Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kids Say The Darndest Things...Felix, 2.0

Felix hasn't gotten the whole interview thing down as well as Miles, but he's trying. It doesn't help when an entire Tupperware of birthday cupcakes falls on the ground. I cannot compete with confectioneries.

I love the iPad videos, but hate that I don't know how to edit them, so you'll have to endure full length, unedited versions. And to be honest, I'm too busy picking up fallen cupcakes and wiping crocodile tears these days to solve this type of technology enigma.



Monday, January 30, 2012

Kids Say The Darndest Things...Miles, 3.5

It was our virgin trip using the iPad for our video. The quality is far better than our Flip and my phone (see 2nd video). The problem is that Miles likes to watch himself in the screen. But cute as ever. AND his favorite color and animal changed!


As Eric would say, this is like a tow truck towing another tow truck...but I had to share a video of Miles watching his video. 

I double toucan dare you to NOT laugh along with him. 

I'm sorry, but this is just as cute as that baby guffawing over his Dad ripping up a job rejection letter on YouTube. (Completely biased opinion.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Biathlon

Running and Biking on a gorgeous January day





















Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dip n' Flip

The Flannery Brothers are at it again! Enjoy their new video (small cameo by Miles and Felix--how do I get better quality video? Our Flip may be on its way out...)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I heart etsy...again...and again...

You all know I'm in a 12 step program for my addiction to Etsy, right? Thank Yahweh that no such thing exists. And thank goodness I am still employed and can fund some of my recent sprees. First stop for any gift is always Etsy. I've posted about a handful of my purchases: notecards for a good friend, wool dryer balls for quite a few friends and family, a lovely grandmother necklace for Mahna after she left her post as summer caretaker this past year, and even Felix's iron on Superman patch for this year's Halloween costume. And that's just a few of the things! (I do have to give one very biased shout out to my friend Pam at paperdollsilhouettes who has made 2 amazing silhouettes of our boys.)

I thought I would share the latest batch of Etsy love. Disclosure: I have not received any compensation or free products in relation to the products below. I maintain no relationship with the vendors outside of being their satisfied customer; but I do recommend you support their stores or others on Etsy.

I really love the mother's/grandmother's necklace trend going on right now. I was drawn to the one I got my mother (linked above) and think once we are 100% sure that our family is done expanding, will invest in one myself. I knew I needed to get one for my mother-in-law for Christmas. I spent a good afternoon sifting through different options on Etsy and was really feeling the "nest" look. I found the perfect Sweet Bird Nest from the janiecox store. And what I thought was neat was that you could opt for either blue or pink colored "pearls" in addition to the traditional cream. My mother-in-law has 3 grandchildren: 2 grandsons and a granddaughter (very blurry picture of the 3 below behind the necklace.) I thought 2 blue and 1 pink pearl was a little too Easter bunny, so we opted for 2 regular pearls and one pink pearl. I think it turned out great!



With some of my own birthday money, I decided that I wanted a new custom calligraphy address stamp. Eric and I purchased a roll of 85 thousand cheap-o stickers when we first moved into our current house. The printing was awful and they look like garbage. But it's hard to convince yourself of a custom return address stamp being a necessity when you have a roll of stickers to last you until the next century in addition to all of the free ones that get sent to us from the Sierra club, ASPCA, etc, asking us for money. (Is it bad we still use them even if we don't donate? And when is NPR or the High Museum going to start with address labels? They might have avoided this whole debacle in the first place! Yesterday I got a set along with a nickle pasted to the donation page. I had Miles peel it off and put it in his giraffe bank. Bad karma?)

One of my besties over at Anthologie mentioned she ordered a stamp at a seller on Etsy, Note Trunk, and I fell in love with about a dozen of the options. Eric and I narrowed it down to 5--some he liked, some I liked, and a few we both were just "warm" about. Here's where I demonstrate how I am flawed and sometimes selfish--my money, my choice. I opted for the stamp that he liked the least, and I liked the best. This is the example from her store--clearly not our name or address!). Eric hated the bird detail, said it would be "tired" after the whole "bird" craze dies down, and I think felt the calligraphy was too feminine. My thoughts? That's exactly what I want. :)


Finally, I've been dreaming about getting my boys customized stationary for a long time. The trouble is that just a set of 10 cards can set you back a month's salary. I don't have a lick of graphic design ability to do my own, so I've been waffling around trying to find a solution. In the meantime, I've been strategically cutting up the boys' school artwork (not the ones that I want to save for the future, but the ones that are really solid abstract art!), and use them as thank you notes. I think people are getting tired of my boys' Jackson Pollack imitations. I stumbled upon Acacia's shop and noticed that she makes custom notepads on eco-responsible paper! 40 pages and you can customize with name, color and she has a handful of cute designs. I wouldn't say the offering of images is enormous, but the truth is, of all options I saw, I fell in love with her images. Simple. Classy. And not too "juvenile." The pads are small--perfect for thank you notes. And now I can use the artwork as envelopes!

