Thursday, November 08, 2012

Marriage

I've been thinking a lot about gender relations in general, and also specifically within my church (LDS).  But I haven't decided anything yet, so right now it's all a formless soup within my cranium.  I've been thinking about marriage, and being a stay-at-home mother.  I'm reading this book and it's so interesting.  I'm only on Chapter 2 so far.  Chapter 1 = our current ideas of marriage are based on the culmination of about 250 years of gradual thought change.  Towards the late 1700s an idea started to take hold, that people who get married should be in love with each other.  The Victorians ran with it, and by the 1950s it had reached its apotheosis.  But prior to 1800, a lot of people thought too much love in a marriage was weird, unseemly, or dangerous.  This I am still trying to wrap my mind around.  I mean, you're in the same bed.  Naked.  How could some love be dangerous??  (Dangerous because the lovebirds would be inclined to put each other first instead of those they should put first, like parents.)  I'd pay good money to know what kind of marriage Adam & Eve had, or Enoch, or Noah.  Would their minds boggle at our ideas & attitudes? 

I do remember in a book on a history of feudalism I read a few years ago, the author talked about how modern people have a hard time understanding just how important the family was in medieval times.  I don't mean husband-wife-kids.  I mean the extended family.  Like in some parts of Europe, you couldn't sell some land that belonged to just you if your family didn't approve it!  There wasn't this infrastructure of government we have now, it was all about the family.  If you were disabled or infirm due to age, your family took care of you.  This support group is really pretty much absent from our lives, and it's the kind of support group that would kill for you, because you are blood.  If I become infirm, I don't plan to show up on my cousin's doorstep.  (Bet you're relieved, T!)  

This also reminds me of this article I read on a British newspage (side note: Brits totally have the best, and by "best" I mean "most gossipy," newspages) about a woman who lives here in the US, who is putting herself through college by cuddling for $60 an hour.  CUDDLING.  For SIXTY DOLLARS AN HOUR.  One person commented said how sad that is, that we as humans are now so starved for affectionate touch that people will pay this woman to cuddle with them.

So bobbing up out of the soup of my mind is that I think we ARE missing something in our lives, living so far from our families, putting so much pressure on our marriages to supply many of our needs for social interaction, affection, (non-sexual) intimacy, etc.

But then I think what the reality would be if all my family and all my husband's family lived in our same town, all near each other.  A couple of my friends have most of their extended family within an hour of each other and it seems like quite a bit of drama.  Honestly, with my family it would be all drama, all the time.  But always people to hang out with!  And help you tile the bathroom!  And watch the kids for each other!  Hmm...

See?  No conclusions.  Just ramblings.  That's all you get, folks.

Oh and some kiddo pics.


 My little duckling.  I could only look at her in brief glimpses because she was literally too cute.



 Miss Tinkerbell has been fake smiling a lot recently.  But she is also reading a lot recently, all on her own, so yay!



Gotta love an honest ninja.  (Ace got the headband from church a few weeks ago.  At crunch time, his actual ninja headband was nowhere to be found, so we popped this on his head.)



Dh made cookies the other week and they were perfect!  Look at them!  He said, "Crap, I've just screwed myself, haven't I?"  Yes, yes you have.  I got him to make them again on Sunday.  Sucka!



Baby C (toddler C? Miss C?) Not-baby-any-longer-waah-C is my climber.  With three kids, it was bound to happen.  At least I didn't get a climber til the end, when my heart could take it (yes I'm 90, why do you ask?).  She climbs everything and is undeterred by falling, which she does several times a day.  For a few days we could stave off the worst of this by tucking in the chairs around the dining room table.  She figured out today, to her parents' dismay, how to pull out the chairs and thus has unimpeded access to the table, which she proceeds to walk upon as if it were a thoroughfare.  *le sigh*  The only plus is now the table is very clean to reduce the potential for destruction.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Update on My Life


Well, hello there.  It is I, your friendly neighborhood onion chopper.  My husband pulled out these goggles as a joke as I prepared to chop an onion.  Laugh all you want.  Fools mock!  The goggles totally worked.  I even allowed him to take a picture.  And now I am putting it on the Internet.  Because I am cool like that.  The chicken curry turned out delicious, btw.

Oh hey, a sexy man.

We took the kids to a local amusement park? a couple weeks ago.  I put a question mark by amusement park because honestly I am not sure what to call the place.  It's actually kind of creepy.  It has all these little vignettes based on nursery rhymes, but they're like 50 years old.  There are some kiddie rides at the end though, and the kids LOVE going, so we've made it a tradition to go each year.



