Good stuff!

We’ve had a fun past couple of days!

 

Most excitingly, Jeff came home last night.  As soon as he walked in the door Simon started bouncing up and down and screeching and giggling, and then he was stuck to Daddy for the rest of the evening.  Before Jeff even had his coat off, Simon had dragged him back to the playroom and was trying to entice him into a game of “Big Bear Eats Baby Tummies”.  Because apparently I just can’t play that right 😉

 

And for what it’s worth, Jeff insists that he didn’t sleep well in that fancy hotel bed all alone; that he really does sleep better balanced precariously on the edge of the bed with Simon’s stinky diaperbutt in his face and my icecube feet wedged between his knees.  Even though I have trouble believing it, it was nice of him to say. 😀

 

For once, I was grateful for Roxie’s alarm system yesterday afternoon; I was expecting some fluffy mail and didn’t want to let it languish out of my embrace one moment longer than necessary.  Behold!

That’s a dyed Anthracite Hemp Indio 6 (40% hemp) that I bought off the big swap on FB.  I am madly in love with the color.  This isn’t quite accurate, but it’s more or less right:

I don’t know who the dyer was; I’m at least the 4th (and final! :)) owner of this wrap.  The lady I bought it from thinks she was the third owner.  The real color is a lot more dimensional and luminous than in that braided picture. It’s deep and vibrant and doesn’t contrast a lot with the black weft.  I LOVE it.

 

Simon was positively weightless in this thing; even in a super quick’n’crappy ruck/BWCC hybrid thing (does that even have a name?).  Usually he doesn’t come running when I get out a wrap (though he’ll sit patiently and be cooperative while I get him up there), but yesterday he started hopping up and down before I even got it around his shoulders and supermanned him up.  Maybe this is his new favorite too? 😉

 

I wore him for an hour’s worth of housework and puttering around, and apart from a couple little adjustments (I had trouble getting him in a good seat), it was totally effortless babywearing.  Like a feather!

 

This is my first hemp wrap, and it’s really interesting.  I think I’m still a linen girl at heart (especially since thick smushy Nati linen is a thing), but NOTHING makes Simon feel as weightless as this hemp!  It’s a little unyielding so I know I would’ve found it frustrating as a beginner, but it’s substantial and blankety enough that it’s fairly easy to spread my passes, etc.  It sort of reminds me of my SNN, actually, only more supportive.  If my SNN is cheesecake (a little temperamental but rich and filling), then this is an oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie:  hearty and unpretentious but still sweet.

 

Sorry.  Enough wrap geekery.  I’m just happy 🙂

 

Now that Simes is really over that cold from a couple weeks ago, we decided to venture back to storytime this morning.  (ie the germ pit that infected us in the first place).

 

I LOVE seeing him interact with other kids.  When he’s just surrounded by adults and is snug on Jeff or me, Simon is flirtatious and engaging and charming (we joke that his catchphrase is, “I’m cute and I know it!” a la LMFAO).  But when we’re around other kids, he’s a lot more reserved.  Not standoffish, exactly, just a little more inclined to hang back and observe, rather than jump into the morass.  I can tell you that he’s not scared or tense, just…apart.  After a few minutes he’ll warm up, step by step, (usually checking in with me every couple moments) until he’s adjacent to the action, but he keeps the oddest look on his face: like he’s not quite sure what to make of it, these babies with their silly fumbling ways and loud noises.  He participates in parallel play and cooperates with the group for songs, dances, etc., so it’s all totally developmentally appropriate. He’s just not a social butterfly where those odd “toddler” creatures are concerned.

 

Wait, I have the perfect metaphor:

(source)

I can’t wait ’till he learns how to write field notes 😉

 

In a complete non sequitor, guess who has discovered pockets?

So nonchalant. 😛

 

(When I took his coat off him, he stuck his hands in the bib of his overalls and has been walking around like that ever since.  Like a tiny little farmer!)

