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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last Chance to Catch Deseret Chamber Singers Summer Concert

Utah Valley Locals: The last of Deseret Chamber Singers' summer concerts is tomorrow, Sunday, August 30. We'll be singing at the Springville Art Museum at 5:00 p.m. If you like choral music, you'll love this concert. Same program as our previous concerts at the Assembly Hall and the Cathedral of the Madeleine, including David Zabriskie's stunning "Lux Aeterna," works from Palestrina, Brahms, Eric Whitacre, Moses Hogan, and more. Free admission!

Important note: Exit 260 is inaccessible due to construction on 400 S in Springville. Here's a detour map.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jane Keeping Her Chips Away From Ellen

The struggle began at floor level, then moved up onto the table. When I went for my camera, Ellen was standing on tiptoe, but by the time I got back, she had shifted to this seated position.

You can't see it well in the picture, but Jane's outfit features a belt she made from cutting up an old men's tie (one left over from the Easter egg project), fastened with a safety pin. There was much crying and negotiating with Zuzu before school to ensure that she was able to wear just the right white t-shirt (because the other 5 white t-shirts they have between them just wouldn't do) for the ensemble.

Monday, August 24, 2009

You Dear, Funny, Sweet Little Nut

Dearest Ellen,

I came in from helping Adam outside to discover you filling paper cups with small servings of Frosted Mini Wheats. The count of filled cups was already up to 15. I wish I could know whether to you this was just a creative activity to pass the time or part of a larger plan.

Anyway, you crack me up. And I think you're ready for chores.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Or Leave the Knot Off the End of the String, and You'll Have a Perfect Metaphor for Housework

Here's a little bead lacing toy I put together for Ellen:

All I did was buy some large wooden beads and some shoelaces and make a little bag to keep them in. I thought I'd post it as a cheap & simple gift idea. Tie a bead onto the end of each lace to keep the others from sliding off.

Of course, these beads would be too small for a baby still in the choking hazard stage. And of course any toy with loose, small parts is fatally flawed, but we'll see how it goes. I thought putting the clear window in the bag might make putting the beads back in more appealing. Yeah, wish me luck with that one.

So far, Adam and Zuzu are more interested in it than Ellen. Adam spent a long time carefully filling his whole shoelace, asked me to tie it for him, and proudly marched out to show off his new necklace around the neighborhood.

I wish my camera handled lower-light conditions better. For these pictures, auto mode turned on the flash, which looks like this:

The focus is sharp enough, but the lighting is totally unnatural. So I always wind up turning the flash off. And then I get images like this:

Now the lighting looks much better -- just like it really did in the room -- but the shutter has to stay open so long to collect enough light that the subjects come out blurry. This is the clearest one I could get out of dozens I tried with the flash off:

So I set it back to auto and let the flash do its thing:

Not bad, but still the lighting looks so different from what my eye sees. So, let's turn the flash off again . . .

And so on, ad nauseum.

Somebody should design a camera that interfaces with my eyeballs. I've got some sweet lenses in there. You should see how well my eyeballs handle all kinds of light conditions.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Back of My Head is Famous

Peter's mom brought to my attention that a picture of Peter and me and Tiny Ellen is on the main page of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival site. It's the third photo that auto-loads in the main box -- or if you're too excited to wait that long, you can see it immediately by clicking on the second thumbnail from the left. It must've been taken at the City Volunteer Appreciation Evening in 2007, which would have been when Ellen was 18 days old. It was probably the first time Peter and I had been "out" since her birth. Please note the ponytail.

Conventional wisdom says your best chance of getting photographed at an event is to sit in front, but it turns out that positioning yourself for a speedy exit in case your newborn needs feeding can work in a pinch.

Funny thing -- my invitation to this year's City Volunteer Appreciation Evening just came in the mail today.

The Force of Her Older Brother is Strong in This One

At Adam's preschool open house this morning:

Adam's teacher to Ellen: And what's your name, Little One?
Ellen: Princess Leia.

Princess Leia insisted on wearing all of her birthday bracelets today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fact for the Day

Small children believe that Band-Aids have pain relieving properties.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

This One Goes to Eleven . . . And Beyond

Happy Eleventh Anniversary, Love. It is good. Yes, it is good.

Sorry for giving you your card online. And at 11:01 p.m.

I love you more.

*Peter gave me the most fabulous gift: a backpacking trip to the Uintas. He did all the planning, shopping, most of the packing, arranged for babysitting, and only let me carry my own clothes, bedding, and water. I know, I'm the luckiest girl in the world. With some atrocious Photoshop skillz.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Baby Is Two

Even though it was past my bedtime already, I stayed up even later last night to make a cute banner. I have wanted to make a cute birthday banner for years. I couldn't bear to let one more birthday celebration come and go with no cute banner.

