away from me in a public place or if I call him to me at home I hear him screaming and the next thing I know she has bodily dragged him to my side, usually by his overall straps or a hood. It is really funny and I have to stifle the laughter every time. This goes along, I think, with her claiming to be a "Big Girl".

Monito has developed selective hearing. It is as if he is deaf. I can whisper, speak, or yell to him and he doesn't even register my presence. It is most annoying. I have walked over to him and tapped him on the head and he gets a teeny little smile and continues to ignore me. I thought this wouldn't happen for years to come.

Pequita is really embracing the potty training. Part of being a Big Girl. She is keenly excited about peeing in the grass, but despite having been shown how (hey, we live in the country) she is reticent.

Monito can count to 12 and beyond. He can sing a lot of the alphabet song (A, B, C, etc) but still prefers their made up version, A-yayay, I-ayay, O-ayay, etc.

Pequita is terribly afraid of getting left behind and every time she leaves our presence, she pops her head back into view and says, "NO LEAVE!?"

Both kids eat what H-Mama and I eat. Last night we all had a late quick meal of the first fresh corn on the cob and sardines on crackers. They love rice and beans, sticky rice with mango, edamame, most leafy greens, chick peas, Indian food, and anything Mexican. I am grateful each and every day that they eat more than mac & cheese and peanut butter.


The first corn on the cob of the season. Pequita loved it. Monito ate THREE ears, including mine and the spare.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It Might Kill Me

But Oh! how I'd love to own one of these. If you click on the link below, you'll help get me entered in the contest, so click! The drawing is in July.

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

I could haul the kids around without a car and with no emissions, other then the string of profanity left in our wake as I try to pedal us all up a massive hill to get to our house from town.

I have gone to take pictures of houses twice in the last week for my parents who might move to my gorgeous town. One was a no go, the other is really promising. They will live down in the flats of town; I could leave my Madsen bike at their new house.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

We had wheels again, albeit rented, and made good use. Earth Day was today, and I would have totally missed it had not a friend invited us to a local event. It was overcast, cool, drizzling, and uninspired, but the kids enjoyed the small gathering and craft events. Hula hoops, lawn bowling, make-your-own turtle and planting seeds all went over well.

The kids were exhausted upon returning home at 5pm. The original Pippi Longstocking TV series on DVD had arrived in the mailbox, as had the Sound of Music remastered DVD. Much excitement ensued. They collapsed in assorted tiny chairs to veg to Pippi while I made dinner for them.

Homestead Mama arrived home just as I served a delicious stand-by meal of mac and cheese with TVP with extra cheese and garlic, with sides of steamed broc and watermelon. They all ate, had a quick tubby and then watched the songs most loved from the Sound of Music in karaoke style, an option on the new DVD, while we dressed them for bed. Pequita makes me act out the youngest girl's part of the So Long, Farewell song over and over on our stairs. She scoots up on her butt while I sing, then go scoop her up and sing the end while she squints her eyes shut pretending to be asleep. Over and over, did I mention?

I bought Monito a digger excavator early in the day while on the town Commons playing with friends. He hauled it everywhere we went all day; the store, napping in the car, the playground, the Earth Day celebrating. He carried it out of the car and into the house, barely letting it go.He is, right now, post-tubby, clutching it to his naked chest as he watches songs from the Sound of Music. His love knows no bounds, apparently.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Mazda Love

Jungle gym features optional.
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The Mazda 5 is OK!

I rented one for 2 days, and I've already decided that we are buying one this weekend. And when we get it, there's no way H-Mama gets to drive it every day. I haven't ever had a/c, cup holders, cruise control, LATCH car seat hooks, and I feel like my time has come. And there is an ipod input jack. Now I just have to figure out if it is a better deal to buy used or new (is there really a tax incentive for new Mazdas, or just the crappy American cars?)

