Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Poncho Proud

I knitted a poncho! Five years ago I would have bet about $1000 those words in that order would never have come from my mouth. No, you did not take a quick time travel trip back to 1975. I really I did knit a poncho. I'm sort of poncho proud, so bear with. My dear sweet grandmother tried to teach me to knit about 65 times during my ill fated youth. May she rest in peace knowing a granddaughter has picked up the sticks.

This is a Bernat pattern. Holy cow did you know that there are TONS of free knitting patterns out there in the world? and yikes. As a sewing gal I have been used to scouring the stores for pattern bargains. Free patterns people, that is a reason to take up knitting in the first place.

The only problem with knitting good stuff with the patterns is that they are written in some from of cryptic archaic sanskrit. Apparently you must be willing to whore yourself out at secret underground knitting circles and beg for free translation into English from darling blue haired ladies.

So, Liv loves her little poncho and was dancing around the house in true catwalk form earlier today. Ava was slightly bent and has decided that the next knitting project will be a big girl poncho. She has decided to mix pink fluffy mohair with burgundy yarn. Quite an improvement from her outfit selection yesterday which included a peach sweater and burgundy sparkly pants with uncombed hair and orange socks to "match". (It is a battle I am officially no longer willing to fight. She's five, she wears whatever the heck she wants. But I reserve the right to document in pictures for showing boyfriends later in life.)

I'm starting the pink and burgundy fluffy big girl poncho tonight. Big party, left side of the couch. You are invited if you read knitting sanskrit.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Dance Party Where Only I Got A Workout

This past weekend marked a huge milestone for us. Yeah yeah, my first baby turned 5 and all that and I cried feeling melancholy on the 18th but really the milestone was, a home party. Yes, the adult dreaded home party. Two hours of screaming banshees while momma dreams of a glass of wine and saying over and over, "At least it wasn't $300 spent at the mall".

Twelve of your child's best friends in drop off mode running like little chickens with their heads cut off through your family room bar area pulling bottles of vodka off the shelves and climbing the fire place in one fell swoop. I decided that we would shun the Build A Bears and Gymborees of America and opt out. Of course my vote was to opt out completely and sit on the couch while eating a little paper box of shrimp lo mein while watching Power Rangers. (My kind of serious partying.) But we all know who was going to win this one.

So after all the themes (and there were many) were planned, after the cake was made and the invitations sent...I thought for sure we'd have one heck of a dance party. My little Ginger Rogers can cut quite the rug. So, I assumed that every 5 year old this side of the Mississippi would be dying to swing a hip and toss an elbow in my cleared out playroom. (I cleaned the room people!) I'm glad I don't know how many times exactly I guess WRONG when it comes to the little kids who cross paths with me in life.

I made a mixed tape. Twelve mixed tapes (in cd format) to be exact. Each child would get to take home a fabulous memory of Ava's Favorite Dance Tunes, it would serve as a life long memory of all the fun they had dancing up a storm at Ava's 5th Birthday party. Look, closely at the picture. Ava is dancing, Mommy is dancing. Please email me and tell me how brave I am to show pictorial representation of myself dancing on the internet. A smattering of other children are dancing. But guess what? The cool kids were sitting on the couch shaking their little heads at me. They could not be cajoled to dance. What's up?? They are 5! Shouldn't this be the time in their little lives when they throw caution to the wind and have a devil may care attitude about their white man's overbite? Apparently not. I've been officially dissed by not one but 3 five year olds. The kids danced for exactly 10 minutes (the kid's who would dance at all, because they are the ones who's other's played that goofy I Hope You Dance song for them in their cribs as babies as they cried crocodile tears hoping their children would participate gaily in life while feeling small when they looked at the ocean) and then it was a free for all.

I lost control, in 15 minutes.

I decided to let them knock themselves out in the playroom telling myself it was Free Play for another 2 hours. Then I retreated to the kitchen for more than my share of cake.

It was pineapple ice cream cake. And it was yummy.

Want to know what the "cool non-dancers" said about my cake?

It was something to the tune of yuck, and can we have the popcorn that is on your counter instead?

I casually asked if they'd even tried my cake. They said yes. I spooned popcorn onto their plates secretly hoping they would choke on it.

