Tag Archives: Family

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 😉


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!

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!

I could be stitching

But I’m taking the time instead to tell y’all all about the past few days in the Hoops household.  YOU’RE WELCOME. 😛


The funnest (shaddup) thing was on Friday night:  I’d seen signs stuck on various lawns and curbs advertising a Greek festival, and there is literally nothing in the world I love more than eating baklava and watching children dance in ethnic garb, so that evening we loaded up and swung by the courthouse and retrieved Jeff.  I plied him with gyros and spanikopita, yes I did.


We used to go to one in Kansas City every year when I was little, and I always loved it.  Jeff had never been before, so I was excited to share the experience with him too 🙂


This one was PACKED.  Definitely not a secret among Akronites.


We waited in line to sit out in the tent, and Jeff got his gyro and I got my spanikopita (NOM) and we split an order of calimari (meh).


And then there was dancing!  Wee little kiddies dancing in traditional clothing!  My favorite!

See the tiny girl at the end of the chain?  She was so cute I could hardly stand it.


But then something miraculous happened:

That unassuming triangular pastry, my friends, is the most delicious baklava to have ever existed.  EVER.  Something about it…the honey?  The nuts that were finely ground but not paste-like?  The tiny hint of clove?  PERFECTION.  And I should know, I’ve eaten my fair share of baklava.


It has set me on a mission:  I must replicate this baklava!


BTW, here’s how you know that Jeff has become of secondary import in my life:

Sorry, Love. But the baby was being cute! 😛


After the dancing and baklava eating and such, we browsed inside at the silent auction and tag sale, and then I found a little cardboard art print of a girl babywearing ($1!) so that came home with me.


It was an awesome time.  OPA!


On Saturday we just ran some errands.  It was rainy so Simon and I wandered around the mall for a bit while Jeff got his hair cut (I found Simon the cutest little footy pajamas on clearance at The Children’s Place – they have castles and baby dragons!).  Nothing too exciting.  Then on Sunday Jeff and I went on (duh duh DUNNNNNNNNNNN!)…


A date!!!


All by ourselves! Like two grownups!  For the first time since about MAY 2012.  That, in case you’re curious, is about 16 dateless months.  Think on that.


Lucy and her daughter Sarah came over to watch Simes and Roxie (mostly Roxie), and we went to see The World’s End – the new Simon Pegg movie, the final part of the Cornetto trilogy.  The movie was OK (not as good as Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead), but it was SO NICE to have a grownup conversation with Jeff, eat popcorn and Red Vines, and just not be “Mama” for a couple hours.


When we got home, Simon told us in great detail about all the fun he had with his babysitters:  they gave him cheese!  And played with blocks and the pushwalker and wagon!  He definitely had a good time, and I think Jeff and I will be able to leave him and go on another date before a further 16 months have passed 😉


This week so far has been pretty uneventful:  now that we’re mostly unpacked (everything but the office) we’ve really been ale to settle into a routine.  I need to take pretty pictures of the house to share with you, but I’m sort of procrastinating because I’d like to paint the front porch and buy some furniture for the office first.  And I desperately NEED to get the big ol’ baby gate partition thing installed around the staircase and TV.  Simon has gotten too dang fast at scrambling up and down those stairs.


Yesterday afternoon I decided that we needed some sort of cute seasonal decoration for the front door, so Simon and I headed out to Michaels and JoAnn.  I got a couple autumn leaf garlands and some cinnamon pinecones for the mantle.  Nothing called to me for the front door, though:  it was all either insipid, tacky, expensive, or some combination thereof.  Then while I was browsing the pre-made wreaths in JoAnn (and giving Simon a detailed explanation of why each one was lacking in some vital way) I saw this picture on a display:


Cute, right?  Simple and classy and not all froofy.  No droopy-eyed scarecrows or inexplicably glittery apples.


I wasn’t madly in love with the color scheme though, or the way the raffia was obviously wrapped around an angled foam wreath form – it reads a little “beach wedding in 2006” to me.  So I got a round straw form and some raffia in more autumnal colors, and a a super helpful associate told me how to replicate it.


Suffice it to say that my little project didn’t go as smoothly as I’d planned (do they ever?).  Dinner plans went out the window as I wrestled the glue gun, and Simon spent a good chunk of the late afternoon in his high chair munching on cinnamon apple sticks and watching me curse under my breath.


THREE FUCKING HOURS LATER, covered in innumerable hot glue burns and ankle deep in raffia scraps, I had this:

And there it is, on our front door.  I sort of love it.  I’m glad it turned out well, but I need to remember that this kind of “product” crafting is no fun for anybody, and I should have just bought a damn wreath.  But hey, it was only $20 (including glue sticks), so not a bad way to kill an evening.  If anybody’s madly in love with it I can share some tricks for making your own, but I’ll spare the tutorial if no one cares 😉


Do me a favor?  Next time you even SUSPECT that I might be contemplating a fun fall craft, just shoot me OK?  My family will thank you.


I love ending posts with Simon pics, so here you go.  Playing with his kitty:

(box-filled office in the background, of course).


