Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hazel's Shop, and Hazel's Other Blog

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We trekked 4 blocks to our friends' house for our meal. Today we had a second Thanksgiving at some other friends' house. Our cups run over.

I've been updating my Etsy shop. Building up inventory is my main goal, more important to me than sales right now, and it is going slower than I would like but I make a little progress on crafting every day and I'm enjoying the process. I'm excited about the item I'm working on now. It's a neuroscience textbook for babies, the marketing of which will be directed at neuroscience fiends who are looking for a baby gift. I'm sure there are at least 2000 of them out there at any given time. I've got all the pages finished and now I have to sew them together. At some point production will increase.

Blueberry is great, developing a lovely personality, pulling herself to standing, and as of yesterday spends most of her play time standing. She likes to pull herself up on the safety gate at the doorway to the kitchen and peer in while we cook or clean. We chant "Attica! Attica!" at her when she's standing at the gate. This has something to do with some movie Stanley saw about a prisoner's revolt or something.

Hope you have a great week!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Extra Special Bonus Video of Fake Halloween

For Lotus*.

Not sure if this video will work. I uploaded it differently plus I used a different camera than usual and the video quality came out really poor, but I still enjoy it and I hope you will too.

Watching this makes me want to put the costume on her again because she seemed to get a kick out of it.

*Name changed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fake Halloween and More Business Developments

I hope you all had a happy Halloween. Blueberry got a ladybug costume handed down from a friend, which is great, but we didn't get around to putting it on her on Halloween, mostly because we didn't go anywhere that she needed to be costumed. So November 2nd rolled around and I finally got her dressed up and took pictures. And I'm so glad I did. Here she is from the front:

And the back.

I think I will participate more fully in Blueberry's future Halloweens, particularly when she is old enough to look forward to the tricking and the treating.

In an amazing coincidence, Blueberry's friend Almond* (Hamer Adventures blog in "These Blogs Are Great" section in the right column) was also a ladybug this Halloween.

I've been living and breathing my new business. I keep putting off telling you about it because I want to be at a certain state of readiness, but I don't know what this certain state is. There's always one more thing I want to do before I update you. Well, I would like you to come along with me on this journey and the journey has started so you'll have to run alongside this slow-moving train and hop on. I'll give you a hand.

In the previous post I stated that I had chosen the company name. Shortly thereafter, I dropped the name because the .com was taken, or maybe the .net, or maybe the blog name. I can't remember. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with another name for my upcycled crafts/environmental blog business.

My business is called Verdant Violet. Verdant because it's a green/eco-friendly effort and Violet because it's Blueberry's middle name, and she is the main inspiration for this new direction in my life.

I bought It doesn't have my website on it yet, but it's my .com. You'll just have to trust me. Late Edit: By now, it may redirect to the still skeletal Verdant Violet blog, but that's only if I followed the cryptic directions correctly.

Even later edit: Apparently I did it backwards and the blog redirects to the parked domain name. What? Whatever, it's late and I'm tired and I will figure it out tomorrow.

The next day: By jove, I think I've got it.

I opened my crafts shop on Etsy and I've made one sale. That's okay because I have done zero marketing so far - I'm trying to build up inventory and flesh out a lot of details first. And that one sale is the first time I've ever sold anything that I've made**, so I was over the moon about it.

I would love to know any thoughts you have about the company name, or questions about product descriptions or whatever crosses your mind. It would really help me out as I am but a fledgling entrepreneur and I need your feedback.

*Names changed.

**Unless you count the Psychology Association of Chico State bake sales and I don't remember for certain if I ever baked anything for that. I do believe I bought muffins from Costco, and did I get to keep the money? No. So does that count? No.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Vacation, Business Developments, and Blueberry's Latest Accomplishments

Last week Hazel and fam visited our friends Sally* and Peter* at their time share at Breezy Point Resort, a couple of hours north. It was quite pleasant. It was a great time to be there because the fall foliage was at its peak. I don't remember when I've experienced such a beautiful fall. Here's a path near their place, showcasing the birch trees (which I love) and the sumac (the orange stuff on the left - my new favorite plant).

