Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Ohdeedoh posted a link to this book today, and it got me thinking. I've noticed things recently that have changed about S. Things that indicate that she is definitely growing and developing. I thought I'd share.
  • S recently became much more deliberate with her drawing. She still rarely draws things that are actual things, but instead of big, looping doodles, her drawings are now compact...deliberate really is the best word for it.
  • She has begun imitating writing. However, she still completely lacks interest in learning letters, which is odd because...
  • She adores books and stories. She can recite verbatim many pages from many books. She loves words, doesn't care about letters. We'll get there.
  • She has become very interested in pleasing adults. She is the kind of kid that responds much better to praise when she's good than discipline when she's bad. I'm discovering that talking to her about how she's expected to behave before we embark on our daily adventures is very helpful. Then, if she acts up, I can remind her of what we've talked about, and she generally doesn't want to disappoint anyone. Emphasizing that she's done well after the fact and that her behavior has made me proud or happy really works with her. Also, she worries much more about making people sad than mad.
  • She is getting faster and stronger all the time and it's obvious. Watch out, world.
  • She helps in the garden, but I sense that she realizes that her plastic play garden tools are inferior and I think she finds that frustrating.
  • She is a great pretender. I love listening to the things that she makes up even though nearly all of her imaginings involve a princess.
That's just a bit of Little Ouiser in a nutshell.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

props to mr. ouiser.

Remember that dress and those shoes that I was e-drooling over last week? Well. Someone who must love me a lot had them sent to me today. Of course, as I was opening the box I was thinking, "I don't remember ordering anything recently." Then as I was pulling the dress out of the box, I was thinking, "Oh, Lord. My online shopping has gotten so out of hand that I'm buying myself pricey sundresses and not even remembering it! I need help." Then I relaxed and called Mr. Ouiser and sweetly asked if he'd happened to order me a present, which he had. Hooray for surprises. Unfortunately, even though he ordered the sizes in both the dress and the shoes that I would've ordered, they are both too big. They are already boxed to exchange. Also, someone pointed out how cute the dress and shoes would look together, and by jove they look fantastic...even when they're too large. As soon as the replacements are here, I promise a picture because it's just too cute not to share.

All in all, it's been a pretty good day. Haircuts for me and S (her first...adorable), sunshine and a walk with lots of hopping like kangaroos, and a fabulous surprise from my hubby. Good day indeed. Plus, it's my friend die frau's birthday, so maybe she's getting some cake today. Good days all around!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

family movie night.

Simple Mom has a post about family rituals today, and upon reading it, I've realized that the Ouisers started a new family ritual a little over a month ago. On Sunday evenings, after dinner, we have Family Movie Night. There is an episode of The Berenstain Bears that features Family Movie Night, so S thinks it's awesome. Plus, she enjoys cuddling with us while we all watch a movie together. So far, we've watched Lady and The Tramp, Hercules, The Sword in the Stone, Heidi (with Shirley Temple), and Cinderella. So far, the whole thing has been wonderful, and we're starting a rotation to determine who gets to pick the movie each week as don't want to be continually forced to watch princess movies. After we put S to bed, M and I then watch a movie. It's the only night of the week that we really hang out on the couch and watch TV and it's proving to be a great way for us to just chill out before starting a new week.

I just thought I'd share what's happening around these parts. I'll leave you with a picture of S just as we were leaving for church yesterday morning.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

29 and the leffrecons.

No, I am not claiming that as my age. I am 30 and proud of it. 29 was my score on the Stress Inventory test that I just took. If we weren't so worried about my FIL all the time, my score would've been a ZERO. I am a very fortunate woman. Anyway, I found the test from this article. I found it all very interesting.

Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely St. Patrick's Day and kissed some Irish folk. We enjoyed our Beef and Guinness Stew, which was really, really fabulous. Oodles better than Julia's Boeuf Bourguinon. Oodles. Better. Plus, I had the realization as I was browning the beef that knowing how to cook properly can be a huge pain in the arse sometimes. Like when you have to brown beef in five separate batches because you know better than to crowd it in the pan. Then the beef browning portion of meal prep takes you over half an hour because as one who knows how to cook properly you know that you need to really brown beef because superficial browning just stews away and leaves your stew chewy and stringy instead of melt-in-your-mouth tender as this was in the end. Anyway. The stew was good.

