Monday, May 30, 2011

Sophia's first box

When I was young, one of my favorite books to read was "Christina Katerina and the Box." Christina is an imaginative little girl who, along with her friend Fats, transformed an empty refrigerator box into a race car, space shuttle, clubhouse, dance floor, and a number of other uses. The book ends with the final disintegration of the box, followed by the arrival of Fats bringing over two more boxes for them to play with from his mother's new washer and dryer.

Fast forward a little bit.

Two years ago when we bought our house, the previous owners left us quite a wealth of useful (and not so useful) items. One of those items was a lawn mower. I am inclined to include it in the "useful" category, though I am not so sure that John would. It survived until this spring, with some judicious use of duct tape (ok, a lot of duct tape and some creativity), but the handle finally broke in half at the very end of the first mow of 2011. There was some discussion about the pros and cons of welding the handle back together, but when all of its issues were added up . . . it was time!

So I did some research while I was at work last week and found a Craftsman mower from Sears that wouldn't completely break the bank, and we picked it up yesterday. Ironically, when we put the old mower out by the road, it didn't even take half an hour for someone to pull up and take it. Broke any record of curbside pickup yet! I guess they want to get some welding practice.

I know. What does any of this have to do with Christina Katerina and the box?

Well, said lawn mower came in a box! And we have one creative daddy in this house who decided that his little girl needed a teddy bear house.

Saturday afternoon was spent discovering how much fun a box can provide. And the fun isn't over! That box is still in our living room, and I anticipate many fun-filled afternoons this week . . . sailing in a boat, making a bed for Sophia's doggies and doll, having another visit with the teddy bears, and anything else we come up with.






(Sophia doesn't look at all like her mama at that age, huh?)



Wednesday, May 25, 2011


RSVP: French "respondez s'il vous plait," respond if you please; that is, a response is expected.

Emphasis on the word EXPECTED.

Five plus years ago when John and I got married I had my first experience with attempting to get people to RSVP. Before that I thought you sent out invitations and people would send back the little card (that I had so kindly put a stamp AND my address on for them) and we would know how many people to expect.

Ha! What a naive bride-to-be I was!

A week before the wedding I was making frantic calls to about half the list of invitees so I could get some sort of final head count to the caterer. And then of course some of the people that had said "yes" didn't show, which was awesome at $20 a plate.

I am going to be in a friend's wedding in the beginning of July, and the other bridesmaids and I are in the throes of shower planning. Now, you know what makes planning a shower easier? When you know how many of the 70 invitees are coming! Of course, if only 25 out of 70 respond, then you get to play really fun guessing games as far as how much food to make, how many tables to decorate, etc.

And the thing is, that when I have complained to anyone about the lack of response, everyone says "Oh, yes, it's terrible, people are so bad at RSVPing."

Well, when everyone agrees, who does that leave that is not RSVPing?! I'm so confused!

Last night I was enlightened a little bit when I spoke with the bride. Sort of. But it may have just confused me more. Apparently several people have not responded because they might be making other plans.


Really? You might make other plans that do not include coming to a dear friend's bridal shower, AND THEN YOU TELL THE BRIDE THAT?

Amidst my frustration, I have made a mid-year resolution (and this makes up for not making a New Year's Resolution) that I am a reformed RSVPer! When I get an invitation, I am going to pull my planner right out, and say "yes" or "no."

Of course, that has to take into account my current pregnancy brain. And my soon to come sleep-deprived-caring-for-a-newborn brain. My pregnancy brain recently managed to RSVP yes to a birthday party for one of Sophia's little buddies that I completely forgot conflicted with a prenatal appointment, despite having both a calendar and planner. And then I forgot to call to change my RSVP to no, and we just didn't show up.

I'm thinking it might have been better to just forget to RSVP in the first place.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Turning 25 back in May 2006 was a bit of a crisis . . . John and I were living in our tiny apartment in Biddeford, we had been married just about 6 months, I was working 3 nights a week, and 25 seemed so OLD. Back then I would have said that turning 30 was the point at which you just might as well give up the ghost because life was just about OVER and from then on you would just be trudging thru serious Adultville. (Of course, the year I turned 25 John turned 31, and he was as young as ever . . . not sayin' my theory made sense.)

