Sunday, October 30, 2011

Emergency Preparation: Water

Snow before Halloween? Yikes. I hope this doesn't mean we are in for a serious winter like the one two years ago. I adore our new place but we were warned that power outages are frequent in Old Town. Power outages and babies don't seem like a good mix to me. Add the fact that during our first week here, we experienced both an earthquake and a hurricane. So, emergency preparations are definitely on my mind. Once in awhile, on this blog, I will mention the simple, small steps we are taking to be more prepared the next time a natural disaster appears on our doorstep.

Today's post is about water. Experts remind us to have a gallon per family member for at least 7 days in preparation for an emergency. That means 21 gallons for my family. That is a lot of water. We haven't reached that goal yet but are taking baby steps each week. Total time spent per week = less than 5 minutes.

I'm addicted to "Simply Orange Juice" (stay with me here). When I'm finished with the plastic container, I rinse it out but instead of putting it in recycling, I fill it up with tap water and it goes in our storage closest. Wham bam, we are on our way to being more prepared. Easy enough for everyone, right? I'll let you know when we have reached our goal!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Seven Months: Happy Birthday Lina!

My Dearest Sunshine,

You turned seven-months on the 21st. I had to laugh when I recently read in one of Dr. Sear's books that babies usually start showing opinions at around 9 months. At 5 hours old, the nurse called you feisty; that has never been as true as this past month!

 When you don't like something you shake your head and say "na na na." Diaper and clothes changes typically involve lots of head-shaking and loud vocalizations. You are not a fan of either. You are a fan of hummus, dancing, clapping to music and giving me raspberries on my stomach. You are also a fan of Daddy reading your monkey book, Grandma Pia singing you "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and playing at Dada and Dadi's house.

You have decided you hate eating in your high-chair, so now you sit in your own tiny chair and table (Montessoristyle). You won't accept people feeding you cheerios or puffs because you like doing it yourself. When I open the fridge door, I have to be fast because you are there lightening-fast climbing inside.  You can now pull yourself using the fridge door or even a wall.

You are our happy, curious ball-of-energy. Your giggles and laughs bring us all such joy. We love your sense of humor. Last week, I pretended to be asleep and put your pacifier in my mouth. You stared at me, let out a big laugh, crawled over to me and yanked the pacifier out of my mouth. We live for such moments! Thanks for being my cuddle-bunny, sharing your crackers with me and constantly giving out sweet, sloppy kisses.

Know you are very, very loved!
Your Mama

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yard Sales Are in My Blood...

Yard Sales are in my blood. The frantic split second decision of whether or not to pull off the road, the first glance over the goods, the casual questioning of pricing, the potential negotiation and the glorious feeling of the Find. I've always loved Yard Sales but now that I have a baby, they have taken on a whole new meaning.

Last year at this time, I did my share of yard saling but I was still weeks away from finding out the sex of my baby. So, I bought a slew of gender neutral clothes. At $1 a pop, it was okay if the baby never wore something. This year it's a lot more fun having an actual little person here when shopping.

For those in the NOVA area, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. You need to get yourself to the Catoctin Mountains the second weekend of October. That's Colorfest weekend and that Friday is your chance to yard sale until you collapse. Hundreds of yards sales offer countless chances to walk away with a smile on your face and some amazing stuff in your bag. I am convinced that as thrift stores continue rise their prices, yard sales are more and more the way to go. Yards sales are also really wonderful if you are a family creating a Montessori "prepared environment" for your child. It's easy finding small, beautiful trays, bowls, baskets, etc... all for a dollar or two (sometimes even less).

Here are some things to remember when Yard Saling (I forgot 3 out of 4 of them this go-    around...whoops)...

1. Bring those $1 bills and change (dig into that change jar)
2. Bring a few grocery bags or reusable bags
3. Don't forget your bottle of water and granola bars
4. If you can, leave your children behind (the one thing I remembered)

These are the things I bought this Colorfest that made me smile...

Snowpants- $5 (I'm determined that we are going out to the playground unless it's pouring)
Melissa and Doug wooden frog- $2
Melissa and Doug wooden stacking and sorting set- $3
Shoes- 25 cents
Preschool Cooking book from Moosewood Restaurant- 25 cents (never too early to build up your library)
Children's chair- $5

What have you bought at a Yard Sale that has made you smile?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gift Idea: Studio Portrait in Sentimental Outfit

For my father-in-law's 60th Birthday, I already had an elaborate gift planned which would be presented at his Birthday Brunch.  I want wanted to give him something nice on the actual day. I'm more of a candid, natural photo-kind-of-person but he loves studio portraits, so off to Sears we went. They had a deal going on for one person, one pose, in natural colors which fit our needs perfectly. We dressed Lina in a traditional Indian dress that my mother-in-law had brought back from India last winter. The photographer took 12 shots, we chose our favorite and walked out with one charming 8x10. If took about an hour and 15 minutes and we spent $14. All-in-all it was worth the time and effort to see Dada's smile when he opened his present! I'm planning on doing the same for my mother and dressing Lina up in one of my grandfather's gowns. A gift any grandparent would appreciate!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review of Frying Pan Farm

On what was perhaps the last gasp of summer, I took my daughter to Frying Pan Farm in Herndon, VA. I had noticed over the last month that she has developed a real fascination with animals. My father and step-mother were visiting from West Virginia and I was struggling to come up with how to entertain them. Our apartment is a bit too small to handle 5 adults and a baby all day long and my Mountain Man Father isn't too big on boutique shopping in Old Town. So, although it was a long drive (45 minutes) from Alexandria, it ended up being totally worth it. Plus, it meant the baby had two built in nap-times.

The farm seemed to be a very popular destination for the under 7 set, but I think most elementary students would find it an engaging place. The high-light of the trip for my 6 month-old was the animals. Lots of squeals, waving of the arms and wiggles. Overall, the animals seemed well-taken care of, although the free roaming chickens looked a little rough and the peacocks seemed depressed in their small enclosure. We caught the piglets during play-time. Pure cuteness. We also checked out the ducks, turkeys, goats, sheep, draft horses, calves and rabbits. Total heaven for a kid who adores "Old MacDonald Had a Farm."

At $1.75 for a ticket, it was well worth the photo-op to go on the wooden carousal. Lina was too tiny to really get into the experience, but everyone else on the ride had a blast. We saved the wagon-ride for next time. There were two playgrounds that seemed popular but my kiddo had more fun convincing her Nana to help her walk around the grass. My sister and her boyfriend checked out the Country Store and found some interesting books. There were plenty of picnic tables in the shade and we definitely weren't the only other family to pack a picnic lunch. Before we left, we couldn't resist a stop at the child-size tracters. All-in-all a success! My Farmer Dad felt at home and my Farmer Daughter was all smiles during the trip. Looking forward to returning a few times every year. Check out their website for more information...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When the Dust Settles

When you have a baby, after the Dust settles, you realize the importance of doing things that connect the New-Mama-You to the Old-Childless-You. I may have given up lazy Sunday mornings and long, danglely earrings (at least for awhile) but there are certain things that must remain.

I am still obsessed with food. I still love yoga. I still enjoying making beautiful things. I still take a good book in with me when I climb into my steaming hot bathtub. I have decided to start this blog to connect my old passions with my new ones. I am as curious as ever; ready to share and ready to learn! Welcome to my Blog!
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