Saturday, February 25, 2012

Syrupy Saturday

On this week's episode of Across Indiana....okay just kidding but that is a good show. I'm pretty sure the demographic is 99% old people and me, but I don't care.

We hit the road this morning and went to Rockville, IN to the maple syrup festival. It was about a 90 min drive but with beautiful scenery and the heated seats of Jeremy's car.

In their 4-H building was a bunch of vendors and syrup for sale as well as art and other stuff. There was also a pancake breakfast but we had already eaten. Poor planning I guess, but since I had already fasted 13 hours for a routine blood test...I couldn't hold out for pancakes.

The kids saw a clown and got some balloon animals. We got a gallon of syrup and Jeremy got a saw with a portrait painted on it. Yes you read that right. The boy's gone country.

After visiting the main building, we were given (very poor) instructions on how to get to four maple syrup farms nearby. We spent the better part of an hour getting lost trying to find one, gave up and found another one. See the trees with the white lines behind Jeremy? They are being tapped for sugar water which is then turned into syrup.

We got a little tour inside and Tessa was so cute, raising her hand and asking questions like 'how does the syrup get inside the tree?', and 'did you know that bees make honey but trees make syrup?'

Unfortunately because of our crazy warm weather, they weren't able to tap the trees yet and weren't making syrup. Wah wah, a syrup tour with no syrup making. Stupid global warming.

But there were maple cookies!

We ended up Plainfield, home of one of the two Red Robins that exist in central Indiana. Anyone want to join a petition for one on the south side?  Tessa went for cheese pizza and salad. Charley wanted a corn dog and then insisted we remove all the corn so it was just a hot dog on a stick. Oh brother.

Jeremy and I got the same thing we always used to order when we lived a mile from Red Robin in CA...a blue ribbon burger but with a veggie burger instead of beef. Oh yes. I wouldn't lie to you about the awesomeness of a blue ribbon veggie burger. The beef version is far inferior.

While in the Indy area we stopped by Trader Joes and Jeremy's favorite wine warehouse and headed back home in time for the kids to watch one episode of Backyardigans and crash.

Two Thumbs Up

Yesterday was cold and blowy and actually felt a bit like winter. The kids and I wanted to get out of the house so we went to see The Secret World of Arriety. We give it 6 thumbs up!

I fell in love with this Japanese director when Tessa went through a phase of being addicted to Ponyo. His movies are done in Anime style, but are made for American audiences using the voices of celebs we recognize.

I did some research on this guy and found out that the movies made from his studio are all still hand illustrated which is simply unheard of nowadays. And they are beautifully done too. I've seen Ponyo about 56 times and still enjoy watching it with her, with images like these...

Plus the plot lines of both movies are simple and very child appropriate with no scary bad guys. Is Ponyo a little strange and kooky?...Yes, but then again so are the Benningtons.

The Secret World of Arriety is based on the book The Borrowers which a lot people may read in school. It's about tiny little people that live in the walls of an old house and 'borrow' things they need like food. Tessa and I had read a similar book called The Littles.Very sweet, very pretty. Very nice afternoon with my kiddos.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Springtime in Tessa's Room

I decided that for an early birthday present, Tessa deserved a real set of big girl bedding, not just some thrown together blankets and plain white sheets. I also insisted that there not be cartoon character so that she can transition into these sheets as she gets older.

I had originally wanted this set from Anthropologie, but decided against that since we're not you know...millionaires.

Instead I found this beautiful set on sale at Target....

I love the colors in her room and it's hard to see but the sheets are also butter yellow. They are jersey cotton and for the first time Tessa actually has a flat sheet like a real big kid (for the longest  time she would get tangled in them). She loves them.

I also had the genius idea to bring an extra coffee table into her room to elevate the dollhouse and neighboring strawberry shortcake market up off the floor. It's only been one afternoon and she's already playing with it more cause it's at eye level and more easily accessible. Don't know why I didn't think to do that 2 years ago!

I even found a butter yellow blanket to cover the table with so everything matches. This old afghan belonged to someone in Jeremy's family but he's not sure who...grandmother, great aunt? Either way it's getting used and loved!

While I was spring-ifying Tessa's room, I took down her snowflake lights as well as the fake snow on the dollhouse and put up her old colorful paper lanterns. It's springtime! (Or close enough, seeing that winter never actually came).

She came home from preschool to find that all of this had been done. I love a good simple surprise.

School Picture Retrospective




Preschool Pictures 2012

I didn't realize that they were going to take their picture together and at first I was lamenting over the fact that I hadn't dressed them in coordinating outfits. Or at least matching colors! But you know what...I'm pretty happy with the way these turned out.

