Thursday, May 31, 2007

Vacation Part 1 - Mackinac Island

We were a ferry ride and 3 hours in a car from home. The air was warm, but crisp as I cut through it atop my Schwinn. Jim and Willa were 40 yards or so ahead of me on the path. I stopped to take photos of Trillium, a wildflower that might still be endangered, though the local nursery sells them. I was playing arborist in my head, impressing myself with my tree identification "Beech. Cedar. Elm. Locust. And my crowning glory, 'Horse Chestnut'" [I do not know enough to impress anyone but myself. I bought a book a while back. It stayed at home for this trip.]

All I could hear was the occasional clip-clomp 2 horse team pulling wagons of island tourists, and the breeze slowly wooshing past my ears.

Sigh. Absolute serenity.

I enjoyed the peace for another moment, and then, about 40 yards in front of me I could hear digital music not unlike modern ice cream truck tunes, "da de da da da da da da..." In a trailer behind Jim's bike, Willa was hanging out with her blanket and her stuffed monkey who, when you press his palms, plays "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands." I know you've heard about this guy before, but he's ever present now.

It was the soundtrack of the vacation. She had that guy singing through the main streets of Mackinac Island and other bikers and walkers stopped to look. She played it in the car when she woke up from a nap. She played it after the last kiss of the day while trying to settle into a good sleeping position.

The song, the scenery, the time spent with my little and later my extended family? Perfect.
Clap, clap.

The monkeys.

Nap time in our room at the Cottage Inn. This may be the only Bed and Breakfast room on the island that isn't pink.

Willa and Jim meeting some workin' horses.

Resting for a second.

I was there too.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hi, come in. Can I get you something to drink?

First, thanks to those who checked in 2 posts back. And for those of you who haven't, please do.

The way I see it, this is a place for me to ramble and collect memories for myself. It's a somewhat selfish and self-centered act for me to come here and write and expect people to care, on a daily basis, about what I put here in my little nook on the internet. I know. This is where I'm totally self aware and my skin feels itchy.

On the other hand, this is also a site that allows people who know us to check in with life at Camp Sinki, and those who don't to stalk us - I mean learn about complete strangers (us).

So, if you're a friend or stranger and are peeking in, please drop a comment sometime. "Hey, it's nice to see Willa smile, because of her clinginess to mom and dad, I haven't seen it in real life." Or "cut the crap, you want to be a stay-at-home mom so you don't miss any Martha Stewart." Or "Nice photo. Your husband has a cute butt" are okay to share. If you're looking into this fishbowl, let me know. I'd like to say hi.

I'm not saying, comment or scram. Just inviting you to do so more pointedly, kind of like, "please have a seat, make yourself at home." Also, just like the high school yearbook, everyone knows if you get more people writing in your blog, you know you're, like, totally popular.

Second here is the photo of my dad reading to MaKenna and Willa after returning from a long day at the Detroit Zoo earlier this month:


Third I was going to post about our refreshing weekend on the road north of the 45th parallel, but that will have to wait for tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We've returned from our mini-vacation. It was a happy, smiley time. Today we're all adjusting to life back in the schedule. Tomorrow I will share more, but for now, please enjoy sleeping Willa lovingly captured by her dad. She has never seen so many horses and priests as there were at the Knights of Columbus convention on Mackinaw Island.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Roll Call, please

I've been using this space to chronicle the day-to-day happenings of our family, the growth and development of our child, and share some thoughts and photos for just over 7 months now. We're waiting for the blog to start crawling any day now.

We'll be travelling away from computers for the next several days, and I'll be doing some thinking about what I put here and why, and if I want to open this up to the evils of coperate america and earn money by selling ad space here.

In the meantime, do me a favor, if you're reading this, would you just let me know by leaving a comment. You can be anonymous, you can just type "here." Even if you read this entry weeks or months after today, please let me know.