What you see in the two pictures above is JOY, my friends.


And this girl.  Could you not just eat her up?  She is soooo cute and fun and funny.  She is already a daddy's girl!  To a truly remarkable degree.  Miss E loves her daddy, but her adoration developed slowly and was firmly in place by 2 1/2.  But this one openly prefers Dh to me already, and she's not even one (though she turns one next week!  man!).  I can't say I really mind, because she likes to be held and is not very light!  Haha  She also has quite the personality.  The other day she kept banging Ace on the head with a golf ball.  We were all laughing our heads off (including Ace, since Baby C is not very strong).

Yesterday she took her first step!  To Daddy, of course!  I didn't even see it; I was making dinner.  We tried to get her to repeat the feat to no avail.  She's been standing tons in the past couple of days, so we knew it was any day on the walking.


This baby also appears to be my death-wish baby.  She stands up precariously in her high chair, stands up in shopping carts (& thus must ALWAYS be strapped in), and is always leaning forward toward things that will hurt her (such as the ground from several feet up).  The other day at EK's new house, Baby C crawled right up to the edge of the deck and tried to stick her head under the railing.  *eyeroll*  Fortunately the deck builder planned it right and she was safely corralled by the railing.  She loves to play in the toilet (blech), my only baby to do so.  Also loves to BANG on the laptop keyboard whenever she can get to it.  The best part of that last antic is that she laughs maniacally when she does it because she knows I'll come running and put a stop to her fun!

We went to Dh's parents for 4th of July, it was quite fun.  Most of his siblings & their families came too, so there were many cousins for our kids to play with.  

I got a bike at the beginning of summer.  I hadn't ridden a bike in over 10 years.  I had a little bike accident at 19 and haven't ridden since.  It turns out riding a bike...is like riding a bike!  I just hopped on and away I went.  I talked Dh into getting a bike trailer too.  It's been fun to go on family bike rides.  For everyone except Baby C, who hates wearing her helmet and cries nearly the entire time we are out.

I hosted book club last week.  *sigh*  It really is the fakest book club ever.  I didn't even read the book, though I picked it.  Also we had to reschedule twice due to conflicts, so by the time we actually held it, only two other ladies showed up!  So we had plenty of delicious food.  I made Red Robin's Freckled Lemonade via Food Network Magazine (very accurate!  but too much work), Orange Dream Layered Squares (a hideous name for a yummy summer treat), and some chips & salsa and Red Velvet Cookies which I just bought at the store.

Oh and the other big news is we got an above-ground pool for the backyard.  It's ridiculously huge, 15 feet across, 3.5 feet deep.  Between that, the trampoline, the swing set, a picnic table and a couple trees, our backyard is PACKED.  But my husband would say, "Yeah, packed with SUPER FUN!"  It's true.  I was initially very annoyed by the pool because it is so big and deep.  (You can't see over the side if you are sitting in a chair on the lawn.) BUT it is fun to play in, and feels really, really nice on a hot day.  Also it can be disassembled once the weather turns.  I've invited bunches of people to come hang out in the pool in the afternoons and the kids always have a blast.  The other day we had 11 kids in the pool!  Also Miss E is so tan now!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Few Very Short Movie Reviews

Shark Night - So bad it's good.
Dream House - Just scary enough for me.  Probably not scary at all to some, but I'm a pansy.
Footloose - A complete waste of time.
The Avengers - Funnier than I expected.  Quite enjoyable.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - A bit annoying at times, but overall thumbs-up. I love Emily Blunt & Ewan McGregor.
The Darkest Hour - Fun to watch if you are with others who will go Mystery Science Theater 3000 on it with you.

Friday, May 04, 2012

I've Had a Birthday, Shout Hooray!

The other day I turned 31.  I don't really care about the number, other than I think 31 is an ugly number.  I'd rather be 32 for two years.  Maybe I should just do that.  haha  I went shopping and found some really cute stuff.  I got a pair of sailor-style linen pants, navy blue.  I've been wanting some for like 5 years and I finally found the perfect pair!  So it was a birthday success.  Dh got me a red velvet cake and the family sweetly sang Happy Birthday.  My children have the cutest little tone-deaf voices.

I am STILL working out regularly!  No one is more surprised by this than myself.  Usually I make it a week.  But I'm coming up on a month.  Haha   Sad that that is a record for me.