Evil, I know. But this is why I will never be a preschool teacher. Not even close.

In the end I think everyone had an ok time, no one went the the emergency room. Ava cashed in on a boat load of kid clutter. I was left to pick up folding chairs and pineapple bits from the carpet. Nothing like that to tire a girl out.

What will we do next year? Perhaps we'll opt back in and she can take her 12 best friends to the day spa up the street and I can take out a 2nd mortgage while eating my shrimp lo mein out of small paper boxes on my sofa.

Party on.

Friday, January 19, 2007

In The Throws Of Birthdaymania

Yesterday Ava turned 5. I've known her for 4 years and 4 months. She is an amazing person. She is smart and confident and beautiful on the inside and out. She tells me that she loves me more than snakes or some other insignificant thing in our lives, I in turn tell her that love her more than polar bears or toys or oranges. It is a game we play to keep in touch emotionally. She started it.

Individual birthdays are not important in China, where she was born. Everyone turns another year as Chinese New Year approaches. Big deal birthdays are something she was adopted into, and she's not complaining. The party is tomorrow. Miss Extrovert 2007 is relishing every moment of the planning and preparations.

Every year on January 18th I look at her a little bit differently. I can't help it. She seems foreign to me. Forgive the pun, it is not meant to be flip. Most other days I just see her as my kid. I forget where she was born, I forget her silky black hair and quick mind came from people I don't know. I forget January 18th was given to her by someone working in an orphanage as her day several weeks after her birth. But on January 18th I remember all those things. Sometimes it makes me want to cry. I know it shouldn't matter. I know it's not even my story, but it is someone's I love and I can't help it. I know most of all it is a gift that I have the time and means to spend precious time pondering this phenomenon.

I know Chinese children who are adopted sometimes get estimated birthdays due to the circumstances their birth parents have upon relinquishment. I knew this when I signed up. But I knew it in my head, no one told me it might feel different in my heart. No one told me it still might still sting 4 years and 4 months later.

It is at this general time of year I think of a woman I don't know, in China. She gave me Ava. Sort of. I'd like to think she gave me Ava. But really, she didn't. It is something I sometimes pretend to make myself think that everyone wins in adoption. I hope she is ok. I have nothing witty or intelligent to make it seem like everyone got the outcome they wanted. I just don't have that information.

But she is 5. And she is amazing. And I love her. I hope that is enough for today.

Book Meme

Atomic Mama has tossed out a book meme. Since I can't pass up a book themed give everyone a "mommyotony" (that should be a new word in wikipedia don't ya think?) break from my sewing escapades and a less needed break from the cutest kids in the world I present the rules:

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Type lines 6-8
4. Tag 3 others to do the same.

"You all know their father. Before I begin I will read some announcements."
Reverend Sykes shfffled some papers, chose one and held it at arm's length. "The Missionary Society meets in the home of Sister Annette Reeves next Tuesday. Bring your sewing."

Can you guess the book? It is one of my favorite books of all time and I could never have guessed.

To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

You know that it is urban legend that Truman Capote is rumored to have truly authored this book right? Truman and Harper were good friends. I for one find anything having anything to do with Truman Capote facinating. Have you read To Kill A Mockingbird? It is make your heart ache good. Racism, the American South, lawyers who are good people, people with special needs, kids without that's a good read.

Hey did you catch the line "bring your sewing". I am laughing out loud. There truly are no coincidences in life.

Tag three others: Elsie's mom, Maisie's mom, LT's mom

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Aunt Betty and Funky Deb

This is Funky Deb. She is the product of 1 glass of wine and a couple of gals in design mode tossing ribbons around the room like the Great Gatsby. In a flurry of gal pal creative energy she was designed. Oh and she is funky-licious.

The original Funky Deb is going to a good home, funky Deb's. Don't tell her but I have one more that I am dying to keep, but if someone will give her a good funky home....I will send her on her way.

Aunt Betty was out at a red hat convention when her formal living room with plastic covered sofa's met their match as a crazy lady weilding pinking shears tore into the place. Fluffy, the brown Siamese cat did nothing but sneer and wait for the litter box to be changed.

The end result...Aunt Betty's scalloped velvet carpet bag.

