Monday, February 28, 2011

Gizmo & gremlins

Today was one of those days when I called my husband at 3:30pm and without preamble asked, "When you gonna be home?"

I had spent two hours lying down with Juniper trying to get her to nap, and after she bit my elbow, scratched my face and then laughed when I said, "NO!  That's NOT NICE." I got up.  And because of that, Osa thought it was her dinner time and started her own routine of pacing, begging, leaning, and pushing Juniper out of her way to get to me.  Oh, my mammals.

All of this wouldn't have been so aggravating if Juniper had slept more than a few hours last night.  Last night, we put Gizmo to bed and awoke just after midnight with a gremlin.  Like, a flopping around the bed, crawling over us, periodically crying but mostly jabbering (ball?  bird!  dad?  door!) ALL.  NIGHT.  LONG.  She crashed hard about an hour before the alarm went off.  

The general consensus from my man's co-workers was: teething.  But if June bug is under the influence of teething pains, she's what us adults would call a happy drunk.  Really, I can't complain too much about a happy drunk.

So I hung up with my husband, blasted some Bob Marley (a tonic for the nerves), swung and danced my little gremlin around and topped it off with a pan of brownies (for me--Juniper got a tangerine).

Side note on the brownies: I added a half cup of pureed beets.  It's true.  (Dad, if you're reading this, I know you're gagging.  It's okay.)  Since feeding a toddler I'm in this Every Bite Counts mentality and I figure if you're going to eat something, why not get a little value out of the calories?  Plus, I have a whole pantry full of canned beets and turnips from my 08 garden for which I am trying to find creative outlets.  (I know.  Who cans turnips?  Me, apparently.)  I have to admit, the batter smelled like ass--but the baked brownies turned out great!  They had a velvety richness, as though I'd added a fair dollop of port wine.  I'd give you the recipe here, but the actual brownie part was a little lacking in chocolatey gooeyness for my taste (I was also trying to use up some old cocoa powder).  So, take your favorite brownie recipe, add a half cup of pureed beets and tell me what you think.

::  And this was absolutely NOT what I intended to write about tonight.  Last week we were in Montana.  And here is a sneak preview of my next post:

Sam.  Welcome to the world little man!  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

in search of home

Tonight, a full moon dances silver light through rooftop icicles.  Juniper is asleep in her crib.  I am awake at the computer.  My man has been away all week and Osa is somewhere farting.  Thus begins our night.
Yes, we *still* have our tree up.  The thing won't die, and we rather enjoy the warm, wintry glow.      

We didn't get our *perfect* house.  They didn't even counter.  Now we are back at it: The Search.  As of now, we are torn between two houses.  One is big--enough space for a guest bedroom and then some--but in what we deem a dodgy area.  The other is small--guests might get a hide-a-bed in the living room--but in what we deem an awesome area.  I want the awesome, but fear the too-small.

Right now, we're in a really tight rental.  Yesterday, I was overcome with a desire to take a sledge-hammer to the walls: an urge I have experienced on more than one occasion this winter.  Is that normal?  I kept chucking poor Osa outside, telling her, We just don't have room in here for a pacing, farting old dog--you have to go outside and chew on an elk leg.  Sorry.  
Juniper doesn't mind the lack of space.  She just worms herself into little crevices and flirts with her own reflection.   

My husband thinks we can make the awesome-area small-house work and I have to remind myself that it has a dishwasher and a garage.  Two things we have never EVER had that can add a certain splash of easy living.
June bug has her two favorite things in the world in her hands: a ball and a bird.  Really, shouldn't we all be happy with just a ball and a bird?  

Even if we could afford the bigger house in the awesome area, there is a part of me that wants to fit snuggly, simply, into a small house.
On the return home from swim lessons or playgroup, J bug nearly always falls asleep in the car.  And since she is non-transferable, I often end up sitting in the car with her.  Needless to say, I've been knitting a bit.    

