Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to Keep Your Pants Dry

How to keep your pants dry is you pee in the potty and you poop in the potty .

bet tsy

Gardening With Grandma

Betsy and my mom, working together in Mom's garden.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

All Staff Memo

Dear Colleagues and Fellow Building Residents,

It has come to my attention that there are several issues that need to be addressed.

1. Please do not pee on anything that is not a designated place to pee. Items off-limits but recently used as a venue for urination include the high chair, clean laundry, and my shoes. Anyone caught urinating in an unapproved place will have to wear the Hat of Shame for the rest of the day. This includes you, cats.

2. Barring extreme circumstances, I will give each of you ONE (1) bath per day. So before you coat yourself in a substance, think long and hard about whether you want to be wearing that until tomorrow/until we go to the pool.

3. I understand that my hair looks sad, but please consult me before adding watermelon or mashed potato to my locks. I really don't think they're helping. If I am going to wear your lunch, however, I do prefer the pre-digested version to the post-digested.

4. If you request an item of food, and I procure, prepare, and serve that exact item of food, you have lost the right to complain about it.

5. Toothpaste is for tooth brushing ONLY.

That is all.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ten Loves (#10: Eating What We Grow)

In honor of the last ten days until (or somewhat soon after) graduation, ten things for which I am super thankful.

#1: Family
#2: Doodling
#3: The Farmers' Market
#4: Thursday Afternoon Playdates
#5: Graduation Bingo
#6: Party Preparation
#7: Discovering the Sweetness
#8: Sewing Together
#9: Playing Dress Up

#10: Eating What We Grow

A few months ago I wrote about our past attempts at container gardening, and the fruits of our labor (or lack thereof). I wrote how I hoped to beat last year's record harvest of three tomatoes.

Well, so far this year's tomato crop looks promising, but what we're really enjoying at the moment is lettuce. We may not have a whole garden full, but this little window box has been providing more than enough for side salads and sandwich toppings, with plenty left over for Abigail to snag and munch on while she "helps" me water the plants each morning. What a treat!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baby Girl at Ten Months

I've been writing a lot about the big girl lately, but Abigail is doing a lot of fun new things, too. At ten months, she's spends her days:

Having picnics. She loves to eat watermelon! And she loves to be with her mama.

Climbing on everything. Why just look at Grandma and Grandpa's books when you can really get into them? She also climbs stairs, stepstools, and into the bathtub. She takes every plastic container out of the kitchen drawer and climbs into the drawer.

Helping Betsy learn to ride her bike, with cheers of "Ella!" and "Mama!" and "Daddy!" Plus the ever-popular Bloodcurdling Scream of Glee/Frustration/Boredom.

Napping. She's such a sweet and cuddly thing, and she does love her Daddy. While he's at work she goes looking for him, crawling into different rooms asking, "Daddy? Daddy?"

Exploring everything outside, and working very hard on walking. She's almost there!

Spending some more quality time with books. It's quite fun to pull them all off the shelves and use them to play peek-a-book. She's a funny girl, especially when she has an audience.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Things I Wish I Could Give to You for Father's Day

To my darling husband Matthew, most excellent father to our children, a small sampling of what I would give to you today, if I could:

Replacements for all the home items lost this year, including but not limited to the wooden salad bowl (multiple dishwasher incidents), the white dress shirt (the flipping incident), the car washing bucket (the Christmas cement incident), and the coffee pot (the my large bottom in the kitchen incident).

Self-feeding, self-scooping cats. Ones that do not pee on our shoes during the night, yet are still masterful at catching crickets, and who enjoy cuddling and long walks on the beach.

A garage filled with power tools, and time to use them. There would be a whole radio nook. It would have heat and a/c and a triathlon training area, where you could ride a stationary bike and use power tools or play radios at the same time so you wouldn't get bored. Yet, miraculously, the kids would never be tempted to do anything dangerous in this garage.

