Wednesday, December 23, 2009

missed us?

I can't believe I haven't posted in so long. Well, when I think back over the whirlwind of the past two months, yes I can. We had two baby showers for Baby Long, a two week trip to Houston, Thanksgiving, an avalanche of work deadlines, two rounds of out-of-town company, and oh yeah, Christmas.

It's been a lot of fun. I will gradually be getting caught back up. There are so many photos I want to share! But in the meanwhile, here's a Christmas family photo. Beryl took this in front of our Christmas tree, if you can believe it!

It looks like we'll be having a white Christmas here in Denver. Here's wishing you and your family all the holiday joy you can stand! Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Happy Festivus!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

happy halloween

This has been fun week. As most everyone knows, last week we got a big snow. It started snowing Tuesday night and kept on going through Thursday. Roan's school was closed on Wednesday, which made work interesting. It's not ideal trying to talk about databases over the phone with whining, crying, and glass breaking in the background (she dropped a bowl).

So I gave up on work and we met our friends Scarlett, Kelsey and Tyler over by REI at the sledding hill. The girls hadn't seen each other in probably a month so it was quite the reunion.

snow at Confluence Park



Friday was Roan's school Halloween parade. That morning she finally broke the news to me that she'd really rather be a fairy ballerina that the cowgirl I had my heart set on. Oh well. She loved her costume, and that's what counts!

Before the school parade

Here are Roan, Claire (Zebra), and Audrey (Snow White)
Halloween parade at school

Saturday was Halloween. So that morning we had some friends over (a LOT of friends!) for a yummy potluck breakfast. There was quiche, fritattta, bacon, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, orange cranberry scones, fruit salad, mimosas, bloody marys, chai lattes, and pumpkin spice lattes. And there were more kids running around than you could shake a stick at. Honestly I'm not sure how we crammed that many people into our house!

Here are most of the kids rounded up before heading out. My attempt at a nice group shot failed utterly, since we couldn't get them all facing the same direction, eyes open, no crying for even a split second!
About to hit Tennyson

After getting our fill we strolled over to Tennsyon for Trick or Treat Street. Roan is not a very strategic trick or treater, which is just fine by me, since I don't really want her to have any candy anyway! I think it took us an hour and a half to go down one side of one block and up the other. It was a GORGEOUS GORGEOUS day though. In fact the whole weekend was.

Happy Halloween!

The Maines'

on Tennyson

Saule and Nicole

After that we decided to head over to the park for some playtime. After all, it's not every day you get to go down the slide dressed up as a fairy ballerina.

By the end of the day we had one very tired trick or treater
sleepy trick or treater

We had a little more fun around the house though...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

world's longest post ever

Where does the time go? So much to catch up on...

As some of you may have deduced from the photo slideshow on the panel at right, we went to a pumpkin patch a few weeks back with the Gilpins. The girls were so freakin adorable it was ridiculous. Here's a slideshow.

... and a couple videos...
Hi Goat

Pony ride

We also have undertaken a variety of improvement projects around the house. What's new, right? One that has really made me very happy is getting both our closet and Roan's organized. Here are some photos.

You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette. Here's the chaos in Roan's room while we were underway. Not for the feint of heart.
closet craziness

Here's Roan helping Daddy.
putting up Roan's new closet

Her finished closet
Roan's closet newly organized

A place for everything and everything in its place
aaah organization!

Our closet
our closet all organized

Another home project: we welded up a new gate for the side of the house. It was a great learning project for me because it had about a zillion welds, all at 90* angles (easy). I still have a ways to go before I'm a welding master, but it's been a fun project for us. We have one more bar we'd like to weld on to close in the largest square a bit, but here it is at the moment.
New gate

In other news, Roan went to a birthday party last weekend complete with ponies, face painting and balloon animals. And it was a gorgeous day for it. The only problem was, the party was scheduled smack during her naptime. We threw caution to the wind and figured skipping one nap wouldn't kill her. She did pretty well, but when pizza arrived and she laid her little head on the table next to her plate, we took that as a sign she needed some rest. She and Arwen took an impromptu nap in the shade together. Here's a slideshow.

