Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013, I barely blogged ye

I really hope I can get back on the blogging wagon in 2014. But 2013 was pretty busy, even if I didn't write about it much. Not that I can articulate much of it just now, mind, but it was. I'll do my usual run-down of the year later, promise. For now, anyone who's actually reading this is almost certainly someone I love, so Happy New Year to you, loved one! I hope 2014 treats you awesomely. :)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Loki is serious about his naps...

...in the most ridiculous ways possible.










Thursday, December 05, 2013

Cold season can bite me

Having both kids in school all morning is kind of a glorious thing. I woke up feeling crappy and horrendously congested, but I got to go drop them off and then camp out on the couch for a couple of hours. I drank tea and watched most of The Second Coming, which is a British miniseries from ten or so years ago (really mini...just 2 episodes long). And because there are only like 20 working actors in the UK, there were a bunch of people in it that I recognized from Doctor Who and other stuff. It was pretty good, I thought.

Eleri lounged around with me (sort of...she's wiggly) in the afternoon until it was time to pick up Soren, and then they mostly entertained each other until dinner time. Definitely a change from the days when they both needed constant monitoring and diapers and whatnot. How nice to actually sort of be able to rest a bit when I'm sick!

It was also weirdly warm today. I'm talking mid to upper 60s. I drove home from fetching El with the car windows rolled down. Turned off the heat and opened up the house! Of course, it's supposed to be rainy and cold again by tomorrow or Saturday. Back to proper wintry weather once again.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

(sort of) Wordless Wednesday


Click through to check out more pictures of our tree. :)

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Chicken Salad

New favorite way to make chicken salad:

- Bake some chicken.
- Chop it up.
- Mix it with finely diced onion & bell pepper, guacamole, sour cream, and a splash of lime juice.
- Serve either in a cabbage leaf as a wrap, or over shredded cabbage as a salad.

The only thing is I never seem to make quite enough. NOTE TO SELF: MAKE MORE, NEXT TIME.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The return of Haiku-Tu?

Extra squats tonight
Super brutal Zumba class
My glutes are all, "Ow."

(And that's when I remembered today is actually Monday. Not Tuesday. Oops. Oh well. I'm leaving it.)

Here. Have the first of the promised Christmas tree pictures. Eleri took this one. We'll call it "artfully blurred."


Sunday, December 01, 2013

December is here! Time to ramble a bit.

We walked over to Nalls today and picked up a Christmas tree and a wreath for the front door. One of the employees was driving by on a little cart as we were hauling the tree home and said, "Oh what a perfect family picture that is!" of the four of us walking along all Dickensian-like, Tom and I carrying the tree, Soren carrying the wreath, Eleri holding Tom's other hand. We are kind of nauseatingly cute, sometimes, it turns out.

So now the tree is up and decorated, and the living room smells lovely. I took pictures. I'll put them up somewhere soon.

Aaaaaand that's about as much preparation for Christmas as I've managed so far. I spent the last month focusing on extracting words from my brain and putting them on the tiny laptop for NaNoWriMo. It took the whole month, but I finally finished up yesterday with 50,113 words. Whoo! I've wanted to do the NaNo thing for a long time. I tried last year and flamed out pretty early. So it feels good to have finally completed the challenge. Not that anything much will come of what I've written, of course, but the point is in the doing. Or something. But actually, I'm thrilled to be in a position to have my evenings free again! I don't know that I've watched TV in the evening more than once or twice in the past month. (Tom, meanwhile, plowed through the entire series of Battlestar Galactica on Netflix over the course of like three weeks or something.) It was kind of an odd feeling yesterday afternoon to keep thinking, "Oh geez, I need to be writing...no...wait...no I don't." Hehe.

It's been chilly here lately. Proper sweater weather. So that's nice. Of course, Eleri frequently insists that a tank top would be a perfectly fine choice to wear to school, thank you very much. Heh. Soren, meanwhile, still has a deep and abiding love for pairing his bright orange sweat pants with a red shirt, which is something I find unreasonably galling. My eyes! My eyes, I say! (I know. It's not really that big a deal. And aside from these two points, on which I am pretty unwilling to budge, I generally let them both wear whatever the heck they like. Just to be clear.) I mean, I'm no paragon of fashion and do not exactly have a lot of room to talk. Still. Red and orange. Come on now.

