Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dakota

The girls have a new friend.

Dakota moved to Boulder from D.C. just a few weeks before we did; like ours, his family moved here for school. But unlike ours, his Daddy is the professor (while ours is the student).
Amy and Justin are good friends of my cousin Jesse and his wife Catherine, and we're continually thrilled to have had the introduction. Last weekend we had dinner at our place Friday night (before Amy and I jetted off to Denver for an art opening), lunch at their place Saturday, and a joint trip to the Betasso Reserve on Sunday; and, as far as I know, no one is sick of anyone else. Fabulous!

Apart from how nice it is for Dave and I to have like-minded friends, with kid(s - Amy is expecting at the end of October) within biking distance, it has been great for the girls to make a new friend. My girls do not necessarily love every kid they meet (they get their discerning natures from their father; I'm more like a puppy and instantly love everyone I meet until, sometimes, proven wrong), but they both adore Dakota.


After several playdates and a lot of trying out one another's toys, it was fun to attempt an outing, though Betasso was not, altogether, a success. The road up into the mountains is very windy; Clio has quite a history of motion sickness, so I bet you can guess what happened on the way there (and the way back.) Luckily I had packed extra clothes and we got her cleaned up, though she decided that she was too weak to walk. Luckily Dave was not too weak to carry her. And then Dakota got her running. And then she tripped over a root and tunbled down the path. And then so did Dakota. And then Eleri insisted on getting out of the ergo backpack and walking, too, and while the trail is a pretty easy hike, it's not the easiest for a child who can walk on her own but still insists on holding someone's hand. All told, I'd say we went about 500 feet of this beautiful trail, and in that time got out of the way of a dozen or so mountain bikers, each of whom made Dave more jealous that he was on foot, and carrying a child or two.

While we may not have made the best use of it, the Betasso preserve is lovely. See for yourself:




As usual, Clio was not interested in having her picture taken (though Amy and Justin had more luck than me- the smaller photos are from their camera, borrowed from their flickr site). To trick her into "posing" in front of a view, Dave told Clio and Dakota that he saw some crazy bug in the grass. Here they are trying to find it.

A few additional cute shots from the flickr site:



You have to admit, Colorado is beautiful.
We're glad to have new friends with whom to explore!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Scenes from a Marriage: Object Lessons

Dave and I have been married 4 years today.

When we moved into this little house in Boulder, we packed our formal china, stemware, silver, platters, and other fine things off to storage; apart from cramming snacks onto regular plates for a neighborhood party last weekend, we haven't missed any of it. I find myself thinking about the antiquated tradition of the registry: these days, as people get married older, they tend to have all of the household basics (often his- and hers-sets, in fact), so the focus seems to be on higher-quality replacements (and we do love our all-clad pots and pans and our 400-thread count sheets) or the formal stuff; however, most couples I know either live away from family and/or live in small spaces where a second set of anything is not really practical. In the Mad Men era, couples actually used their china on a regular basis, or, at the very least, knew that their future held family events and other entertaining that called for both red and white wine glasses, not to mention champagne flutes and crystal water glasses. This is no longer the case: for many of us, we can't predict what kind of domestic future our lives hold; we are just as likely to stay on in tiny apartments or, quite the opposite, to travel the world or retreat to a rural setting and try our hand at artisenal cheese-making or organic farming. So why do we hold fast to the tradition of a formal registry?

Four years on, I have moments where I wonder why we did not ask our friends and families to contribute to college funds or pitch in on larger purchases, like a new couch. Oh, right: we didn't yet have children and our couch was not yet destroyed by their spills and spit up. Maybe, at the moment of anticipating our futures together, we aren't ready to be so practical, no matter what our views on marriage and commitment. Maybe we hope for some bygone era that represents a glamor we may attribute to our grandparents. Maybe we just don't know what we will truly need, or don't like the shape that conversation takes.

