Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

My biggest regret about this book is knowing the main points of the story ahead of time. I would have really loved to read it without knowing the ending. The plot is timeless and Stevenson is a master storyteller. I was surprised that the story is actually told mostly from the point of view of one of Jeckyll's friends. Only the end is written from Jeckyll's point of view.

The story is a classic tale of good and evil and inner struggle. The most fascinating part was that when Jeckyll transforms into Hyde he is 100% evil but when he is himself he still has a balance of good and evil that he must continue to struggle with. He is never 100% good. The separation is complete one way, but not the other. Jeckyll's evil alter ego (Hyde) is shorter in stature and appears deformed. Jekyll surmises that this is because he has spent much more of his life trying to rise above his inner demons and perfect his good character. The longer Jeckyll allows his alter ego to run amok, the more Mr. Hyde grows physically and morally within the doctor's character. Eventually Jeckyll begins to transform without the aide of his potion and he loses control of his inner demon. A fascinating commentary on the supposed "freedom" offered by the darker things in life.

This was a great short read. I kind of can't believe I never thought to read it before seeing it reviewed on my friend Cari's blog. I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

P is for playdough



I picked up some little cookie cutters for $1 the other day. I've been meaning to stop by the dollar store and get Red Fish some more tools for her playdough but these are a good start. I love homemade playdough. We made this batch a year ago and it's still good. I just keep it in a plastic bag and knead it every once in awhile. I need to make her some new colors.

Here is our playdough recipe that we use-
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups salt
  • Food coloring
  • 3 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 10 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 cups flour

Mix water, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring. Heat on low and stir regularly. Add oil and flour. Stir until playdough is no longer sticky. Knead thoroughly after the dough cools.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A few little giggles

video

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Finally Caught On Film!

Thanksgiving 09

This year my grandparents reserved their chapel for Thanksgiving dinner. We had our family pictures taken with everyone except one cousin who had to work. Lovely N was kind enough to come take them for us. We had the traditional feast and played some games. We had an indoor "snowball fight" with big marshmellows. It was pretty hilarious. Red Fish loved dinner but I think she loved having all of her older cousins dote on her and play with her. She was running around with them the whole time we were there. It was pretty cute. New Fish was just grinning from ear to ear the whole day. She got snuggled by everyone. It was a great Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful

I've had a couple of really bad, call your mama before noon to cry kind of days lately so I'm trying to conentrate on being more grateful for the good things in my life.

Things I am thankful for in no particular order...
Crooked baby smiles, Chubby toddler legs, Parenthood, Sweet daughters, Wonderful parents, Grandparents, A husband I am totally smitten with, Good friends, Sweaters, The Gospel, Paint (and little painters), Good music, Good books, Adoption, Birth, Birth families, Scuba Diving, Anitbiotics, Travel, Great Brothers, Inlaws, Memories, My Health, My House, My job, Two Fish's job, My dog, Holidays, Reasons to celebrate, My computer, The smell of clean babies, Bubble baths, Adventure, Hiking, Camping, Laughter, Sushi, Shoes, Pants that fit, Christmas ornaments, Water, The outdoors, Skiing, Slippers, Mint M&Ms, My Savior, The Atonement, The scriptures, A living prophet, Cheesecake, New art supplies, Cheese, Kisses, Mail, Photographs, Sidewalk chalk, Bubbles, Ipod, My Itunes, Piano, Violin, Sea shells, Airplanes, 4 wheeling, Boating, Play dough, Snow, The park, The library, The aquarium, Art museums, Self employment, Marriage, The temple, Eternal families, Mac and Cheese, Ice Cream, Pacifiers, Swings, Slings, Red hair, Fuzzy baby heads, Toothbrushes, Dog shampoo, "Celebrations of birth", Girls Night, Freedom, Bill HR 213, Internet, Tea parties, Dress up clothes, Puzzles, High fives, Tippy toes, A husband who cooks, Spontaneous dance parties, Popsicles, Swimming pools, Christmas shopping, My new yellow purse, Road trips, National parks, Fish, The armed forces, Coos, First laughs, Cute sisters, My rocking chair, "Bones", High fives, Fingerprints on my windows, Project Runway (although this last season wasn't as good and Heidi needs a new stylist), A two year old's sense of style, Christmas books, and maybe some other things I will think of later.

