Outside my window I can see the multicolored Christmas lights we keep strung up on our back patio year-round, and beyond that the lights of the city.

I am thinking about the Morning Glory Muffins I want to make tonight. Have I ever blogged that recipe? I really should.

I am thankful for Troy. I mean, I’m thankful for a lot of things, but right now what’s on my mind is how awesome Troy is and how blessed I am to have such a fantastic husband who takes care of me and our girls with zero whining and who watches the big game in between grilling hot dogs for lunch and playing outside with Elliora and giving me a shoulder rub because I have a headache. Like, SERIOUSLY, you guys. I totally won the husband lottery, and I know it and I’m thankful for him every single day.

I am wearing a Nebraska Huskers t-shirt, a Nebraska huskers hoodie, stretch jeans with stars on them, Wonder Woman underwear that I bought in Australia, my wedding and engagement rings, tiny silver disc earrings, and a purple stretchy ponytail holder on my wrist.

I am remembering that I really do like blogging and I should try to get back into the habit, maybe. What do you think? I should also get back into the habit of reading blogs. Since Google Reader went kaplooie I basically don’t read blogs anymore. (Now I hang out on Tumblr. If any of you are on Tumblr and you follow me there, shoot me a message so I know you’re a blog reader! Or that you were a blog reader, back in the days when I blogged. Sigh.)

I am going to spend this coming Wednesday hanging out with Brenda and Bug and Heather, aka CC! Heather lives in NorCal now, so I hardly ever see her even though we live in the same state, and I miss her.

I am currently reading about six different things. Let me see. I’m reading Deadly Heat, the latest book by mystery author Richard Castle…who is the main character played by Nathan Fillion on the TV show Castle, of course. Don’t judge, they’re good books, and a lot of fun if you watch the show because they always have tons of easter eggs for fans. I’m also reading the latest Rick Riordan book, House of Hades. I’m re-reading Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl; I’m pretty much always reading one or another of Rainbow’s books. I haven’t picked either of them up for a while, but I’m also technically in the middle of reading Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. Oh, and I’ve been reading Secret Agent Josephine in Paris (by guess who!) to Elliora at bedtime almost every night since we brought our copy home. It’s a really fun book–you should probably buy a copy or three if you haven’t already.

I am hoping that all the sleep I got last night (and all the sleep I’m planning to get tonight), all the Emergen-C and vitamin C I’ve been taking, and all the peppermint tea with honey I’ve been drinking are going to keep this cold from taking over my life for the next two weeks.

On my mind: Honestly? Thor: The Dark World. I just saw it today with Bonnie and Claire, and it was excellent. And Zachary Levi, AKA Chuck Bartowski, was in it! Forget Loki; I was more excited about Fandral.

—several hours pass while we eat dinner and get the kids to bed and watch episodes of Sleepy Hollow and White Collar and I make Morning Glory Muffins—

Noticing that I really don’t like this “True Airplane Disasters!” show that Troy is watching. (He changed the channel when I asked nicely.)

Around the house we still have way too much stuff. It’s a perpetual problem with growing children, I suppose. Also, our kids are the kind who shed belongings and leave a trail everywhere they go. I’ve become mostly-resigned to the fact that our house is just never going to be perfectly neat and organized. It’s either that, or spend my days nagging everyone to pick up their crap and living in a state of constant annoyance, and I don’t want to be like that. So most of the time I sigh and let it go.

In the kitchen, there are Morning Glory Muffins cooling on the counter and a sink full of dirty dishes.

One of my favorite things is our Fiber Friday homeschooling group. It’s basically a playgroup for the kids, and a knit/crochet/stitch/drink coffee/chat group for the moms. Everyone in that group is awesome and I’m grateful for them.

From my photo archive:

Ides of March fashion, by Annalie This is Elliora's Going-To-Pick-Up-Chinese-Food-With-Daddy outfit (with optional puzzle accessory), 100% selected by her.

On the left is a photo of Annalie in an outfit chosen entirely by her in March 2008, when she was almost 4. On the right is a photo of Elliora in an outfit chosen entirely by her today, when she is two weeks shy of her third birthday.

filling in the blanks

May 31st, 2012

Okay! Here are the questions from the comments on the last post, and my answers.

