Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Best Hamburger I've Ever Made

Seriously, for real...SO good.

I've watched countless cooking shows, episodes of hamburger specific Cooks Country and American's Test Kitchen, all for the goal of making a great hamburger at home. They're either too tough, or not flavorful enough or way too complicated (grinding your own meant ATK? I think not).

Yesterday I was doing some weekend grocery shopping with the girls at Whole Foods and stumbled across an AMAZING meat sale. I bought 4 lbs of 85/15 grass fed ground beef for 3.99/lb. I of course had to make something with it for dinner.

I ditched the recipes and went with my gut and they were the best hamburgers we;ve had at home to date.

The Best Hamburger I've Ever Made

1 lb. really good fresh ground beef (at leat 90/10)
1 piece of white bread, crusts removed, ripped into small pieces
a splash of whole milk
salt and pepper
tomato paste (or ketchup or bbq sauce would work too)
1 onion sliced thin

Start the onion cooking on low with a little butter and olive oil, stirring occassionally until carmelized (this takes a good half hour so make sure to start it well before the burgers)

Mash the bread and milk in a bowl with a fork until well combined and just mushy. Add meat, salt and pepper and tomato paste. Toss lightly with a fork (make sure not to handle too much or mash too tightly, loosely combined is best!) form into 3-4 patties (we made 3 big one and one little Ainsley sized one) Again, make sure not to mash, just lightly form, the cooking will firm up the patty!

Place on preheated griddle or grill pan on high. Cook 5 min, flip, cook 4 min. Let the burgers rest 5 minutes while you butter and brown the buns on the same pan (a very yummy and necessary step).

Construct one DELICIOUS burger. Bun, burger, onions, ketchup and mayo, bun. Enjoy!

I just had to share this since I know how much we've yearned for a good homemade burger.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away

Oh we all feel it in the midwest don't we? This April has been ridiculously cloudy and rainy (and snowy for some). I am struggling today to stay positive and motivated and active for my poor couped up antsy pants daughters. But boy am I trying.

I keep delving into my Toddler Busy Book to find new activities for Ainsley and I to do while Louise snoozes away the morning. We've made Jello Play Dough, rice crispie treats, water colored, pretended in the dollhouse and kitchen, played with bubbles in the sink and read books. We've danced to musikgarten favorites and sang finger songs until I thought I would lose my mind. We've even resurrected as Ainsley informed me during her pre-nap stories today that she' like to learn to read.

When Ainsley goes down for a nap she is typically zonked, but when she needs to get out those last stragglers of energy and I am DONE I have her go through her list of quiet time go-to's that she can do alone in her room until she's ready to sleep.

"What can you do if you're not tired yet Ainsley May?"
"Play inna dollhouse, dress up, singa song, reada book. Mama, Ainsley may can't reada book. I don't knowa wowds! Teach me mama?"
I smiled through happy proud teary eyes.
"Of course I'll teach you Ainsley...after nap ok?"
"Ok mama, Ainsley May gonna WEAD!"

Now I know how successful teaching a 28 month old to read is going to be. I'm actually not going to bank on her even wanting to follow through on her request and I am CERTAINLY not going to push it. But I was floored that she wanted to, all her own, without me suggesting or steering in any way. It was a pretty great moment.

Working with learning to read kindergarteners before having children is turning out to be more of a blessing than I realized. I saw so many children totally discouraged by the time they got to our class because their parents had pushed reading too early. Sure they could read at a second grade level but they weren't comprehending a word and they could care less about the stories. The children that really thrived were the ones who came untainted, who'd been read to and talked to and explained to. Those children knew what a story was and how to tell one and what it meant. When they were ready to learn they soared, most picking it up in a matter of weeks. It was an amazing incredible thing to be a part of and I have always wanted that experience for my children.

Both Ian and I LOVE to read and are rarely without a book (or 20 Ian?) earmarked or kindled on the bedside tables. I love that my English major introduced me to so many new genres and writers and I feel capable of reading just about anything (save Ian's nonfiction section in the basement....goodness gracious no!). I want our children to love to read as much as we do because it has brought such joy and growth to our lives.

I'm excited to see where this takes us, what learning Ainsley will request next. It's nice to be her teacher right now, to get all the say in what she has her hands in, and get to form her learning around her wants and needs.