Turkeys


Cute little water color turkeys Red Fish painted for the tables tomorrow. We glued texas snowflakes and turkey bodies to a piece of cardboard. Well I glued them really. I also managed the burn my fingers with the hot glue gun. This is why I usually stick to arts and not crafts. When I have to worry about how the project turns out I get burned. Red Fish is pretty excited about the way they turned out. She keeps pointing at them and gobbling.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Make It Work

I've found that there are a lot of "make it work" (thank you Tim Gunn) moments in motherhood. I've done a lot of things I never thought I would do. Here are a few examples:

1. Yesterday in church I REALLY needed to blow my nose but I accidentally left the tissues and whipes on my kitchen table because I was in a rush to get to church. I didn't have a burp rag or anything in my bag because I was with Red Fish by myself. Red Fish was in the middle of coloring a masterpiece and I knew that if I grabbed her to run to the bathroom for tissue she was going to scream bloody murder and the peaceful sacrament meeting we were enjoying would be destroyed. There is no way she would have settled back down when we returned from the bathroom. So I searched my purse for ANYTHING to blow my nose on. I found a sock. (My sock.) Why was a sock in my purse you ask? No idea, but it appeared to be clean so I carefully folded it in my bag (trying to disguise it) before using it. Yes, I blew my nose on a strange sock during church.

2. Today I spread peanut butter on slices of cheese because that's what Red Fish wanted for a snack. Gross.

3. I wore my pajamas all day today and even when my brother and his wife came over to get something I didn't care. There just wasn't a spare second for showering and now that I have a few seconds without a phone call, email, or scream to tend to it no longer seems important. It's already past 5 so why bother?

I could go on but I think you get the idea. This motherhood business is making me strange. Or perhaps it is just making me stranger. I'm pretty sure these aren't even the weirdest things I've done in the past couple days. They just happen to be the only ones I can think of at the moment. The strange things don't even stand out in my mind anymore.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dinosaur Museum


We haven't been in a while. Now the little dinosaurs get kisses blown to them and the T Rex is officially scary. I had to carry Red Fish past him so he couldn't get her. Red Fish directed me to the dinosaurs she needed her pictures taken with and she was sure to wheel New Fish into the picture. I have a new goal to try and get out of the house with the two of them a little more. We've pretty much been quarantined because I'm afraid of New Fish catching something from all of the sick people out there. I don't think we even saw anyone at the museum though so I guess I can't use that as an excuse. I need to get more practice or I will never be able to get out of the house with two little kids in a reasonable amount of time. Right now it takes FOREVER to bathe, dress, bundle, prepare a bag, and buckle them in. THen inevitably someone has a blowout just as it's time to leave. I must practice until this process is easier. I can't stay quarantined forever.

New Fish enjoyed her stroller ride.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tummy Time

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No More Hoarding


I have a terrible habbit. I'm a hoarder. I have boxes and boxes of lovely art supplies but I spent years rationing them out like I might ruin them by using them. I haven't made any art for fun in a long time. I can barely keep up with my design artwork (although sometimes that can be REALLY fun) so I haven't touched most of my supplies in years. It's tragic really. I have vowed to hoard no more. Art supplies are meant to be used. Red Fish is happy to delve into them. I opened my case of pencils and pastels for her today and I think she almost died of an explosion of color.

Now my next goal is do some artwork just for myself sometime soon. I did design some fun birth announcements recently (I haven't quite gotten them out yet) but the printing came out a little blurry and it bothers me. It was really fun to just design for the fun of it rather than to please a client or make a living. When I was sewing some things before New Fish was born I got the same sort of rush. Maybe I just need to find time for a little more creation. Helping Red Fish create makes me want to do more of my own creations.

Monday, November 16, 2009

2 months & Laundry Day

New fish is two months old today. She hasn't had her checkup yet so I don't know how big she is but I'm guessing just under eight pounds. (Uncle M put her on our package scale at work.) I had to put away the first batch of clothes the other day. She doesn't fit in the newborn size one piece jammies. It always makes me sad when they grow out of their clothes. Red Fish never even wore newborn size. Her little shoes are from Spain.

Red Fish is really into helping me with my chores lately. Her favorite is laundry. She actually gets upset with me if I try to do the laundry without her. First we sort the laundry in my bedroom and then we pick a pile and throw it over the railing so it lands next to the laundry room (this is Red Fish's favorite part.) Then she hands me the laundry to stick in the washing machine (this can take forever, a sock at a time.) Then when it's washed I hand her each piece to stick in the dryer. When it's dry she gets each piece out so I can fold it. The process takes a long time but she is so cute and happy it makes it totally worth the extra time. Mondays are a happy laundry day. I love having my little helper.