But now?

30 is not the decrepitude that I thought it would be. Sure, I might feel crippled over with sciatica at the moment, but that is due to the relaxin coursing thru my veins because of Baby Libby #2 coming in another couple months. And the runny / stuffy nose and sneezing . . . spring allergies, not some sort of "Now You're Old" disease.

30 is confidence to do what I want to without being embarrassed or feeling silly. I just got back from using my "Free Entree" coupon at Davinci's Restaurant for lunch. I had a delicious caesar salad followed by some sort of chicken/pasta/cheese dish that was AMAZING. And I savored every bite of my meal over an hour and a half . . . all by myself. Me, Davinci's, and a good book. Best 30th birthday lunch ever!

At 20 I would have been mortified to go to lunch by myself, especially on my birthday. Such an occasion calls for a contingent! How embarrassing to have to go by yourself!

Well, at 30 it was wonderful to come home from church, put the Snuggler to bed for a nap, grab my book, say "Bye!" to John, and dash out the door for lunch. I didn't even invite anyone else to come along. I thought about it, very briefly, but really wanted to have a nice quiet lunch and finish my book. So I did!

Of course, turning 30 does call for celebration, and I am blessed to have a husband and mother who schemed together to plan a wonderful party, and friends and family who made my day-before-my-birthday Birthday Party such a blast.

Now, if you are reading this post looking for some sort of "And here is what I have learned and will now share with you in all my wisdom of 30-ness" . . . I'm sorry, but you will be disappointed. I am a little disappointed myself. In the back of my mind I had hoped that this morning I would wake up with some sort of epiphany, but really I looked at my watch and thought:

"6:45. The Snuggler's still asleep! Too bad I have to get up. Hey, it's my 30th birthday. I'm 30. Doesn't really feel any different from 29 . . . Well, guess I better try to get ready while the kid is still sleeping."

Not so much on the wisdom front.

But I guess if there are any ways that I can pinpoint this birthday being different from turning 25, it would be confidence and contentment. 25 was a crisis because I was lacking both. At that point I was still constantly looking forward to what was next. Not that I am always confident and content now, but I think I am maturing in those two areas. At least I hope and pray I am!

Of course there are days that I look around my house and say "I wish I had the money to do _________" or feel my confidence waver when I look in the mirror, but there is something to be said for hindsight putting life into perspective. I love the life that God has given me, and the people in it, and am grateful for where I have come from . . . and am looking forward to where I am going, one day at a time!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Running . . .

no more for me.

This pregnant mama had an ultrasound at 28 weeks that showed baby head down. Yay!

Then a prenatal appointment a week later and baby was heads up. Boo.

Clearly all the gymnastics I have been feeling really are somersaults, as I had thought. Baby Libby will be headed to the Summer Olympics in 2028.

So I talked to my midwife. And in the interests of encouraging baby to go head down and stay that way this time around, I am going to cease and desist running and any other impact-y things, and increase my yoga and walking.

And I hope John survives this pregnancy, because the mean-pregnant-wife factor has increased exponentially since I stopped running just shy of 29 weeks. Yoga is great and all, but as any runner knows it is just not the same thing.

Here's what else is different about yoga. When you go for a run you can just throw your kid in the jogging stroller and go. When you attempt to do a yoga video with your 22-month old in the same vicinity you end up yelling a lot and saying things like:

"Stop stepping on my arm! I mean it, no more stepping on Mommy's arm!"
"I will get you a snack when this is over . . ."
"Don't touch the computer!"
(and 2 minutes later)
". . . if I get you some raisins will you play quietly and stop fussing?"
"Don't touch the computer!"
"Go play with dollie/puppy/teddy/tea set/little people/whatever else I can think of!"
"No, you may not jump on the furniture while Mommy does yoga . . . or ever!"

A forty minute video would be an hour and a half, if you actually paused it for each interruption. So when I say I am now doing more yoga and walking, what I actually mean is, I am doing prenatal yoga about once a week and walking three or four times a week. At least the walking is happening!

