Thursday, January 31, 2008

Steppin' In Time

Step in time, Step in time,

Step in time, Step in time,

Never need a reason,

Never need a rhyme,

Kick your heels up,

Step in time!

All. Day. Long.

One Night at Turoni's

We went for apps at Turoni's the other night.

Daddy picked the table that had the best ray fleck in the wood, of course.
Svea practiced with a straw.


Henry loves seeing his face on the camera screen...

...and studying it.

Then running the meeting we have all gathered for.

This, my friends, is why we are in and out in 40 minutes.

Long-term Effects

I was called down into the basement the other night to "come take my picture Mommmyyyyyyy!" as Henry was helping Daddy. He seriously was drawing a line on the board where Daddy needed it. Maybe there is hope.

I just wonder if taking so many pictures of them for this blog is affecting their sense of daily life and "capturing every moment." Hmmm.

Older friends keep telling me that's what therapy is for.


Our dear friend Menachem makes very yummy pita bread.
He claims it's so EEAASSY (in his Hebrew-English accent) so I made him bring the dough over, re-review the scribbled recipe he gave me that I taped in my cabinet, and roll out the dough before my very eyes.

Henry was a big help.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

cMoe. Duck Factory Style.

I am a fan of cMoe, in general.
But not of how wet Henry and Svea get in the Duck Factory room or whatever you call it. Their rain coats are too big, for starters.

And the dryers are fun...but don't dry clothes fast enough or hair fast enough for the cold walk to the car.

This was one of those times where the kids had a blast and I was totally stressed out by the end.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tea Party

We had lots of tea parties this week.
Really just two, but that's more than none. I'm good at math.

It was kind of an experiment to see if the kids would stay at their tables, and let the adults have tea at the dining room table. Just for about 7 minutes. And it went well.

We did give the kids cookies with sugar and everything, so that might have helped.

Kai was happy about it at least.

Things We're Lovin' Around Here

When Svea needs a tissue for her runny nose and she says, "I need a tennis shoe, Mama."
Confusing just the first few times.

When I get to ride the carousel with both children:

When Henry wonders if he really does look like Bert on Mary Poppins and if this horse will come off of the circle. And how those horses behind us on the carousel will never ever ever catch up with us:

When Henry sits cross-legged on the floor and says his legs look like a pretzel. And that he also would like a pretzel to eat right now. Please.

When there are too many children at the indoor playground and Svea takes a break in the helicopter tunnel:

And Henry retreats to some puzzles mounted on the wall:

When Henry stands and crosses his legs at the knees and is delighted EVERY TIME that he has made the letter X with his legs.

When Svea gets a turn on the slide:

When we walk by Hollister & Co. and both kids start boogying DOWN to their too-loud teenage music:

Good times all around.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Still Really Cold Here

And they are getting really tired of indoor projects.

I need to hit Hobby Lobby for some more balsa wood dinosaurs.

I can't believe I just typed that sentence. Who says that?

"Annie, Are You Okay..."

Henry and Svea have been a big help lately.
Well, Henry mostly.

For instance, I moved a bunch of our indoor plants to the guest room as it gets the best winter light. The guest room happens to be right across the hall from Henry's room. And Henry just so happens to be secretly skipping nap/rest time lately. Apparently, the other day he moseyed into the guest room and noticed that the geranium did not have leaves like the basil and kalanchoe did. Maybe because the geranium was dead.
Being the loving and harmony-seeking toddler that he is, he righted this wrong by pulling leaves off other plants to put them on the bare ones. Sharing, he called it.

In another nap-skippage afternoon, Henry found a bit of old wallpaper peeling on the wall outside of his room. Now what toddler can just walk by peeling wallpaper and not helpfully just peel that strip off? And leave it on the floor? Not one, I tell you. Well, not one in this house. This saga continues...

It snowed a few days ago, but now the snow has iced over so no snowballs can be made or thrown. So why not make snow in the house? At 8:30 the other night, Henry found a roll of toilet paper and did just that. All over the living room.

Most of the day, it's just too cold to go outside. And even though Henry makes "snow" in the house, it's the best decision to stay in. By 3pm, I'm about out of activities. My friend Stacy is always thinking up creative ideas, but we are lacking big stuffed animals that our Daddy won at a fair, so we had to resort to Papa J's old hats and telescopes.