In this moment, as we are object-rich but cash-poor, I find myself thinking back on our wedding with this same questioning eye. Was it really necessary to scour the internet for the perfect 1940s porcelein cake topper? Was it so important to rent the more-expensive green-moire tablecloths just because the entry-level white ones felt a little stark in the space? Was it worth going over-budget on the favors in order to have the vintage-style bird ornaments with real tail feathers? In setting out to write this post, my answer to these, and similar questions, was: no. None of these things matter. A wedding is about the people, the vows, the committment two people make to each other and the people they choose to witness it.

But when I went back through photos from that day, I found myself changing my mind. A wedding IS, most importantly, about the vows. But it is also a celebration of two individuals, and the object choices we make represent us on the day that is, arguably, the most about us. I recently took one of those facebook personality quizzes that plots you on various continuums; on the one about form versus function, I was all "aesthete", literally 100%; I don't even know what the other choice was called. So it makes sense that these details mattered to me.






In looking at the pictures, I realize that many of my choices were also about that same sense of nostalgia that a formal registry might be: that cake topper literally comes from another era; the green moire tablecloths and the bird ornaments were chosen not just for aesthetic reasons, but because they reminded me of my grandmother, a woman who forever imprinted herself on my being not just by who she was and the glamor with which I associate her, but also for leaving the world when I was at the very impressionable age of 15, making her forever an unanswerable question. I was married in her pearl necklace, which now belongs to my aunt Molly: something old; something borrowed.


I realize, too, that some of my choices might have something to do with my parents' wedding: my mother was six month's pregnant with my brother Brian; the ceremony was very small, the party basically non-existent; the bride wore an orange maternity gown designed and sewn by a friend. Because I love the idea of the heirloom so much, and because there was no way I was wearing orange (it's my favorite color, but there are limits), I was married in a dress--something new--that both reflects an earlier era, as if my grandmother might have worn it, and eschewed the trends of the day, making it possible to translate, I hope, to a future era. I have two daughters, after all.


I will mention here that I spent as much time, if not more, thinking about the vows, the readings, the music, the dancing, and my future husband. But the funny thing about objects is that they do last; they become keepsakes. I kept all of the reply cards that people wrote notes on; if we ever have a Christmas tree again, it will bear these bird ornaments. But even better than that, those birds became a reason to play at the wedding: corsages, barettes, dance partners, and even better than having them on my own christmas tree is the idea that friends and family will have them on their own.

Dave's wedding tie is still my favorite, and every time he wears it I think of how nervous I was to look at him as I came down the aisle; how thrilled. I hope our dads and brothers wear theirs; like corsages, these cheerful polka-dot ties let people know that these men were important to us, members of our wedding party, but unlike corsages, they are gifts that last. Seeing any of them wear them again reminds me of my wedding day, and how glad I was to have them be an important part of it. I suppose this is the power of objects.


And the cake topper? It reminds me of one of our few truly private moments in the course of the night. Everyone had been seated for dinner and, before making our entrance into the ballroom, we stopped to cut the cake so it would be ready for dessert. The timing was awkward--I had wanted this to be a public moment--but in hindsight I can appreciate the privacy of the moment, the humor, the chance to catch our breaths, alone together, before re-entering the fray.


And I love, looking back, realizing something I didn't see at the time: that at our wedding, we ate dessert first.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Features!

Typically, I am of the "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" mentality. In fact, even if it is a little broken, I tend not to fix it, but to instead adapt and make it work anyway- usually involving some time-consuming or labor-intensive method. I generally don't realize how ridiculous this is unless Dave witnesses one of these little "tricks" and just looks at me, aghast.

Related to this, anyone who has lived or worked with me knows that I am terrible about filing. I consider myself more of a "project person" than a "maintenance" person, and filing on a regular basis is definitely maintaining. (The irony, of course, is that there is no worse project on earth than filing the last year's worth of paper.)

So, naturally, I never bothered to tag my posts; and whenever Clio wants to watch video of herself, I simply open all the drop-down menus on the blog archive until I find the title that corresponds to a video.

Well, no more. Today, I embrace technology. Today, I embrace the notion of doing it the easy way. Today, I ad gadgets to my blog.