I am working my way through The Windup Girl.  For some reason it is taking me a long time to read this book.  It is a post-apocalyptic novel set in Thailand.  GMOs reign supreme, and engineered food plagues have wiped out almost everything.  I find it terrifyingly possible.  In 2010 when I first attempted this book I couldn't get into it.  But in the past two years I've learned more about GMOs and Monsanto and whatnot, so it just doesn't seem all that farfetched to me.

And here is a video of Baby C.  She is the wiggliest baby I have ever encountered.  She wiggles while she nurses.  She wiggles while you hold her in your lap.  She wiggles while she eats in her high chair.  The ONLY time she is still is when she is sleeping.  By the way, the "chocolate bread" in the video does not contain chocolate.  My children name all the different kinds of bread we buy.  It's brown, so it's Chocolate Bread!  (And delicious, btw.) Another kind has Haystack Rock on the bag, which reminds my children of a volcano, so they love to ask for Volcano Bread (it's a buttermilk bread, also quite yummy).

video

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ducks, Dick & a Brick

Dh caught some ducks this winter and has been pestering me to cook them.  I have never cooked duck before!!!!  I am kind of nervous.  I have Martha's instructions, which have the duck roasting for a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes, but that recipe calls for a 5-6 pound duck.*  I have two ducks that together weigh 2.5 pounds.  So...teensy little ducks.  I have a probe thermometer so I will know exactly when those little duckies hit 165 degrees.  I'm guessing like 30 minutes.  Haha  I'm going to make mini bacon muffins and a salad.  My children are already freaking out about dinner (the horror!) so the salad is partially to placate them.  Yes, my kids are weird.  Duck is too scary to try, but salad is fun to eat.  Actually Ace will probably try the duck because he is pretty adventurous at the table, but Miss E is quite entrenched in the beige phase.  The other day she tried teriyaki chicken and that was major progress.  *sigh*

It seems really weird to me that people keep calling Dick Clark America's oldest teenager.  If someone called me that I would be really offended.  I know it's because he looked younger than he was, but he didn't actually look like a teenager.  Haha  Plus why would you want to look like a teenager forever?  People are rude to young people just because they look young.  People are rude to middle-aged people when they look young, just because they look young.

Which leads me to Samantha Brick.  I know I am two weeks late talking about this, but I'm a little surprised people are being so fantastically rude to her.  Okay, her delivery sucked.  However, she has a point and I'm disappointed most people are pretending like she doesn't.  One doesn't have to be a supermodel to be treated badly by other women.  One just has to be a little prettier than the other women.  I am completely ignored by Victoria's Secret employees every time I go in there, while the middle-aged women in Crocs are well-tended.  I roll my eyes and grouse about the insecure 20-year-olds employed there.  (To the point that now I never go there.  Also I don't like the soft porn.)  I'm not a supermodel!  By any stretch of the imagination!  But like I said, you only have to be a teensy bit prettier than the insecure girl in question.  And we all know that guys give a pretty girl a pass on all kinds of behavior.  It made me sad that all the comments I read (on MSN) were like, "She's a horse."  One woman was honest - she said when she was younger women were frequently mean to her and men would hold doors for her and be so nice, and now that she weighs over 200 lbs women are nice to her and men don't see her.  I even noticed this kind of behavior when I was pregnant - invisible to guys (except those whose wives or gfs were pregnant or had just had babies - they would tell me about it), but older middle-aged women - who usually ignore me - would smile sweetly at me.  What do you think?

Lunchtime calls.  Why do we have to eat so often?  It feels sometimes like all I do is make food to be consumed by my family!  Admit it, it would be kind of nice to be a polar bear and just eat a seal once a week.

*I tried to link to the recipe, but the page just loads eternally.  Anyone else noticed that Martha Stewart's site has some page loading issues?  This is not the first time this has happened to me on her site.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

And Some Baby Pics Because Everyone Loves Her



I can't get enough of this girl.

In Which We Learn How the Earth Was Made

Last night I dreamt Dillard's made a large water park downtown without me noticing.  I stumbled upon it while walking from the hospital to the library. (Even in my dream I couldn't figure out why I was walking from the hospital to the library.)  I think Dillard's should definitely get into the business of water parks.  In my town.

Look at the love on Baby C's face!  *melts*

Ace's birthday is tomorrow, as is his birthday party.  The excited antics by both Ace & Miss E are through the roof and I am out of patience.  So my kids aren't the only ones counting down til it's partytime.  My little boy is turning 4.  He is so tall now.  Today he told me how the earth was made. 


some green
+
metal
+
hot stuff

smashded together


+
glue

=
Earth


Miss E said loudly there was no glue involved, to which Ace insisted even more loudly that "they glueded it and makeded it."

