a girl, a guy, a tomato, a bean, and a bear
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I'm almost too late to get in for this week's Illustration Friday topic! I started a class online this week, so that's taken priority and Evelyn has been a bit cranky the past few days, requiring extra attention. Here I am, staying up WAY too late, though, because I really wanted to do this drawing.
This idea, originally featured two dwarves climbing up her hair. There was a mountain goat standing on her head as well. I ended up changing them to just a squirrel....because that makes more sense?
I wish I had more time to work on Mr. Squirrel. The lady I got more or less what I was aiming for. Squirrely could use some work, but not as much as I could use some sleep.
I found this craft idea today and wanted to remember it for the future and as inspiration for other card making. For full instructions and a template for the heart, check out The Purl Bee.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Today at the commissary there were fresh strawberries. I don't even know when strawberries are in season...I'm guessing now? I have no idea, but these looked delicious. As part of an assignment for my online class I was asked to explore different tools in Adobe Illustrator. Needing something to draw, I though of my berry beauties and pulled one out as reference. Evelyn was captivated. It's always amusing to me what REALLY gets her attention. She loves coke cans (by coke I mean all varieties of soda, pop, or whatever everybody else calls it), and Chokydar is quickly becoming highly interesting to her. This berry caught her attention for sure. Then she went back to mouthing her block.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Evie has graduated from her infant car seat to a bigger "convertable" car seat that has the capacity to be rear facing now, and forward facing when she gets older. I ordered this new car seat online and had been expecting its arrival since before Christmas. Sometimes things take forever to get here, and I wasn't in any real rush, except that in my mind, this car seat would make things better and easier as far as running errands is concerned. The infant car seat was very convenient in that it snapped into a base that remained secure in the car, enabling you to pop the carrier out and go rather than struggling to unbelt and resecure the baby with every stop. The problem became, however, that while still within the weight limit, the infant seat was becoming a tight squeeze for Evelyn. It was apparent that she didn't like the contained feeling down in that little bucket and would struggle against being secured each time I needed to get her in. I thought this problem would be eliminated by the new seat. Also, while the quick carry option was very low hassle, it was getting really heavy to haul both baby AND carrier, and I was really looking forward to just having the girl to carry around rather than the girl plus 10+ extra pounds of plastic.
As it turns out, the new car seat has somewhat failed to live up to the super-powered vision I had created in my mind. It's perfectly fine...seems very safe and is relatively user friendly, but Evelyn still hates getting strapped in, and now that the seat doesn't pop out, she gets strapped in with EVERY stop. She is not pleased with this new development, and I can't say that I'm thrilled about it either. Also, the infant seat had a little umbrella cover thing that was adjustable and blocked the sun. The new seat is without such a feature, and Evie has made clear this is not acceptable.
Anyway, all that to say, we're adjusting to this new way of getting about. In preparation for a shopping trip tomorrow we stopped by to fill up on gas today. I should state first that the military has special arrangements to get gas on post at a reduced price compared to the German economy. With this arrangement comes certain regulations, however, and our gas consumption is rationed. There's also a whole system in place for how you're able to purchase it. This system has fairly recently been "upgraded" (haha), and now you must first present your papers to a cashier before you can even begin to pump. For those of us with infants, this means getting gas suddenly becomes a rather involved chore.
I pull into the station and notice a sign that states that regular unleaded is no longer going to be delivered on post. It's either Super or Super Plus (read Expensive or Expensive Plus). Yay. I unlatch Evie and we trot across the parking lot and into the store so as to show the cashier our papers and get authorization to pump. We then march back out to the car, I set Evie back in the car seat while I pump, then retrieve her once more so that we can trudge back inside to pay (there's no pay at the pump). Whew.
While we're inside, the guy in front of us in line asked the cashier about how the price converts to liters and whether we pay in euro or dollars. After getting his answer he responded, "Wow." Thinking this was a kindred soul, I commisserated, "Kinda sucky, huh?"
"Actually, it's great!" he replied. "Compared to the economy (the price of gas on the German economy), that's amazing!"
Of course, he's totally right. We have a really sweet deal compared to the price of gas in Europe, but there I stood, fixated on my forced Super gas, annoyed at the production it was to get it, and comparing instead to the lower prices in America.
