Saturday, June 28, 2008

Doing the Garden, Digging the Weeds...

Who could ask for more?

Well, a gardener would be nice. Unfortunately, we didn't budget for one, so we have to take care of the yard ourselves. Eugene's been diligent about mowing the lawn, but I've had trouble finding time to take care of the flowers in front of our house. I don't want to bring Alex outside while I work, and there's so much to do inside that I've let the flowers slide. But lately the weeds have been drawing my attention, so today, after Alex went down for a nap, I put him in his crib, started another load of laundry, grabbed the monitor, found my pair of gloves, and went outside.

It had just rained, but the ground wasn't too wet. I hoped that the rain would soften the ground and make it easier to pull the weeds. Before I could get started, Eugene came home from work and decided to mow the lawn before it rained again. So we worked outside together.

I don't know much about gardening, but I did know we had a lot of nettles. Since the garden had been neglected for so long, they were huge. Some of them were probably four feet tall. I didn't have a trowel, so I pulled on the weed, as close to the ground as possible, and hoped for the best. Some of them came out fairly easily; others were so stubborn I had to ask Eugene to pull them. As if nettles weren't enough to deal with, we have lots of roses--with thorns. My arms got scratched when I had to reach among the roses to get the nettles. I made a mistake and grabbed a rose by accident, so I brought it inside and placed it in a vase.

I finished about the same time as Eugene finished the lawn. I took a picture of the nettles (since they were so big) before I bagged them for disposal.
My timing was good; shortly after I finished bagging the nettles, Alex woke up. At least the flowerbed looks much better now, although I'm not sure I got everything. But I bet the neighbors will be happy I finally weeded!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Eyes Have It

Sunday morning, Alex's eyelashes were partly crusted when he woke up. The only time I'd seen that before was when he had a very severe cold, but this time he didn't seem to be congested or sick. So we went about our day as I described previously. He still had the eye discharge that evening and Monday morning, but I brought him to daycare anyway. A couple of hours later, they called me. Apparently Alex's eyes were worse; his right eye was now red and swollen. Another child had brought pinkeye into the infant room, and Alex most likely had it. That meant I had to take him to a doctor and keep him at home for at least 24 hours.

As upsetting as it is to learn your child is sick and that you didn't catch it sooner, this news came at a bad time. My company is attending a trade show next week, and I had to prepare some samples for the show. I'm the only one who has any experience making the samples; in fact, I had started working on them before daycare called me. Alex's health is of prime importance, but this project was also important. Somehow, I had to be able to go into work the next day in order to finish the samples.

Luckily, Eugene was able to rearrange his schedule a bit. I went to work in the morning while he stayed home with Alex. I stayed at work until almost 2:00; then I returned home so Eugene could go in for a few hours. Alex is getting antibiotic eye drops and returned to daycare today, and my samples are done and ready to be shipped.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Strawberry Fests Aren't Forever

So you have to attend them while they last.

It's been a couple of years since we last attended the Strawberry Festival in Long Grove; in fact, I think the last time we went was before we got married. So it was high time to go.

Long Grove is a quaint little town with lots of boutiques. We arrived in the early afternoon, with the grounds already packed. We parked in the first available parking lot (which was way out there) and took a dirt path to the center of the action.

There were supposed to be strawberry foods galore at the fest; they advertised strawberry donuts, smoothies, teas, scones, daiquiris, and much more. Ironically, all we had were a chocolate-covered strawberry apiece and strawberry lemonade. We did spend more time perusing a selection of salsas, BBQ sauce, and marmalade (and no, not all of it was strawberry):

After buying a few jars, we walked around. I went into some of the boutiques, but since Eugene couldn't take the stroller into the stores, I didn't stay long. There was a store specializing in Irish things that tempted me with a few sweaters, but ultimately I didn't get anything. Meanwhile, Alex got a balloon dog. We walked over to the kids area, but Alex is still too young for the rides. Meanwhile, a few sprinkles landed on us. We decided to call it an afternoon and headed back. The rain got harder for a bit, but by the time we reached our car, it had stopped. We were tired enough to want to go home, anyway. Maybe when it's a little cooler -- and less crowded -- we can go back and enjoy Long Grove a bit more.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Quiet Day

Eugene and I are still recovering from Alex's party last week. I started describing it on his own blog, but I still need to finish the story and add some pictures. Basically, Alex was overtired and very shy around all of the guests, but after he had some of his cake, he mellowed out. There were about 50 people there, and the party lasted for about six hours. There was a lot of food; in addition to the roast pig, there were three kinds of grilled meat, eggrolls, two types of ponsit (Filipino noodle casserole), Greek food my parents had catered in, and other food some of the guests brought. Plus there was a Filipino cake from my in-laws and two half-sheets of cake we ordered. Luckily for us, some of Eugene's aunts took over the kitchen; they not only set up the food but cleaned up afterwards. If it weren't for them, we'd still be cleaning up. Alex got some very nice presents, but I don't want to list them here. We still have nine thank-you cards to write, but we should be able to finish in the next day or two.

