28 January 2011

Look over here, kids. Kids?!

Why is it so hard to get a pair of kids to look in the same direction at the same time?

Really. There are only two of them. It should be easy.

I think they're conspiring against me.

27 January 2011

C.A.D.D. and the bellydance top

I have a confession to make. I'm afraid I'm a bit A.D.D. when it comes to crafts and baking. I start one project and have to work on four others before I can finish the one I started. It's pretty annoying.

Case in point: remember all these projects I have lined up? Plenty to work on, right? Guess not. Instead of working on ANY of those, I decided to design and sew Doodle a new bellydance top today. True, she only had one top up until now and it was constantly going missing. This frequently lead to games of "find the bellydancer's top buried in the toy bin" or talks of "no really, bellydancers ALWAYS wear tops. You need to wear something. Anything. Please." So a little sewing project in the name of sanity preservation, even if it wasn't something on The List, is overall a good thing. Right?

Here are photos in the now-standard crappy, flashless quality. The top is made of some purple velvet scrap I picked up at the thrift store, and tied with ribbon in the back. Doodle's gone a bit tribal too.

25 January 2011

Roo loves birds

He looks outside first thing in the morning, searching the sky. He looks at me, signs, looks outside again. He's searching for birds. He loves birds.

Our friend Liv recently posted a photo of a jay on her blog. Roo saw it, and for the next day kept pointing at the computer and signing bird. I told Liv this, and requested more birds on Roo's behalf. She replied with a bird photo post. Roo loved it. Here's his reaction, complete with hooting sound which he now uses for all animals:

Thanks, Liv!

24 January 2011

Craft piles ahoy!

J is home and all is well. The kids and I survived our week without him, though we're all much happier to have him home. Now that J's back and I have a little more free time, the crafting has resumed. Oh yes.

On my desk I have the following projects either started or in queue:
  • first knitting project - a scarf. I'm ~12 inches in.
  • feather-and-fake-orchid hair clip fluff things for tribal bellydance costuming. I believe they're called "fascinators" on Etsy. Not sure what's so fascinating about feathery hair decor, but whatev. I will be fluffy and tribal, and soon!
  • bra to deconstruct and reconstruct as a tribal coin bra of awesomeness.
  • satiny cabaret bellydance skirt to sew.
  • bellydance cover-up (caftan) #1 to finish sewing, figure out pattern details (J's design!)
  • bellydance cover-up #2 to cut out, sew, decorate.
  • pajamas for Roo.
  • pajama pants for Doodle.
  • Valentine-themed banner to put together.
  • a couple of these for Doodle and Roo for Valentine's Day.
So far I've made one feathery fascinator thingy, and one headband. Caftan #1 is mostly done, and I'll hopefully get that done yet this naptime. (Thank you forces of the universe and/or basic human physiology that require my son to take a nap every day, without which I would accomplish even less than I already do.)

Also, on Friday I had my first solo bellydance performance in a non-hafla setting (Indian Restaurant) since MAY. It had been far too long between performances, but I feel it went really well. I'm glad I did it, I had fun, and I really hope I get to do it again. If so, I will bring my video camera next time. This stuff needs to be documented, yo!

I keep thinking I'll get around to posting photos and links for all the fun things I made for Xmas. That's on the pile too, along with sharing more Maui stories (though I'm still lacking photos) and maintaining sanity and making lots of yummy food and oh, what's that? We're pretending that you're the mom and I'm the kid and Roo's the baby and we're flying to San Diego?

Duty calls. Anyone want to work on my craft piles in the meantime?

18 January 2011

Cabin Fever!

Roo's been sick so we've put ourselves in quarantine since Saturday. Stuck in the house with a four year old, a 15 month old, and a restless mama. We've done lots of reading...

(Roo is signing book here. He signs that and 'sleep' regularly.)

...and we've had lots of dance time. We watched Episode 1 and 2 of Project Bellydance, so now Doodle is alternating which awesome bellydancer she's pretending to be (the latest is Shems, a Utah lady now in Baltimore. We love Shems!). Note Doodle's innovative costuming - she's using the pink ruffly skirt as a bustle for her sparkle skirt, and a red sequined "scarf" as a hip drape. All her own design.

Sassy action shot
Bustle view. I think it works, don't you?

We've also been baking, perhaps a bit excessively - I've since crossed off (and eaten) the vanilla pudding too. Today: bagels maybe, or possibly pasta if Roo takes a nap and all the stars align just so.
I've also been teaching myself to knit, we've set up our own living room farmer's market, and since yesterday have been pretending to be cast members of Stomp (aka drumming on everything in the house. I had no idea it would be quite so popular with the kids, but it's a lot of fun).

Add in lots of coloring, outfit changes, and birding (see the sidebar bird list? we added that undetermined hawk this afternoon with much jumping and shouting of "Ooh! OOH!" while looking out the kitchen window. Some of the smaller family members may have been standing on the kitchen table to see. Birds are cool enough to warrant that behavior, after all). When we're lucky there's the occasional Roo nap and you've got a picture of what we've been doing for the past few days while J is out of town.

