29 July 2009

Disney World For Crafters

Greetings from Florida, everyone! Pam and I have escaped from the full blown heatwave - triple digits! - in the North West to the much cooler South East. The humidity here is something else though. We are in Orlando, home of Mickey Mouse, alligators, flamingos, and for a few days, the Craft and Hobby Association's Summer Show.

The CHA 2009 show lasts five days, three days for the wholesale show (we shop) and two days for the retail show (we sell). We flew in on the Red Eye early this morning, and immediately went shopping. Bello Modo is expanding a little bit in the direction of scrap booking. Scrap booking, for the non-Americans, is the art of making a photo album. But it's not about the photos, it's all about the album. There is an overlap, however, with jewelry design and embellishing and we hope to establish a customer base there.

It's not all work and no play though. Most vendors have a Make & Take where you can play with the merchandise and make a pendant, or a t-shirt. Or an ornament. It's almost Christmas, people! And of course there is the lovely pool at the hotel, the cabanas have wireless internet, and every night at 10 PM we watch the Disney World fireworks from our window!

26 July 2009

One Potty Forward, Two Diapers Back

We had a potty training break through at the barn, yesterday. Miss Lola peed on the potty twice! There was high fiving all around, cheering, singing, dancing and a twizzler for the big girl. Yes, it would appear I am one of those moms that does a potty dance. It came as a surprise to me, too. We immediately got out the big girl panties and miracle of miracles, Lola kept it dry all day.

Unfortunately it was short lived. Not only did Lola refuse to sit on the potty today for more than three seconds and consequently wet her pants several times, when I went upstairs to get her out of bed after her nap, I found her naked in a soaking wet bed sitting next to a nice brown turd on top of her diaper. "Look!", she said, pointing at it. When I expressed my disappointment, she replied: "It happens." (Sh)it happens, indeed.

I took the sheets off the bed and checked every stuffed animal for wet and/or brown spots. Only one bear seems to be in need of a bath. "He's fine", Lola said casually, covering the spot with her hand. We'll not get rid of the diapers just yet, evidently. Which is just as well, since we still don't have plumbing.

23 July 2009

Heat Advisory

It is supposed to be a scorcher today. Temperatures nearing triple digits, high risk of forest fires, and heat advisories in effect for various regions in the North West. They talked about nothing else, yesterday on the news.

I woke up this morning and it was raining. It is dreary and gray, and it is cold. Heat advisory, my foot!

22 July 2009

Monkey See...

Whenever I find myself without a knife and wish to feed my child, I take little bites of the food item at hand and give them to her. Yesterday Lola helped herself to an apricot and then decided she didn't want it. "It wasn't good", she said. I asked her to give the apricot to me, tasted it - nothing wrong with it - and told her I would finish it if she didn't want it.

She walked up to me, took the apricot from my hand and proceeded to bite off pieces and feed them to me, muttering she was "cutting it up." She 'cut up' the entire apricot for me, the pieces slowly getting smaller and smaller. Of course when I bite off pieces, I try not to slobber all over them, pre-chew them, or grab them from the back of my throat. I very much appreciated the gesture though.

21 July 2009

Comb The Beach & Jul

This morning I watched Ryan and Royce pack up for a camping trip. They are going up to the Olympic Peninsula for a three day fishing trip in one of Washington's many national parks. It is about a three hour drive to their destination followed by a two mile hike into the rain forest to the river where they plan to set up camp.

Watching them getting ready was hilarious. They have known each other for many years; they were roommates, neighbors, and Royce was the best man at our wedding. They're like an old married couple, like Oscar and Felix, or Chip 'n' Dale. The Dutch would refer to them as Jut and Jul. (When I searched online for a translation, it rendered Comb the beach and Jul because jut is a conjugated form of the verb jutten which means beach combing. I love Double Dutch.)

Ryan finished packing last night so they could get an early start. When Royce arrived this morning around 8 AM ("He's always late, every time!", Ryan complained. He should know better then...), they compared outfits and backpacks, and divided the gear between the two of them. After making sure all the essentials were packed, including moist butt wipes - crucial, they both agreed, they were off. They'll be back Thursday night. If not, I'm sending in Search and Rescue.

20 July 2009

Summer Romance

The third weekend in July is traditionally Lake Fair Weekend in Olympia. And keeping up with our  family tradition, we did not go. It is the time of year when the days are sweltering and the nights are sultry. Rather than melting in a crowd of people we decided to go swimming in Summit Lake, and hang out in the backyard with friends. It was the perfect summer weekend.

It was three years ago this weekend that I came out to Washington for the very first time. A single girl, smitten, flying out for a summer romance with a dashing young man I met at a Wisconsin wedding. Four days later I flew back again, engaged and pregnant. If it weren't for that last bit, Jane Austen would be proud. How quickly and thoroughly life can change...

Raising A Bilingual Baby

The trick to raising a bilingual baby is consistency. Or so I have been told. While I try very hard to be, consistent I am not. Partly because speaking with Lola in Dutch means excluding Ryan, or Carla, or whoever is with us at the time. And partly because it feels as if I am constantly correcting her when I repeat Lola's every English word in Dutch.

I really do try, though. I have a CD with Dutch nursery rhymes in the car that we play on the way to Carla's house. But there are a few songs that have both a Dutch and an English version. I'll be singing along in Dutch while Lola pipes in from the backseat in English. I read her Dutch stories and when we are alone I usually speak Dutch. I know she understands me. And there are a few words she always says in Dutch. Auto instead of car, Papa rather than Daddy, Nijntje instead of Miffy, to name a few.

