World of Julie

World of Julie

Mom on the edge.

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Free Valentines!

I get so sick of the Valentine thing every year. I mean, I really don’t care about it. I know Dave loves me and he knows I love him. I don’t want to spend our money on some bouquet of flowers just because Hallmark tells us to. (Though I’m always happy for an excuse for baked goods and chocolate.)

Mostly I can’t stand the enforced Valentines in school. I refuse to buy those stupid licensed character Valentines, so I force Henry to make them himself, and it’s a struggle. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? He’s hand-making 20 Valentines on a deadline. But this year Ohdeedoh came to our rescue, with a list of Free Printable Valentines. HURRAH! Just printed some out, and Henry has whipped out four in the last five minutes.

Children’s Book of the Week: Gnomes

Gnomes by Wil Huygen, illustrated by Rien Poortvliet

When I was 7 years old or so, family friends of ours somehow acquired a copy of Gnomes. I honestly think I spent a good year looking at that book, ignoring everything around me, whenever we visited them. Recently it suddenly occurred to that Henry would love this too, but I was sure it would be long out of print. Not only is it still in print, but it’s been reissued. Hurrah!

I can’t even describe how completely magical this book is. It’s a coffee table book, and has a lot of pages, so not one to read in one sitting, or even to read all the way through at all. The way it’s written is like it’s a lushly illustrated research manual, ostensibly by some gnome hounds who studied the gnomes of the world and are presenting here all the information they have gathered. The full-color paintings are divine, and the level of detail is incredible. It really does make you believe that gnomes must be out there, and of course they don’t wear red caps until they get married, and live to be 500, and keep mice as pets. There are also gnome stories, and a Song of the Troll*. There’s also a topless female gnome, so be warned if that sort of thing might bug you (my own kids have seen me without clothes so many times I don’t think they even noticed the topless gnome).

*Eli has a cold, which is why he sounds like a craggy troll.

Your Weekly Zuzu

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering what Zuzu is doing, and, of course, more specifically, how her hair is doing. Well, I’m happy to report that it’s now long enough for pigtails.

Although it’s funny how pigtails somehow instantly make her into Generic American Girl Child. She thinks they’re fun, though.

More avant garde and stylish, however, is when she lets Eli do her hair.

This is a look I think he calls “shove in a bunch of random barrettes.”

Random Product Endorsement: Architec Mixing Bowls

Recently I found myself with mixing bowl issues. For years we used the glass nesting bowls from Williams-Sonoma. They’re pretty and there are ten of them, so you’ve got all the sizes you need. They were great, until they started breaking. I guess at some point they just had too much wear or something, and started shattering. They’re made of tempered glass, which means that, when they break, they break into 3 billion one-centimeter-square pieces. Two of them had already broken when, last fall, the boys were at Sutswana’s and Zuzu was napping, and I was happily cleaning up the kitchen, when all I did was pick up one of the bowls from the dish rack and it exploded all over me. So I spent my two hours of kid-free bliss cleaning up tiny glass shard squares from all over the kitchen. I’d had enough.

I found some colorful plastic Kitchenaid bowls at Target, but the first set got oddly discolored after three uses, and the second set broke when I dropped one (isn’t the whole point of a plastic bowl that it doesn’t break?), and I won’t return something more than twice.

FINALLY, I found these great Architec bowls at Le Roux. They are much thicker plastic than the Kitchenaid ones are, but, even better, they’re actually sort of sculpturally interesting and attractive. When they’re all nested they look a bit like a flower about to bloom. I’ve been using them for about 6 weeks now, and I love the size and the shape. Perfect! And no more glass bits all over the kitchen and in my hair, thank you very much.

Naming Names

Children’s Book of the Week coming back soon, I promise. The next one I want to write up requires Henry to sing a song, so I just haven’t gotten around to recording him yet. (Plus I still have three more things — two small, one large-ish — to do for school, and those take priority over children’s book reviews, I’m afraid.)

So, in the meantime, you can all continue to think of good baby names for us. It has to be as awesomely cool as Zuzanna, remember. I don’t want this one to think, “How come I got the dud name?”

Dance Madness

We’ve been compiling Eli’s birthday CD. While Henry’s birthday CDs always tend toward the alt-folk-country genre, Eli has requested that all the songs on his CD be “loud” and also danceable. We’ve been testing the second factor as best we can.

Ok, so this first one isn’t so much for the dancing as to show how I get Eli to get some exercise when the weather isn’t suitable for outside play (this was on Monday, when it was pouring). He basically just runs in circles (although there’s certainly some dancing in there).

Here was a song that Eli and Henry thought needed some spoons. You can see Eli helpfully tried to give Zuzu a spoon, too, but that was not at all what she wanted. (Wow, you can barely even hear the song on this one; it’s “Happy Hour” by the Housemartins.)

And what I like best about this one (besides the fact that “Town Called Malice” is perhaps the danciest, boppiest song ever) is the fact that both Henry and Eli have created their own Peanuts character dances.

I know I’m big, but…

Yesterday a woman said to me, “Any day now, huh?” and I had to swallow and smile and say, “I’ve got four more months!” She totally backtracked and said something about, “Oh, but you’re gorgeous!” and it was all I could do not to say, “Yeah, whatever, shut up, lady.” (Instead I very diplomatically said, “Well, it is the fourth kid.”)

In other news, today is Dave’s birthday, and I’ve got the carrot cake from Smitten Kitchen baking in the oven. Once again I am Good Wife adding walnuts and raisins to a baked good, because I know he wants them.

Thank you for your patience…please stand by.

Two more weeks left in this class, and then regular blogging will resume.

Random thought of the day: if we name the baby something that starts with an A, then I can arrange the kids’ first initials to spell out HAZE. Not that there’s any need for that, ever.

More Resel

This, right here, is why I don’t understand how single parents manage. If it were just me, who would be the kids’ wrestling partner? I am no good at wrestling with the children. Any time I try I end up just hugging them and tickling them, which is not what they want at all. Or, they try to wrestle me, and I just snap, “Get off me!” and go to another room. But Dave loves it. Thank goodness. Usually when he gets home they are waiting at the door for him, ready to pounce.

This is a list of things that Henry was planning to do with Dave (and Eli) when Dave got home from work. In case you can’t figure it out, resel=wrestle. And “Blue Men” is a game that evolved from The Great Quillow that involves Henry and Eli yelling “Blue Men!” and jumping on Dave, who is acting as the giant. Dave then yells a lot and eventually falls down, screaming, “You got me!” Making Dave into butter has something to do with covering him in blankets and kneading him (the only one of these that I might personally be able to tolerate).

Because you all want to know…

GIRL! (Eli’s name suggestions so far: Bacon, Ice Cream, Poopy, and something along the lines of Gzhijyw. Really. He spelled it.)

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