Ellen doesn't care much about cake. Ellen is an ice cream girl. So we had an ice cream brownie sundae bar. She helped herself to a ground-fall apple from our tree as an appetizer. It was her 14th of the day. Ellen knows how to forage.

Jane finished her sundae, then helped herself to a bowl of straight whipped cream. Naturally.

Chocolate Coated Adam Lite™:

Molly's family was leaving, but I made them wait while I went inside to stitch the trim on her birthday skirt. (Molly's birthday was in June.) And now, looking at this picture, I wish I had made them wait until I pressed the trim too.

I like that this year Ellen's birthday coincided with the peak of the Perseids meteor shower. Seems right for my little fireball.

And speaking of meteor showers, here's a memory. When I was younger and our town was still smallish and dark enough at night for stargazing, I came home late one summer night from performing in a play to find my house pitch black and my dad and a bunch of my siblings lying on blankets on the front lawn, taking in a meteor shower. Recognizing a prime photo opportunity, I crept quietly inside, found my camera, and snapped a photo from the porch. My dad's reaction to the bright flash in his peripheral vision in the middle of a meteor shower has gone down in the books of beloved family lore: "Woah! Did anyone see that one!? That was AMAZING!"

Curses on light pollution. I want to be able to lie on the front lawn with my kids and see the Milky Way like I could when I was a kid.

Now I've stayed up way past my bedtime again. And I didn't even see a shooting star.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Guest Post

Whereas the proprietress of How Does My Garden Grow is away and has no portal to the interweb; and whereas, I have been left behind with my interweb shunt in place and find myself with access to the publishing controls of this weblog; and whereas many of you were surely wondering how you would survive a week without cute tales of our children; I feel obliged to take the matter of a post in hand.

So, the family took off for a vacation without me. Monday I cleaned some parts of the house with the satisfaction of knowing that since the kids are gone, the clean will last more than ten minutes.

No cute, creative and messy children and no beautiful, talented and completely fabulous wife in the house make for a tidy, but cold existence, so the blog post fodder is limited. I did, however, come across this while cleaning:

Since the sign uses the singular and since there's one boy in our family, I can only assume the girls had someone specific in mind. Of course, he can't read and has no money.

I know you were thinking that since Mary's away and I have access to her blog, I would post some silly pictures or something, but that's just not my way.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In All Honesty, They'll Probably Still Spread Them All Over the Car

I'm leaving on a week-long trip in the morning. So last night, as I was lying in bed, exhausted and wishing I could sleep after running errands and packing all day, I got to thinking about the coloring books I had picked up for the kids for the ride, and I was tormented with images of crayons stuck into every crevice of the car, hundreds of broken crayon bits underfoot, melted crayons on the seats. And I couldn't stop thinking about how nicely my sewing machine, my serger and I could solve these crayon concerns.

Now, it's classic for me to get sidetracked in the middle of important preparations with an irresistible detail like this, and all too often the end result of these diversions is last-minute rushing and panic. ("You say your friend's birthday party is in an hour, Jane? I think I'll make her a skirt.") But I was convinced, after playing out an ultra-simple, quick-and-dirty design in my insomniacal head many times, that this one would truly be quick and easy.

Surprise! It was quick and easy. I think I made all three crayon cozies in about a half an hour. And I think I really am ready for my trip tomorrow, in time for a reasonable bedtime and a blog post! I do believe in miracles. I do, I do, I do. (Thanks for all your help, Peter. It never could have happened without you. I wish you could come.)

No, Ellen doesn't get any.

Let me tell you a little something about Ellen. No, let me show you:

I went down to get the laundry. All the chairs and the bar stools were up on the table, and it used to be that she couldn't climb her high chair as long as the tray was on it, but this was the day that she mastered that skill. She did this ink job in literally less than 5 minutes. It rubbed off all over my clothes when I picked her up to take her outside for a photo shoot.

Not blood. Lipstick. 5 tubes, all broken off at the base. And it was all over clothes and carpet too. Along with every other kind of makeup in my makeup bag. She stood on books to reach it off my dresser. She likes to introduce Adam to new activities he wouldn't have thought of on his own.

Ellen laughs at obstacles. Want something from a top cabinet? Open the drawers, climb them like stairs, and there you are on the counter.

Remind me to buy a second latch, for the freezer.

I think she walks around playing a soundtrack in her head that goes, "Open it up, empty it out, spread it around. Repeat."

Can you find Taylor the Goldfish under the bottle of flakes Ellen gave her? After first emptying out most of the water?

Most of these pictures were from last week. And there were more pictures from last week that I didn't show you because they depict the aftermath of the second time last week that she removed her own messy diaper during nap time, and they are revolting.

Nope, Ellen's not getting her own crayons.

See you in a week or so.