Only 46 more hours until he's home. Not that anyone's counting.

16 January 2011

Rushing the seasons

Blossoms of Winter

I am frustrated with how stores, the media, and even we ourselves rush ahead all the time, hardly taking the time to just BE in the season we are currently in. Before Halloween the stores are rushing us into winter and Christmas and buy buy buy, barely acknowledging Autumn in its warmth and beauty. We glamorize winter for Christmas, with icicle ornaments and pre-flocked trees with the illusion of snow, but by December 26th there are tulips and crocus at the grocery store wooing us with the promise of spring.

Why not enjoy winter for winter's sake, with the time to be cozy inside with soup and good company? What about the beauty of sunshine glittering on a snowy landscape, the crispness of the fresh cold air? It's early January and still very much winter outside. We have a long time to go before the crocus peek from their barely-thawed beds. We should enjoy the beauty of the season in that season rather than always longing for what is yet to come.

Today I urge you to enjoy winter for winter's sake, whatever that means where you are. I have a sick Roo dozing on my lap, so today I'll make some hot cocoa and cuddle my littles and enjoy a nice, slow day. Maybe in a couple days we'll blaze a new sled run in the yard. Whatever we do, I plan to help the kids find joy in winter now. Sure we'll enjoy spring when it's time. But now it's winter; let's enjoy it!

Hey hey hey

A great song with a great message from one of my favorite groups - Michael Franti & Spearhead.

15 January 2011

Doodle's packing list

From the bloggy backlog, I present the list of clothing Doodle packed for our trip to North Carolina. (Yes, that was Thanksgiving. I just found the list I jotted down. Better late than never, right?)

When turned loose to pack her own clothes for our Thanksgiving road trip, this is what Doodle put in her bag:
  • 7 short sleeve shirts
  • 3 skirts
  • 1 pair pants
  • 5 pairs tights
  • 1 pair socks
  • 1 pair underwear
  • 4 swimsuits
Apparently road trip = fun, warmth and waterplay. We ended up doing a little supplemental packing before we left.

14 January 2011

Homemade chocolate syrup

You guys! You have got to try this! Homemade chocolate syrup that is inexpensive and DIVINE. Oh my goodness. The recipe is here. Couldn't be easier.

We may have to make ice cream tonight just to have a substrate on which to consume more chocolate syrup. YUM.

Edited to add: I have a new favorite morning drink. Take one cup of coffee and stir in one spoonful of this syrup. Soooo good.

13 January 2011


We just dropped J off at the airport. He's flying to San Diego for a conference and will be gone for a week. (Though the story of how the airline canceled his 6am flight at 6pm yesterday is a fun one - he's currently picking up a rental car with his boss, driving to Baltimore, then taking a nonstop flight to San Diego. Quite the fiasco.)

We'll be in self-entertaining/survival mode here, which either means I'll be blogging a ton or not at all. Things should get back to normal (whatever that is) before February... I hope.

10 January 2011

Ouch! Hahahahaha!!!

While eating dinner last night, Doodle asked J to tell her something funny. J decided to teach her about puns and jokes. He proceeds to tell her the following joke: "A man walks into a bar and says ouch!" She laughs, then looks a little confused.
J: "do you know what a bar is?"
Doodle: "no."
J: "Well, a bar is a place where grown ups go to have drinks like beer."
Doodle: confused look
Me: "A bar is a building people go in to drink beer."
J: "But a BAR (gesturing as if holding a pole) is a metal thing like a pole. So if someone walked into it, and hit it, what would he say?"
Doodle: "ouch! Hehehehehehe! He says ouch!"

J: "okay, let me tell you another joke:
A string walks into a bar. The bartender looks over and says 'we don't serve your kind here.' The string walks outside, ties himself up and unravels one end. He walks back into the bar. The bartender says 'hey, weren't you the string I just told to leave?' And the string says 'no, I'm a frayed knot!' "
Doodle: "and he says ouch! Hahahahahahaha!!!"

Sooo we're still working with her on grasping the context of the joke.

But her joke arsenal is growing. She's got the universal punchline of "Ouch!" down, and now the interrupting cow knock knock joke is her favorite. Only in the Doodle version it goes something like this:
Doodle: "Knock knock!"
Me: "Who's..."
Doodle (interrupting, of course) "Moo!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"

Now I'm really not sure if I dare look for a kid joke book for her at the library on Tuesday. It could be really silly and fun, but could also involve a lot of laborious background explanation that takes all the funniness out of the jokes. We shall see.

In the mean time, anyone have more kid-appropriate jokes I can share with Doodle?

09 January 2011

Eaten by a tiger

Doodle art exhibit, from December 2010. Artist's comments are in quotes.

"This is Papa climbing."
The line that goes out to the right and around is the rope "helping keep Papa safe".

"This is Papa climbing too. He has hair and a rope hanging down and hair on his chin."

"Mom, this is you," (points to center) "and this is a tiger eating you."

Wait, what?