A lake house with a couple of kayaks. Far enough away to be peaceful, yet an easy, no-traffic drive from home.

Down the street from the lake house, a winery. Of course you would make friends with the owners and rig up their sound and lighting system, and in exchange you'd get free wine forever.

Down the street from the winery, a theatre, where you could dabble to your artistic heart's content, but the schedule would be totally flexible with your day job. The kids and I would star in the shows, and we would all be awesome.

Sleeping in. Just in general. And this would be okay with everyone; me, the kids, work. And when you wake up, you'd have your breakfast choice of pancakes, omelet filled with veggies, amazing handmade sausages or all three.

A Father's Day card covered in so much glitter that it likely won't be dry until next Father's Day.

Two girls and a wife who just adore you and thank you for being a great dad.

With much love,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chipmunk Cucuface Dragon

by Betsy

Once upon a time me and my mommy found a chipmunk outside the kitchen. He lives in a little hole in the mulch. He popped his little head out so I named him Poppy. We gave him sunflower seeds. He has black and white stripes and his body is brown. He is little. He is not a skunk. I watched him by being in the house and staying still like a statue. I love him so much.

Once upon a time I found a little dragon with my kids at the park. And he flied down to us and we named him Custard because he loved mustard sandwiches. He eats everything that likes to eat little people. A little duckling found the dragon because it was lost. It didn't have a nest. And then my friend Cucuface came out and found the duckling. The end.

Ed. note: Only one of these is true. Can you tell which?

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dinosaur Land

What to do when your child asks to see dinosaurs, and you don't want to fight the tourists downtown? I googled "Virginia dinosaurs" and found this, nestled in beautiful Shenandoah valley:

Dinosaur Land was truly amazing. First you go through a magical tree and see this:

AND a giant octopus AND a big green cactus. And it goes on from there.

I enjoy how the mammoth looks bored with the whole thing. "Yeah, sure, make a silly face, take a picture, see if I care. Why don't you go sit on that bench over there and eat some lunch while you're at it?"

Betsy liked this friendly stegosaurus. There were a bunch of "nice" dinosaurs, and then there were the hungry dinosaurs.

We're totally coming back to Dinosaur Land to stage a family Christmas card photo.

By the way, check out my little girl who stands up by herself now!

And there's a photo op with King Kong, as one would expect in a dinosaur park (if that park also includes a large praying mantis and a cobra and a land sloth).

An artsy shot by Betsy.

We can't wait to go back. The park staff were truly nice and helpful, and there was a huge gift shop where my kid happily pulled rubber snakes out of buckets while my other kid dithered about which amazing dinosaur items to buy. A perfect summer day's outing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Why Do I Do It?

Why write this particular blog at this particular time?

Well, first of all, there's the shocking lack of blogs from people in my demographic (white liberal overeducated stay-at-home-moms). I can think of at least three stay-at-home moms I know who don't blog. So there's that.

Actually, this blog had its genesis at Shrine Mont, where I was walking the labyrinth and meditating on the act of giving thanks. Abigail was maybe ten weeks old, and Matthew had taken both girls to the playground so I could have time to myself. It had been a stressful year, to say the least, but by some miracles we were all there, safe and healthy and strong. A blog, I thought, would be one small way to give thanks for the many blessings we'd received.

And then for several months I stalled on it.

And then my dear friend Kelly began her blog, which is sweet and delightful and a wonderful way to give thanks. And so I followed her example and finally began.

So, what's The Silly Pepper Joy Blog all about?

Matthew and I were talking about taking the kids to the beach for the morning. And how one could look at it this way:

"I spent all morning packing up towels and toys and food and swimsuits and sunscreen and getting myself ready and the kids ready and the kids ready again, and then we drove for an hour and then I unloaded all this stuff and ran around keeping them from drowning and keeping them from eating too much sand, and then I packed us all up again and drove home again and now I'm exhausted."

