Sunday, May 31, 2009

A new topic

I keep meaning to post a Leif update, and I will. I just need the time to sit down and write it out. Leif has grown so much in the past few months. He is such an amazing little boy.

One new thing that has started to surface lately in his concerns is death. It started a few weeks ago when he asked me in the car how long something had to be dead, before it was alive again. I did my best to softly explain to him that dead is unfortunately, forever. This was the start of a lot of questions.

What happens after something dies?
(They go to heaven.)

What is heaven?
(Heaven is a wonderful place where we live forever after, but not on earth.)

Who is there?
(God and other people and animals who once lived.)

What does God look like?
(No one knows what God looks like.)

Is God a boy or a girl?
(That is disputable, but I believe God is a boy because he is Jesus' father. Leif replies, "well yeah, he is a boy then mommy!")

What happens if God dies?"
(God doesn't die honey. God lives forever.)

But what if God got hit by a car?
(God wouldn't get hit by a car because He is too powerful.)

What color is a dead person?
(Ummm uhhhh ummm uhhh... well kind of the same color as they are now, but I have never seen a dead person. Leif replied that he hadn't either.)

This conversation has stayed with him and he has over the past few weeks talked about things going to be with God and going to heaven with God. This makes it easier and I am happy we have our faith in conversations like this and it further reminds me that we need to start going to church/Sunday school on a more regular basis.

This evening at dinner Leif told us that a couple of the crabs in Rainbow room -- which is not his room, but his sister room -- died. The kids spend a lot of time between the two rooms everyday, so I frequently have to ask which room he is talking about since his room doesn't have animals his saying "the teacher that has crabs" wasn't going over very well at dinner time.

Leif went on to say "but it was okay because they went to heaven to be happy with God".

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Skader Gator

Is what Leif started calling Skadi. She is none too pleased by this and tells him, "I SKADI!"

We are headed full on into summer after a very mild – okay, dreary, wet spring. As expected the day hit that we suddenly went from 60’s and dreary to mid-80’s and hot. There was a week of 70 degree weather in there somewhere.

My baby girl seems to have disappeared and morphed into a squealing, giggling, opinionated, bossy, but fun little girl. At 2 years and 2 months it is interesting to me to compare her to her brother. I went back in my blog to Leif at about this age. I was pregnant with Skadi and we were getting ready for a weekend at the Shelton cabin with grandma and Bompa. That seems like just yesterday even though I know in my head that I didn’t have Skadi there. We are looking forward to the same trip with them this year. (Three years later!)

Skadi has proven to be far more verbal than Leif ever was at this age. My update from where he was 2 years 2 months has him just starting to talk in full sentences. Skadi has been on that for months now. She communicates very effectively verbally and occasionally uses sign language as well. She can’t say “all done” or “all gone” without also signing.

One of the funniest things she says is a phrase she picked up from her brother – “sure dude”. I can’t explain how she says it other than that there is an emphasis on “dooood”.

Skadi can count to her teens – or at least she knows they exist. She has learned to try and trick people and she will often count to ten in her own way – “one, two, three, seben, eight, nine, ten!”
This is my fault since she did this once and I asked what happened to four, five and six?

“They fell off,” she replied, which now is accompanied by much laughter and giggling. She waits for you to ask what happened to those numbers with a silly little smirk on her face. She gets to twelve and then it’s the teens. This morning it was “eleben, twelve, sixteen, sixteen, sixteen, sixteen!” Somedays it will be “fourteen, fourteen…”

Her favorite numbers appear to be two and seven. She likes things that come in pairs and usually exclaims, “two feet! Two hands! Two bananas! Two cups!” You get the idea. If there are more than two of any object, she usually just declares there to be “seben”.

Skadi knows her A,B, C’s through K at this point. She will mumble the whole alphabet while hitting the high points after K. That would be “P”, “S”, “W” and “ZEEEE!” with lots of mumbling between those letters.

Skadi and Leif seem to be about on the same time schedule for potty training. Skadi has shown some interest and even had a few days of hitting the potty regularly. Then she changes her mind. Which is fine with us, neither of us are pining for the coming day of no diapers, racing a child to the potty in Costco from the opposite end of the store, getting everyone loaded into the car and three minutes on our way only to have to turn around (or go into Starbucks) when said child decides now is the time to go potty (when five minutes ago was not). I expect that she will hit the milestone at the same time Leif did, 2 years 4 months. (We will just hope she masters #2 a little easier than Leif.)

