Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer In The Neighborhood

This is how we spend most afternoons, though there are not always popsicles involved, and when there are not popsicles involved, the two children pictured above are usually pushing each other's buttons and generally being cranky. But sometimes they actually have fun playing together, too. The super-cutie sitting oh-so-daintily next to Sweet Pea is her first boyfriend. At least, he calls her his girlfriend. Tee hee hee! Since we spend so much time outside playing he should have a name on my blog (and yes, I did get his mommy's permission before posting his picture here). I think that I'll use his parents' nickname for him: The Destroyer. That nickname seems especially funny looking at him sitting there all well-behaved with his ankles crossed. Ha ha! Meanwhile, my truly mild-mannered girly-girl sprawls next to him in the least becoming pose a little girl can assume in a skort. Ah, childhood. ha ha!

The Bug kept stealing any and every popsicle I got for myself (I tried twice). Speaking of unbecoming... that little skirt just kept flipping up in front on her skort every time she squatted down - which, as a new walker, she does quite a lot, especially on angled surfaces like driveways.

Sweet Pea apparently ran out of room to draw on The Destroyer's driveway and had to move to a different neighbor's tree... I hope the neighbor didn't mind. She's a grandma, so she probably thought it was cute.

Sweet Pea also decorated part of the street. She sure loves drawing kitties!
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Friday, July 27, 2007

The Food is Rotting and I Don't Care

Isn't that a song?

"The food is rotting and I don't care,
the food is rotting and I don't care,
the food is rotting and I DON'T CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARE,
Guess we need a new fridge now."

Yeah, I think I learned that one growing up.

Sigh. Suck.

So, yeah. Remember a couple weeks ago when I said something (at least I think I did - I'm way too tired to look back and check right now) about the fridge getting warm but the freezer still freezing everything solid?

Well, the "blue ice" that we use every night to keep juice cold in the bedroom for the girls so I can just give them juice right when they wake up and get my shower then (if I take them downstairs we inevitably end up playing past shower time and then I have to try to take one during The Bug's nap without waking her up, while Sweet Pea is downstairs alone with the cats or something) did not keep the juice cold last night. This morning at breakfast, the margarine was soft. I mean, really soft. And things just felt warm in the fridge. Yogurt shouldn't feel warm. And the veggies are certainly not appreciating the higher temperature either.

This time, unfortunately, things in the freezer are starting to get soft as well. Dammit. For whatever reason it is called out in our lease that we, not our landlords, are responsible for repairs and replacement of the refrigerator, washer, and dryer. We've already had to buy a new washer. I really don't want to have to buy a new refrigerator.

Last time this happened I pulled the fridge out from the wall and vacuumed the cobwebs up. Unfortunately I can't really get at the coil; it's not like the old fridges where the coil is just right there on the back of the fridge. This fridge has the coil underneath and it's totally different than the coils on the old ones. I can't really get in there to vacuum it out. So I don't know what made the fridge start working again last time, but it did go back to working at full capacity.

The bright spot here is that we finally have the rest of our stuff that was in storage for the past year, and that stuff includes - yes, a refrigerator. When I was making soap regularly I had a hard time making room in our food freezer to freeze the soap before unmolding it, so I asked around amongst our friends to see if anyone had a cheap old fridge to sell. Some friends responded and even delivered their old fridge to me, FREE!

Slipshod managed to plug the old bugger in earlier tonight (even though it is in the middle of the front of the garage, surrounded on back and sides by boxes and a workbench) so now instead of relaxing which I am dying to do, I am trying to talk myself into cleaning out the old fridge and moving the food before it really does all rot.

Guh. Does it ever get easier? Because after two months of cleaning, preparation and party-throwing, which I have started calling Birthdaypalooza 2007, I am utterly exhausted and can barely make it through a day alone with the girls even when I get extra sleep at night. ALL I WANT TO DO IS REST. Plant ass, as they say, on the couch, with some ice cream (side note - I'm not eating ice cream every night anymore, and have switched from full-octane Ben & Jerry's to Skinny Cow), turn on the TV and just freakin' CHILL for once!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!

Yep, it's her birthday. She's four. Four! Where did those four years go? And yet, they were intense and very full years. Full of childhood firsts - since she is our first, every new thing Sweet Pea does is a childhood first around here.

This girl is amazing and funny and smart and creative and pretty and artistic and silly beyond measure. Over the past year she has become increasingly independent, mostly due to the arrival of her baby sister shortly before her third birthday. She has started to read a tiny bit and she loves to make the sounds in words and tell me what letter words start with. She love to rhyme. She love to make up silly lyrics to tunes that she knows. Those lyrics invariably involve a cat or two.