All right. That's enough for now. Christmas tree photos soon. :)

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Furloughed

So, Tom's been off work since about mid-morning Tuesday. I don't really care to go into the details of the government shutdown because I get a little bit grumpy and riled (okay, a lot grumpy and riled). But I will say that, with both kids in school all morning, it has actually been a tiny bit awesome having some unexpected time together. I mean, yes, if this stupidity drags on for weeks and weeks sans income for us, things will start to get very much not awesome. But in the short term, it doesn't hurt to at least try to find the silver lining. We went jogging together yesterday, and this morning he did the school drop-off run (they went early, even, in order to play on the playground before class, much to the kids' delight), while I got the last of the arrangements made for our upcoming California trip. Tomorrow we're meeting friends for coffee and breakfast. He got to come along to Eleri's soccer class yesterday afternoon. It's nice to get to see more of each other.

I mean, I kinda like the guy. ;)

So yes. I do hope Congress manages to extract its collective head from its collective arse very soon. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying the extra time we're getting to spend together.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Apple Picking

On Sunday, we went to pick apples at Homestead Farm in Maryland.


The drive out wasn't too long, and it was a gorgeous day. The kids were quite excited about the whole thing and had a great time seeking out the best apples. Soren was insistent that we get a few different varieties, so we came home with mostly Fuji, some Sun Crisp and a few Braeburn. It didn't take long at all to fill up our bushel basket (27+ lbs!), so we were done pretty quickly.

The farm had a big hay pile for kids to play in, so we made a detour there on our way to check out. Soren did a lot of leaping off of things and throwing hay at Eleri. Eleri did a lot of climbing and giggling.


I'm really glad we decided to go in the morning. Headed home, traffic in the opposite direction was barely crawling. If we'd delayed by an hour or so getting out the door, I suspect we'd have given up and turned around before we even made it halfway there! But instead, we completely lucked out with the traffic and were home by lunchtime.


And now...to figure out what exactly to do with all of these apples...

Monday, September 30, 2013

The family that cosplays together...

Finally! Blogger has been a complete pill and hasn't let me log in. But today - TODAY - I finally finish this post I started almost a month ago.


(They don't look super thrilled here, but I assure you that they were.)

Back at the beginning of September, we went to the Baltimore Comic Con. It was an awesomely nerdy fun time. We all dressed up, even! The kids were the 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler, and Tom & I were Mulder & Scully. If you had told me, back in high school, that someday my hot husband and I were going to take our adorable kids to a comic book convention while dressed up as Mulder & Scully, I would have squealed. And then probably asked for that in writing.



(And, in case you need a visual reference...)


Soren and El have been talking about dressing up as the Doctor and Rose for Halloween since, oh I don't know, May or something like that? Many months. So when the Comic Con showed up on our radar and we started acquiring actual costume components, their excitement kicked into overdrive. Every day for weeks, Soren asked, "How many more days til Comic Con?!" Hehe. At long last, the day arrived. We all got dressed up and drove to Baltimore.

The kids were spinning. The crowds were sizable. The costumes were awesome. All of the nerds were absolutely delighted by Soren & El, and a bunch of people asked to take their pictures. Those two goobers hammed it up for the cameras each and every time, just as you'd expect. Even Tom and I got a few comments on our outfits and were asked for pictures a couple of times. Ha! The highlight of Soren's day was when we found someone dressed up as a Dalek (one of the "bad guys" from Doctor Who). He thought it was the coolest freaking thing ever.


Dalek!

I made a truly unfortunate choice in footwear (some heeled boots) and was limping by the end of the day. Oh, let's be real; I was limping by lunchtime. Hobbled back to the car on blister-covered feet when all was said and done. Whoops. Even so, a fine time was had by all. I'm really glad we went.

Aaaaand on the way home, everybody got to try on my Scully wig. ;)


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Soccer season


Eleri had her first soccer class on Wednesday. It's a class for two to three year-olds, and Eleri was easily the oldest and biggest kid there. The coach asked all of the parents at the beginning of class to be actively involved for the first few weeks, "until the kids get used to the routine and get better at following directions and stuff." I stood nearby, but Eleri didn't require any wrangling at all. Turns out there is quite a significant difference in maturity between barely-two and nearly-four. (Shocking!) It's too bad they're strict about the age requirements for these classes; I bet she'd be just fine in the class for four year-olds.


Ka-pow!

