Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolve to resolve

I know that, for a lot of people, New Year's Eve is about a great big party. This was the case for me for years and years. But a few years ago I started getting into New Year's Resolutions. Not so that I could resolve to loose the same five pounds every year. But to use the opportunity to do things I've been putting off doing, to become more the person that I would like to be. I now work out on a regular (kind of) basis. I bring canvas shopping bags with me when I buy groceries almost every time. I have become SO much better about limiting TV time. I haven't made Hamburger Helper in YEARS. My house is rarely a disaster area, I am still slowly replacing regular bulbs with those twirly low energy ones (even though they are horrible to dispose of), and I am continually going through my things and making ples of things to give to goodwill... even if they sometimes take a long while to get there.



I try not to make too many resolutions, because then they become too hard to keep. And the goal is to set them, keep them, and keep on keeping them, right? And there are some that are personal, and that I would rather not share with you. But here are the ones I am comfortable broadcasting to the universe:

FIX UP MY HOUSE - My house isn't exactly falling apart, but there are quite a few rooms that could use attention. There are holes in walls I have simply moved furniture in front of, or hung pictures over. Some rooms are still wearing the paint they had on when we bought the place - not horrible, but I hate a lot of it, especially when I can see where the previous homeowners hung their pictures on the walls. I have already developed a schedule of what rooms I will be painting and doing over this year, and when. I've already purchased a bunch of new paint, rollers, and even some tinted primer. And I am also proud of knowing about tinted primer, and when to use it.

QUILT MORE - This is rather obvious, don't you think? It's just that I have so many ideas, and want to do so much, but rarely do I actually get anything done. I need to set aside some time each week to do it.

DON'T GET SO WOUND UP - I have a hard time knowing when it's appropriate to get all bent out of shape. But instead of getting all worked up and shouting at the kids because they woke up at freakin 5am, maybe I can relax, and find a way to sneak in a few extra minutes of shut eye. After all, yelling will only wake everyone up more, right?

See? These are completely reasonable. You'll notice I didn't put anything down about caffeine intake, cooking with butter, or my closet.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Stuff and Fluff


I usually try and avoid posting about my husband or family members or either of my friends. The idea is that I usually post in good spirits, but something I feel is funny or harmless, such as "We saw Anne-E today. She has hair. Then we got stuck in traffic and it was such a pain" will come back to haunt me. Anne-E will reply or call me. "What do you mean it was a pain? Don't you like coming to see me? The traffic wasn't THAT bad. And what do you mean I have hair? What's wrong with my hair?" So I usually just skip it, unless it's my Mom, because she HAS to love me.

So it's understandable if I don't usually post about arguments that Steve and I have. But today I am making an exception.

Joke gifts can be funny. Sometimes, in fact, they can be VERY funny. But more often than not it leaves the person on the receiving end with something they did not want, do not need, and probably has no use for. For example, during the Yankee Swap we did this year I got the booby gift, and ended up with a giant burlap tarp, a beer holder, and something resembling a giant cheesecloth for wrapping around deer once they have been killed. The gift was funny! But I have no idea what to do with the... um... deercloth.

Regardless, when a person gets a gift from a Yankee Swap, I feel that person should take the gift home with them. One of the gifts opened this year was a bag of coal, funny, but not useful. Not for us, anyway, living in this particular century and with oil heat. And we didn't even open it, someone else did! Yet here it is, on my kitchen counter.

"Do you mind if I throw this out?" I asked Steve this morning.

Steve looked at me. "Why would you do that?" he asked.

"Well... were you going to use it for something?"

"Is it BOTHERING you?" he asked. And of course I want to say "NO," because the way he asked the question made it sound that to say "YES, YES the bag of coal is bothering me!" is to be INSANE. And to tell the truth, the bag isn't bothering me. Yet. But I hate to leave things just sitting there. And Steve can just let things sit on the counter for years until one day, when we actually NEED a bag of coal, he goes out and buys one because the one sitting in front of us has become INVISIBLE.

In the house I grew up in, things sat on the counter for AGES, or until my mother threw everything into a bag because we were having a party. And fourteen, fifteen, a hundred times a day the household would be thrown into an uproar while everyone stopped to look for something. "Where is INSERT ITEM HERE!" My Homework. The Opera Tickets. The Banjo. The Keys. The Tax Return. Who knew? Everyone had seen it there at some point. For months. It had just been SITTING there. And then I guess someone moved it. Or it got buried in jam. And while I feel that putting things away right away would have fixed things, others would argue that if you'd just leave things where they ARE, then nothing will accidentally THROWN AWAY.

My point is, clutter gets to me. But I know it irritates Steve when I keep putting the lunch meat back in the fridge when he's trying to make a sandwich.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Stories

To avoid getting up too early, Steve and I decided that we'd all go downstairs together at around 7am. Of course, the kids are too young to really grasp this concept, and as soon as I heard them talking Christmas morning I ran in to distract them with books. But I could only do so much. I was three pages into the first one when Nate tapped me on the shoulder. "I'm just gonna go get my present! I'll be right back!" And he shot into the hallway. He was halfway down the stairs when I caught up to him, screaming with the injustice of it all.
There were a lot of gifts, more than there should have been, ahem ahem, not that we're not all grateful to Santa. But there were a great number of gifts for three small boys to unwrap. It's a lot of work. And panic set in - MY panic - a couple of times, when I thought the process would stretch out until late afternoon. The gift opening began with the stockings, which held battery powered toothbrushes for Nick and Nate. And every five minutes from that point on, Nick asked if it was time to brush his teeth. Each time I presented Nate with a wrapped gift he asked if it was his Wall-E toy, and eventually stopped opening them altogether in favor of riding around on Andy's ride around Rocket. Andy did not unwrap any gifts at all, and had to be bribed to stay in the room with french toast toaster sticks. Nicholas was willing to unwrap anything, thank goodness, or we'd still be there.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back On Track

I know I haven't posted properly for a while. I know I haven't posted any photos. Sorry.

Things have been crazy here for the past few weeks, what with the power outage and then jumping headlong into Christmas. I haven't hopped on the treadmill in weeks, and I think it's really affecting my mood. Today I lumped around the house, trying not to eat leftover brownies and cookies, unable to focus on any one thing or project. Not sleepy, but not really feeling like DOING anything...

But Monday everything will change. The boys will go to school. I'll get a chance to work out and also to put away some of the toys they got. And I'll stop feeling this nudgy, I'm not doing a good job feeling.

So just stay with me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

Boxing Day?

It should be called "Recuperation Day."

I had a Happy Christmas, as we all did over here. However, it takes a lot out of you, and my brain isn't up to speed yet. So here are some random observtions:

Next year I am not wrapping any of the kids gifts. Why? Extra work. Not the wrapping. I love the wrapping, actually. But once the gift is opened the paper goes on the floor. Then the boxed gift is handed to Mom or Dad who then has to rip it out of super enforced cardboard and undo the kabillion wires that hold the toy to the box. I swear they must spend more on the packaging and the "theft protection" than they do on the actual TOY. By the time to toy is removed from the box, the wires and the box bits need to be collected and thrown out with the wrapping paper, but the child has moved on to some other gift. Next year, instead of wrapping, I shall simply remove the toys from boxes and scatter tham around the Living Room.