Part of the reason we're still recovering is that Alex had a streak of poor nights. He woke up at odd hours, which wasn't good for our own sleep. He might be teething again. At least he's back to sleeping through the night again (I hope I haven't jinxed things for tonight now.) But with our chronic fatigue, not to mention that we've been busy for several weekends in a row, I suggested to Eugene that we just hang out at home today. He agreed. So we spent Father's Day chilling out. We did a couple of chores--he mowed the lawn, I sorted through Alex's clothes and put some in storage--but all three of us took a much-needed nap this afternoon.

Writing--I'm almost ready to post my query package to the OWW wiki space. I still need to revise my synopsis--I have suggestions from the synopsis workshop that I haven't had time to review properly. Hopefully I can do that in the next couple of days. Then maybe I can go back to working on some of my short stories or continue the final pass on my book. I think I'm going to use Across Two Universes as the title--unless I think of something better.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cookies, Don't Crumble!

Alex's birthday party is Sunday. We still don't know exactly how many people are coming, as not all of them RSVPed but may still show up. That makes planning difficult, but I'm assuming about 70-80 people will come. (I figure it's better to plan for more than for less.) Since many of them will be driving a good distance, I thought it would be nice to have a little favor for them in addition to all the food and cake we'll have available. I came up with making cookies to tie into the party's theme (which I'll keep under wraps for another couple of days.) But what I thought would be a quick project has been more time-comsuming than I thought it would be. Of course, I don't have much free time to begin with after working and taking care of Alex. But here's what the last few days have been like:

Sunday--After returning home from Kristi's shower, I started making a double batch of dough for sugar cookies. Then I realized I was out of an ingredient and had to go to the store. I mixed the dough and put it in the refrigerator to cool. The dough seemed a little dry, but I thought it would improve after cooling. Unfortunately, it was still too dry. I realized I hadn't put in enough butter but figured it was too late to add it. So I had to dump it and make another batch. By then it was too late to actually make the cookies, so I had to store the dough in the refrigerator for another night.

Monday--I started rolling out the dough--which worked much better this time--while Alex was still up. It was harder than I remembered to roll it out, and the first couple of cookies were a little too thin. It was my night to put him down for the night, so I had to take a break. By the time I returned to the kitchen, some of the dough had warmed up too much to roll out well. At least I managed to make about two dozen cookies and prep more dough for the next day.

Tuesday--Eugene offered to help me, and it was much easier with two of us. Eugene rolled out the dough (which was between two sheets of wax paper) while I held the paper down. We finished all of the baking that night.

Wednesday--Before Alex went to bed, I made homemade buttercream frosting. Afterwards, I split it in half and colored it blue and green. Eugene again offered to help me frost the cookies, which allowed us to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Thursday--Almost done; I just had to bag the cookies and find someplace to put them.

So the cookies are finally done, but there's still a lot left to do. I just hope people enjoy them. We did lose a few cookies due to breakage, but they found good homes in our stomachs. If some of the cookies we hand out are broken, I hope people don't mind.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Our Son is One! (And Other Wonderful Things)

I'm a little late on this, but Alex turned one on Friday. At daycare, he got to wear a little crown (I'm not sure how much he liked that), and they sang, "Happy Birthday" to him. That evening, a photographer came out to our house to take pictures. We know her so well we invited her, her husband, another photographer from the same company, and the second photographer's husband (do you have all of that?), to stay for dinner. It was a relatively simple meal, but Eugene more than made up for that with his mile-high apple pie, made with two dozen apples. (I'm not kidding; this pie is huge.) Too bad we didn't have enough time to make our own vanilla ice cream. It was fun having them over.

Saturday we had another couple of guests over for Alex's first playdate. We hit it off with a couple in our childbirth class last year, so the mother and her daughter came over. I'm not sure what Alex thought about another baby exploring his house and playing with his toys, though he did watch the little girl try to climb the stairs. I'm afraid that may have put ideas into his head--not what Mommy and Daddy need! We may go visit them in a couple of weeks.

Today Alex and I went to a friend's bridal shower. I had to wake him up from a nap, but we were still late. He behaved pretty well, though towards the end he was a little fussy. We let him nap before going shopping.

As for the other wonderful thing I mentioned, Firestorm of Dragons is now available through and other online outlets! Order early, order often! Now, all I need to do is find some writing time. With Alex's party next week, it may be tough to find any time at night to work.

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