Sunday, April 21, 2013

Creepy Mommy

Our Family
by Uli Propson age 4

Roll over ever so carefully, slowly - slowly!- scooting away from the sleeping toddler. Pause. Listen for the breathing. Still regular. Ok. Tuck blankets up and press them against the little one--perhaps she'll never notice you're gone.

Silently tiptoe past the snoozing four year old. Avoid the squeaky floorboards! Pull the door shut slightly, just so your decent downstairs is muffled.

Catch the cat before he rushes up to wake everyone. Push him back down and promise him breakfast.

Heat a cup of coffee in the microwave. Hit "cancel" before it ends, so they aren't woken by the beeping. A dollop of milk.

And now.

What on earth does a mommy do in the morning with no children yet awake?

Wait for them to wake up, I guess.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

how to amuse a one year old during the holidays

Play this again and again and again and again:

And the one year old will respond thusly:

And this is her Dylan impression. Just needs the hat, amiright?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Changed: Ways in Which I Am Different Now that I'm the Mother of Two

I no longer take pictures when the poop explodes out of the diaper and runs down the legs.

{I don't even know who I am anymore.}

Saturday, November 3, 2012

when nothing fits

I keep telling myself that my posts don't have to make sense, I just need to post something. Oh hey, here's something (imagine that):

NaNoWriMo is in full swing and I'm NOT DOING IT this year, but I do have a novel in in the works (am I allowed to share that? Maybe that stuff should be private, so that in three months no one asks my how my novel is going and then when I burst into tears they feel uncomfortable and wish they'd never asked). I'm work on an outline this month. But finishing the first draft this month? Only if I went full-out cliche and bought a typewriter and began chain smoking and poured whiskey into more than BBQ.

In other news, there was this thing called Halloween that happened a few nights ago. Lots of candy with peanuts in it that makes me have a frowny face because, talk about bad for you, that crap could kill my daughter. But she loved it, of course. Not the many opportunities for death by anaphylactic shock, but the yelling "Trick or Treat!" with abandon. She was sure to add, "It's Uli!"just in case anyone thought she was really a gorilla. Ilse didn't know what was going on, especially since we'd been telling her she'd be a lion and then that old costume of her sister's was clearly too small for her so we popped a bat coat on her instead, but she flapped her wings vigorously whenever we asked her to and walked up to the houses with her sister, an amused, confused smile on her face, just happy to be included.

Of note: we recently had a birthday in the family. My firstborn is four! There were two days of festivities, first with a successful friend party (they baked cupcakes) and then a family breakfast (we surprised her with a "princess" dress I'd mended into decency and a set of fairy wings we thrifted, both of which she has now worn almost 24/7 this past week).

Oh, and one last thing did happen recently:  a stranger congratulated me on my pregnancy. Except I'm not pregnant. Which was awkward.

And that's what I have. Random, but that's my life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Super privileged food rant

Tis the season of tomatoes, squash and eggplant, and I often find myself hearing (and, dare I admit, saying): " It's too much food! It's all rotting on my counter! If I see one more bean..."

What a terrible problem to have.

Yes, one hundred organic tomatoes on the counter (did you know they shouldn't go in the fridge?) feels like too many. Perhaps it IS too many. But what I'd it were bags of doughnuts? Would we be complaining as bitterly or would we hunker down, unclasp our belts, and dig in before they went stale?

I'm trying to keep perspective. This over-abundance of produce is only "too much" because I'm not used to eating this well. I'm used to the packaged and frozen, pre-salted and fat-alicious. I'm sure my great-great grandmothers would take one look around our kitchens and would roll up their sleeves and "put up" these amazing veggies within a day or two. And they would have been grateful--not irritated--by the abundance of food.

Yes, it means I need to figure out what to do with the produce. I'm starting to walk a bit less fearfully down that dimly-lit path of canning, lacto-fermentation, prepping and freezing, and cooking from scratch. Still a bit nervous, but feeling more confident day by day. Because what an amazing privilege to have: too much food.

Peppers piled atop the toaster? Squash overflowing from baskets? Tomatoes and tomatoes and tomatoes? Bring 'em on! We will be happy and will not complain.


Friday, September 21, 2012

life has been patiently waiting for me

As some of you may already know, I'm taking a break from Facebook for the month of September. I'd held that fast absolute until this morning, when I quickly logged-on, realized I didn't want to be back, and high-tailed it out of there all within 30 seconds.

I'm conflicted about the separation. I haven't found hidden hours to devour novels, write poetry, or play with my daughters. I haven't suddenly be able to whip together gourmet dinners or deep clean my house.

What the heck do I do all day? is something that still baffles me.

I have, however, found a certain peace whilst "unplugged." I've avoided most carefully considered political insights regarding the state of nation and the world. I've been unable to bond with others by reposting their  "...I'll know who my true friends are because they'll repost this..." status updates. And yet somehow I continue on. And that's a relief, to know I don't *need* the constant stream of updates (I wasn't sure how I'd handle it, honestly).