We now own every Wall-E toy in existance.

There really is such a thing as too many gifts for Christmas. Especially for small children.

I don't know how long it's going to take me to clean my house.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!



May This Christmas Bring You All
Peace, Joy, And Cheer...







And May You All Get Gifts
You Treasure This Year!




Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow Babies




I don't think I really need to say anything here, do you?

.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pssst - Larissa!

This is a rebuttal post. Kind of.

Yesterday, Larissa wrote this post on her blog, about how Seattle came to a stop after a whole three inches of snow.

Hey, Seattle folk. That ain't snow.

I'd post better pictures, but I haven't ventured out of my warm, dry home. Note the swingset in the last photo, and how high the snow is on the swing and the see saw.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let It Snow!

video

Nicholas had a touch of a stomach bug or food poisoning or something.

I feel bad, mostly because he was whimpering and complaining for awhile before we realized he was sick. With Nick it's sometimes difficult to tell.

This morning I took the boys outside to play in the snow. It took forever to get them into their snowsuits. Nick complained and was slow. Nathan ran around and wouldn't listen, putting everything on in the wrong order (boots first, pants second, etc.).

But Andy was by far the most difficult to get ready. First of all, he has no ability to put on his own clothing. Secondly, even if he did, he has no interest in going outside. Thirdly, even if the outdoors appealed to him, he has no idea why he's need the coat. Finally, as soon as I get anything on him, he makes it his primary goal to get it off.

Once we did get outside, Andrew was perplexed. He walked around a bit, and then ended up crawling, which wasn't ideal since the snow was deep and he had it right in his face. Nick and Nate decided to go sledding, and they each went down the hill twice. I went down once with Andy, with him on my lap. He didn't cry, but he refused to crack a smile.

Nicholas ended up crying because his hands were cold and running inside. Nathan cried because I made him go in. And Andy walked inside of his own free will, but oddly began crying as soon as I took off his coat.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fancy Vs. Cool

One night during the power outage, Steve and I were both giving the boys a bath, as the darkness made things spooky. As usual, Steve and I kept up a stream of constant chatter, and as usual, I steered the conversation toward the holidays, and eventually, Christmas Eve and who will be there.

"And Grammy, and Nancy!" I said. "Fancy Nancy!"

Now, I didn't mean anything by this. Nancy is Lillian's sister, and Fancy Nancy is a little girl who has her own book series that is kind of funny. But the Real Nancy isn't what I would call 'Fancy.' She's a super duper lady, but 'Fancy' isn't one of the words I would use to describe her.

"Is Aunt Nancy fancy?" asked Steve?
"Yes!" said Nathan.
"Is Grammy fancy?" I asked.
"Yes!" he said again.
"How about Gramma?"
"Yes, Gramma's fancy."
"What about Mommy?" Steve asked.
"Yes, Mommy's fancy," he said.
"Well... What about Daddy?" I asked.
"No! Daddy's not fancy. Daddy's COOL!"

DADDY is cool.

But after a few more questions, I noticed a trend.
Mommy is NOT cool, nor is Grammy, Linda, Aunt Anne-E OR Aunt Emily. We are all Fancy.
Uncle Winston is not Fancy, he is cool, as are Mark, Uncle Jamie, and Grampa.

See? This impressed me, as Nathan still says things like "Grammy is going to get a new room in HIS house, and we should call HIM."
So he notices gender differences, even if the reach doesn't go as far as pronouns.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Getting In The Mood


This photo is from Andy's Birthday. See how the big brothers are poised to gently remove the toy from the baby's arms?

Now that we have electricity back, I'm in a MUCH better mood. I only hope they get it back today for the rest of the thousands of people still in the dark.

I love Christmas, and sometimes I can't help but try and get the boys excited , too. SO the other evening I got down on the floor with Nate. "What are you going to get me from Christmas?" I asked him.

He didn't hesitate. "A Wall-E Toy."

"But Nate, You're the one that wants a Wall-E Toy. I don't want a Wall-E toy. You should get me something that I would like, like a picture, or a hair clip."

Nate got really excited. "Yeah! I am gonna get you a hair clip with Butterflies on it!"

I smiled and nodded. "I would love a hair clip with butterflies on it!"

But he went on. "Or I'm gonna get you a hair clip with Mommies on it! And you can put it in your hair!"

"Mommies on it?" I asked.

And with no less excitement he said. "And I can get a hair clip with Nathans on it!"

I laughed. "Nathans?"

"And I can put it in my hair!" He placed his hand delicately on his head. "And then I can be like a Nathan!"

"What are you like now?" I asked.

He looked at me like I was crazy.

"I'm Nathan!" He said.


Oh, of course.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And God Said...

LET THERE BE LIGHT!

And there was.

And then I danced around the kitchen with joy and turned on every single light in the house.

So... I guess I've been a little depressed. This power outage is really bringing me down. I realize some people may be sniggering about my earlier posts about disliking the city, thinking this is soe sort of either retribution, or what you get for living in the boonies. And I could accept that, if I did indeed live in the boonies. However, it took me half an hour to get the boys to school on Wednesday due to traffic. There is not traffic in the boonies. This is a suburb, and should be thought of as such.

I guess I'm a little bitter. I check the PSNH website and find out that 75% of the state has restored power! And all I can think is to ask why oh why we had to be in that remaining 25%. Maybe I'm more bitter when Steve comes home and informs me that our street has power until two intersections away. How did that happen?

What I'm really afraid of is that we'll draw the short straw and be one of the 5% who doesn't get power back by end of day Thursday. In which case I might seriously crawl into bed and ignore the world until I can once again shower and pee in a lighted environment. And I won't feel ridiculous 30 times a day because I reflexively flipped a light switch that should work by now, gosh doarn it!

Anyway, my attention to the power outage is also taking away from reporting on all the cute things my kids are doing and saying. So I apologize. I know I'm depressing and boring and what can any of YOU do about it, anyway. Enough. I shall crawl into my cocoon of darkness alone and send only happy thoughts out over the airwaves. Wither, wither, moan moan, alas, alak... and someone send me brownies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Andrew!


Today Andrew is officially one year old. It probably means nothing to him. We already celebrated the event on Sunday. Today is just like any other day. It's cold. It's dark. We have no power. Oh! But it is Snowing!

Yesterday I found a timeline of when power would be expected back, town by town. They had us down for Thursday. Which will make a solid week of running of our precious generator. This is assuming, of course, that we fall into the 95% they need to consider a town "power restored" and also assuming the snow doesn't slow them down at all. Let's all hold our breaths, shall we?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Powerless

We're going on day five of running on the generator.