She can take off her clothes and put new clothes on. A feat only recently mastered by her brother 2 years 8 months her senior. This makes getting her ready in the morning for school a very difficult challenge. Thankfully she is more into layering than taking the time to remove her clothing. She is terribly opinionated on what she wears on a daily basis and most days it just isn’t worth the battle, she has way more shoes than a two year old should have (thanks to AB… KIDDING!) and insists on wearing shoes to bed every night.

Skadi also likes to have her hair done everyday. This morning I pulled the top half back into a half ponitail. I don't do this very often. In the car we were pulling out of the driveway and she squeals, "mommy, where my ponies?" while she patted the sides of her head. I told her to touch the back of her head. Once she found it she said, "oh, otay!"

Skadi enjoys reading and her favorite books are the Elmo book Leif got her for Christmas, Goodnight Moon, Dinosaur’s Binket, Ten Little Ladybugs, The Bedtime Book, Winny the Pooh, and Yertle the Turtle are her favorites. She loves turtles which may be why Yertle is in there – but I think she strives to learn about world domination from Yertle.

She enjoys art, particularly laying on a large piece of paper and having us trace her. She also enjoys painting. She loves her Little People and her play kitchen enough that AB is considering moving it downstairs and into an area where we tend to be more when we get home from work.

Skadi has been in a big girl bed since we moved to the new house. The downside to this is that many nights, consistently about 1:30pm she gets up and walks across the hall to our bedroom. Where we promptly lead her back to her room and put her back to bed. About half the time she sleeps through the night. We are getting there.

Cuddling is still her favorite activity and she requires far more arm time than Leif ever did. Her favorite weekend morning activity (outside swimming) is laying on daddy’s chest and watching Dora. Daddy sleeps. Leif is the recipient of most of Skadi’s outward signs of affection. While she loves to cuddle and snuggle, her kisses are rare. Leif, by far and away, receives the most kisses, followed by her best friend Lexi, then maybe daddy and about last on the list is mommy. Apparently I am the chosen one for snuggles, but not kisses.

Swimming is Skadi’s highlight of the week. She is very animated in the water and so very happy to be there. She has picked up an interest in soccer courtesy of Leif and even knows which ball is a soccer ball.

Skadi still believes it is her birthday most everyday, but particularly if she wears something with a cupcake on it. She picked out a cupcake outfit at Costco the other day - politely declined the other outfits, "no thank you". As we wheeled through the store anyone who looked at her, she lifted up the outfit and said, "it's my birthday!" To which we were quick to respond, "actually it's not, her birthday was 2 months ago". But she is still milking it for all it's worth.

Skadi will move up to the next daycare room here in a few weeks. She will do great!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Foyer

So I have decided to get back to my one room a month routine. One month I will tackle putting together, organizing and setting up a room. I keep telling myself this will take forever and I would like to be "in" the house, fully IN our new house earlier. But it's not going to happen. It's just not a logical approach (yes, I am part Vulcan apparently... and if you haven't seen Star Trek, go see it. Now.). The one room a month IS logical and will get me further on my path to being IN the house and also it engages AB better because he knows whiat the priority for the month is.

The remainder of May (since I just started this) and all of June is the foyer. It doesn't sound like a lot, it isn't a huge area, but it is the first area people see when they walk in my house. And I have ideas and plans to put into motion.

The post from a few weeks ago is where I started.

Here it is during the Memorial Day weekend paint-fest:

Skadi loved painting and she was terribly helpful. When she decided she was done she had two green feet - and I had more paint on me than she had on her favorite "Icky Mouse" pajamas.

And here is where it stands now:
Favorite black and white pictures are up.
I have a great mirror to hang perpindicular to the pictures, but AB lifted it up, chastized me a little for thinking I was going to use nails and suggested he was going to need anchors and screws (same as in the other house I guess) to mount it and he didn't have time today. So the next task is to hang the mirror.

Next task after that is the touch up stuff. I have a lot of green edges to touch up.

And white on the ceiling... somehow.... somewhere I will find a white that matches. Yes, I am a klutz with the paint and am apparently no longer allowed to tape the ceiling... or paint near the ceiling.

I also want a bench. A nice bench to put under the photos. I had wanted a bench and coat hanging thing, but we don't use the front entrance to go in and out and we have a coat closet *right* there. So instead I will get a bench.

And maybe a side table to put across the arch in the photo above by the coat closet?

Yes, with it being summer and all, it WILL take me all of June to do this list.

