Sunday, February 28, 2010

Support A Local Farm

I can't contain my excitement. I'm even breaking my unwritten rule of posting a photo I didn't take myself.

I'd been meaning to look into buying a share in a local farm but couldn't postpone anymore after watching Foodinc. on instant watch Netflix last night. So for $50/week we'll get a huge variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs at the peak of freshness from June to October. The farm, which uses no pesticides and only organic compost to fertilize, is an hour away, but has several drop-off locations in Salt Lake Valley, including our town. Even Brian is excited, especially since they offer meat and you can get flats of extra berries.

There are many other CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms in the area that are even cheaper, like this one and this one, but they have less variety, ideal for those not enthused by things like:

Broccoli Raab
Yellow Snow Peas
Green Snow Peas
Bok Choy Sum
Beet Greens

But we are. Plus, no more racing through the grocery store with two kids before one of them starts crying, I just pick up my box and leave. More importantly we're supporting sustainable, small farms. I'd rather give money to them than a giant corporation any day.
For the rest of our food I'm looking in to a grocery coop for discounted pantry items.

It's not so bad being without yard I've suddenly decided. We'll have all kind of produce, many items we haven't even heard of and 60% of which come from heirloom seeds for much cheaper than the farmer's market. There is even a blog with new recipes for each week's veggies. Can't wait for June. We'll have to have you all over for dinner, one family at a time.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Painting Again

We're almost out of white walls. That's fine with me, its so much work, but Eli came in to help me a little today. I was doing the detail work by the molding and windows with a paint brush and told him we do the big spaces with a roller because its faster, so he went and got the lint roller to show Wolfie how its done.

You see, he's getting a new room. Esme will move out of mine and into his old room that was turned into a nursrey by the people we bought the place from. I don't want them waking eachother up all night, so he'll move in where Manders was. They're both getting this great Martha blue on their walls because I love it so and one gallon can do both rooms. Can't wait to put things together, never decorated a kids room.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

During Lunch Today

I captured Esme's giggle on video. She's only done it a couple of times up to now. She's usually cranky at lunch since its nap time right after, but luckily she took a late morning nap. I'm also fortunate that it was Eli that accidentally got her laughing so I didn't have to look like a loco over and over for the camera.

Sad Day

Our friend Amanda whose been staying with us left this morning. She took a job as a travel nurse in Dallas and is driving there right now. It's been a good three months and we'll all miss her. It was nice not always being home alone with the kids all day, cooking for one more person, and being able to go on dates. When we came home the kids were always peacefully sleeping and some sort of baked good waiting for us on the counter. She's off to bless Texas with her presence now. Good luck Manders.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Best Brother

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but I'm crazy about my sisters. Maybe it's because I'm the youngest and they're used to looking out for me while I look up to their style, humor, and talent. I decided that if #2 was a girl, that we would just have to have one more girl so they could be sisters.

Maybe it's the recent trauma of giving birth for me or having to miss his over-tired wife for Brian that has us quite comfortable with two kids.

When they wheeled me up to the car outside the hospital with Esme in my arms, I got all teary when I saw Eli and had him meet his sister for the first time. It will be one of their most important relationships ever, forever.

I couldn't have pictured a more perfect big brother. Eli's not mean to this new little attention hog, he's not even aloof of her boring blobbiness. He's interested and helpful. He always wants her around and misses her when she is gone.

(He always wants her to join him in the bath)

(She went with me Saturday for a few hours and when we came home he greeted her lovingly and talked her ear off before I could even get her out of her seat.)

She's treated like an equal, being asked if she wants to play trains or dinosaurs. Eli always talks to her with a gentle voice and pats her when she's sad.

When its time to put her to bed he follows close behind, quiet while she nurses and helps sing to calm her down. Later, when we hear her wake over the monitor he dashes out of the play room and while climbing the stairs yells "E-I-Uh bummin' (coming) Emay!" like he's going to save her. When she gets up he insists on the 3 of us cuddling in my bed.

Their interactions are the most joyful part of my life. Watching Eli's sweetness with his little sister makes me think that they can have the same admiration for eachother as I have for my sisters.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

M is for Mohawk

I love Esme's hair. And so does everybody else, judging by all the compliments she gets. As you can see, it's anti-gravity awsomeness is delightful from every angle. The other night I was running my fingers through her fluff when I noticed it was thinning on top. When I realized the mohawk was in danger, documenting it jumped to the top of my to-do list.

