Monday, July 28, 2008

Tea Party

We had a long, difficult, unpleasant day. I will spare you the details. Rather than ending the day on such a note, I decided to dig deep to find two ounces of energy. The result? A tea party!

I had to do a lot more digging than that, though. I dug deep into the bathroom closet to find a tablecloth given to me by my mother in law. I dug deep into my kitchen cabinets to find a teapot, creamer and sugar dish given to me by Kevin's Grandma Gloria and teacups, saucers and plates given to me by my Grandma Emma. I brewed a weak pot of tea, liberally sweetened it, dished up leftover chocolate cake from Grandma Inese's birthday party yesterday, and voila-a tea party!

Nora is a huge fan of chocolate in any form. She was a good sport and drank an entire cup of tea before asking for plain milk instead. Long after Dana left the tea party to beat on her drum and dance a little, Nora and I chatted like a couple of old friends catching up. That was exactly what I was going for: three happy girls.

I love how Dana is peeking over the edge of the table here. She looks so sweet! She excused herself immediately after this photo was taken. I guess a tea party for a three year old can't really last more than six minutes.

Here's to a better tomorrow!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Inside and Outside

I think I took these photos on Wednesday, but I can't remember for sure. It was a really weird weather day: One minute it was storming, with pouring rain, booming thunder and lightning dancing through the sky, and the next minute it was bright and sunny. And so the cycle went. It's hard to know what to do on a day like that. For some reason, I decided we should make soft pretzels. We had a lot of fun and they were really yummy. For some reason, though, the dough didn't rise. I have baked about a thousand loaves of bread, dinner rolls, bagels, and countless other yeast doughs in my time-this was not my first experience with yeast. I know it was active because it got lovely and frothy when added to sugar water. But the dough stayed in a big lump for two hours, never growing. In the end it didn't matter because the pretzels were really yummy and soft. Hopefully next time the dough will rise!

Nora had fun and did an excellent job of rolling blobs of dough into snakes. I love her outfit selection here: She is wearing a Christmas dress one size too big for her. It has a velvet bodice and a three layer skirt that is poofy and so long it touches the floor. And you can see her swimsuit peeking out from underneath. What a combo!

The girls posing with the unbaked pretzels. I twisted the traditional looking pretzels, and Nora made the heard and the ribbon style one. Dana was in charge of salting them, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Zak came over and shared the pretzels and lemonade with us. Yum!

During a lull in the rain, Nora and Dana invented a game where Nora pretended to be rain (hence the hose) and Dana danced around under the "raindrops" with her umbrella. Pretty fun! I love the mischievous grin on Nora's face.

Dana dancing. What else is new?

I have been knitting up a storm this week, trying to use up washcloth yarn I have had sitting around for as long as I can remember. All of the partial balls stressed me out for some reason. Something about unfinished business I guess. I have knit 10 1/2 washcloths this week. Is that ridiculous or what? I am down to one partial ball left and this bit on the needle. Time to buy more washcloth yarn, right?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Roasting Marshmallows

Tonight Kevin built a fire in our fire pit so the girls could roast marshmallows after dinner. They became quite skilled at marshmallow roasting during our camping trip last week, but they still need some help.

Look at Nora's eyes! Her marshmallows are on fire, and she needs Daddy's help to blow them out. This is how Nora likes her marshmallows: slightly burnt on the outside but gooey on the inside.

Nora enjoying her sugary treat.

As you can see, Dana preferred to roast two at a time. Her method is to bounce the marshmallows up and down for a while before completely submerging them in flames. Once they are totally engulfed, the proper thing to do is scream so Daddy can blow out the fire.

Dana licks every last bit of marshmallowy goodness from her fingers.

After eating her fill, Dana thought she would help out by watering Mama's flowers. She takes this job seriously and makes sure that all of the flowers get a big drink.

Uncle Sam and Auntie Liz were both working tonight, so Daddy and Nora went over to let Diogi out. He joined our fun, though he doesn't exactly look thrilled here. He was partaking in his favorite activity of diving into water to retrieve gigantic rocks. In this case, he chose the giant mud hole where the electrical goes into our new garage. We haven't had the final inspection so we can't bury the wires yet, and the hole is full of water from recent storms. Diogi pulled out three rocks the size of his head and deposited them on the lawn before settling for a branch to gnaw on instead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dress

Way back in February, I went shopping and bought a pattern and fabric to sew an Easter dress for Nora. This was not the best idea I have had for a number of reasons. First of all, I am no good at sewing. Really. I can't sew a straight line to save my life, and I get all flustered and grumpy when I am trying to sew. It is not relaxing in the least. I really love to knit and find knitting very relaxing, so I can't figure out why I thought this sewing project was a good idea. I should have picked a nice sweater pattern instead. Second, I was not exactly flush with time last winter. I had just started working on my second bachelor's degree and had plenty of homework to keep me busy. As a result, I finished the dress in July. Like last week. I think it turned out pretty cute. Unfortunately, Nora has grown a lot in the past six months, and the darn dress goes to her mid-thigh. In fact, it fits Dana quite nicely, though Nora is not willing to relinquish the dress to her sister at this point. I haven't decided whether I should add length to the dress via alternating fabric tiers, or if I should just buy coordinating leggings and call it a tunic. And to put the icing on the cake, when Dana saw it her face immediately crumpled and she said, "What about me?" If I start an Easter dress for Dana now, in a size 4T, maybe I will finish by Easter 2009. But I am not sure I am ready to embark on THAT expedition so soon. I believe Kevin's comment upon seeing the finally completed dress was, "What exactly possessed you to sew Nora a dress?" Possessed is right.

Mama's Girl

Today the three girls met some friends at Leif Erikson Park for some splashing and a picnic. We were there for close to four hours. Nora, Dana and their friends spent the morning throwing rocks into Lake Superior and wading deep into the water. They had a lot of fun and got really worn out!

Since we need groceries, we didn't have much in the fridge for dinner so I (Alissa) ran to the grocery store this afternoon. Dana is going through a major Mama phase - she doesn't stray far from me and has had meltdowns lately when left with other people, people as lovely as Daddy! She was quite heartbroken to be left home with Daddy and Nora while I ran to town, but I was only grabbing a few things and wanted to get done quickly. I have a painful ear infection and wasn't in the mood to amble through the aisles at a three year old's pace. She was sitting at the top of the stairs crying when I left. When I returned home perhaps forty minutes later, I opened the front door and saw her asleep at the foot of the stairs, with her butt on one step and her head resting on the next. Kevin said she was waiting for me to get home and did not move from that spot the entire time I was gone. Apparently she was exhausted from our day at the lake, and the longing for Mama was too much. I felt so bad! If I had known she felt that strongly about it I would have let her come along. I thought she would get over it in two minutes, but I guess I was wrong.