But, no matter. She still had a good time, and I suspect it'll all be just fine. Soren amused himself by running to the verrrrrrry farthest edges of the soccer fields, staying within line of sight but on a very loose rein. He'll be getting his turn to play soon enough. His practices start next Saturday, and then he'll have actual games not long thereafter. Should be fun. :)

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

First day!

Guess who's officially a big ol' preschooler now!


(Yeah, I didn't actually think that'd be hard to guess.)

By all accounts, the lass had a great first day. She got the grand tour of the classroom, made some friends, played on the playground, and was most excited about doing "the screwdriver work" and the pink tower. She's looking forward to more fun stuff tomorrow. :)

After school, as has become our custom, we went to the Silver Diner for lunch.


Last year


This year

(Lunch is serious business, apparently.)

Anyway! Soren and I had a nice morning of one-on-one time, and it'll be fun to hang out with just him in the mornings all week, though he's excited to start school as well. All good things. :)

Monday, September 02, 2013

And thus our summer vacation draws to a close

Eleri starts preschool in the morning. This feels, simultaneously, both way too soon and a really long time coming. She's super excited and more than ready. I suspect she's going to enjoy it tremendously.

The kids' school starts classes this week for the new students only. Returning students have a day just to themselves next Monday, and then everybody goes together a week from tomorrow. So this week, for the first time in 2 years, Soren and I will drop El off at school, and then he'll return home with me. It'll be an odd change, I think. But an amusing one.

This past Friday, just in the nick of time, I got my nice camera working again. I hadn't taken any pictures with it since March! But I'll be able to get some nice first-day-of-school photos tomorrow, which I'm glad about. The iPod is a convenient substitute, if not a wholly adequate one.

This last day of summer, I went to back-to-back belly dancing and Zumba classes, while Tom and the kids went on a mile run, played at the local elementary school playground, then went on a 2-mile walk. In the afternoon, the kids and I went to play at a friend's house, whole Tom mad some truly spectacular babyback ribs for dinner. (Soren declared it the best dinner he'd ever, EVER had. Hehe.)

This summer, overall, has been a bit of a blur. An odd one, weather-wise (lots of rain and cooler than usual temperatures), but filled with activities and visiting and fun. Soren and Eleri have spent many, many hours playing together. I expect there will be an adjustment in the coming weeks, when more of their day is taken up by school. They'll probably miss each other a little. But we'll find a new equilibrium. I'm excited to see what the school year brings for all of us.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

I can has blog?

Hey! I still exist! So do these ridiculous beasties.



Soren lost his first tooth this week. Eleri starts preschool the day after tomorrow. Lots of exciting happenings and such, as our summer draws to a close. More coming soon! Probably!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Socially-Awkward Socializing

Continuing this year's trend of being all social and stuff, I got to spend a few hours today hanging out with someone I met on Twitter. And yep, tick another mark in the "friends from the internet are cool" column. I drove up to Annapolis to meet my internet friend for an X-Files comic book launch party/signing. We made judgy eyebrows at the other nerds and browsed the comic book store and kept our squealing to polite and ladylike levels, then continued into old town Annapolis for further adventures and lunch. It was a grand time.

Meeting up with Internet friends is fun. The end.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Look at me! I made a game!


This was the final project for my Python class. I made a Doctor Who game!

(Up arrow to move forward, L/R arrows to turn, space bar to shoot. Oh, and the audio won't work in Safari. Chrome is probably the best option, but I've been told the game runs all right in Firefox as well.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

First/Last Day of School

Third year running

We have gone to pick strawberries at Miller Farms every summer since 2011. This morning was our third trip. I took some pictures! I've taken pictures every time, in fact.

Eleri in 2011

D'awwww...

Eleri last year

Yeah, didn't get her face that year. Sorry.

Eleri this morning

Growing up!

Soren in 2011


Soren last year


Soren this morning


In years past, we've gone to the farm in late April or early May. This year we didn't make it up there until the very last day of the "pick your own" season. Between the lateness and the fact that we had a huge wind and rain storm through the region yesterday, I fully expected the fields to be a muddy mess with almost no berries left. Rarely have I been so glad to be wrong! This year's weather was the nicest by far, and our haul was the biggest. We came home with just over 5 lbs of berries, all gathered in just about 25 minutes. Impressive!


After our exhausting labor in the fields, we hit the farm store and got some ice cream. All told, a very fruitful morning! ;)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blackjack!

