Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gwen Finger Painting and COSI Fun with Friends!

Gwen and I have really enjoyed trying to keep ourselves entertained because of this:
I think I might officially be THE last person in Columbus to document the HUGE snowstorms we've had. Anyway, it has been cold. We try to keep ourselves safe and entertained. Let's just say Gwen and I both have had our stir-crazy moments! A couple weeks ago we got together with some good friends and neighbors to fingerpaint. Gwen wasn't super excited, but her painting is so pretty, I think. Her favorite part was playing with the balls and books. No surprise there. Thanks, Anita, for inviting us over and sharing your pictures! If you look in the bottom left picture, you can see Gwen wasn't content to merely paint. She had to try some too...Then I read stories to the gals, it was fun! Gwen had the much coveted seat of honor.
Last week we headed to COSI, a fun science museum, to play.
I ought to call these pictures the "For the Love of Purple Spheres". Seriously, we were there for almost 3 hours. Even ate lunch while there. The ENTIRE time, Gwen only relinquished her hold on the balls a few times. She carried them everywhere. Going down the slide? Purple balls go too. Climbing up the stairs? Purple balls go too. Spinning things? Purple balls. Pushing buttons? Better use the purple balls. She's not one of those kids that you can distract and hide the desired object and she'll just forget about it. Definitely a little obsessive and possessive about things, but it sure is quirky and funny!

and here are some friends! Sure did have fun!

I love these videos because you can see 2 things: 1) you can imagine her uncertain thought processes when she is debating whether or not to put her balls down somewhere. I think it is hilarious the way she'll look around to check out any aspiring toddlers who might snatch up her prized possessions...and then changes her mind about relinquishing her control! and 2) you can see how she walks on her knees. Thought I ought to document that for posterity.
video
videoand this one is for Eric's family. Thought ya'll would be gratified to know that Gwen was fascinated by the noise of a certain bodily function.
videoPretty funny that even then she has those purple balls... and again, thanks goes to Anita for inviting us!

finished with a paper... and it's time to catch up!

hey folks, it seems like forever. Maybe just to me, since I've been too busy with a paper to blog since last week. Sorry if I've missed all of your amazing posts. Well, good news: the paper is finished (Thanks again, Linz, for watching Gwen on Tuesday!) and I have so much to say!
Let's start with a random thought, inspired by my studies on Beethoven:

Ever considered the fact that we can use the descriptive word "sharp" for so many VERY different things? We all can THINK of how a ripe cheese, a piquant sauce, a witty tongue, a razor blade edge, a mother's voice when she reaches the end of her rope, and a tone on the scale is 'sharp'... but isn't it interesting how it is really challenging to put into words just WHAT those things all have in common? Think about it... kinda neat.
wondering about Gwen? Sorry this picture makes her look pretty washed out. Well, her illness is recovered, her naps and appetite are still in recovery, and she is addicted to 3 things:
  • balls (take a look at the COSI post where she wouldn't relinquish her hold on those 2 balls for 3 hours no matter what she was playing with!),

  • coat (she signs it ALL the time and even says "go-oooo" to ask to wear it throughout the day. one of her favorite words these days!), and

  • zucchini bread (I know there are healthier things to feed her than pbj or nutella sandwiches, cakey zucchini bread, blackberries and yogurt--hey that's healthy!--, and bananas... but for the past week of illness, and even now into the recovery stage, the gal has refused some of her previous favorites--like cheese and greenbeans-- leaving me in a food conundrum. All she wants to eat are sweets!)
oh, and she has all 4 molars and says "crah-ko" (cracker), "ba-ne-nah" (duh), and "ba" (ball). She added airplane, train, boat, and book to her signing vocabulary too. You can see where her priorities are in speaking! That girl is all about her belly and entertainment!

Eric is taking a Shelf Exam tomorrow, and often finds he needs to rest...Gwen has other ideas...

I hosted Sewing group at my house on Tuesday. I taught how to make these sweet, no-sewing-machine fabric flowers. Everyone's turned out so cute, this pic doesn't do them justice!:


And that is an update in a nutshell.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Loveliness

This lovely card from my thoughtful MIL. She designed it herself. I think it is the prettiest Valentine I've ever received. Photo courtesy of her blog. Thank you!
These lovely faces. Gwen eating the Constitution (one of her new favorite books), making silly faces, insisting on taking a picture of Daddy, and signing "car" while sitting in her favorite bear chair. Dress from my folks (sorry to disappoint any of you that thought I actually made it) and black shirt with a sparkly heart on it from Eric's folks (she kept rubbing her chest and peeking down her dress to look at the heart). I have really been overwhelmed lately thinking about how much I love my family. Sometimes I just sit in awesome contemplation of how happy I am, how blessed.
These lovely orchids that Eric got me for our special day. I love them. Did you know that Sunday was not just Valentine's Day, but also Lunar New Year? (otherwise known as Chinese New Year in the USA... however, since it is a holiday based on the Lunar calendar and also celebrated in Korea and Japan among other nations, I think it is more appropriate to call it Lunar New Year). I opted for orchids rather than roses to also celebrate this immense Asian holiday. I had a companion in Korea whose name had a character that meant orchid. She really inspired a love of these delicate and exotic flowers. I adore the slender stem and the curling center petals. Eric picked out the prettiest one, don't you think? I am sure proud of him... :)

Cupcake Triumphant!