Today I feel thankful to be a stay at home mom with the resources to give my girls what they need. I am thrilled for full nights of sleep again now that Louise's growth spurting is in hiatus. I can't wait to hear how Ian's first committee meeting went this morning. I have all the confidence in the world in my hard working smarty pants man. Today I am thankful for dry sidewalks for an afternoon walk despite the chill and Easter leftovers so I don't have to worry about dinner.

Here are the pictures I promised last post.

::8 month old Louise Adele::

::I caught her mid-yawn::

::book an playdough time::

::Ainsley showing me her emotion faces::

::sad, clearly::
::believe it or not this is happy::

::I believe this was scared, looks a bit more like ANTM to me::

::my big standing up girl!::

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Something Profound

With all of the little life updates and photos I've been posting lately I've found I've been craving a more profound post, but struggling to do so. I am SO tired, going to bed later than normal with friends and sisters to chat with, and waking up in the middle of the night to feed a STARVING growth spurting baby. It's been raining for weeks LITERALLY, and I am so drained.
But I am also SO good. I remember posting a few weeks back about being smitten with Ainsley, with my girls, my husband, my life. That sentiment has lingered so long that I am confident that it's here to stay.

I talked a lot with Lisa this past weekend about life. How we always want, dream about, what we don't have. How our ideal is always not what it's cracked up to be and SO MUCH HARDER. I write so much about the trials of parenthood, raising my fiery Ainsley May in particular. Having Louise has solidified so many things to me. That children truly are unique and their own from the start.

I have gone through a sort of grieving process with Ainsley. I remember calling my mom in those first months, SOBBING because it wasn't what I thought. I loved my daughter, I cherished her and was so thankful for her, but the whole experience was so different than I had imagined. She almost never stopped screaming or moving. She never wanted to be held or snuggled. Everything was on her terms, not mine. Talk about trial by fire.

Then I had an epiphany. During my weekend with Louise I calmed, reflected and vowed once and for all to let go of the baby, the toddler, and now little girl that I was expecting Ainsley to be and accept and love her for who she is. The moment I stopped fighting it it's been a whole different world.

I've found this place of patience and understanding that I thought I'd lacked. I've tapped deep into that mom-ness that I always knew was there and am slowly becoming the parent that I know she needs and that I want to be.

In doing so I have learned so much more about my girl. That she's much more sensitive than I had imagined. She wants her space and to try things herself, but needs strong boundaries and rules. She is so polite and caring, really only acting out when she's overtired, craving attention or "fwustwated mama". She is active and energetic, loves to dance and sing. She's creative and thoughtful and willing to try just about anything I throw at her. She's a challenge, but I wouldn't change a thing about her.

Part of the grief I felt for so long was wrapped up in my shortcomings as a parent, that I wasn't who I thought I was. I lost my temper and grabbed her arm. I'd scream into pillows and put her in her room to keep her from seeing me break down. I thought I was stronger than that. Turns out I am, it just took me over 2 years to get there.

It has been weeks since I lost my temper in front of her, or really in general for that matter. I have found that all that counting to 10 and taking deep breaths when I'm fuming has become second nature. I just keep reminding myself that I am the parent and that she is two. She needs me to be the strong one, so I am.

I was worried there for a while that I wasn't meant to be a stay at home parent. That it wasn't going to fulfill me completely, or that more importantly, I wasn't as good at it as I thought I would be. If the last few weeks are any indication, this is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. I feel like we're all thriving, the nerves and crazy frustrations have left the building. I feel capable and strong, and like a real mom. It's empowering. It's the best.

Just this morning we were faced with another dreary day after a wakeful night. I woke up to hear Ainsley and Louise fussing in unison. I had a moment in bed, took a deep breath, put my metaphorical mom pants on and descended to the day. It's been exhausting but good.

I kept Ainsley busy with sensory activities in the kitchen while I finally cleaned out the fridge and Louise napped. We drove to the library to return books, play with new friends (there's always a new friend at the library, today it was a 4 year old Madison, and a Minnie Mouse doll), and find some new gems. Louise LOVES books, practically exploding with joy as I open the first page. She loves the colors and anything she can touch and feel. We read a lot these days and I love it.