Cause you just can't beat this cuteness.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A New Record

Friday I took the kids to the Children's Museum to check out the new Mr. Potato Head exhibit. I forgot to take the camera so I'll just pretend this is our picture. See that's Charley and Tessa...

It was a pretty cool exhibit, especially the big trough of potatoes with thousands of parts for them to choose from. They could have stayed at the trough all day. It inspired me to come home and make an ebay bid. For only $25, we are now the owners of 4 potatoes and 125 pieces! Awesome, just as long as none of them get left on the kitchen floor. Ahem.

I think the kids and I hit a new record for us...staying at the museum from opening until closing. 7 hours total. The kids were so full of energy though I just let them play and play. Plus we ran into Rachel and Josh and couldn't resist visiting for a while. My foot was a little sore at the end of the day but nothing that an Aleve and a glass of wine couldn't fix.

Have I mentioned that I love our children's museum? It's the biggest in the nation you know. It would on the top of my list of things I love about Indianapolis. Right behind Iaria's and Silver in the City. 

Salad Face

Yesterday Jeremy made a bunch of raviolis with our new ravioli press. See?
No we didn't eat all of them. We bagged a lot of them up to freeze and had the rest for dinner. The kids liked them, but I guess Tessa liked our salad better because that's all she wanted to eat. We had to bribe a ravioli and you can have some more salad. Doesn't that seem kinda backwards? Who is this kid?

She even gave up her fork and started eating with the salad tongs out of the serving bowl.

Charley liked the raviolis but ate his fair share of salad as well. Point proven...if you want it to be delicious, cover it in ranch dressing.


Tessa has discovered her new favorite chore.

She gets a coin for every room she mops, and the Swifter is so much easier for her (or me, ahem) to handle than a real mop. I usually just give her a penny or whatever coin I have available. I'm going to be in trouble when she discovers that some are more valuable than others. Right now she either doesn't know or doesn't care.

We're Official

Tessa has is registered for the Kindergarten that we applied for. Yay! (and a little bit of boo for growing up). But mostly yay!

This is a Christian K-12 school private school that's about 5 minutes away from us. We toured in December (along with Dad, our school expert) and Jeremy and I fell in love with this school. It's pretty small and very nice and follows a Christian curriculum.

Tessa had to go in for an 'interview' and be evaluated. She played shy a little bit and said she couldn't remember some of the letters but I know she does. She warmed up to the principal eventually and must have done well. I was busy trying to entertain little brother in the hallway.

I had a little anxiety about applying for private school at first, for fear that my family full of public school teachers might think I was acting out of snobbery. But thankfully that's not the case. They were understanding. The school system in our area is huge and I LOVE the idea of them being in such a small environment, mostly because that's the way I grew up and what I'm familiar with as well. Both of us love that she will be taking bible classes and regularly attending worship, and the full day kinders also get 'specials' like Spanish and music.

That's right, this time next year my little girl will be sitting in a real classroom learning Spanish. Waaah!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Making Valentines

Testing Testing 1, 2, Pee

I recently had two very interesting medical tests done. Both very fascinating and enlightening. I tend to geek out over medical stuff and enjoy it probably more than I should. Jeremy said I should go to nursing school.

The first was a bladder test. In the interest of modesty and discretion, I won't explain some of the gory details here. If you want to know though, I am totally open to talking about it privately. Let's just say I pee my pants sometimes, and the bladder test was one of the stranger things I've ever done. 

I do have some permanent damage 'down there' but thankfully nothing major. It was that 10lb baby I had with no drugs. That crazy baby, screwing me up forever. Should I ever choose to, I am a candidate for an implantation that will help me but I'll leave those gory details out as well. Use your imagination...or don't, actually.

Yesterday I had an allergy test. I've had sinus issues for years, and had two surgeries in 1998 to fix some structural problems. Even so I still get sick with sinus infections VERY easily. As in, I mow the grass one day and the next day I have a sinus infection.

The test was amazing. I'm still in shock as I think about it, and then realize how long I've lived with these issues. Basically I am allergic to every single allergen they applied on my arm, in varying degrees. Some of them such as ragweed and dust mites caused a huge reaction, and measured to the maximum hive size almost instantaneously.

I was blessed to have a really great lady working on me, who is actually the head of the allergy department for all seven offices of Indy Otolaryngology. She doesn't normally work out of that office, but she had been called in because of a staff illness, which was much to my good fortune.

The test took about 3 hours and we talked the whole time. I learned SO much from her about how allergies work and how they can affect your whole life...your sleep, mental stability, digestion, energy level. How certain foods can make allergies worst. How if someone with a ragweed allergy as severe as mine ate watermelon at a Labor Day picnic, I could go into anaphylactic shock. She helped me to connect some links with my general health that she believes are directly related to allergies.

