Tag Archives: akron

March…didn’t happen?

It’s amazing how just when you get in a nice little groove with your favorite toddler, they decide to go and screw everything up.  In Simon’s case, this means dropping his nap.

 

That’s right, I now have a 20-month-old who, most days, is awake continuously from 8:00am to 8:00pm.  A 20-month-old who will not be dissuaded from this schedule, who would rather scream for an hour as I cuddle him, rub his tummy and sing every song known to man than deign to close his eyes at midday and potentially miss something Exciting.  And, not coincidentally, he is now a 20-month-old who nods off in the backseat when we go to pick Jeff up from work, and who has decided to fuss and hit and bite his way through the past several evenings.  I WONDER WHY.

 

Which means that today I’ve bought 10 minutes of silence this way:

I ordered a breadbox from Amazon the other day and it arrived this afternoon in a huuuuuuuuuuuge box.  The better to repurpose, eh?  Whoosh whoosh whoosh!

 

…aaaaaaand he’s moved on.  Now we’re back to staring at me and tugging at my sleeve in hopes I’ll let him go wreak havoc on the pantry.

 

Good thing he’s cute.

 

We’ve been up to a LOT of good adventures these past few weeks.  Rather than yammer about them in some huge blog post, you may as well just check out my Flickr photostream.  It’s not like a tremendous amount of narration is required anyway 😉

 

Jeff and I had been hoping to catch a matinee on Saturday but our sitter cancelled on us at the last minute so a change in plans was required.  We ended up making the trek up to Cleveland and visiting the science center.  It was well worth the trip 🙂

 

(That’s Jeff’s new profile pic on FB, too :))

 

Simon learned all about the building blocks of DNA:

And I impressed Jeff by remembering each base pair.  9th grade science FTW?  Though to be fair, I’m not sure DNA had been discovered yet when he was in high school 😉

 

The science center’s little kid play area had a ball pit with all sorts of buckets and pulleys (and a few kids who were definitely not under 6), so we plopped Simon in the middle of it and stood back to see what he thought:

Clearly he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  He just grabbed a few balls and froze, while dozens of others whizzed around him in the melee of tiny humanity.

 

The ramp/tube contraption off in the corner was more his speed 😉

Jeff and I are pretty sure he’d still be there sending that tennis ball whizzing around, if we hadn’t dragged him away after, oh, 6 or 7 hours.

 

But he was OK, because after that we found a slide!

He climbed the stairs all by himself (with Daddy spotting) and slid down all on his own, over and over.

 

He was a little trepidatious at first but made a friend who helped him along.

 

We escaped the kid’s area eventually, though, and found the physics exhibit that was a little bit more interesting for all of us.  I LOVE how much hands-on stuff this science center had, and how even on a snowy Saturday afternoon it wasn’t too crowded.

 

Planetary atmosphere simulations are still a liiiiiiiiittle bit above his level, though. 😉

 

But drums aren’t!

 

And this giant wall of gears was pretty much the best thing ever.

 

Of course, on the way back to Akron we got caught in an end-of-March “fuck you” from the weather (actually it was a quite pretty – 3-4″ of snow that pretty much melted on Sunday) that made for a little bit of nervous driving, as the highway department hadn’t prepped the roads at all.

 

This week has been pretty busy, but also low-key.  Errands (I went to Home Depot yesterday morning and got the supplies for a couple kid projects, and some grass seed and stuff to try and make this place have a modicum of curb appeal for when the homeowners list it for sale this summer), laundry, the usual.  It was supposed to rain all day on Tuesday but turned out to be almost 70* and sunny, so I was able to hang out two loads of laundry on the line (first time since, what, November?) and Simes and I went on a long walk that culminated in approximately 45 hours of swinging at the park.  I made him push his own stroller, because I am cruel like that.

 

It’s pouring rain all day today so we probably won’t get to go out (maybe to stomp some puddles in our dragon boots if it lets up a bit), but I got this picture yesterday, which proves that spring really IS coming to northern Ohio 🙂

Hopefully this weekend the weather will cooperate and I can rake up the last of the leaves, maybe get that grass seed down, and get things ready for spring.  Until then, I’m going to go make some energy bars with my sous chef and maybe dig into that blueberry bread I baked yesterday for Jeff’s breakfasts.  And wait for Simes to drop face-first into a dead sleep in the middle of the playroom at 6:00 because THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE 20 MONTHS OLD AND DON’T NAP.  Ahem.