I just got the boys' notepads and really love them. I also got one for a not so little girl's birthday coming up in a few months, so couldn't show the name, but you can see the flower design below.


I'm not sure how I will survive if our family's income reduces someday if when I reduce my professional work load to accommodate the boys' changing school schedules. At least Pinterest is free...but this Etsy thing could get ridiculous!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A typical day in a house dominated by Y chromosomes

I have quite a few more "in-flight" photos, but Felix demanded to be naked while airborne after the first 10 minutes.

I may never get to play Barbies or ballet class, but I think I laughed and squealed for a good hour while the three of us flew into a pile of every pillow in our house while Daddy went grocery shopping.






Must refuel with homemade cookies the boys helped make earlier!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Berf-day

Thanks, JM, for sending me this card...as a mom who pushed out two (albeit very tiny) boys from my whoo-whoo sans epidural, I appreciate it...and following appreciate to other special ladies today:

Thanks to my Mom for pushing me out 21 years ago. (Bwahahaha).
Thanks to Eric's Mom for pushing him out 31 years ago.

Happy Happy Birthday to Team Heintz, party of two!

Eric, not that you read this blog, but I wish you (us) an amazing 2012, full of positive transitions and growth.

Love/Ditto,
Neftanga...silly thong (shame you don't read this...cuz you are the only one who gets this joke.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rena Doll

Rena Doll


It took many weeks (and some expletives), but I finally fished what I think was my most difficult and most meaningful knitting craft: a doll for my very special (and first!) niece.


It's made with Rowan Purelife organic yarn, which:
  1. isn't easy to find online
  2. isn't easy on the wallet
  3. isn't easy to knit with
But I think the results were worth it. And, I've scoured eBay and seem to have landed some more yarn for future dolls.
I used some of my other yarn to make ruffle pants and a tankini. The pattern, from Susan B Anderson's Itty Bitty Toys book, called for a cute dress. But my attempt at the dress failed 3 times so one night I just created my own simple top.

The doll, in honesty, is riddled with errors and imperfections, but it was a labor of love and I kind of had a hard time packing her up for Christmas and shipping her off up north. I may just have to make one for myself one of these days...after the handful of toys I owe the boys. (Can y'all stop having babies so I can knit for my own kids? Just kidding!)


Some of the things I learned were how to make:
a belly button/nose
reasonably symmetric embroidered  face (I came a long way from the face of the bear I recently made)
thumbs
wrists
feet
knee bend





And one element that was at first the most frustrating, but turned into the most fun, the hair:


Which brings me to the name of the doll.

I usually "name" the knitted toy after the child who is to receive it (outside of Tortellini the elefante), but it sort of seems odd to have a doll with your own name. Also, while struggling with the hair late one night, I had a random flashback to sitting with my friend Rena at her house.

Rena was my elementary school friend who had cancer and unfortunately died when I was in 5th grade. She didn't spend a lot of time at school, so most of our time together was at her house. I have so many physical memories of Rena...her diminutive and sort of muted voice, big front teeth, enormous eyes full of hope, wispy remnants of hair...I also have close to my heart specific moments in time we shared together: playing with her golden retriever who at one point bowled her over, and the two of us laughed so hard we had tears streaming down our faces...watching a silly Police Academy movie while sitting on the couch together...making a cartoon book filled with ornate flowers and pastoral scenes...but one that stuck out to me was one day we were playing with dolls at her house. She told me that she liked to practice braiding on one of her dolls for when her hair grew back. That moment stuck with me, but was hidden in my gallery of memories until the one night I was loop stitch knitting this doll's hair. Out of nowhere I remembered that moment--I remember it because even at my young age, I remember wondering if her hair would ever grow back, not realizing in a matter of months I would be walking by her casket placing a rose on her belly. Ugh. For whatever reason, those historical memories of Rena, specifically her hope of braiding her own hair, made me realize that there was no way I was letting this doll go bald. And thanks to a little extra inspiration (and YouTube), I figured it out.
So this is my Rena doll. I'm sure there will be more to come, and with each assembly, I'll be sure to knit a few more memories of Rena into each stitch.