I introduce Ace to Rodney Yee.


I love the 3-year-old language.  Ace calls manta rays "manta rissas." I have no idea where he got that word from, but I think I actually like it better than manta ray.  Manta rissa is rather pretty.


Dh has been helping coach a baseball team and I am sick of that.  Also it is the spring salmon run, so basically just shoot me now.  Though I read a couple blogs by women whose husbands are accountants, so I know full well I have no place to complain about my husband being absent.  Tomorrow he is going fishing in the morning but is under strict orders (from me) to be home by 12 pm.  He knows his life is at stake.  I have done all the party prep - invitations, cake (airplane), goody bags, decorations, etc.  I told him he is in charge of cleaning the house. 

Invitation to Ace's party.  This is as crafty as I get, people.  Rawr.
I've been trying very recently to exercise more.  Though I deduced the following (just try to fault my logic.  I dare you):

Exercising more = sweating more = showering more.  Also exercising more often leads directly to living longer.  Living longer and taking more showers means you consume more of the earth's resources.  SO, if you really love the earth, you'll never exercise and die young.  The end.

The other day I attempted this workout routine.  Ooo-eee I'm glad only my children were witnesses.  I'm sure I looked hilarious.  The lady kept saying, okay do one mambo, one meringue, and then two side mambos with wavy arms.  I was like, wait, what's a mambo again?  It was fun, and I'll do it again.  But not in front of any adults.  Haha  (By the way, I have no idea why the lady looks so dumb on the cover pic of the workout routine.  She's dressed normally in the actual workout.)

I'm burned out again on YA fiction.  This happens to me about once a year.  I have the second book in the Chemical Garden trilogy, but it's going back to the library.  I read about 40 pages and it was just irritating me too much.

Oh and I gave up on A Distant Mirror.  I had barely cracked it in three weeks and suspected it was only going to get harder.  Some guy on goodreads who only reads non-fiction and classics said Tuchman's style can best be described as turgid and there are better books about the late Middle Ages.  I was so delighted by his use of the word turgid that I asked him for some recommendations and he responded within 5 minutes!  I love the Internet.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Language of Flowers

The Language of FlowersThe Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book gripped me - that hasn't happened in quite a while. I plowed through it in a day and a half. I recommend this to just about any woman - I love its exploration of mother/daughter relationships. Though be warned - you must be willing to temporarily reside within the thoughts and feelings of a broken girl.

I was nearly deterred by the book jacket. Talk of the Victorian meanings of flowers was off-putting and sounded annoyingly sentimental. Please don't be fooled! The book itself is the story of a girl, abandoned at age 3 weeks and raised in a series of foster homes and group homes, who reaches emancipation (age 18) and finds herself thrust into the world. Her worldview is fascinating in a terribly sad way. In her heart she knows she is unlovable and condemned to a life of solitude. Reading of her evolution was a joy. I can't say more without having to block out spoilers!

View all my reviews

Friday, April 13, 2012

Updated: The Pillars of the Earth Review

The Pillars of the Earth  (The Pillars of the Earth, #1)The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fascinating, gripping story. This book is the mostly action-packed story of the construction of a fictional cathedral during the High Middle Ages.

I do have some quibbles. One, the main female character Aliena. You can tell Follett was a thriller writer prior to writing this. In my experience (major over-generalization here) thriller writers are terrible at writing female characters. She was beautiful, bosomy, and her one fault was stubbornness. Like every other female character written by a man who has no idea how to write women. Also she was quite feminist, which was a really lazy move by Follett. She talked about how much she loved having income independent of her husband. The major love of her life was her husband; she was rather indifferent towards her children. Really? A medieval woman who couldn't give up her own income and offloaded the care of her children to someone else. Soooo realistic. *eyeroll*

(Preemptive defense - yes I know there are plenty of women who worked outside their homes in the middle ages, but Aliena doesn't read like a medieval woman. She reads like a modern woman, with a couple of medieval quirks.)

My other quibble was Follett's cherry-picking of historical facts. He kept the sex & violence, but couldn't write a religious character to save his life. The most realistic religious character was Philip, and even he was a bit weak sauce. Follett freely admitted his inability to write a religious character in the introduction, but I was still disappointed. Christianity was an omnipresent part of medieval life, and Follett just wasn't up the writing task. The most convincing character was William Hamleigh, though I had to skip pages just about every time he appeared. Haha

In summary, this is a really good novel, but only an okay medieval novel.