Also, S had a great St. Patty's experience as a "leffrecon" came to her classroom and stole all the shamrocks. They then hunted for them all over the building. When they came back from the Shamrock Hunt, the "leffrecon" had left them all "money candy," which was chocolate gold coins. I think she may now feel that St. Patrick's Day is the best day ever...but then again, she didn't like the stew, so maybe not.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I went through a phase in my life where I went everywhere in heels. Everywhere. At the time I was working for a couture bridal designer/social staple in Memphis, and it suited. However, at this point in my life, if you want to see me in heels, you'd best be hosting a cocktail party or an evening wedding, and even then I'll try to find a way to wear flats. Wicked cool flats, but flats.


Yesterday we got the catalog for the new LL Bean Signature line, and I fell in love with these shoes. Of course I won't buy them because I'm a stay-at-home-mom, and where the bejeez would I wear them?? However, I will stare longingly at them. Then of course, I got on the website and ran across this dress, which I also covet. I'm feeling very, very much like I need a big, expensive shopping trip. If anyone would like to donate to that cause, send checks...because you know you can't send cash in the mail.

And on the subject of fashion, the other night I got insanely excited about getting to watch the Oscars edition of The Fashion Police. The next day, when we turned the TV on, the episode was playing again, and I squealed a bit and said, "Oooh, M, look it's on again." He laughed and pointed out that my Achilles heel is shows about dresses. He might be right. I could watch Say Yes to the Dress a hundred times in a row.

I will leave you now so I can think about dresses...instead of important things...

Monday, March 15, 2010

oh. my. awesome.

I just ran across this little idea online, and I feel the need to immediately drag my sick child to the Goodwill for potential tee shirts to hack into. (Goodwill is the best place to take sick kids, right?) I am loving the idea of my precious S in that little dress. Oh, oh, oh!!

Also, it is still raining. It's supposed to cease tomorrow thankfully. I am really tired of gray and wet. Luckily, the wet is starting to make things green, which S and I witnessed today as we were driving around the back roads of Dickson County to drop off scholarship applications at CWHS.

So, to wrap this post up: I want to make a dress, and rain makes things green.

Good day to you all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

a lightbulb.

Just a few minutes ago, a lightbulb went off in my head. This might seem a little ridiculous, but I'm going to share my brilliant thought because, for me, this is ground-breaking stuff. Here goes:

I don't have to be doing something all the time.

It's a tough pill to take...swallowing the idea that I don't always have to be in motion. Realizing that every second doesn't have to be productive is like realizing that I have three eyes. But I realized it just the same. I generally think that all my waking moments should be filled with something constructive. Those constructive things are quite often things that I want to be doing, like gardening or baking bread or painting or something, which is great, but here's the downside: I never stop. A few minutes ago, after I'd swept the floors, dusted the furniture, folded and put away a load of laundry, and cleaned the kitchen, I immediately reached for The Bread Bible wondering what to do next. Then I realized that just because I had the time to make a loaf of bread didn't mean that I had to make it or even that I should. I don't know what I'll do with this new found wisdom, but it is allowing me a little wiggle room in my general outlook on my days. We'll have to see how it goes from here...

For now I'm just thinking about it and realizing how completely un-American this seems. The idea that we can relax...WHAT?!?!?! We don't always have to work. Sometimes we can just enjoy life. Maybe I should just move to France after all. I'm sure I'd pick up the language after a few years of complete immersion, right?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I was off yesterday. The mailing from the Census Bureau went to 120 million households. So, add five million pieces of paper, five million envelopes, and a boatload of ink to yesterday's imaginary pile of waste. I'm still upset. Can you tell?

S is off to Mother's Day Out, and I'm off to run errands. I just wanted to let you all know about my little mistake. Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

a monumental waste.

I know I've already blogged today, but seriously!! We just received a letter from the Census Bureau informing us that we would be receiving our census survey next week and to please fill it out and return it promptly. Really. If you believe the 1995 projection that there would be 115 million households in the United States by this year, then think about that. 115 million pieces of paper. 115 million envelopes with plastic windows. For starters, imagine that pile of paper. Then think about the ink. Now, imagine all the energy and resources it took simply to produce that quantity of mail. Next, think about how much that mail weighs. Then think about it being trucked all over the country by the postal service and delivered to each household. How much gasoline do you think it took to get each envelope to each household? At least at my house the paper has been shredded and added to the compost bin, but I would wager that a vast majority of American households don't even recycle, let alone compost.

