Friday, April 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 4) - Royal Wedding, and Other Things

1. I didn't watch the royal wedding. I doubt we even get a channel that televised it anyways. Plus, it takes something really special to get me out of bed so early in the morning! But I've enjoyed looking at pictures online. I'm happy to see the news actually focusing on something HAPPY - a wedding, a celebration of life and love - for once.

2. I always sorta wanted an autumn wedding, so I could wear a dress with lace-y sleeves. But I suppose Kate (or Catherine, as she's now called) pulled it off in April, so maybe I could have too.

3. My April wedding dress.

4. Did everyone read the Bishop of London's sermon from the wedding? Good stuff there!

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future....

A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life....

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom.

5. I am guessing from all the talk of it on Facebook that it is the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena today. I don't mean to sound like a Total Traditionalist Catholic Snob, but we have the old Liturgical Calender in our kitchen, and it says her feast is tomorrow. As far as I know, it's appropriate to observe either the old or the new feast dates...

Anyways, she is my patron saint, chosen at Confirmation. I feel as though we should commemorate her in some small way....Any ideas?

6. Speaking of recognizing the Feast days of Patron Saints, that is something I'd like to institute in our family - especially once Sly is older, and hopefully joined by some siblings. I think the feasts of the Name-Saint of each child should be recognized in some small way, at least. Even if it's just reading their story from Butler's Lives of the Saints over dinner, and allowing that particular child to choose a special dessert for the day.

7. I've only seen the first two episodes (out of seven), but I've started watching the PBS miniseries Downton Abbey. So far, I'm loving it. It looks at the lives of wealthy aristocrats and their servants living in a big house, and trying to deal with the crises of the inheritance. Very similar to the situation in Pride and Prejudice, the parents have only daughters, and a distant relative is set to inherit the entire estate after the death of the father.

The whole series can be watched streaming on Netflix, if you have a subscription. I hate watching movies on my computer screen, though, so I'll be having them mailed to me in the usual way.

Check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

It's been awhile since I've written. Holy week and Easter are such busy times, and the past few days have provided me with many little chores and tasks needing to be taken care of. Also, I felt like I had an overwhelming amount of things that I could write an entry about, so I took the noncommittal route, and chose to write nothing!

In an attempt to keep things short and sweet, I'll just post a few pictures from the past week, and speak about them as the inspiration strikes...

I hung up some of the lovely roses Tom gave me. This picture was taken over the weekend, so by now, they're mostly dried. We keep small vases of dried roses on our home altar, and I also have a large vase of them decorating our mantle. I'm not sure yet what the fate of these ones will be...we'll have to see how they turn out, color-wise. But I admit, I kind of like the rustic charm they add to the kitchen just when they're hanging there from the ceiling. I mentioned to Tom that it might be nice someday to decorate with bunches of dried flowers in this way, and he surprisingly agreed completely.

We spent Holy Saturday fixing up our garden and getting stuff planted. I finally got to get those tomato seedlings out of the kitchen! (The front planter has my lavender seeds, which seem to have just been complete duds, all of them).

The quality of this picture is pretty poor (it was taken from Sly's bedroom window), but this is a view of our backyard. The two garden patches in the back now have: tomatoes, carrots, Romaine lettuce, and sugar snap peas. We also planted morning glories along the side fence this summer, so they won't completely engulf all the crops again.

Sly really enjoyed picking the dandelions in the grass (which needs to be cut badly! I should call the landlord about that...)

I snatched it out of his mouth right away (well, after getting this picture of course :-P)

Saturday evening, we dyed our eggs. I also dipped twelve blown eggs into the dyes, to be decorated with wax at a later time. Notice how I have Sly AND Lance in my lap at once. They fight for my attention all the time.

I made a "Sly" egg with the handy clear crayon that comes in the dye set, and Tom suggested I make one for each of us as well. But it seemed inappropriate to write "Christine" and "Tom" on them. I relation to Sly, we are "Mom(my)" and "Dad(dy)." So that's what I wrote. And it did feel strange. I think that's the first time I've ever referred to myself that way in print before.