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What I didn't include in my Goodreads review was that Follett was REALLY lazy about his setting. He used concepts of nationality that frankly didn't exist. People wouldn't have been able to think about language, class and country in the ways he has them freely converse. Normans are mentioned in passing. Normans conquered the Anglo-Saxon population a mere 100 years prior to the time of this novel, yet Follett reduces Norman aristocracy and Anglo-Saxon peasantry to a linguistically and culturally homogenous population. This simply didn't exist in the Middle Ages. Jews are mentioned in passing. They are really treated pretty nicely by all the characters. All the characters do is snidely remark about borrowing money from Jews. Despite the fact that there was virulent (not to mention violent) anti-Semitism at that time. Those are just a couple of examples from off the top of my head. It's all so lazy. I think if you really want to write a novel set in the Middle Ages, you should commit to it. None of this halfway crap. I didn't love Katherine, but even that was more realistic than this novel.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Medieval March II, and Some Other Books

I've gotten a bit bogged down in my medieval books.  I'm only about 20% through A Distant Mirror and a quarter through Pillars.  What happened is I realized Daughter of Smoke and Bone was due very, very soon.  As in, that day.  So I started that and read it in a few days.  It was worth the $1.25 fine.  Then I realized Midnight in Austenland is due in a few days, so now I'm almost done with that one.  I'm lacking motivation, even though both of my medieval books are fascinating.  They're just so long.  Haha

Baby C finally learned to sit up.  I'd like to pause her at this stage for six months please.  Love the sitting-but-can't-crawl stage.  A couple of my friends had babies at the same time I had Baby C - both their babies are crawling and they are on constant baby duty.  Turn your back for a second and the baby is trying to kill themselves eating their sibling's tiny toy, or some paper, or whatever.

Ace pleaded with us to please please please let him sleep in underwear.  I told him to wear a pullup that night and if it was still dry in the morning, he could wear underwear to bed.  Dry!  And dry underwear the next morning!  I am really liking this!  Hopefully it keeps up.

Friday I chopped my hair off and added bangs.  I have about three minutes a day to style my hair and that just doesn't cut it when your hair hits your bra band.  Plus I wanted something a little more fashionable.  I went from this:


 to this:

I was going for serious-model-face, but at the moment this expression is saying to me, "I don't like this hair."  Haha



At first honestly I wasn't sure about it.  But now I like it.  Especially since it can actually be styled in three minutes.  A little bumble & bumble and a little flatiron.  Looking at my long hair picture, well it does look nice.  But it didn't feel that nice on my head.  It felt unmanageable.  Underneath the shiny top layer it was getting really ratty in the back, with lots of split ends.  All the splits are gone and just lovely healthy hair is left.

Dh doesn't like my new 'do.  He thinks it is way too short.  I told him if he is such a fan of long hair he should have done something about my long hair.  He would tell me (twice a year) that he liked my hair, but he never touched it.  I'm not keeping a mane of wild hair for biannual compliments.  He told me he will endeavor to improve.  That is totally a paraphrase.  I'm sure Dh has never said "endeavor."  That word must be indicative of the influence from Midnight in Austenland (which is lovely so far, by the way).

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Medieval March

Medieval March is proceeding swimmingly.  I am almost 100 pages in to A Distant Mirror.  The actual text of the book is about 550 pages, so I think I'm okay there.  I am almost 200 pages in to The Pillars of the Earth.  That puppy is almost 1,000 pages long, so I think I'm on track for that as well.

The books are intersecting neatly.  More than once I have read about something in one book to find it referenced in the other book later that day.  Chimneys came into use in the early 1000's, did you know?  And Flanders was the primary source of high-quality woven fabric.  Flanders being in modern Belgium.

Source

I do get a...weird...vibe from A Distant Mirror.  Tuchman was a writer first and historian second, so perhaps that accounts for her style.  It's not very post-modern.  Social scientists are so steeped in post-modernism; it changes the ways in which they insert commentary into their works.  Perhaps this is why her commentary seems odd.  It's hard to explain.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Movie & Book Review

Last night I stayed up too late watching Breaking Dawn Part I.  That was a waste of lost sleep.  Not bad enough to be funny.  Oddly, it was mostly...boring.  I just don't care anymore about Bella and Edward.  In fact, Edward gets creepier-looking in each successive movie.  So the fact that Bella obstinately chooses Edward when Jacob gets cuter and cuter makes very little sense.  (Since none of the characters have actual personalities, choices about marriage and whatnot should obviously be based on looks alone.)  I will say this though - the wedding was absolutely beautiful.  I could have gone for a magical woodland setting for my reception - with flowers forming a canopy over my head.