 

Wish me luck 😉

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I should be sewing

I talked to Aunt Judy yesterday and she told me that the quilt tops I’m sending her way are next on her list, which means I need to get my butt in gear and, you know, actually send them.  Which further means (check out my amazing reasoning skills) that I need to finish the one, rather than just gaze lovingly at the stack of fabric on my sewing shelf. But that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?  So instead I’ll just sit here and piddlefart around and eat grapes until Simon wakes up (at which point I’ll kick it into gear and start sewing.  Promise ;-))

 

I just cut myself a thick slice of that bread from Tuesday’s dough pic, but then completely neglected to take a photo before slathering it in Nutella and cramming it in my gaping maw. So, sorry.  But also yum.  Seriously, go check that out if you want a hearty-yet-soft bread recipe.

 

Speaking of food (since apparently that’s all I’m capable of at the moment), have you seen the Italian Wonderpot recipe going around Facebook lately?  It really seems too good to be true.  So in the name of Science!, last night I made it for dinner.  Here’s an awful picture just a few minutes before it was ready to serve (you let it simmer down until most of  the liquid is evaporated/thickened):

That’s a horribly unappetizing picture, I know, but the actual dinner was pretty good.  I used whole wheat spaghetti instead of fettuccini, and stirred in some garlic chicken sausage that I’d browned in my cast iron, just before serving.  Our family’s consensus was that it was all right, but grossly under-seasoned (this even after I upped all the seasonings).  Next time I think I’ll used Trader Joe’s diced and fire-roasted tomatoes instead of plain diced tomatoes, will add more salt, and maybe 16 oz of spinach instead of just 8 oz (the benefit of 8 oz, though, is that I could convincingly tell Jeff the green flecks were just herbs ;-)).  I also think it would be good with Trader Joe’s basil linguine.  But all in all it was a good, easy weeknight dinner (with enough leftovers to keep us in lunches for a week!).  Add a side of roasted asparagus and a good salad and you’re set.

 

Yesterday during the day we made our pilgrimage up to Cleveland for Trader Joe’s, and my total was about 1/3 less than usual (even though I bought the ingredients for 10-12 meals, just like always).  Part of that is because they didn’t have a few things on my list, but mostly I think it’s because I’m a lot less inclined to dawdle and loiter and browse when I have a tiny tornado pushing the shopping cart than when he’s snugly wrapped on my back.  He was OMG SUPER NOT INTERESTED in making the trek home, though, and I didn’t feel like facing a 35-minute car ride of screaming, so we hit up Panera for soup and a bagel (and then a diaper and some boobies) before heading back down to Akron.  He slept in the car but only fitfully: overall, definitely not his most satisfying morning.  I think it may make more sense to do subsequent adventures in the late afternoon (bonus: then Jeff can haul in the groceries when he gets home from work.)

 

Today was the penultimate storytime of the late-winter session, and it was a little bit smaller group than usual.  Possibly not coincidentally, Simon warmed up a lot more quickly than he has in weeks past.  Today he was actually brave enough to dance with the librarian for a moment, and grab his own shaker out of the music basket.  Progress!  He even pitched a fit when it was time to leave, which was embarrassing but also sort of reassuring.  The librarian is going to be out on maternity leave starting in May, and with Garfunkel coming in July the spring session may be our last.  I’ll miss it!

 

After a quick stop at Chipotle for a mama-baby date, we went to a new kids’ consignment shop that just opened a few weeks ago (the owner is a young mom who’s been advertising it on the Facebook baby/kids resale group I follow).  She had a pretty large amount of stock, but nothing much that I felt we needed, and most everything was WalMart/Target brands anyway. I got him one little Gymboree shirt for this summer, but think I’ll have to head back down to Once Upon a Child (down in Canton) for a few other things he needs.

 

Well this one isn’t going to win any “fascinating blog post” awards, is it?  Have a sleepy Simon by way of apology:

 

And now, of course, he’s awake and I’ve got to get my butt off the couch.  Until next time!

It never. stops. snowing.

I tweeted this the other day, but I seriously feel like I am the only person in the northern half of the US who isn’t sick to death of snow by now.  We got another 4″  or so overnight, and with today’s shoveling the drifts are officially higher than our car.  I’d take a picture but I haven’t been outside yet (Jeff missed the bus and drove himself to work).  I think Simes and I are going to take Roxie on a walk later, though, because despite the snow it’s actually not super cold.

Let’s see…it’s been over a week since I posted.  What’s been going on?

I finished an AWESOME project and am dying to show it off but I have to keep it under wraps for a while yet (the recipient checks in here every now and again).  I’m also trucking along on Jeff’s mansocks (yawwwwnnnnnn) and when I finish those I’m going to reward myself by FINALLY casting on for Catkin.  I’ll only be, like, the last person on earth to knit it.  I have some yummy Dyeabolical Tenacious Tencel fingering weight set aside for it.  It’ll be the first thing I’ve knit for myself since, well, those stripey knee socks (which are now hibernating) that I cast on right before we moved to Ohio.  SOMEONE (a pointed look in Simon’s direction) has severely curtailed my knitting time, what with his need for “food” and “diapers” and “stories” and “playing” and “interaction”.  Jeez.