Our eggs looked much nicer the night we dyed them. This picture was from Sunday morning, after the fridge had already covered them with condensation and made the dye drip.

We went to the Easter Vigil Mass at 10:00. For weeks, I had been insisting that would be a bad idea. Tom really loves the Vigil, and I knew he wanted to go, but I didn't think Sly would feel the same. I kept trying to paint pictures of the awful scenes we could expect to endure, having a cranky baby out well past his bedtime. Somehow, though, in the end, Tom convinced me it would be okay. He assured me that Sly would just sleep through the whole thing.

Hah! I should've listened to my gut! He screamed through the entire first half, and I had to sit with him out in the narthex, missing everything. Well, technically, I could still hear the priest. But it was all in Latin, and we only own one missal that has the updated Easter Vigil Mass in it. So I really couldn't follow what was happening. But Sly finally did sleep, and we were even able to go out for food afterward with friends (I got a milkshake)!

On the way home, we were discussing what Easter traditions we may like to have once Sly gets a little older. In Tom's family, the kids had to find their Easter baskets as well as all their eggs on Easter morning. At my house, we came down to find the baskets on the coffee table, and the eggs in the fridge - just where we'd left them!

That night, Tom was very insistent that I should just go to bed, and he would stay down to clean up and get Sly's Easter basket ready. I should have known...

...that he was actually hiding all my wax eggs around the house for me to find in the morning! I spotted this one first, hidden in the coupon holder thingy.

Sly wore an adorable too-big Easter suit. This only lasted about half an hour, until we decided to change him into something we didn't mind getting dirty.

As soon as I saw he was getting green dye on his mouth, I took the egg away.

We read that babies can eat egg yolks, but not the whites, since they have a lot of allergens in them. "This will be perfect," I thought, "since I only like to eat the whites!" But no such luck. He did not enjoy egg yolks one bit, and started crying each time we tried to give him a second bite!

He got some Cheerios instead. Sly always reaches into the pocket on his bib to get the food he dropped. I think it's adorable - like he's digging for treasure.

The Easter Bunny brought him a basket filled with....plastic eggs to play with! No candy for babies!

After spending the morning around the house, getting our fill of chocolate and hard-boiled eggs, we headed over to my dad's house, where he was hosting the entire extended family for dinner.

For a while, Sly was the only baby there, so he was getting passed all around. At some point near the end of the night, someone must have given him a pretzel rod. He LOVED it and was munching away on it for a happy half hour, and getting himself covered with little bits of pretzel-turned-slime. Next time he was handed back to me, I saw that someone had given him a second pretzel, which he was clutching in the other hand. So for over an hour, he went back and forth, sucking on the two pretzels. Since it was well past his bedtime, he was amazingly cranky, and cried everytime we tried to take one away or clean him up.

Overall, a nice Easter spent with family and gorgeous weather!

And one last picture:

Sly's really starting to love solid foods. Monday night, I sat near the sink so I could clean him up, and he grabbed a slice of leftover pizza off my plate on the counter!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Ephiphany About Those Carrots

Okay, I intend to write later about Holy Week, and Easter, and to share some cute pictures of my adorable little baby. But it's already past midnight, and I can't afford to stay up that late!

But I needed to share a thrilling discovery I made while tutoring one of my biology students today. So remember how surprised I was last month to discover perfectly good, fresh carrots growing in my garden, even though they had been sitting in the ground all fall and winter? I figured they had preserved by being frozen in the ground instead of dying, or getting eaten by bugs like they should have.

Well, tonight, I was going over some plant chapters with my student. And we were discussing the difference between plant lifecycles - annuals, perennials, and the little-discussed biennial plants. The book noted that carrots and beets are both examples of biennial plants. The first year of life is focused on root growth, and the second year is for flowering. It all makes sense now! My carrots were supposed to stay alive all winter, because they were only through year one of their life cycle!

This is interesting news, because it means that of I were to plant a bunch of carrots at the beginning of one summer, I could continue to harvest fresh ones all through the following winter and spring. No need for canning or refrigeration. But - it should be noted - once the carrot starts its flowering phase in year two, it uses up all the lovely sugars that have been stored in the edible parts.

