Monday, January 30, 2012

Family Photo Friday, err, Monday

The sorting project is still going on with our photos. My first few categories are easy: my family, Sharon's family, John & Don, and landscape/flowers.  It's the hodgepodge of old photos (and finding a good storage/scanning/sorting system) that is intimidating. Right now they're going into a pile to be resorted against all "only touch it once" advice of organizing/decluttering. 

Many most are not labeled in any way so I'm leaning toward sorting by era/life event (old farm, time in Superior) but every system I think of creates more outliers than anything.  Any other method would destroy "original order" that might give me clues but based on the mixes of photo sizes, styles, locations etc. I'm certain any useful clues were lost some time ago.  The most important information I hope to glean are the names from the backs of the photos to fill in some gaps in the extended family tree.  Okay, maybe the most important thing I hope to find are embarassing pictures of my dad* :-) 

And speaking of the extended family tree - they throw a big kink in the system as it appears grandma inherited many of their photo collections which means we have 5+ copies of certain photos that were sent to all the families.  There's a cute set of twins in the extended family (not my dad and uncle, though they're cute as well*) for whom we have seemingly hundreds of photos that were sent to my grandma, great grandma, and great aunts and uncles.  Part of the overwhelmingness of these photos is the fact that I know there are tons of duplicates within the old photos but until I get them in the same section of the pile I feel like I keep going through the same photos.  The plus side of the duplicates however is the hope that at least one somewhere along the line got labeled. 

In the meantime, (and before I get into the embarrassing progression of awkward photos of Matt and I holding kittens) here are just a few more of me and Uncle Matt being kinda cute:

Uncle Matt:
Daddy (every once in a while I come across an errant picture or something in our stuff and enjoy scanning them in.  His family pictures don't need the "work" that ours do however):

 Me and my favorite quilt:
Catherine all pretty in pink:
 And finally Dad teaching us the importance of Pong at an early age:

* I have no idea what these two are doing in this picture, but due to the awesomeness of their hair, it might be the only picture I've seen where Dad and Don look anything like twins:

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Modern technology

James and I both got iPhones today. We'll try and resist the temptation to live blog stupid stuff too often but here are Matthew's "heavy" smiles from dinner

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The kids have been doing a lot of goofing off.  Matthew likes to hug (tackle) Catherine:
 And Catherine's trying to tackle him back.  She's really working on climbing up things:

 And Catherine's smile:
 Matthew grabbed the camera from me and though I think he was trying to capture the cat (probably literally and figuratively) he caught the less glamorous, more realistic look of the week. 
 After a trip to the pediatrician today, just in case, it was determined both kids have nasty colds and Matthew some breathing issues but nothing more.  I'm thankful it's nothing more but that also means there's not a lot to do except give cuddles and suffer through it.  Though most of the pictures I've tried to take of the week involve smiley happy kids those moments are unfortunately few and far between as we try and shake this bug. 

In house excitement we had some friends over to watch the games on Sunday so it was time to do a bit more straightening.  Here's the upstairs living room that we're using as a "formal" living room and dining room.  Odds are it's going to be rearranged soon so we have a bit more motivation to use the big table (thank goodness I left my classy paper towel floor protectors under the couch!)  but here's the room as it is now:
 The table in the left hand corner is the beloved crab table.  My great uncle brought this down for my great-grandmother and the table lived in great-grandma's knick-knack/salt and pepper house that was later placed on my grandmother's property.  When I was little I thought this was the coolest thing ever but now that I'm the caretaker I often wonder if I'm a little crazy.  However, watching Matthew and his friends enjoy it (and leave their little finger prints all over the glass) is a ton of fun and hopefully soon I'll get a video of Matthew giving the "tour" of what's in the case.  His first favorite were the "balls" but then he was quite disappointed that they are urchins.

 We brought our coat tree in the other day for guests and Matthew enjoys pretending it's a real tree, so we've been sorting our animals.  Some animals that live up high:
 And animals that live down low: 
Once we got through the forest animals, the crab table became the water and the stuffed salmon and whales go there.  The animals left in the stuffed animal bin are desert and grassland animals so that will probably be next on the agenda.  So it seems that until I figure out how to use our "formal" living and dining room it will be a giant biome lesson for a little while. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Devil Dogs, Ping Pong, Churchill and other randomness

Remember when I said that Matthew's picture taking skills had improved?  He's now gone a little avante-garde.  Using his patented "finger over the flash" manuever, he managed to take this darling satanic shot of our dogs.  We even "posed" the dogs for this shot - as Sky was in June's bed and Matthew insisted he get out and June get in her own bed.  
 Though not all of his pictures are cutting edge.  Here's a cute one he took of James and Catherine in her adorable overalls from Aunt Sharon:
As an aside, though Matthew is very particular about the dogs being in the right beds, and using possession labels like when he's setting the table ("mommy's fork, daddy's fork . . . ") or pointing out jackets, our days revolve around moving away from these toddler rules of possession which are super strong in our house right now.  
Source: via Leah on Pinterest

Though many of Matthew's interactions with Catherine involve his belief in the aforementioned rules (especially #3 and #5), Catherine is really starting to reciprocate and interact with Matthew by taking a keen interest in what he's doing.  A regular occurrence at dinners recently is that Catherine will start laughing at something Matthew's doing:
 So he laughs in return:
Which only makes her smile more:
 Which only makes him giggle more:
 And so on:

 And so forth:
Until this ping pong effect of giggles devolves into smiles and laughter all around.

