Friday, October 29, 2010


They turned one. We made it. The past year has been incredible and I am so very glad it's over. I'm deciding to just own how much I disliked the experience of having twin babies; I realize that their babyhood is precious/fleeting/etc, but there's no getting around how much it sucked at first (like, for the first ten months) and how miserable we all were. I really like the babies (and the universe) a lot more now that they're beyond the constant crying, constant holding phase. Now we are in the goofy slapstick almost-toddlerhood phase: so much better. They have excellent little personalities that get lovelier every day. Onwards and upwards, my ridiculous babies.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

how to use facebook (to make everybody hate you)

If your status update involves any of the following, you've just alienated a bunch of people:

  • your brilliant and superior parenting skills (e.g., your three year old's reading ability, the fact that none of your kids eat any refined sugar, etc.)
  • how other parents are so pitiably stupid for parenting in a way different from your own
  • any reference whatsoever to vaccination: for, against, or otherwise
  • hysterical invective against circumcision, baby formula, or nighttime parenting choices
  • shit-stirring in general
The "hide" button is a magical thing and I use it freely.  I expect a certain amount of idiocy in any forum where people aren't interacting face-to-face.  But I just do not understand how people can survive a few years of parenthood without being deeply humbled by the inadequacy of whatever ideals they started out with.  I'm not even sure that the people who set me off on this little rant really do believe that my kids are forever scarred by my horrible parenting choices.  They're probably just looking for some validation from the little choir they're preaching to.  But it strikes me as antagonistic and (strangely) competitive and they should most definitely shut right up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

feeding the freezer

When I'm baking I almost always double the recipe and freeze half.  Most baked goods freeze wonderfully.  Muffins, quick bread, yeast bread, pie, pie crust, cake, cookies, cookie dough, biscuit and cobbler dough, crumble topping.  Everything.  I've even had some luck freezing muffin and quick bread batter.

Having a freezer filled with relatively wholesome pies, muffins, etc. really helps in the snack department.  And the breakfast department.  I bake with whole grains, minimal sugar and heaps of fruit, so I don't worry about the kids (or me) eating too much/too often/whatever.  When I taste "normal" pie or cake made with white flour and sugar I'm overwhelmed by the sweetness, reaffirming my belief that my carrot cake is a perfectly reasonable breakfast.
These apple cakes are from Rustic Fruit DessertsI had some mealy apples that needed to be either baked or put in the compost pile.  One went in the freezer, one went in our bellies.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

pilgrim dress for silly baby

I've been shamefully lazy about NaBloWriMo.  I think I've missed three days.  Pathetic.  Last year I managed to post each day despite, you know, giving birth to twins via major abdominal surgery (okay, so I scheduled posts ahead of time--sue me).
I enjoy seeing small children in somber clothing.  Dignified, serious clothing makes their foot-eating, food-wearing antics even better.
This dress nearly wound up in the scrap bin due to a buttonhole mishap.  While opening up the buttonhole with a seam ripper, my hand slipped and tore a giant hole in the placket.   I managed to patch it; you can see the repair job on the top button hole here, but I've decided it's good enough.  I didn't cry, curse, throw crockery or yell at my kids.  I feel so mature.
This is not my first buttonhole disaster. Either the automatic buttonhole setting on my machine is at fault or this is just one of those things (like pie crust) that I'm just going to routinely screw up despite having decent theoretical knowledge of what needs to be done.
Other than that, I'm pleased with the dress.   I made it out of an old skirt I had sewn years ago, before the mysteries of fabric grain had been revealed to me.  Perhaps it's the fact that the fabric was essentially free that I was so patient with my buttonhole issue.  Hmmmm.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

melted crayon success

Joseph obsessively breaks his crayons into conveniently sized choking hazards that the babies can't get enough of. I was going to throw all those sad little pieces away and pretend they got lost but instead we melted them in some silicone muffin cups. 300 degrees for 5 minutes, that is all it takes. And my muffin cups are still pristine; I had heard that melting crayons can do horrible things to metal muffin cups, so I think silicone is the key to success. Joseph was transfixed throughout the process--he pretty much thinks I'm an alchemist. I have never been so impressive. I think you could probably get better results if you tried to color-coordinate the crayon scraps. Our color scheme here was entirely kid-directed, so you get what you get.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

halloween help

I have no interest in halloween, not this year or any year.  My husband and oldest son do not feel the same way, unfortunately.  They both think inflatable pumpkin lawn decor is a great idea, and they both have been asking for months about Joseph's costume.  Joseph wants to dress up as an excavator or a front end loader, but either he doesn't quite grasp the concept of costumes or he is seriously misjudging my sewing abilities.
I suggested that he and the babies all wear their pointy hats (elf hats made from Bend the Rules Sewing; they take about two seconds to make and look awesome) and we can go as a family as gnomes. This suggestion was greeted with stony silence.