Now the rain continues to fall and while I secretly lament the loss of yet another day outside gardening, biking and bubbling, I won't let it show. We're going to try a new play dough recipe made with Jello mix, bake some banana buttermilk crumb top muffins for Ian's first committee meeting on Thursday (send good vibes please!) and scamper around the house as we continue to clean up from our week of visitors and fun and prepare for Auntie Sonya's arrival in a few short weeks (we can't wait!).

Today I am thankful for my patience, for Ainsley to motivate me on the dreary day, for Louise's belly laughs and smiles, for new books to linger over, good smells coming from the kitchen and a waterproof basement. Today is a good day. I hope yours has been to!

*the girls are napping so I'll post some photos later

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Weekend

What a great weekend. I am EXHAUSTED but in the best possible way.

I can't begin to express how refreshing, rejuvenating and AMAZING it was to have Lisa here. She is truly a kindred spirit. We start where we left off every time, no need to small talk or play catch up. We dive right into the good, hard stuff. There are always tears, both sad and glad. While I always wish we lived closer I so cherish these times together because they are that much more precious. I hope everyone has a person like her in their life. I can't imagine mine without Lisa.
We didn't plan anything, didn't do much. We didn't need to. Time was filled with our everyday stuff, parks, picnics, walks and talks, exclamated by the presence of a great gal that fit in like she belonged. It was great.

On Easter we rose early, appropriate I think, and went to an Easter only 8am church service at "our" church. It was horrible. The girls did so well despite the gloom and doom of a service that in my opinion should focus on the hope and glory of the holiday. It was weird and bizarre. There was interpretive dance and venue changes and casual "tell your resurrection story" communion circles. I missed the hymns, the praising of God and the comfort of a familiar service. I don't know what they were thinking. I really REALLY liked our new church, until that service.

We rallied and the rest of the day was great. Ainsley LOVED looking for eggs. She'd spot one and dash across the yard and beam with pride as she THREW the eggs in her newly acquired basket. Then Ian chimed in with a new Easter tradition, "the Easter bunny broke into our house, stole our eggs, and left his stuff ALL over own lawn! That vandall!" Hilarious...I'm thinking that sentiment won't fly.

Ainsley was pretty tired after all the ado so she snoozed while we ate brunch. Then I put on my apron and went to work on dinner. 3 out of the 5 dishes were from an episode of Cooks Country that I stumbled across on our DVR. The Delmonico Potatoes were some of the best potatoes I've EVER had, and this is coming from a potato lovin' gal. They're really not too intense and SO worth the little extra effort (and calories).

Delmonico Potatoes

3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon grated zest and 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
5 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed and patted dry with paper towels
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped chives

Melt butter and saute onion and garlic until soft, add potatoes, cream, broth and spices, simmer 10 minutes. Put in casserole and bake for 20 minutes and 450. Meanwhile melt a little more butter in the skillet and start to brown the hashbrowns. Take off heat and add cheese and chives. Take potatoes out of oven and spread hashbrown mixture evenly over the top and bake another 20 minutes. Take out and add more parmesan and chives. MMMMMMMM!!!

I also need to give a nod to the cormeal biscuits that I decided to make rather last minute because I had tons of cornmeal and leftover buttermilk with no plan for them in sight. These are far and away the best biscuits I've ever had. Not very corn-bready, just delicious, puffy and crisp and soft all at once.

Cornmeal Biscuits

1 c. cornmeal
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 T. honey
Combine and let sit for 10 minutes

In food processor pulse together:

2 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt

Then add:
12 T. butter, cut up into small pieces
pulse until combined (8-10 times)

Mix dry and wet until just combined, roll out to 3/4" thick and cut into circles using a floured drinking glass. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet in 450 oven for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 and bake another 8-12 minutes. Slather with butter and honey and ENJOY!

After dinner we enjoyed banana cream pie, wine, and the company of good friends. My only regret is that I didn't get any photos of my first holiday feast.

Lisa is on her way home now. Louise is snoozing away the afternoon, and Ainsley is "watching Ainsley movies mama" on this dreary day.

Today I am thankful for leftovers to last us FOREVER, snuggly girls, a happy well rested husband, clean sheets and diapers and the hope of some sun to finally get our hands dirty again this week. I hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Winks: A Need to Be Known

I'm having one of those days. You know them. Struggling with whether to submit to the gloom and doom or charge ahead with determination and optimism. I'm having one of those days where it is glaringly obvious that I am anxious and introverted...and I hate it.