 

Anyway, storytime today was all well and good until the giant parachute came out and another kid bumped into him, sending Simon dramatically crashing to the floor in a most theatrical fashion.  My usual policy with that sort of thing is to take care of his emotional needs (dry the tears, y’know), but then throw him right back up onto the saddle.  I don’t want him to be one of those whiny little porcelain kids.  But for whatever reason today he refused to be thrown (metaphorically or otherwise), and every time I tried to set him down he just whimpered and pointed to the door.  So we left storytime early, got a few books, and headed home.

 

Once we got away from the other  chimps  toddlers, Simon quickly remembered that he’s a big boy and rest is for weenies.  But joke’s on him, because I have magic boobs.  So HA!

Which means  I’d better get in and figure out what I’m fixing for dinner.  Yay!

 

Have a good rest of today, y’all.

Don’t get used to it

Making good on my half-assed attempt to get back in the swing of blogging.  As promised, I’m sitting here with a sleeping Simon upstairs and a cup of tea.  And a caramel bar. (Ssh!)

 

We had a pretty quiet afternoon yesterday.  Lots of stories (Pigs to the Rescue!) and building with bristle blocks.  Nothing too big.  Oh, and of course music time 😉

(I just realized his eyes look crossed there.  I promise, they’re not.)

 

I’m lucky that Jeff doesn’t travel for work any more frequently than he does, but it still sucks when he does go.  The evenings just aren’t right without him around!  But I wanted to keep as much of our routine as we could anyway, so I cooked a quick dinner (rather than defaulting to grilled cheese or PB&J, as is my wont).  And then, because Jeff wasn’t around to go spastic about the inevitable mess, Simon and I decided to practice our fork skills:

Watching him wrangle one the size of his arm convinced me to order a kid-sized set off Amazon; it should arrive tomorrow.

 

Once I got Simon down I settled in with some mango tea and knitting and Netflix, which was nice, but I’d rather have been bitching about Jeff monopolizing the TV with MLB ’13 😉

 

As predicted, I did not sleep at ALL last night.  Not only am I quite certain there are burglars lurking about the neighborhood and squirrels with machetes in the attic, but Simon has really kicked up his night nursing.  Jeff and I are hoping to get him sleeping in his own bed before too long (our double bed is just too small for two adults and a toddler) but with him still needing the boobs every hour I’m not sure how that’s going to work out.  I don’t mind nursing him down, but I’d love it if he could settle himself during subsequent wakeups.  We shall see.

 

This morning I got up and looked around the house and thought “I cannot spend one more entire day here.  No sirree.”  So after breakfast we loaded up.  Due to it being -4* right now, all the schools are closed.  So I figured that the library, fast food playplaces and mall play areas are all probably MADHOUSES, and I really don’t want either of us to get knocked down with another cold yet, so I decided to steer clear of kid places and go to Salvation Army and Home Depot instead (lol).  So we went to SA and I got a big blanket to throw down as a fingerpainting drop cloth, and a couple kids’ books (including a paperback of The Midwife’s Apprentice.  I loved that book in 3rd-4th grade.  Do y’all remember it?)  Then in Home Depot we wandered around a bit and looked at all the big things and guys with flat trolleys full of lumber, and I’m sure it made Simon feel very grown-up and manly.  A quick run into Aldi for blueberries and then West Point Market for fancy cheese and a cup of soup (talk about grocery-shopping whiplash!), and we’re back home.  And no one got frostbite and I won’t be chasing the dog around our hedge maze with an axe.  Win-WIN-win.

 

Now I’m out of caramel bar, and Simon is still conked out.  I don’t know what was in that cookie that the bakery lady at West Point Market gave Simon (quaaludes?), but I ain’t complainin’.  To the knitting!

 

Happy Tuesday, y’all.  Stay warm!

 

 

October-January

::tap tap tap::  Is this thing on?

Wow.  This has been my longest blog hiatus to date.  Win?  No.  LOSE.  I knew it was getting bad when not only was my dad nagging me for new posts, but so were old friends who I had no idea even stalked me on here (MEGAN).  So consider this an official apology for the prolonged absence.  We’re all fine and happy; I’ve just find it increasingly hard to sit down and write anything with the 2-1/2-foot-tall tornado spinning around here.  (Jessica I have no idea how you do it with two!)

