Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Color Cubes

My favorite apartment buildings in Minneapolis. Very Roy Lichtenstein. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

21 Months of Spunk

The first part of this doesn't have to do with a toddler, but I need to get it off my chest.

I truly don't understand the hype about Beyonce. I'm sorry if I'm alone in this.

I get that she's cute enough and can both act and sing vaguely well, but where you lose me is why she's given such elevated status  and why Anderson Cooper even said "This is Beyonce's world and we are all just living in it...."


The only way this is her world is if she speaks six languages, of which one is Korean, AND her singing voice doesn't put me to sleep, which it does. And about a million other things.

It's not a jealously thing, trust me; I just don't get it.

That said, how about this cute 21 month-old?

Zanna is shockingly close to two years old and seems to be getting cuter and funnier every day. She is talking nonstop and has developed a very noticeable intonation to her phrases, which may or may not contain actual words. It's pretty interesting to see how early kids pick up on intonation, even before the words are there. She's certainly saying a lot of words and shorter phrases, and as she puts it all together it'll only be a matter of time before the longer sentences start coming.

Lately she says "I'm sorry!" and "O bear?" [Where's bear?] and then a semblance of "There he is!" 

The Spanish is definitely developing, too. The other day Micah told her they were going to count to three in Spanish. It went something like this: Unison: "Uno! Dos! Tres!",  followed by Zanna alone: "Quatro!" She knows more than we realize. 

She also says Hola, Gracias, Amigo, Aqui, Uno Mas, Que, Adios and follows direction like "Besito!" for "Give me a little kiss." 

While she's getting really good at pronouncing actual words, she also has a small collection of her words for things: she sometimes calls herself "Lala," any and all blankets are "Kiki," and her favorite sippy cup is "Bucky." First, Lala was Gus; now apparently it's herself.

Zanna is also incredibly active and does the most amusing little jog through the house. She looks like she's about to topple over or crash sideways into something, but miraculously stays on her feet. 

Her other amusing habit lately is gathering all of her diapering supplies when she needs her diaper changed and bringing them to us and lying down. She also does make-believe diaper changing on her stuffed animals. 

Z continues to be very into helping with Gus's daily routine. Here she is, waiting to give him his morning green bone that's supposed to help his breath. (It doesn't.) Sometimes she crowds him a little too much while he's eating and he is not a fan of that. 

This picture is also a great example of child-led styling. Tights under shorts = awesome.

Another very important sector of consideration at the moment is Animal A Squad. 

Z is always concerned with the whereabouts of "Money," (her bunny), Baby Bear / Bear / Big Bear, Ducky, Horsey, and her various Kikis. Thankfully it seems any Kiki will do at any time. When she wakes up in the morning, usually the first thing out of her mouth (approximately 0.5 seconds after waking up) is "O Ducky?"

In this picture, she's accompanied by of a number of her animals while watching Wonderpets. Wonderpets is the one show she watches right now, and she's getting a little too good at singing the theme song. But it's seriously helping her learn English, and the three little animal characters in it are so dang cute. 

As we get more toward spring, we've been employing rain boots instead of snow boots, and I've decided they are in my Top 10 of Cuteness. One of many items we inherited from Z's 4-year-old cousin. In the past week, Z has discovered puddles. So far she's gingerly treaded through them, then run through them at full speed, and ultimately sat down in them. So now, coming back from a walk not only involves a filthy dog but a soaked child. But it's so full of youthful innocence, I don't even care. 

Zanna continues to love her swimming lessons and she's getting really comfortable in the water. She also enjoys the occasional Storytime at the library. We're moving up from Baby to Toddler, though she just likes to shout "BYE BYE!!!" halfway through the toddler one.

Well, we're halfway through March now, and the consensus is that everyone is so over the snow. We got some this morning which of course sent traffic into a tiff. Just a little snow and everything gets messed up. At work, there's a pile of snow that is at least fifteen feet high. More forty degree days and melting, please.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Start of Something Fun

In some circles it may be a little-known fact, but the fact is I love houses and helping them live up to their potential. Decorating, organizing, getting rid of clutter and making houses more calming and live-able. 

Enter a dear friend who became a mom about the same time as me who was looking for a little help with her place. As we all know, life events (marriage, the start of parenthood) are not only rites of passage, but major potential clutter takeover moments. In my house I approach these moments with a lot of Bankers Boxes, a Sharpie, and a fairly wild look in my eye. And also a car that's very ready to drop off things at Goodwill. 

But for the majority of people, organizational moments are event-based and need a few rah rahs to get going. I certainly don't blame them. It's not like working mothers don't have anything better to do. But when things start impeding the flow of our lives and start keeping us from getting out the door smoothly, then I say "When can I help"?

Our first order of business after an overall home consultation was the kitchen. I don't have a Before picture here, but we needed to make the cupboards more user friendly, where one could easily reach in and pull out exactly what was needed, with no extra debris flying out and no wondering where a certain glass went. 

So here is the After picture of one of the cabinets. We combed through all the tumblers, mugs, and wine  glasses, purged several unused and unloved items, put like items together, and put the most-used items toward the bottom.

Another area we wanted to tackle was all of the bottles, milk storage containers, and pump parts from when Dear Son was a baby. I can only wonder how many women have a random bag of these things pushed back in the corner of the closet, that will only see the light of day again once baby #2 comes along...and who wants to organize then?

So we sorted through everything, set aside any unused bottle types that the baby never took to to be donated, and consolidated different types of items in gallon-sized Ziplocs and stored them in a Bankers Box labeled Nursing Supplies. *Sigh* Organizing heaven to pull this out of the basement the next time it's all needed.

Then we tackled a problematic high cabinet above the pantry. It had become a catchall for grocery bags, cardboard boxes, lightbulbs, and anything else that didn't have a home. First we pulled out the cardboard boxes and gift bags that had been pushed to the back of the middle shelf and were long forgotten and saved the reusable gift bags and recycled all the rest. Then we consolidated all of the outdoor summer supplies on one side of one shelf: citronella candle, grilling tongs, sunscreen, and put the "in storage" items like extra Kleenex at the top and put the most-used items like a bin of pens and scissors on the most accessible lowest shelf. Then we added a new plastic storage box for all of her son's art supplies so they can all easily be pulled out at once. On the middle shelf we set some trays that were previously harder to reach in a location above the fridge.

One big win was the previously vacant shelf above the kitchen window. After sorting through all of their cookbooks and donating the ones that would never be used, we stored the often-used ones elsewhere but put ones of sentimental value and cute covers facing out on the shelf. Between that we added a small teapot and on the left side of the cookbooks, wooden carved salt & pepper shakers made as a gift by a family member, and on the right side of the cookbooks, a great mug with the crest of the school that she attended in England as a girl, pulled from the rest of the mugs in the cabinet we reorganized. The best part? These items of sentimental value are out of reach of sweet little toddler hands. 

We have plans to do much more, but this was an energizing start. It's so fun to see small changes make a big impact in one's home and help make things work maybe just a little bit better.