Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Busy Busy!

Things have been busy around here the last few weeks. Mike is taking a pottery class again on Monday nights, he is making lots of beautiful pots and is really improving his skills. His throwing technique is so much better this time around, though he is still working on the aesthetic side of things...he is definitely a function over form kind of guy. On Tues and Thurs he is taking an EMT class at Warren County Community College. He is hoping to volunteer in Blairstown when he finishes and ultimately wants to help SCA do medical trainings. Amara and I miss him while he's away but he is enjoying the challenge of being in school again. It is also Mike's favorite time of year...tax season. He has been collecting and inputting and running around like a giddy school girl. It's sad to think that he choose the wrong profession and his true calling was to be an accountant.

I have been a knitting fool. In the past two weeks I have made 6 hats and 3 pairs of mittens for charity, 1 hat for me and one for mom, as well as a felted guitar strap for Mike. I love keeping my hands busy while Amara rolls around on the floor and plays. I would really like to learn how to spin yarn as well. I have a fleece that was gifted to me buy a family friend so I need to clean it (it is covered in sheep's poo), card it (so I need to buy carders), and then see if I can find a used spinning wheel for a decent price. I am also going to a yoga class 2 days a week. I enjoy getting out of the house for a couple hours and just taking time for me. Amara and I went to a Holistic Mom's Network meeting the other day and will probably join the group and maybe start a baby play date group with a couple of folks we met.

Our friends Kim and Nate stopped by a few weeks ago on their way home from Greece. They brought us yummy olives, olive oil, feta cheese, coffee, and dolmas. Nate and Mike made another batch of mead. This one is five gallons and flavored with dried apricots. It is hard to imagine we won't be able to drink it for a year, patience is certainly not Mike's virtue and I think I will have trouble waiting this long as well. They also brewed a batch of beer, I think it was a Canadian Red Ale. Beer only takes about a month or so to finish brewing so maybe if we keep making beer the wait on the mead will be bearable.

The weather has continued to be bitter cold, snowy, and icy. We are going snowshoeing a few times a week and it is awesome. The trails around camp are mostly old roads so they are nice and wide and free of obstacles so we are comfortable strapping the baby to our bodies while we traipse through the forest, although we have both fallen over a few times. Luckily the storms have not taken out our power (which is pretty hard to believe with all the tree branches that sway above the power lines) but if they do we are prepared with the wood burning stove, two 5 gallon jugs of water, and at least 50 pounds of dried beans.

Amara is an awesome little lady. She can roll with her diaper and clothes on now so we can't leave her alone for a second. She is very accurate with her grabbing, taking hot drinks off the menu, and we are learning to keep things just out of her reach. This makes her frustrated as she reaches and she is not afraid to throw a little tantrum so you know it. We are starting to teach her baby sign, we are choosing to use ASL (American Sign Language), and she seems very interested in what we are doing with our hands. It is amazing how fast she is growing, the changes from week to week blow my mind. I am lucky to be able to hang out with her so much and really enjoy every moment we have together.

Pictures will follow soon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Body Movin' Body Movin'

Amara can officially roll over, and over, and over. We can't help but take lots of video even though we feel foolish about spending 10 minutes taping a naked child eating her toes and gigling. Even so we will post these videos so you can share our joy. Her latest stats from the pediatrician visit this week; 16 lbs 8 oz, 27 1/4 inches, and head circumference 41.5 centimeters.

This week has been very rainy, icy, and snowy. Three storms have moved through, leaving camp sparkly and beautiful. Although it is a bit isolated at times this is one of the most wonderful places we have had the pleasure of living in. Today it snowed about 5 inches and should continue through at least part of the night. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we get a few more inches so we can try out the new snow shoes we received for our birthdays.

Inspired by an email from Jodi and the need for winter projects I am going to be doing some charity knitting, starting with Afghans for Afghans (check out the link in the sidebar). I am in need of wool or other animal fiber (llama, mohair, alpaca, angora) yarn to knit up some warm hats, mittens, sweaters, and blankets for displaced people in Afghanistan. So if you have any wool yarn (please no synthetic; i.e. acrylic or plant based; i.e. cotton or soy fibers) that is not being used or would like to donate a few bucks for me to buy some send it my way. I will put up pictures of my projects before I send them off.

Mike made a Ginger and Thyme Mead today, we will see how it tastes in a few months. Tonight for dinner Butternut Squash Soup and for dessert Black Bean Brownies...Yummy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sun and Snow (The Text)

Happy Holidays to all of those we did not see in the past few weeks. Winter has definitely hit the northeast. We left home mid-December in the midst of an ice storm, a picture of which is our new blog pic, and headed to Connecticut for a weekend at the Anderson's. A few days later we were off to sunny California for Amara's first visit with most of the Johnson clan. Her first experience traveling went off without a hitch. The flight did not seem to bother her ears and she mostly nursed and napped. The longer leg of the flight from New York to Denver and back was a little trying since just around the time we were tired of sitting still Amara also got restless and wanted to move around. But overall she did not scream too much so we did not have to be "those people" with the screaming child.

We had a great time visiting with Mike's family and friends and Amara had a whirlwind time meeting lots of new people. She got to see Grandma Marie again as well as meet Grandpa Danny and Great-grandpa Pat. She also met her Uncle Daniel and Auntie Coco (Nicole), Uncle Ryan and Jillian, Uncle Stephen and Jodi, and Uncle Timothy. She enjoyed her cousins Hayley and Nicholas the most, smiling and giggling through our visits with them. They have a few little cousins so are great with babies and knew how to play with and entertain Amara. The weather in LA was not as cooperative as we would have liked and it was a bit cold and rainy during our trip. But we did get to spend a lot of time outside and Amara could bare a little more skin than she can at home.

Some highlights of the trip; making Kimchi with Ryan and Jillian, backyard BBQ with friends, Las Posadas on Olvera Street, receiving (and drinking for breakfast) Drool Butt Brew from Stephen and Jodi, and Team Tickle at Daniel and Nicole's house.

We departed California on Christmas Eve (yeah, no fun, but affordable!) and headed to CT to spend Christmas at the Anderson's. The day was rather uneventful but joyous: a simple, delicious meal; small bit of gift giving (Secret Santa is the way to go); and a couple rounds of Scategories.

After all of the holiday madness, Erin and I spent our birthdays without a lot of fanfare. We had a get together with family involving a wonderful pistachio birthday cake, care of Meme. Erin's birthday night we went out with some of her college room-mates to a cool little bar in New Haven that was far too loud to do any real conversing (I guess we're getting old!) And Mike's birthday night was at the famous Pepe's pizzeria in New Haven (delicious white clam pie, yum!).

New Year's Eve was fun since we got a good dump of snow, 4"-5", just enough to go out sledding. Kim, Joe, Kaylee, and Brad joined us for for the wet, wild, and cold adventure. There's a great hill down the street at the elementary/middle school. We bundled up old school style, in jeans and plastic bags over our socks, in vast contrast to the Madisonites in their sweet North Face gear. But we could run that hill just as good as the rest.

We're back home now, to our beautiful frozen lake and winter wander-land. Our new fermentation projects of Brined Carrots/Daikon Radish and Garlic are underway with Beer/Mead Brewing up on deck. We just installed our new wood burning stove and it made it through it's first firing; let's hope it lasts all winter!

And one last thing... Amara is growing up so fast, she is really learning how to use her body now. The short video is of her in a slightly assisted roll-over in Cali a few weeks ago and today she went from tummy to back all on her own. She can also sit up by herself for a few seconds before she face plants. And she's doing full push-ups...military style.