Or one could look at it this way:

"Instead of sitting in an office today I got to go to the beach with my kids, and it was a beautiful day, and Betsy had a great time swimming with her friends and Abigail kept crawling in the shallows and eating sand and laughing and we all had a lot of fun."

Both are true, right? My intention isn't to gloss over the more annoying aspects of life. I certainly do enough off-blog complaining. But here I want to celebrate and appreciate the good things, be they sweet or silly or a little bit surreal, as life with children tends to be. Here I want to share and give thanks for the many joys of this life, and to maybe inspire at least one other person to do the same. Thank you for sharing the journey with me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ten Loves (#9: Playing Dress Up)

In honor of the last ten days until (or somewhat soon after) graduation, ten things for which I am super thankful.

#1: Family
#2: Doodling
#3: The Farmers' Market
#4: Thursday Afternoon Playdates
#5: Graduation Bingo
#6: Party Preparation
#7: Discovering the Sweetness
#8: Sewing Together

#9: Playing Dress Up

I was invited to a very exclusive dance today. To attend, one had to wear something sparkley or shiny, and a fancy hat or hairdo.

We look quite elegant, don't you think? This is my job, people. I have to put on old costumes and prom dresses and thrift-store loveliness in the middle of the day and twirl around.

I also feel totally justified in having kept/collected all of this stuff, because it is educational! I used to feel justified because I might wear it again, or because I might use it in a show. Now it's Good for the Children.

Who am I kidding? It's just fun.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Preschool Marigolds

By Betsy, transcribed by Becca

I planted my marigolds at school. They were seeds and I planted them in a little plastic cup but then they grew out of it so we planted them into the black pot. The black pot is on our porch. Now they are starting to bloom. I love my marigolds because they started out not pretty and then they turned into different colors.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ten Loves: (#8: Sewing Together)

In honor of the last ten days until (or somewhat soon after) graduation, ten things for which I am super thankful.

#1: Family
#2: Doodling
#3: The Farmers' Market
#4: Thursday Afternoon Playdates
#5: Graduation Bingo
#6: Party Preparation
#7: Discovering the Sweetness

#8: Sewing Together

I'm teaching my daughter to sew, just as my mother taught me, and her mother taught her. Betsy wanted to make a skirt for her bear Color-Color. It was a simple thing to construct, just a seam down the side and a casing for the elastic (we used the selvage for the bottom), the sort of garment I had made for my own dolls.

She concentrated very hard to make her stitches even, and to keep them in a row. She even learned to thread the needle herself.

Here Betsy is with Color-Color, who is proudly modeling her new skirt. For so many years, my creative artsy-craftsy time was limited to Betsy's bedtimes and naps. It is so much fun to begin to create things--together--with my big girl, and to continue the tradition of mother teaching daughter to sew.
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

These Days

What's happening these days at the Silly Pepper home:

A girl in a purple princess dress is making sure the plants are all well watered and the cats are well loved.

A girl in a blue onesie is working hard on teething those top two canines, standing, and expressing her opinions.

We're slowly beginning to dig out from under the mountain of backlogged projects. Like the cabinet door painting project that I started in November 2009, before I was pregnant with said standing child.

We're enjoying eating the lettuce and herbs that we've grown in our garden, and thoughtfully adding more plants. We can only fit so many things in containers on the porch, and approximately one bazillion new tomato plants came up from seeds in the compost (remember my post about chopping up all those tomatoes last summer?). Vinca and chili peppers and peppermint followed us home from the farmers' market this week to join the melee.

We're adjusting to having Matthew home on evenings and weekends, and Betsy home all day every day. There are now family walks after dinner again, and mid-day trips to the pool. We're trying to figure out family time, couple time, and (gasp) alone time.

We're planning summer trips, especially one to Maine.

I'm pondering what to do with the Etsy shop, how much time I can give it now, and whether to change my focus.

Lots of fun things!