Sunday we had a little party to decorate the tree and to celebrate Andy's birthday. We picked up a pizza and Lillian brought cupcakes. I was only a little sad I wasn't able to make them myself. The stuff is still sitting in the cupboard.

Yesterday I went to Lillian's and did 4 loads of laundry - at least she did. I helped fold. It should hold us off for the next few days.

I realize that we are lucky. Many people in our situation have no heat at all, no lights at all, no running water at all. They are wrestling with frozen pipes and trees that are in their driveway. They are in hotel rooms or sleeping on couches. We're in our own home, with heat all day, with lights in one room, with computer access, even!

I'm just a bit tired of trying to figure out how to cook dinner without an oven or a stove. Of leaving dishes in the sink because it's too dark to tell when they're clean. Of trying to shove everything I need to do into the daylight hours.

But the Gymnastics place was open today, and I was SO HAPPY to be able to bring the boys somewhere to work off that extra energy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Punch and Gravy

I know the bopping bag is broken - it never bounces back up.

Check out Nate's cool outfit - PJ's, winter boots, santa hat.

Yes, Nick is shouting "Gravy!"

I am tired today, still have no power, so this is all you get.

video

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Waiting For The Light


We're still powerless... so to speak.

Yesterday I simply could not take it anymore, and had to leave the house to do some holiday shopping. And it wasn't until then that the full impact of the storm hit me.

I expected the store to be out of gas cans and flashlights. I expected it to be crowded. What I didn't expect were the trees.

By now the roads are mostly clear. But there are gaps where trees used to be. Some front lawns on my street look as though the residents went wild with a chainsaw in their front yards. Raw tree branches stick out oddly where limbs were torn off in the wind of by the weight of the ice. ice slivers and spots of greenery spot the road every few yards, marking yet another location a branch fell and blocked the street.

Our town has no traffic lights. Crew members can be spotted lifting felled poles and fixing wires. And every once and awhile you can see a huge branch or tree leaning on wires.

Last night we had Chinese food from our favorite Asian place, which also happened to be without power. The dining room was closed, the employees in sweaters, and the generator powering the kitchen. The bar was busy.

Anyway, driving there in the dark, along the winding roads sprinkled with ice and wood splinters, I got a little spooked. And then, from out of the darkness, lights. Blinking lights, traffic lights, store lights, neon lights... it was like landing at night in Vegas. Suddenly I was so distracted and excited I almost missed my turn.

Maybe the lights will come on now? Now? no. Ok.... now?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

And The Band Played On


Yesterday was absolutely beautiful. In the afternoon, the sun came out, and all the ice glistened. I went out to get the mail and realized it had actually stopped raining, and that the rain sounds I was hearing was coming from the stuff falling off tree branches. The floor below the trees looked covered in smashed glass from the ice that fell there.

And then it got dark, and then it got cold.

Today we still have no power. Yesterday evening I visited PSNH's site, where they did due diligence in covering their backsides. This ice storm is SO BAD, it will take days to clean up the mess and restore power. Some say this storm is as bad as the one in 1998, and back then many people were without power 7 to 10 days.

Now, I don't mean to complain. We've got a generator. We're warm. We've got running water, a fridge full of food, and electricity. But it's all in moderation. We've got one outlet in the kitchen that works, and we rotate it between the coffee maker,the microwave, the toaster oven, and a lamp. I can't do laundry the way I used to, so that's building up. I can't run the dishwasher, but I'm optimistic enough to keep stacking dishes in there, thinking that as soon as I wash them by hand the power will probably snap back to life. We skipped baths and showers, and I'm feeling grungy - power or no power, we're washing tonight. And a little TMI, but we've become very relaxed about flushing. We have been listening to the radio, but the TV - one of those flat screen babies - takes WAY too much power, so far rivaled only by the toaster oven(?) and the water pump. Not to mention that the generator goes off at night, so the house gets cold, the baby endsup in our bed, the boys wake up crying because "It's Dark!" and they are scared.

And it's only been one day. And we have a generator.

I somehow think that, if I could just know when the power would turn ON, or if I could just figure out HOW LONG it was going to be, then I could figure stuff out, do the dishes, make things a little more permanent. But as for now we're in a kind of limbo.


As a side note, we were planning on celebrating Andy's first birthday tomorrow, Sunday (even though it's a bit early.) This is funny 'cause the last time we lost power for a number of days was on Nathan's first birthday, and we had no heat or water or electricity at all, and ended up at Lillian's. Coincidence? Or is it the coming of age of little demons that create ice storms? We'll never know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Huge Ice Storm






We're in the middle of quite an ice storm up here. Our power is out, but it sounds as though a third of the power is out in all of NH. The schools are closed, and they are asking people to stay put. Not so much because of the roads, but because falling branches have blocked off many streets, and people then turn around to find the way they just came has become blocked with large tree branches, and they become trapped.

So we're stuck at home. Thanks goodness the LAST time this happened we were motivated to purchase a generator. We have electricity to the furnace, the well pump, the fridge, and to the living room. We can run the radio, and even watch TV. Steve even managed to hook up the wireless.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Here's why

I know there's no photo in this post. But there's a reason. Today we will be using our imaginations to create our very own individual mental images, and we can carry these around with us anywhere.

Today was the second wet, cold, rainy day in a row. The boys took what I can only describe as a very short nap, and when they woke up I gave them each a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk. Then I dug around in one of the Christmas storage boxes and pulled out two santa hats.

Nathan LOVES the Santa hats. He put his on right away, then started his usual afternoon routine, which is running around the house like a maniac, occasionally stopping to ask me if it's TV time. I was folding laundry, and I didn't catch it when he ran upstairs. I did notice him when he returned, however, because he had pyjamas with him.

Nick used to love changing into pyjamas in the middle of the day, too. But Nathan doesn't ask. He just changes. Which is what he did today. Only being Nathan, he didn't change in his room. He ran upstairs, got some pyjamas, and ran back down the stairs. He then proceeded to strip off his clothes until he was naked. All except for the Santa Hat.

This would be funny in and of itself, right? But wait.

Instead of then getting into his pyjamas, the ones he carried downstairs, he decided to put the clothes he took off into his hamper. Which is upstairs. So he picked up his clothing and ran upstairs, naked except for the Santa hat. And I went to grab the camera.

I got a shot of him on the stairs, mid step, Santa hat on head, clothes clutched to his chest.

But I do not post photos of my children unclothed on the internet, despite taking them for my own personal future prom date moments. So you will all have to make do with that mental image.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Man With The Bag


We went to see Santa.

The first year I took Nick to see Santa, he sat on his lap for exactly three terrified seconds - long enough for the lady to snap his picture - and then cried when I wouldn't let him play with one of the teddy bears they had around Santa's Lair as decoration.

The next year he flatly refused to go.

And last year I got both Nick and Nate to go.