We took a trip on this paddleboat:

Which came complete with a bar, which came complete with wine. Here, Sally demonstrates how to enjoy yourself:

We circled an island that has goats on it.

Another activity I enjoyed was climbing a fire tower. I have a moderate fear of heights so this was a challenge.

Blueberry is not afraid of heights so she agreed to come with me for moral support.

I could only muster the courage to go halfway up the tower. I still got a great view.

In other news:

I've been planning my new business endeavor and building up my product line (see previous post). And I've decided on a name for my business! It took a while but I brainstormed the heck out of it and finally came up with something that works for me. I will reveal the name in a future post. Once I decided on a name it allowed me to open an email account (that was easy), start an Etsy shop (nothing for sale yet, just reserved the shop name), and set up the blog (no content yet). Meanwhile I've been producing items to sell, which is kind of a slow process but I'm just going to keep plugging away.

Blueberry is doing great. Here are her latest accomplishments:

  • She seems to be ingesting some solids rather than spitting them all out on her chin for me to wipe away. That's exciting.
  • She learned to pucker up and make a kiss sound yesterday. It's incredibly cute.
  • Also yesterday, she took the spoon from me and put it in her mouth by herself several times.
  • A couple of weeks ago she learned to sit up from a laying position without help. This is huge, and greatly enhances her playing time. Now I only need to help her if she scoots herself under furniture - she can't switch directions. Here is an 18-sec video of her performing this sitting-up skill:

  • She's also been practicing standing and is getting pretty good at it (using the sofa and Stanley for support).
  • She does a pretty good downward dog yoga pose with no help from anyone.
  • Not crawling yet but Stanley never crawled so she may skip crawling as well.
  • She's been sleeping 8 pm to 5 am the last few nights, a big improvement from her long-time habit of waking up to cry at 3 or 4. It could have been worse but I am really glad the 3 or 4 thing hasn't been happening.

I'm going to have a cup of tea and I think you should as well.

*Names changed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hazel Deduces and Pursues Her Passion

I'm going back to work! I'm embarking on a new venture! Are you excited? I am!

Let me begin by telling you about a little exercise I did several years ago. I think it was when I was starting my post-doc. Or maybe while I was finishing up my dissertation. I don't know, but it was a time of soul searching and existential crisis and wondering about how to find and have the guts to follow my true passion and whether self-actualization will be an unmet need of mine until I die. Amidst this angst, in church I heard a quote by Frederick Buechner, a 20th-century writer and theologian.
The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world needs most to have done.....The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Did somebody say "Worksheet"? So I made a column down the left side of a piece of paper listing things I can do, i.e., my abilities. I defined "ability" somewhat loosely. It didn't have to be directly marketable and I didn't have to be good at it if I at least enjoyed it, e.g., reading magazines and singing. I stopped when I got to the end of the page. Then I made 4 headings across the page for rating each ability on a scale of 1-10: a) does it bring me great gladness, b) does it help the world, c) how skilled am I at it (not one of the requirements from the quote, but I think it's at least mildly important), and d) the average of these three scores. I noted which abilities received an average score of 8 or more. These were: interior design, blogging/newsletters, arts and crafts, helping the environment, organization, internet/computers, yard sales, shopping, making people laugh, and travel.

So I thought, what career could I make out of these abilities which I find at the logically discovered magical place where my deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet? And I wrote at the bottom of the page, "Concl: Use internet, perhaps blogging, to communicate re: environment and perhaps market products and arts and thrifty solutions (e.g. yard sales)." This didn't encompass every high-scoring ability, so next to the ones that were left out (interior design, organization, shopping, and travel), I wrote "hobby".

Years passed.

Hazel had a baby.