I just had to share this exciting realization with my student tonight. I think she maybe found it mildly interesting...or perhaps she was just humoring me...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sharing Some Links

1. Here's a nice article about the store where we've bought all our diapers.
Cloth Diapers No Longer Get a Bum Wrap

2. I found this article to give an interesting approach to questions such as "how do we teach our children to love the Faith?" and "what if they reject it?"
One quote that stood out was this: "A Godly-ordered perspective is not one that sees the world comprised of sinners and non-sinners, but comprised of sinners who are aware they are sinners, and sinners who are not. In this regard, awareness of our sin is the engine driving our human drama. Without awareness of our sin (and our tendency toward sin), we have no need of a Savior."
How To Be a Good Sinner

3. I also linked this on Facebook when it was first posted, and since then, it has completely blown up and been re-posted and recommended all over the Catholic blogging world. So chances are you've already seen Calah's post What a Woman in Crisis Really Needs. If not, do yourself a huge favor, and GO READ IT, already!

4. So check out this total hobbit-house someone actually built! For the record, I am not a LOTR geek, let me assure you. But I thought this little home looked so cozy and woodsy. Also, the intention of the builders was to make a home that would be sustainable, and fit into the forest environment - it just happens to look like a Hobbit hole. Because, I assume, Hobbits would have had similar aims in their home-building. Like Convergent Evolution (see, I AM a biology geek).

5. Rosemary recently shared a post about her rose plant, and how it came to her. St Therese (I'm too lazy to figure out how to add the accents) never fails to amaze me!!

Hope you all enjoy a Blessed and Holy Triduum!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cloth Diapering Addendum

You can read more about my cloth diapering experiences in my previous posts
Cloth Diapering Part I: The "Whys"
Cloth Diapering Part II: The "Hows"

Sly is almost eight months old, and we're still very happy with the cloth diapers! Introducing solid foods to his diet has made for a new kind of "number two", but we've been figuring out how to tackle these new types of poos (um, don't read that literally, because that would be pretty gross!)

My take on the different styles of diaper now: We've basically stopped using the Flips entirely (mostly since Tom hates them), and have purchased even more pre-folds to build up our supply. I think I've decided that my favorite diaper in terms of ease and effectiveness might be the Bumgenius 4.0's (of which we only own two). However, at almost $20 per diaper, we just can't afford to stock up on those now. Pre-folds are slightly more involved, but work just as well for less than $4 per diaper!

A few new products we've been using...

1. [prepare yourself for some poop talk!]
Well, this one isn't new, but I had mentioned in my second diapering post that we owned a diaper sprayer. This is a little contraption that hooks up to the clean water supply for the toilet. The idea is that when there is a poopy diaper, you can spray off most of the mess right into the toilet, and then flush it away.

At the time of my last post, I admitted that we had not found this to be very useful for us, as the poos we were dealing with were too liquidy, and just sort of soaked into the diapers. Well, as mentioned above, we're now dealing with a much more adult-style poo, and it is firm enough that we can blast almost all of it right off into the toilet! This is definitely good news for my washing machine, which I'm sure would cringe at the thought of the messes Sly happily makes for it. $40 well spent.

2. For a while, we were just using a small grocery bag hung on the changing table as a spot to throw all the dirty diapers.

Old system

This was okay, but after there were a couple in there, the room did take on a distinctive urine-odor. So we got a waterproof reusable diaper-pail liner (it has an elastic-y top), and bought a small garbage can with a lid.

New system

The can isn't entirely smell-proof, but it's definitely better than before. And it has a larger capacity too, which is nice. I would like to eventually get a second liner, so that when this one is in the wash (I toss it in every time I do a load of diapers), we could have another one in place. Also, a slightly larger can would allow me to go one more day between washes, which would be convenient. The cost of the liner was somewhere around $15.

3. We've picked up a few more diaper covers, all from the same brand - Thirsties. Wegot to try this brand briefly, when our friends kindly lent us some of their Thirsties covers after their son had grown out of them. But Sly himself only fit them for a couple weeks! (I think those were a different style of cover than the ones we eventually purchased)

We got the Thirsties Duo Wrap Covers, which come in two sizes. Usually I avoid sized cloth diapers (since I don't want to have to buy as many). But these covers are AWESOME, and we didn't buy ours until Sly was just fitting into size 2, anyways. This size should fit him until he's done with diapers entirely (they are labeled as 18-40 pounds).