On the right, you will notice two things:

1) You can now search this blog. Go ahead, google yourself. Actually, let's google Target and see just how often I talk about going there.

2) I have begun the massive filing job of tagging nearly 500 posts. The original idea was to simply tag the categorical things that people might be looking for, like video, as well as some of the mini-series that have emerged, like "Outfit of the Week," "Status Update," and "On..." But naturally, as I got going, there were more and more things that I wanted to categorize, and the system got messier and messier. Actually, let's call it idiosynchratic. So you might notice, for example, that there are a number of posts that I have tagged as "Status Updates" or "Overheard" or "Outfit of the..." even though they don't use those as titles; that's because in some cases I wrote the post before I regularized the title or thought of them as a "series." I also noticed a blurring of lines between some of the "On..." posts and what I would now consider a status update. Either way, I tried to find some clusters of posts that tell a particular kind of story.

Additional notes: halloween, valentine's day, Christmas, can all be found under "Holidays." Family matters have been categorized by place (Minnesota, Connecticut, Illinois) rather than person, but I did also create a "Grandparents" category (which includes Great-Grandparents), as well as a category just for Lucia.

Those of you who want to delve into the archive will surely figure it out. Click on a category and you will see all of the posts that have been tagged in that way. And if there's something in particular you want to be able to access easily, let me know; I'm certainly open to expanding my tagging horizons!

OTHER FEATURES

1) You can become a follower of the blog. Go ahead, do it. I think it means that you will get automatic updates when there is new content on the blog. I'll become my own follower to test it out, and share more details, if desired.

2) I'm contemplating signing up for AdSense. For me, this means possibly making a little bit of money (yes, please) and having access to information about how many people are reading, where they are linking from, which posts are most popular, etc. (helpful, no?). For you, this means seeing some ads on the blog (which you could always block with an adblocker), and possibly even clicking on them to help the blog make a little money (yes, please.) But I have been ambivalent about this for a long, long time. So please, make use of the comments feature and let me know if you have a strong opinion about this. I'm curious how people feel about this.

Finally, any other thoughts for improvement? Any regular columns you'd like to see? Want more recommendations- what Clio is reading, family friendly recipes, etc?

Let me know. (Because, also, I looooove getting comments.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Letter From Your Teacher

9-11-09

Hi Heather and David -

Clio seems to have adjusted to her new school environment. She makes friends easily and enjoys Alex an older boys company this past week.

She seems to enjoy lessons; polishing, pink tower, solid cylinders, color tablets in the Practical Life and Sensorial areas. She enjoys working in the outdoor environment in the mornings. She doesn't generally fall asleep but will rest and then join the other children.

Clio participates in group listening to the story or learning the words to a new song. Clio, we have found out does not like bees, sometimes at lunch we have had one visit or two.

(Followed by a few lines of more administrative stuff to us)

Thank you
Koral Walters

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Outfit of the Week

Clio has continued to develop such a, well, specific style of her own, and she is applying said style to school days with such flair, that this "outfit of the week" really should become a regular feature of the blog. But this would require taking her picture daily, and then choosing the best outfit on Friday and posting the accompanying snap shot. And followers of this blog know that Clio does not like to have her picture taken. (Note to self: Clio does like to look at pictures of herself; perhaps, if given equal voting rights at the end of each week, and if allowed to see herself on the blog, Clio would cooperate with this project.)

At any rate, she wore such an- ahem, choice outfit this week, I had to risk all to capture it.


I didn't do such a great job. Unfortunately, it's hard to see the plastic butterflies in her hair, the result of the styling that followed her recent haircut at Lollylocks salon. And by this point she had removed her white, velcro-closure sneakers. And it's hard to get a real sense of the stains on her silky dress or its sagging hem. But you get the general idea: pink smocking plus peter pan collar plus embroidered pearls plus--naturally--bold red and white striped tights. with sneakers. For school.

Boy, did she love wearing this.