And now she's going to follow her passion. This new venture is two-fold:

1. I'm starting an environmental blog about how to enjoy saving the world. My goal is to have as many readers as possible, so unlike Hazel's House Blog, which I only shared with certain family and friends, and any complete strangers that might happen across it (welcome!), I won't be keeping the new blog secret from anyone. My goal for the new blog is to discover how much I can do for the environment and to engage people in an effective, positive, and enjoyable mission to protect the planet. I want readers to use the blog as a place for daily inspiration, hope, mirth, and a greater appreciation of our incredible world. I've been doing a lot of research on how to make a blog successful, and I am excited about my plans and ideas. It will likely take months (at least) of consistent hard work to make it pay off, so while I'm starting out, guess what is my greatest asset? OR should I ask, who? That's right. It's You. Time's Person of the Year, 2006. I would be very grateful for your emotional support, your comments and participation in the blog as it starts out, and for any input you may have about this, right now or in the future.

2. I'm making and will sell upcycled clothes and toys for babies and children. By "upcycled" I mean recycling items to make something better out of them, which is contrasted with "downcycling", or recycling an item into something less valuable. I am still in the prototype stage but I'm loving where it's going. I've already blogged about several items of clothing I've altered, and the possibilities for future items are endless, but I don't think I've mentioned the toys. As you may know, babies love the crinkly sound. As you may also know, lots of unrecyclable materials make a crinkly sound. I've made some soft blocks and a soft book, both of which crinkle, and both of which Blueberry loves, and both of which saved trash from going into the landfill, and were made using second-hand materials. And I've got ideas for new designs. I will keep you posted, with photos and possibly videos.

So as of now, I've returned to work. I'm a work-at-home mom. It's great so far.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hazel Would Like to Share a Few Special Recipes and Blueberry's Fetal Hands with You

Hazel's cup runneth over with gratitude lately. She has a wonderful husband with whom she just celebrated a 5th wedding anniversary this past Friday.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, Stanley tried his hand at making sushi.

Stanley has become quite the chef in his old age and it turned out AMAZING. He made nigiri tuna, spicy tuna rolls, and California rolls. We decided that from now on we will most likely make it ourselves rather than go out to a restaurant or (the horror) buy it from the supermarket. We estimate that it costs half as much to make it ourselves. And if you get sashimi grade fish from a reputable business, it's acceptably safe.

Hazel was recently blessed greatly by a visit from Giggles Murkowski*, her friend from college. Hazel graduated from college 14 years ago. She only includes the previous sentence because maybe if she sees it in print she will finally believe it. Nope.

Anyway, Giggles was a wonderful guest and provided much encouragement and thoughtful advice about all manner of issues with which Hazel has been grappling of late, hence Hazel's gratitude. Giggles also schooled Stanley and Hazel on many things Korean, including the food, and how to find it at our convenient neighborhood Asian market, and gave us some non-Korean food ideas as well. Here are but some of the recipes she shared with us.

Bulgogi [Korean marinated beef] (Hazel notes: SOOO Good!!!)

Beef sirloin tip roast, 3/4" thick (or rib roast or rib eye)
About 3.5 lbs

3 teaspoons fresh pepper
1 cup soy sauce
3-4" inch long ginger /
2 garlic cloves (or more) <--chopped together
1/2 cup brown sesame seeds on a stove (put in ziploc bag and smash til 1/2 smashed)

1 cup sugar

Put sesame seeds, garlic/ginger, soy sauce, on top of cut meat, put in half sugar and 1/2 cup soy sauce. Mash it around on the meat with your hands for about 5 minutes, add pepper, 3 teaspoons. Then add the rest of the sugar and 1/2 cup soy sauce, mash it some more for 5 minutes. Layer all the meat to marinate it all. Cook on Korean BBQ 8 hours later or next day. (or cook on non stick skillet on stove) (you can eat it sooner, but the taste will not be as good. eat with rice, kim chee, romaine lettuce, veggies, etc)

Jong Jor Rim [Korean marinated flank steak, spicy]