Yep, she's still completely enamored of cats. Though to tell you the truth, she has spent far more time over the past few days playing with "roly polys." One day a couple weeks ago she found a roly poly walking across the floor in the family room (eww) and adopted it as her pet for the day. She put it in her sand bucket and went outside and got it some grass to eat. I looked up roly polys/pill bugs/sow bugs online to find out what they actually eat, and it turns out they're scavengers (double eww) so I told her to find them some old roots to eat. At some point during the day she decided that her isopod friend looked lonely so she went to the back yard, poked around in the flower beds, and found it two friends. All three bugs remained alive for the entire day despite her pulling them out periodically to let them crawl around on her hands and occasionally dropping them on the floor. I made her put them back outside at night, safe under a rock where there were plenty of roots for them to eat. The next morning she was so bummed that they weren't still under the same rock, waiting for her.

I related this story to her grandmothers and one of them bought her a little "bug shack" for her birthday. So now she thinks it's her solemn duty to remove roly polys from their backyard habitat and try to take care of them in her little bug cage. Three of them have died since yesterday morning... so she went out and got another one. At least she left the dead ones in there - the new one should have more to eat than the old ones did. (EWWW!)

What? Oh, the pictures? Well, it's a long story. The short version is that she wanted to try on some dresses that my sister sent years ago, before Sweet Pea was born. She didn't just want to try them on one at a time; in these pictures she's wearing three dresses. I told Sweet Pea that her auntie would like to see pictures of her in the dresses so she got incredibly silly and had me take pictures of her in countless poses. She calls the pose above"Big Scary Kitty" - it's supposed to be a Yoga pose. Tee hee!

This is "Little Scary Kitty."

If I were writing this at a better time of day, rather than 12:20am, I might write a better birthday tribute to my sweetiekins, but this will have to do for now. At least I'm posting it on her actual birthday instead of late...
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Update on our Crazy Life

Okay, I'll try to do this quickly.

Friday evening - the rest of our belongings arrive - delivered after 10 months of container storage. We finally got off our booties and told them to deliver it.

Friday night - Slipshod rearranged the crap already in the garage to make room for the rest of our stuff.

Saturday morning out front - Slipshod worked his tookus off getting stuff out of the POD. Yes, he has horrible nerve damage in both arms and shouldn't be lifting stuff. But what else are ya gonna do? When you move, you have to lift stuff. Ugh.

Saturday morning in the kitchen - I thought it was weird that Clark, the cat who stayed out all night, wasn't waiting by the sliding glass door doing the breakfast dance. He did eventually show up, and when I let him in I could tell immediately that he was in bad shape. He was shaking and could barely walk. It looked like his back legs were very hurt, although I could not see any damage. He skipped the food and water and slunk upstairs to curl up in a miserable ball by the litter box. He did not purr when we pet him. Bad news.

Saturday after breakfast - I got The Bug to sleep for her nap and went out to work in the POD. I sent Slipshod to the vet with the cat. I got a lot done despite having to entertain Sweet Pea quite a lot at the beginning. She could be amused with her old things out of the POD, but wanted me to help her clean them or set them up or put this in that, etc. Eventually, however, had the right mix of toys (and a running hose) to keep her happy in the front yard indefinitely. It's so nice that she's old enough now to be able to hang out and do her own thing some of the time without needing me right there to do everything for or with her. We talked while I worked but we each had our own thing to do.

Slipshod returned with the cat. Clark had had a temperature of 105.5 when they got to the vet's office. She couldn't find any damage on him but did x-rays to make sure there were no broken bones. In the x-ray she saw lots of little air pockets all over his back legs, which she thinks were bites from another cat. Apparently cats have nasty stuff in their saliva which can cause infection very quickly, so it is her educated opinion that Clark got his butt soundly whupped by another cat. Clark is on antibiotics and pain killers. He is doing MUCH better now and is trying to get out the door. As you might imagine, we are under strict orders to keep him inside until he finishes healing and recovering, so the attempted escapes are getting tiresome (for me).

Saturday afternoon - I had brought some of the girls' things inside from the POD, thinking they would have a lot of fun seeing toys they hadn't seen for nearly a year - especially The Bug, since she wasn't mobile and didn't even have control of her hands and arms before we moved. That means these toys are brand new to her. Well, two of the things I brought in were little plastic porch chairs that Sweet Pea used to love to sit in and play on in the back yard at our old house. She was delighted to see them and set them up right next to each other and insisted that she and The Bug should sit there together and have a snack of Cheerios, which they did.