We managed to get our act together and hit storytime on Thursday.  These storytimes are SO much better than the one we went to in LA.  More chaotic, but more fun.  Also, there are at least 4 other pregnant moms in the toddler group (plus the teacher/librarian, too).  I’d try to make friends if I weren’t so damn shy.  And of course the kids are still a little too young to really play with each other, so there’s not even really the whole “hey your kid and my kid like to play together! Want to come to our house for a playdate?” opening.  Ah well.  Moving in 6 months anyway; I’ll just try harder to make more friends in our next city.

Simon was LOVING the tunnels during the free play time:

After storytime was over we weren’t quite ready to go home but didn’t have any errands to do, so I called Jeff and asked if we could take him to lunch (one of the benefits of living 5 minutes down the road from his work!).  We also seized the opportunity to get official “helping Daddy at work” pictures for this office:

Simon is terribly helpful, you see.

Because Jeff and I are boring and old, we didn’t make any plans for Valentine’s Day.  But then it turned out that Sarah was free, and there was a showing of the Lego Movie that ended before Simon’s bedtime, and when the stars align so perfectly you can’t just not take advantage of it.  So we ditched the baby and went on a romantic date to see a kid’s movie (lol).  AND IT WAS AWESOME.  It’s one of those movies that really truly isn’t just a kid’s movie or a grownup movie.  I really can’t remember the last time I liked a movie so well.  Can’t wait to get it on Blu-Ray and share it with Simes when he’s a bit older 🙂

On Saturday we decided to head up to Cleveland and visit the children’s museum, since our last couple of family adventures have been more grownup oriented (the Akron art museum doesn’t really hold a lot of entertainment value for the under-2 set ;-)).  It was a little bit expensive for the three of us to get in ($8/person, even though there wasn’t really anything even remotely interesting for grownups), but Simon LOVED the whole thing so I guess he got $24 worth of fun out of it for all of us.  (Seriously though – since kids get reduced/free admission to a lot of grownup events, doesn’t it seem like grownups should get it for kid events?  It’s not like Jeff and I were personally enriched by the fake grocery store or fire truck setups).

Here is where I spam you, big time.  Sorry (not sorry).

We spent the first half hour or so in a play area that was done up like a farm, for the really young crowd:

Simon spent most of his efforts repeatedly mowing the carpet, but he also took a turn on the tumbling/crawling mats and played with the silo/crops activity.  At one point when we’d just been there for a few minutes, Jeff and I were watching him play and Jeff said to me:  “See how he’s over playing all alone?  I wish he’d play with the other kids.”  I told Jeff, “What do you think we’re doing?”  We looked around and sure enough, across the room was a cluster of other parents all socializing, while we were off in the opposite corner with our arms crossed.

 

At least we know where he gets it 😛

Also, one of the moms in the room was wearing a “flags of the confederacy” t-shirt with camo pants and combat boots.  I’m not sure they would’ve been our type, anyway.

More than the farm area, though, Simes loved the suspension bridge that was in the “city” (bank/grocery store/doctor’s office area):

After a few hesitant steps, he was trotting back and forth across it like a pro.

But the best thing of ALL was the water activity.  This thing was so cool, even as a grownup.  (Maybe I did get my $8 worth after all)

They had rain jackets in every size and step stools for the little ones, and Simon immediately cozied up to the table and set to work.

For a while, his primary occupation consisted of holding his arm over a spout and sending water jetting up his sleeve (so much for the cute little rain jacket).

Explaining his master plan to Daddy:

They had a bunch of bath and pool toys, magnetic fishing poles and random floaties:

 

Further upstream (we were at the downstream end) there were more complicated things set into the table – mechanical water wheels, locks, etc. – but those were arranged at a higher level (apparently for older kids and, you know, gravity) so we didn’t mess with them too much.  Not gonna lie, I sort of wanted to go play, but Jeff wouldn’t let me shove 6-year-olds out of the way.

Once the little dude was thoroughly waterlogged and getting cranky, we headed home (after a full wardrobe change in the car, of course).  He conked out before we even made it onto the highway.  Success!

Sunday was quiet – Jeff judged a mock trial thing and we ran out for haircuts and FroYo – and that was our weekend!  Just right 🙂

We’ve officially reached the stage where I adore sleepy Simon pictures more than ever, as they belie the sheer chaos that encircles his every waking moment.  I look at pictures like this and he’s just so quiet and peaceful and I love it.  But then he wakes up and we go spin in circles and play fetch with the dog and build  massive block towers just to kick them down, and that’s even more fun.

Isn’t he just utterly kissable?