I end up venting on here a lot, so I know it must seem that I'm full of complaints. The truth is, I do appreciate what an opportunity it has been to live here. I get annoyed listening to people in the community complain about EVERYTHING, and yet I end up complaining myself. It's really not that bad. I know that. On the other hand, I can't help but be slightly annoyed when people rant and rave about how much they love it here and how they hate to leave. To clarify, that's a totally valid opinion and I fully respect it. Europe definitely has a different pace and lifestyle and I can see how some people would prefer it. I think the reason I get annoyed is because I feel like I've failed by not sharing in that opinion. I have kind of a lot more to say on this thought, and I think I'll save it for another time. It's getting late and we have a fun-filled day tomorrow.
One final note--I started my online class today! I'll be learning about the Adobe Creative Suite and hopefully will soon dazzle you with all of the things that I will learn this semester.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
This was actually a few evenings ago, after Evie had a really cranky day. I guess she just finally was tired of being pissed and decided to laugh herself silly.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Meal time is very, very messy. Evelyn "helps" me feed her and often resorts to putting her fist in her mouth as well, just to make sure the food stays in. Then of course, what are you to do if your nose or eye itches? Hence, rice cereal face girl. It's in her hair, it's in her nostrils. She's thrilled.
Tonight she was eating peas. She's discovered that if she does her raspberry noise while there is food in her mouth, mommy gets a nice pea shower. Joy. It was actually pretty hilarious, and I sat there cracking up as she covered me with shots of pea splatter. Gross, I know. I agree.
It's against my nature to let her get this messy. I want to control the chaos and wipe her face off after every third spoonful. I'm stopping myself, however, because I'm thinking of lessons I hope to impart to her, one of which is, "It's okay to get really messy." Sometimes in life, you'll miss out if you don't, and you can always clean off again. In fact, it makes getting clean even more enjoyable.
Here are some of the most recent videos. Evie has begun banging on things and plays peek-a-boo!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Until today. The Tomato returned. I know it must be just getting over shots yesterday, or perhaps her teeth are finally trying to push through. Whatever the cause, she is rather inconsolable today. It is very unlike her at this point. She is typically a very agreeable baby and is consoled quickly.
Ahh! I pray she's in a better mood tomorrow, because I was accosted by Girl Scouts on my last trip to the mail room and the cookies I bought won't make it another day if this continues.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Pale. That's me for sure. Sun exposure is like, my mortal enemy. I actually get a rash if I stay out too long.
Getting up at 6:45 makes me so thankful that Evelyn is such a good sleeper. Lately she's been going to sleep about 10:30 and sleeps through either till around 8, at which point we'll get up, or somewhere between 5-7:30, in which case, we go back to sleep, and get up for real around 9ish. In this, I realize, I am very blessed.
It is very funny to me how when you don't want to wake the baby, so much as a sneeze will rouse her, while when you need her to wake up, making all kinds of noises doesn't phase her. I think Chokydar became disgusted with my pathetic attempts at noise making and decided to take matters into her own hands by barking at an unsuspecting neighbor decending the stairwell on their way to work. Of course that did the trick, but surprisingly Evie was in a really great mood for being so abrupted woken. She stretched languidly and was all smiley and warm. A good start to the day.
Once we were all ready and bundled to go, we headed to the car and discovered that Dippin' Dots was running a promotional and had covered all of Baumholder with tiny balls of delicious ice cream! Ok...it wasn't really Dippin' Dots, but it looked just like it--tiny balls of snow strewn all over the streets, grass, and dusting the cars. While very pretty to look at, this meant that the car was probably frozen over. I go to great lengths to avoid going anywhere when the car is frozen over because it typically means I have to crawl in from the passenger side door to get to the driver's seat. Why, you ask? Because in the cold of Baumholder, the driver side door on the Corolla will open, but not shut again because the latch mechanism has frozen.
Sure enough, when I gingerly tested the handle, it felt like I'd better not try it, so I moved all the gear into the back seat so that all 5'9" of me could crawl into our tiny little car. This, even under normal circumstances would be a bit awkward, but with Evie riding behind the passenger seat, it's been adjusted way forward to allow room for her car seat. The really funny part is I've actually become quite accomplished at contorting myself into a little ball and rolling into the car this way, and I hardly even notice the funny looks I get when people see the whole process.