Marketing Genius: Disney Princess

The folks over at Disney are marketing geniuses. If any of you have been to Target any time recently and have girls, you have likely encountered the ubiquity of the Disney Princess line. Who are these princesses, you ask? Well, Clio will tell you: they are Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and (last and certainly least,) Snow White. As background, let me just mention that Clio has seen The Little Mermaid a handful of times and Cinderella twice, but has not been introduced to the others through their stories or movies. No matter: this is where the genius comes in. By packaging all of these princesses together, Disney is capturing the attention of little girls through their favorite character (in our case, Ariel), and making them covet merchandise of each and every one of these "princesses" through the power of association.

Here's how it worked on us: Before school started, I foolishly allowed Clio to pick out her own lunch box and backpack. Despite my best efforts at the store to steer her towards non-branded items, she discerningly found her way to a backpack featuring Ariel-- and all five of the other, aforementioned Disney heroines. Then she found the matching lunchbox. And thermos. And sneakers.

When you do a search for "Disney Princess" on the Target website, there are 347 matches. There are Disney Princess coloring books, balls, and bicycles; polyester nightgowns, halloween costumes, and wigs; bedding collection and wallpaper borders; porcelain soap dishes and plastic pumpkin-carving kits (no joke.) Near the checkout at Target, hanging nice and low (just about 3-year old eye level), there are figurines of each of these princesses; before, admittedly, Clio wanted Ariel and Cinderella, but now she would like them all. Six little five-dollar figurines.

Here's what else I find interesting (insidious?) about the whole thing: like the makers of GI Joe, Cabbage Patch Kids, and other toys making a generational comeback, Disney is very smartly going after thirty-something parents, but also grandparents, just in case they have not hit the children over the head quite effectively enough. On the back of the shoebox in which we brought home the Princess sneakers, there is this little tidbit:

Once Upon a Time,
there was a land where
wishes always came true.
You've been there.
It's the land of
the Disney princesses.
And for generations of
dreamers it's been the place...

...where dreams begin

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves debuted in 1937; Sleeping Beauty in 1959. By grouping all of these characters together, the nostalgia of generations of women is turning into a cash cow, like spinning straw into gold (I suppose Disney never did Rumplestiltskin, huh?) And kids who might otherwise only have seen the contemporary movies will suddenly revive interest in those older films. Like the 50th anniversary edition of Sleeping Beauty I just bought at Blockbuster.

There is good news for us, though. This morning we went garage saleing (yes, it is a verb), partly because I need some trays to hold makeup and hair accessories on the top of my dresser and--clearly--I can not go to Target one more time, and partly because I got this idea in my head of giving Clio a dollar or two and letting her pick something out, much as my mother used to do for us. Guess what we found?

A baggie full to bursting with Disney Princess figurines.

I had Clio go up to the proprietor and ask how much. She then, shyly, handed over a dollar bill, and the rest of the day revolved around Cinderella, TWO Snow Whites, Sleeping Beauty with Merryweather, Flora, and Fauna; and--to a lesser degree- Pocahontas and the odd Cruella Deville, both of whom Clio designated as boys and relegated to a bottom shelf.

(Here they are, taking some fresh air and being introduced to Rody, the bouncy horse.)


While Dave may not approve of any of the Disney paraphernalia, even if we got a great deal, I love how excited Clio got over this find, how much she loves these little dolls. And, I hate to admit it, but I can't wait to watch Sleeping Beauty with my daughter, and tell her once again that this was the first movie I saw in the theater, at Cina 4 in West Saint Paul, that my brother and I loved it so much that our Dad let us stay for a double feature, that he forgot to call my mom and inform her of this fact, and that I will never forget the beauty and the drama of that day.

Because not only am I the target demographic, I am also a sucker.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Boulder Baby

This is an outdoorsy kind of a place, and Eleri immediately got the bug. All she wants to do is go outside. Outside, outside, outside. Here is a common scene in our house:


Outside is great, except that I have no idea what to do with her once we're out there. I keep thinking of that Chevy Chase movie The Great Outdoors. (I can't really remember anything about it except that the title is a bit ironic, which is the point here.)