Someone explain to me how this mailing by the U.S. Department of Commerce/Economics and Statistics Administration/U.S. Census Bureau is anything less than a monumental waste of resources. Especially since its only purpose it to let you know that you'll be getting another mailing in about a week...

I am livid.

changing the rules.

We've spent four solid days outside. Friday at the playground. Saturday at the zoo. Sunday in the churchyard and the garden. Yesterday in the garden again. Now, we're settling in for rain. Several days of it if you tend to believe things like radar maps and forecasts. The rain is a good thing. It will make pulling weeds in the garden that much easier...and it is going to prevent me from lugging buckets of water to the new garden site to get the peas ready to be planted. I'm intending to spend today doing laundry and poring over garden books and looking through the bread bible a bit...

...which brings us to the post title. Changing the rules. I've made 24 recipes from The Bread Bible so far. And one of the last ones that I made, Cheddar Cheese Bread with Toasted Sesame Seeds, has inspired me to change the rules. I was, as you know, planning to go the Julie Powell route and bake every single recipe in the book. I've changed my mind. I don't like sesame. Having made that last bread, knowing that I wouldn't like it and subsequently not liking it, I've decided not to make recipes that highlight ingredients that I know I don't like. It's a waste of perfectly good flour. (And cheese in the case of that last one.) I will only apply this rule to things that I know I don't like, not things that I suspect I don't like. So, Sesame Whole Wheat Bread with its sesame seeds and sesame oil won't be produced, but some others that I'm lukewarm about will still be made. I feel better having made this decision. There you have it. Now I'm off to decide what bread to make to accompany tonight's scallops.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite pictures from the weekend.

Friday, March 05, 2010

fresh air.

It's just a shade under fifty degrees, and the sun is shining. I can't even find a cloud, and I just looked. We spent the morning outside with S's friend SR. We had a blast. Tomorrow is supposed to bring equally fabulous weather, so we're planning to head to the zoo for a little family time with the animals. As my friend B would say, we're going to get a healthy dose of outdoor-phins. I hope you're all having wonderful weather, and I hope you're all headed outside to enjoy it, too.
Sight: Sunshine.
Sound: S and S giggling.
Smell: Bread baking.
Touch: Warmth. Dirt. Seeds.
Taste: Pineapple. Homemade burger buns.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

all cleaned up.

S is at Mother's Day Out this morning, and I have successfully cleaned the house. Pretty much. I'm not messing with the shower today. I am feeling good about things. Of course, S will walk in the door later and immediately start cutting paper and leaving little scraps all over the house, but that's cool. I'm just happy that there is currently a nice, clean slate.

That's not the point of this post, though. I just read an amazing article over on Simple Mom. Check this out: We are much more responsible TO our children than we are FOR them. Read the whole article if you've got a couple of minutes. I really enjoyed it.

Either way, I just wanted to check in and say, "hi." Until next time, here are some shots of the kids. I know you've been missing Otis.

Monday, March 01, 2010

a most amazing day.

Yesterday was just about perfect. Actually, I can't think of anything that would've made it any better, so maybe it was perfect. Alas, I took no pictures of the perfection. M got S when she woke up, and she crawled up into the bed to wake me up. Then M brought in the paper, and we just hung out until time to hit the showers. We went to church and then played in the churchyard in the brilliant sunshine. We chatted. We came home and had a light lunch of crackers, pears, walnuts, and Saint-Andre. We played in the dirt, pulling weeds and raking in the garden. M watched the hockey game. We had Julia Child's garlic soup for dinner. We had family movie night. We watched a little of the Olympic closing ceremony. We went to bed. It really doesn't get much better. Really.

In fact, after M had taken S inside for her rest time and to watch the game, I stayed in the garden, pulling weeds. Every now and again I would just stop and look around and notice my shadow growing longer. I could see the breeze blowing the hair that had escaped from my ponytail. I would play with the mud that was caked onto my hands. And I remember thinking each time, "this is wonderful." Then I would grab another weed and yank. Of course, my knees are still dirty, and my hands are, too. The dirt is so ground in that even though I've scrubbed numerous times, I still keep finding more dirt. And I love it. I also love that last night, as we talked about the garden, S told us that she wanted to "build pumpkins in the garden with eyes and a mouth." I worry that she'll be disappointed that they aren't grown as jack-o-lanterns...

That's it from here, but I'll leave you with a shot of S playing with baby E Friday night.