A couple weeks back we took a trip to the zoo with Roan's friend Claire and her mom (and my friend) Jennifer. They were so cute in the wagon.
at the zoo with Claire

... which Roan commandeered to tote Baby Sarah around in.
at the zoo with Claire

True to the coming of fall and winter, Roan came down with a little cold a couple weeks back. Here she is curled up on the couch watching movies with Baby Sarah.
home sick

We were housebound for days on end while she was recouping. Her last sick day we were both feeling couped up and decided to go for a walk with Baby Sarah in her stroller. Her first time in anything other than PJs in days, she elected to put on my old Holly Hobby outfit from the 70's. (She still has her jammie pants on underneath!). Pretty dang adorable I must say.
Holly Hobby in action

Let's see... what else... We had a snow day. Roan was so excited. She was hoping we could go sledding. I didn't bother pointing out we don't actually have a sled, and instead focused on the fact that a centemeter's dusting of snow on the ground doesn't cut it for sledding. At least there was enough falling to try and catch it on our tongues. She seemed satisfied.
Did any snowflakes land IN her mouth?

Tasting snowflakes

Snowy fun

Also along the lines of seasonal fun, we decorated the pumpkin she picked out from the pumpkin patch. Rather than have her sit and watch me go to town on it with a knife, we opted for maximum toddler involvement by just poking holes in the pumkin that she could shove her Mrs. Potato Head pieces into. (Thank you K and Gramps!) She was thrilled.
Mrs. Potato Pumpkin

Here's a picture Roan took today. It's her latest portrait of Baby Sarah. I particularly enjoy the depth of field and the delicate lighting in the shot. It's got Pulitzer written all over it.
Still life with Baby Sarah

As far as me personally, I have been knitting up a storm lately. I'm in high gear getting ready for Baby Cousin, but all of that is top secret until the baby showers. On top of that I signed up to take a knitting class ONLINE to learn how to turn t-shirts into yarn, and then turn that yarn into fabulous wonderful must-have objects. Here's a shot of a lace wrap I'm working on. For ME if you can believe it!

Online knitting classes seem to have been invented precisely for the knit-a-holic with small children. I can sneak in videos and chat time whenever I can steal a few minutes, without dipping into Arwen's wind turbine time and without having to recruit a babysitter. Score!

And finally a couple videos. These are from today. Roan has recently developed a keen interest in dinosaurs. I turned on the camera while she was going on and on about her newest dinosaur (today's poo poo prize) which she named Prana.

Um Her name is Prana
Oh show me Prana. And what is she?
A girl.
A girl. And what kind of animal?
Dinosaur. She has a green eye.
What else does she have?
A green head. She has a green tail. And she wags it. And she poops out from it.
She poops out from her tail? Really? Do you have a tail?
No. I have a bottom to poop in the potty.
Oh good job.
And... and... Prana sticks out her tail in the mirror.

Do you like dinosaurs Roan?
Yeah. I like this dinosaur. He's nice.
I thought it was a she, not a he. Is it a girl or a boy?
A girl.
Oh a girl dinosaur. So she's nice.
He is. She is.
She's not grumpy?
She's not grumpty. She's nice.
Are some dinosaurs grumpy?
Yeah. She doos... And when... When some dinosarus are grumpy they say ROAR!
What do they say?
They say ROAR!
Is that so funny? And this one.. and she stands all by herself. See!

Ok... that's all folks!

Monday, October 12, 2009

a few thoughts

More pictures soon, I promise, but I thought I should post this blog entry from this past Monday that's already getting old.

Today was my "off" day with Roan. I can't help but use those annoying air quotes every time I say that because inevitably I am completely exhausted and on the edge of demoralization by the end of my so-called off days with Roan. How stay at home moms (or dads) do it is utterly beyond my comprehension.

It's not that I don't enjoy spending time with my little girl. I do. She's the best. She cracks me up, melts my heart, and suprises me, sometimes all in the same sentence. Like the other night when I served us penne with homemade spagetti sauce. She doesn't usually like spagetti sauce but it's a darn convenient vehicle for slipping stealth vegetables to her, so I've been trying to get her to come around to it. She looked up at one point and declared, "I like this. I really like this. Thanks guys for making such a good dinner." Thanks guys? Is she 2 or 22? Or the other night when Arwen was drawing her bath. He asked if she needed the water a little warmer. "No, I'm good." You're good? Really? Mastering context and idiom at the ripe old age of 2-1/2. Ok. Or tonight after Jen and Micah stopped by and shared dinner with us. When they were heading out she said nonchalantly, "Nice to see you guys." She apparently has better manners than we do.