It is either coincidence or clairvoyance that the nurse who bathed her in the hospital soon after birth gave her the same hair style that would grow in later.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reusable Produce Bags

I've been meaning to make some of these for ages. I ran into the material at the thrift store, it was the middle part of a $1 bedskirt which gave me at 12 bags. It's really light, not holey, easy to work with, and transparent. 8 done during nap time. I can see myself going crazy with these. Maybe a present from me to throw in with Brian's cookbook.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thank You Esme

(Almost 3 Months)

I love my quiet time with Miss Mae. Thank goodness for nursing. The rest of the time I feel like I should pay Eli attention, clean, prep for dinner, sew something, squeeze in a shower, or I have a post on my mind. Can't you just stay happy in your bouncer for a couple more minutes?

But she's only awake 8 hours a day, if that. And she will only be a baby for so long.

I now see that I should be glad my little girl dislikes the bottle and that noisiness distracts her from eating. I just realized I enjoy that she requires a sit in the rocker in my quiet dark room.

I get to hold my baby and worry about nothing else.

I get to sing her songs and rub her fluffy little head and squishy cheeks.

I get to inspect her little hands and pudgy feet, hoping I can always remember them as they are now.

I get to tell her how lovely and sweet she is and receive lovely, sweet smiles in return.

I get to feel like I'm accomplishing the most important thing all day, without lifting a finger.

Because I am. Thank you Esme.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Escape

(no, not the random guy below)
I've decided to join this photography club. I didn't even know such things existed until a couple weeks ago. Luckily for Brian, events only come once a month or so and it's free. A little time with both kids always rejuvenates his appreciation for me and vice-versa . Not that we don't already.

Last week I went to my first two events. Saturday was a little intimidating. Nine photographers volunteered to set up various stations with models to teach us about camera settings and various lighting techniques. When it was time to start, I happened to be standing right in front of one and was first. Ahh! Who am I, Nigel Barker? I just want to learn to take good photos of my family, but I like the chance to learn and stretch myself.

The first set up was my favorite, two lights on opposite sides illuminating the white background (apparently it would turn out grey if not lit) and one big soft light above at a 45 degree angle in front of this guy.

Everyone is friendly and the man in charge is really funny. There are even door prizes, provided by a this camera store. I'm sure they'll get plenty of business from me since I'm seeing all these cool, necessary gadgets and lenses everyone has (Like the last picture, it is with this special lens that turns background objects into whatever
shape template you
drop in the front of the lens, those are just regular christmas lights behind her-not that I would drop $250 for that).

I look forward to learning from them all, since everyone's more experienced than I am. I'm just glad for that community education class last year that taught me the basics in working my digital SLR so I can even understand their instructions.

I've already learned some crucial stuff and can't wait for warmer weather when we're outside, taking pictures of beautiousness around the state. I look forward to rubbing shoulders with experts and enthusiasts all willing to share what they know.

I'd love company if anyone wants to come, activities are listed on the photowalking Utah website.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Today would be our 7th Valentine's Day, 5th one married, and I call this cake Brian's present. We're getting practical in our old age. I thought it was pretty until I put it next to our beautiful little Esme. Poor cake. At least it is made mostly of melted chocolate and next to no flour.

Tonight we quickly stuffed roast chicken and mashed potatoes in our faces in an attempt to have a peaceful dinner before the kids woke up from their well-timed naps. We didn't quite make it.

Some day, in a couple of decades, we'll have quiet, romantic evenings and probably spend the time missing when the kids were small and sweet. Until then we'll appreciate the preciousness that will be in the past before we know it.
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Saturday, February 13, 2010


Eli started getting really distraught when Brian would leave for work in the morning. There was crying and clinging to his dad. So we started telling him the night before what to expect the next morning and Bri avoided working from home so Eli wouldn't insist on that option anymore.

Now he's quite understanding about Daddy working "bye-bye." The other day Esme was fussing and he tried to comfort her by saying "E-May (Esme), Daddy work bye-bye. E-I-Uh (Eli) work home."