The kids call it the Zoom car because I can't help singing the Mazda ad refrain. When we buy our own, she shall be known as Zippity (yes, as in do da).
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Milestone update

Pequita is into her puzzles with a vengeance. She usually gets a puzzle off the shelf, carries it to the dining room table [above her little brother's line of sight] breaks it up and then puts it back together before calling for my attention to admire it, "Mommy, puyyal [puzzle] all by shelf [self]!" She is able to overcome her desire to have all things to herself if we channel her into a help-your-brother mode. She spends a lot of time teaching him how to do complex activities that he wouldn't do on his own yet. The latest was moving furniture together in order to be able to swing her legs back and forth like a jungle gym. She worked out how to do this, then put all the furniture back and dragged him over to it and showed him, step by step, how to do it himself. "Hands heyah, Bubba", "No, foot dere", until he is swinging too. He loves all this. She has learned that if I don't answer to Mommy! after a while, if she hollers out my first name I crack to attention. It is really funny, mispronounced and all, but she is so proud. She is also happily mangling her brother's name when she diverts from her preferred 'Bubba'.

Monito really loves grabbing whatever his sister is coveting/playing with/ asking for and taking off. He runs everywhere, tucking his head and darting off. This has resulted in his first through third spankings, as parking lots and crosswalks are NOT the place for darting. This from me, the 'I won't spank ever' pacifist. Apparently I have a line that CAN be crossed. He is speaking in sentences like "Pequita wake up, Mommy!" or "NO! My toon [turn] now peese [please]". He is always the first one awake, and nurses *me* awake usually. He is in a phase in which he dotes on his Mama. The only time he refuses her and prefers me is if he wakes up in the middle of the night; the rest of the time he is keen to have Mama time. This is quite a delight for both of us. I get a rest, she gets his snuggly best. We regularly get the query, "Um, how old is he exactly?" from parents whose kids are 3.5 and smaller than him and not scaling the spiderweb rope jungle gym at the park. He wants to do everything his older more agile sister does, and thankfully is mostly willing to accept my help. Her I spot, him I hold and help along. I still believe we'll be on a first name basis with the E.R. staff before his young childhood is over.

When they come to me for help, I divert them to their sibling for assistance as much as possible. Much of the time this gets them cooperating, and is usually good for a laugh as well. They each have their strengths, and get a lot of satisfaction in being the one to be in charge.
Spring has arrived here at the Homestead, and being without a car most days we've been working to fill our days in the neighborhood. I bought a tow-behind bike pod for the kids on sale last fall and we just went and bought helmets for the kids. Thank goodness we didn't do it last fall, as Monito does not fit a toddler size, and *just* fits in a youth helmet. The sales woman's head fits in the same model he has. Sheesh, but he got the Homestead Mom family skull with a vengeance, poor boy. They each got to select their own color, and Pequita selected a nice neutral yellow one. The sales women asked if she should just show Monito the manly ones, and I said no, he can pick from all the available options knowing full well which one he would select. Pink it is. Since Pequita will grow into it next year, alls the better, eh?

We've gone for a few rides around our flattest block, which is about 4 miles. Towing 7O lbs behind my bike is surprisingly hard given my lack of fitness, especially up hills. The kids really like the whole process, particularly their cup holders in the pod. I make sure to select a route with cows, sheep and horses to ogle, and we sing the whole way. This is, actually, exactly my vision of parenting toddlers when I fantasized about it pre-child. Nice to have ONE fantasy come true.

Perfect Park

The weather is so great today. We spent the morning at my favorite park, the one with the best playground and surrounded by the lake. We met friends there, and it is really fun seeing the kids interact so differently than last summer. Now they seek each other out, take turns and share with a fair bit of success, and chatter about everything. My kids haven't seen their friend Sophie for 6 months, but they had a good time. At one point Soph sat down between them, put her arms around their shoulders and said, "you are my best friends."
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After the veterinarian's office weigh-in, I wanted to check out the kids' percentiles. According to my wiggly measurements, Monito, at 22 months, is in the 97th percentiles for height and weight. My little monster. I'm glad we have plans to get a nice organic garden growing in the back yard as well as a few chickens and maybe a goat for milk and cheese, since clearly we won't be able to afford to buy enough food to sustain him through puberty.