Beef flank steak - cut off fat, rinse off meat Cut into squares. 4x4 inches Put in a large pot on the stove (always cut meat opposite way of the grain to keep it tender. With this recipe - it is okay to cut the opposite of the lines as you will peel the meat later) Pour soy sauce so it almost covers the meat. not over the meat, about 1.5" from the top of the meat in the pot Put jalapeno pepper - small handful of whole, rinsed pepper, cover with lid. Cook on high until it boils, then turn it to low. Add garlic. 2 Handfuls of jalapeno pepper in the pot (soy sauce will suck up the flavor of the peppers) Add LARGE handful of peeled garlic into pot - push down the meat. Return to boil, then turn it to low again for 15 minutes. Check the tenderness of the meat by pulling off a thick piece. Do not let the meat get too mushy or tender. Once meat is done, put meat into large containers. Place liquid from pot into the containers as well. You can refrigerate the meat and re-heat later to eat with rice and leaves or lettuce. Eating the garlic is good for you and the peppers are good with the soy sauce soaked up in them also.

Green Chili Eggs

8 oz. diced green chilis (can)

1 oz. grated jack cheese (or any cheese)

12 eggs 16 oz. sour cream

Mix cheese and chilis. Grease a 13x9 pan and spread in pan. Combine eggs and sour cream. Beat well and pour over chili cheese mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Chicken Divan (Hazel's note: Giggles' coworkers demand that she brings this to every potluck.)

Three bunches of broccoli

Four chicken breasts

Two cans condensed cream of chicken or mushroom soup

3/4 cup mayo

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. Curry powder (I usually put in tons more) (Hazel's note: LITERALLY tons!)

8 oz. shredded cheddar

1 1/2 cup bread crumbs - mixed with butter, 2-3 tsp.

Cook the chicken, let it cool. Steam broccoli, then arrange it at the bottom of a 11x 7 type pan. In a bowl, combine the soup, mayo, lemon, curry. Cut the cooled chicken into bite size pieces with poultry or kitchen shears. Place the chicken on top of the broccoli. Place the contents of the bowl on top of the chicken. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the mixture from the bowl. Combine the melted butter and bread crumbs - then sprinkle on top of the cheese. Cook 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 6-8 servings.

Stanley has recently adapted a mac 'n cheese recipe to make it his own, and he kindly shares it with you.

Stanley's Mac 'n Cheese

fry 1/2 pack bacon and chop up (Hazel's note: AGAIN with the bacon?)
boil noodles
melt 1 package of cream cheese add milk perodically to make it liquidy
add 4 cloves of crushed garlic cook it 1-2 min.
for an interesting flavor you can add some nutmeg - original recipe called for smoked paprika.
add sauce to noodles and then mix in 2-4 cups of grated cheese (we used cheddar but if you wanted to splurge a mixture of a really sharp cheddar and gruyere would be good).
The sauce should still be a little liquidy because it will thicken when you bake it so add more milk if it thickened too much from all the cheese that was added.
stir in the bacon.
crush up a bunch of saltines and saute in butter to light brown
bake mac 375 for 15-20 min until bubbly.
add the saltines to top of mac for last 5 min or so.

And this past Thursday, Blueberry turned 8 months old. I'm typing this from my laptop, which has no recent photos of her, so here are her hands at 20 weeks gestation.

*Names changed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Late Summer Offering

I can't believe it's already been three weeks since the lovely impromptu tea party at Hazel's House that she's been meaning to blog about and has finally gotten around to doing it. What a horrible sentence that was. On with the post.

I love an excuse to bring out the good china, and I love having nice people over. Ergo, I love a tea party!

My guests generously provided the fabulous food.

My friend Lucy* brought both of her daughters, which was a treat because I usually don't get to see her oldest because Lucy often pops over with the baby while the toddler is at day care. They will both be tea connoisseurs by the age of 8.

My friend Kate** was in town, stopping for a few days in Minnesota during her and her husband's move from Santa Cruz, CA to New Haven, CT. Last year she helped me host my first tea party ever, and threw a tea-party themed baby shower for me as well. Kate is my tea connection. She's my Teafather. What? Stop!

While we sipped and munched, the babies gnawed...

...and kissed...

...and bottlecaps were proffered and sorted.

My friend Cora*, another guest at the tea party, recycles bottlecaps to make jewelry and other art objects, and Kate brought her some caps all the way from CA. I have several necklaces and magnets from Cora that I LOVE! She takes requests! Check out her work! Click here!