Wear her in good health. Her designer is just a touch less formal than Aunt Betty herself and she added blue beading and pink polka dotted ribbon to give Aunt Betty a touch of edgyness, which honestly she's always needed.

Email me if Pink Evita can send Aunt Betty to your formal living room.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

January Crafty Challenge

Here is my submission for the Get Your Craft On challenge. As you can see my strategy is quantity, not quality. Did I really make silly girlie bagggies for Get Your Craft On? I confess, I did not. But hey, you know what they say about killing 2 birds with one stone.

The purple ones are all princessy and the blue ones are tinkerbelle"ish". They are the swag bags for my girl's 5th brithday party that will be taking place next weekend.

This birthday party is a party unintentionally all about theme's. We have so many of them we don't know what to do and Martha would not exactly be proud. We have about 5 theme's going on so far, that I know of. First, it is a dance party. Ava and her 11 (so far) best buds will be twisting and shouting and then I plan to sugar them up after they have Limbo'd until their hearts content. So, where does the princess tinkerbelle bag giveaway come in? It technically doesn't, but I saw the fabric for $1.99 a yard at the fabric store and could not resist the deal. Each little party go'er will receive the music (personally spun onto cd's by moi) in a mini swag bag.
I thought I would try to bring the princessy little girl theme into the cake and party decorations.
Ava thought different. Those of you who know Ava personally or have been reading about her probably are not surprised that she outright refused princess dance party theme'd stuff that was all adorable and matchy. S-h-e w-o-u-l-d h-a-v-e n-o-n-e o-f i-t. Absolutely none if of. In the party decorating aisle she insisted on you guessed it...Power Rangers. What would the cutest little 5 year old girl in the world want with power rangers? Apparently, everything. They are the bomb. Power Rangers=cool Princesses=boring.

So now we have a dance party with 12 princessy bags to hold the give away dance party music cds and power ranger masks, power ranger plates, power ranger napkins, and sparklers for the cake. I am drawing the line in the power ranger cake. I just can't do it.

So, someday she will probably come to me and say, "Mom, you were just the best for letting me have my way on my 5th birthday even though I had no sense of style and had absolutely no idea how to dress to impress a table. But I am so well adjusted as a happy and confident adult now."

She going to say this to me one day right? In the mean time I'm serving Harvey Wallbanger cake to the adults so they will be too drunk to notice tango'ing power rangers with tinkerbelle purses on their arms.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

4 Months

Liv has been home 4 months. It is hard to remember a time when she wasn't part of us.
She has issues with compulsively climbing everything. She is smart enough to move small objects around the house to help her climb her next object but remains a women of few words.
She is an easy 31'' tall and has opened more door knobs than she has teeth. (Only 8 for the record.) She wants to ditch the high chair to sit at the kitchen table like her big sister but easily still needs 2 naps a day. She initiates peek-a-boo and laughs coyly when you play with her but still wants a bottle every night before bed.

She is a little kid who isn't sure whether she is ready to be a big toddler yet. Sometimes she is all baby, sometimes she appears to look more like a 2 1/2 year old. Liv often snuggles into our chests when she sits on our hip. She loves all three of us with abandon and trusts us completely. She has done a good job growing out her lawnmower incident haircut compliments of orphanage staff. Pig tails are in her imminent future.

I sometimes wish she would say more so I could gain insight into what she is thinking. And then her sister starts chattering away...I am reminded all baby talking in good due time.

She's one of us now, 4 months under her belt. She will turn 14 months old this Friday.

My heart continues to swell for this dear sweet soul. Glad to know you, baby Pink.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

What I did on my winter vacation...

Today marks the end of a long winter's "vacation" for our family. Tomorrow Ava jumps back into preschool schedule complete with Chinese school next week, and of course since it is January and she has no new bruises, ice skating lessons also begin this week.

Because the Muffin Man will go back to work in full force tomorrow and Ava will dig out from the Power Ranger DVD tunnel she has built in the play room I am forced to come to grips with the fact hibernation must indeed end as well. In celebration of this event I feel the need to go over, for posterity's sake exactly what I did on my winter vacation.