Maybe I need to set up a fun routine – blogging when he goes down for his naps, maybe make a cup of tea.  Yes.  That’s the ticket!

We’ve been going a little stir crazy lately what with Polar Vortex I and II sweeping through Akron (the low tonight is supposed to be -10.  BRR!).  But we got about 8″ of snow on Saturday, so we decided to take advantage of it and play outside for a bit.  Look at my little icicle!

I lurve him 🙂

Last week it was less cold and snowy, so we bundled up for a walk.  I hate using a stroller in this neighborhood since the sidewalks are uneven (big trees and roots everywhere), so we hadn’t been going out as much since it turned cold, and Simon is getting a bit too big to wear on my front.  Then I had the brilliant idea to see if Jeff’s windbreaker was big enough to cover both of us.  It was!  So I wrapped Simon onto my back, zipped us up in Jeff’s coat, and we were off 🙂

It worked so well that I think we’ll walk down to the library this afternoon, before it gets any colder (I think we’re going to be housebound tomorrow).

Jeff left for Cincinnati this morning and doesn’t get back until Wednesday evening, so I’ve got to find ways to fill our time while he’s gone.  I think we’ll probably bust out the finger paints Grandma and Grandpa gave Simon for Christmas, and after he goes to bed I’ll try to make some serious progress on Jeff’s belated Christmas socks.  If the weather cooperates, I think Kathy and I are going to try and meet up for lunch in Canton on Wednesday.  I haven’t seen her since, what, October?  We’re long overdue for a catch-up!  I may also load Simon up and go to West Point Market for some of their fancy soup or something at some point.  (MY LIFE IS SO EXCITING)

(Aside – this blogging thing isn’t working out too well right now.  Someone keeps thrusting “Let’s Dance, Little Pookie” at me and whining.)

Why don’t I wrap up with a couple pictures from our holiday trip to St. Louis and KC?

Olivia always asks to “hold the baby”, even though he’s not terribly compliant and hold-able anymore (at least, not for an 8-year-old!):

Cuddles with Aunt Laura, who we got to see on our way back to Akron:

We went to see Grandmother and Granddad, and Aunt Linda and Uncle Jeremy, when we were in KC.  Grandmother invoked Great-Grandparent Privileges and stuffed Simon’s little face with cookies:

Clearly he didn’t really mind 😀

They were also really nice to us at lunch in the retirement community’s dining room (better than last time).  My arch enemy is still working there, but Mom and I gave her shifty glares.  BECAUSE WE CAN.  Our server that day was just tickled to have a baby in her section, and when I asked if I could get a cup of fruit or something for him, she came back with a fruit cup, applesauce, a banana, pudding, animal crackers, graham crackers, and I don’t even know what else.  She even delighted in putting some water in his sippy cup for him!  Too sweet 🙂

Lots of stories with Granddad, too, while we were, in Great-Grandmother’s apartment:

I have seriously never met a child who likes stories as well as this little one.  I think I’ve mentioned before that we can read for at least an hour at a go, and that hasn’t changed.  He’ll crawl up on my lap (the ottoman is our designated story-reading spot) and we’ll go through all his board books, most of them multiple times.  Last week Jeff put together one of those $18 particle-board bookcases from Target and I started moving the non-board-book kids’ books into the living room too (they had been on the shelves in the playroom).  Now Simon will go over and choose just the story he wants to hear, then patiently sit through the whole thing – even the long ones!  He’d rather read stories than do just about anything else, I’d guess.

Which is also why I am CONSTANTLY buying books.  We go to the library a lot, but when I can always find good kids’ books for like $0.50-$1 at consignment shops, why not just go ahead and buy them?  (Ask me if I regret this decision when it’s time to pack up and move again in 8 months…)  After food, love, and sleep, I really can’t think of anything better for a baby’s development than lots of reading.  I’m so glad Simon agrees!