Pen Pals

I just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. It is written in letter form and details the correspondance between a single writer and a group on the Chanel Islands. A Guernsey farmer, Dawsey Adams, finds a single female writer's name in a used book and starts up a correspondence. Their relationship widens to include other neighbors on Guernsey and detail the war and the German occupation. The letters are a little disjointed and sometimes jump from one random incident to another but I liked the overall rhythm of the book. The characters are like-able and endearing.

I think mostly I liked it because I just like the idea of pen pals in general. When I was around seven years old, I flew to Houston to visit my cousins with my Mom and brothers. I was the oldest child and had to sit in a seat a few rows away from them. I somehow befriended an older woman who was sitting next to me and convinced her that she wanted to be my pen pal. Her name was Pauline and she wrote to me for years. She even had a relative in Utah drive a doll to my house on Christmas day one year. I'm not sure if she passed away or what happened but eventually the letters stopped. It is still a fond memory for me. What a lovely person to write to a strange little girl she met once on a plane. I also kept up correspondence with my Great Aunt Kate. She used to send me wonderful letters for years and years.When I was doing my internship in London during college, I couldn't afford to call home very often so I sent LONG LONG emails to all my friends and family. I sent a bunch of postcards to Two Fish (who I was not dating at the time) and his roommates. I wish we still had them! I think I've always just loved to get mail. Maybe that is why I like blogging. It feels sort of like writing letters to pen pals who send back little comments. Much more fun than journaling.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Party Time

I Apologize...

for the unearthly scream that shattered your windows earlier. It was the only proper way to respond to the situation at hand. Lucky for Red Fish, she had already left for church when I discovered this little treat. To the apple store we go. I'm hoping they replace keys and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

This little goober is getting so big so fast. Her hair has gotten much lighter and I think she is going to be a blondie. She is getting some cute little chubby cheeks. She is fascinated with waving her arms around. It makes her furious when one of her hands sneaks up and steals her pacifier. She can't figure out who is doing it.
I swear this little baby just gets cuter by the day.

Yesterday was my 28th birthday. Two Fish planned a celebration for the two of us and we went to see a play. It was a pretty funny play by Mark Twain. We had a great time. The girls got to spend some time with their Gammie. We picked them up this morning and had a big breakfast of bacon and eggs. It was fun.
It was snowing outside after we picked up the girls and Red Fish was really excited about it. I wanted to take her outside but we don't have the best snow clothing yet. Red Fish doesn't have boots or snow pants. So I put her footy jammies on under her coat and jeans. The only shoes that would fit over the footy jammies were some mesh sandals and then I taped plastic baggies over that. Ghetto snow boots. My ski pants don't fit (and I'm guessing never will again) so I had to wear Two Fish's. We were quite the pair. Red Fish did get to wear her cute hat from Chile (where Uncle M served his mission.)
We had a great time out in the yard. Red Fish never wanted to come in. We'd throw snow up in the air and Blue Fish would jump and try to catch it. We ran all over. We are finally getting window well covers so Red Fish can play in the backyard without me two inches away. Our wells are super super deep and I'm pretty sure she would die if she fell in. I'm hoping after they are installed Red Fish and Blue Fish can play outside.

Tonight, I went to a concert. Uncle M is a music major and goes to school fairly nearby our house. He was having a trombone choir concert and I wanted to go. I decided to take Red Fish because I've been wanting to try and incorporate more music into her life. (Incidentally if anyone has any great tips on getting more music into the lives of small children, I would love to hear them.)Red Fish was really good for the concert. I was pretty sure she would behave but I was still nervous to take her. Little kids aren't generally admitted to the university concerts but we figured since it was all trombones and pretty loud, it might be okay. We sat near the door just in case. She danced for a few songs and leaned over the shoulders of the people in front of us to get a good look at them but she was really quiet and well behaved. Before the concert started and during intermission we walked around the art center and looked at some of the exhibits. I think I need to spend more time looking at art with her. We read a lot of books and spend a lot of time making art but I should show her my art books. After the concert was over RedFish wanted to try out the stage and see Uncle M's trombone. Trying out the trombone