Coming next week:
the photo of my dad and his granddaughters
the latest on project living room
recap from mini-vacation

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

another home project

I mentioned, I think, that I was feeling sick on Sunday. Still, I bravely put shoes on and travelled to Lowes to go buy paint. Our living room has one green wall and 3 white walls. Well, it did. We're in transition. So, Jim's bringing me paint chip after paint chip that look kind of like the one I brought home earlier in the week. "How about this one? It's just like that, only lighter. Or this one, see how it's less yellow? Or this one, I think this one will look good." And to me they all looked the same: light beige.

This was not unlike the time I thought I'd have my German friend teach me German. A lesson that lasted 5 minutes after we discovered that I couldn't hear a difference between 18 different "o" sounds. "No, it's not 'oh' it's 'oh.'"

The fact that I had no idea what "stoney sea pearl" would look like next to our "Kentucky oak moss" wall at home had me frustrated. Also, please do remember something was wrong with me. I was achey and completely spacey. There was no trespass against Willa, but I found myself wishing she would vomit on command on Jim. And the rows and rows of paint chips.

We finally left with two cans of paint. Hours later Willa was asleep and I was pathetically curled up on the couch. I watched Jim get a roller brush out. "You're going to paint?! Tonight?! Right now?!" And he boldly started right there. I was in awe of his gumption, his health, and his faith that he would not regret the shade we brought home. And then he made me soup and garlic bread, and rubbed my back.

Yesterday morning, after it was dry and I was better, I told him he made the right choice. Our living room is going to look so great and feel so warm and comfortable.

Monday, May 21, 2007

de Sinki Goes to Camp

Angie and Brian had a wonderful wedding in the woods this weekend. When we arrived at the VanBuren Youth Camp, families were walking to the outdoor stage, there was a bluegrass band playing. We were excited to have the camera in such a beautiful setting on such a special day. Until we tried to use it and discovered the battery was dead. Blast! Jim ran to the store and bought a disposable camera, so there will be photos here, just much, much later than usual.

Heather G. performed the ceremony which was gentle, and thoughtful, and full of humor and warmth, just like the bride (and the groom, as best as I know him). Brunch that followed was accompanied by toasts and song and lemonade. Mmmm...

There were giant trees with ID signs painted by campers, a waterfront with a dock, a camp lodge, cabins, and washroom. Willa, Jim and I got our own cabin. We skipped the bunk beds and opted to sleep on our air mattress.

Willa was excited to be outside so much. Her legs swung back in forth in her stroller, as she waved at strangers and trees alike. There were 9 kids there aged 1 and under (and plenty more older kids too)!

It was nice to get away for a night and enjoy some fresh air, good cooking, and sweet friends.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Found - one couch!

When I was looking for a dog in Baltimore, I had some specific guidelines: midsize brown dog (kind of like looking for a good family car). And I found him at the shelter. My only concern when I first saw him was that he was a little... froo-froo. I didn't want a high maintenance dog who needed his fur to be groomed more often than my hair. In the end, it was a good match.

Jim and I have been on the hunt for a couch. Apparently, my over six foot tall husband isn't comfortable lying on our loveseat. Baby. So, we scouted high and low for a comfortable, durable, and nice looking couch. Not too stuffed, no bird-print fabric. And we ended up with a mid-sized brown couch. And chair. Apparently they're from the same litter and couldn't be separated. Also, when Jim sat in it for the first time he totally had a "please wife, it just followed me home, I'll take care of it, I LOVE it soooo much," look.

We'll be welcoming our newest members of the family when they arrive in a semi from North Carolina.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Couch hunt

Wanted, one comfy couch family to cuddle and play on. We promise not to eat on you, or let the dogs up on you (for at least the first 6 months). Please inquire within.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Shower, firing (not mine), dirt, mother's day, zoo

Who hosts a bridal shower on a Monday evening? Wealthy lesbians who have no kids and the ability to set their own work schedule, apparently. It was nice to see the blushing bride, and the crowd was fun, though largely the mother of the groom's college friends.