I forgot to post a link to my Blackjack project for my Python class. Whoops. I'm currently working on a pretty slick Doctor Who-themed arcade game, in the style of Asteroids. I should be able to post a link for that one this weekend. :)

Social butterflies

We've been able to do a lot of visiting with various folks in the last few months. ML was out in early March, then my mom was here, and my friend Amber from high school was in town at the end of the month. In April I got to hang out in person for the first time with Problem Girl and Stimey, some awesome ladies I've "known" online for quite a few years now. And then my friend Mario from California was in town, so the kids and I got to visit with him (he'd never met Eleri and hadn't seen Soren since we moved).

Memorial weekend we spent a bunch of time with a bunch of folks from Unfogged. Tom's been reading that website for years and years, and I read it off & on as well. It's one of those very rare places online where the comment threads are actually worth reading; it's by and large a community of smart, thoughtful people who have interesting things to say. We've met up with various folks from the blog all over the country, and it's always been a positive experience.

So anyway, Memorial weekend, a bunch of folks were converging on DC for a big get-together, had rented a house for a base of operations. We took the kiddos into the city Friday evening, and they of course charmed everyone in attendance. Soren didn't take long to set up a "beer sale" (he would fetch beers from the fridge and deliver them to his customers in exchange for the bottle caps), and Eleri spent a bunch of time stacking and arranging and counting said bottle caps. On Saturday we met up with some people in the afternoon at the National Gallery and wandered from there to the Hirschorn sculpture garden before heading over to the house for another evening of socializing and amusement. Soren started earning actual tips with his "beer sale" and was super chuffed about the whole thing. We didn't get back home that night until super late, but both kids were incredibly well behaved. It was a really fun couple of days.

We were up almost absurdly early the next morning (actually a perfectly reasonable hour, but it seemed early given our late night) to meet up with yet more friends for breakfast. We went to Best Buns Bakery for breakfast sandwiches and holy freaking cow were they amazing. We ate breakfast at a park, hung out for a few hours and let the kids play, and then went back to Best Buns to pick up more sandwiches for lunch. Definitely need to go there again. Wow.

Anyway, that's just a bit of what we've been up to lately. Now that summer's here, I'm sure the kids and I will be out and about a fair bit, so I should have even more to not write about soon. ;)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Social Weekend

We did a ton of socializing over the long weekend, and I do want to write about it, but I can't get to it right at the moment.

For now, I'm going to post last week's Python class project. I built a Memory Game.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pong

Last week's assignment in the Python class was to make Pong. It was a little tricky, but I did it! Whee!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nerd arts & crafts

Well. A more accurate title would be "Arty-crafty projects related to my current nerdy obsession, which is, of course, Doctor Who." But that's significantly less pithy.

But you know me. I like to make things. It's fun! So in the past month or so I've:


Awesomeified my purse a bit


And patched some jeans

But it's been a while since I made any custom shirts for the kids. As a matter of fact, I'd never done one specifically for Eleri before. So last week I sat down with her and asked what she wanted me to draw. We went through some options, looked at stuff on Google Image like I usually do with Soren, and she ultimately decided that she wanted this:


(Artist credit here)

Well, I told her I'd see what I could come up with. Naturally, as soon as Soren heard us talking about it, he decided he wanted one for himself, too, so I agreed to make him one as well. Just finished them today, and I think they turned out rather smashingly.


El's


Soren's

Monday, May 20, 2013

Seven years!


Happy anniversary, Tom. :)

Evening Parade

We went to this kind of crazy event Friday night. Tom mentioned a couple of weeks ago that he could get tickets to a "Marine Corps Evening Parade" thing and thought that the kids might get a kick out of it. The Marine Band and the Drum & Bugle Corps were going to perform, and there would be battalion drilling, including the one unit that does their drill without commands (they go through the whole thing completely silent...ah! Here's a video, from last year, but it was basically the same.). So I said sure, sounds neat. Then a week or so ago, he got the official invitation and sent it along saying, "Huh, looks like this is a fancy thing! Opportunity for Soren to wear his kilt!" Uh, yeah, fancy attire, and the parade doesn't even start til 8:45pm. And runs til 10.