We go for stroller walks. We sit in the grass and watch the squirrels. We pick plums off our neighbors tree and eat them (both of the girls are extremely enamored with this activity- and really, who can blame them?) I try, oh, how I try, to remember the games of my idyllic, suburban youth; what, exactly, are the rules to Kick the Can? But then I realize that this is the problem: those games don't apply at this age. I can't remember being one, and when Clio was one I was working full time, she was in day care full time, and I was about to become pregnant; there was no "outside." There was only, "Oh yes, I remember you. Let's eat dinner and go to bed."

Last night, I feel like we finally kind of got it. We ate dinner on the deck, then Dave started doing manly, husbandly work in the yard, clearing some old brush and collecting branches into the compost bin; and fatherly things like locating a bright yellow tennis ball and throwing it so very high up in to the air that his daughters shrieked in delight, asking "again, Daddy, again". I got to do lazy woman things like flipping through Real Simple over a glass of wine and glancing from time to time at my children, playing in the long grass. It bears noting that when I did get in on the action, the game of my invention--bouncing the tennis ball on the ground and encouraging the girls to get it on the rebound before I did--resulted in tears, not once, but three times. So, as long as the daddy is around, we can probably all get used to the outdoors. And make them great.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Creativity

Today, I finally unleashed the art supplies from the plastic tub within a U-Haul box, and got them sorted and put away. (Yes, it's been a month and we are STILL unpacking.) Clio was at the library with Dave, where they were experiencing a "Bug Safari" visiting from the nearby Butterfly Pavilion; upon their return, the one piece of news I was able to extract from them was that Clio "touched a huge, live cockroach." (Funny: in Brooklyn we tried explicitly to avoid that.) Trying to show off all that I had accomplished in their absence, I pulled out the new arts-and-crafts drawer in the dining room hutch, and the sight of all those organized, labeled baggies full of stickers and paints seemed to get Clio's creative juices flowing. She took her materials to the little table in the kitchen and proceeded to produce two collages (heavily laden with the shiniest stickers imaginable):


followed by this lovely watercolor.

At first, it was a blue, green, and brown sphere, and when I told her that it reminded me of the earth, she said "I'm making a planet." So there you go. Once the plant was finished, she proceeded to fill in the atmosphere- in basically the same colors. So it all kind of blends, but if you look closely you can kind of see the reddish edges of her planet.

Meanwhile, as I unpacked my jewelry, I rediscovered the necklace that Clio made me before we left New York.


She got several beading kits for her birthday, and I love the way she piled on the overscale flowers, the fact that she strung some of them backwards, so they are simple, unadorned colors, and, most of all, the perfect asymmetry, with so many of the large beads to one side. Would someone get this kid some real stones to work with? I would actually wear this out in the world if it was made with, say, green turquoise or coral. (Back when she made this I thought I had a great entrepreneurial idea on my hands- real jewelry making kits for kids- until I realized that's just called the bead store.)

I got inspired by all of Clio's creativity, so I got in on the action, too. I found two spools of green grosgrain ribbon that I vaguely remember purchasing at some kind of vintage swap meet at the Metropolitan Pavilion, and I used one to make this old-school barette organizer for Clio's barettes.


So easy: just tie the top in a secure bow and hook on a nail or hook, and clip barrettes on.


If you want to include ponytail holders at the bottom, as I did, simply fold the ribbon around the elastics, then use the bottom two barrettes to secure the ribbon back on itself (this also gives you a nice, finished edge.)


I used two barrettes to make sure the whole thing didn't come apart if Clio needed that particular accessory in her hair one day. Voila.

Now if only I had some of those braided ribbon barrettes from the 80s....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Warning

To those of you who read this blog because you want to read about Clio and Eleri, I apologize. And those of you who are more interested in the emotional rollercoaster that has been my life and the resultant musing, again, so sorry. The following two posts (and likely more to come) take a turn in another direction. One that will bore some of you silly (and thrill others, I believe.) Yes. I'm giving in to my love of all things home improvement and decor and sharing waaaaay to much about the details of this new house, and my relationship to it. So for all of you who have told me I should be an editor at Domino (may she rest in peace) or the host on Trading Spaces (so long, Paige Davis), these are for you.