The other day, however, she told me in a very stern voice that it was NOT an auto, it was a CAR. And then she gave me one of her looks. The 'Djeez Mom, don't you know this?' look.

Yes dear, I do. It's not easy as it seems, being bilingual.

18 July 2009

Get Out!

Since I have indulged in the joy of beading, I need a place to keep my beads. And not upstairs, with the rest of the craft and sewing stuff, because I can't get to it there. Instead I have created a nice tidy box for myself where I keep my goodies, tucked away under the 'stairs'. Unfortunately my daughter has discovered the red beading box. And she loves to play with both the beads and the box.

Lola uses the phrase "Get out!" in a very demanding way. "Get OUT!", she'll tell us many times a day. She usually means "Stop" and we are trying to enhance her vocabulary with the phrase "Please stop." Sounds much nicer, don't you think?

But in this case, the words are warranted. "Get out!", right back at you.

17 July 2009

The Tour - Part III

A few weeks ago, I left work early to come home to a completely reorganized and clean kitchen. It was THE most wonderful homecoming! My husband rocks. We now have room to properly prepare a meal, and are able to find everything we need. Well, almost.

It was inspiring. Throughout the winter we had been sharing our living room with the living room floor. Not unusual, really. The only thing was the floor wasn't laid out, it was stacked in a pile in the middle of the room. With a taste of the kitchen being 'redone', we wanted more.

The weather has been great in Olympia, so we opened up the doors, took all the wood out (leaving the mouse or chipmunk that had been living in the pile all winter - judging by the amounts of stolen cat food we found in the open spaces in the pile - homeless), replaned it, and stacked it in the trailer we are using for storage.

The next step was to sort through all our stuff, of which we have way too much by the way, toss what we don't need, and store the rest upstairs. We can now dance in our living room! And I even went so far as to sew curtains for Lola's room. Slowly but surely it is turning into a real home...

02 July 2009

New Parenting Technique

My daughter loves food but she is a grazer when it comes to eating. She eats little bits all day long. Every other sentence coming out of her mouth is: "I'm hungry." Even when she can't be because she just finished a meal. She'll proclaim she's hungry anyway.

The other day I was trying to get her to empty her plate in one go. The incentive of becoming a member of the Clean Plate Club did not do much. She kept saying she was all done. So I resorted to a new technique: old fashioned bribery.

"Lola, would you like some ice cream?"

"Yes! Ice cream. I love ice cream."

"You must finish your meal first. No clean plate, no ice cream."

Worked like a charm.

23 June 2009

Eagle Spotting

I know. I really need to update Olympic Adventures with my latest adventures in camp living and beading. And I will. When I am a little less busy. For now I give you the ultimate American symbol: the Bald Eagle.

Our friend John has a view of an eagle nest from his front porch. The eagle toddlers are venturing out of the nest while papa eagle keeps an eye out...

29 May 2009

Let There Be Light

We have all the windows we need for the downstairs but we cannot install them yet. First we need to frame in the walls and for that we need wood. And since we are focusing on no cost or low cost projects for now, the windows will have to wait a little bit longer.

However. We do have HUGE barn doors. We have just been waiting for the right time to open them. With temperatures in the high seventies and low eighties, that time has come.

Bert & Ernie

Most mornings when Lola wakes up, I take her into bed with us to snuggle for a little bit. I have this romantic notion in my mind of the two of us sleeping together in the big bed, spooning and cuddling. I love to look at her sleeping, with her rosy cheeks, snug in her bed surrounded by an increasing number of stuffed animals and dolls. She is such an angel when she sleeps.

A little while ago, Ryan was out with a friend and he was going to spend the night away from home. I was very tired that day and when I put Lola to bed, I decided to turn in as well. And since I had all this extra room in my bed, I took the opportunity to let her sleep with me and live out my fantasy.

It was a nightmare! She would not stop talking at first. At one point she had become quiet and I thought she had fallen asleep. I was almost gone myself when she grabbed my nose and started singing "I like to move it, move it..." from the Madagascar movie with the dancing hippo shaking her booty. It was as funny as it was annoying. I kept shushing her until at long last she was silent.

Unfortunately, that was not the end of it. She wouldn't lay still either. She tossed and turned, kicked me countless times, climbed over me to my other side (and again, and again), she even fell out of bed once. I tried putting her back in her own bed but it was too late for that. She wouldn't have it. It was hours later when she at last conked out. By that time I was wide awake, of course.

It reminded me of the Bert & Ernie skit where the two of them are in bed and Ernie keeps waking up a tired and sleepy Bert to tell him something trivial. "Bert, Bert, wake up Bert..." By the time Ernie finally falls asleep, Bert is wide awake. At least he had his own bed.

So much for romantic mother and daughter sleepovers. Live and learn. And sleep.

28 May 2009

Country Living

I came home from my yoga class last night to find Ryan and Lola hanging out in the backyard. Ryan had started a fire, the sun had not yet set, and it was still warm enough to sit outside. After we put Lola to bed, I relaxed in a chair by the fire with a glass of wine.

As it got darker, the frog choir piped up, interrupted by the occasional coyote howling. Ryan cooked a couple of steaks over his fire and I lit the candles in the lanterns along the path. I have always thought of myself as a city girl but I do not miss the city at all. Country living can be pure bliss.
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