Why do I like the covers so much? They are sturdy, come in attractive bright colors, and have a double leg gusset, which not only keeps messes inside better, but also seems to make them easier to "fit." As always, I recommend the ones with snaps, and not Velcro. Each cover cost about $12, and can be used multiple times before washing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sudden Showers

The good Lord knows that too often, I'm absorbed in myself and my own desires. When I think about other people in relation to me, I'm sure it's too often in the negative sense of "how this person is not living up to my expectations" or "what is he or she not doing for me?." All those people who actually offer kind services and sacrifices for me - well, I'm afraid many of them probably go unnoticed, or unappreciated. And for this reason, the fact that I was so aware yesterday of all the many little sacrifices Tom was making for me leads me to suspect that has been really doing so much more.

But I do think there was definitely something intentional in his expression of commitment and love yesterday, and I am left with a vague wondering about it. But mostly, just feeling so grateful for this man who loves me as he does.

There were many little things I noted throughout the day. His asking for me to make a choice about some activity, and then always deferring to my advice; offering many little favors or doing useful tasks around the house before having to be asked...

He shaved off his recently regrown beard and mustache for me. He likes the facial hair, and had been turning down my requests for him to shave for weeks. But the other day, I hinted about it again, and he went right to the bathroom and did it. And yesterday, he cleared out all the weeds and debris from the garden patches so I'll finally be able to plant things this week. And he moved all the stuff that's been in the basement, making me almost trip everytime I do the laundry. All these little things I've been asking him to do for a while now, and I feel like he was on a mission to fulfill every last one of those requests in one day. I wonder...what prompted that?

Another one that really stood out was when Tom changed a very poopy diaper. It doesn't sound like a big deal - he's changed them before, of course. But usually, when Sly finds himself needing a major diaper change like that, Tom and I go back-and-forth briefly about who's "turn" it is, or make excuses for why we shouldn't be the one to do it. Usually such exchanges are pretty lighthearted, but it's still the way we decide it.

So yesterday all during Mass - and it was a LONG one. Tridentine High Mass on Palm Sunday - we were catching whiffs of the offensive diaper as we bounced Sly around, trying to keep him content. We had left the diaper bag in the car, though, so knew it had to wait until the end. We occasionally cast looks of minor dread at one another, then looked pointedly towards Sly's bum. It was clear that neither of us wanted to deal with the source of the odor; so I was convinced that at the end of Mass, it would have surely come down to something like rock-paper-scissors to decide who would have to perform the unpleasant task. But as soon as the recessional hymn ended, Tom volunteered immediately! Wow - okay, sure!

And then there was the sweet ending to a day of so many meaningful little acts of service. But this one will need a little bit of background...

So I gave up sweets, desserts, candies, etc. for Lent. It really shouldn't be such a difficult thing for me. I've given myself harsher penances in the past. But my sweet tooth is pretty demanding, and some days have been tough. So I very much look forward to my Sundays, when I finally get to eat something delicious and sweet. We've had a carton of ice cream in the fridge which I've been "saving" so that I can have a bit every Sunday. On Saturday night, Tom asked me if he could have a bowl of it (he didn't give up sweets!). I hesitated, wanting to refuse and selfishly ask him to eat something else, but instead said, "fine...just as long as you don't finish it!" He assured me that he wouldn't, and said there was still plenty left.

So yesterday evening after dinner, I anxiously broke out the carton to have the tasty dessert I'd been looking forward to. And inside, I saw that there was literally no more than a teaspoonful of ice cream left! And that only if you were to scrape the few freezer-burned remains from every side of the carton!

"What the heck?!"I complained, "you said you didn't take it all!!" Tom - even after peering in to the empty carton I was now holding right in his face - still had the gall to insist that he didn't take it all, and there was still enough left for "at least two spoonfuls." Humph. That's not what I meant at all when I asked him to leave some for me!!