The Bug was as thrilled with the chairs as her big sister, but she kept standing up on them. I have been working with her on this for a while now since the girls also have kid-sized play chairs in their room upstairs and she has been standing on those as well. She knows what "sit" means, so I've been telling her to sit on her bum whenever she stands up on a chair. We went through that many times on Saturday but unfortunately I didn't take the chairs away like I should have. At one point I went to the kitchen, all 10 or so feet away, to get drinks for the girls, and while I was in there The Bug stood up on one of the kid chairs and took a fall - the whole chair fell over backward, with her standing in it facing backward, so she fell face first. I don't know what she hit with her face, but she hit it HARD. I have never heard her cry so hard, and the size of her cheek was really frightening. It puffed up right away and was bright bright red with blue around it, and right in the middle it was white from hitting so hard. I tried to ice her cheek but she didn't want the cold thing touching her skin so that didn't help a whole lot. It took her a while to recover but she nursed for a while and calmed down. Even though her cheek still looks AWFUL and is still swollen, The Bug appears to be just fine. She was back to herself quite quickly all things considered, and it doesn't appear to hurt when anyone touches her cheek. Thank goodness for that. But the bruise is so awful.

In the afternoon Slipshod also took a van load of cardboard to the recycling center. It is REALLY nice to have that gone. There was a lot of it.

Sunday - we finished unloading the POD before lunch! It is nice to have all our stuff back, even though we have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF and need to go through and purge a lot of it. I am finally finding my clothes here and there - I had been living on a very small wardrobe for the past year, made of things that I went out and bought after realizing I didn't have many of my clothes. That mix-up happened mostly because when we moved I was moving from wearing my maternity clothes back to wearing my regular clothes, so the regular clothes weren't in the house yet and thus got packed with the stuff that was on the back porch. I haven't found everything yet, but it's nice to know it's here.

Yesterday and today I have been wondering why I brought so many boxes into the house. Sweet Pea's birthday party is this weekend and what did I do? Filled the house full of moving boxes. Brilliant. Actually I was on a really big adrenaline (or something) rush when we were unpacking the POD and at the time I really thought we could get a butt ton of unpacking done before this weekend. Now I have returned to my senses (helped along by my body, which nearly passed out on Sunday because I was so into getting the job done I waited too long to eat lunch) and today I am going to move the boxes out to the garage and focus on the birthday party. Sometimes I think I'm a little bit crazy. ha ha!

Sweet Pea is very excited about her birthday party and started decorating the house last week with kitty pictures that she colored, and leftover streamers from last year's party.

That is all for now. I've got boxes to move.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ugh Again

Dammit, denial doesn't keep you healthy. I've had a sore throat for the better part of a week and I've been trying to blame it on allergies, air conditioning, anything you can think of... but I think I'm probably just plain sick. Sweet Pea had a sore throat the same day I first noticed mine, and asked for the throat spray in the morning. She never said anything about it again after that, though, so I thought she had just awakened with an extra dry throat that day. However, yesterday I asked if her sore throat had been a quick thing or if she had had it for a few days and she said it had not gone away right away. The Bug was acting clingy the day before yesterday and yesterday and today her voice sounds a little funny. So, I guess we've got some kind of cold. I wouldn't even bother to mention it except that my sore throat just won't go away! At least we don't have lots of runny noses.

Slipshod's first week back at work has been okay. Honestly he started to retreat from us about a week before he went back - spent a lot of time in his office upstairs & doing other things, so we were used to just the three of us doing most stuff together almost all day long. We missed him a lot at first and The Bug would go looking for him in the house at least three times per day. She still asks for him but no longer seems to expect him to be upstairs when we're downstairs, etc. We still miss him, but having him go back isn't as horrible as I had worried it might be, because most nights he comes home for dinner and the girls' bedtime routine. The one exception was last night, when he went to a goodbye party after work for a soon-to-be ex-coworker.

Did I mention that my throat hurts? Gar.

Nothing exciting going on around here. I'm planning for Sweet Pea's birthday party - got all the kitty cat plates & decorations, etc. ordered. Still trying to decide what to do for food. We're going to get food from a restaurant, but can't decide which one. Gotta order the helium tank for the balloons, but that won't be a big deal.

Slipshod has done one day of his new plan to work on getting healthier - he walked to the bus station and rode the bus to work, then walked on the other end too. He has taken my car the rest of the week, leaving us with the smaller stroller that doesn't have a basket in the bottom, so when I've taken the girls to the store I've had to take a backpack to carry whatever we're buying. No big shopping trips, then. But Slipshod usually does those anyway.

Baby trying to crawl up on my lap - must go.

Oh - one last thing, though - I gave The Bug her first little hair cut yesterday - trimmed up the hair that's been getting in to her eyes, so she has little bangs now! It looks so cute!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There Were Animals at the Zoo, too...

Slipshod got some great pictures of the Bald Eagle.