The check up went just fine, and our doctor said Evelyn's looking great. He asked me if I was still breastfeeding and when I said yes, he was very pleased. I struggled to keep a straight face when he excitedly rambled on--
(You must imagine this with his Indian accent for the full effect)
"Oh! Wonderful, wonderful. This is, you know, the making your womanhood complete. The milk from the breast is liquid love, flowing into the baby from the mother. This liquid love, the baby knows, is flowing from you to her and she takes it in and keeps your love inside her. The breastfeeding is liquid love."
I don't know about you, but this empassioned speech, while essentially true, struck me as very funny, and I really had to bite my lip to keep from goofily smiling at the continuously repeated phrase "liquid love!"
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I'm not sure how I did it--I know I did something--but the clock on the oven no longer functions properly. The timer is still fine and the oven functions properly in every other regard, but the clock, no matter how I try to reset the time, ends up marching to it's own beat. After a couple of hours, it's WAY off, saying it's 2 when it's 11 or 6 when it's 5. There doesn't seem to be rhyme or reason in it's rebellion. I've gotten so tired of looking at it and then remembering it's wrong, I've taken to just leaving it on the timer mode. Every time I look over, I just see "0:00" and then sigh and seek out another clock.
Which might be alright, if the other clocks weren't starting to get in on the joke.
The clock in the bathroom is battery operated and NEW, so I'm not sure why it's taken to tormenting me. I only realized this the other day, but it's running fast. It's now about 20 minutes ahead of where it should be.
My bedside clock is about five minutes ahead of my wrist watch, which is a crappy blue plastic stop watch I bought explicitly because I didn't have a watch with a second hand for timing contractions during labor. I wear this ugly clunker all the time, day and night for two reasons. First, because it has a glow in the dark button and is easy to read if I'm up in the middle of the night. The second reason is because my REAL watch, a rectangle-faced silver beauty, needs a new battery, and to date, I can't for the life of me find somewhere that can repair it for me. The PX has watch batteries to do it yourself, but they don't stock what I need and even if they did, I can't see a way to even open up the back to get at the battery.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Can you even recognize me??
...Okay...so I chickened out. The difference is so miniscule it's laughable.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Can you believe it? You’re six months old today. I can scarcely believe the time has gone so quickly. There were nights in there I thought would never end, but looking back on it all, it seems a blur. I try to keep notes of your developments so that it’s easier to write each letter to you, and as I look back at this month, I’m amazed by your progress. Each month to this point has had milestones of course, but somehow you’ve kicked it into overdrive. I don’t think I’ll come anywhere close to capturing all that’s gone on this month, and if I’m already at this point, what hope is there from here on out?? I’ll just have to do my best to capture as many noteworthy developments and then ask you to take all that I’ve described, and then square it.
This month you’ve really discovered your tongue. The ferocity with which you explore its capabilities was almost alarming at first. I must admit that I had a brief moment when I imagined all the clicking and sputtering you suddenly began doing might be some kind of allergic reaction. I would categorize its activity roughly as the equivalent of interpretive dancing. For being rooted in your mouth, it is the most expressive, playful, and devious little body part. You amuse yourself by blowing raspberries for minutes on end and use it as a means to attract attention. This is yet another reason I wish your father were here—I am sure he would take up the mantel of blowing raspberries right back at you…personally I hate the way the vibrations make my tongue and lips feel. I love you so much, I give myself the heebie jeebies returning your raspberry so that your tongue communication will not go unreciprocated.
About the same time that your tongue kicked into overdrive, you also began slapping your hand on any surface within reach. Counter tops, the exersaucer, you name it. Preferably the surface is a hard one, because the noise is much more satisfying, you’ve observed. The papers on my desk are no longer safe when you sit in my lap. You are deeply intrigued by all things paper, and are desperate to get a glimpse of what magazine ink tastes like. Thus far, I have thwarted your attempts.
You began solid foods this month—so far you regularly consume rice cereal and on occasion have tried bananas and applesauce. The rice cereal is a major hit; the fruits so far are still a bit foreign. You like to assist me bringing the spoon to your mouth. When I use the spoon to try and scrape spilled contents from off your chin or cheeks you look at me as if I’ve been hitting the bottle. “Silly Mommy…that’s not my mouth. You’re not even close.” You then grab on and try to steady your poor “inebriated” mother back to the place where the spoon belongs.
You’ve made major strides with your attempts at sitting. Right before Christmas you had your first spill, face first into the carpet, not realizing that your arms where necessary in their tripod position as support. You now ride in the front of the shopping cart at the commissary instead of your infant carrier. This has been an exciting development, and you have the habit of trying to crane your neck and head backwards in order to see where we’re going.