Monday was a long day that involved the firing of a co-worker/friend and the announcement that with his departure and the resignation of another co-worker (who's position will be moved to the main office) there are no plans at this time to close our office. This leaves 2 of us here. I might get the offer to work out of my home. I'm not sure that's attractive to me.

I was glad to get home last night. Angie and I went to the backyard where Jim had the sound system that she's borrowing for her Sat. wedding set up. Willa and Jim were sitting on the bench. Willa in a sweet purple smock-dress, wielding a hand shovel. "She's been playing in the dirt the whole time." There was a pot of dirt that I had taken the bean seedlings from. She was turning it over and over and over, grinning.

Sunday was Mother's Day, and it was lovely. See Jim's review here: I don't think he mentioned that he made us bread pudding for breakfast. Mmm.... he did a wonderful job of making sure I was honored.

Saturday I was on the East Coast at the Detroit Zoo with Willa, Lisa, MaKenna and my mom. My brother's were working there that evening, so they got some niece time in. A wonderful/tiring day. Some photos:

There's also a great photo of these kids with their grandpa, but it didn't save to my computer. Tune in later this week, dad.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Post 2 for the day: Soooo big

I was hanging my clean clothes in my closet, which is in Willa's room, ...
*sidebar: ugh, this house and lack of closet space! How did a family of 11 fit in here before?*
... and listening to Jim talk with Willa. "Oh, you don't know that one yet. Okay... 'how big is Willa? Sooo big!" I peeked around the doorway. He had her hands in the air (no waving, they both cared a great deal).
Minutes later I joined them and she kept putting her arms up. It seems as though there was a direct coorelation between fingertip height and smile width. She was just so. Darn. Proud.
This morning during our family in bed together time she was like Greta tempted with a treat and running through all of her tricks: tickle, roll, smile, raspberry to mom's tummy, crawl over the dogs, hug the dogs, hug dad, and... arms in the air while blinding us with her smile.
Yesterday when we came home for the day, I put her down on the front porch so I could unlock the door. I put our bags down inside and held the door. She put one hand on the door frame, picked up her right foot to step up and into the house. She just walked right in on her own, into her house.
How big is Willa? Soooo big.

From Yesterday's Daycare Report...

"Willa did great with her sippy cup today. Such a big girl!"

"Willa had a blast playing outside."

"Willa loved using the lawnmower."

Jim and I raced to get it out before the other could, and we said at the same time:

"I'm not sure I approve of child labor there."

"Sounds fishy to me."

At any rate, if she's doing their lawn, I'm totally asking for a discount.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Go on, clap your hands.

We were between alarms compliments of the snooze button. Jim and I were both awake, sort of. We heard Willa moving in her crib, deciding to cry or not. My eyes were half open and enjoying the morning sunlight on our bamboo plant framed by the shadows from the frame of the window panes. I was doing the one eye shut, other eye shut trick and watching the plant shift, slightly, back and forth.

Then suddenly we heard the digital music "If You're Happy and You Know It..." play. She must have pressed the palm of her monkey in the crib. This is a relatively new feat. We both woke up fully, laughing. A few minutes later I peeked in on her. Willa was sitting in one corner of her crib turning the pages of the fabric book of jungle animals that my mom made for her.

Later in the car, she was bouncing to the Pretenders and clapping her hands.

Apparently, she is happy, and she knows it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sitting quietly

You know when you're with someone you know fairly well, and there's nothing new to talk about, so you sit in comfortable silence? Let's do that together today, okay?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Shark dentistry and playground fun

For accuracy sake, I'm not sure how shark grow teeth. I know they use many sets in the course of their lifetime, and I guess because of that I imagine that they get them rows at a time. Overnight. I just don't want anyone reading this to get their shark dental information here and think it's factual.

Last night we had a picnic lunch at a park with a playground. It was like the Shangri-la of playgrounds with tons of kids of all sizes and colors playing and their adults milling about, taking photos, laughing.