Source

I am reading Island in the Sea of Time right now and am seriously geeking out.  The characterization leaves a lot to be desired.  But the amateur historian inside me cares little for that, when the author takes me on a tour of early Britain, proto-Celtic villages, and Olmec settlements in the Bronze Age!  I love having these civilizations described by twentieth-century individuals.  First-person historical novels don't always work well for me, because I hate when I detect modern sensibilities in historical figures.  This would be why I like Philippa Gregory's novels, because her characters are so rooted in the 16th century.  The farther back in time you go, the more different the perspective (generally speaking), and usually authors simply cannot get into the mindset.  That's why I didn't like Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.  It was neo-paganism pretending to be an accurate portrayal of historical religion.

I'm thinking of declaring next month Medieval March.  I've been meaning to read A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett for ages.  I have them both in my possession, thanks to Paperback Swap.  I don't think I should add any more books at this point, considering A Distant Mirror is non-fiction and nearly 700 pages long.  I figure if I don't commit to reading A Distant Mirror, it might not happen.  I tend to be pretty lazy about non-fiction.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

January



My blog is pretty now, but I have failed to add any new content.  When I can't sleep at night, I think up all kinds of posts.  In the morning I either can't remember the ideas, or the ideas make no sense.  Does that ever happen to you?

To be honest, January was not the greatest for me.  I felt kind of down.  So worn out.  No way to recharge.  I know this is all temporary, but that doesn't help me magically summon the energy and patience needed for each new day.  Dh and I have been working harder to have scripture study together and that has helped the most.

Miss E can read several words now and is often a great helper.  Don't tell her, but I trick her into tidying by telling her someone she likes is coming to visit.  It completely works.  She even dusts the piano and entertainment center.  And then my house is tidy when that person shows up later that day.  She whirls around the house, a cleaning dervish, chattering on about how "we simply can not have a messy house when so-and-so comes over."  Sometimes she even does it in a faux British accent, which is my favorite.


Ace is ADORABLE with freckles splashed across his face.  The freckles seriously slay women everywhere.  Women are always commenting on them.  I think he might finally be toilet-trained completely.  What an ordeal.  Days were fine, but he would often go #2 in his nighttime diaper just after we put him to bed, and sometimes, I kid you not - in his sleep.  How does one alter that?  It's not easy, let me tell you, especially when my son continued to shrug in a very French way no matter which toy Dh or I took away as a consequence.  The solution is: buy a Super Toy Assortment from the Oriental Trading Co, full of the lowest quality toys ever, akin to the prizes at Chuck E Cheese's.  Place one toy where child can see it and assure him he can have it once he poops in the potty.  Repeat every day.  Voila! 


Baby C, oh I can wax rhapsodic about my darling Baby C.  She is so sweet and fun and funny.  Such a good little baby.  Well, not so little anymore.  She will shortly be 6 months old and weighs about 16 pounds.  She adores her entire family.  Ace and Miss E love to talk to her and play with her.  The other day I entered her room to find Miss E reading her a story.  Sibling love is so precious.  She is quite good at grabbing things and loves to shriek happily.  No sitting up unassisted, though it shouldn't be too long now.  I have given her a couple foods in the past couple of weeks - applesauce and prunes - and she made the most horrified faces.  The kids and I found it vastly entertaining.  She does like to drink water from a bottle, though I have serious doubts about how much water actually makes it into her mouth.


In January we had some flooding.  None very near to our house, thank goodness.  This picture was taken by my husband 1-2 miles north of our house, where town gives way to farmland.



Dh's parents visited us the second weekend in January and brought the children's Christmas presents then.  Ace wanted to try out his new toy boat right then.  And for some reason needed to be naked to test it out.  ??  Please note Miss E is appropriately attired.  Ace quickly froze his tuckus off and raced inside to warm up.


Another day in January we headed up into the Cascade Mountains to a beautiful waterfall in the middle of nowhere.  We barely made it back in time for Miss E to attend her afternoon kindergarten class.  The water was so clear and cold.  The fresh mountain air felt wonderful in our lungs.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy the mountains.