As for the rest of you. We will resume our regularly scheduled programming.

Eventually.

Product Endorsement: World Market Curtain Panels

I'm crazy for curtains. I love textiles in general, and I really do think that window treatments are the quickest way to bring polish, pattern, and color to your room. Unfortunately, good pre-fab curtains are very hard to find, and if you do come across something in a nice fabric and a nice palette, chances are they will be expensive. Instead, I have frequently purchased fabric (and, on one particularly ambitious occasion, liner fabric, drapery weights, the whole kit and kaboodle) with every intention of getting out the sewing machine. I'm sure if he was in the room with me, Dave would like to call your attention to Exhibit A: the extra-large rubbermaid container in our shed which contains untold yardage of fabulous fabric. (I added the "fabulous"- Dave would a) never use that word, b) least of all to describe my storehouse of fabric.) Of course, I have yet to actually sew a pair of curtains, but this has never stopped me- in my experience, pins or hot glue work just fine if you're going more for effect than actual, functional draperies.

So imagine my surprise (and, probably, Dave' relief) when I discovered the selection of inexpensive curtain panels at Cost Plus World Market (yes, the same store where we bought our spice magnets. And a bath mat. And, for good measure, some Frontera salsa, a light-up rubber ducky, and the licorice candies from Holland for which my Dad has a particular fondness.) Not only did they have solid linen and velvet options in lovely colors at a fraction of the price of some other chain retailers (Pottery Barn, I've got your number), but they also carry patterns that are current without being overly trendy. And at $29.99 a panel, who cares if I'll be so over souzanis by the time we move out of this place?


I will admit, there was a hitch or two. First of all, any time you purchase mass-market items in fabric with a large repeat, you have to be willing to accept a little irregularity. I first discovered this with a pair of Dwell Studio for Target curtains for Clio's room in Brooklyn, where the lines of overscale polkadots did not match up when the curtains were drawn. Similarly, the souzani pattern here hangs slightly differently on either panel due to the irregular rod-pocket folds, making on panel's emphasis on the medallions while the other is on the paisley. Oops. Oh well- you get what you pay for, right? Secondly, the panels themselves are 84", no matter what the hanging method. So when we originally tried out a pair with rings, they graced the floor. But when we ultimately opted for rod-pocket styles instead, the hems were highwaters. Enter my genius mother, who suggested I simply let down the seams. One $4 seamripper and a couple of strokes of the iron later, and voila! Curtains just long enough to work.



And really, in this I am going for effect. Mission accomplished.

A Place For Everything, Everything in its Place

One of the things that I have really enjoyed about a new house is planning with the kids in mind. When we bought our house in Brooklyn 5 years ago, we knew we would likely have kids in it, and we thought we had our bases covered with three bedrooms and outdoor space. But actually having kids gives you a different window into how they live and what they need, and I've tried to plan this house with a nod to the Montessori philosophy of a "prepared environment," so that every room is accessible to them; with the exception of our bedroom, there is something for them in each space, and much of it is self serve: their books are in the bottom three shelves of the bookcases in the office; Clio's easel and crayons are in a corner of the dining room; and snacks are in the lazy susan (a lazy susan!), so Clio can go in and help herself to crackers or fruit leather when she's hungry. Their cups and bowls are also on low shelves in the kitchen (Clio has taken to getting herself a glass of water using her stool at the bathroom sink), and we put a small table and chairs in there even though we opted not to make it a full eat-in-kitchen, so they have a place to be while we cook or clean up.

Here's Eleri, enjoying some crackers that Clio put in a sippy cup for her.


Clio was so pleased with herself (and the whole self-serve arrangement) that she offered up a portrait.