And I had no idea. I am stunned.

I feel like I just learned something amazing, like the secret of life.

When I was telling Mom and Dad about it, they could see connections to my childhood and the reasons I went for sinus surgery in the first place. Dad said he has always thought I was 'somewhat sickly' in general. I don't take that as an insult because he's right. I asked Jeremy if he thought the same thing and he said that he's always known me to get tired easily, even back in our early 20's.

The most amazing thing of all is that I left the office with a script for an Epi pen. When I've gone for years never knowing that I needed one.

So in two weeks I will start weekly allergy injections for a year. Then after a year I will do 2 years of 'maintenance injections'. And I am SOOOO excited to start this. I would start today if I could. I'd take 5 shots a week if I had to.

I'm so happy I could cry.

Or laugh hysterically.

But I won't for fear of peeing my pants.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

It's Good to Be Conehead

Cause you get to have a special cone, pimped out with Dora and Elmo stickers. This is the life. 

BTW- don't be worrying about Hayden. He just had a little spot removed from his foot and has to wear this to keep from chewing on the stitches.

On a side note...Hayden turns 10 years old this spring. We should have our first doggy birthday party.

Anyone Need Some Cheese?

If their are two opinions my husband likes to offer regarding food shopping, it's that he likes natural products (preferably organic when available), and he likes to buy in bulk. He likes to buy like Armageddon is coming. In which case truthfully this much organic cheese wouldn't come in handy anyway. Twinkies would be a better bet to survive a nuclear blast.

It was to our fortune then, that recently a company selling bulk organic products started delivering to Greenwood and Jeremy and I were drafted to be the drop managers for our city. Probably because it was a friend of ours who had arranged for them to begin delivering here, and she knew that our patronage was a sure bet.

So once a month a semi truck comes to our church parking lots and unload things like Barbara's puffin cereal, Amy's organic frozen pizza, and chocolate milk boxes for the kids lunchboxes. Oh and cheese lots of cheese.

It's been pretty fun so far but I'm ashamed to admit to the amount of olives we have in our garage.

If you add this to the produce delivery company we've used for the past 5 years, and the place Jeremy has been ordering our local meat from....there is little need left for the grocery store nowadays. But sometimes mama still needs to go to Target for retail therapy a gallon of milk.

Papaw Puppy Eyes

When we were down in North Vernon last weekend, Tessa batted her eyelashes and told Papaw she wished she had an outfit to match her Bitty Baby that they had bought her for Christmas. And wouldn't you know what magically appeared in the mail today...

For the record, this kind of approach would never ever have worked on Papaw back when I was a kid. Interesting what happens to dads in their old age.

Tessa is now carefully studying the American Girl catalogue that came in her package, plotting what to beg for next.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Charley at 3- Lean Mean Hugging Machine

Yesterday we had Charley's 3rd year well-child exam.

He is 32lbs and I can't remember how many inches, but doc said he was 55th %tile for weight and 95 %tile for heighth. Same proportions that his sister always gets. I'm actually kinda surprised that the weight %tage isn't lower cause he's such a skinny guy.

I also talked to the doc about his speech and he wants me to take him to a speech therapist to do an evaluation. He talks alot but is still pretty hard to understand, especially to those who don't speak Charley quite as fluently as Jeremy and I.

Without a doubt he hears, understands things well and talk alot...but his pronunciation is still pretty rough. The doc said that non-parent people should be able to understand 75% of what he says. Uh, no.

So we'll see how that goes. I'm not worried about it. I would love to see him be able to talk to us more clearly instead of getting frustrated and throwing himself on the ground. Love.

Some other awesome things about the new 3 year old..

---Even when his speech can't be understood, there's no doubt that he's social. He makes friends with people in stores and restaurants all the time by just blurting out 'hi, I Charley!'. He's especially friendly with the waitress at our Mexican restaurant, stroking her hair and sometimes...ahem, her bosoms!

---His ethusiasm for physical things like riding bikes and playing on the playground is borderline unbridled. He loves to run and play and run.

---When Tessa bosses him around acts as leader during playtime, he usually complies and follows along. He loves his big sister and wants to do whatever she is doing. That's not to say that his toy sharing skills couldn't use some work.

--- He loves to pray at mealtimes and bedtimes. Usually we pray and then he takes a turn and its sounds something like 'Fank you my Mom and my Dad and my Mom and my Dad and my Tessa and my Mom and my Dad and my cheese and no!...I no finish yet!'

---He likes to have privacy in the bathroom but it usually sounds like 'I need piracy!! Give my piracy!!"

