Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ye-ya (aka "Stella")

Stella, tonight. We haven't been good about taking many videos for awhile. Partly because Stella usually doesn't really cooperate (as soon as we turn it on, she wants to be *behind* the camera) and because we've just been too darn busy. But tonight I realized that she won't talk like this forever. And I couldn't resist sharing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Who's a Busy Bee?

In a number of ways, I think I'm a pretty good mom. In others...let's just say there's room for improvement. Halloween is probably one of those areas. For whatever reason, I feel pretty ambivalent about the holiday. Some people love it, plan costumes out months in advance, put out decorations, really see it was the best holiday of the year. I'm not anti-Halloween, but let's put it this way: before Stella was born, I think Tyler put a costume together for me the day of a party for about three years in a row. So you can imagine some of that washes into Halloween where Stella is concerned. And this year we had an extra hill to surmount when we all got a stomach flu the weekend before. (So much for the idea of cute pictures of Stella in a pumpkin field.) Tyler spent the Thursday before Halloween running around trying to find a last minute costume until I asked one of my coworkers if she had one from when her kids were younger we could borrow. (Thanks, Kasey!!)

But I get ahead of myself. Our first Halloween activity (on the Friday before...) was pumpkin carving. Tyler and Stella had picked one up the night before at our local produce stand, where the pickings were a bit slim. But Tyler, being the lovely anthropomorphizer he is, has a soft spot for the less than perfect gourds. Though Stella's preschool had had a few days of pumpkin-related sensory activities and an actual carving, she seemed a bit unsure and then downright disinterested.

My part--getting out the guts. The expression here is probably Stella's face after saying "no!" to my suggestion that she participate.

More carving ambivalence

Tyler steps up for the artistic part...

and acquits himself nicely!

We followed that up with our first costume party, when Stella promptly refused to put on her costume. I decided not to push it since we really wanted her to warm to it by Halloween. You'll notice she's wearing a fleece vest--she just couldn't understand why I was offering some other jacket to wear when she had a perfectly good one on!

Stella, along with a sock monkey, tiger, Snow White, Batman, Superman and Winnie the Poo.

On Saturday, we went to the zoo despite some sogginess. We had a good time but didn't manage to see the main attraction--animals eating jackolanterns. (Nor did we take any photos. Nor would Stella wear her costume.) On Sunday we had a second costume party with our PEPS group. This time, Stella acted like she didn't want to wear her costume but I popped it over her head and she decided she loved it! She'd point at herself and say "Bee!", "Bzzz" around and flap her "wings"--very cute.

This is a pretty bad phone photo, but I love the controlled chaos of trying to get a group shot of near two-year-olds. (And you can see the awesome squirrel costume Lena wore!)

Finally, it was time for the main event. We took Stella to Grandma and Grandpa's house for trick-or-treating. Stella was a little unsure of going to strange doors, but she was intrigued by the idea of candy, and like Grandma Susan's decorations!

Stella the bee! The flower-y skirt is a bit unconventional, but I figured it kind of looks like she's hovering over a field....and she wouldn't put on her black pants.

So hopefully next year we'll get our act together and avoid last-minute illness. Of course, by then, Stella will also probably have her own opinion about what costume she wants, which will be a whole new ball of wax!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The leaves aren't the only thing turning red

With the leaves turning red and the gray clouds swirling overhead, it can only mean one thing: Fall? No, wine-making season! Several weeks ago, we kicked off this year's batch of wine over at Gary and Cynthia's house, with the Annual Crush. After two years of having to juggle the crush and the U-District Foodbank Auction on the same day, this year we were excited that the crush and auction fell on separate days, and we wouldn't have to rush off halfway through de-stemming.

Anyhow, pictures!!

Our previous years wine, 2007's "Ranger Rick Red," 2006's "Round the World Red" and 2008's "Stella Rose's Stellar Red."
Ready to toss some grapes! Behind me is the 2-3 tons of grapes for this years wine.
...And speaking of grapes! Here's this years grapes. Like last year, we are doing Syrah.
...And speaking of Syrah, er, I mean Sarah! Sarah after a hard days work, proving you have to be willing to get a little messy.
Last year, we got a picture of Stella sitting on grapes. This year: Stella in a grape press!

One thing that has changed from previous years of wine making is this year, after the crush, we brought our portion of the crushed grapes back to our house for fermentation in the newly built wine-making room in the back of the garage. So, after a couple weeks of fermentation, my dad, our friend Gary, and I did the Press: Where we separate out the newly created wine, and then press the remaining skins and stems for any last wine we can get out of them.

More pictures!

The infamous Press. It was down-pouring so we did most of the press in the garage itself. Beyond my dad and Gary you can see the wall and door leading into the wine room.

Dad and Gary bump stems and skins into the press. Try not to cry for all the spilled wine on the ground.

Gary and I try some of the newly created wine. Tart and acidic. It can definitely stand to do some aging in the barrel.

My dad holds up what's left over after the press: Compacted stems and skins. Hmmm, I wonder if this would make good fertilizer?

Finally, not to worry, pictures of Stella in her Halloween costume are coming soon! We just wanted to get caught up on this, but Sarah promises to do a Halloween entry soon.