My sister was in town the past few days. We just dropped her off at the Oak Park El stop. I was sad to see her go. Not just because she is amazing with my girls, but because her leaving is another slap in the face to how ALONE we are here. Whenever someone I love comes and then leaves I am reminded of that and there is always a void, a huge gaping hole. Sometimes it closes fast and others, like today I fear, it pains and lingers.

I'm realizing that I can make new friends, and have, great ones. I have people to lean on here that aren't Ian and a community that I love. But it's still not the same as those people that know you deep down and wholly. Those people can never be replaced. You know who you are in my life and I miss you.

I've been thinking a lot about this need to be known without explanation or introduction. It's been spurred on by this amazing book I'm reading Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. It's about the "beginning" of the slave trade to America in the mid 1700's and follows a young girl, Aminata, who is snatched from her village in Africa and endures countless horrors both getting to and existing in America. What strikes me most though is that this character is not so affected by the horror, but by the culture shock, the lack of people surrounding her who KNOW her, where she's from, what she's about. She clings to the few people that survived with her in the crossing because she needs to have that connection with home and who she is.

I of course (and thankfully) have very little to compare with Aminata's story, save for the need to be known. Here I feel like an outsider. It's crazy I know, but I do. Minnesota seems countries away sometimes. Whether for good or bad, I miss running into people that I've known since childhood, elementary school friends, and family friends, and work acquaintances that I will always feel connected to because, well we are connected. They knew me when I was one of the "bigger" girls and had braces, and fell out of the "cool" group and wore Target brand shoes because my mom refused to buy me the trendy expensive ones (I've never thanked you for that mom, but thank you, for real). They knew my family and my sisters. They saw me work at Caribou and date weird boys. They knew I ran cross country and loved art and was a total nervous goody two shoes who NEVER drank in high school. I miss people knowing me without me telling them who I am.

Perhaps the salt on the wound is the impending holiday. I so crave being around those people that know me best (and love me anyways :o). Throughout our courtship (if you will) and marriage Ian and I have tended to celebrate with one family or the other. Last year Ian's dad was in town and I was too sick and pregnant to care much that there wasn't much ado. This year I am so thankful that my best friend is flying all the way from Texas just to spend Easter with us.


We are going to have a great time. I know that. We've had a great time in fact. This week, despite the sniffles, headaches and fevers has been great. For one, Ainsley got her first bike and loves it, even if her little legs can't quite reach the floor.

She wears her stickey outey tongue smiley faced helmet with pride and "wanna rida bike mama, mama HELP PLEASE!" We're practicing, she's getting it. It's great.

In other astounding news our little Louise is standing (with support) and loving every minute. I've heard of those babies who just kind of skip crawling and wait to walk. I'm not putting money on it yet, but she is definitely in the running. She loves to pull herself to stand while holding our hands and can play forever at her little activity center that Grammy and Pop gave her for Christmas. She beams with pride from her new vantage point and I beam too. She also grunts and coos and laughs and FREAKS OUT whenever she sees her food or bottle (or me during nursing time for that matter). She could eat ALL DAY LONG. I love it. My little baby is getting so big (and old too :o).


Once Auntie Joojie came to town we relished in the extra hands, hugs, and energy. Despite the cold we braved the park and had a blast. We picnicked in the living room, made Easter sugar cookies and decorated eggs. We ate LOTS of pink velvet cake (I didn't have enough red food coloring, whoops!) and just loved having her around. We miss you already Joojie!

In lieu of buying yet one more stuffed animals for my girls for Easter I am knitting some AND I found a new Etsy shop with ADORABLE hair thingys for babies and girls. The shop is Bloomz and I couldn't be happier with the stuff I got. I of course caved and had to try out Louise's new headband immediately. As a rule I am against baby headbands. I personally don't like the look of a huge fake flower on a cute baby head, but felt and buttons and small and adorable I can TOTALLY handle.

This year we tried dying a few brown eggs too. We liked some, not so much others. The set up took way longer than the actual dying. Toddler attention spans get me every time. We still had fun though and at the end of it all Ainsley was quite happy to help me consolidate the dyes "just happy dumpin' mama".