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monoprints

We made two big mistakes. These prints are probably best made on a piece of glass or plexiglass. We used a piece of plastic from an old frame I broke. I also didn't have a roller for paint so we used inked sponge rollers. The ink beaded up and made the prints blurry. Next time we will get better tools. First Red Fish put the ink on the plastic.
Then she made some lines through the ink with some q-tips. She could have used a clean brush too but she might have whiped all of the ink off if she used too big a brush. After the plastic was pretty covered, we put a piece of paper over it to make a print.
The final results are pretty splotchy. Next time maybe I will buy a cheap frame from a thrift store or something so we have a good piece of glass to work on. Red Fish really enjoyed this project.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Printing

Red Fish is really into stamps right now so I decided we should try some other print making. I think this is technically called a collograph but I'm not completely sure.We took a shoe box lid and Red Fish covered it in pipe cleaners and foam stickers. Red Fish is very into stickers right now. We had used our supply from all a dollar but luckily she got more for her birthday.
We covered the shoebox masterpiece with paint (Red Fish's favorite part) and finally we pressed a paper over it to make a print.
Here are our prints we made. I think they turned out pretty cool. A different kind of project for us. Red Fish was happier with the shoebox top covered in paint and stickers. It actually looks pretty cool as well. The red paint that got on my carpet when I stepped a few feet away to talk to the furnace repair man? That I'm not so impressed with. At least you can barely tell now. How do people live without carpet cleaner and a magic eraser? Most of the time I think the mess from our projects is extremely manageable. Yesterday was a bad day for collateral damage.

I have a post saved where I ramble to myself about my ideas about kids and art and trying to remind myself why the mess is worth it. I might post it sometime but it will just make me sound like I'm talking to myself in print.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tea For Two


Red Fish got a tea set for her birthday and she had the cutest little tea party with New Fish this afternoon.


Monday, November 9, 2009

TWO!!!

I cannot believe my baby is two! When did this happen? When did she grow up so fast? I made her a cute tutu and she loves her birthday girl shirt I got at an outlet for her. I love this little girl so much!


Red Fish has done all of her favorite things today! She watched and danced to Cinderella, she painted, she took a bubble bath and then we went to a bakery for cupcakes. She plans to party with her grandparents on Sunday.

Almost A Smile


I almost got the smile on film. It's a tricky little smile that seems to disappear the second I whip out the camera!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Adoption Tax Credit

November happens to be national adoption month! Yay! As many of you know, adoption is expensive.

Also, many of you may or may not know that the federal adoption tax credit of $10,150 (2009) is set to expire at the end of 2010. This tax credit makes it possible for many of us to afford otherwise unaffordable adoptions. Losing this benefit would make it nearly impossible for some families to ever adopt. There is a Bill (HR 213) which was written to make this tax credit permanent, but we need to get it passed. We are calling for the help of you and especially your out of state families. Here is how you can help:


1. Find the name and Washington, D.C. mailing address of your Representative and Senators at www.congress.org. To find e-mail addresses, click through to the Senator’s or congressperson’s Web site.

2. Log on to THOMAS (Library of Congress) to find out whether your Congresspersons are already co-sponsors of the legislation. Here is how:

· On the THOMAS opening page, under “Search Bill Summary and Status,” search by bill number for H.R. 213. Then click on “Bill summary and Status.”

· On the page that comes up, click on “Cosponsors.”

3. If your representatives have not signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, send them your request that they do so. Tell them how important the tax credit was to you when you adopted your children, or how much you and other families you know are counting on it to be available in the future.

Act today, your efforts make a difference.



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Topple Over

Pre-inked sponge painters. This is the forth time we've used these three and they are still going strong. Awesome deal.
Don't you wish you could sleep like this? Sleep through a cottage cheese covered, naked two year old with a sock in her mouth, chasing a screaming dog around with an empty diaper box?

I'm feeling unmotivated lately like the giant mound of things I should be getting done, has gotten so tall it is bound to topple over and crush me. I'm too lazy to buckle down and really figure out how to get it under control and too tired to run away so I pick at it. I handle a few things every day but the mound is growing faster than I pick. When I get like this there is too much tv watching and too much whining in my house. I need more inspiration and more organization. We are a happier family that way. Anybody out there have any brilliant organization plans? Not the fly lady. Her emails don't work for me. They just irritate me and don't motivate me to do anything. Maybe it's because she starts by having a shiny sink. A shiny sink just doesn't even come close to being on my priority list. I make a terrible fly baby.