We should have turned on some Michael Jackson.

my little smooth criminal...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bless Her Heart...

Sweet Lydia, my neice, is so excited about snow.

And she lives in Alabama.

So she went out when it started "snowing" and tried to catch that snowflake in her mouth (you can see it to the right of her face. It's the biggest white fleck there...)

Aunt Merpha put this picture in a Word Doc and circled the flake and put an arrow pointing to it so we could all see it and be a part of Lydia's joy.

Come on up Lydia! We'll make a snowperson!

The Snow

So it snowed.
We live in Indiana which means the g-rents call us Yankees. Because the Civil War just ended, and all.

So it snowed and Henry was all, "I've lived here 3 years and like, whatever" (did I mention the whole adolescent phase we are in?). This year was actually the very first time he would even WALK in the snow without a complete meltdown. I totally credit Bobbie for this success because she read Calvin and Hobbes cartoons to him over Christmas and that was all he talked about while throwing snowballs KA-POW against the fence:

But I get ahead of we are after 17 minutes of layering:

Then we walked to the backyard and Henry was all, "Dude, look at my footprints."

And Svea was all, "OMG - look I made them too."

And then Svea asked me to make her a snowball. I think because her fingers wouldn't fit all the way into the fingerholes of her gloves and it was a bit disconcerting for her. So I packed one for her and put it in her clenched palms.
And she held it.
I coaxed and coaxed to get her to throw it against the fence and yell KA-POW but the child seriously looked up at me with her lamb-like eyelashes and said, "I'm saving it for my Daddy."

So of course I had to take off MY gloves and call Brian, all shivering in the backyard, and tell him his daughter was saving him a snowball and it was 4:30 already so come on home.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

They've Had Us In Stitches

There has been a lack of poll-worthy questions in our house as of late.

I think maybe Henry has entered the adolescent phase of toddlerhood when he truly thinks he knows more than I do. And in all his wisdom, he is teaching Svea how to act this way too.

Instead of questions, there are now demands. Such as, "Mommy, when I stand on the arm of the chair, YOU say, 'Henry, how did you get so tall?'"


"No, Mama, I really do NOT need a time-out for hitting my sister."

and when the time-out happened anyway, he yelled at me from the stairs, "Mommy! I'm going to put you in the washing machine!"

I have no idea where that came from. I swear I have never said that to him. Though I am suspicious that it derived from a phrase Uncle Brad said to Henry when they were playing checkers over Christmas...apparently, Uncle Brad told Henry, "If you move that helmet (since it's the football checkers game where the playing pieces are red and white helmets), I'm going to put your head in the potty!"
Thank you, Uncle Brad. Again, we are moving to supervised visits.

Svea is still walking room to room, putting her babies or Dora dolls to sleep in various scenarios. She'll usually kiss them and say, "I love you" but sometimes she'll lean close to their faces and growl (like she does when pretending to be a lion or dinosaur) and say, "You have to LISTEN to your Mommy. You are going to TIME OUT."

Last night, Henry was walking from the living room to the kitchen with his eyes closed. Then he got mad that he couldn't see where he was going. I was about to laugh, when I realized, that may be how a lot of us walk around.

Henry, because he must act out everything he sees, has been trying to re-enact Dick Van Dyke as the One Man Band at the beginning of Mary Poppins. Some of the make-shift instruments included maracas in the back pockets for the hip shaking:

as well as a tambourine in the pants (don't judge) and a bandana around the harmonica. He held the cymbals in his hands.

Meanwhile, Svea became Princess Penelope (her favorite princess, I guess) with the hand towels that Aunt Merpha made for us.

I scanned in Henry and Svea's artwork, she printed them onto towels and then hand-sewed their names on the bottom. Awesome. Especially for princesses.


Food has become a new main thing for me.

Before, I was of the mindset that food was fuel and be grateful for what you got. I never understood the agony that Brian went through when we were picking a restaurant, let alone the meal he would eat.
But life has changed. I read the book The Raw Food Detox Diet last fall and it revolutionized my palette. I can't believe how much I chop and cook and think about and enjoy food now.
I may finally get it.