This afternoon we’re making 12-grain sandwich bread:

I use this recipe and Bob’s Red Mill 12-grain cereal, which makes the whole thing so easy that most of the time it’s honestly more convenient than going to the store.  And it tastes like a gazillion times better too, because DUH.  (Also I add 2T each of vital wheat gluten and soy lecithin, because I can.  It also helps the dough have a little more resilience, while still being soft and tender.  Come to think of it, I could use some vital wheat gluten and soy lecithin for myself. :-P)

And now I need to go tend to my dough and build some of those aforementioned block towers.  Hi-YA!

Now it’s official

We told our families last week and posted it on Facebook on Sunday, but it’s not official until The Blog knows:

Simon is going to be a big brother! 🙂

We’re about 16 weeks pregnant (found out on Nov. 21), which means we’re looking at a late July-ish arrival date.  So far this pregnancy is super easy like my last one, complicated only by the fact that it’s about ten times more exhausting to chase around a toddler than to sit at a desk all day.  We found a great midwife who really jives with our philosophy (which is lucky; there aren’t many home birth midwives in Ohio, much less ones who actually bring medical supplies to births and have a friendly working relationship with docs at the local hospital in the event of transfer).  Simon still doesn’t really get what’s going on, but that’s to be expected since he’s so young.  We’re reading lots of books on the topic and I’m going to get him a baby doll at Target, but I doubt he’ll really get it until Hoopling #2 (temporarily called Garfunkel, naturally) actually shows up.

So yay babies!

Our weekend was pretty good.  Friday after Simon’s ped checkup we had lunch with Jeff, then Simes and I went to Canton and got him some clothes for spring at Once Upon a Child, and a few maternity pieces for myself (most of my things from last time aren’t nursing-friendly). We went up to Cleveland on Saturday because Jeff needed some work clothes and I was out of my LUSH face wash stuff.  Definitely not our most exciting adventure, but Simes got some quality Tula Time with his Daddy and I got a change of scenery from Akron for a bit, so it’s all good.  I ran a few errands by myself on Sunday, which was LUXURY.  I missed having someone to talk to as I pushed my cart around Target, but it was nice to browse in peace and not spend my time supervising the wee one as he pushes the shopping cart or tries to wander away.  I treated myself to popcorn and a Diet Coke to make it a real escape 😀  We turned on the football game Sunday night, but we’re not really a football house so it was more about the commercials and halftime show than the stupid game.

I know it’s not quite the same, but I feel compelled to insert this here:

And I suppose that I am Moss in that scenario.  Goody.

Mr. Cuteness was in rare form yesterday morning:

He was rolling grapes all over the high chair.  Apparently it has juuuust a hint of a slant to it, so he was “racing” them, shooting them like pool balls, the whole nine yards.  I made a video but, in true toddler fashion, he stopped as soon as the camera came out:

After breakfast we actually went BACK up to Cleveland to hunt down a couple fabrics that my local JoAnn doesn’t carry, then stopped by a quilt shop in Hudson that I’d heard good things about.  I got a few half-yard lengths for my stash.  Maybe to go into Garfunkel’s quilt; maybe not.

I’d love to tell you all about what I’m working on right now, but it must remain secret for a while yet.  But it’s going to be awesome!  HINT:

And no, I promise you on my great-great-great grandmother’s grave that it has nothing to do with Garfunkel.  For serious.  (Just like last time, we’re not finding out if it’s a boy or girl)

Since driving all over northeast Ohio seems to be my hobby as of late, today we went down to Canton for some lunch and shopping with Kathy.  We went to this place called The Flower Factory, which is a closeout store sort of like a Michael’s-meets-HomeGoods.  I can’t show you any pictures of my finds yet because they’re in the car and I’m lazy (HONESTY), but I got a couple delicious candles, some seasonal decorations for next fall and winter, and a few random craft supplies.  All told, we spent about two hours wandering around just looking at everything.  That place is like a dream!  I can’t wait to go back 🙂

Here’s one pic that I grabbed in the store:

Just aisle after aisle of heavily discounted seasonal stuff, decor, craft supplies, party items, and (I wish I’d gotten a picture of this) disposable “spa thongs”.  Needless to say, I stocked up.  I hate having to re-use my spa thongs.

We enjoyed a long lunch and catch-up session at Max and Erma’s, and Simon got some quality attention that he is sooooooo desperately lacking (or so he says).  We’re so lucky to have a friend in Kathy! ❤

My little dragon also got the awesomest present ever:  his very own castle!

Kathy, he has had SO much fun playing with it, ever since he woke up from his nap!   Thank you SO SO SO MUCH.

Apparently the king needed a kiss:

In our version, the DRAGON is the master and sits on the throne:

OK well somebody is staring at me and shaking an empty snack dish my direction, so I believe I’m being summoned.  Have a great evening, everyone!

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!

 

 

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?!?!