I should have asked him what kind of "work" he does at home. A couple nights ago we were at the grocery store and he wanted a toy cow, so I told him he could go home and do some work to earn his own money to buy it. I explained to him that the work would be cleaning something up and that I would give him some quarters, but when he got home he ran for the computer. I came in and he was busily typing and stamping papers and then he asked for his money.

Have I mentioned that he's obsessed with money the last few months? I'm not sure if it was conniving or bad timing, but during a prayer at church, when my eyes should have been closed, I caught him getting out my wallet and taking the change.

We told Brian's parents about this and his mom told us about the time in Kindergarten when Brian made a little boy pay him to be his friend and it worked. Instead of being ashamed, Brian was quite proud of his 5-year old self. Entrepreneur from the beginning.

Eli wasn't as enthralled in the real work I gave him, scrubbing his high chair. He hasn't seen any quarters yet.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's Finally Getting Easy

Actually, bath time has always been a piece of cake with her, but this picture is too cute.

I thought things were going to be much easier with number two, but not so. A couple weeks ago we had the most horrible night yet, it's hard being sleep-deprived for 3 months straight. It was then that I decided Esme was being (1)weaned of the binkie, (2)going on a strict schedule in the day, and (3)learning to go longer stretches through the night. I ended up learning to not make rash decisions in such a desperate state and that I shouldn't compare us to a certain friend whose baby has been sleeping through the night since she was 6 weeks. Esme only agreed to one of those and I gave up on the other two, figuring I was more sleepless trying to hold her and tie her over for a couple more hours during the middle of the night than just feeding her when she wanted.

I also decided the Baby Whisperer doesn't have it all right. Eat, Activity, Sleep, Yourself she says. I understand the separation of eating and sleeping so the baby doesn't need to nurse to fall asleep, but Esme was taking 6 45 minute naps a day because she grew too hungry to sleep longer since she'd been awake for a while after eating. So we do EAESY, 2 hours awake, 2 hours asleep. Now we have a good routine with 2 long naps and one short nap during the long stretch before bed time.

As a second-time mom I know that just when things start looking up, little ones change and find reasons to not sleep well (growth spurts, teething, new mobility, stuffy nose), so I'm not counting on anything. Currently I'm just grateful yet stressing myself trying to figure out how to recreate the circumstances that led her to sleep her 10 hours last night, only waking once to eat, the likes of which have never happened before. Was it the long-sleeve onesie making it harder to bust out of a swaddle, was it staying up late, was it the humidifier on high? Probably none of the above.

It could be her plumpness. I weighed her on the kitchen scale (we don't own a regular one) the other day and she's now 10 pounds, the point at which I've read means they can start sleeping through the night. If we could just get Eli to do the same. Sheesh. Not complaining. Really. Although I would be if I was the one going to him.

Believe it or not, this is the condensed version, I could've gone on much longer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I'm not much for new year's resolutions, but lately I'm making one vegetarian dinner a week. I thought Brian would put up more of a stink, but he hasn't complained at all. It's great for all kinds of reasons and hopefully I can step it up to two or more meals soon. It just takes creativity, making new things. So my new goal at the produce store every week, besides getting something from every color, is to get a new vegetable. I just might figure out the difference between rutabagas, parsnips, and turnips soon. I think this week will be brussel sprouts, can you believe I've never bought those?

I've heard several times how much more taxing on the environment meat is, using more resources to produce. The other day we drove to Provo and there was a big truck next to us full of cows headed for some meat processing place in Draper and I got sad. Eli didn't let it get to his conscience. He was excited to see the cows and when I asked him if he wanted to eat a cow he said yes. Ironically, we were on our way to Tucano's.

And you know me and my cheapness, another perk is the money we save. Even better than that is how much healthier it is. And now that I have kids, I must always remember how I'm shaping their habits, so when Eli scarfed down his ratatouille and polenta like it was chicken nuggets and french fries I was quite pleased. It has been our favorite dish, but I've also made vegetarian curry and stuffed shells a couple of times.

So, if anyone has any favorite recipes, please pass them on.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Most Wives Cringe

When it's time for the various sports playoffs I barely know they're going on. Today I know about the super bowl because PBS is full of game day cooking shows. I could care less about sports and am lucky enough to have a husband that feels the same way. I guess another lucky combination is when the wife is just as hopeful for and zealous about a team's success.

