Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Neighbors and Sassiness

We had a fun send-off party for two of our neighbors this week. They invited us all over a mere few hours before they drove off, so we came with grocery bags and bartered over taking their condiments and perishable foods. We wouldn't want them to be burdened with packing too many bottles of wine, would we? Here's an action shot:

While we were there, Mali was trying to get my attention by calling "Mommy" across the room. When that didn't work, she resorted to "Kaethe, Kaethe!", which certainly attracted everyone within earshot. Especially those of our neighbors that think that everything she does is adorable. Now, we had had a long discussion earlier that day about how Mommy's name is Kaethe, much like her friend, Kaeta, (pronounced the same), so I'm hoping that is what triggered it. Regardless, I hoped we corrected her effectively, although there definitely was a lot of giggling involved.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day, Ward-Style

Happy Earth Day! Wherever you may fall on the climate-change political continuum or what your personal carbon footprint is, we can all agree that we're called to be good stewards of the earth. We are by no means experts in that area, but here are our top five tricks that help us be earth-friendly.

1) Breastfeed. Not only is that importantly from an eco-friendly standpoint, it also conserves mom (or dad's) precious energy from not climbing stairs in the middle of the night to prep a bottle. Or buy formula. Check out our friend Karianne's recommendation of a cool nursing cover with an even cooler name here.

2) Buy resuseable bags for carrying groceries. I think they sell for about a $1 each at most stores and we got ours free at Whole Foods a few years ago on Earth Day. They also make for far less trips from the car to the house.

3) Plan out your eating habits. Again, this is a work-in-progress for us, but I've found if we plan our weekly meals ahead of time, we can eliminate extra stops to the store, use up the food we make, and overall eat better. We do try to eat vegetarian at least once or twice a week for the health/financial/environmental benefits. We also love our summer CSA produce delivery. And we never, ever, pass up our leftovers from a restaurant.

4) Drive green. No, we aren't cool enough for a hybrid, but we do love being a one-car family. We sold our second car before we moved to Pittsburgh, and I remember a co-worker at the time telling me that doing so would make us closer as family. He was right--it truly is a lifestyle choice as you learn to adapt to each other's schedule. Admittedly, this is much easier to do in urban Pittsburgh than in other places. We're so grateful for the reasonably priced and accessible bus transportation that allows Jonathan to get to work every day while I get to have the car for errands and socializing. And having a van does make carpooling easy. (We didn't buy it just for the looks!)

5) Have a baby. (We tend to do this every year or so) Save all of the gift bags from the generous presents you receive and use them for gift-wrapping throughout the year. Obviously, some occasions do call for more appopriate and thoughtful wrapping, but for the past two Christmas holidays we've used only those baby-gift bags to exhange gifts with all of the Shunkwilers.
(NOTE--as there are no babies expected in this family before Christmas 2008, we do plan on purchasing gift wrap this year. Or maybe we'll just use those Whole Foods bags)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Five on Friday (The beautiful spring weather edition)

1) I have never in my life been more thankful for warm weather, sunshine, strollers, and parks. Suddenly there are so many more options for (free!) entertainment. Perfect timing, since we just disconnected our DirectTV for the summer, leaving us with four network channels and a plethora of home shopping options.

2) Kellie and I took the girls and Jack to Carnegie Mellon's Carnival yesterday. I had high hopes for the girls loving their first amusement park experience and marveling at the booths made by CMU's genius students. In reality, however, the undergads seemed more focused on showing off their new summer wardrobes to each other than on entertaining my adorable matching-outfit girls. And the most impresive games there were bean-bag tosses. Isn't this supposed to be a high-tech institution? Oh well, at least there was plenty of sunshine to bask in.

3) Mali has really mastered the playground equipment and anything climing-related there. She's in awe of big kids who can swing on monkey bars.

4) Brinn really, really, really wants to crawl, but until then, she's content to giggle loudly in the swings. Where did my little girls get such huge laughs?

5) Warm sunshine somehow makes ice cream taste even better. If that's even possible.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Seven Months Old

She is certainly a charmer these days! She has accumulated many nicknames lately, including Kick-Kick-Kick for how she puts herself to sleep, "The Gripper" due to the tenacity in which she will grab a spoon or washcloth, and of course, "Dee-Dee", D's, or "The D's" which is how Mali has referred to her since she came home from the hospital. We think she was trying to say "sister" but it came out "Dee-Dee" and that simply stuck. I've noticed that Brinnly now responds to that name.

Her onesie says "I Love my Big Sister", compliments of the Kurth family. When I was newly pregnant with Brinn, we thought we would buy Mali a Big Sister t-shirt. Well, I soon found that out that Babies R Us and similar places don't carry "Big Sibling" clothes until size 2. (When I guess is the "norm" for other kids to have new siblings). Mali was wearing size 6 months at the time! So, the Kurths came to the rescue and sent Mali an appropriately-sized Big Sister shirt and this onesie for the future baby, aka Brinnly Ruth, etc.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Five on Friday!

1) Happy Belated Birthdays both to Grandma Deni (Jonathan's mom) and Grandpa Gregg (Kaethe's dad) We enjoyed a yummy mocha cheesecake with Grandpa while we were in Michigan and look forward to celebrating with Grandma Deni when she's here in a few weeks. Love to both of you!

2) Speaking of treats, Jonathan sampled chocolate-covered bacon the other day at work. That's right, chocolate bacon. He claims it was good. Weird.

3) Amalia is now naming letters, numbers, and colors. Her favorite numbers are 2 and 9, making it quite convenient to discuss Daddy's age. (Not for much longer!)

4) Brinnly's new favorite food is mashed potatoes. She ate all of Jonathan's side dish at a Perkins the other day.

5) We are thankful for safe travels as we spent last weekend in Maryland, celebrating the life of our Uncle Carlos who passed away on March 25th. He will truly be missed. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers during that time.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

If You Give A Mom A Muffin

(Based on "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Numeroff)

If you give a Mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
The coffee will get spilled by her three year old.
She'll wipe it up.

Wiping the floor, she will find some dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do some laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over some snow boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan dinner for tonight.

She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She will look for her cookbook (101 Things to Make With a Pound of Hamburger).
The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.

The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two year old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two year old.
While she is changing the two year old the phone will ring.
Her four year old will answer it and hang up.

She remembers that she wants to phone a friend to come for coffee on Friday.
Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup.
She will pour herself some.

And chances are......
If she has a cup of coffee......
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it
Author: Kathy Fictorie

(and thanks to Karianne for passing this on to me)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008