I was kind of upset (but mostly disappointed). I think he felt a little bad, though. He probably realized that his assessment of the ice cream situation had perhaps been a tad off, the night before. Or maybe it was all a part of whatever resolution he seemingly made that day about how he wanted to serve me more. At any rate, he offered to go out and get me more ice cream! Yay!

When he came home 15 minutes later, he was not only holding a fresh new carton of cold, creamy, chocolaty goodness, but also - THESE:


This is huge. Tom never gets me flowers. Ever. Okay, there was one time. After a year of very strong hinting (Actually, it was much more than hinting. I had to set out elaborate arguments over the course of many separate conversations, trying to convince him that I really did like flowers, and not just because society had programmed me to believe that I should like them, because I was a woman), he got me flowers on our first dating anniversary. But not a single time since. And he still made a big fuss about it every time I dropped hints about liking flowers, and insisted that they were the most pointless gift ever.

Until last night!

He explained that as he walked into the supermarket to get the ice cream, he noticed another man walking out, holding roses. And Tom was struck with what a nice gesture that was for the lady that man was going home to. And so he decided to emulate it. Thank you, man at the supermarket!

(And this is why we need more good gentlemanly-men to serve as role models for the others!)

So...yeah. I don't think I should mention to Tom that I've noticed this sudden increase in his commitment to pleasing me. But I should certainly make sure to thank him and let him know how much he is appreciated, and to do my best to reciprocate.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Husband, the Punster

From recent discussions about the baby.

On Friday...
Me: When do you think Sly will be weaned?
Tom [considers it a second, then cracks a huge smile]: When you wean him, will that make you a 'wiener'?

On Saturday
Me: This is my son! I bore him.
Tom: Yeah, you bore me too.

Me: He's good at his 'B' sounds, and his 'M' sounds.
Tom: Well, he says 'D' sounds too.
Me: Yeah...every now and then he slips one in. But he doesn't "practice" them like he does his B's and M's.
Tom: Yeah, he practices his BMs a lot.

[Note: BM = Bowel Movement]

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ma Ma Ma

Sly's "babbling vocabulary" has recently developed some new "words". He's already perfected his 'B' sounds, and now he's been practicing his 'M' sounds. I have been wondering for a while what it will sound like when he starts to say real words. And now I have a taste of that because recently, unintentionally, he's been saying my name a lot.

Even as I type this, I hear him from his crib (where he's supposed to be taking a nap) saying, "ma ma ma" and "mum mum mum." I know he's not really trying to call for me, but it's heartwarming all the same!

But I'm baffled about how Sly will eventually learn that I am "mama" and Tom is "dada." Probably, he's much smarter and more perceptive than I give him credit for. I refer to Tom as "daddy" when I talk about him with Sly. And when he cries for me, I scoop him up and tell him, "it's okay - Mommy's here, I've got you." At some point...that's going to click for him, right?

How will I know when "mama" is not just him practicing his sounds, but actually him speaking to me?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Latest Projects

1. This past Sunday was Passion Sunday, at least according to the old liturgical calendar. Since we attend the Latin Mass each week, that tends to be the calendar we observe. During Passiontide, some churches still maintain the practice of covering the crucifixes and statues with purple cloth.

For a couple years now, Tom has longed to do this at home too. Last year, we didn't think of it until it was almost too late - a few days before Easter. We purchased three yards of cloth, but never got around to doing anything with it. But last Saturday night, we amazingly remembered that the next day was Passion Sunday, and that we should dig out the cloth. the time we had actually found the cloth, it was well past midnight. I decided to go to bed, and leave the statue-veiling to my wonderful husband. When I woke up in the morning, I thought it was kinda cute that he had covered every last statue in the house - including the tiny little St. Therese and St. Thomas Aquinas statues on the bookshelves. It's funny - there are just these two small purple bulges sitting there now.

For an idea of what the house looks like now,

On the mantle

Our home altar

On the way to Sunday Mass, we started asking ourselves why it is that Catholics cover statues at the end of Lent like this. We both liked the practice, but realized that we didn't have a good explanation for it. But this is one thing I love about our Catholic faith. Even when you don't fully understand the "why" of something - if it is Church teaching, you KNOW that it is true and good. So we were happy to observe the tradition, and learn the reasoning after the fact.