From Sarah:

1. Are there any daredevil things in the world that you think you’d like to do, but have never got around to doing?

I’m not much of a daredevil in general. I don’t even like going off the high dive, and the idea of jumping out of an airplane holds no appeal to me. That said, I do really love being up—on top of tall buildings, in skyrides, on a mountain—and looking down on whatever is below. Anytime I get the chance to go to the top of a tall building, I take it. And even though I don’t love roller coasters, I do love those rides where you are strapped into a seat that s-l-o-w-l-y rises to the top of a tall tower, pauses for a few breathless seconds, and then DROPS.


2. What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend?

Staying up late on Friday, crocheting and watching a movie, because I know Troy will be home on Saturday and I can sleep in. Waking up around 9 to coffee already made and a clean house because someone else cleaned it for me. Making brunch, maybe French toast and bacon and fruit. Having the chance to paint pottery. Maybe going out to dinner.

happy thing: blueberries, sugar waffles, and sausage

pottery-painting in the mirror

On my ideal weekend, my mom would be in town to watch the kids so Troy and I could go to a movie. Everyone being healthy enough on Sunday morning for us to go to church, then lunch at our favorite Mexican place that makes a mean omelette with chorizo, avocado, tomatoes and cheddar cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. On Sunday afternoon maybe swimming with the girls if it’s summer, or going to the zoo or the park. For dinner, grilling hot dogs or burgers and some asparagus, and eating that with cucumber salad and strawberries. Ice cream for dessert, or maybe homemade s’mores. Someone else doing the dishes.

3. With her superior skillz in so many areas, do you ever worry that one morning you’ll wake up to find that Elliora’s taken over the world?

It’s not so much a worry as a resigned expectation.

climbing up Elliora

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From Melissa K. in Nebraska (My home state! *Cornhusker high five*):

How do you feel about all the frequent moving? My dad was in the navy when I was a kid and it was hard then. But now as an adult, I’ve uprooted myself a few times and it’s kind of like an itch… for a new outlook.

Mostly—I’d say about 90% of the time—I love it. I lived in the same city for 18 years, and when I went to college it was only an hour away from home in the same state. I loved growing up in Omaha and if we suddenly had to move back there, I would be happy with that, but having the chance to move all over the country has been amazing. It has its drawbacks, of course. Getting to know a new city every couple of years can be daunting, and there are times when I wish I lived closer to some of my friends and family. But then, one or two of our moves have taken us closer to some of our friends, which probably never would have happened without the Navy moving us.

big ol' truck in our alley

I love that I’ve learned to love so many different parts of the country, and that so many types of places (desert, beach, forest, plains, city neighborhood, small-town suburb) are home to me now. And it’s because of our moving around that I decided to try homeschooling. I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to take the leap otherwise, and it’s been incredibly challenging and rewarding.

sunset view

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From Mrs. Wilson:

1. What do you think of moving back to San Diego?

I’m super excited. This will be our third time living there, after living there for three years as newlyweds and for almost two years right before we lived here, and it’s awesome to be going back to a familiar place. We have lots and lots of great friends in and around San Diego, and since my mom is from SoCal we have family within a couple hours of us when we’re there, too.

foursome self-portraittraditional in-front-of-Ramona's photo
kids on the edge of the worldself-portrait with 7 Dayers

Troy’s job there should be much less demanding of his time than his job here in D.C., which will be a welcome change; and he’ll be working for someone he knows and likes and respects, which is fantastic. Annalie was almost six when we left San Diego, so of course she remembers it and has fond memories of being able to wear shorts year-round, going to the beach and Old Town and Sea World, and picking lemons off the tree in our yard. We’re all pretty happy about this move.

foam, water, ship, skyline

2. When did you last feel hopeless?

Hmm. I’m a pretty glass-half-full kind of person, so I don’t very often feel hopeless. I’d say the closest I’ve come is the sadness and frustration I’ve felt in recent years over a family member who has struggled with addiction and a toxic relationship and all the complications from that, and the ripples that have been felt by everyone else in our family. A year ago when my friends’ daughter Samantha was sick, and then got worse, and then went home with her parents to live out her final days in peace, that was pretty awful.

Samantha's blanket

3. Mal or Jayne. Who would win in a fight and why?

Ooh, good question. Jayne is the obvious answer, because he’s the muscle. He’s big and scary and has way more guns than any one person needs, plus grenades. Although he comes off as dumb sometimes, he’s not stupid, and he’s got good instincts, especially in a fight.