And now I really must be off.  I’ve missed y’all, and hope it won’t be another 3 months before I can drag my lazy butt over to WordPress again!

Brrrrrrread

In another edition of my ongoing series “ways to force breakfast down my husband’s gullet”, I have for you today a perfectly hearty, perfectly fall-y breakfast bread recipe.

(My what an appealing picture.  Who wouldn’t want to devote time and energy to baking a delicious rectangular turd?)

Apple bread isn’t anything new, I know.  Everybody and their grandmother has a recipe.  This is just mine.  And it is deeeelicious!

 

This version is marginally less unhealthy than some of them out there.  It uses a whole wheat flour blend, some flax meal for fiber, and of course lots of apple-y spicy goodness.  We all love it!

 

Spiced Apple Bread

1/4 c vegetable oil

2/3 c brown sugar (can reduce this if you’re using really sweet apples)

2 eggs

1 t vanilla

1/2 c buttermilk

1 c whole wheat flour

1 c AP flour

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

2-3 T flax meal

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t ground cloves

1/4 t allspice

2 medium-large apples, peeled, cored and grated (do not drain!)

2/3 c raisins, unless you live under the thumb of an anti-raisin dictator as I do.

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat your eggs and add oil, sugar, vanilla and buttermilk and beat well to combine.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, salt and spices, then stir in the flax meal.  Stir dry ingredients into wet, being careful not to over-mix.  Gently fold in grated apples and raisins*.

Pour into your prepared loaf pan, and top it however you choose.  Bake for about 60 minutes.  Cool slightly in pan (~10-15 minutes) then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Cool completely before slicing, if you can wait 😉

We’ve been a little over-indulgent lately so I just topped it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a pinch of raw sugar.  But it’s way better with streusel topping (especially oatmeal).

 

Enjoy!

 

(PS> Two words:  honey. butter.  I don’t have any made up right now, which is a crying shame.  Don’t you make the same mistake!)

*Seriously. I should’e clarified this before I married the guy.

We met them in St. Louis. Then we took a nap.

Warning: I’m a little cranky today. 😛

 

A lot of it has to do with sleep deprivation, I think.  Jeff and I always joke that we co-sleep not for the developmental/breastfeeding benefits, but because we are both absolute assholes when we’re sleep deprived.  Which is true.

 

He was in Cincinnati all day yesterday and today for work, and neither Simon or I ever sleep well when he’s gone.  This was my first time staying alone in the new house, too, so of course every creaky noise was magnified and I’m sure there were legions of prowlers outside.  (If only I had an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!)  Simon, for his part, tossed and turned all night.  I think he was cold on his Daddy side, since there was just a surly cat occupying the usual spot 😛

 

So today he and I have been Clingy and Pissy, respectively (aka, two of the rejected 7 dwarves).  All I did this morning was dishes and random kitchen work, a couple loads of laundry (including our handknits and a quilt, which I hung out on the clothesline that I’ll never ever get tired of), and I raked the leaves and helicopters up to the curb.  Since we finally dragged ourselves out of bed so late, he skipped his morning nap in favor of screwing around on my back and yanking on my hair (thanks, Baby).

 

After lunch we ran up to Target for a gazillion different things, including some storage solutions we desperately needed (the age of a house is inversely proportional to its number of closets, you know).  So now I’m all set to unpack my crafting stuff and our office – just need the sewing table that Mom is bringing with her in a couple weeks, and I’ve got my eye on a 6-foot folding table to set up my self-healing mat and swift/ballwinder on.  I still need Jeff to find a desk or something, too.  Currently the guest room/office is the only place not unpacked, and it’s driving me nuts.  I want to sew!  And file papers! (More the former than the latter)

 

This is totally not chronological, but our weekend in St. Louis was a lot of fun 🙂  We left Akron at about 4:15 on Friday afternoon, and got to StL at about 1:30.  Not bad time, considering how frequently we needed to stop for Mr. Crankybritches.  We had a few hours Saturday morning before the wedding, so we got to run a couple errands, go to Fozzie’s (!!!) and wander the Loop.