For once, I've also given more thought to function than aesthetics as we unpacked and decided where things would go and how they would work. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to have a linen cabinet (right above the washer dryer), and to see this when I open the doors:




When we realized that we were running out of money, pronto, I remembered my thrifty student days and started finding ways to reuse what we already had or to rethink what we needed. We realized we could fit the stereo in this cabinet I inherited from my grandparents (the girls gave it a try before the components went in),

and I'm about to load up the old toy bins (themselves baskets that someone gave me as "wrapping" for a wedding gift) with all the bathroom supplies that don't fit in the bathroom, and store them in the hall closet. For example.

We did go for a few new items. (Actually, we bought a couch- YES, we made a decision, bit the bullet, and ordered a beautiful couch in very-dark brown--wising up after ten years with a white sofa). Among other things, we left behind a wonderful pull-out spice drawer, and needed a solution for our many, many spices. We found these great magnetic tins at Cost Plus World Market, and while they were out of the silver (and we loved but did not want to commit to the shiny red-enamel option), we were able to rain-check them so they would hold them for us once they came off the truck. When we pre-ordered 50, the stock guy heard it as "15" and didn't quite believe us when we corrected him. Anyway, with counter space on the skimpy side, we just stuck these all over the side of our refrigerator, which looks a bit like it is undergoing treatment with those Chinese medicine cups that once bruised Gwyneth Platrow's skin so extensively, her picture wound up on the cover of the NYPost.


I'm not sure I should even admit how happy this makes me. I was extolling their virtues to Dave the other night- so easy to keep alphabetized, the great sprinkle and pour features accessible by a simple twist of the top, the fact that any measuring spoon will fit in the wide mouth- and he kept saying "yes, honey, I know" very carefully, like I was going to start banging the things together and drooling. If I bring it up one more time, Dave might have me committed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Kitchen Hijinks

Eleri plays peekaboo from behind the cupboard with all the cleaning products.


Note to self: install those child locks!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

God Bless the Dishwasher

For five years, the dishes were the bane of my experience. Five years of cooking almost every single meal at home, and washing every single dish, every fork and spoon, every pot and pan and cutting board. And spatulas and whisks and peelers and graters. Five years of trying to figure out how to put a dishwasher in a kitchen with a white refrigerator and a black stove without replacing an extra major appliance. And debating the trade-off of losing one of only four lower cabinets.

I am so very happy to report, our new house has a dishwasher. And while it does not wash our plates (they are, inexplicably, too large, and not just because they are modern plates which I understand to be several inches larger than plates once were, to accommodate our expanding tastes, both edible and aesthetic; no, our dishwasher will not wash our vintage plates, either), I am still in bliss. I never minded washing plates, anyway- so smooth, so round; quite satisfying, really. No, it's the silverware, mounds of silverware, and the cups- how does a family of four accumulate SO many dirty cups in a single day? And beyond taking the task of cutlery and glassware off my hands, the dishwasher makes clean up manageable-- in fact, I now remember what it is like to actually have time to wipe down the counters and the sink and send the kitchen off to bed to the low, glorious hum of dishes washing, all on their own. In the morning, I get up and unload the dishwasher so that, all day long, I can put soiled dishes right on in there as the soiling occurs. And it feels that my day has begun on an orderly note.

There is only one problem to all of this domestic bliss.

Can you guess?



That's right: Eleri.

Like her Mommy, Eleri loooooves the new dishwasher. She loves to unload the silver, whether clean or dirty. Loves to pick up the bowls and threaten to drop them to the marmoleum floor, where they just might smash to bits (she is, after all, an unusually strong baby.) Loves to reach for the knives. Truly, all those spoons placed so carefully towards the front, within her reach, yet she can spot that one, lone knife at the back?


Why yes, she can.

But Eleri also loves cling to the backs of my legs while I cook over the hot, hot stove, right ther where she might get spashed by something scaling. She loves to remove al of the magnets from the refrigerator. To unload the lazy suzan. (A lazy susan!!!) So I have decided to pick my battles, and use that dishwasher to my advantage. Eleri, honey, you go right ahead and re-arrange that cutlery. Yes.

But please, enough with the knives.