Mal might not be as big as Jayne, but he’s pretty tough and smart, and his philosophy of “Someone tries to kill you, you try to kill ‘em right back!” would make him a serious threat in a fight. One of Mal’s most consistent traits, in fact, is his utter and complete refusal to back down from anyone or anything, especially when he believes his honor is threatened or innocent lives are at stake. Plus Jayne is kinda scared of Mal, so…I’d bet on Mal in a fight.

Evidence of Mal’s superior badassery.

4. What did you eat for breakfast?

A piece of chocolate-banana bread, toasted, with peanut butter on it. And a glass of milk.

happy thing: chocolate-swirl banana bread

5. What’s your favorite city that you have lived in?

It’s a tie between San Diego and Ottawa, ON, Canada. We really loved Ottawa, but San Diego wins for proximity to beaches and family and year-round nice weather.

sunset at sea

6. How would you like to live in Canada again?

I’d love it! We had a fantastic experience living in Ottawa, and we really enjoyed other parts of Canada we visited (Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Vancouver and Victoria). Canadians truly are one of the nicest nations of people I’ve ever encountered, and I mean that in the best possible way. (Except maybe Angella’s creepy stalker alleged-drug-dealer neighbor. He’s clearly an anomaly, though.)

Ottawa - Parliament Buildings
Photo by Walker*

7. Who would you most like to meet in real life and why? (Speaking strictly of celebrities in your favorite TV shows/movies.)

Hmm. This is a hard question to answer, because I think for the most part, we really have no idea what most famous people are like. They’re actors, which means they’re good at playing characters who are not themselves. And I’m sure that most of them put on at least a thin veneer of This Is My Public Persona when they’re giving interviews and appearing on chat shows and such, much like many bloggers do when they’re writing—or heck, like a lot of people do when they’re typing out their Facebook statuses about the fabulous five-course dinner they prepared or posting photos of their angelic children. I don’t tell you about the hours I spend sitting on the couch staring at the TV when I’m too tired to do anything else, because that’s boring. And those people with perfect FB lives are just choosing not to tell you about the messy kitchen it took three days to completely clean up, or how one of those angelic children dumped a pitcher of orange juice all over herself and her sisters, and then dripped all over the living room carpet, right after that photo was taken.

I guess I think it might be interesting to meet, say, Dan Radcliffe, because it seems like he’s a strange, nerdy dude with interesting things to say.

D-Rad flying his nerd flag, singing a song about the table of periodic elements on the Graham Norton Show.

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From Christine:

1. What do you think of Borg vs McEnroe?

Well, without Googling, this question is really weird. Because as far as I know, the Borg are a bad-guy cybernetic collective on Star Trek, and John McEnroe is a professional tennis player famous for losing his temper. (Sorry! I really have no idea. I don’t follow tennis at all.)

2. When did you last wash your hair?

This afternoon.


3. Cake or cookies, and why?

When I searched my Flickr stream for “cookies” I got 98 results.

mmm, praline cookies...

When I searched my stream for “cake” I got 198 results.

donut cake!

Plus 126 results for cupcake. When it comes to eating, not just baking and photography, I have a slight preference for cake, but I wouldn’t say no to a cookie if there was no cake around. I don’t really know why. I just like cake better.

vanilla-cinnamon cupcakes

4. What did you do with the spatula?

I used it to scrape the banana bread batter into the pan, then put it in the sink.

5. What’s your favorite weather?

No contest. RAIN. I love rain—drizzle, sprinkles, thunderstorms, downpours, whatever. Bring on the rain.

happy thing: summer rain watching the crazy rain

6. How would you dress in a heatwave?

Preferably in a swimsuit.

Day 9 for Troy

7. Who would you most like to dream about sex with?

My husband. Maybe it’s a boring answer, but it’s the truth. I don’t even have one of those lists—you know, the ones where people list the five celebrities they’re allowed to sleep with if they ever get the chance? I have no interest in having a list.


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From Deborah:

1. What do you think of when you crochet?

Usually I’m watching TV or a movie when I crochet. Often I pray for the person I’m making the blanket for. I think of it as stitching prayers and good wishes into the blanket (or whatever).