It's a good thing I have a wild banshee two year old with the cutest chubby legs and a sweet little baby with that great baby smell. If I get crushed beneath the laundry I will still be grateful for chubby legs and the smell of clean babies.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Marbling With Shaving Cream

Red Fish has been painting the shower and bathtub with shaving cream pretty much everyday this week. It's amazing how long a dollar can of shaving cream will last. It has been so easy to clean up and fun for Red Fish that I decided maybe we should just start doing a bunch of painting projects in the tub so I don't have much cleanup. My plan to paint in our unfinished basement hasn't gone that well because it gets freezing down there and I don't have warm enough clothes she can get messy in. Plus I can't take New Fish down there. Today I put Red Fish in my tub (it's much bigger) and we tried something new with the shaving cream.We filled a baking pan with shaving cream and then Red Fish took several colors of liquid watercolor and squirted them into the cream with an eye dropper. You could probably use food coloring too but I hate that it stains your hands.
After she had added all of the color she swirled them around in the shaving cream with the eye dropper.
We pressed a thick paper over the top of the pan to make a print. We left the watercolors to set before we scraped the shaving cream off the top. I thought it looked awesome with the shaving cream on. I kind of liked it better than the final product. I would have made more than one print but Red Fish was too excited.
She had fun using the eye dropper and swirling the colors but she didn't care that much about the final product. The part she enjoyed the most was the aftermath. Apparently colored shaving cream is even more fun than just painting with the white cream.
Here is the final picture. I'm curious if the marbling would have worked a little better if I hadn't used watercolor paper and used posterboard or something with less bleed. We will have to try again and see.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kid Art

I've been thinking a lot about art and creativity and raising my children. Today was a rough day for art projects. There was a lot of collateral damage and I used my magic eraser and carpet cleaner way too much for my taste. I also tried to "help" a little too much with the artwork and Red Fish let me know it. I should be ashamed of myself on that one. I nearly had a seizure when one of my highschool teachers "helped" one of my drawings by redrawing something after I left for the day. Nobody likes being told their work isn't good enough.

I think that sometimes it's hard as a parent to appreciate scribbles and fingerprints. I find myself getting caught up in a project and trying to show Red Fish just how it should be or try and push the project to turn out as I envisioned. I have to stop and remind myself that the process is more important than the product. I have to keep the big picture of self expression and creativity in mind. Red Fish is getting more value out of the experience of using the materials and tools than she would if I tried to force her into turning out a "pretty picture." (Although I think her artwork is beautiful.) The cognitive thinking skills she is gaining, the freedom to express herself, her understanding of spacial relationships, color, and so many other things are growing in leaps and bounds.

On Sunday she spent hours painting and I could actually see her learning as she experimented with the paint. It was so cool. She was using sponge brushes and stamps and after awhile she stopped using the ink pads and started painting the stamps to see what shapes it would make. Then she would put the brush on the paper and squish it with her hand and see the splotches it made instead of lines. I could just see the wheels in her little brain turning. When I looked at a painting she made in July compared to the ones she did over the weekend I could see a ton of growth. By growth I do not mean the painting was of an actual object. I've never understood why so many people think that makes art great. I feel bad when people can't see anything else. Why does the picture need to be a realistic rendering for it to be appreciated? I think this is where a lot of elementary kids get jipped on supposed "art" in school.

I distinctly remember being in third grade and being forced to cut out a pre-printed haunted house and glue it exactly like every other child in my classroom. I thought it was completely pointless and a stupid waste of time. I still think that it was a stupid activity now. I refused to do it and told the teacher I didn't want a haunted house and it wasn't art anyway. I got in big trouble (probably for having a smart mouth.) I've heard from several people I know how pleased they are that their children finally learned to color in the lines in their coloring book. Has coloring in the lines ever really been a useful skill in your life? Did you gain some incredible artistic vision from coloring in a drawing someone else made? That said, Red Fish does have a couple of coloring books that she likes. She also loves stickers, but coloring in the lines isn't the point. The point is to enjoy herself and learn how to use different mediums.

Scuba

I'm starting a new dive class on Decenber third if anyone wants to join. Send me a message and I will send you details!

New Dress


The new dress Grandpa bought Red Fish in Milan. As you can tell, she likes it!