 

My handsome guys, ready to go:

 

The ceremony was very nice (or so I heard – I got to spend its entirety in the hallway with someone who thought it would be more fun to flap his lips than sit quietly.  JEFF.)  Katie looked *gorgeous*, and it was really fun to finally attend a wedding in that Presbyterian church at Forsyth and Big Bend.  Every time I drove past it for the whole four years we lived in StL, I always thought “I’d love to go to a wedding there sometime!”  And all I had to do was move away to make it happen ;).

 

There was a two hour break between the ceremony and reception, so we decided to revisit some old stomping grounds:

(That’s in the entrance to AB Hall, on campus.  I had a bigger picture that actually showed that, but Jeff and Simon both looked really derpy.)

 

Unfortunately the place was pretty sparsely populated on a Saturday evening, but it’s just as well.  It started spitting rain before very long, so we headed back to the car and drove around Forest Park while Simon napped.

 

The reception was in the Missouri History Museum, which turned out to be OMG SO AWESOME (I mean, I’d been to the museum before.  But never a wedding there!).  Katie and Adam really did a great job with their theme (“Meet me in St. Louis”), and the whole thing was a perfect mix of elegance and fun.

 

All the tables were named for famous Missourians:

 

I thought I grabbed a picture of the centerpieces, but I guess not.  Each table’s was different: an eclectic collection of flowers in vintage vases, sitting on stacks of antique books.  So cool!

 

It was also wonderful to catch up with Jeff’s family, some of whom we haven’t seen in years.  Simon was thoroughly enchanted by Jeff’s aunt’s beau, who sports a most Santa-like beard and was happy to indulge the little guy in a very competitive table-tapping contest during the salad course.

 

SOMEONE was displeased to be eating cheese stick instead of wedding cake:

 

The band was RIDICULOUSLY awesome. They played a lot of old favorites (“Twist and Shout”), and some unexpected stuff (Adele).  I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun dancing at a wedding! (Besides my own, of course :-P)

 

Simon even snagged a dance with the bride:

(I *think* one of Katie’s photographers got an awesome picture of him clapping along with her – I’ll post it later if I’m right :))

 

All that fun got to Simon eventually, though:

He barely even woke up for his change and jams.  If only I could wear him out so thoroughly every day!

 

There was a brunch the next day at a family friend’s house.  Simon’s chief occupation there consisted of scooting around on the shiny wood floors (often backwards, on his belly), and grinning at cousin Paul and Charity 🙂

 

We had to head back to Akron straight after the brunch, and the drive home did not go quite as smoothly as the drive out.  Simon was still keyed up from the weekend’s festivities, so he didn’t nap very steadily.  There was also driving rain AND road construction, just for funsies.  We were all glad to get out of the car when we pulled into the driveway at 10:00 that night!

 

We had so much fun at this wedding that I’m just sad we won’t be able to make it to *my* cousin’s wedding in Oklahoma next month.  I’d love to see Simon and Jett dance (err…toddler hop? :-P) together.  But we’ve seriously blown through our travel budget for 2013 with all the trips to Kansas City from LA.  Alas.

 

Time to go grab my laundry off the line and throw together an apple crisp for Jeff tonight.  Game 5 of the NLDS!  Go Cards!

Yay stuff!

This has been SUCH a busy week.  Yesterday I was moving CONSTANTLY from 7am until 10:30pm.  Work work work.

 

To pick up my saga where I left off (since I know you’d be disappointed if I didn’t :-P), on Tuesday I verified with our landlord that unfortunately a replacement washer is *not* included in our lease (boo), and then got to go washer shopping (whee?).  I found one at a well-reviewed used appliance place for less than $200, the same model of Kenmore that my parents have.  Our last set in St. Louis were Kenmores, too.  I love those.  You can’t kill ’em.

 

We ran a couple more errands on Tuesday, too, and I canned 4 quarts of the apples from last weekend’s adventure, into unsweetened applesauce.  And I have this little doohicky that makes things go RIDICULOUSLY FAST!