I'm not sure what it is. I've spent the past two years trying to put my finger on it. Why, at the end of a day "off" do I feel as fried as an earthworm that's been baking on the sidewalk all day? There's no doubt it's gotten much easier than when she was an infant. The nonstop puking, pooping, peeing, and screaming was a wonder to behold. Thank goodness that's behind us. I don't think it's really dealing with her that makes me frazzled. I mean sure, we have 2-3 temper tantrums each day. No, we can't go to the library until you put on something BESIDES underwear. Or I'm sorry sweetie, I don't know what hot ice is. If I did I would give you some. Or I'm sorry, we can't wear a wet pullup all day. It's not good for your bottom.

But that's all manageable. Formulaic really.
Step 1: Offer two choices, niether of which she's really interested in;
Step 2: When she (predictably) demurs (that's putting it mildly) hold your ground firmly; Step 2, version A: Naughty step. Step 2, Version B: "Quiet time" in her room;
Step 3: Stay strong. This is when you tell yourself (over deafening shrieks to the contrary) that you're doing the right thing, you're not a sadist, boundaries are important, you're not inflicting pointless torture upon an innocent child, wait it out. Wait. It. Out.
Step 4: Reconciliation. This is when she finally agrees to put clothes on or take off that disgusting diaper or do whatever perfectly reasonable thing you requested 20 minutes ago. She also usually makes one humble request: "Snuggles Mama. Need some snuggles," as she buries her snotty nose into your shirt. And you're just so glad (exhausted?) to finally be at this point you don't even bother to ask her or God or whatever omnicient diety you happen to belive it WHY, FOR THE SAKE OF PETE, COULD WE NOT HAVE SHORT-CIRCUITED THIS POINTLESS EXERCISE SOMEHOW?!?!

But that is really no big deal. I mean, I will take a tantrum (or three) over sleepless nights and runny poop any day. Outside of those very small incidents it is so much fun being together, doing things, whether we're just doing crappy made up crafts I'm trying to fool her with around the house, or whether we're going to fancy music classes or specially arranged playgroups. I mean, I think we have so much fun piling washcloths on babies (still her favorite activity, 1.5 years running) sometimes I wish we could just keep on doing that stuff forever.

I think it's all the other stuff that crowds in that's the problem. Whether it's berating myself for not having enough "enrichment" activities (not already working on sight reading? LOSER!) or noticing the tumbleweeds of dusty doghair rolling through my living room (put DOWN the dolly and pick up a BROOM for God's sake!) or wondering when in the past decade was the last time Sasha got walked or feeling a slave to the "to do" list (If we don't get 17 loads of laundry, this week's grocery shopping and a week's worth of pre-cooking done today, then when will we?) I just feel like I am falling down on the job constantly.

But maybe if I can work on silencing my inner critic and feeling good about whatever I do manage to get done, however modest, then maybe at the end of a long day I will feel content. I guess I just need more practice.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


This morning-
"Mama, you're my sweetest big girl for ever and ever. I need to give you a hug!"

Yesterday on the way home from school-
Me: What does manzanilla mean, Roan?
Her: I don't know
Me: Sure you do. It means apple in Spanish.
Her: No Mama, apple is MANZANA!
Me: Oh.

I have a feeling I might as well get used to being corrected by my little smarty pants. At least she's a sweet one!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Precious words

Last night we were putting Roan down to bed. Arwen came in to give her a goodnight kiss. The lights were low; sleepy time music was playing; it was a tender moment. "Daddy," she whipered. Arwen leaned on closer to better hear her. "Your breath stinks."

We collapsed laughing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

fall fun

On Saturday, we all went to the Sustainable Living Festival. It was loads of fun but also exhausting. We went with our friends Adam, Elisa & Ethan (and Adam's mom Chris). I caught (at least parts of) some interesting talks on backyard chickens, coldframing, and medicinal herbs (no not that medicinal herb!). It was a long day, with an hour each way to Fort Collins, a beautiful but very sunny day, and Roan didn't take a nap even though we'd gone to the trouble of hauling the little guy up there. By the day's end I was filthy, cranky, sun baked, and my back hurt. But Adam and Elisa were so sweet to have us to their house for a lovely impromptu "picnic" dinner. I wish I'd taken more pictures on Saturday.