The following weekend, we went camping, and a badger came up through the ground in the middle of the night and ate all the campers.

And yesterday was the last day of this year's state fair. Last night Stanley and I watched the fireworks from our deck for the last time and felt the mixture of joy and sorrow that another 12 days of fun has come to an end until next year. It was great to have a visit from Janis* and Grover*, my sister and brother-in-law, which coincided with the fair, and we stopped by the fair a couple of times. Here's one of my favorite photos of our adventures. I can't remember what Janis has on a stick, but Grover and Stanley each have a Cheeseburger on a Stick (TM). It was pretty good.

I'm still sewing! It's getting colder and Blueberry tends to kick out of her blanket swaddle at night, and she's grown out of her sleep sacks, so I decided to make her a new one. If you aren't familiar with sleep sacks, here's an example:

I decided to try making it from a fleece pullover that I've had for years and never wear.

Here's the finished product:

Instead of a zipper (Difficulty level: too hard for Hazel), I used 4 pieces of velcro, which I may change up if needed, and since it came together so fast and Blueberry was napping, I added the pinwheel fabric trim and appliqued a patch as well, not because there was a hole there, but because I fancy myself whimsical.

Blueberry was happy to model it for you.

I don't want to jinx it, but she slept great the two nights I put it on her, and she didn't seem too warm or too cold in the morning. Now it's in the laundry, so keep your fingers crossed that it comes out okay. If it does, I'm going to make more.

Guess who got her upper lateral incisors last Thursday! Yeah, that's right. Now she has six: four on top and two on the bottom. Click photo to enlarge and fully appreciate the tiny pearly whites.

Her canines also appear to be in, but they haven't poked through yet.

*Names changed.

**Originally "Tori"; fake name changed to a name she really likes upon her request. Did you know that you can request a fake name? Oh yes, you can.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Sewer. Say It Like "Sower".

Just wanted to chat about some of my recent and ongoing sewing projects.

Here's the dress I wore to Stanley's and my wedding rehearsal five years ago. (Obviously I didn't make the dress. Got it at Nordstrom's.)

(By the way, it was quite a treat going through the old wedding photos looking for a shot of the dress. It inspired me to get some new prints and frame them, or at the very least, to put some wedding pics in the lineup on the computer screensaver. These photos are for looking at, not for archiving and forgetting. But I digress.)

I haven't worn that dress in five years. I like the dress a lot in theory - it has cute pictures on the toile, like women washing clothes, but the waistline is too high, and the neckline is too low for my liking. Hence my not having worn it. I was inspired by the DIY dress magic in the blog New Dress a Day, recommended by my sister Jasmine*, as well as an entry in the blog Make It and Love It, to cut the top off the dress and make it into a skirt. Ta Da!

I sewed a black waistband to it because this was the quickest way to stop the zipper since I cut off the stop when I cut off the top, as well as because I was finding it difficult to pin all the layers down at the top of the skirt to sew the cut off end fabric. I just now remembered that while I was sewing the skirt, we were watching Inglourious Basterds, which was a great flick, and not overly violent as the reviews led us to believe. It was gruesome in parts, but I wouldn't call it gratuitous, and I've seen much worse.

Another alteration experiment. Stanley's mom once suggested that when Blueberry grows out of her clothes, some of them are amenable to increased longetivity simply by sewing elastic into the shoulder straps. So I attempted this on the romper (I think it's a romper. I'm calling it a romper) below. Here's the front view, sort of a before pic since you can't see my alterations.

And the back. See the new shoulder straps? Better hurry and look because she's about to flip over again.

More room to grow! Should fit her for at least another 15 minutes. I tried to match the fabrics as best I could, but it's darker, and denim rather than corduroy, but with a similar flower pattern. What would really make it work is if I sewed new pockets or ruffles or a fake waistband/belt in the dark fabric; then the shoulder straps would at least be connected to some other aspect of the romper. Romper. Romper romper romper. What a dumb word. Romper.