Day 2: 7 Days Fall 2007

2. When did you last laugh until your tummy hurt?

I’m not sure. Recently, laughing a lot would induce a coughing fit faster than a stomachache. (I’m still fighting a cold.) I know I laughed a LOT during the Avengers.

3. Real books or e-books and why?

I like both. Real books for tradtion, e-books for convenience.

happy thing: two of my favorite books released with snazzy new cover art

4. What do you like best about your family?

That we all love to laugh, and we make each other laugh all the time.

three of my favorite people

5. What’s your favorite time of day?

Night, when I’m the only one awake in the house, and it’s quiet and peaceful.

jewel drops of rain

6. How would you fill up your passport if $$$ were no object?

I’d go to Australia at least once a year to visit Lauren C., and drag her with me to New Zealand. I’d go back to the UK, many times, to see all the things I didn’t get to see on my visit there in 1998, and to visit Sarah and her family, and Suzy and Lauren H. and Emily. I’d visit Jenny in Cape Town.

Lauren and me during the golden hour

I’d travel to Russia and Spain, two places where I can sort of speak the language. I’d go to Denmark with Troy and the girls so we could meet some of his family that lives there (his paternal grandpa was born in Denmark). Seeing Lithuania might be interesting, since my paternal great-grandparents were both from there. I’d love to see Petra and Dubrovnik, both places Troy has already visited. I’d go back to Costa Rica, just because it’s an awesome place to visit. Then if I had time, I’d go to Italy and France and Germany (when Sonja was there visiting her family, of course), Japan and India.

Erin & Bethany
Erin and me, on the way to Volcán Arenal in Costa Rica, October 1999.

7. Who would you most like to watch live on a cooking show?

Um. I don’t watch cooking shows, so I have no idea. Oh, I thought of someone: Deb from Smitten Kitchen.

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From Bekah:

1. What do you think of circuses?

I don’t have any strong feelings about them one way or the other. I don’t condone the mistreatment of animals, and I’m not fond of clowns (I was afraid of them as a kid), but I like watching the trapeze artists and I love cotton candy. So on balance, I’m neutral on circuses.

2. When did you last do a Bible study and what did you learn?

I’m actually part of a Bible study right now. The moms and tots playgroup at my church is technically a Bible study (you can see Emeline chewing on the book we’re using in the photo below), though we’re lucky to get one question discussed each week with all the babies and toddlers demanding our attention. The time before that I was in a Bible study was a Sunday-morning one at church, before Elliora settled into a nap schedule that made going to Bible study impossible. Even when we were going, though, our attendance was sporadic, and we had a baby with us so we couldn’t pay as much attention as we’d have liked. I remember doing a discussion one week about representations of Christ in art of different eras and cultures. That was fascinating.

the two E's Maggie playing Alexis and Emeline

3. San Diego or Omaha and why?

Do you mean, in general which city do I like better? I honestly think it’s probably a tie. San Diego is awesome for all the obvious reasons: gorgeous weather year-round, close to the beach, great Mexican food, extended family nearby and plenty of good friends, plus palm trees and bougainvillea and citrus trees in front yards. Omaha is pretty awesome too: many friends, lots of family, good jobs and a low cost of living, and it’s familiar. I agree with Rainbow that I never feel lost there, even if I have no idea how to get where I’m going from where I am. It’s the kind of place that feels like a friendly small town even though it’s a relatively large city (400,000+ according to the 2010 census, with twice as many people living in the metro area) and has plenty of opportunities for education and entertainment. Plus it’s just a nice place to live.

Omaha, 10th and Dodge
10th and Dodge, downtown Omaha

I think if we were ever faced with a choice to live in either Omaha or San Diego forever and ever, amen, we’d probably go with Omaha, since we’re both from there. And it’s only a short plane trip from there to San Diego when we get sick of winter weather.

4. What do you like best about St. Mary’s County [Southern Maryland---where we lived from 2005-2008] other than the awesome girls?

racing silhouettes

I liked living so close to Chesapeake Bay. I know a great hairdresser who lives there. (Hi, Libby!) And it’s really pretty there.