You’re not crawling yet, but you’ve discovered that rolling over has the ability to offer more than just a new visual perspective. You’ve mastered the art of the double and triple roll, propelling yourself laterally a surprising distance. You sometimes do this purposefully in an attempt to reach an otherwise unattainable object. Other times, you roll simply for the joy of it, and are thrilled to find yourself off the blanket I have carefully spread for your play on the floor, which is so boringly free of puli and carpet hair, as well as dirt tracked in from outside.
If it is possible, Evelyn, you’re even cuter than last month. Your cheeks are so adorable and full; all the neighborhood squirrels are envious. They are reliably rosy. You’ve definitely got your father’s eyelashes—they are L-O-N-G and dark. You smile freely and widely. You actually have two smiles—one that is enough to light up a room, and another that should be classified as a clean source of alternate energy, capable of lighting entire city blocks. This nuclear smile makes your eyes dance with joy and I’m pretty sure I go temporarily blind from its brilliance—and you don’t even have any teeth yet!
You’re really engaged now when I read to you and you are a very observant listener. You watch my lips move when I talk as well, and are inextricably fond of the letter “k.” The letter “k” is hilarious.
You’ve also started actually playing with me. This is a hugely exciting milestone, and I can scarcely get enough of playing peek-a-boo. I think I may enjoy it even more than you, which is saying something. I throw a blanket over your head and ask “Where’s Evie?” You wiggle around momentarily while giggling in anticipation and then throw the blanket off your face with your hands with a smile that exclaims, “Here I am!”
Did I say take all I’ve describe and square it? I think it needs to be cubed, more like.
Evelyn, your father and I love you so much.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Justin always kicks and screams a little when I want to take trips here in Europe. I can understand...they include headaches (sometimes major ones, aka the flat tire outside Saltzburg) about 60% of the time. On our Garmisch trip, I'd say the only headache came in the form of a stau (traffic jam) that we ended up being stuck in for HOURS at a time without moving so much as an inch. If I remember correctly (Justin will have to chime in to check me on this), we sat for 3 hours and then got all excited to start moving again, only to go about 100 meters and come to a dead stop again for another 2 hours. We ended up having to call our hotel to tell them we'd be arriving late, and they made special accomodations for us arriving after the usual reception time.
Once we finally did arrive, however, I can see why Garmisch attracts so many admirers. It is, in short, absolutely lovely. While we were there, we did a fair amount of walking around and just admiring the landscape. As it was January, it was quite cold and I remember Chokydar got really muddy sloshing around in patches of melted snow.
I remember one funny exchange, after we walked up to the St Anton's church, we rested at a bench for my sake and watched a group of people playing with their dogs. The dogs were big--maybe labs or retrievers and off their leashes, frollicking merrily. Chokydar sat, firmly leashed at my side. After a few minutes, one of the dogs comes bounding up the hillside, crossing a small stream and leaping over rocks and past trees to approach Chokydar. You could almost hear their doggie conversation:
Friendly stranger dog: Hey! How's it going!? I've never seen you here before. You look nice, though. Wanna join me and Frank for some frollicking?
Friendly stranger dog: Ummm...okay...I'll just...back away slowly...
Next post I'll have more pictures from our walk around the Eibsee lake (frozen solid at the time) at the base of the Zugspitze, Germany's tallest mountain.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
Lately I've been feeling a bit short on ideas. I have plenty of desire to create, but my attempts have been frustrating. I say lately, but it's been on going for a while. I know I just need to DRAW and nevermind that I think it's crappy, I'll end up improving despite myself. I'm starting a class here in a few weeks. Usually structure helps me keep on track.
Hope you enjoy these fellows. I'm particularly pleased with their expressions.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
"Kids grow and change so quickly and you think that you'll remember the funny or insightful things they come out with, but often you don't. To me this kind of record keeping is important and fun. I want to make it visually interesting so I often do little line drawings to accompany the entries. Most of the time I'm doing it in a hurry, so the drawings are quick and simple."