Month of July is Leif's Star Wars themed room. Goal is to have THAT done before his birthday on July 29th.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Belated Mother's Day

Leif was somewhere doing all this... soccer, stomp rockets, squirt guns... any of the above. My mom made the dress for Skadi last year and it fits this year! Last year the hem was about to the ground, this year it is perfect. This year's dress is "little girl yellow dress" as Skadi calls it. Or according to daycare it is "Me Skadi dress" since it has a little red haired girl with pigtails on it. Pictures of that will come later. (Once I get it hemmed... not that that has prevented her from wearing it a few times already.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Upcoming Holiday Weekend

I am really looking forward to the coming Memorial Day weekend. Since we have yet to sell our house, we will be hanging out here. One of the downsides to listing a home For Sale By Owner. If someone wants to see it, you are on the hook to show it. And Open Houses? That’s up to you. The good thing though is that we can Open House it every weekend if we want to. Try and get your real estate agent to do that.

Not that I have anything against real estate agents mind you. My mother in law was one for a long time and we adored our real estate agents who we bought our house with… just wish their commission and brokerage fees were a little less than $13K… that’s a lot of money and so far, worth our time to put into selling it ourselves. We don’t get the traffic that homes on the market with an agent do, it just requires more diligence on our part.

Since we will have a three day weekend without houseguests and with no major plans other than swim lessons, a playdate, a pedicure (much needed by me) and an open house, I am thinking this is the perfect opportunity to sink further into our living quarters. I still have boxes stacked in regions throughout the house and I really need to get those emptied. I have loads of boxes in my formal dining room that are full of wall hangings – art and photographs.

This is where I start trying to figure out cart before the horse and egg before the chicken issues.

I want the boxes emptied.

I want my art on the wall.

I want my photographs on the wall.

I also want the walls painted that will house many of these items.

Do I put them on the wall, then take them all down when I get around to painting and put them back?

Or do I leave them in the boxes, paint, then put them all up on the wall.

My inclination is towards the later. While AB (my tired of painting husband) leans towards the former.

I am currently fighting a very ambitious notion of painting my entryway this weekend.

Not the whole entryway, and certainly not the very, very tall area.

While my mom and stepdad were here this past weekend they helped me line out what to paint and how. I am leaning towards an olive green in the entryway where AB and I think some of our black and white photos will go best.
This is the foyer area:

I am not a big fan of the stenciling here.
So I am leaning towards an olive green - mahogany/Japanese maple color - and creamy white combination for the formal dining room and office with foyer and half bathroom region. The olive green an Japanese maple in more accent roles.

Formal Dining Area:

So what do you think?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

My Mother's Day was great this year. It was low-key, but very nice.

We got up and ate the remainder of the lefse as well as fried eggs (Leif's favorite) and Little Smokies (Skadi's favorite courtesy of Bompa). The kids gave me cards as their gift wasn't complete yet from Artsy Fartsy - I can't wait! Leif wrote "Happy Mother's Day" on the card for me all by himself! He learned this at school and was terribly bummed that his teachers would only let him write one card. I made enough of a fuss about it to him that apparently he wanted to do another and one for grandma too.

We released our butterflies (see below) and then hung around the house. Friends came over for a playdate with the kids. Then for dinner AB made filets - which were fabulous and we opened a nice bottle of wine.
See how unsuspecting they are. They have no idea I am taking their pictures. This is about the only way I can get photos anymore...

Because as soon as they find out I have the camera... THIS happens:
It used to be just Leif that would act silly... he has pulled his sister in on the antics.

This *could* go on for hours.

Me and the kids - ignore Skadi's short dress. I was going to try on all her summer clothes (that were found) from last year but we started with this dress and stopped with it too. Something about my daughter putting it on and saying, "I a princess now!" Oh and that she would NOT take it off. I will wash it and put it away after today. *Sigh*

Loving my front yard right now. Check out the Japanese maple and the blooming rhododendrons. Hope they are still blooming when my mom gets here.

Another unsuspecting photo - AB has the waterfall running. The kids are a touch obsessed with it.

Love this one - just ignore the ketchup on the face.

2nd Annual Butterfly Release

So the weather has sucked and so we didn't get around to releasing the butterflies as soon as we should have. Not all of them flew off as the kids expected. Some of them just layed there...

Leif is retrieving the butterflies:

Leif showing off his butterfly:

AB "said" he was going to help with this...

Ok, ok, Skadi needed help...

Oops, flew off her hand and onto her dress!

Then it flew onto the ground!