So I was HIGHLY skeptical about this being a good idea. Eleri has been..oh, let's just say fragile...lately. Extra fragile. Major freakouts when she doesn't get her way, just horribly unpleasant 3 y.o. behavior. Especially if she's tired and/or hungry. So yeah, fancy-dress event starting almost an hour past bedtime and involving a considerable chunk of time where you have to be QUIET? This did not sound like a good idea. I told Tom maybe he and Soren should just go, and he thought Eleri would probably be fine but conceded that maybe it would be too late in the evening for her after all. In the end, we agreed to just see how Friday was going, see how her mood was by the early evening, and go from there.

Friday I made the kids take it easy in the afternoon, hoping no one would get overtired. El had a bit of whining before dinnertime, but one we sat down at the table, she plowed through all of her food like a champion and was in a perfectly pleasant mood. Like, charming and happy and calm and smiley and cute. So...I figured we were go for launch. So we all got dressed up in our fancy clothes. We drove into DC. We parked and got escorted to our seats...which were in the VIP section. We were seated two rows behind the event's host and guest of honor (Sen. Claire McCaskill). And it was not a spot from which we could very easily make a quick getaway if things were to turn south. Welp, here goes nothing!

And no kidding? The kids were amazing. They were AMAZING. They were all smiley and enthusiastic and sweet and well behaved. There were a few instances of quiet talking when we were supposed to be, you know, not talking, and had to be reminded to whisper, but no one yelled. No one cried. No one got upset or made inappropriate comments or rude noises. And we stayed for the WHOLE thing. All the way to 10:00. The lady sitting in front of us turned around at the end and told Eleri what a wonderful job she'd done, behaving so nicely through the whole thing. It seriously couldn't have gone better. I was flabbergasted. And happy to have been proven wrong. I'm glad we went. It really was quite cool, and everybody had a really good time.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Snippets

Soren's BFF is Star Wars obsessed. Consequently, even though neither or my kids has seen any of the movies, they end up "playing Star Wars" a lot with A. And now they've started occasionally playing it with each other at home. This afternoon I heard Soren informing Eleri that he was a Storm Trooper last time and this time he was going to be Princess Leia, thank you very much. Hehe.

* * *

I'm taking this free Python programming class online right now, through Coursera. Each week we have a mini-project, a little program to write. So far (three weeks in) they've all been under a hundred lines of code. But the focus of the course is on learning to build simple games. Last week it was "Guess the Number" and this week's was a stopwatch game (try to stop the clock exactly on an even second). Anyway. It's fun, and I'm really enjoying learning a new skill.

* * *

Eleri is kind of like Tigger sometimes. She just sproings around, hop-hop-hopping her way from place to place. Tom took her grocery shopping last weekend and said she hopped her way all through the store. She's a silly one. And she's going to have nice strong leg muscles if she keeps this up.

* * *

It's been rainy off and on, this week. But warmer. Basically the perfect springtime weather, as far as I'm concerned. We've had enough dry periods for the kids to play outside at least a little every day (or nearly...I think they may have been stuck inside on Monday), and the warmer temperatures have spurred little bits of thunder & lightning here and there. I like it.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Just keep writing!

I need to put something up on the blog. What should I write?

I dunno, I'll post something later.

Okay. Yes! Later.


*days go by*

Erm...oops.

Soooooo yeah. For weeks and weeks and weeks now I've been saying that I wanted to get seeds started for this year's container garden. One minor problem was that I could NOT for the freaking LIFE of me find our seeds from last year. Couldn't find 'em. Anywhere. And even though we moved and a bunch of stuff is still boxed and stashed at the tops of closets, there really weren't all that many places they could have been. So that was frustrating. But then my friend Carlota gave me a bunch of herb seeds, so I had no good excuse not to at least get those started and STILL weeks went by.

Is anybody sensing a pattern, here?

Finally, though, finally today I decided that enough was enough and we were going to take advantage of the beautiful afternoon and plant those seeds! And on a whim, I decided to check one last box in the spare room, which I was pretty sure was full of letters and cards and pictures but NOPE. I found the vegetable seeds. They'd been right there all along, in a box I'd passed over time and time again. Ha. So we got out the seed starting tray, filled the little cells up with dirt, drew up a planting diagram (so we could remember what we'd planted where) and got those seeds in.

Alphabetically, we've planted:
  • Basil
  • Calendula
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapenos
  • Lavender
  • Mustard
  • Nasturtium
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Tomatoes

Not bad for a start! Hopefully at least some of them will take. I've had a really poor success rate with cilantro in the past, so I'm not holding my breath on that one, and last year we really only got basil, jalapenos, sage & chard, despite planting a bunch of other stuff. But hey, at least we've made it past step one. Seeds are in the trays. Woo-hoo!