A little research turns up a satisfying explanation. According to Fisheaters:

Today, statues and sacred images (except for the Stations of the Cross) are veiled with purple cloth beginning at the Vespers of Passion Sunday, and they remain covered until the Gloria of Holy Saturday, at which point Lent ends and Eastertide begins. Catholics cover statues and icons, etc., in their homes for the same time period (the cloth shouldn't be transluscent or decorated in any way).

This veiling of the statues and icons stems from the Gospel reading of Passion Sunday (John 8:46-59), at the end of which the Jews take up stones to cast at Jesus, Who hides Himself away. The veiling also symbolizes the fact that Christ's Divinity was hidden at the time of His Passion and death, the very essence of Passiontide.

At the Vespers Mass on Holy Saturday, Lent ends and Easter begins: the statues are unveiled at that time in one of the most glorious liturgical moments of the entire Church year, a moment that affirms His divinity and proclaims that "He is risen!"

And here's more explanation at Father Z.'s blog.

2. A couple weeks ago, while waiting for one of my tutoring students to arrive at the library, I was browsing in the craft book section. I really enjoy doing crafty things, but I suffer from a severe lack of creativity. I need to have directions to follow or a friend showing me exactly what to do in order for me to produce something nice. I thought it would be fun to find an idea for a new project to start. I found a great book titled, appropriately, The Great Book of Egg Decorating. It was a fortuitous find, since I'd been saying to Tom only a week earlier that I would like to decorate blown eggs (which is when you literally blow the insides out a hole on the other end of the egg, allowing the shell to be decorated and last forever), as I used to do when I was a kid. The book does teach you the basics of how to do the ever-popular and ever-impressive Ukrainian-style eggs. But for the most part, it focuses on some different styles of decorating, using different tools.

Most of the decorations shown in the book are drawn onto the eggs with wax. They suggested that you construct a special wax-melting device. Knowing that Tom loves little projects like that (and wanting to try out some designs!), I asked him to make me one. He did a great job, and even added a little feature that will make the height of the "pot" adjustable.

When the wax is melted, you dip a pin head into it (which is inserted into a dowel rod or pencil, for ease of use), and "write" your designs onto the eggs. I imagine it's a lot like using a quill and an ink well. Pure beeswax makes the base, and then you can add things to color it.

I purchased candle dye in red, which I used on the wax of my first four attempts (the eggs shown in the back of the picture, below). But then I discovered that you can dye the wax for much cheaper but just as effectively with a chunk of Crayola crayon (used for the pink designs on the two front eggs).

So far, I've only been experimenting on undyed egg shells. Mostly, I just wanted to get the hang of using the tools. My first couple eggs were pretty sloppy, but I'm getting better. When we dye Easter eggs next week, I want to have a little stock of pre-blown eggs that I can dunk into the dyes.

They also show how you can drill "decorative" holes into the eggs with a tiny drill bit (which Tom already eagerly went out and purchased for me!), and can even lace little ribbons through the holes for a pretty effect. I'm looking forward to trying that out soon.

I will post more pictures as I create them!

3. Okay, this one is a really lame "project" to even mention, but...Today, my purse died, but I brought it back to life!

I'm not one of those gals who likes to own several purses at a time, and switch them out with her outfit, or with the season. I am a one-purse woman. And that one purse needs to have certain very exact features (such as a long strap so it can drape across my front from shoulder to opposite hip, and the right number of zipping or snapping compartments for my phone, camera, etc.). And while I only use one purse, I JAM that thing full of every item I might possibly want anytime I'm out of the house!

It takes me a lot of searching to find a worthy purse each time I need to replace one (which is only every three years or so). So I get worried when my purse is starting to get shabby, as mine has been doing lately. Today, while I was out, the strap completely broke off. But I managed to sew it back on, and I think it should hold for a little while more!

Though I think it's time to start shopping for a new one...