I was invited to participate in a cupcake party the Wednesday before Valentine's Day. I had a great time. Thanks Nancy for driving us over there in your big truck so I didn't have to worry bout getting stuck in the piled up snow. I used some math skills and guessed almost exactly how many M&M's were in this jar: 1105 is not that far off from 1110! Woohoo, my Junior High math teachers would be proud! Jen had her place decorated so cute. I could feel the love! :) Great fun!!!!
I had a lot of fun dreaming of delectable cupcake designs... and apparently my fantasizing paid off! I won a "Most Tempting" prize for my devil's food cupcakes with milk chocolate/cream cheese frosting, drizzled with dark chocolate, dab of chocolate pudding, and dark chocolate heart with sprinkles settled on top (that was fun to do, since I'd never made chocolate garnishes before--super easy, actually, and they look so fancy!) My cupcake is the one in the middle on the far right of the following collage. I got a cupcake cookbook for my efforts!

I wasn't the only who won something, and you can see why! These cupcakes were AMAZING!!! Check out those spaghetti and meatball cupcakes! Or how bout those ice cream cones! You should have tasted them folks, cuz the photos don't do justice to the ecstasy my taste buds enjoyed eating all these cupcakes! (gals who wanted photos: if you click on the image, it gets a lot bigger. If you still want even bigger pics, let me know and i can email individual ones to you.)
Post Valentine's Day: back to eating carefully! :) But man, the 'cheating' was worth it!

Almost Every Hair Do-Dad She Owns...

She did it. Not me. Well, at least it wasn't my idea. She found her drawer of ribbons, flowers, and bows. Then proceeded to try to put them in her hair. When she couldn't figure it out (I was kind of sitting there laughing and just watching), she "knee-d" over (remember how she doesn't like to crawl anymore) and handed each one to me and leaned forward expectantly to receive her special 'coronation'. It was hilarious. I obliged her. She was pretty pleased with herself and wore them for quite a while. Later that day I found a trail of pulled out/fallen out/ discarded do-dads throughout the house...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Point of No Return


I took Gwen to nursery today.

She is only 15 months old (in less than a week),
a far cry from the 18 month minimum
to ACTUALLY go to nursery.
So I sat in there with her.
Folks...
this was a

POINT OF NO RETURN!

I am NOT going back to fighting with her
for 1/2 an hour in Relief Society
while she tries to crawl over and get into
every single purse she can find,
terrorize the teacher,
and bawl if I don't let her steal toys
from the helpless little 4 month olds
and then end up spending
the remaining 1/2 hour of the class pacing the halls,
trying to keep from getting stepped on.

Nope. No way.

Not now that I've experienced the bliss of seeing how
happy Gwen was playing with all the toys,
watching while everyone sang songs,
and sitting so NICELY
at the little table in her toddler sized chair
to eat goldfish and drink water,
how could I go back?
She was as content as can be,
didn't even fight about toys
(because there were so many to choose from),
and not a single tantrum!
That's right.
I know where we'll be next Sunday
during that 3rd hour.
Glad nobody minds us coming early
(they said it was fine as long as I stay with her to help)!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Budget 2010: Here We Go!


We have been pretty good at budgeting groceries for the past year.
The tab includes
all food,
diapers,
cleaning supplies,
and hygiene items.

50 dollars a week, no excuses.

If I know something will cost more (like if we have a birthday coming up, a fancy meal calling for pricier ingredients, or Gwen needs diapers), then I have to spend less the weeks before to save up for it. (Formula was a bear to fit into the budget. Thankfully Gwen is on whole milk now!) Menu planning is essential.
I usually gestimate how much an item will cost (it is easier to do this once you've been shopping for that item in the past), then I make sure my plan doesn't go over 50. When I get to the store, I keep track of how much things are costing (just in case my guesses were way off) and carry a calculater to add everything up as I go along. Then it is just a matter of disciplining to not excede the budget. Just last week I had to put back a bag of oranges, marshmallows (we were planning on hot chocolate after date night), and some supportive inserts for shoes for Eric since he's on his feet all day. It'll have to be another week.

We had our budget 'talk' last night for 2010.
We are going to cut out 5,000 from our spending this year.
That will take the discipline we've been using for groceries and
carry it over into

EVERYTHING.

Don't get me wrong: we weren't ghastly extravagent in 2009. Not counting tuition, we spent 29,000 dollars (which sounds like so much money!), usually a little here and a little there. but this year, it is going to be less. No more purchases--even small ones--just for fun unless we account for it in one of our budgeted categories, no more exceeding the funds for gardening or canning, or no more spending SO MUCH MONEY on Christmas. We might only do E-cards this year... and I am GOING to discipline myself and stick to 100 dollars a year on ALL craft, cake decorating, and sewing purchases (I have been known to go sorta crazy with fabric sales)! But No More!

Here's to the New Budget for 2010!

We'll see how it goes. :)

anybody else workin up a small sweat with budgeting? What I'm really curious about is when YOU make a budget cut, what gets cut and what is last to go? I think it is interesting what different families value... for example, we have a 20 dollar a month "preparation" budget for gardening, canning, and emergency preparedness. Many families might see that as superfluous...while we would cut gym memberships, movies, and clothes first, someone else might cut out date nights and canning expenses before they'd sacrifice their daily workout or Netflix. What would you hold on to as long as possible?