I actually got it on clearance at Target at the end of last season, and I think it’s the best $13 I ever spent.  I was able to core, peel and slice my whole pot full of apples in about 15 minutes.  That usually takes me HOURS.

 

Our local grocery store also had 20-quart stock pots on sale for $4.99 each this week, so I picked up one of those and did Wednesday’s batch of applesauce in it, instead of my big Le Creuset pot.  I was able to do 5 quarts of applesauce in one batch (cook the apples down in the stock pot, then heat the sauce in the Le Creuset).  So two days work = 9 quarts of applesauce.  And that’s less than half our haul!

 

Oh I do love canning.

 

I’ve also been making cinnamon rolls like there’s no tomorrow.  I did one batch for us, and then decided to get on the neighbors’ good side by making a batch for them.

In a marked departure from tradition, I sprinkled just the tiniest hint of nutmeg on with the cinnamon and sugars, and then put some maple flavoring in the icing.  It’s like eating fall.  OM NOM NOM AUTUMN.  (Here’s that recipe again, if you’re interested)

 

The new washer was delivered on Wednesday morning, and I spent all afternoon and evening chugging through the massive laundry pile that built up over the past two weeks.  I’m *still* not all caught up, but a lot of that is because I’m doing a wash-strip-rinse-rinse-rinse-wash-strip-rinse-rinse-rinse on all the diapers (two loads), to try and get out all the built up detergent and ammonia that crappy old washer was (unbeknownst to us) failing to remove.

 

Don’t tell anybody, but I actually think stripping (and just normal laundering!) diapers is kind of fun.  They’re so fluffy and soft and nice smelling!

 

Today, though, was the most exciting!  First we got to go to the HYUNDAI DEALERSHIP!  wheeeee!!!  And we got to eat breakfast there (cheese sticks, granola and banana!), and play with A BASKETBALL!  And Mama got her car fixed!  And it was under WARRANTY!

Yeah, it’s not exciting.  No matter how I spin it.

 

On a completely different (and legitimately exciting) note:  Ohio Mart!

 

I had been looking forward to this for SO LONG, until Jeff and I actually looked at our calendars and realized that it conflicted with his cousin’s wedding in St. Louis.  And given that Jeff has to go to that silly place called “work” every day to earn “money” so we can “eat” (Ugh.  PRIORITIES, MAN.), he wouldn’t be able to go with us on Thursday or Friday.

 

Which meant that we had to have a Weekend Adventure in the middle of the week, with only 67% of the usual adventuring team.  But we pressed on.

 

Ohio Mart!

 

I present to you the finest photo ever taken at the festival’s interest:

Blurry back of a stranger’s head? Check!

Photographer’s finger in corner? Check!

Lack of discernible subject?  Check-CHECK!

 

Simon was none too impressed, either.

Actually, that picture was taken about 15 minutes before this happened:

This was the perfect situation to have the stroller, BTW.  No Jeff to help bear the load, a bunch of random crap to haul, and a baby who suddenly finds the wraps to be more exciting than sleep-inducing.  So I wore him about half the time, and strolled him the rest.

 

I shouldn’t have been surprised about the demographics represented here, since we went on a Thursday morning and all.  It was mostly retirees, “ladies who lunch”, and a handful of other young moms.  All other things being equal, I think I prefer adventuring on weekends.

 

It was nice strolling on the beautiful grounds and window-shopping in the booths (a lot of the stuff wasn’t really my taste, but was pretty anyway).  And then there was…the rest.  Take the World’s Largest Assemblage of Fun Fur, for example.

That hurts my eyes.  And my heart.

 

I also saw this craft, which falls in the category of “cute idea, crappy execution”:

I could see myself putting together something sort of like that (only better… ;-)), maybe in blue/white, for late winter?  I’d use Lamb’s Pride Bulky or Lion Brand Thick ‘n Quick and do it a little more thicker and rustic looking.  I can see it in my mind.  It looks nice in there.*

 

But ANYWAY.  The gardens! And the hall!  I wish we could’ve gone inside (but I decided to save that for sometime when Jeff can come :)).