Why do I do this? Why does ANY parent do this? No three year old decides she wants to walk up to Santa and sit on his lap and discuss her behavior and how much she deserves a pony or a Bratz doll. No. A three year old takes one look at Santa and his long white beard, remembers all those songs about how famous he is, and turns around to walk the other way. So what is the point? Why do parents think that taking the time to haul out to the mall, stand in line, and force their child to interact with a scary red guy is a good idea? I will never know.

When we showed up to visit Santa, a boy was crying because he was so frightened, and we had to wait until his mother calmed him down enough to get a good picture. The next little girl didn't cry, but she planted her feet and refused to go into the little - er - den, where Santa keeps his big visiting chair. She also refused to turn around and face the camera, because apparently Santa is scary, and if she turns her back he might bite her.

I was worried about my kids. Because they are all different, and each one might decide at any given moment that the visit wasn't a good idea. I saw crying, tantrums, frightened clinging to my person, and small bodies flinging themselves on the floor. Not to mention the destruction Andy would do to Santa's decorations.

Well, the boys walked right up to Santa and started talking. They told him what they wanted for Christmas and smiled. Except for Andy, no one showed any hesitancy at all. And even Andy was able to sit on the little chair and pose for a picture. You can't see me, but I'm hiding off stage left because Andy kept wanting to get up and take down the decorations.

As we left, the little boy in line behind us began to cry.

.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Shopping shopping ARGH

I don't think I have ever had a Holiday shopping season which hasn't involved time spent at THE MALL. When I was young, I did most of my Christmas shopping there. This was the Garden State Plaza, which was huge, but which grew considerably as soon as I left home. To get around in it, you needed a MAP and I am not kidding. Parking during the holiday season meant a long long walk.

When I worked in Cambridge, it was next to a mall. I ate in the food court, and when I could afford it I parked there. So shopping there during lunch was almost inevitable. I need stuff for gifts, the mall has stuff for gifts, easy.

The malls here are much smaller. And yet, when I attempted a shopping trip this weekend, I spent twenty minutes circling the parking lot before giving up. Today I showed up with Andy forty minutes before the mall opened, and walked around with a bunch of elderly people and women with infants. Apparently a lot of people do this to get exercise in the winter, when they can't walk outdoors. Although how they do it without stopping for a donut at the food court I will never know.

Going to the mall (or to other stores) is now second to online shopping for me. However, online shopping also has its drawbacks. For one thing, you can't SEE what you are buying. What looks like a perfectly good item may arrive a different (and unacceptable) color, or three times smaller than you'd imagined. Not to mention shipping charges and the trouble you might or might not run into having to remember login information - every time I order stamps online I have to dig up this old login and password and I JUST WANT STAMPS! Why the heck do I have to have an account to do this?

Anyway, it's only for a few more days. Because then I'm going to have to wrap, and then I'm going to have to figure out how to get these things to the correct people.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Silence

I'm not ignoring you, internet. I just have a lot to do these days. What with holidays and shopping and wrapping and all. Not to mention all the other stuff.

Friday, December 05, 2008

cereal killer


Today after nap I took a good look at Nathan, who happened to be popping out of size 2T jeans, and I noticed how slim he looked to me. Sure, he's still little and has this round little face, but his body is stretching, and he's starting to look more like a boy and less like a toddler.

"Nathan, you're getting to be such a big boy," I said.

"Yes," he replied, "And maybe when I'm gonna be big, I'm gonna get a KNIFE!"

?

He has made comments about knives more than once over the past few days. At first it frightened me, too, especially given his excitable and hysterical and rough nature. Because I pictured a large, sharp, pointy hunting knife. And I thought "No way in hell."

But then I realized he was talking about getting a knife AT THE DINNER TABLE. See, up until recently we didn't give the kids knives. Because we had a hard enough time keeping them from killing each other with the forks. But in the interest of table manners, and also having kids that can cut their own food, I have started setting Nick's place with a knife. And Nathan noticed.

Tonight we threw caution to the wind and gave Nate a knife. We had to take it away once because he was playing with it, dancing his fork and knife together on his plate and letting them have some sort of conversation with each other until he knocked over his milk. But when he got it back he started using it. We had to teach him to use his fork to hold the food while he cut it, because he kept aiming for his fingers. But he learned how to cut up beets very well.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wishin' and Hopin'

Today we went to the mall and visited Santa.

This post isn't actually about the Santa visit, so the only comment I'll make today is that both boys asked him for Wall-E items. Because they both LOVE Wall-E A LOT, just in case you haven't heard.

Up until today, the boys knew Wall-E existed in film, in video games, and on cupcakes. But until we walked into the Disney Store they hadn't realized they could ask for anything more. The Disney Store had an entire Display dedicated to Wall-E. There were stuffed Wall-E and Eve's, there were big robot Wall-E's, little Wall-E and Eve figurines, and even additional robot figurines. There were Wall-E T-shirts and B&L hampers and even a life sized Wall-E robotic arm. There were Wall-E sneakers.

The boys thought they had died and gone to Wall-E heaven. They wanted everything. They asked for everything. And I had to keep repeating over and over that we weren't there to buy anything for ourselves today. All the while I was cursing Santa, how early he drops everything off at our house, and the limit I asked him to put on toys for the boys this year.

I'm not mentioning this to hint for any holiday gift ideas (but seriously, if you haven't gotten these boys anything, go there.) No, what I'm actually trying to describe is what I was feeling at that moment.

Because I wanted to buy that stuff for them. I wanted to buy them every single Wall-E item in that store. All of it. Without a thought to price, to where we'd put it, to how good it would be for them. I wanted to give it to them. To dazzle them with the glittery princess shoes and sneak the saleslady my credit card number so that come Christmas morning our house would be taken over with tiny robot figuringes.

Why? Well, I suppose because they are my children, and I want to see them happy and give them what they want. I think most of us feel this way about anyone we love when we see their eyes light up. The boys were SO excited it was just too easy to get caught up in it all. It would have been so easy to boy them each one thing...

But I didn't. And as of yet I have no intention of returning to that store. Because as much as I want to give them everything, I know that it isn't good for them, in the long run. Because life isn't like that. Be that as it may, I just want to say that I understand the impulse to spoil children. I understand how and why this happens. It's harder than you think to say no.



but seriously, you guys can spoil them all you want. get them a Wall-E.



.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Move it!


I took a break from working out over Thanksgiving. And to be honest with you, my workouts before Thanksgiving week were not what you might call "regular." No. "Sporadic" might be a better word. "Occasional" is another. But the workouts themselves were good ones (mostly) and I gradually increased the distance I was running.

This week I finally reached 5 miles - no, not a grand total, a workout total. I think that's quite a distance, even on the treadmill. Not only that, but today makes the first time I've worked out three days in a row in... since I can't remember. (Technically, Tuesday I only ran 5K. But give me a break - I was still in recovery from the day before.)

So... hooray for me!

In honor of me working out, enjoy the photo of Winston doing the dishes.

