Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor-free Weekend

It's still August and I'm bucking the trend with a second post this month! (Thanks, Janet for prompting me with your email :)) This week finds us in Texas. Cali has made her first plane trip. Since Rick isn't flying anymore, Cali won't bank as many flight hours as quickly. Both girls handled the flight pretty well. We had to wake them up early (in theory). In reality, Cali woke herself up about 5:30 am and Ellie bounded out of bed when I crept into her room asking, "Is it time to go to Texas?" She's a hoot, that one. Cali slept briefly on the way to the airport and then for 2 20-minute siestas during the 3 hour flight. She really didn't care for the decent. Ellie bounced all around the cabin for at least 2 hours of the flight, but she still didn't want to nap once we got settled at Grandma's. She's starting to fight naps, although the increase in whiny erratic behavior indicates to me that she's really not ready to give them up.

Today, Daddy took Ellie to Schlitterbaun, a nearby waterpark. Cali and I went with Grandfather to Half-Price books so I could soak up the atmosphere of one of my favorite browsing stores and do a little shopping. We discovered that a baby carseat is a tight fit in the back of a Fiat. Tomorrow, we get to celebrate Great Grandma's birthday with my Aunt Candie and meet Aunt Mad's fiancé. Daddy and Grandfather are planning to go to the shooting range in the AM. It should be a fun-packed day!

Since I last wrote, Dad and Ellie went car camping with the Tesla, they caught a Cubs game, the family went down to Indy for a mini-reunion (and a Star Wars exhibit), and Ellie got her second haircut.

Cali isn't doing much drastically different. She rolls sometimes, but it seems to be an accident because it's so rare. She's showing interest in solid foods and I've let her try a bit of melon, oatmeal, and tomato. I'm waiting until she can sit better to let her get too into food. She's had a recent growth spurt that has thrown a monkey wrench into our (formerly) beautiful sleep schedule. She's wearing mostly 9 month clothes and when she goes for her 6 month appointment in a couple weeks, I expect she'll be about 16 pounds. Her little legs are like sausages. I have to actually dig into the fat folds to make sure there's nothing hiding when it's bath-time. I've abandoned cloth diapering for now. The child leaked out almost every time and the laundry was getting a little ridiculous. We're transitioning to size 3 diapers now.

P has discovered the versatility of Raspberry Pi's (tiny computers) for creating interesting side projects. He has been working on time-lapse cameras for the build site and now he's working on a back seat camera for Ellie's "jump-seats" in the back of the Tesla.

I've been working on a little marketing for the new restaurant, but mostly I've been collecting ideas for the decor. It's been fun getting together with the other investors to iron out our ideas of how the restaurant should look. I'm also working out how to get a more disciplined Publicity committee going for Tri Kappa, but it's a tall order to do that from the ground up. Luckily, I had a great mentor, so I know what a good program should look like.

My garden is a mess, as it usually is by this time of year. I don't have the heart to prune my tomatoes much or the foresight to stake them as well as I should, so I usually end up with some wildness. Thus far, tomato worms are staying away, which is kind of amazing. Squash bugs and heat have decimated my zucchini plants, which is just well I suppose. Apparently, I did a decent job selecting beans, because I've had a colorful assortment of yellow, purple, and green for a while. The yellow Capitano have been the overall best producers, but my string beans have finally rallied and are producing some awesome greens and purples now. I've had a less than stellar crop of tomatillos, mostly because I squeezed them in as an afterthought instead of planning for them. I will be able to make a batch or two of Emeril's enchilada sauce though, so that'll make it worthwhile. I think I'll finally be more selective next year with tomatoes. I've been randomly planting whatever varieties sound good in the seed catalogs for 5 years and I'm finally finding some I really like (other than black cherries, which were love at first bite). I've decided I don't really care for the buxom slicing tomatoes. I have a small variety of slicing tomatoes (that I'll have to identify soon) with delicious flavor that aren't mealy. I also planted San Marzanos, which are delicious, but I've found are a little prone to blossom rot. And, my black cherries are yumtastic again this year. For sheer interest, I've got a beautiful small black and red variety called Indigo Rose. However, they are a LONG time maturing, so I haven't eaten enough to decide if they are keepers or merely interesting. Otherwise, I've decided to try to track down the Zima brand tomatoes for next year. I think they are close to Golden Sweet (F1). I normally only grow heirloom tomatoes, but I'll make an exception with these because they are delicious, which is unusual for yellow tomatoes in my opinion. If anyone has any suggestions to try for next year, shoot me a message :)

Tom, Zuzu, P, Ellie, and Cali (behind the toy bar). Can you tell whose child is whose?