I like this photo for how the glass dome framed the trees in the background.

Monday, May 07, 2007

From mom to dad in 8 seconds

This weekend was Spring Games from Special Olympics. Willa paced between Jim and I a few times. She's walking with confidence now. Now walking to walk, but walking to get to somewhere - or lately, someone, so she can cling on.
Willa's smack in the middle of stranger anxiety. Strangers are apparently anyone but mom and dad. It's too bad that we have this great little kid who puts on shows for a very limited audience.
This round of teething is probably not going to kill us. Probably not. But's it's been mean. From the feel of the ridges on her gums, she's about to spring forth an entire set of teeth all at once. Like a shark.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday adventure and gettin' dirty

Not that kind of dirty, you sick-0. Jim hurt his back this weekend at the Spring Games. This left our bike ride and painting project plans on hold. So... this Sunday's adventure was getting one of the flower beds under control. Some new plants, some edging, and mulch...

This photo was taken at 9 pm. I was dirty and tired, and my digging arm was sore, but phew... it feels good. And they said gardening at night never works.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Willful Willa

Our little prodigy is showing she's ahead of the behaviorial curve this week by testing the waters of temper tantrums. Full blown rolling on the floor, kicking the ground and yelling temper tantrums. And we're not supposed to laugh? Oops.
She's mostly upset because she can walk now and doesn't want to be carried. Also, she doesn't want to go to sleep. Ever again.

PS - note: when I use the word "prodigy" I'm totally joking. I don't wish prodiginess on Willa, particularly in the vein of temper tantrums. I just wish normal kidness on her.
I should really stop using the word. This morning it got me in trouble when Isabella's dad introduced himself to me outside of daycare by showing me her sheep art (photocopied outline of a sheep with glued on cotton balls, just like Willa's). I said, "oh, that's quite good. She's a prodigy, eh?" Not finding the humor in that, Isabella's dad turned around and walked away. Ouch.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

More randomness, this time from my head

I don't like modern design. "Smart and clean" lines make me feel cold and uncomfortable.

I learned today that green beans and other dense vegetable may spark in the microwave because of the minerals they contain. Glad to hear our microwave isn't on the fritz.

Grand Rapids festival of the arts needs to expand the art for sale tent. Or, I should look for art on Division Ave. instead.

I'm looking forward to a Detroit zoo trip this summer with Willa and MaKenna.

I was planning to plant hops this year in the backyard. Hops grow 20 feet in a season. Where am I going to get 20 vertical feet to support that? Might just stick with green beans this year for vertical gardening.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The difficulty of being co-president of Willa... and her quest for sovereignty

Every morning Jim and Willa get together time over breakfast while I shower. I usually emerge from the bathroom listening to her cooing while he agrees with her and rustles a magazine or newspaper. They both eat cereal.

This morning I wrapped a towel around my wet hair, opened the door, looked in the living room mirror and saw a reflection of Willa in her blue dinosaur sleeper walking across the kitchen table. I ran to her yelling, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" And then I turned my head to see Jim near the sink. "And what are YOU doing?!" She looked at both of us and laughed.

There was a moment of tension filled silence. I was wrong to yell at him. He was wrong to let her stand up in her high chair, wriggle out of it, and walk across the table, holding a pen in each hand and heading for the scissors (scissors! I'm pretty sure those are on the top 10 list of mother worries). It's hard being co- anything. Jim's good at not getting upset with me for being weak when I go to console a crying Willa in her crib before bedtime. I need to work on that a little. Okay, a lot. Though, I did not hold him solely responsible for the small wound that appeared on her face while I left them alone Saturday morning.

We shook our heads at the moment and continued on. I brought her into her room to play while I got dressed. She waddled back to the kitchen.

I scooped her up again, asking if she was hoping daddy would let her play with sharp knives and fire.

As she and I went back to her room I heard Jim saying something like, "if mommy can dance on tables...."

He wishes.