Speaking of Catherine and table manners, she's still rocking the solid food and had quite the time with stir fry the other night.  We skipped purees and spoon feeding the same as with Matthew which clearly requires the Churchill-esque pose with a snap pea was the same as Matthew:
 And the flashback:
However, the rest of the experience has been crazy different.   Maybe we're more mellow and so Catherine's more mellow but this time around Catherine will sit with us the entire meal and as long as there's still food on her plate she'll explore.  With Matthew I remember stressing about cooking the foods too soft or cutting them too big as he'd easily take of hunks and then fuss to move them around in his mouth and gag far more often.  This might have had something to do with Matthew's ridiculously plentiful teeth at 6 mos but Catherine hasn't had these problems and when she does get too much food in her mouth, she quietly spits it out and tries again.  There's nothing she's tried that's really given her difficulty and I've been far more adventurous this time with the foods/textures we offer her: 

If I had to say (you know, so I have some milestone to go back and record in her non-existent baby book!)  I'd say this week her favorite foods are peas and carrots, though tomatoes might be a close second.  (And just for Papa she wolfed down some cauliflower for breakfast the other day.)  Due to some general blah-ness combined with business on my end we've had a lot of breakfasts for dinner this week and I'd be remiss if I didn't add sausage and eggs to the list of food she's enjoyed with reckless abandon. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Family Photo Friday

My big project this week was working on the craft/office room.  It is far from organized and at the state where I want it but I at least got most of it sorted to "like with like".    It's a smaller room right off the family/play room that houses a large table (temporary desk), my "project" shelves, our arts/craft supply shelves, a small folding table for crafts/cutting, and a small sewing table.  Then the closet space houses this, my embarassingly messy genealogy stuff:

 Boxes of photos, memories, scraps of paper from grandma and more.  There are multiple schools of thought with regards to "archives" and leaving them in original order but as grandma was a pile-er instead of file-er and when I rearranged some stuff around the house I'd already screwed up original order so now that I have some space I'm sorting like with like.  The first pile I started on came from the buffet in the kitchen and was full of pictures my parents, aunt and uncles had sent to grandma as well as some more recent pictures of hers.  Here were a few of my favorites because they were taken of (Uncle) Matt and I at about the same ages Catherine and Matthew are now:

 Apparently I had a sad pilgrim phase too:
And Sharon sent grandma a lot of great pictures of her family growing up but here's been my absolute favorite thus far:

Thursday, January 19, 2012


For our weather stalkers out there, you may have noticed we've had a "90 or 100%" chance of snow the past few days.  The bare grass in our yard begs to differ.  On Sunday we did get a few inches which promptly blew away on Tuesday with some 40+ mph winds.  Luckily we got our firewood delivered on Monday so we could cozy up the house with an inaugural fire:
While the kids cuddled up to read (and eat) books:
Meanwhile Catherine has her first (maybe second?) cold.  She's been congested and not sleeping but nothing so bad we've had to head into the pediatrician but we did hold off on daycare on Tuesday.  *Knock on wood* we'll be far healthier than last winter and unlike her brother, every cold won't bring on bronchitis for her. 

Otherwise it's more of the same old, same old.  Someone's always interested in working on his art:

and someone else is moving and grooving around the house and now up on her knees rocking a lot, but not crawling.  Her scooting is more than plenty for me to keep track of so hopefully she'll hold off on the full crawl for a while but she's pretty determined:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pearly Whites

Catherine's second tooth ame in and she's all about showing them off.  She's also all about scooting around way too fast and the baby gates had to go up to protect her from the slate steps of doom:
 And though she turned away for this one I thought it was a pretty great profile shot showing off her adorable little nose:
 And Matthew playing with a balloon (in a Thanksgiving shirt with Christmas decorations in the back but whatever)
 And here's a bit more of how our house is coming together.  This is the play area in the back of the downstairs family room.  It rarely looks like this but I just rearranged so everything got put back in place for a few seconds:
 And here's the current toy storage solution.  It's a stacking unit and in a crazy moment I almost put the top unit on the floor.  Then I realized I couldn't keep the ball bin out of reach or all the block sets and that would have possibly driven me over the edge.   I'm trying to rotate them out and it could still use a purge or two but mostly everything has a place right now which is good enough for me.
 Here's the other half of the family room.  The couch is our divider.  We'd like to eventually do a built-in bookshelf TV stand but for right now our cheap furniture hack is fine.  After our dining room table of doom, when we move I set aside money for furniture but I never want to spend it until I'm certain this is how we'll use the space.  Unfortunately we've never settled long enough to transition to "real" furniture or carpentry but fingers-crossed this is the house.  (Check out the rabbit ears, I realized the other day we haven't had cable for almost 5 years.  Crazy.)
 Since we didn't really leave the house this weekend (except to walk to Starbucks, or the Barnes and Noble Cafe that serves Starbucks coffee) I made crazy progress on the craft/genealogy room/office and here's just a sneak peek but at least for a little while, Family Photo Fridays are going to be back on! 

I LOVE this Valentine card, especially the fact that when you pull the little heart the plane moves.  It was given to my uncle Julius from Edna Glnaro.  Since Julius was born in 27, I'd guess this card was late 30's/40's.  I love the puns and word play used on some of these old Valentines.   Wish grandma had more with names on them but I'm sure if they were that important the kids had them squirreled away in their rooms. 

Five on Friday

1.  Look at these winter white legs out enjoying the sunshine at the dino park.  Spring has FINALLY sprung! These boys went from winter di...