Like lots of other stay-at-home moms, I look forward to evenings and weekends when my husband is home, except I don't have to share him with the different teams on the TV depending on the season. Not bragging, just appreciating my fabulous husband. (I happen to really love this picture of a friend's husband.)

I know Bri would like to watch boxing or ultimate fighting, but the violence really disturbs me, so he doesn't. He loves martial arts and does a lot of scholarly and philosophical reading and discussing related to it. It gets even better, his hobby (more like a lifelong obsession) keeps him fit instead of flabby (unlike certain fans of "da Bears") and even brings in money.

I agree with what Bri says at the end of each class he teaches: "Soo Bahk!"

In fact, he just walked in the door from teaching his Saturday morning family class and I took his picture asked him "What's tomorrow?" and he got a stressed look after some thought and said, "Valentine's Day?"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Reason To Feel Guilty

Sometimes I feel like postponing the sewing until the kids are bigger. They don't care about the things I make and it takes my attention away from them, making me feel like a bad mom, even though I can usually only work 10 minutes at a time. So slowly, over the past two weeks I've been working on a few projects from this book I've already mentioned I have an obsession with.

First the nursing pillow, then a diaper bag, which I started when I thought I'd given up on the swaddling blanket. I had a slight melt down when I couldn't figure out the pattern and incorrectly marked up the fabric with pen and realized the kids are too small to be interested in these things I make. But the bag's simplicity gave me back some confidence and I was happy to find a reason to use the snap machine again.

Yesterday I finally finished the swaddler. It had perfect timing. The last few days Esme has been taking bad (short) naps, apparently because she's been bustin' out of her double swaddles. She waited impatiently for her nap as I finished sewing the velcro. Lets just say her nap was so amazing I ended up having to wake her up, something I haven't done in a long time. She's able to get her little fingers up to her mouth to comfort herself, but can't get the arm out to flail around and distract herself. And she can't bust out because it goes above her shoulders and doesn't stretch. It fits perfectly now, but I'm already stressed about needing to make another longer one.

Now my problem is loving so many other projects in the book and having a bunch of cute fabric on hand that I found on mega-sale a while back. Luckily it's winter, so I don't have to feel bad about not taking the boy to the play ground because I'm busy since its too cold anyway. I just do my best to hurry while he watches TV. I never knew being a mom would involve so much hurrying. Rush to the grocery store between naps, quickly make dinner while they're still napping, get the sweeping done while she's still happy in her swing. Hurry up and get this post over with. Okay.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cloth Diapering

Around the time Eli was born I found some cards advertising cloth diaper services. I thought it was crazy--I asked the lady if very many people did that and if it was just hippies. I'm so embarrassed of my 23-year old self. Little did I know that a couple years later that not only would my kid be wearing them, but that I would have sewed them (thanks to Anna).

I thought it was going to be a big deal, but, honestly, it's not much more than a few small loads of laundry a week. I'll admit, it is a relief that Eli is mostly potty-trained, just wearing them at night. A certain product has helped the battle with bacteria and the not-so-pleasant odor, but Esme's diapers are so innocent her bucket doesn't even need a lid yet. They don't even have to be rinsed, as I learned today. Although, when I do, she doesn't mind the extra time on the changing table, she just twists around so she can see herself in the mirror, seriously, every time.

They do provide challenges, though. They don't exactly have a billion-dollar industry behind them and so they have drawbacks for people used to throw-aways. They must be changed more often (Esme every 2-3 hours, but overnights last 12 hours) since they can't absorb as much or stay as dry as we're used to. And wetness can spread from the top-stitching, so onesies that cling should be avoided (although they prevent blow-outs better than regular diapers). Amusingly, they give the kids extra large booties. Sometimes Brian and I can't help but laugh when Eli wears a double-stuffed one to bed under slim-fitting pajama pants. I'm just glad we have them for the boy so I don't feel like pressuring him to make it through the night sooner than he's ready because diapers and pull-ups are expensive. Potty training + pressure= disaster.

So, after an insane number of hours sewing and spending around $350, several children can be diapered from birth to potty training. I don't think Brian would agree to having another child just so the diapers would be used again. I bet he would if he'd been the one sewing them.