I couldn't have foreseen him outgrowing his changing table, but clearly that has happened.

Pequita is in the 95th for weight and is down to the 66th for height. This would mesh with Homestead Mama's height and build, as well as the females in the donors family. Fairly traditional for Mexican indian heritage all around. H-Mama is an athlete; at 5'1" her build is compact, muscular and completely agile. She can do any sport she tries with an ease I - literally - only dream of. Her short stature has gotten in the way a bit, so we both hope for Pequita to at least crest 5'4" or so.

Pequita then came up to me with her measuring tape and wrapped it around my thighs, chanted some numbers and pronounced, "BIG, Mommy!" I said, "I know, little girl, I know." Sigh.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

We also stopped for lunch at the Mexican place for burritos. They scarf them down.
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Car days

On the days I have a car, the kids and I run errand after errand. Yesterday we shopped for French doors to install in our kitchen. When we first gutted and renovated, we framed for this door, so we can just cut a hole through the wall and drop in the door - one really good bit of forethought. There are plans to build a stone terrace outside these new doors, but that is down the road. For now, we'll have a small deck and then a nice expanse of graded lawn to use as our outdoor eating area. With the recession in place, we aren't having any difficulty getting people hired to do the work.

Outside one of the places I went for a door quote there was a stream with a bridge. We had a super time collecting rocks and tossing them from the middle of the bridge into the water.

We also picked up a child-sized wheelbarrow at the home store. I didn't intend to get one, but Monito pounced on it the moment we entered the store, drove it all the way back to the door department, played happily with it while I chatted with the door salesman and then drove it back to the front of the store. He screamed at the mere suggestion that we leave it behind, and so he drove it right out to the car. Once home, when I asked him what he was going to do with it, he said "Rocks, Mommy". True to his word, he pushed it right over to the rock pile near the driveway, loaded it up and moved pretty big rocks around the yard. I had to bodily block him from taking into the house at the end of the day. .
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Evidence of productivity

Knitting again!
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Little Brother

The kids and I took two of the three dogs to the vet this morning for wellness exams and shots. That would have been a total nightmare if we didn't have exceptional dogs and pretty good kids. I jest. Sort of. Oh how my kids like to watch beings other than themselves get shots. They patted and comforted the pooches, saying 'its ok, don't cry'.

Anyway, after we weighed the dogs I tossed the kids on the nice big floor scale which they thought was funny. 30 month old Pequita tipped the scales at 35 lbs exactly. Her brother, eight months younger, weighed in at 35.6 lbs. He's as tall as she is as well. I don't know if this is normal boy/girl growth speed, but I'm still a little blown away.

(For any of you who know our dog Cody, she is hanging tough a year after her cancer diagnosis. Her thyroid tumor is ever bigger but she is not manifesting any symptoms. None of us expected her to live this long; while I love the new dog Cosmo, three dogs over 60 lbs is something I wouldn't have signed on for again. Oh yes, we used to have four. Sigh. Both toddlers like to help with the poop-scooping in the yard. I'm such a proud mother.)
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Toddlers + silence = they found and consumed the basket of Easter candy to be doled out over the next week. I'll be offline for a while to deal with the looming maelstrom of sugar high. [The babbling I heard but didn't understand was my son saying 'no more candy...no more candy' as he checked all the eggs.]