Then you *might* be able to guess what Skadi turned around and did...
Next butterfly please!

AB is saying, "no squishing this one!"

It crawls onto her tummy - she is terribly pleased with this!

Note Leif off in the background - this is where I was yelling, "don't fall in the waterfall Leif!" (He has once already.)
Then it flew to the rhododendron:

Catching up

A few people have recently been harrassing me about not keeping my blog up. Yes, I admit it, I have been unusually quiet here lately. It's a combination of things - my being superbly busy at work - no, I don't blog at work, but when I am sitting there trying to figure out answers to my research problems, managing a team of 20 scientists on a multi-million dollar project, or writing proposals, then my time to think about witty things to say, or to jot down the funny things the kids did recently is limited. My brain hasn't been on my kids so much at work lately.

The second issue would be my ability to keep it positive. Some really crummy things have happened in the past few months. I don't like to read or write whiney blogs, so I haven't delved into that aspect here. I try to keep it positive.

That's not to say that there hasn't been plenty of good stuff to write about! There has been. We moved into a great house and we have our other house for sale by owner. The kids are wonderful, Skadi learns more words daily and Leif continues to crack us up with the things he comes up with.

Then there is my other addition that cuts into my blogging time. Facebook. I am strangely obsessive about keeping up with what everyone everywhere else who I may have known at some point is doing. I can get easily sucked into an evening on Facebook instead of blogging. Must.extricate.myself...

So I am making a Mother's Day Resolution to get back on top of my blogging!

Here's a quick update:

New house:
Bought new house.
Moved into new house.
Unpacked about half of stuff in new house.
Boxes still sitting around.
Wondering if boxes will unpack themselves?

Old House:
Worked on old house.
Worked on old house some more.
Worked on old house even some more.
Grew increasingly sick of working on old house.
Bought signs to sell house.
Worked on old house some more.
Gave up and put the sign out.
Open house.
Show house three times.
Open house.

Had dog three weeks.
Dog tore the fence board off and ran away.
Found dog.
Enrolled dog in obediance classes.
Discovered dog was trained with hand signs at one point.
Much happier with a few hand signs.
Wonder what else the dog knows.
Dog still missing housetraining gene.
Dog spends lots of time outside.
Thankfully the weather is nice and her counterpart loves being outside.

Speaking of weather:
Two days of decent weather.
More rain.
Wind storms.
Wind and driving rain.
Two days of sunshine.
(Speak softly out of fear of jinxing it all and returning to grey and dreary.)

Plodding along.
Got follow on work funded.
Got a new start funded.
Got an early start funded.
Enjoying the project management.
Team fails to meet deliverable.
Not liking the project management so much.
Spending as much time in the lab as possible.

The best husband ever.
Took the kids (together) to the paint your own pottery place for Mother's Day gift making.
The best husband ever.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lefse making

I would love to say that as someone who is part Swedish, that lefse making is in the blood, or runs in the family, or share a story about standing in my grandmother's kitchen watching her practice her well honed lefse making skills.

But that wouldn't be me. If my mom and I have anything to say about it, we will bring it back to our family. A tradition that should have been adopted, and a recipe that should have been handed down. I guess maybe you have to know my grandmother, but she is anything but a lefse making Swede. Her specialty was spaghetti sauce made with canned mushrooms, tomato soup, hamburger and Velveeta.

Sure, turn your nose up. But if you grew up eating it you wouldn't. It is freakishly good. (Just don't ask my husband about it - he claims it is an acquired taste.)

Back to the lefse. See VargasGirl's Swedish grandmother DID make lefse. But few of her relatives learned the recipe. So when she was telling me that she didn't get time to eat lefse recently while visiting Fargo (umm, I wonder why, I still can't figure out how they fit in everything they did in less than two days!), I offered to one up that and "let's make it ourselves".

See my in laws are lefse making Norwegians. The first time I had lefse was in Alaska and when we visit, lefse is a Christmas tradition... and I am learning. Recently my mother in law brought lefse making supplies down to us. So needless to say in my suggesting to VargasGirl that we take this on - I had ALL the supplies readily available.

We had two ricers, four lefse sticks, a lefse mat and a lefse griddle. And a day with no kids.
Check her out!

Cute top huh? I had lied to her and said it was going to be in the 70's ALL weekend.

It rained.

Check out my new rolling pin my mom bought me. It rocks.

We are masters. Look how thin and perfect it is.

And the sugar and butter is sitting there for no reason at all... we would never cook and eat and cook and eat... honest... there are some in the freezer!