So the week has really been good. I'm just in a slump right now, this minute, while I look at our mess of a house and wait eagerly for the arrival of my best friend tonight. I forced myself to motivate enough to get some laundry going, bread in the bread machine and chicken dumpling soup on the stove. The house smells warm and comforting, the rain continues to fall, but the birds are chirping anyways. Perhaps I'll have to take a page out of their books. It is the season of hope and rebirth afterall.

A very happy and BLESSED Easter to you all! and thanks again for the listening ears.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Change of Plans

I am in the throws of holiday week preparation. Grocery lists a mile long, endless picking up and cleaning up and scrubbing scrubbing scrubbing. My mind is going a million miles a minute. And then the rain came and the girls got sick.

The rain was a welcome respite from our busy week. We stayed indoors, more snuggly and slow than usual. After her nap Ainsley was desperate to go out in the pitter patter. "Find some puddles mama, so Ainsley may go JUMP! inna puddles!"

How do you say no to that? And we did after all need to put that ridiculously matchy matchy raingear to good use.

So out we went. I shielded Louise from the now downpour secured to my chest, umbrella in hand and Ainsley splashed away.

We walked around the block and through the park. On the home stretch I started to lose Ainsley. She so desperatley wanted "more jumping splashing mama" and I wanted to get out of the pouring windy freezing yuck. So I bribed her. "Ainsley, let's go inside and share some tea!" "Oooh, mama, TEA!" Then she closed the gap between us, motioned for me to bend down, cupped her little toddler mouth and whipsered "Mama, Ainsley hava seecret. I have a tiny little cup!"

So we trekked home, took off our soaking pants and shoes and socks, put the kettle on (while Ainsley sang Polly Put the Kettle On) and waited for our delicious rooibus tea to steep. Ainsley drank out of her little cup that I had needed reminding of and we delighted in the winter warmth of our home.

Then the rain and gloom kept on through the weekend. It brightened on Sunday both in weather and spirits when we shared brunch with good friends. The day meandered and Ainsley's cold turned into a full out bug. She's been sleeping tons and snuggling lots and I'm hoping we're nearing the end. I hate when my girls are sick.

So the vacuuming and dusting can wait and the papier mache eggs may just not happen. Thank goodness the ham is already bought and the knitted toys almost completed to fill Easter Baskets. I know I'm overcompensating for last year when I was newly pregnant and sick sick sick, but I want this Easter to be special. I'm excited to share it with friends and family, form some new traditions and host our first holiday in our home.

As a side note Louise has started crossing her feet when she sits...she of course had just uncrossed them when I tried to take a photo of them, but you get the idea. She's my little lady in every way, patiently waiting these past few days as I tend to Ainsley, contentedly babbling and smiling away.

Today I am thankful for blue skies, despite waking up to a thick dusting of snow, Ainsley's adorable new helmet just waiting for her bike delivery later today, my calm sweet Louise, my snuggly sick Ainsley, and my hard working husband who passed on his wicked sore throat to me. I guess we made it through the winter without a hitch, so I shouldn't be surprised.

All the same I'm eagerly anticipating the events of the week and all the fun to be had. Have a great Monday!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Winks of the Week: Curtsey's, Easter Jesus, and Mamama

This week is wrapping up wonderfully. Our days have been so busy and full that the cold windy cloudy YUCK outside today is almost welcoming. Ainsley wanted to lounge and play. I got some organizing done in the house and Louise got her awesome morning nap. So far so good.

I can't get over how much EASIER life is when the weather cooperates, how much more effortless days are. We run into friends spontaneously, linger outside and meander on the streets just playing and marveling at the wonder of this new season. I can't WAIT for Ainsley's new boot scoot bike to come on Monday so that we have another excuse to play outside. You can bet I'll let you know how it goes.

In an effort to organize my life, and my writing a bit I'm going to try something new. On Fridays I'm going to write about the week, rather than all these little updates, and highlight some key moments for you and me of course. I hope it will serve as a smaller, but more interesting window into our lives and an archive of sorts for us as the girls grow and change ever rapidly. I'm working on some witty title here, we'll see how it feels.