 

I think I’m going to doctor up this photo and make it my phone wallpaper.

Have I mentioned I love autumn?

 

I also love food (because duh).  I pretty much gorged myself all day.  With hot spiced cider!

 

And pumpkin roll!

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m seriously going to have to breastfeed forever so I can gluttonize guilt-free.  Or else take up ultramarathons and/or Zumba once the last Hoopling is weaned.  Probably ultramarathons.  Less silly looking.

 

I’ll wrap up with a picture from the end of our visit (not coincidentally, about 5 minutes before it started pouring rain):

(My mom showed that to someone at her work, who said “He’s so sweet I could get diabetes just looking at that picture!”  I concur, work lady.  My wonderful sugary babyface!)

 

TWO SEPARATE groups of old ladies stopped behind me and started cajoling Simon to smile for the camera as he posed in this little setup. 😀

 

(I also texted that picture to Mona, Miss “Orange County winters are so cold!”, and she started chastising me for not having Simon bundled up enough in the harsh midwestern air.  It was 75*!  Silly California friend.  I miss her :))

 

Yay for OhioMart!

 

Kathy, I only wish you could’ve come along 🙂  We’d have had a blast!

 

This has gotten long enough for tonight.  Tomorrow I’ll show you my most exciting find from the festival.

 

What’s your favorite autumn activity? (we’re on the lookout for more weekend adventures…)