I am, perhaps, creating new habits. I may have read a few more books aloud to my girls this month than last, and I might be reading more creative articles online--searching them out myself rather than imbibing only those "liked" by others. It helps me feel self sufficient.

Speaking of habits, those first few weeks when I wasn't able to update my FB status, I was nevertheless thinking about updating it. Constantly. Sentences popped into my mind and I would have an addict's impulse to hop online and share the thought with you all. 

Examples of the incredibly interesting updates you missed because of my tremendous self control:

  • I cannot believe my husband has seen Kelli Ripa in person on the set of Live! And. Didn't. Like. Her. Kelli. Ripa! Boggles the mind.
  • There was just a creepy many legged bug in my bed and it escaped. Do I sleep or do I freak out?
  • She's so precious! [picture of Uli and/or Ilse being precious]
 And one particular prized moment:

  • "No, no, Ilse! That brush is for the toilet, not your hair... " Too late.
But no, instead of status updates I'm just living. Wondering what's up. Justin and I have been watching Mystery Inc. episodes in the evenings and loving them. It's Scooby Doo reincarnated for the adult crowd. (Or, at least YA). My life isn't as exciting as those meddling kids', but it's pretty good, perhaps a bit more so with the absence of the constant stream of everyone else's lives getting mixed up, making me compare and contrast every 15 minutes.

That doesn't mean I'm not interested in what's up. Drop me a line, if you've a moment. I'll be over here...doing whatever it is that I do (I'll figure it out before the fast is over, I swear).  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Harvesting Hops with a One Year Old

It was gorgeous this past Saturday morning. Sunshine filtered down through our still-green maple leaves, warming the porch against the chill of a light early autumn breeze. Uli was spending the day with her grandparents. Justin, though fighting a cold, needed to bring in the hops or run the risk of their ruin on the vine. He headed up to the garage roof (where our hops have been trained to grow) and cut down swathes of vines, bringing them up to the front porch where Ilse and I took over.

Harvesting anything--much less delicate pinecone/berries off a sticky ropy vine--along side a one year old would not be a first choice for many of us. It wasn't mine. 

I initially tried to distract Ilse. Gave her the scooter to climb on, necklaces to rattle, a horse figurine to gallop about, all while corralling her on the porch so she wouldn't tumble down the front steps and bash out her four adorable teeth. She would have none of that. No busywork for her, please and thank you.  She was interested in what Mama was doing.  

I readjusted my expectations and showed her the vines, the hop flowers (berries?) and demonstrated how to pick one and place it in the paper bag I was using to collect them. Lo and behold, she eagerly followed my example, scouring the vine I was holding, plucking each and every hop she found (they're the same color as the leaves; it's easy to miss clumps, but she was thorough) and after picking one she'd drop it gently into the bag. 

We worked together steadily and quietly for at least 25-30 minutes. (If you've been around a 13-month old lately, you know that's a significant amount of time.) There was little need to talk, we were both intent on hunting the light green cones, snapping them from their stems, and collecting them in the bag. Ilse was, in fact, a great help. And she was so content! It reminded me of the quote: 

" If I were to establish a primary principle, it would be to constantly allow the child's participation in our lives ... To extend to the child this hospitality, to allow him to participate in our work can be difficult, but it costs nothing. Our time is a far more precious gift than material objects. "     ~Maria Montessori

And then she was done. At first I was irritated. Was she not a wonder-baby after all? Where had her focus gone? Then she approached me, put her hands on the vine I was holding to pause my work, and signed "all done" repeatedly. I checked the time: 9:45am. Naptime. She wasn't giving up on the work, she knew it was time to have milk and to sleep. She was keeping me on schedule. I was embarrassed for not giving her more credit. 

I nursed her, put her down for her nap, and Justin and I continued working with the remaining vines. When we were done we had gathered more than 5 gallons of hops (about 5x what we'd harvested last year--our first year). 

Ilse woke and wanted to help sweep the driveway. I should have gone in to get the child-sized broom so she could have worked alongside me, but I didn't (Mama fail). 

We let the hops sit in the sun for a couple of hours to ensure they were completely dry of any morning dew, and then we began to weigh and bag them, an ounce in each bag by weight.

We ended up with around 50 ounces of hops, divided into 1 ounce bags, then vacuum sealed into larger bags for freezing. Justin put them up for sale on Craig's List (we don't have the time to make beer this year). 

Justin's proprietary hop blend (mostly Fuggles)--would be great for English-style brews

All sorted out and cleaned-up. A very good day. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Adieu, dear Summer

We are moving into autumn here. Early September can go either way in Madison, but there's a certain chill to the air in recent days, and on our evening walks we see more colored leaves now than a week ago. It's time. We accept it.

But I will miss my little Ilse in her swimsuit. Her chubby thighs rubbing against each other as she darts-slash-waddles across the yard, soaking up the sun.

I always have a pit in my stomach when it becomes clear summer is moving on (always, always. I am not going to pretend it's not my favorite). But we're already talking about Uli's upcoming birthday, pumpkin bread, puddle walks, and gloves and those are happy thoughts. We're marching on right into the next chapter. Summertime: Goodbye.

Autumn, here we come!

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