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I ended up having a great time today. There were a few hours in the morning, though, where the surging autonomy [that's toddler code for evil stage, tantrums, screaming and lots of 'NO, me! NO help! NO mine!'] peaked in both kids. There was a point where H-Mama and I were so DONE with the purposeful hitting, disobedience, not listening/ helping/ cooperating, refusal to sit in time out, and destruction of personal property that I told them "WE'RE GOING FOR A RIDE IN THE CAR" and marched them both upstairs with a grim face and wordlessly changed their diapers & dressed them. They could tell that the patience was gone, and were cowed into good behavior. We visited Auntie Kiko and her girlfriend and went grocery shopping, then home for nap. The rest of the day went so much better.

The good stuff from today? After Pequita woke the whole bed of us up at 6:45 am with a yelling, crying bad dream, it was so exciting to be able to go down and find Easter baskets that everyone was cheered up. They hunted for their Easter baskets and once they figured out what they were doing, merriment ran high. Monito's stomach had been wonky the night before, so we had no candy in the morning. A hard boiled egg and some fruit leather went over well. I had bought a bunch of small toys and non-candy basket fillers anyway, so they had plenty to play with. Monito's favorite toy by far? A new plate and set of nice silverware that is all his own.The kids are playing together really well most of the time now, and spent a full thirty minutes in interactive, cooperative play in their teepee. It is so exciting to have them groove on each other like that; it makes up for a lot of the pummelling that follows.
In the afternoon, we had a couple families over to hunt for eggs. Oh my goodness but the kids loved it. We spread hard-boiled eggs and plastic ones filled with mostly carob- and yogurt-covered raisins. We lost a few eggs to the dogs, who came out with our group and boisterously snapped up the hard boiled eggs. Apparently carob isn't good enough for them. There was pretend napping afterwards. This involves much kissing 'goodnight', covering up, squeezing ones eyes shut and then vaulting awake. Yes, my son is clutching the hose to a shop vac. No teddies for him.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I was stealing a couple minutes out of a busy day to read a blog or two and opened greenkitchen.com to find the video below. I scooped up the kids to sit on my lap - they were entranced and sat with their mouths open and their eyes dancing, much like I must have looked. We watched the whole thing, and towards the end had this conversation:

Pequita: Mimi, mya! [Mommy, me!]
Me: Yes, honey, I'd like to do it too. It looks like a lot of fun, doesn't it.
Pequita: No, NOW. NOW!

I watched with tears in my eyes at the magic. Then the kids requested MORE, so we watched it another two times, then we played it loudly and moved the desk chair out of the way and danced in the office.

I have so much love in my life, so much busyness, so much wanting, so much stress, so much beauty, so much richness. I think I may have to find the joy again, though. If this video makes me cry, I may have lost it a bit. Looks like we'll start by getting the Sound of Music on DVD.


I ordered a big box of wooden things recently from here. It is an amazing resource for imaginative play and most things are pennies apiece so it is easy to buy enough to satisfy two kids and the gremlin who steals small toys in our house. We've had a jar of wooden acorns from this store for a year that we play with all the time; we use them for food for our animals, we roll them, we use them as game pieces, and things to count. The most recent box full of goodness contained wooden eggs in 4 sizes, peg people in six sizes and styles, and a trio of lighthouses. The latter were a bit of a chancey purchase, but Monito LOVES his lighthouses, and carries them around chanting their sizes, "BIIIIIG, meedle, ay teeny." Pequita can't keep her hands off the 'peg peoples'.
I have been insanely craftipated [craft + constipated = when all my crafty impulses are stymied at every turn by toddler needs] and needed to JUST MAKE SOMETHING. I stuck Pippi Longstocking into the DVD player, put down a platter of watermelon, and successfully diverted the kids. I plugged in the glue gun - who has time to sew? - gathered my felt stash, and a few minutes later voila! Elves. Pequita decided they would live in the Haba jewelry box we got at the Salvation Army for $2 months ago. Perfect. I've seen them in a few places on the web, but this is the one I bookmarked. Check out her other items - we're definitely going to make some peg gnomes with acorn cap hats. Then I'll have to make a tree house for them to live in.