---Unlike big sis (the kid who would eat anything), he is usually more cautious with new food. He'll almost always say he doesn't like it, we almost always press the issue until he tries some, and he almost always decides that he does like it.

---He likes going to preschool and especially playing with his friend Mason, whose name he can't pronounce. Every time I pick him up and ask how his day was he says "Great! I pay with E-som!"

---He loves guitars, Superman, and anything to do with Dora the Explorer.

---He went through a short phase of only wanting to the do the tap portion of dance class and not the ballet portion, because it's a little more slow and boring. He's figured at that if he doesn't do both he doesn't get the sucker at the end, so he complies. Usually he spends the ballet portion goofing off with Rachel and Tessa...but I do love to see his jumps and spins!

---He's been in full time underpants since last May, but still wears cloth diapers to nap and bedtime. Since he doesn't like to pee in them anymore, he is almost always the first person awake between 5-6am shouting 'I need go potty!'. We take him and he then asks 'is it mernin' yet?'. If it's before 7am the answer is no, it's not mernin..go back to bed!

---The kid could eat his weight in yogurt. He'll go through 3 bowls in one morning, and we often have to make him stop and eat something else like toast. He's not a big meat eater, so I'd say alot of his protein intake is yogurt, milk and cheese. Good thing he's not lactose intolerant!

---At bedtime we read a couple of books and then he likes to cuddle and sing. His favorite song is Hosanna (Praises Rising), a song that we sing in the worship band. He sings along everytime.

---He's a pretty great kid.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


I had a revelation today.

Like some people, I've been complaining about this crazy warm weather. It's Feb 1st and we've had less that 4 inches of snow all winter. The people flooding into our city for the Superbowl this week are wearing shorts and sandals and basking in the 50-60 degree weather. So much for all those blizzard and ice contingency plans. I'm pretty sure the Superbowl committee didn't have a 'freakishly warm and delightful' contingency.

My complaints stem from the fact that I actually really like snow, and also that there's some sort of freaky end-of-days feeling that comes along with long term maniacal weather patterns. Also I like the days where we are snowed in, can have extended snuggles in our pjs, watch movies and enjoy indoor activities.

Then I had my revelation. I already had that. LOT AND LOTS of that following my foot surgery and extensive recovery. We snuggled and watched movies until we were bleary eyed. My winter has come and gone. I don't need any more winter. I need spring, or a fall do-over. I need to go outside with the kids and play and enjoy the benefits of some Vitamin D on my skin.

So I have vowed to re-live the fall that I missed when I was either physically trapped inside, or too stoned on narcotics to notice. If winter never comes, I won't complain. You will find the kids and I spending hours at the park like we did today...

...okay so I forgot the camera. Pretend this is Tessa and Charley.

We have two pie pumpkins still alive and well in our garage food stockpile. I threatened to carve them into jack-o-laterns since we missed that October activity as well. That's when Jeremy wondered about my mental stabilty. Long live spring (or fall do-over).

Charley's 3rd Birthday Pictures

Saturday we had Charley's 3rd birthday party. I bet with one look at the colors and costumes, you can tell what the theme was. I figured we had the Halloween costumes, might as well capitalize on them. Or at least have another excuse to use them.

I'm hoping everyone has seen our Superman Portraits that we did at the party. That was so fun and such a good idea. I had considered other games, or maybe a superhero obstacle course but instead just put some big toys and games like Twister in the living room. The kids had fun and there was little to no stress on our parts. My kinda party.

Mom and Dad got Charley an Adirondack chair. Ask Mom to say the word Adirondack. It's pretty entertaining.  Then ask her to say spanikopita. 

When we were opening presents, Charley opened one book, popped a squat and enjoyed it. We had to remind him that he had present opening to do. It was a superman board book, and he got a batman one too with matching plush figures. Pretty darn cute. 

I was laid up sick earlier this week and Jeremy downloaded the original Superman from 1970-something, which the kids had never seen. They both really dug it and were flying around the house 'saving' things.

They also love the 'stomp rockets' that Andy's family got him. He keeps calling them his rockbands.

Like the cake and all the Super Charley cupcakes? Totally Erin's cake genius. She is my cake decorating hero, and our annual tradition of staying up late and getting goofy in the kitchen the night before the party is something I've grown to love. 

But she doesn't trust me with a piping bag. And she's right. 

The fire station was Charley's present from Mom-Mom and Pop and both of Jeremy's sisters. Thanks everyone! He is in LOVE with his fire station. It's like a boy's dollhouse only cooler. 

Like my hairbow? Etsy. 

Two of Charley's lovely ladies, Michaela and Aviana. Something tells me this kid is going to be a heart breaker. But in all fairness, I did promise him to Avi when she was still in utero. So...