And then, when our real estate agent shows us the whoppers, there is the part of me that envisions a small library, a room of my own, a kitchen where all the cooking tools and food fit in the cabinets, an out-of-the-way nook to start onion seeds in February, and an endless stream of guests sleeping comfortably in their own room.    

But, we chose to procreate.  And embedded within that choice is a conscientious resolve to make the next generation better, brighter.  And I can't help but believe that a small house in an awesome area is more likely to take Juniper down the better, brighter path.  One where she can maybe, maybe learn to eschew the gross accumulation of disposable crap that so permeates our lives.  One where play is simple and families are tight.  

I know we are only searching for a house, but sometimes it feels like we're laying the cornerstone for the future.  Maybe we just need to relax, take a deep breath, and check out our bellybuttons.  


Monday, February 14, 2011

cabin fever

Has it really been that long since I last posted?  Well, last week we were sick--down with both a cold and cabin fever.  Between subzero temps and our own germs, we were on indoor lock-down for several days.  It sucked.  Juniper walked around the house, bouncing her hands off her thighs like, Laa dee daa, I've seen all this junk before.  Give me something NEW.  

:: We had to get inventive.

:: We rediscovered old toys.

:: Osa often took the brunt of the lock-down.

But one really mind-blowing thing happened.  Another quiet moment when your child does something brilliant, but acts like it's nothing more than chewing on the lid to the cloth wipes container: Juniper finally learned to use a toy she's had for almost a year.  Like, she can stack the wooden rings now.  She's been able to do it with the big, bubbly plastic ones at playgroup, but our wooden one has a smaller hole, tighter fit and requires some real skill.  She got it down between snot wipes then did it over and over and over and over again.  

:: We pulled out more wintry clothes from our last box of hand-me-downs--a pleasant surprise 'cause I thought we'd exhausted the winter supply.  

:: We sat on the potty and named animals.  

:: I pulled all the old, freezer-burned '08 garden harvest from the deep, put it in the blender, sauteed it with onion and garlic and made a soup, then proceeded to burn the whole concoction while tending to bugs.  I scooped out the remainder--now seasoned with more than a hint of a smokey, slow-roastedness--added some pasta stars and lo! if Juniper didn't love the stuff.  

:: Temps warmed up enough to snow again.

:: Bird (birr) is still one of Juniper's all-time favorite words (along with ball, dog, doll and no?)--partly due to the omnipresence of mountain chickadees outside our window.  

:: And around this time, up in Montana, a baby was born.  Samuel Fisher.  Juniper's first-ever younger cousin.  We get to meet him in a week.  I am so excited--a brand new soul!  When they were pregnant the first time, we were mostly scared for them and when Owen was born, we really didn't know what to do with a newborn.  But this time...this time is different.  This time, maybe we can make up for all our ignorance and not-knowing.  Maybe we can even be helpful.  

:: Once the temps got above zero, we headed outside again.
Horse, orse, is another favorite word.

:: Walking up the road behind our house to see the horses and elk is our latest pre-dinner entertainment.

:: Also, we found our *perfect* house, threw an offer on the table, got turned down, threw another offer on the table and are still waiting to hear.....

:: Everyday she tries new words.  Today, it was dirt (dirr), tractor (ack-er), hi (hi) and stinks (inks).  As in, we now actually have patches of dirt in our drive, there is a John Deere front-loader parked out back, and Osa has had some awful flatulence.

:: Other popular words: owl (oww), outside (ow-sigh), and pee-pee (bee-bee).

Juniper is infatuated with owls, which is funny because she's never actually seen one.  (Okay, there was one time earlier this winter when I saw an owl and tried to point it out to her, but she never saw it.)  She points them out in books, grins and says, Oww.  Sometimes she'll pick up a book and flip straight to the owl page.  Not to be all woo-woo or anything, but I like to think it's my step-dad's influence from above.  He's been gone for over five years now, but I'm pretty sure he often takes the form of owls and hawks.

Happy Valentine's Day!!