Macbeth is SO happy in this new house! He has resumed all former scampering activities, including “crazy cat hour” (something he hasn’t done since Othello died).  He’s even started playing with his toys and hopping around like a madcat on the furniture.  His appetite has picked up, too.  I didn’t realize how unhappy he was in that tiny LA apartment, until we noticed the marked difference here :(.


Last one!

It’s kind of ridiculous how much I love him.  That dimple!

Yankee Peddler! And also I think there may be a house under these boxes

First things first:  they came and installed a new dishwasher yesterday, and fixed the gas line leak.  The maintenance dude went ahead and reconnected our gas, so now we can enjoy life’s luxuries (cooking, bathing…).  At least until I get the gas company to do their re-inspection, at which point I’m sure they’ll find something else that’ll be imminently killing us. :-\




On Sunday we were going kind of stir crazy in the still quite boxy house, so we decided to escape on our first-ever Akron adventure, and visit the Yankee Peddler festival.  I had heard-tell that it was one part craft fair, one part RenFest-set-in-the-19th-century.  We were intrigued.


PSLs in hand, we ventured southward.  The trees in northern Ohio are juuuust starting to turn, swaying ragweed lines the highways, and the weather on Saturday was absolutely perfect:  cloudy and cool with just a bit of nip in the air.  LOVE.


Our arrival!


Soooo…it definitely wasn’t like RenFest (give or take 300 years).  We didn’t see any costumed attendees (just some of the workers), and the stage shows were cute but not quite up to caliber.  But there were lots of neat crafts to see (pottery!), and funnel cakes:


So I was happy!  We also got to see a magic show and some clog dancers.  And also a lot of white people.  White people as far as the eye can see!  (Ohio is not, I understand, known for its diversity)


I was also the only babywearer there.

Which is fine.  As I told Jeff, I’m comfortable being the odd woman out in a crowd.  It’s kind of my thing. 😛  Plus at least this is something vaguely positive for people to point and whisper about, rather than my acne or debilitating clumsiness.


(That’s also a really bad wrap job, but Simon was cranky and pulling my hair and was about to get his little butt yanked out of there and tossed over Daddy’s shoulder for the trip back to the car.)


So yes. Yankee Peddler: fun!  Good job, Ohio.




Yesterday Jeff discovered his front bike tube really won’t hold air, so he took the car to work and left us stranded at home.  It was just what I needed: some SERIOUS unpacking happened: Simon’s room, the playroom and dining room are done, there are just a couple boxes left in the bedroom, half a box in the bathroom (the bathroom closet/cabinet isn’t really big enough for all our towels and toiletries, so I need to pick up a shelf at IKEA), and a bunch of miscellaneous things in the living room.  Hard to unpack the office/craft room without any desks or shelves to put our stuff on (casualties of the past two moves), so those will have to wait for Ikea, too (Pittsburgh!).  And then we’ll be done!


Simon’s asleep now, having just returned from a trip to Target (bless his little heart, I always have to send him with a list or else he just comes back with more blocks and greek yogurt), I had an early lunch of leftovers, and now I think I’ll see about finishing up some of these random boxes so I can stop effing looking at them!  Good riddance to boxes! 🙂

I’d almost forgotten what snow looked like…

Subtitle: The Monson/Hoops Family Secular Holiday Extravaganza (TMHFSHE for short.  Pronounced “tem-fishy”)


As far as I’m concerned, Christmas doesn’t exist in sunny Southern California.  I mean sure, we went to see Santa one Saturday at The Americana at Brand:

And yes, there were even ::shudder:: palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights.  But since Simon and I ran away to Missouri on 12/21, and Jeff followed after work on 12/24, well, I’m happy to take the “we didn’t see it so it doesn’t exist” stance. Our goal for the tem-fishy was simple:  see as much family as possible.  Best give Simon an early introduction to what he’s up against (poor little dude). First of all, I’ve gotta say that he was *awesome* on our two red-eye flights.  He snuggled into the wrap and slept on me the whole way from LAX to DFW, then was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (shit. I’ve gotta make the appointment to get that removed.) from DFW to KCI.  I mean, look how happy he was to get his diaper changed at gate D23! That was at 4am.  Seriously. Other highlights of the first trip included a surprisingly chipper TSA agent at LAX who made the whole security theater a tolerably fun experience (really!), and a spectacularly horrible egg bagel from Au Bon Pain in Dallas.  Whee! When we landed and collected our bag and met with Mom and Dad (who were kind enough to come pick us up even though there was thick ice on all the highways.  And there I was all ready to hitchhike to Gladstone…), Mom fairly sprinted to grab Simon from me.  I’ve never seen her move that fast, even that time when Ryan tried to run into traffic in the Wal-Mart parking lot when I was like 6.  I guess I underestimated the power of The Grandbaby. Simon was happy to get some boob and conk out when we got to their house, enjoying his new favorite napping spot: (little did he remember it was also one of his old favorite napping spots) After I had the chance to eat lunch and unwind a little bit, we loaded up the wee little jetlagged boy and headed to Grandma’s nursing home to say hi.  (It’s so nice that she’s just a couple miles from my parents and my aunt now.) She hadn’t seen Simon since August either, and seemed impressed with how he’s grown 🙂 He thought she was pretty cool, too 🙂 (Simon is Grandma’s 9th great-grandchild, if I’m counting correctly.) The next day Mom and I ran a couple errands and Simon spent plenty of time cuddling with her and Dad.  Jeff got to stay in LA and work (talk about getting the short end of the stick) That night, Dad read him some stories… …while Mom launched an impromptu pillow fight: (She made me promise not to post that picture. Oops.) Also? Notice how my child isn’t wearing socks in any of these pictures? That’s because Little Mr. Bigfoot decided that it would be a good time to have a MASSIVE foot growth spurt.  So until we went to Kohl’s and bought *12-24 month socks*, his old ones wouldn’t stay on his stinkin’ feet.  12-24 months.  Seriously.  I have no idea where he gets it. Proof: Also, evidence of how delicious Grammy’s arm apparently is.