08 January 2011


It's a bit of a rough transition from this...
...to this...
...but we're working on it.
The fresh snowfall has helped - it's better to have snow to play in (and eat) than just cold wind and gray skies.

07 January 2011

Maui: date night @ Sansei

My sister gave us a great Christmas present while in Maui: her babysitting services so we could go out on a date, our first real date since Doodle was an infant!

We headed to Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, a restaurant we found listed in some brochure as the best Japanese fusion restaurant in Maui. They weren't kidding. I didn't get any photos of dinner, but lucky for us (and you), lots of other people have posted photos of their fabulous Sansei meals on Flickr. Are you ready to see the amazingness that was our dinner?

The drinks:
Lychee Martini at Sansei, Maui
Lychee Martini
Lychee vodka martini, garnished with lychee sorbet balls. Yum.

We also had some Sho Chiku Bai “Nigori” (Cloudy Sake). The best sake I've had so far.

The Food:

Panko Crusted Fresh Ahi Sashimi
Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll
"Sashimi grade Hawaiian ahi, arugula and spinach wrapped into a sushi roll, panko-crusted, flash-fried and served with Sansei’s mild soy wasabi butter sauce." OMG amazing. Amazing amazing amazing.

Sansei Maui
Sansei's Shrimp Dynamite
"Crispy tempura shrimp tossed with creamy garlic masago aioli with an unagi glaze drizzle." Yuuummmmm.

Mackerel nigiri, the Alaska Flower Roll, and a Lobstertail and Asparagus roll. All very yummy and fresh. Mmmmm.

Matsuhisa style Miso Butterfish - "Tender butterfish marinated and roasted in sake and sweet miso." Click on the link to see the photo. So SO good.

Finally, Dessert:
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar
Tempura Fried Macadamia Nut Ice Cream
"Vanilla ice cream wrapped with buttery pound cake, rolled in roasted macadamia nuts, flash-fried and served with chocolate and caramel sauces."

I'm of the opinion that this should be the only dessert option they offer. It is mind-blowingly delicious AND decidedly Hawaiian. Why get New York-style cheesecake or chocolate cake and ice cream that you could get anywhere when you can get THIS?

This was such an amazing dinner. It was great to get away with just J, and we got to appreciate some really awesome food while doing so. In all, a perfect evening. Special thanks to my sibs who entertained the kiddos, and family members who gave us cash for Christmas "to spend as we wish". You bought us one heck of a memorable dinner. Thank you!

06 January 2011


Subalpine zone, Haleakala National Park

One of our last days in Hawaii J and I took a daytrip with the kiddos up to Haleakala National Park, the big crater in the middle of Maui. We wanted to see a wild Sandalwood tree (J's Master's thesis study organism), some Silverswords (plants native to Hawaii, some of which are endangered), and some Nene (Hawaiian Geese). We struck out on the Nene, but found some introduced Chukar near the top of the crater. I grumbled a little about the chukar, as a guy had pointed us to the trail saying "There's some Nene right over there!" Oh well.

The sandalwood was everything J had hoped, and even had some bracken fern (his PhD study organism) growing up and out of it. We stopped and botanized in the subalpine zone, where I would definitely spend more time given the opportunity. We saw some Vaccinium (Hawaiian huckleberries), a bunch of neat leguminous shrubs, and even found a cute yellow-faced solitary bee!

cute little male solitary bee!

The silverswords were beautiful, especially in the near-barren alpine zone where they grow. The visitor center at the top is just short of 10,000 feet elevation, and you can see everything from up there. We could see the ocean all around the island, and some of the nearby islands. It was beautiful. I'm glad we decided to head up country because we got to see some beautiful areas and explore some ecosystems that are very different from the beach.

On the long, winding drive up the mountain we saw some hitchhikers with longboards and helmet-cams, and realized they had just done something like this:

We totally would have picked up the guys just to hear their story, but with the carseats and kiddos we didn't have room for them. Bummer.

A little farther up the mountain we saw another pair of guys coming down on their longboards. Looked a little scary, but definitely a rush. The road is perfect for this; it's nice and smooth, long, well maintained, and low traffic. I'm under orders from my mom to not tell my brother about this.

Pretty amazing, don't you think?

Return from Paradise

We're back and alive. Still struggling to get back on Eastern time after switching to Pacific (+3 hours), then Hawaii (+2 more), then back to Pacific (-2), then Eastern (-3, and we got home at 4am Tuesday). Our internal clocks are all effed up. We're getting there, though.

Hawaii was beautiful and warm and wonderful. Roo still has sand on his scalp, 6 days later. Doodle and I have swimsuit tan lines. What I don't have, yet, is photos. Our camera has been on the fritz with a busted flash for about three months now (hence all the crappy, blurry photos I've been posting. Sorry.) so we decided not to bring it. My mom, step-bro, sis and sis's friend all took plenty of photos and promised to share, so as soon as we get some of those I'll post photos of our sunny, warm, beautiful escape.

In the mean time I'll work on posting some stories and tidbits from the trip while we get back into the swing of our cold, Eastern time zone days.

Happy New Year, friends!