Ellie and Aunt Cat

Mom and the girls

Dad channeling Steve Harvey at a charity fundraiser for the parks department.

Just a few of my tomatoes. The really dark ones are the Indigo Rose.

Ellie at Wrigley.

Enjoying nature in comfort.

Inside the cabin-tent.

Cali's face through much of the flight.

Dad and Cali

Ellie and Mommy

Ellie at the 'Bahn.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sneaky August

Hi folks! The summer has really flown by. We have broken out the pool once. Been to the Splash Pad a few times, hit up Taltree many times. Their new Children's Exploration Garden has become quite the favorite since it has animals AND things to climb on. The Railway Garden has fallen a bit in popularity. Mom still likes it for the predictable air-conditioned oasis and nice (easily accessed) clean bathroom. We've been to Fair Oaks Farm. It is truly an impressive operation. We've been to the Indy Zoo, the Michigan City Zoo, and this weekend we catch the Star Wars exhibit at the Indy State Museum before catching up with family poolside.

Cali is rapidly growing and becoming stronger. She recently transitioned to cloth diapers and is proving that her evacuations are far more powerful and voluminous than her sister's were. We may be abandoning cloth if the leaks aren't contained soon. She also drools like a fiend. I don't think she's teething, but she is very oral right now, so she could be in the early stages. She should be rolling over and sitting soon. Her neck strength is pretty impressive. She's usually pretty good at entertaining herself on her floor mat. Crinkles are her favorite right now. And burp cloths.

Tomorrow, she'll be 5 months old. At her 4 month appointment, she weighed 14 lbs, 5 oz. She is now around the 50th percentile. Her fuzz has gotten longer and lighter, but I doubt she'll have much hair before she starts walking. It might be a nice honey color to start though. Her eyes have lightened to Ellie's and my grey-blue.

Ellie has been conducting. I think she will be a very musical child. She sings quite a bit, and has expressed interest in all the instruments she can get her hands on. The summer has gone quickly this year since she is in Montessori from 8-3 daily. I think we'll abbreviate her schedule once school starts back up in the Fall so we can do more together. She's at a fabulous age where she can interact at a higher level and is starting to get interested in letters and numbers. I'm hopeful that she'll be an early reader simply because she loves books and stories so much that I can't wait for her to be able to experience the joy of reading them on her own.

E has been enjoying longer hair. Her go-to hair-style has evolved rapidly over the past 6 months from 2 tiny barrettes, to larger barrettes, pig tails, pig tails with barrettes for her bangs, loops, and now loops with a headband for her bangs and fancy flowery barrettes. I think the time for doing her hair has doubled just in the last week, lol.

P and I have a new venture. We're involved in a new local restaurant, Main+Lincoln with a really impressive and active group of people. P has been helping with demo and design of the bar. I have been helping with the identity and marketing. I'm excited to see what the final product will be. It should open in late 2013 and will be run by a pretty fabulous Chef.

I may be entering into a phase where I take on too much again. I've quit 2/3 of my original volunteer commitments to have time with the girls, but they've been replaced now by the restaurant work and the Tri Kappa Publicity Committee. It's less physical travel and design work though, so I can do a lot of it on my laptop while they play. As much as I don't enjoy marketing, it seems to keep sucking me back in. I do love planning and list-making. The silver lining is that I can put it on my resume if I ever decide to get back into the job market.
Caught by the cat.

Poor Grandma had to make an entire family of bunnies. Guess who has the clown nose....

Wave running with D.

No doubt telling him he can't do something.

Back at the beach the next day with Aunt Cat.

Cali in her office.

In the Otter tunnel at Michigan City Zoo.

Summer bounty.

The toad who lives on our deck.

Fair Oaks:  The milking wheel.

Mom's new haircut.

Less than 24 hours with the Vargi and she's a diva'd out princess....

Watching tigers at the Indy Zoo.

Girl's Night Out - Bob Schneider at Lincoln Hall, Chicago.

Almost 3 and finally swinging.

Dragging D onto the playground.

Half of the restaurant. (For more pics and progress, follow Main+Lincoln on FB.)

Ellie's new do.