Sunday Roan and I stayed closer to home. We hung out just the two of us while Arwen finished up day 2 of the Sustainable Living Festival. And we just had a really relaxed day together. She was in a good mood and so was I. She slept in late and gave me a chance to drink a cup of coffee and catch up on email. She got up and played contentedly around the house while I made a ridiculously long to-do list. I vowed not to get stressed by the list, and just be happy to get done whatever I could, but not at the expense of our happiness or sanity.

So we ran a few errands, then picked up lunch and took it to the park. She had a blast at the playground and got good and tired for naptime. While she was down I got a few things done, but also treated myself to a ridiculously sappy movie on tv. She woke up right as it ended. I had hoped to go on a "leaf hunt" together (homework for this week's school project) but it started to get overcast and rainy. So instead we broke out the paints, and when she got bored with that we both put on our aprons and made sugar cookies. "I measure, you pour," I kept explaining. She was great! It was our first time baking cookies together, and it was really fun. We rolled out the dough (of course she had to have a turn at that too), cut them into shapes, and decorated them with colored sugar sprinkles. "It's very [ex]citing!" she kept saying. We enjoyed a few cookies, and then when I said, "We have to put these away for tomorrow," she grinned and enthusiastically replied, "OK!!" Wow. That was easy!

This morning she got up and it was even cooler, greyer and wetter than yesterday. It kind of fizzled my plans for a bike ride or trip to the park. Plus the library is closed on Monday. I tried at the last minute to get into a music class, but was told it was already full. So I was scratching my head over something fun to do together.

In an act of desperation, I ended up getting out a muffin tin and putting a numbered paper circle in the bottom of each muffin cup. Then I poured some corn kernels into a bowl and had her count the specified number of kernels into each muffin cup. We are working on "reading" letters and numbers. She can recognize the numbers 1,2 and 3 reliably but beyond that it's hit or miss (mostly miss).

That was fun for a little while but she started to get bored. So I suggested we pop the popcorn in the microwave. With a little melted butter and salt on top we both enjoyed that snack! Afterwards we took some of the leftover corn kernels, put them into an old grey poupon jar and presto! made ourselves a handly little shaker. We turned on some music and danced around for a while. Then we went back to the table, took more leftover corn kernels and popcorn and used them to decorate some large leaf shapes I cut out of paper plates. She painted, glued and glittered to her heart's content.

Then we had lunch with Daddy. I harvested some cherry tomatoes and broccoli from the backyard, combined it with some leftover chicken and pasta, and had a nice little hot lunch we all could enjoy.

After that we all (Sasha included) went on a walk outside and had our leaf hunt after all. Even though the leaves are just barely starting to turn, we found a lot of good ones, in all different shades of green, yellow, brown and red.

We brought home our leafy treasures, laid them out to dry on a paper towel, and admired them while enjoying a couple more leaf shaped sugar cookies from yesterday.

Wow, what a perfect day. The nice thing is, I've truly been enjoying it. I've been in the moment. So often the type-A aspect of my personality induces me to set ridiculously high expectations for myself, and even when I meet them I'm just ticking off checkboxes. I'm not really in it. I might get a lot done, but I'm a tense ball of stress and nerves by the end of the day. Today and yesterday I've been in it. Taking things as they come, transforming conflict into opportunity (oh you want to drop corn kernels on the ground? How about we make a shaker with them?), and just digging hanging out with my awesome little girl. I could tell it even surprised Arwen yesterday when he got home, found us in the kitchen up to our ears in flour and sprinkles, and couldn't detect the least bit of frustration or tension in me.

This is good. More of this.

happy birthday McKinna!

Two weekends ago we went to McKinna's birthday party. She turned 2!

There were kites and cupcakes and lots of fun. It all went down at the coolest park in these here parts.

Roan made McKinna a birthday card.

Arwen put to work the principles he's learned building wind turbines in getting a kite flying. He tied the strings from 3 kites together and had it waaaay up there. Condolences to the poor kid whose Elmo kite he swiped. [Can it be my turn to play with the Elmo? Uh no sweetie, Mr. Arwen is still taking a turn] Still a big kid at heart...

Roan really had a great time. It's so cool now that she's at the age where she's really interacting with her friends, not just playing indpendently in their vicinity. Although perhaps she was a little too excited about playing with McKinna...