(And another post is on the blog. Go, me.)

Monday, May 06, 2013

Little things, sometimes

Yaya would have been 80 years old, yesterday. It felt a little weird to not be calling her and making a big deal out of it. Hmph.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Things I have watched while Tom's been away

  • Doctor Who Confidential cutdowns from Series 2
  • The Series 2 finale episode, with commentary
  • (Twice)
  • Series 2 special features, deleted scenes & outtakes from the DVD box set
  • (Basically, it's been a Doctor Who party up in here, as predicted.)
  • Takin' Over the Asylum

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Two Three tickets to Paradiso

Tonight the kids and I went out to dinner with a friend (whose husband is also out of town this week) and her kids. There's a restaurant just up the road from our place called Paradiso, and we've been meaning to check it out for ages. They have what is perhaps the most brilliant thing ever devised - a fully supervised kids-only dining room. The kiddos are in there with their dinner, a movie and an attendant, and the adults can eat in relative peace and quiet on the other side of a window. So great! The weasels had a fine time eating cheese pockets (ravioli) and visiting with their friends, and K & I had a nice dinner as well. Win!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Start small

Time to dust off this blog, people. Well past time.

Hello! Did you miss me? I missed me. Which sounds odd because I've got myself all the time, but it's still true.

It's too daunting to try and catch up with two months' worth of adventures right away, so I'm starting small. I'll try to write at least a little each day. ("Try" being the operative word, there. But really. I will.) Because I like having a record. I miss it.

Tom left this morning for a week-long business trip out of state. It hasn't really sunk in yet that today is anything other than an ordinary Monday, but we're approaching evening now and I suspect it'll become real fairly soon. He goes out of town for work so rarely that I'm very much not accustomed to doing the whole single parent thing. Especially for a whole week! But we'll manage. Bedtime is about a billion times easier than it was even a year ago, and the kids entertain themselves and each other well enough during the day that I get little breaks now and again. And I'm looking forward to watching a bunch of Doctor Who DVD special features and commentaries and behind-the-scenes things after the weasels go to bed. (Tom is not such a big fan of such things, so I have grand plans to make the most of my TV monopoly this week. Muahaha!)

And now it's time to get dinner started. I promised myself a short post before dinner, and here it is. But now there's risotto to be made.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Year in Review - 2012

Oh, my poor neglected blog. I only made it into double-digit posts per month twice last year. Welp, let's see what I managed to record. (I may have to supplement with stuff from Facebook and Twitter.)

  • Eleri turned two!
  • Chuck wrapped up and aired its last episode. I was fairly annoyed with how they ended things.
  • We got some snow. I took some pretty pictures.
  • I signed Eleri up for a rec center class, where we met some folks who are now really good friends of ours.

  • Ha! Midway through February we finally got around to playing the board game I'd bought Tom for Christmas. (And here I was feeling bad about not having played this year's game yet.) It was a giant failure of a purchase, unfortunately. I'm hoping the one I picked out for 2012 is better.
  • I went to my first Zumba class ever, after months of hemming and hawing and being certain that "Zumba? Eh, it's just really not my thing." Ha! Oh how wrong I was. How very, very wrong.
  • We also started potty training Eleri this month.

  • We ordered the seeds to start for 2012's balcony garden. We were super ambitious. We did in fact manage to start quite a lot of different things, but in the end, we mostly ended up with jalapeno peppers. And dear god, so very many jalapeno peppers.
  • Ellie started a swimming class, and Soren started "Beehive Soccer League" through the rec center. Eleri loved the class at first, but before too long she realized that she had no interest whatsoever in trying to float on her back and would spend half the class really tense in unhappy anticipation of backfloat time and the other half sort of cooperative and sort of mad. But she discovered a deep and abiding love of jumping into the pool. Soren spent a good chunk of his soccer class socializing and looking for ladybugs on the field.
  • I was horseback riding a lot last spring. Lots of beautiful trail rides along the Potomac and whatnot. Fun times.