.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Baby Clothes


Today I went through Andy's clothes again. I was adding the 18 months clothes and putting away the 9 month stuff and the smaller 12 month stuff that's been through the dryer too many times.

Doing this I realized just how many clothes the boys had when they were little. Andy has dozens of outfits in his dresser right now. Not only did I buy him clothes, but everyone else seemed to want to buy him clothes, too. Because toddler clothes, like baby clothes, are very cute. And then when Nate got to be that size he got a few items, as well. These days Nick and Nate have just enough clothes to get them through the week, and there are some days - if I'm behind on laundry and there have been a few costume changes - where I end up stuffing someone into a pair of pants one size too small.

Putting Andy's things away made me kind of sad, though. Because once I get all of those little clothes into storage I will probably never need to look at them again.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Evil Inside

The only thing better than being an evil mother is listening to your kids relate to each other about how evil you are. For example, this afternoon Nathan, who had not napped, ran up to me and asked me for an orange. "I'm sorry, I had to throw the clementines away because they were rotten," I said.

Nate persevered and said "Then I am gonna have an apple."

I shook my head. "I'm sorry, but I didn't get any apples today." How rude of me.

Nathan was overcome with frustration, and ran away in tears. I then heard him talking to Nick in the next room. "Mommy said 'No, Apple, Nate!' Because she didn't get any!"

I laughed to myself because... well, it's just funny to hear. Here he is, telling on me and my harsh mother like rules, such as " you can't have what we do not have." And then Nicholas said - in the tone of voice that clearly meant his brother was SO LAME "Then just go get a banana."

"OK!" Nate exclaimed cheerfully, and came back out to get a banana, which we had plenty of. He finished it before his tears were dry on his cheeks.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home


When I had my previous job, before children, I realized that a great number of college graduates wanted to live and work in New York City. Passionately and absolutely. For some of them, this was the deal breaker. And for the life of me, I couldn't understand why.

There is a lot of legend surrounding New York City. I guess there's a challenge to living there that some people simply can't walk away from. And a city of that size has a lot of things hard to find elsewhere. Theatre. Museums. Clubs. Restaurants. For some reason, people find this place incredibly exciting and attractive.

It's sad to say, but I think many people who live in cities look down on those of us who do not. Poor, poor rural folks! They obviously have no taste, no appreciation of finer things, no need for diversity, or they would have moved. Moved to the city, with billions of other people, to overpay for their real estate, their food, their everything. Sure, culture is all around in the city, but few people who live there can afford it. The money goes to pay the rent on their shoebox. To hear cars and noise and traffic everywhere and at all times, even at 4am in bed.

I think the city is just right for some people. But I don't think I'll ever be one of those people. For me, it's too dirty, too noisy, and too crowded. Going to the supermarket there is painful. Getting from place to place requires a chess board for planning. I like to get in my car and go where I need to go moving over 3 miles an hour, without driving through a sea of pedestrians, buy what I need without worrying about how I'm going to get it home while strolling through aisles large enough to pass someone without running over a foot. I like going outdoors without running into three million people who would step over me if I passed out in the street. I like not being woken up at night by trucks, sirens, or shouting men. I like... dirt dirt. Like from the earth.

Yes, I know there's a trade off. And for the most part I think people make the choice that's right for them. I saw Jamie and Anne-E's apartment, and it really is a great place. I know they are going to be happy there. For me, the city can be fun, but mostly I find it stressful, and it's not the kind of stress I feel a person should ever have to get used to. I don't want to ever have to get used to that sort of stuff. I know people come to visit me here and are immediately sure that Stephen King's monsters will pop out of the woods and eat them simply because they can't walk to a bookstore or a drugstore. This upsets them. I tell them to take a car. But I know it's the silence and the stillness that is really scary. The fact that, for a number of hours, they need to breathe and be with themselves and not have to go go go go run run run. I guess that slowing down can be as scary as speeding up.

I could use a few new places to eat here, though.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The City That Never Sleeps


Thanksgiving is always a circus. And my trips to New York are always hectic. So these past few days have been... well, a hectic circus?

I saw Mike Daisey's show, If You See Something Say Something, which was very good. There are two more shows Sunday at the Public, and you should really look into going if you're in NY.

I didn't get to hang out with Mike, however, because I felt the need to rush back to my parents' apartment and take care of my sick children. Nate got an ear infection the day before we left. I'm sure Andy has one now - he's been coughing and snotting and fevering since Wednesday. And Nick complains of a headache every two hours.

Despite many illnesses, we managed to make it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we saw knights and mummies and statues. Friday we saw the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, which was... spectacular. Although I'm not sure who thought a tap routine to The Twelve Days Of Christmas was entirely necessary. And I saw Anne-E and Jamie's new apartment!

Thursday Steve took Nick and Nate to the Parade. And although I didn't drink until dinner, I managed to drink quite a lot, more than I realized, until I spilled wine all over Meg's Father. Then I forced everyone to listen to me screech out songs I didn't know the words to.

New York is a great place to visit.... but honestly, I can't see why anyone would want to live there. I'm home in my quiet house. I hear no noises from outside but the occasional car or dog barking. And although I miss my family already, tonight I can relax and sleep well.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Letter To Santa

Dear Santa

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as I did. I'm sure you were all very busy what with all the mouths to feed - those elves and all the reindeer. Do you get turkey up there at the North Pole?

I know that it's a busy time of year, and judging from how long the holiday decorations have been out, I'm late instead of early. But given your limited time I thought I might send out a few helpful hints about gifts for the people in our household. I know it is difficult because, unlike so many people, none of us really NEED anything. In fact, this house is cluttered with toys and objects and... random stuff. But these tips might come in useful.

First of all, PLEASE NO STUFFED ANIMALS. I know they are cute and cuddly and hard to resist, but please PLEASE resist. We have so many already. In fact, if you need some, let me know and I can send a few your way!

Second, please consider SIZE when you deliver gifts. I know, huge ride around toys and life sized stuffed animals get the biggest reactions, but they are also the most difficult to find homes for. While we do have a good sized home, most of it is filled with stuff. Besides, doesn't your sleigh get kind of heavy and weighed down? Think of those reindeer! And consider toys that will fit on a shelf or in a toy bin.

NOW - enough of what NOT to do. Specifically, Nicholas has asked for "a small pink oven" that I think he saw in a TV commercial, and I am not planning on getting it for him because WE HAVE AN OVEN. (Irony at work - this is the same reason my mother refused to get me one.) Nathan has not specified anything other than "WALL-E." The boys are particularly taken with Wall-E, and while they have the movie, I know they would appreciate any toy or object with him on it. (Not luggage, please.) They also like Batman, Spiderman, Cars (the Pixar film) and I can talk them into almost anything Disney. As always, they particularly appreciate books or art supplies, and they have recently become interested in kid's cookbooks. And Andy is too little to make requests. He will probably be happy with the paper and the boxes.