Today's walk was actually kind of a speed-walking trot in flipflops and totally non-workout clothes, or at least the way home was. Or as much of a speed-walking trot as it can be when in flip-flops. (FYI, not the most brilliant shoe choice when dealing with raging sciatica.) Sophia and I had to race the rain home as I had taken the camera along. Of course, then it didn't rain at all, but how could I know that it wouldn't when we were over a mile from home and thunderous looking clouds were rolling in?!

At any rate, I may not have made it to 32 weeks, which was my original goal, but I ran for longer than I did when pregnant with Sophia. 29 weeks vs. 25 (and if I remember right, that 25 might be a generous estimate). And if I can avoid a C-section this time as is our aim with a home birth, then I can start running again when I want to, rather than waiting a specified time per the doctor. I was craving going for a run at about 4 weeks post with Sophia, but it was forbidden. This time around, I'll run when I want to! And then John can have his pleasant wife back.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Life in pictures

Alright, since I already gave in before, here is a (belated) belly picture from two weeks ago when I was 27 weeks.


Yay, onto the third trimester! Time is dwindling to get my "to-do" list done before baby arrives . . . said list keeps getting shorter and shorter, not because I am accomplishing anything, but because I am getting more realistic. Now I'll pretty much be happy if I can just get the baby quilt finished and stock the freezer with some food.

I'm not all about talking about Sophia's various health ailments on my blog, but had to include these pictures. She is so funny, she always calls her nebulizer her "treatment," and helps put the elastic around her head. See the train nebulizer? They were out of panda bears when we got hers.



Sophia had a bag of clothes from a friend sitting in the kitchen (for far too long, lazy mommy!), and one day she got into it, found the matching sneakers and swapped out the shoes she was already wearing to put these on. She was so proud, and so was I . . . got them on the right feet and fastened the velcro all by herself!


Miscellaneous fun with Sophia . . . she is our entertainment!




Sophia has her favorite corner of the kitchen where she takes her toys after breakfast and plays quietly (when I am very lucky!) while I eat breakfast. Although more often these days the play area is abandoned and a little midget follows me around the house asking "Walk? Outside?" instead.


Climbing . . . EVERYTHING!





And then once in a while when she climbs up she'll actually slide down, instead of going back down the stairs . . .


It just might . . .


take . . .


a minute . . .


Where does she get her adventuresome spirit from?


Sophia's Easter basket was "chalk" full of funsies rather than candy . . . the Snuggler and Dada put some of them to good use outside!




Thank God spring has sprung! We are loving being back outside, and if it were up to Sophia would spend 24 hours a day out and about on "walks." Methinks next week the ground will be dry enough to break out the new picnic blanket . . . more fun times a-comin'!

Keep those blog name suggestions coming . . . I do have a favorite name so far, but am going to take a little more time to think it over . . .

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Best salad EVER!

As spring arrives for real and green appears outside, green makes a reappearance inside the Libby house as well. The green of salads for lunch and dinner, that is! All the pasta and soup comfort dishes of winter are pushed to the back of the recipe box, and out come salads of all varieties. Last night was Curry Chicken Salad (with toasted coconut and walnuts, yum!), and tonight is my very favorite salad . . . Bean and Barley Salad, served over green lettuce and spinach, with peach muffins on the side. Mmmm!

Bean and barley salad is my go-to for summer potlucks, and I have had many requests for this recipe . . . I'm sorry I keep forgetting to get the recipe out, here it is!

Of course, give credit where it is due, right? My co-worker brought the B&B salad in for her dinner and when I tried a nibble I had to have the recipe. And where did she get it from? Taste of Home magazine. What's funny is that on the same photocopied page there is an absolutely delicious sounding recipe for Chocolate Lover's Delight Cake, and I haven't even made it yet. That's how wonderful this salad is, it trumps buttermilk and melted German sweet chocolate in combination with 2 cups heavy whipping cream!

Without further ado:

Bean and Barley Salad

3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (11 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 large sweet red pepper, finely chopped
6 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro (I hate cilantro, so never put this in!)

3/4 cup olive oil (I use about 2/3 this amount)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (I like balsamic better)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp pepper

Prepare barley according to package directions. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in the beans, corn, red pepper, onions, and cilantro. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad; toss to coat. Chill until serving.

And another note from the blogger . . . this is a salad best made the day before or at least the morning of the day you are serving it . . . more time for the dressing to really soak in. Enjoy!
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