Another project, currently in progress: Our friend Kate* made this terrific quilt for Blueberry. She gave it to us before Blueberry was born, and I had been "protecting" it by not using it. It was carefully draped over the back of the crib. It looked lovely. Then one day, Kate came over to share her knowledge of quiltmaking and to help me with the logistics of a big new project which we shall call The Norway Quilt and which shall be blogged about in a later post. OOOH suspense!! I'm a regular Steven King. In the course of things I brought the quilt she had made down from the nursery and she made me feel better about actually using it. And since then, Blueberry has thoroughly enjoyed looking at it and playing on it.

I decided to make a quilt for Blueberry, mostly as practice for the Norway Quilt because, for reasons which shall become clear in a later post (dun-dun-DUN!), I really don't want to screw up the Norway Quilt. Kate kindly let me borrow her rotary cutter, cutting mat, and big ruler thingy, and people in the neighborhood kindly cut up squares and bought fabric and then kindly put the already-cut-up squares and cute fabric up for sale in their garage sales, so I didn't have too much cutting to do to get all the squares and borders ready for piecing. Here's the basic design, before piecing the blocks together.

Since the above photo was taken, I've since pieced the whole front together and about half of the back, which is basically leftover fabric scraps randomly pieced together to make a rectangle. I've really enjoyed making it so far. It's got some adorable blueberry printed fabric, lots of different violet fabrics since Violet is Blueberry's middle name. I based the overall design on this quilt. I'll post a photo once the Blueberry quilt is finished. Normally I only like to post about things I've already done, not things I'm hoping to finish, so this really puts the pressure on.

If you are new to Hazel's House Blog, please know that Blueberry is not her real name. Just thought I'd get that said.

Another project killed two birds. LITERALLY! No not really. I had this Old Navy t-shirt which I never wore because it was too tight all over.

And Blueberry was in need of some warm weather pajamas. So I cut up the skin-tight t-shirt and made some baby jammies.

I had enough of the t-shirt to make a top and some shorts. You might be able to tell from the photo that it wasn't a simple matter to make the big shirt fit a small body, and I had to make some ugly folds and tucks, but these are just for wearing around the house, and posting on the internet for all to see, so it's okay.

And another project was inspired by a handmade gift that Blueberry received from a nice lady from church. It's the item on the left in the photo.

It's based on a trademarked/patented design called a Taggie. Blueberry loves her knockoff Taggie. She likes playing with the tags on toys and this toy has tags in spades. I wanted to see if I could make one myself (the one on the right) and it turned out to be pretty easy for an amateur sewer. That's sewer as in "one who sews", not as in where our fluid waste goes. I gave the Taggie knockoff knockoff to Blueberry's friend Sclera*. I'm pretty sure it's okay to make one as long as I'm not trying to sell it.

*Names changed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Chunk of July

I haven't blogged in a while because there's a lot of little things going on in my life that I want to write about and the task seems overwhelming considering that I have a lot of other little things I'd also like to be doing. But writing to you makes me feel good so I told myself I would break it down into chunks. Maybe even just one chunk. This means it will be incomplete. For example, I don't plan to mention any sewing because I don't have any photos ready, and this bugs me because I am still really excited about my sewing experimentations. Anyway, let's begin.

On a walk around the lake, Blueberry and I saw a black-headed night heron. First time I ever remember seeing one.

I love butterflies and try to take pictures of them when I can.

We went camping a couple of weeks ago.

Blueberry got her first professional portraits taken at Penney's. It was a good experience and I like the pictures but I'm highly interested in tackling the portraits myself next time, to save money and stress and to allow more time and creativity. Here are some of the low-res screen grabs that I couldn't help but steal from the Penney's website. I put some of them on Shutterfly and ordered 4X6's and, not surprisingly, they look pretty grainy. I may still try for some wallets because why not?

Hey look, another butterfly.

Blueberry is sitting up well now for 10-15 minutes at a time. Here is video of the second time she sat up for a good length of time.