Now, my boys are kind of strange. Maybe it's my fault, but they really like thinks like new plates, cups, flashlights, bags, sheets, umbrellas, and other items that would not usually be considered TOYS. Just so you know. They also really like new clothes. Sizes I am currently buying (meaning room to grow) are as follows:

Nick - size 5 clothes, size 11 shoe
Nate - size 4 clothes, size 9.5 or 10 shoe
Andy - size 18 months, size 5 shoe

Oh, and Santa, I just want to remind you that Andy's birthday is the week before Christmas and Nate's is the following month. I know the holidays are distracting, but I'm sure at least Nate would appreciate a phone call on turning 3.

As for Steve, I have no idea what he wants. If I did, I wouldn't tell you, I'd go out and get it myself. I can tell you he appreciates everything, and he is constantly buying computer wires and boxes and complicated items from newegg.com.

And finally, me. I like everything, and require practically nothing. If you want to get me something really great you can put a new deck in your sack! Or a gift certificate to Home Depot would come in really handy, as I plan on doing a lot of painting around the house in the coming year. I also love books, blank notebooks, pens, random scrapbooking stuff, clothes, stiff drinks, and walks on the beach. Or, if you want something easy but that will be REALLY appreciated, get me some Olay face cream or a case of Dr. Pepper. Or some caramels.

Anyhow, that's all the help and guidance I can give. If you have any specific questions, or you want to check and see if anyone has anything, give me a call or email me! I hope your Holiday Season is bright and happy! See you Christmas Eve!

Kathleen

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

I'm taking an "internet vacation" until after Thanksgiving. I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, and I'll be counting my blog readers among the things I'm thankful for this year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

O Christmas Tree!

Today we went to the Festival Of Trees! This is the one where people and businesses decorate trees, and they are usually really creative - this year we saw trees decorated with toy trucks, a "tea" tree with boxes of tea as ornaments and a garland of sugar packets, a Dr. Suess tree with colorful fluff for branches and a few books underneath... All in all there are hundreds of trees. And each tree is raffled off. Last year we one a tree - I think we might have been one of five people who bid on it, as it was rather dull, as trees go. But still, we won! I'm not convinced our luck will hold this year. Although I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the "Paris" tree, or the one decorated with boxes of chocolate.

Friday, November 21, 2008

out of fuel

I know my posts of late have been very short or... not there. And tonight I was going to post something real and full of tasty comment to make up for all that. The only problem is I am so very exhausted and all I can think of is curling up in bed with the Stephen King book I just purchased.

I was talking all day long. I don't think I took a full breath. And all of the talking went like "You wrote on the bed with crayon? Why would you write on the bed with crayon? We need to clean - Andy get off the chair? What are you crazy? You're going to fall and crush your head. Nathan, stop jumping on the bed and put on your clothes. We're late so find your shoes. Shoes! Shoes! You can't wear sandals. Well where did you take them off? You need to wear a coat. You don't need gloves. You need to sit in your own car seat, so please move over. Use your words! Do NOT hit your brother. PLEASE stop crying Andy I can't hear what your brother is saying!"

And blah blah blah. I can't stand myself by the end of the day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

yum

I'm just winding up for Thanksgiving. I'm excited about pie.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good Mario

Nick and Nate have a game.

"Want to play Good Mario and Good Captain Hook?" Nick will say to Nate. Or sometimes it's "Bad Mario and Bad Luigi" or "Bad Captain Hook and Bad Mario" But whatever the game is, they play it a lot. It involves a lot of running around, a lot of jumping, and a lot of yelling. Sometimes it involves putting winter boots on, and sometimes changing into PJ's. Sometimes both.

"Who is Good Mario?" I asked Nate.

NATE: He's just Mario.

ME: Yes but are you Good Mario?

NATE: No! I'm Good Nathan!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fox Attack

Driving the kids to school last week, an animal ran out into the middle of our street, and I had to slow down so that I wouldn't plow right into it. At first I thought it was a cat - something that looked almost Siamese. But as I got closer I realized it was huge, more like a dog. Except it wasn't really a dog - the face just didn't look dog-like. "Cat" and "Dog" being the animals I am most familiar with and expect to see on a daily basis, I could almost hear my brain shuffling through the animals I was familiar with, trying to find the right one. Squirrel? too big. Deer? Obviously not. Mountain Lion? no. Fox?

Ha! Had to be the fox. Many moons ago, Steve and I heard a fox out in the back yard, only it sounded like a woman screaming - an old woman who had been screaming for a long time screaming. And it really is a scary sound. We then saw the fox at the end of the yard, far off in the distance as recently as this summer. And even from here we could see that it didn't look healthy.

But that day she was in the street, in a driveway, clumps of fur missing, and her tail bent at a 90 degree angle downward. She looked beat up and sick. If you were a healthy fox, would you go prancing around the more densly populated areas when there were conservation lands and woods available?

Two days later a garbage truck pulled over in front of our house - not OUR trash guys, but another company entirely, to tell Steve there was a fox down the road, and to look out if we had kids. Concerned, we called Animal Control, who told us that, if we saw it again, we could call in and they would send someone over. I guess we're just supposed to invite the fox in and distract it with tea and cookies until the police get here? I mean, I see their point - who wants to go tromping about the woods looking for a fox?

Today I happened to glance out the window from the study and THERE WAS THE FOX, walking right up to our house, right to the deck. I turned and opened the door to the basement, where Steve was working. "Steve! Fox! Fox! Outside!"

Now, Steve later told me he thought I was shouting "Box! Box!" Which makes no sense, but I guess makes just about as much sense as "Fox!" given zero context. He was confused. But then Gunther, who was outside, started barking, and I we rushed outside.

It probably isn't a smart thing to rush out toward a wild animal you think may be infected with rabies. Especially with Andy in your arms. I honestly can't tell you what I was thinking, or if there was any thought process going on at all beyond instinct. Bad instinct.

Naturally, the fox had turned tail and run back where he had come from, or at least that's the direction Gunther was barking in. We got over it pretty quickly, and I started thinking it was probably a different fox altogether, because this one seemed smaller and had no broken tail. But it was enough to get Gunther very upset, and he spent the next twenty minutes peeing on everything visible and invisible in that part of the yard.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hair, Hair, Hairhairhair


Nate got a haircut. For fun, they threw in a little something extra.

It didn't even need washing out, and by the time we took baths there was no trace of green at all. But while it lasted, it was a hoot.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jingle jingle

Is it me, or is it just too early for Christmas music?

We're rehearsing it in the choir, but that makes sense to me because it requires preparation, and then there will be two or three weekends to sing in.

But turning over entire radio stations to Winter Wonderland and such before Thanksgiving? I find this a bit much.

Additionally, the Giving Tree is up at the Library. The tree's ornaments are slips of paper shaped like mittens, and each has a gift on it - PJ's for a 10 year old girl, boots or mittens for a 4 year old boy, etc. The items are for families that can't afford these things on their own, and I always make it a point to look for a few little girl items that I can pick up, because shopping for girls is fun, especially when you don't have to hear them tell you how much they hate what you got them.