Epilogue of sorts. I decided to see if I could find a picture of Rena on the Internet. Her death was long before Al Gore invented the whole virtual storage space thing, but I know a lot of archiving goes on. I don't have my childhood photos in Atlanta with me, so I was banking on someone posting an old picture of her. No such luck. I did find many stories about how Olympic figure skater Paul Wylie never got his chance to give Rena a skating lesson...and then I also stumbled upon a site called "Practice for a Cure" The mission is this: that through our efforts, on the yoga mat, on the meditation cushion, one pose at a time, one breath at a time, we might alleviate (‘cure’)  the suffering of all beings. Wouldn't you know it, through my search for "Rena Parab cancer", I was brought to Practice for a Cure's 2010 dedication page (linked above). And there her name was...immediately following was...you'll never believe it...ERIC HEINTZ. I don't know if someone we know donated to this charity who knew Rena and knows my husband, but what are the chances???

Sometimes life's mysteries are just too good...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dumplings

After today's events (see previous post), you might question my sanity when you see that I kept the boys naked and used them as my sous chefs for tonight's dinner: chicken and dumpling soup. Even more so if you knew that Felix pooped on the floor and woke up from his nap after 55 minutes because he ripped off his diaper and peed all over the crib. (Have I mentioned how fun it is having 2 toddler boys?)

First, I consider this picture payback for the shenanigans they put me through this morning. This photo WILL make an appearance on a slide show for both their weddings. Second, we really did have a lot of fun making soup that they inevitably didn't even take a bit of.

(That's a snake dumpling above, which you will be glad to know did not make it into the pot.)

I LOOOVE this soup. It is an adjusted recipe from a vegetarian version I found a few years back on the blog fresh365 (original version linked). I don't usually post recipes, but my bro asked for it on Facebook (had to post an obligatory soup photo I loved it so much), and thought I would share it here. As with all of my recipes, you don't have to do organic...we just try to do so for as much as we can. You know, especially because my boys eat SO much of my cooking.

Soup
4 T organic unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
6 T organic all-purpose flour
6 c organic chicken stock
1/2 c organic skim milk
2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t fresh thyme, minced
2-3 c frozen Trader Joe's organic foursome blend -OR- 2 c celery, 1 c carrots, 1 c peas...but the frozen blend is so much easier (we also shave extra pieces of fresh organic carrot in because we like our beta carotene).
2 T minced fresh chives
1-2 c organic rotisserie chicken (you could cook your own, but this is the far easier option!)

Dumplings
2 c organic all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/4 c minced fresh herb (I used chives, thyme and green onion...you could use sage, too)
2 T organic unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c organic skim milk

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté until onion begins to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Whisk in the flour, scraping any brown bits of the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, milk, salt, pepper, and thyme/chives. Bring to a boil, add veggies and chicken. Reduce heat, and simmer while making dumplings.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and herbs. Gently mix in melted butter and milk, until mixture just comes together (DO NOT over-mix or dumplings will be dense).
Drop dumpling batter into the simmering stew by little teaspoons. This recipe makes a LOT of dumplings, and they puff up, so make them small (my opinion...I like them about the size of a quarter.) Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes (DO NOT uncover while the dumplings are cooking, as steam will escape).

DEE-LISH!

Urophagia

Listen, I usually reserve blogging for one or two nights a week and then strategically post them throughout the week. But sometimes, life throws you such great moments that you have to blast children's music, throw all the toys on the floor, and tell the kids to entertain themselves while you document life's hilarity. Ya know...like the human jock strap episode we had.

Okay: SCENE

We are on snack #3 at 9am. It's dreary, drizzly, and I am already anticipating a really long day inside. The quiet chair and glitter jar have been used excessively, and I've even contemplated giving the boys a bath just to contain them. It feels like an extra long morning especially since my boys are both naked from the waist down, and I have a holster of ready Bac Out and Nature's Miracle weighing me down.

Ahh, prolonged potty training.

I put my two exhibitionists at the table eating watermelon and crunchy granola bars while I work to remove the garbage. My inner environmentalist is not proud, but I try to remove the garbage as much as possible, even if not full, because the smell of urine soaked diapers and poopy pull-ups has such a visceral effect on me, I've been known to gag. (And no, it's not due to any other fact than my olfactory system is and has always been sensitive.)