  • I started making vegan dinners on occasion, this month. I've managed to keep it up, since. Some have been quite tasty (actually, I'd say we've had more successes than failures, on balance). I've been collecting recipes here, on Pinterest.
  • Soren turned four and had his very first birthday party, with his preschool classmates (and a few other non-schoolmates) in attendance. It was a rousing success.
  • Oh! Oh-ho-ho-ho! (I do so enjoy reading back through the past year's worth of blog posts to do these reviews. All those little gems I'd forgotten about.) So, late April was apparently when they began all of the ridiculous garage renovation at our old condo complex. Dear sweet merciful jeebus that was unpleasant. The jackhammering from 8am to 4pm, day after day after day. The months and months and months of complete and utter clusterfuckery in the parking lot, as they reduced the available spaces so significantly we frequently ended up parking all the way across the complex.
  • April was also a month with a lot of illness and vomiting in our house. Yay? Fortunately, we ended the month on a good note with a fun trip into the city for the Science and Engineering Festival.

  • I got to ride Petey the Fancy Trakehner (N's leased horse) out in the woods and over jumps for the first time. Ours was a brief but shining love affair, before he went back to live with his owner again in June.
  • Six years married. :)
  • My cousin Shannon came to stay with us over Memorial Weekend. I'm not gonna lie; we basically planned her visit around what we were going to eat. We had not so much an itinerary as an "eatinerary." And it was fantastic.

  • We started June with a road trip to Ohio for a wedding. Super fun times, and awesome to get to visit with friends from California.
  • Soren's first year of preschool came to an end, and we began a roasty, toasty summer vacation. We ended up at the smoothie place quite a few times over the next few months. Did a lot of going to the spray park and the pool, as well.
  • Mom came to visit at the end of the month. As always, we had a grand time.
  • And, oh yes, I had yet another birthday.

  • Soren got to have a little pony ride on Vanya, my friend N's horse. He was super thrilled.
  • We signed up for the library summer reading program. Soren declared he would read one hundred books over the course of the summer, and by golly, he (we) managed it! We also attended story times and musical programs almost every week.
  • The kids got super into the Olympics. I mean, not that this is surprising or anything. They're the friggin Olympics.
  • I went to the cardiologist's to get checked out for something that didn't end up being a heart problem. Still not clear what the heck it is/was, but it's mostly gone away. Biology is so weird.

  • Oh, it began. We started the great house hunt this month. So. Many. Houses.
  • More Olympics. And Paralympics. Soren was fascinated by Oscar Pistorius. (Oops. So much for him as a role model!)
  • I attended a neat photo workshop in DC, with my friend Carlota. We did low-light photography and wandered around taking cool pictures. It was a lot of fun.

  • Soren started at his new Montessori preschool and has been loving it. Eleri started a soccer class of her very own. The first class, she spent almost the entire hour on the sidelines, sitting in my lap and whimpering. Within two weeks, she was the star student and never looked back.
  • More house hunting. So much house hunting. We actually went through the offer process for the first time this month, but the seller wasn't willing to negotiate with us. Ultimately, I'm glad that house didn't work out. I like the place we ended up buying. ;)

  • Oh presidential election politics. You had been ramping up all autumn but you were really annoying in October. (The debates made me kind of ragey.)
  • Our jalapeno plant went freaking CRAZY and was producing ridiculous quantities of super hot peppers. I made a lot of delicious cheddar/jalapeno bread.
  • Tom took Soren to a D.C. United game. Soren had a great time and from time to time will now chant "D.C. Uni-TED!" apropos of basically nothing. Eleri, hilariously, always shouts "States!" at the end.
  • October was busy! We made an offer on our house and started the whole first time homebuyer process. Which was scary and exciting and scary and exciting.
  • Halloween! The kids dressed up as the Mythbusters. Soren was Adam, El was Jamie. It was awesome.

  • We were supposed to close on the house mid-November, but there were some last minute snags and it ended up getting pushed back by a month. A little annoying, but eh. Gave us more time to get organized I guess. Or something.
  • We had my friend Carlota and her kids over for Thanksgiving this year. I made spanakopita for the first time completely on my own, and I made an enormous batch. They were delicious and they contained 6 kinds of cheese and (did I mention?) were delicious.
  • We got our Christmas tree the next day, as has become our tradition. We set it up indoors for the first time (in past years we've had it out on the balcony) and it was awfully nice.