Well, I had about three seconds to look for a "good" mitten when I realized that Nick and Nate were just plucking them off the tree like it was mitten harvest time. I kept taking them away and trying to put them back on the tree, but it takes MUCH longer to do that than to yank them down. Nick eventually stopped, but Nathan couldn't understand WHY he COULDN'T HAVE A MITTEN!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kindergarten


Nick is starting Kindergarten next year.

New Hampshire has required that all towns have public Kindergarten for the 09-10 school year. I am fairly certain that our town did not want a public Kindergarten, and would have been perfectly happy to put it off indefinitely. But they have to do it, and so they will. Five days a week, for 2 hours and 30 minutes, no recess, in mobile classrooms on rented land.

This means we have to make a choice. Because the school we send the boys to now HAS a Kindergarten, and they need to figure out if they will keep having one. For a few hundred dollars a month Nick could go to school from 9 to 3pm in a setting he knows with teachers he is familiar with, in a program that has had 20 years to establish itself.

Personally, I don't think Nick's school is going to have a problem keeping its program. But Nick will be going to the public school.

This is a complicated choice for me. It's not just money, although it's always there as a concern. but there's much more to it that that. If I were to be honest, I would admit that there's an element of stubbornness to my decision. I think the school board left it to the last minute and is putting together a minimal program to actually discourage parents from sending their children, simply to justify their own belief that a Kindergarten is unnecessary. But even though it seems thrown together on the outside, I'm not convinced that the actual teaching and learning will be that much different. Being part of the public Kindergarten should ease his transition to First Grade. And yes, the timing and the schedule will be different, but having him at home a few more hours each day won't hurt, either. It will leave time to do other things.

I get so torn up over choices when it comes to the boys and school. I absolutely hated school, the dread starting to build up as early as Sunday morning. I know that this isn't true of all kids, and that many children actually enjoy school, at least while they are young. I want so badly for this to be true of my boys. I want them to like learning, and not to feel overwhelmed. And each decision I make I wonder if it's the right one, or if I'm setting my kid up to be miserable.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

oops.

How bad is it when you are driving, and you go to turn down a street that you frequently turn down, and you suddenly realize it's a one way street? In the other direction?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nothing to see here

No, there really isn't anything to see. I'm very tired and my mind is drawing a great blank, despite the think and worry creases in my forehead. Sorry!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Andy In Action... Again

After posting the video of Andy walking the other day, I got a few comments from people (my mother) expressing surprise at how good his walking has become.

Today Andy tripped and hit the corner of his eye on the lowest shelf inside the fridge. I have no idea how one would even TRY to make this happen, unless you were that short.

For Christmas last year (I promise this ties in) Gramma and Grampa Claus gave the boys a musical mat. They really like it, but I keep it in the toy closet because it tends to not get turned off, and this way they get excited whenever I bring it out. This is the first time Andy has really taken notice of it. Please note how well he moves his little feet.


video

Sunday, November 09, 2008

With Pink On It

I made my own birthday cake.

It may sound odd, but it was my own choice. See, there was this cake recipe I have been wanting to try for a while. I did have to make dessert for a church supper, but this cake seemed less of a grown up gathering kind of cake and more of a... well, a birthday cake. So I grabbed my chance.

The thing is, I got this recipe off the back of a cake flour box. So it called for very specific ingredients. You know. They were sitting around saying "What can we put in this cake? Hey! We make rust flavored jelly beans! Let's use those instead of milk!"

OK, so it wasn't that strange. Even though I had to buy clear vanilla. And the cake itself tuned out very well. But the icing called for raspberry syrup. I have never in my life seen raspberry syrup, unless you count the concoctions I have been known to whip up with jam and regular pancake syrup. And I somehow don't think that's what it was asking for, because my name isn't Smucker's. I looked in every place I could think of at the grocery store, but I couldn't find it. So instead I decided I would use the Hershey's Strawberry syrup we had at home, the kind to make pink milk, which Nick insists he loves, even though he doesn't and never drinks it. I figured it couldn't be much different, right?

Well... who knows. But the picture of the cake on the box was a really nicely decorated pale pink cake. And I know that pictures lie, and I shouldn't believe the back of the box... And I definitely didn't expect to be able to decorate it the same way... but my cake... well... Barbie would have been proud.
You can't really get a good idea of the BRIGHTNESS of the pink from these photos. It's a lot darker and PINK in real life, kind of clashing with the raspberries on the top. But it turned out PK, I guess. Despite the cloying and overwhelming fake strawberry taste from the icing. I'm thinking about making this cake again, but using chocolate syrup in the icing!


By the way, my kids told me this was the best cake ever, and all day yesterday Nathan kept trying to climb on the counter "to look at the cake." Only I couldn't convince him that we don't look with our index fingers.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Aged Fleen


The Photo Booth application on this laptop is fun! I can take any number of funny looking pictures of myself with it.

But this is the one where my nose doesn't look oddly huge. I wonder why?

Anyway, today is my birthday. Tomorrow I will have a funny - ish cake story. But right now Andy has emptied a container of yogurt onto his lap, so I have to go.

Friday, November 07, 2008

need new cabinets

The focus these days is all on money. Well, the economy, which doesn't seem to be exactly the same thing, but money is how we measure it. Even though we still seem to be fine, I've become very aware that things could get "really bad" any day now, and I've started to pay more attention to my spending.

The thing is, money is like storage space. No matter how much you have, it's never enough. My house could be lines in drawers and cabinets from floor to ceiling, and I would still have a pile of laundry on the floor, and pots and pans I needed to keep on the counter because there's no room for them anywhere else. The thing is, I don't NEED all that storage space, I just think I do. It's either not full, or I'm storing stuff in the hall closet I really don't need. Like my ice skates. I can't tell you when I last put on a pair of ice skates.

So I guess when I start looking at my receipts and trying to separate needs and wants, it's a little like going through cabinets and throwing away what is broken or what is not being used.

But the day after I started my project the kids started getting sick, and doctor's appointments and co-pays for antibiotics messed everything up. I dislike ear infections.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mixed Nuts

video

Today is Lillian's Birthday.

It is also Chris and Clare's birthday. They are my cousins. And they are not twins, they simply share a birthday. I've always thought that was pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Not All Votes Count


ME: What should we get Grammy for her birthday?

NATHAN: A cheeseburger!

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Reflection

On this Election Day Eve, I want to dedicate one last post to a political message. Kind of.

On our long drive to Tennessee, my mother pointed out that a lot of my talk about Palin was not based on any factual information, but more based on reiterating the same "She's A Crazy Loony" slogan over and over again. So in the interest of being fair, and recognizing that not all of my readers share my political views, and a few do not even live in this country... I thought I would try to explain my feelings about this election in a fair manner, with no blowing things out of proportion. I said "try."