And we've started giving her solid food now and then. Here is the first official "meal", which is actually a highly stylized and over-produced ceremonial event. Stanley's dad remarked that I should have given her more food or just put all the food in front of her and let her go for it but I saw no need for that at this point. It was the only chance I had to film her with her first food so I wanted it to be special. Time got away from me so it's over 4 minutes long (another complaint from Mr. Spupspe) so you might want to take a bathroom break before you watch it. Also, it's not messy, so don't get your hopes up. Still want to watch it?

Do you like how I displayed the avocado as a visual aid? You're welcome.
Since then I've offered her banana several times, which she always spits out, and I let her lick other fruit when I'm eating it, which she grimaces when she tastes but always comes back for more. We're going to start offering her sweet potatoes as well pretty soon. She doesn't seem to need solid food right now but we're letting her practice for when she does need it.
I've got sewing project photos on the camera right now so maybe I'll post some of them soon. Hope you all are having a wonderful summer!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Trip and a Flip

We got back from Texas this past Thursday. It was a terrific trip. Blueberry enjoyed herself and did very well with all the new people, places and things. She smiled at every single person that gave her the time of day. She also smiled at some people who ignored her, mostly at the airport. That was awkward.

One of the big events at the Annual Spupspe July Mini-Reunion is the family photo, and this year, based on an idea spawned by a cousin of Mr. Spupspe, each offspring's family wore their own special color. In Hazel's opinion, the convenience of the color-coding for the viewer of the photo was greatly outweighed by the incredibly complicated, weeks-long preparations (e.g., who wears what color, what intensities are acceptable within that color, what variations in pattern are okay, when is the best day and time for everyone, and does anyone know what's going on, and who's in charge?) and the high stress of hoping that each one of the 6 kids is having a good moment at photo time. I'm happy to say that Blueberry was not the weak link. Maybe when she's older she won't cooperate but all we asked of her was that she not cry during the shoot, and she complied. She did spit up on Stanley's shirt but he simply held her in front of the stain. Problem solved.

Each family got their own photo session as well.

Here is a random photo of Blueberry with no context.

Blueberry had her first swimming experience on this trip.

That face means she's enjoying herself.
After the visit with the Spupspe's, we drove down to Houston to visit our friend Amacrine* and her husband Retina* and baby Sclera*. We found time during our visit to lay our adorable babies side by side to facilitate direct comparison. I found it to be very informative. Apparently Blueberry is tall. She's 1.5 inches taller than Sclera, but is almost two months younger.
Sclera is more mobile than Blueberry; she kindly laid down for the photo shoot but easily could have sat up and rolled around the place. This reminds me that I was very impressed with Sclera's napping discipline. Amacrine said she was conditioned to nap anywhere, and demonstrated this by laying her on the living room floor, covering her legs with a blanket, and giving her a pacifier, and maybe doing some other hocus pocus routine, and Sclera closed her eyes and went to sleep, while we chatted in normal inside voices around her. It was phenomenal.
Here's another cute one.

Then it got ugly.

I was really glad we made the trip down to Houston; it had been a while. It was great to see Amacrine and Retina and I loved meeting Sclera and giving her a dress I made for her. She is every bit as cute in person as in the photos (see blackbirdnight blog on the right for more). We also saw some other friends and Stanley's boss from graduate school. Good times. I don't miss grad school but I miss the people.

This past Saturday, I laid Blueberry on her activity mat, turned around to google "breastfeeding biting" (it's going fine now, thanks), and turned back around to see Blueberry had moved two full feet over onto the hardwood floor. I couldn't believe my eyes. So I moved her back and watched her move from back to tummy for the first time (she had already done tummy to back, but back to tummy is another milestone and means that crawling could happen soon). Then I took some video. The first 30 sec is where the good stuff happens, then I kept rolling for another 30 sec hoping it would happen again, but it didn't. But feel free to watch the whole minute if you're bored.

So now I can't assume she'll stay on the activity mat, which means it's really time to babyproof now, instead of just talking about it. I'm overhauling the living room so it's more baby-friendly and easier to keep clean. This entailed some sewing projects (yay!) which I may write about in a future post.

*Names changed.