In the middle of my personal food revolution, I have learned not only about combinations of food groups and sustainability, etc., but also about how food can affect family dynamics, friendship relationships and personal mental health.
Most of that exposure has been from dear friends of ours who balance food intolerances and allergies everyday. We have friends here in Indiana, some in Wisconsin and Idaho, some in Alabama and Florida who are all dealing with this. It's everywhere. Duh, I know, but I am just now really getting it, as I said before.

One very dear friend of ours is working with her own food intolerances, those of her husband, and now both of her children. Her strength, intelligence and commitment to a healthy family lifestyle are inspirations not only to parents, but to anyone who eats.

I am grateful for her story and her persistence.
Below is an essay she wrote as she learns to make sense of her life, one batch of pancakes at a time.


Every morning, I make a double batch of our family staple, the buckwheat-amaranth pancake. Both my sons breastfeed, but they are getting older. More and more they come to rely on the buckwheat-amaranth pancakes.

Like nursing, pancakes seem to nurture their hearts and souls as well as nourish their bodies. My two and a half year old can feed himself, but he always wants me to feed him the pancakes. We sit on the couch together. He asks me, “Come enjoin my party on the couch, mama!” “Enjoin” must be a combination of “enjoy” and “join.” Now my 10 month old eats pancakes, too. I’m really excited he’s eating! He hasn’t wanted to eat any solid food until a few weeks ago. Now he eats “nahnah” (pancakes) a couple of times a day.

The pancake batter I make is very thin. (It’s my recipe and I’ve decided I like it that way!) I also have to make the pancakes fairly small so the pancakes will cook through before the outsides are black, because they take forever to cook. Since they are small, I make about 50 a day, give or take.

I was once a feminist. And now I make pancakes. Pancakes. I spend a significant portion of my day making pancakes… ¾ cup of buckwheat flour… ¼ cup of amaranth flour…I used to preach every Sunday in three rural churches. I did a funeral for a mother of three the day after September 11th. I was a spiritual leader for hundreds of people. And now I make pancakes… ¼ teaspoon sea salt… ¼ teaspoon nutmeg….

What will my two geese think of me when they are older? Am I a feminist now? I measure safflower oil (2 Tbsp.), organic this time, bought with money we don’t have. Money I don’t bring into the family. And agave nectar (1 Tbsp). And water…lots of water. 1 1/3 cups of water. I bathe the dry ingredients in water. I baptize each batch praying it will give my family a rebirth. When my two sons were baptized, I truly believed God’s grace would enfold them their whole lives. As I pour the water into the batter, I wonder how God will care for them. Over time, God might make them whole. Their spirits are strong! Their bodies are becoming stronger… Like taking daily communion, each meal we eat brings us closer to wholeness.

What will my sons say about me when they are older? Will they think they had a hopelessly backward mother who dropped her degrees and dreams for a 50-gallon drum of homemade batter? What will history say? Sometimes I imagine making it into a history book. Will I be described as a warmed-over version of the stereotypical 1950s housewife? Or will I be a pioneer in the movement to feed our children truly healthy food?

What feminist spends her time making 50 pancakes a day for a family of four? I don’t know. I have never met her. And yet, I think I am her.

They say the personal is the political. Every pancake I make means two cents less to agribusiness, two cents more for justice. Two cents more for love. I make 50 pancakes a day for my children. Making pancakes is my gift of love. It is personal, political, and faithful. It is my maternal response to my sons and my political statement to a fast-food culture. It is my faithful response in a world longing for more love, more care, and more creativity. I am a mom, a feminist mom. And I want to make pancakes for my sons.

Phone Home

In a miraculous playroom moment, I got to read some emails yesterday. After a few minutes, I realized how quiet it was and looked over quickly...and for a moment couldn't see Henry or Svea.

And they haven't even seen E.T. yet.

But Henry does like it when I flip the camera screen and he can see himself when I take his picture.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Christmas Memories

I just got a roll of film developed - a real live roll. Actually, I just got it put on a CD.
But it had these two from the Christmas Eve festivities:

Henry and his much-longed-for shoulder pads (that came with his Bengals uniform. Chosen solely for the pattern of the tiger stripes).

Svea concentrating on her Little People's house, which has its very own potty.
Here's to potty training in '08...Little People style.