I hear Felix gag and sort of barf. Usually it's Miles who I am running to get a projectile oatmeal facial, but this was definitely Felix.

Felix was apparently trying to shove both the square of hard granola bar and watermelon in his mouth at the same time. Maybe it was his attempt at an avant-garde amuse-bouche; I've always wanted a private chef.

Anyway, he must have choked on the bar, and then spit out the macerated granola right on his penis...along with a huge chunk of watermelon.

Wait, it gets better.  Slow-mo, I am leaning toward him to wipe up his genital hors d'oeuvre, and then it happens:


HE RELEASES HIS ENTIRE BLADDER ON HIS CHAIR AND HALF EATEN FOOD.


Didn't we just have a successful potty run?


Apparently his bladder is the size of a watermelon. (Too soon for that joke?)


So, I've got crotch broth and a stunned Felix.


I take him off the chair, strip him down, reach for the Bac Out and a dry rag...and then it gets even better...


HE SHOVES THE URINE SOAKED WATERMELON CHUNK BACK IN HIS MOUTH.


What does one do at this point? I tried the finger sweep, but he swallowed too fast. 


I just stood there. He just stood there. The urine and macerated granola bar just stood there.


It was a toss up: call the nurse help line, or laugh. 


I laughed. 


And then I soaked my house in Bac Out and Nature's Miracle.


You know...some of the earliest human cultures used urine as a medicine.

God...motherhood is grand, ain't it?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Literary acquisitions

I'm reading the tail end of everyone's New Year's resolution posts, and I haven't even finished dishing about Christmas!

I may try to retrieve and scribble out the 3 internal posts I wrote in a frenzy the way to work Mid-December before I go into a full fledged discussion of 2012 hopes, dreams, delusions...

It's a toss up. I kind of feel like the mania and hysteria I had in writing those posts is decaying. And although they would be new to the reader, rehashing my sordid literary details seems stale and maybe even perfunctory. Although...the stories and complainings do offer some giggles and I would be denying my quest to document all aspects of life with child(ren). (Read: potty woes, perpetual nose picking, crib diving, the realization that it is all of a sudden not the same stripping down to take a shower with a 3.5 year old in the room.).

I'm all about spontaneity for 2012; if it doesn't happen right away, fuhgettahboutit. And am unplugging from everything starting at 10:30pm each night...except for streaming on my computer The Bachelor, Biggest Loser, all Housewives series and any PBS program. Oh, and then there is our iPad's Words With Friends (only playing with my husband), knitting or reading (preferably US Weekly).

I know, I keep saying it myself, "how DO you deprive yourself so much?!" I might as well look into monk-dom (made that gem up).

Do you think they have lactation monks?

Okay gurl, regroup.

I've briefly mentioned how nice the holidays were, and shared many photos of the week+ of family time. Holidays really are about family to me, but when you have small children, lots of "stuff" gets thrown into the mix.

Very generous people from all aspects of our family gave us wonderful gifts for the boys. (Anyone else feel like Melissa and Doug vomited all over your house? Hey, if it's going to be anything, let it be cute wooden toys!)

I'm not really up for drafting up a catalogue of our "toy heaven" right now because that would just be painful on so many levels, but I do have to sing the praises of a few of the great books we got--not all, just some. So if yours didn't make the list, don't get heartbroken. I've mentioned it before, but I am a book whore. Apologies for being so crass, but there is no other way to describe it. I just love hard back, well written, smartly illustrated children's books. Luckily, my boys are like whorettes, and love them as much as I do. Hmmm...maybe it's whorinis. Or maybe I should just keep to the more appropriate "avid readers." Nah, that was 2012 spontaneity for you!
Here are a few awesome books that we were gifted for Christmas and Felix's birthday. I always hesitate to post about book recommendations, because the few people who read this here are friends for whom I will, inevitably, give their children one of these books on holidays and birthdays. And, I'm a lazy bones (and 10:30 is fast approaching when I completely and wholly "unplug"--see above), so I don't have time to do all sorts of great linking to Amazon. If you can navigate to this blog, I trust your skills to find the book if interested.









It has been a refreshing change not to read There's an Alligator Under My Bed or Everyone Poops every.single.night. 

10:29pm, shutting this bad boy down, and I am at an utter loss of how to conclude this post. I have no cliff hanger, witty conclusion, or "stay tuned" sentence. Way long ago in 2011, I would have ruminated and slept on this last paragraph, figuring out a tightly composed conclusion. But it's 2012, folks. So here you go:

The End.