We spent the evening of the 23rd working on a SUPER SEEKRIT sewing project.    That’s when I learned that a “super easy 1-hour pattern” is LIES LIES LIES.  So then Mom got to spend the afternoon of the 24th working on it, too.  I also learned that I’d bit off a bit more than I could chew, so I’m glad that I had an expert sewist to do all the tricky bits.

On Christmas eve we went to visit my other set of grandparents at their retirement home.  Granddad’s made nearly a full recovery from his illness this summer, and Grandmother’s having the time of her life making friends with everybody in her “neighborhood” (aka wing of the building :-D).  Aunt Linda and Uncle Jeremy came up from Sedalia to meet Simon, and then we all had lunch with Grandmother in the dining room so she could show the little dude off to all her friends.  I think she dragged us to just about every table in the place! 😀  It was pretty awesome – I just wish Jeff could’ve been there!

(The last time they met, in August)

Simon played on the floor of Grandmother’s apartment, and even busted out a laugh or two.  I’m proud of my little performer!

(“What’ve you been up to, Great-Granddad?”  “Getting well.  What about you?”  “Growin’.”)

He also gave his Great-Granddad a real, proper kiss on the cheek!  No one seemed to mind that it was a bit slobbery 😀

Simon’s obsessed with cups and glasses and watching people drink.  But he also loved cuddling with his Great-Aunt Linda 🙂

After lunch we headed home, then went to pick up Jeff at the airport.  This was our Christmas Eve evening:

No one read “The Night Before Christmas”, but we did put some cozy new jams (curtesy of Aunt Julie) on the Littlest Christmas Elf, and told him that after making a good sleep, Santa would come.

He was rather incredulous.  Good little skeptic! 🙂

Santa butt!

Proof that I was there too:

Simon decided to sleep in on his very first Christmas morning.  Merry Christmas to us! 😀  But when he woke up, there were presents!  Like a wooden teether from Grammy Granddad:

And books!

Santa even brought me something:

Simon’s gift to Grammy and Granddad:

Mom and Dad were much more excited to receive Simon’s clay handprint than mine and Jeff’s.  I suppose they don’t care how little our hands are.  Psh.

Jeff’s Christmas Socks this year are Malabrigo, in “Onyx”.  Plain stockinette.  BECAUSE THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM.

Mansocks.  ::snore::

I gave Mom some handspun:

Just proving that you’re never too old to give your mom crappy homemade presents. 😀  (Said handspun is currently being knitted up into a snuggly little shawlette that I wish I could keep for myself.  Alas.)

Oh, and remember that super secret sewing project? It was these:

Man-sized Star Wars pyjama pants, to match Simon’s!  Either Jeff really likes him, or he’s good at faking elation.  Either way, awwwwwww.


I didn’t take any pictures of Christmas dinner, but Dad cooked a feast for the five of us.  And it was delicious.  NOM.


We spent the last few days in Kansas City seeing more relatives (and some of the same ones for a second time):

Olivia is his closest cousin in age, on my mom’s side (on my dad’s side there’s little Jett, who turns 3 this month).

We all had so much fun hanging out at Aunt Judy’s, eating leftover Christmas cookies and receiving (apparently) much-needed advice.  (Love ya, guys! :-P)

(My mom captioned that one “a meeting of the Kansas City chapter of the Simon Hoops fan club”)


The next day, Mom and Dad took us to a Brazilian restaurant where waitstaff walk around with giant spears of meat:

Needless to say, this experience was more fun for Jeff than for me, but I did get a good sangria and a nice salad bar 😀


Storytime with Daddy and Granddad:

(I think Jeff was learning as much as Simon!  “Ohh…chicks are YELLOW!”.)


Jeff flew home on 12/30, and I followed the next day with Little Dude (who, against my mom’s protests, I did insist upon bringing along).  This was his fifth flight!


As soon as we got to LA, it was back to our old routine:


Then a couple weeks later we were on the move again…but that’ll be another post! 🙂


PS>It has taken me two freaking weeks to write this post.  Simon has discovered the fun of banging on keyboards, rending nursing time useless for blogging.  I hope you appreciate it 😀