 

~~~

*THAT WAS A TEST.  CAN YOU REMEMBER THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE, FRIENDS?!?!

Officially a tradition

This weekend was awesome, dudes.  Awesome.

 

Friday night we had a dinner with some of the people from Jeff’s work, at an Italian restaurant here in Akron.  When I was getting ready for the dinner, I hit some sort of breaking point re: my clothes.

 

Remember how Jen and I had that style blog a few years ago?  How much fun it was, and how even though I’m not, like, the most stylish person ever (HA), I enjoyed combining pieces to make fun outfits, and finding good deals, and looking put together?  Well, I’m sure I’m the first person in the history of the world to say that that all changed when I became a SAHM.  😛  Really, though, since before I got pregnant I just haven’t really bought any nice new clothes.  I got a few pieces here and there, but they’ve all been utilitarian button-downs or plain tee shirts.  And so for the past 2+ years, my wardrobe has become progressively more boring and threadbare.  Couple that with the postpartum weight loss and Magic Boobs, and everything I own is suddenly either too big, holey, stained, or out-of-date.  Or all four.  And I’m kind of tired of it.

 

So after whining to Simon and trying on sixty different things for a casual yet sort of professional dinner (I ended up in an old work shirt – an olive green button-down from Express, my faithful corduroy GAP skirt, and an Old Navy cardigan that should be relegated to the rag bag), I snapped.  I was done!

 

Jeff apparently loves me, so I got to spend a while browsing on LLBean.  They’re having a “spend $50, get a $10 gift card” sale, and I already had one gift card from ordering a new casual winter coat a couple weeks ago.  So I used that, shopped the sale section, and now have a couple new pieces coming my way.  I got *another* $10 gift card from that order, so in a week or two I’ll order some more (just to hit that $50 minimum to get yet another $10 card :-D).  Winning!

 

Then yesterday in the course of our running around (more on that in a bit), I found an outlet mall in Aurora that has a Banana Republic outlet.  Banana was always one of my favorites back when I was working, so I was psyched to hit their outlet.  But it wasn’t quite like I remember.  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I always had good luck finding natural fibers at Banana.  Silk and cotton and wool, not rayon and polyester.  Browsing yesterday, though, it seemed like just about everything was synethetic fibers.  Disappointing.  I did find a couple cute things, though, that fit within my self-imposed rules of “not slobby, not neutral, not boring”:

That short-sleeved shirt looks sort of sickly colored in the pic, but I promise it’s quite lovely 🙂  It also has a really great waist detail shaping.  I think it’ll look good with some of my handknit sweaters this fall :).

 

So, backtracking a bit:  we had the dinner on Friday night, which was fine, whatever.  Friday is *also* when we discovered that the washer (which came with the house but isn’t maintained by the property manager) is broken – and apparently has been since we got here.  The agitator doesn’t agitate (though the spin cycle still spins, and it fills and empties OK).  So I called a repairman who came out, looked at it, and said it’s un-fixable: the motor is completely seized; the repairs would cost more than the washer is worth.  Ugh.  So no we have to go buy one of those.  But that also solves the mystery of why none of our clothes really felt like they were coming clean, and Simon’s diapers were building up ammonia despite 3-4 rinses on each load.  And yes, our landlord is a damned dirty liar in yet another regard “Oh yeah, the washer in the house works!”.  Bullshit.

 

The Akron Marathon was Saturday morning, and Jeff had signed up to volunteer for it (two of his co-clerks were running the half marathon).  But since somebody waited until the last possible minute to fill out his volunteer form, the only position left was “recycling steward”, on a 5:30-8:00 am shift.  Oh, that did give me such joy!  That my beloved would spend the wee hours of Saturday morning sorting recycling.  Because I am not a nice person.

 

Simon and I rolled out of bed at our usual time and strolled over to the marathon route (the portion running down Market went through Highland Square proper, just a few blocks from our house) to cheer on the runners and our stalwart (recycling) steward.  This is the only picture of any runners that I got before my phone started being an asshole:

 

Simon didn’t think much of the whole thing at first…

but he quickly picked up on the fact that there were people clapping all around him, so by the time Jeff’s shift ended and he joined us, Simon was busy clapping every time he saw someone (runner or bystander) pass our spot.  So helpful!

 

The rest of Saturday was pretty much just spent around the house.  I got a fair amount done on my cross-stitching project and the stripey knee sock I’m knitting, and we went on a nice long family walk that evening, through the ritzy neighborhood adjacent to ours.

 

But then Sunday.  SUNDAY!  So much fun!  I got up early and did a bunch of random cleaning (the kind that’s impossible to accomplish with a toddler underfoot), then when my boys woke up we headed out on a super autumn adventure 🙂

 

First stop was the aforementioned outlet mall and lunch at some local grill up there – nothing too exciting.  After that, though!  APPLE PICCKKKINNNNGGGGG!!!!

 

We went to Monroe’s Orchard, just northeast of Akron.  It was SO AWESOME.  Much more authentic than the orchard-that-must-not-be-named 😉  (Yes I AM still on about that.).  More fun than the orchard in the desert of 2012.  Pretty much in line with my previously-established high expectations, circa 2011.

 

Look! I was positively giddy with excitement!

 

Jeff was his usual cool self, and Simon was underwhelmed:

 

I then enthusiastically dubbed myself the Apple Wench, and set about scampering among the branches and gathering a full bushel of Cortland apples:

 

Everything was just right!  YAYYYYY apple picking!

 

All miiiiiiiiiine!

 

I MAY decide to share with Jeff and Simon.  Maybe. 😛

There were perfect rows of apple trees!  And a wagon with hay bales to ride out to the orchard!  And hand-painted family signs!  Even the cute-but-surly teenage son that Eckert’s was lacking.  SHEER AND UTTER PERFECTION.

 

Then after we deposited our overflowing apple bags in the car, we headed over to the orchard’s pumpkin patch.  Because DUH.

 

We found a Simon-sized pumpkin, and a Jeff-and-Kate-sized pumpkin:

 

Then we rounded out the trip with a peck of Macintosh from the store (they didn’t have any for you-pick), and a candle and some local honey.  It was marvelous.  Monroe’s Orchard gets an A+ from us!

 

Here’s our front porch this morning:

Doesn’t that look nice?  I need to paint all the white with Killz before it gets too cold, and do something with those poor sad flowerbeds.

 

And now I must away!  The wee one is whining for boob + lunch, then once the washer repair guy leaves I have to run to the store for quart jars, and start canning! 🙂

 

Happy Monday, friends!