Libby & Annalie Tall trees

5. What’s your favorite cheese?

Uh. I have to pick just one? Okay, then I’ll go with goat cheese.

dinner reward

6. How would you like to change in the next 2-5 years?

I’d love to get back into running. I used to run regularly, and I loved it. Then I badly sprained my ankle and wasn’t able to run for months. By the time I could run again, I had moved to Virginia Beach, where I ran some but not much because humidity is my kryptonite. I gradually fell further and further out of the habit, and then I had Annalie and spent 15 hours a day nursing. I always figured I’d get back to running someday. I think “someday” is going to be this fall, after we’ve moved to San Diego.

running running from the waves

7. Who (of the people you personally knew who have died) would you most like to have a 10-minute conversation with?

Only ten minutes!? My Grandma Dorothy, my mom’s mom, died unexpectedly when she was pretty young. Because I was only 12 1/2 when she died, and because she lived across the country from us, I feel like I didn’t really know her very well. I never got to sit across the table from her with a cup of coffee and just talk. I wish I had.

I am guessing this was taken sometime in the early 1950s when my mom was a baby, so my grandma was about 22 or 23 here.

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From kc, the originator of the meme!

1. What do you think of koala bears?

I think they’re cute but very sleepy. There’s an exhibit of koalas at the San Diego zoo and they rarely move!

koala mama

2. When did you last be really loud?

When I yelled at Annalie this afternoon to use her brain. We were outside on the deck. The girls were playing in the pool. I noticed that Elliora had pooped in her (non-disposable) swim diaper and it was rather, uh, messy. So I decided to hose her off. Annalie brought the hose over for me and decided to turn it on, not realizing that when she opened the valve the water would come out in a high-pressure stream. She also didn’t notice that the hose was aimed right at me. Did I mention I wasn’t dressed for swimming?


3. Pen or pencil and why?

Pen. Pencil smears too easily, and feels indecisive. I even do crossword and sudoku puzzles in pen. Plus ink is easier to read.


4. What did you dream about last night?

I honestly don’t remember.

5. What’s your favorite yarn brand?

For a long time my go-to baby-blanket yarn was MicroSpun from Lion Brand Yarn, which is also really soft and comes in a nice range of colors, but it’s kind of a pain to work with because the plys tend to separate.

happy thing: late birthday gift perfect for carrying my next crochet project

Lately I’ve really been digging the Shine Sport Yarn from KnitPicks. It’s 60% cotton, 40% Modal® natural beech wood fiber, so it’s really soft. And it comes in a good range of colors, including lots of bright, saturated colors that aren’t neon. I’ve used it on several baby blankets now, and have been really happy with it. I think I’ve found a new favorite yarn.

6. Who would you take on a road trip with you (besides T, A, & E)?

One of my best friends, Erin, has been my travel buddy on a bunch of trips—to the UK, around Costa Rica, on a road trip to New York and Maine, up California to the Oregon coast—and we always have a blast. I’d love to take a road trip with her again! And this summer I think I’m going on a short road trip with Rainbow, which promises to be a lot of fun.

2/7 - My narrow world

7. Who would you most like to look like (if you woke up one day and weren’t your lovely self)?

When I was a kid, I would have killed to look like Little Orphan Annie. I still would love to have red hair and freckles. I could get the red hair out of a bottle, I know, but red hair dye is notoriously difficult to maintain, and I don’t have the patience. And no matter how much sun I get, I never, ever freckle. Sigh. So basically as an adult, I’d like to look like sarkamo.

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Thanks for all your questions, guys!

bubbles and rainbow shadows

Almost four years ago, the fashionably-bespectacled kc posted seven fill-in-the-blank questions and invited her readers to ask her anything they liked, deep or silly, personal or surreal. I thought that sounded like fun so I did it too. Now I’m doing it again because I really would like to blog more often and maybe if you people ask me some questions it will compel me. Help a lapsed blogger out? Pretty please?

Ask me some questions! Just copy and paste the following list into the comment box, fill in the blanks, and I’ll answer as honestly as I can.

1. What do you think of _____________?

2. When did you last ____________?

3. __________ or ___________ and why?

4. What did you ______________?

5. What’s your favorite ______________?

6. How would you ______________?

7. Who would you most like to ________?

Or, come up with your own questions about anything—since it’s Memorial Day, about life in the military, or about our upcoming move, parenting an 8-year-old and an 18-month-old, or baking or crocheting or cats or whatever.

I’ll write another post in a day or two, answering your questions. In the meantime, have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day, and thanks to those of you who have served our country in the military or supported those who serve!

Comments are now closed. Thanks for your questions! I’ll be writing a post with answers very soon.