4. Sly got his first tooth a few days ago! And coincidentally, I had just decided to start trying out some new foods on him, and helping him learn to feed himself. The pureed baby foods are fine, but, let's be honest, it's inconvenient to always have to be spooning each bite into his mouth. I wanted to start trying him on foods that could be made into small baby-size pieces that he could grab in his hands.

For the past few days, he's been happily enjoying various breads, Graham crackers, Cheerios, small pieces of grapes, and banana chunks out of his own little hands. It's a lot of fun to introduce new things to him, and I'm definitely open to suggestions for some other baby-friendly foods, if anyone's got them.

Last night, he even got to enjoy some of the same dinner as Tom and I were eating - stuffing and cranberry sauce (I was in the mood for Thanksgiving foods last night, so I cooked up a pseudo-Thanksgiving dinner!)

Enjoying some of Tom's omelette from brunch on Sunday

But it certainly leaves a mess. I now have to scrub down his hands, his face, the entire high chair, and a 4-foot diameter of kitchen floor every time he finishes a meal! But it's great that we can eat our meals at the same time now. During breakfast and dinner for the past few days, I've been able to sit at the table with my food, while Sly sits with me in his high chair, and figures out how to feed himself.

5. My 40 Bags in 40 Days efforts were resumed again last night. I went through almost all my cds, put the discs and booklets into binders, and threw away the cases!

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Dream Kitchen

Even though we rent our house, and thus have no control over the colors of the walls (plain old white), floor (mismatched beige linoleum), or cabinets (ugly fake brown wood) in our kitchen, I still have "kitchen colors" that I try to work in. The colors I've chosen are aqua and yellow. I was first inspired by an apron and matching potholder that I received a few years back as a Christmas gift:

Both from Anthropologie

I loved the color combination, and since then, have been slowly purchasing little kitchen items in those two colors. I especially love love love love the family of aqua/teal blues. I have so many little things around the house in these shades. I have to stop myself from purchasing things in only those shades all the time.

A quick tour of some of the lovely aqua or yellow "accessories" in my kitchen...

Rug in front of the sink

Sunflower- embroidered cloth

Teacups and plate from Anthro

Mat in front of the backdoor ($5 at CVS/Pharmacy)

Magnetic timer from Anthro

Vinyl tablecloth from Goodwill

A display of some of my dishes. They are a discontinued Pfaltzgraff pattern. We use these as our everyday dishes, and don't own any fancy china. The teal shade is darker than my other aqua-colored kitchen stuff, but I think the colors complement one another.

Some lovely teal shot glasses and decantur up on the glassware shelf (a gift from Tom when we were dating)

My beautiful "Ice Blue" Kitchen-aid Stand Mixer

I also have the Kitchen-aid hand mixer in Martha Stewart blue (from Macy's)

And Martha Stewart handtowels...

And Martha Stewart measuring cups

Even the cats eat off a bright blue cloth

And this lovely clock Tom made me out of foam board and cut-up calendars. It was a birthday gift he gave me several years before we even started dating. And somehow, that makes me cherish it even more.

I love all these little items I've collected. I think a kitchen should be the brightest, happiest room of the house. And bright blue and yellow do a wonderful job of making it look cheery!

What prompted this post was that yesterday I was searching for new (yellow) oven mitts online, and stumbled across some pictures of AMAZING retro-style kitchens in aqua!


Ahhh! So much blue! I stared in wonder at this picture for a little while. I love the metal cabinetry (Tom would go crazy over that too). This does look nice, but as I look at it more, I think that it's perhaps a little too much blue...I'd want to work in another color (yellow!) for contrast.

Love love love the retro-style appliances. These are NEW, but look old. I've seen similar ones in magazines. I don't know what companies manufacture them, but I'm sure they are wayyyy out of our budget.

Sweet stove.

And this is the kitchen where I think they actually got it close to perfect. Almost everything is yellow or blue, but it's not overwhelming as in the first kitchen. It's bright and welcoming, old-fashioned and modern at the same time. The crazy thing is, on the site where I found this image, it said that the homeowners live in the very neighborhood where I grew up (and where my parents still live, and which is about 5 minutes away from me). Craziness! I sort of want to track them down, and ask them if I can come in for a little while and drool over their beautiful kitchen :-)