Winks of the Week::

Ainsley Learning How to Curtsey.
We read Angelina Ballerina the other night and she was fascinated with the dance terms. Lucky for her I have 12 years of experience under my belt and taught her all that I know, plie, arebesque, jete, curtsey. She of course does them all with her crazy coordination and the end of our tutorial I asked Ainsley if she liked ballet dancing. "No mama, DANCING!" and proceeded to do her Katy Perry crazy dance. At least I tried.

The Downside to All That Work on Emotion Recognition
On the way home from Costco last night I took a new route to avoid some traffic ahead and immediately heard "NO MAMA! NEWA GO THAT WAY! AINSLEY MAY WEWY FWUSTWATED AND MAD!!!" She pouted until we got closer to home where she calmed. "Ainsley ok mama, you find it." I think she was genuinely concerned that I was lost and she'd have to help her ol' mom out.

How Do You Explain Easter to a Toddler?
I tried my hand last night and I think I just confused her more. I threw around the words "savior" and "forgiveness of sin" like they were no big deal. We try not to "dumb things down" for our girls, but at the same time there are some things that she's just not developmentally ready to process. At the end of our brief conversation I asked Ainsley if she understood what I'd said. "Oh... JESUS come outta the egg, bring Ainsley May CANDY!!!" Her sheer joy and confidence in her answer was almost too much. Sure Ainsley, we'll go with that for this year.

My new favorite moment of the day, when Louise reaches her hands up to me and says "mamamamama!" and grins her toothy grin. You can tell me a 7 month old can't talk, you can tell me she's just babbling, but I don't care. She's totally saying my name and I'm her favorite. I can say that because Ainsley's favorite was far and away Ian and her first babble word was dadadadada.

This weekend we look forward to brunch with awesome friends, lots of to do's inside and prepping for our big week of sister visits, friend-filled Easter and LOTS and LOTS of fun!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring, Glorious, Spring

Spring really is a time of rebirth and re-emergence. After this winter I really wasn't sure, in general, about anything. Turns out it was just the weather, the lack of vitamin D and fresh air. Who knew?

We've begun living outside. I haven't turned the TV on in days. I have sore feet from walking everywhere and throbbing triceps and quads from double stroller jogging (the most full body workout EVER). Our faces are pink from the sun and the girls are napping like they need it for once. Glorious glorious spring.

::She's almost outgrown my favorite top, my big bug baby girl::

Ainsley woke up ridiculously happy this morning after such a good night last night. After scarfing my "you-finally-cracked-the-code Chicken Tikka Masala" we opted for a walk to our local ice cream shop (if you can call it that, it's called and literally is a Hole in the Wall). We licked cones in the almost too cool for ice cream sunset. Ian snuggled Louise as I gave Ainsley a bath.

Usually Ainsley splashes and sloshes with the best of them, but last night was different. After the tub had filled with warm clean water she laid on her tummy fluttering her feet as I rubbed her back and we sang song after song. I effortlessly washed her hair, swooped up my girl in her butterfly towel and glided to her room. After lotion and jammies we snuggled in her fort reading every book we could find about the impending Easter holiday. Renchenka's Eggs was her new favorite. On every page she wanted to know "where Chenken go mama?". Then I tucked her in and she just melted into her covers. Oh to be a child again in the safety of your clean warm bed. Without a peep she shut her eyes. Amazing, glorious spring.

::Ainsley had the best bed head EVER this morning after her well earned sleep::

We had time to kill after Louise went down for her earlier than normal nap to accommodate our mid morning musikgarten. I remembered that months ago I had purchased fabric and thick cotton ribbon to make a baby carrier for Ainsley. she helped me measure and cut then intently watched me sew as she cradled her baby "Mama hold you baby. Mama hold you just like Yaweez!"

The carrier is nothing to brag about. I modeled it after my simple Infantino wrap that you can use as a front or back carrier. Ainsley was a fan. That's all that matters.

::giving her baby kisses while admiring her mama-ness in the mirror)::

Musikgarten was great and rambunctious. We met up with moms and tots at the nearby park for play and picnic afterwards. Louise squealed and cooed and loved every minute. Ainsley sang, marched and pounded and then ran and slid and climbed. It was a great morning.

I am enjoying a good stretch of double naps just now. Excited to spend the afternoon gardening and playing in the sunny backyard.

Thank you Spring! You're just what we all needed.