Anybody have any ideas for a quick costume that doesn't involve multiple trips to JoAnn's, fake fur, foam or engineering skills?  I'm pretty sure I'll just dress the babies as gnomes and call it a day, but Joseph needs something more exciting.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

a (reasonably) happy post

Conventional wisdom is that twins amuse one another (because we all know how siblings always get along and play together peacefully) but until recently they just smacked and bit one another and cried a lot.  When they were in the crib together it was like a baby cage match.  Not good.  But now they babble at one another and crawl around the house like a pair of baby hooligans, banging on things, tearing apart books and annoying the crap out of their older brother.  We're out of the there's always somebody crying so maybe I should just hide in the bathroom and think about how much I dislike my ovaries for making twins and then feel guilty and then cry and then feel incompetent etc etc etc stage and settled into normal, busy-but-manageable family life with two little kids and one not-so-little kid.

Of course, at night it's like having two newborns and a poltergeist, but let's not dwell on that.  Joseph now greets strangers with a cheerful "how did you sleep last night?"  Because we are sleep obsessed/deprived crazy people in this family.

More preschooler hilarity that must be documented for posterity:  yesterday at the grocery store Joseph saw a man wearing an absurd red turtleneck and promptly announced "oh my, you look fancy today, don't you."  I don't think I've ever loved another human being more than I did at that moment.  At some point we'll have to have a discussion about manners but that can wait.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

linen flower dress

These smock/jumper style dresses were Violet's summer uniform.  When I made them, I assumed she'd wear a onesie underneath, but I forgot how sticky and horrible the summer is here.  I was glad to have a bunch of light dresses to throw on over a diaper.
The flower on this dress is made from some leftover linen quilt binding.  It was two inches wide and then folded in half; I did a basting stitch down the raw edge and then gathered it into a ruffle.  I coiled it into a vaguely floral shape while hand stitching it in place from the wrong side; if hand sewing ruffly flowers sounds like a major undertaking, understand that this step took about five minutes.  I then hand tacked it onto the dress (another five minutes).  I was pretty sure it would turn to shit in the wash, but it held up miraculously well.  The laundry gods smiled on me with this one.

Monday, October 4, 2010


My chatty, curious, dreamy, truck-obsessed little boy is now three. Three! Every time we reach a new stage I say to myself "this is the best ever. I will cry a thousand tears when this is over." And then it turns out that the next stage is even lovelier than anything that preceded it.

This was the first time I attempted an actual birthday party, although it was still pretty small and low key. I had to make sure we didn't go to any "real" birthday parties in the weeks leading up to this because I was afraid he'd be disappointed that he didn't have an inflatable ball pit or a cake shaped like a truck or whatever. "But where's my ball pit, mama? It's my birthday, isn't it?" Sob sob sob.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

more guilt induced crafting: a penguin

This fuzzily-photographed penguin is based on this lovely pattern with some details inspired by Harry's penguin-shaped (!) nebulizer.  I made it in about half an hour, in classic kid-on-the-lap fashion:  raw edges, no ironing, and zero attention to detail.  I'd be very satisfied with myself if somebody would play with it, even for a single minute.  Alas, most of the toys I make really underwhelm my kids, which is actually to say that they underwhelm Joseph--the babies are content to play with garbage/laundry/lint so I'm not taking their interest as a ringing endorsement.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

guilt induced crafting, part one

During the middle of the summer we were stuck at home a lot because 1) it was a million degrees out, 2) it seemed like at least one of the kids was always contagious with some gross upper respiratory thing and therefore not fit for human company, and 3) I was too sleep deprived to drive anywhere.  So we spent a good chunk of the summer inside, going crazy and making memories to share with future therapists.

In an effort to keep the two year old busy and make myself feel like a good mother, I tried to do some really simple sewing projects with him.  This bath mitt is from a pattern in the spring 2010 Stitch magazine, although I cut some serious corners.  I used an old towel and some fabric scraps.  I just eyeballed most of the pieces and did a quick raw edge applique instead of whatever the pattern instructions called for.  With a kid on my lap, this took me about 20 minutes.  

This was mostly a success: Joseph fed fabric through the machine, cut scraps with his scissors, and stopped emotionally terrorizing the babies for a few moments.  I made a dent in my weirdly large pile of old towels (seriously, I could people the world with bath mitt critters) and felt like I accomplished something.  Hooray for craft projects that work out.

Friday, October 1, 2010

pictures of my children being beautiful

So.  Hi there.  It's been so long since I posted that I can't remember how to properly upload a picture.  It took me about 20 minutes to make this picture appear on the damn blog and now I can't even remember why it seemed like such a great picture anyway.

I am so very happy that the summer is over.  It was not wonderful.  The details are best glossed over, unless you really like hearing about dead pets, diseased gallbladders, a baby who didn't gain weight for three months, a baby with an antibiotic resistant ear infection, and the fact that my husband and I were seemingly in a contest to see who could be in the world's crappiest mood.  I've been very busy alternating between feeling sorry for myself and feeling sorry for my kids for having such a basket case for a mother.  It's been a laugh riot over here.
This baby does not eat.

But things seem to be improving.  The three year old is in school two mornings a week.  My gallbladder has stopped actively trying to murder me, and if that means I can never eat dairy, nuts, or eggs again for the rest of my life I can happily make that sacrifice.  We're getting to the bottom of the babies' health issues.  We planted some trees.  I've been making lots of pie.  I no longer feel like the house was built over a hell mouth.
This baby does not sleep.

I'm doing NaBloWriMo again this year.  See, I have three months of unblogged projects that I can totally milk for 31 days of posts!  Maybe I'll even contemplate writing a tutorial.