1. Ate entire box of Trader Joes mini coffee mug chocolates that SIL sent all the way from CA.
2. Avoided slipping into skinny 501's like the plague, opting instead to see how many days in a row one housefrau could wear soy stained track pants. (I'm contacting the Guinness Book people tomorrow.)
3. Cooked a cake. Screwed up a cake. I touched base with party hostess who politely stated it was "good". Yeah right.
4. I changed exactly 4,000 dirty diapers. The little one has the cleanest damn colon ever!
5. Tended to no less than 62 very sick little stuffed animals. I don' know who thought the Vet Hospital toy would be a good idea for Christmas. I will get them next year.
6. Started fretting about 5th birthday party that is coming around the corner in 13 days. We are having the party here on the cul-de-sac this year and 15 5 year olds are invited. So far we have 8 yes responses and no NOs. I might go over the deep end. I will personally be in charge of teaching the hustle, the polka chicken dance and the Macarena to all 15 snot nosed munchkins at the same time. The house could cave if we reach 86,000 decibels of noise. Send xanax...with wine.
7. Sewed anything that wasn't nailed down, glued over, or oatmeal pasted. See new stuff over at Pink Evita.
8. Longed for real full time job that involves pay, preferably located in some dark little cubicle with a Dilbert like boss. Dreamt fondly of anything to escape the reality of my life and children who are off schedule and don't have enough to do! When does preschool start again?
9. Thanked my lucky stars that I don't have real paying job since we all know getting out of my red flannel jammies is JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN before noon on any given day.

Nine things...I did nine things in two whole weeks. It is surprisingly more than I anticipated before the official documentation began. Oh, I did massive quantities of laundry, 10, I did 10 things.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Cake; An Update

Julie emailed me this picture. Thank heaven, because I seriously thought Harvey Wallbanger had one too many himself suggesting that Crisco comes in liquid form.

My new year's resolution: To peruse the baking aisle more slowly paying a little more attention in 2007.

Now about the party....I did not go. I know I know you all really wanted to see a picture of me in heels (I don't think I still own any) and a dress with a crinoline (I know I still don't own one of those, although I was pretty darn cute in 1987 at the senior ball flouncing through downtown Wilmington, Delaware at the Hotel Dupont in a peach strapless number with a circa Madonna the early years crinoline.) Maybe I will look for that photo in my spare time today. Yes, it was peach and it did have a crinoline and it was strapless, you think I could make this stuff up?

Why did I not go to the New Year's Eve bash of midwestern cul-de-sac fame?

Yes, party girl pooped out early.

Despite her "I'm ready to hang with my sould sister Paris Hilton face", she truly is not. She might be cutting a tooth and pooped out on me at 7pm last night.

Since I had been up with her at the un-godly hour of 6 am with miss lindsey lohan for the last few days and was feeling like I needed sweat pants and a hair clip, I sent the Muffin Man to formally escort the real party chandelier swinger. Miss Ava Jing rocked the house with her 5 year old peeps sipping non-alchy peach champagne until 10:30pm.

Now before you get all "You poor thing, you baked a cake and everything." Don't you feel sorry for me. I sat in my delightfully quiet house watching big screen HBO, The Producers if you must know, eating a large plate of jalapeno nachos. Again, homemade by moi. Now who is the real party girl? It was a small and fleeting slice of heaven. I had the quiet house ALL TO MYSELF. Pour me a glass of champagne.

Back to the cake. As of last report, this morning at 8:30am by the Muffin Man: At 10:30 pm last night when the cake was last seen no one had broken into the lovely glass topped cake dish cover. I repeat, no one tried the damn thing. I asked if he took the lid off and cut one slice out so the less formal and uber nice mid-western folks would not have to bear the brunt of the dreaded and must be avoided at all turns task of cutting the first slice of a cake? "Uhhh, no" he replied.

And so there you have it. The update. It is probably still sitting on my neighbors kitchen table in it's glass shell. Pristine. Party goers waking this morning might even think it was store bought, since it was so pretty and all. No one gets to share in the fact that the real story behind that party was in a little alcohol laced bundt cake.

I've moved on. I am no longer emotionally attached to finding out whether it matters if you have Galliano or Grand Marnier or if it make a difference whether you accidently substitute shortening for vegetable oil.

Today Ava and I are making frozen Pineapple Ice Cream cake. It was a favorite Canadian dish from my mother's youth, and I've made it before so I know that no oil is needed. I smell guaranteed success.