As Evie gets older, I love the idea of having a tangible book filled with illustrations and things she's said and done.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
For one thing, I can list all my favorite haunts so other people can enjoy them too, but best of all, they reorder themselves based on what's been updated most recently. Hooray! This way I don't have to waste time wandering through a bunch that I've already seen.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Her shop reopens on January 17th, but in the meantime, you can read her interesting bio listed on her profile. Or check out her blogs, one devoted entirely to papercutting, and the other to her art and life in general.
I'm already envisioning these framed on our wall in the future...
I came across this post from a blog penned by a woman named Jillian Tamaki. I do not know her, but enjoyed reading her thoughts on "Idea Generation." As an artist, or a person with creative leanings in general, I often find that creativity has the frustrating tendency to dry up. At other times it flows so freely it is almost overwhelming. Tamaki's post on idea generation addresses her creative process.
The first step on her list is "be interested." I think maybe more than anything else, this is key for me. The times when ideas form and flow for me are when I'm surrounded by or exposed to others' creativity. When you exist in a vaccum it is all too easy to stagnate and be at a loss for fresh and exciting concepts. I am constantly on the lookout for images and designs in magazines and online.
The flip side of this coin, however, is that I often spend more time searching for inspiration than sitting down to create something inspiring myself. I have a terrible streak for perfectionism and it often really hampers my efforts. If I can't do it perfectly on the first try, I am frustrated beyond words. I'm impatient and overly self-critical. Justin is such a blessing in times like these because he always encourages me to keep going (or to start again), and I get so much strength from knowing he's behind me.
My friend Loretta from my time working at the elementary school encouraged me in much the same way. She found me with my sketchbook one day after school had dismissed and looked through my doodles. Not a week passed afterwards that she didn't see me in the hall and ask me, "Drawn anything lately?" with a smile. Just knowing that she cared and was interested meant the world.
Thanks to those who inspire and encourage me. I promise I'll keep plugging along. I'll get there one day.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Evie has been going to bed (and by this I mean, in her crib rather than the swing...she usually has a "pre-bedtime nap" that is in the swing around 7 or 8) around 10 and as late as 11ish lately. It's been working great and she sleeps basically through the night, usually waking once sometime between 3-7 am. Well, I started thinking that maybe this was putting her to bed too late, and tonight, when she was showing signs of sleepiness around 9, instead of doing the usual routine, I decided we'd start the bedtime ritual a tiny bit earlier.
Really, it might have turned out ok--I'll never know--because after 3 diaper changes, 3 outfit changes, and re-fitting the bed with sheets she was awake and I was exhausted.
I first noticed that her diaper had sprung a leak when I took her in to read a story. It was weird because it was really a fresh diaper. She'd only been in it maybe 20 minutes. I thought it was a fluke until it happened again. My first thought was that the liner in the cloth diapers was misaligned or something, and therefore wasn't doing the super job absorbing that I've come to expect. After the leak happened the second time I ruled this out. The problem was something much more sinister than a misaligned pad...
I'm pretty positive the diapers have lost their absorbency because of the diaper cream I've been using. I knew I wasn't supposed to use diaper rash cream with them, but I did anyway after a particularly ugly rash Evie got about a month and a half ago. I'd tried just changing her more frequently, but when it didn't seem to be getting better, I starting applying a cream. The cream did the trick, but at a price, obviously.
So here I am, 11:30 at night, with a load of clean diapers that are probably all just going to gleefully repel anything Evie tries to gift them. The only disposables I have on hand she's outgrown.
I know what we'll be doing tomorrow, first thing possible: an early morning commissary run for a temporary stock of disposable diapers and Dawn original dish soap, which supposedly is a remedy to use in "stripping" cloth diapers of this diabolical residue build up.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I'm always looking for ways to renew and encourage personal growth. Sometimes I feel I can really get into a serious rut. Instead of doing this that would address the problem and encourage change, I often do the same old stuff that doesn't work over and over again out of comfort. This list has lots of fun little ideas for encouraging creativity.
I chuckled when I read #17. Sometime, I think it was during our first year here, I actually asked my mother to go to hardware stores and pick up free paint chip samples to mail to me. Just because I LIKE them. I cut them out and played with them and still have my favorites in a ziploc bag stuck in a drawer. I can't wait to have walls I can paint any color I want.
I'm not really into resolutions. I figure if I'm going to make a change, I don't need to wait for the New Year. On the other hand, there is something invigorating and refreshingly "clean slate" about the New Year, and I do feel compelled to be more productive.
Hope you enjoy the list! Let me know if it inspires you to action!