Ah, the life of a bear... isn't there a song about that? The newest exhibit at the San Francisco Zoo is the grizzlies exhibit. There are two big female bears in the habitat and they seem very happy to be there, and also very unconcerned about all the people staring and oohing and ahhing at them all day long. In two areas along the high fence the zoo built heavy plastic walls so visitors can just walk right up and see right through. One of those walls is in the swimming area, so you can see underwater when they're paddling about - cool! - and the other is right next to their door to the "backstage" area. There is a pit full of sawdust there, and when we happened by their exhibit, one of the grizzlies was trying to get comfy in the sawdust to take a nap. She never did seem to find just the right position, but she spent a bunch of time moving around and trying to get cozy. She didnt' seem to mind all of us standing a couple feet away, amazed at how close we could be to her!

"J'ai ennui."

(Keep scrolling... more pictures below.)
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We Saw Lots of Them

The peacocks were *everywhere.* They must feed all the animals very well, because the grizzly bears didn't seem bothered that there were peacocks walking around in their habitat. The rhinos didn't mind either. Most of the peacocks were just walking around on the regular people paths, though. Crazy birds. Very pretty, though.

This was a Green Anaconda, and we couldn't really get a good picture of the whole thing, so Slipshod had fun using the zoom on his new camera. But this isn't really zoomed that much - this snake is HUGE. It eats very large animals. Eep!

Despite the chilly foggy San Francisco weather, the polar bears just looked hot.

(Keep scrolling... even more pictures below!)
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More from the Zoo

I thought these two were particularly cute.

Sweet Pea's first favorite animal - now second only to kitty cats.

We managed to get to the penguin area at feeding time. They were hilarious. The food was late so most of them were swimming impatiently back and forth, back and forth, waiting for the zookeepers to arrive with the bucket o' fish. When they did arrive, one woman hand fed whole fish to each penguin and called out to the other, who had a clip board, how many fish each penguin (who she was able to tell apart due to the numbered tags on their flippers) had eaten. Then the penguins started swimming again, but they seemed less frantic once their tummies were full.

Sweet Pea kept getting herself up on the fences like this to see over the railings, and then every time I would think, "gosh, she's really into this exhibit; she's just standing there looking and looking..." Then I would hear her saying, "Mommy, Mommy, help! I'm stuck!" She kept doing it over and over again, and I somehow managed to forget every single time that she couldn't get down from there by herself. Well, she probably could, but she didn't think she could. ha ha! What a pair we are.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Day at the Zoo

Last Wednesday we went to the San Francisco Zoo. We started out in the African Safari area, of course, because we could see the giraffes from the entrance, and if you've known Sweet Pea for a while, you might remember that her first VERY favorite animal was the giraffe. She still has a soft spot for them - especially when they're real! We bought a family pass since we had so much fun, and even though we've been twice in the past couple years, we've never managed to see the whole thing.

You might say, "But Violet, it's June. Why are you wearing sweatshirts?" Well, have you ever heard that perfect explanation of SF Bay Area weather by Mark Twain? It's so fitting. It goes something like this: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." There. Now you know.

See, the SF zoo is right across the street from the ocean, so the weather there is ever-changing. The night before we went I looked up the forecast for the next day. What I read was, "clear and high of 76." But what we got was complete fog cover all day, and temperatures of 57 and plummeting. Good thing we knew what to expect. We took long pants and sweatshirts/sweaters for all of us. We could have brought even warmer clothes, though; The Bug got too cold by the end of the day, even though she was snugged up to either me or Slipshod nearly all day in the Baby Bjorn. Slipshod had to tuck her inside his fleece jacket to get her warm enough. I kept her sun hat on her most of the day just to keep her head warm, but a fleece baby hat would have been even better.

We stopped on the far side of the African Safari area to nurse The Bug and let her stretch her legs for a bit. Before we moved on, a giraffe came right up to the railing you see behind us and ate some leaves on a branch that was hanging on rope on a pulley right in front of the little "house" area. (You've got to click on the picture above to see it bigger so you can see the cute expressions on the girls' faces.)

We do this a lot. So why am I not fit and trim? Shouldn't this sort of exercise count for something? Note how The Bug is helping me push the stroller. ha ha!

Posing with the parrots outside the Brazilian Rainforest building, where they had a really really scary-huge Green Anaconda. It eats ROUS's - seriously! Things like Tapir and Capybara. Even Caiman. Scary snake. Sweet Pea thought it was great, though. After visiting the giraffes she wanted to see "snakes! Snakes! Snakes!"

In more recent news: The Bug is walking. Yep. Starting about a week and a half ago she started taking one step at a time. Last Thursday while I was away from home (BY MYSELF! GASP!!!) Slipshod called to tell me that she had stood up in the hallway, taken four steps, sat down, and then stood up and did it again. The next day, it was 10 steps at a time. She is still doing a mix of crawling and walking, but clearly enjoys walking and gets very happy when she takes a bunch of successful steps in a row. We have counted up to 20 at once, and sometimes we've lost count. She's definitely walking!

You can thank Christina for me finally posting again. She asked a while back to see a front view of my new haircut, and we didn't have any good pictures of my face until the zoo trip. ha ha!