  • Oh. My. Goodness. December was a crazy blur. We spent it packing and rushing to get ready to move, then closing on the house, then painting at the new house, then moving, then cleaning and painting (and painting, and painting, and painting) at the apartment. All four of us were, at some point or another, sick this month (just colds, but nasty ones), and holy cow, moving while sick is intensely unpleasant. But we did it!
  • First Christmas in our new house. Got a second tree (first one didn't make the move with us), and we got a balsam fir for the first time. For future reference, those are nice trees. We should get another one next year.
  • And yes, let December 31, 2012 be forever marked as the day I finally got Tom to give in and agree to start watching Doctor Who with me. It's a show I have thought for a while would be right up my alley (time-traveling humanoid alien embarks on wacky adventures) but Tom insisted he wasn't interested. Whether it was the New Year's Eve wine or just his general good nature that eventually changed his mind, I'm grateful either way. ;)

There you have it. 2012 in a nutshell. It was a heck of a year, even if I didn't record much of it. Allons-y, 2013!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Week Five


A little late getting the photo posted this week (though I did take it on time). Back before we had kids, we had this Shakespearean magnetic poetry set out and up on the refrigerator. Once Soren came along, that no longer seemed like the best idea, having tiny little magnets out that he'd be tempted to eat. So the set has been packed away for quite some time, and we finally got it back out again when we moved. It's up on the washing machine.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nothing Something Important Happened Today

Dorthea Balabus
May 5, 1933 - January 27, 2013

Today, in the wee hours of the morning, my Yaya took her last breaths. She died in her sleep, snug in her butterfly sweatshirt, surrounded by the photos of those who knew and loved her. It was the conclusion of her journey here, the journey we all take. It is the best we can hope for, to love and be loved and grow old before that journey's end. Yaya succeeded in all three.

So today is not a day to be too terribly sad. (Disclaimer: I can't actually tell anyone else how or what to feel. I'm speaking from my own perspective.) Today is a day to mark as the end of a story without which I wouldn't even be here.

It is important that she was here. It is important that she loved her family and her friends. It is important that they loved her back.

Happy trails, Yaya. You will not be forgotten.

Week Four


The library. In my head it sounds more posh, like, "the lahhhbry."

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Life does go on

Soren came downstairs this morning wearing the shiny silver pants I bought him for his preschool Christmas program angel costume. He'd been wearing sweats earlier, so I asked why he'd changed. He said he was playing dress up.

Me: So what are those pants for? What do you do when you're wearing them?
Soren: These are abseiling pants!

Once again, the frequent watching of Fireman Sam around here has resulted in the accumulation of some excellent British vocabulary.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

It has been an emotional couple of weeks.

I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have made it 31 years in life with 3 out of my 4 biological grandparents still alive. It is not as rare a thing as it used to be, but still, I don't have many peers who can say the same. I had one great-grandparent (by marriage) in the picture when I was a youngster. My children have had three on my side, plus another two on Tom's. That is quite a thing.

And yet.

Nothing lasts forever. No one lasts forever.

And for the past couple of weeks, my mom has been losing her mom.


My Yaya (Greek for 'grandmother') has always been a big part of my life. Co-matriarch of the Stepford clan (along with my great-aunt Julie), lover of books and movies and animals and the ocean, world traveler, adoring of her grandkids and great-grandkids, always ready to hug you or feed you or both. She used to clutch my hand and gasp when my sister whirled her way onstage in the Nutcracker every year. She and Aunt Julie would regale us with stories every time we visited, cackling delightedly all the while. She almost always had a camera within easy reach, to the chagrin of her sometimes reluctant photographic subjects, but the resulting shelves of photo albums are rather magnificent to behold. Her hugs have a warmth and intensity in a class of their own.


The aggressive cancer that was only so recently discovered in her has given time for some goodbyes without too much time for dwelling. She hasn't had months or years of suffering. These are small but not insignificant comforts. She would have been 80 this year, in May. Objectively speaking, that is a pretty damned good run. Of course, humans tend to have a tough time being objective when dealing with matters of mortality, and I think losing a parent is a difficult thing at any age. I won't even pretend to know what my mom is going through right now, simultaneously ready for everything to be over and also dreading that final phone call.


Yaya, you taught me to not just enjoy but really embrace the things about which we are passionate in life. To hell with anyone who thinks it's silly; let them laugh, let them roll their eyes. Follow your heart and don't let anything stand in your way. Get the hammer, get the nails.

I love you. I'll miss you a lot. But I will never forget you. Vade in pace.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Week Three


Two of our three bathrooms have these cool faucets.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Week Two

We hung these lights on our dining room window at Christmastime. But I like them, and they're plain white, so I think they're going to stay up.