I really do dislike Palin, and I do admit that this feeling comes from my gut. After all, about the only thing we have in common are certain anatomical similarities. (We are both female.) Aside from the fact that I detest the idea of beauty queens ( and part of me really does), I disagree with her on practically every issue. I want to support scientific advancement both in the medical community and in our schools. I want to protect this planet earth we live in. I want the right to make decisions about my own body, my own birth control, and my own health care. I do not have faith in Palin's knowledge of international affairs or economic affairs. The fact that McCain chose this person as a running mate, to fufill a position where she might have to run this country in a time of crisis, shows me that he (or his party, if you want to look at it that way) has very little respect for the people of this nation. Maybe she is just a "soccer mom." But the truth is, I don't know any soccer moms I want running this country, either. Nor would I trust anyone who feels this is a wise choice.

That said, I understand that not everyone agrees with me. I don't understand why or how, but that's not the point. Everyone is entitled to her opinion.

I am a very lucky person. I have more than enough food. I have a home to live in and a bed to sleep in and we are able to keep it reasonably warm. I feel safe because I have health care and if anything happens to one of us, we can expect to afford care. I can say what I like and express my loony political opinions as I like, and worship as I like, and this country lets me do it. And after the election, all this will stil be true, no matter who wins. Red or Blue, Right or Wrong. I plan on voting with my heart and my mind and making the choice that I believe best reflects the person I would like to be. That is a right I have that not every person has.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Trick Or Treat

Nathan decided over a month ago that he wanted to be Wall-E for Halloween. Nicholas then said he wanted to be Wall-E, too. Nathan was very upset at this idea, and cried about it for a bit until I explained that they could BOTH be Wall-E. Then there would be two Wall-E's. And from that point on, whenever anyone asked Nate what he was going to be for Halloween, he told them "Two Wall-E's." Which could be very confusing.

I looked for Wall-E costumes, but could not find any in stores. I found some online, but for $50 each, and I refused to even consider them. That's $100 (for those of you slow at math) on costumes that would be worn once, and probably then discarded, since once kids reach a certain height they become choosy about what they will dress up as.

So I found boxes and purchased poster paint. Last weekend I set the boys up with paintbrushes, and the boxes became grey. And then while they were sleeping I added lights and stripes and the name, so people could tell what they were. The masks were purchased at a party store - obviously they were meant as favours, because they came in packs of eight. The boxes are held up with straps made of duct tape.

The boys were the only ones at school with costumes they made themselves. Everyone else had snug poofy costumes, or complete princess outfits, or otherwise purchased stuff. And there were a few problems. For one thing, the armholes were far apart, so objects could not be passed from one hand to another, or from one hand to their treat bags. Nathan's arm holes were also placed far back in the box, so he couldn't always judge where stairs began, and triped up almost every front porch we encountered. Also, the boys couldn't lower their arms. There was also the problem of recognition. For while Wall-E is, by far, the best movie ever made in the WORLD within the walls of our home, not all children have seen the film. Nor have their parents. In fact, a few parents were surprised the boys had seen it. And some people had never heard of the cute little robot at all. And a few people were conviced that they were supposed to be Wally, the Green Monster, mascot of the Red Sox. Don't they look alike?

As for Andy's costume, he wore the tiger costume I purchased for a 2-year-old-Nick, the costume Nick then refused to wear and which I then placed on Nathan, stuffing Nick into the smaller monkey costume instead. It fit Andy very well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Sugar Hangovers for all.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Photos Tomorrow!

I made the boys Wall-E costumes, and I will take pictures and post them tomorrow. I promise.

It really is hard to stop and take pictures. Although I took a couple today of Nate painting a pumpkin while I chopped up my own.

I have never been good at carving pumpkins. I am not that great an artist, and I'm not that great with knives. Add the two together and it's like asking for a finger without a hand. This year I drew what I took to be a reasonable face on our pumpkin. However, moments into my carving, I realized I had both eyes reaching up to where I cut off the top, as well as meeting at a point in the middle. Which meant that, by carving my eyes, I was also carving out the triangle separating them. So I tried to erase the eyes. Unfortunately, I had used permanent marker. So instead I just drew my new lines over the old ones, and while I was at it I fixed the mouth. When I finished carving it looked OK, but the lines all over made it look really... odd. I turned the extra space above into eyebrows. But I needed have worried. In the dark it looks fine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just Until Tuesday

I want to know who the people are that change their minds when political forces call them on the phone.

Are there really people sitting around wishing that the Republicans of New Hampshire will call them up so that they could ask their questions and clarify a few points? Do politicians honestly feel that voters will come to like them and perhaps even change their minds about who they will vote for if they are called repeatedly? I mean, the tactic must work, because we are certainly getting enough phone calls for it. But personally, all they make me want to do is wish I could reach through the phone lines and squeeze the callers lips shut REALLY TIGHT with my fingers. Or perhaps bash them on the head with the phone. For the greater good.

I know I shouldn't answer the phone. But the caller ID NEVER says who's calling. Once it said OBAMA, way back before the primaries. But these days the callers are from companies hired to harass us, so all that comes up is OUT OF AREA, and sometimes people I know show up that way as well. Sometimes the callers are volunteers, and private numbers or wireless numbers pop up. It could be a school parent, or a teacher calling from a cell.

Next time, and I'm sure there will be a next time, I shall ask the caller if the tactic - calling people and harassing them, is working, but before I get an answer I'll interrupt. "But now isn't really a good time for me. Why don't you give me YOUR home number, and I'll call YOU?"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today I missed Yesterday

Nicholas is Star Of The Week this week at school.

This means that, all week long, he gets to be line leader. It also means he gets to bring in a toy to show and tell to the class. And a snack to share with the class. And a photo collage to show off his family. Which is great, isn't it? Except, as with many other things, this is something engineered to focus on the child, but which actually required a lot of extra hours and participation from ME.

Which is fine. I don't mind making a picture collage - even though I had to wrestle with the printer and find special paper and print out photos on Steve's work printer instead because mine was out of ink. No problem.

But tomorrow he needs to bring in snack. Nicholas wanted to bring in peanut butter and jelly sushi, but of course we can't because of the peanut butter. Instead, we decided to make cut out cookies for Halloween and decorate them. But I didn't make the dough yesterday, and this morning I didn't have time because I had to get the boys to Gymnastics. The kind I make requires the dough be refrigerated 3 to 4 hours before rolling it, so as soon as we were back and the boys had lunch and I got them down for a nap I threw together a couple of batches. And I have to tell you, I don't understand baking. I put it all together, and I'm supposed to refrigerate it, but instead of a ball of dough I have what looks like a pile of sand, and no matter how I try to get it to stick together it keeps falling apart. And refrigerating it never really helps.

So when the boys wake up and I distract them until the dough has been in the fridge almost 3 hours, I take the balls of sand out and attempt to turn them into something I can roll. But Nick is three steps ahead and already trying to open the sprinkles, and Nathan is frantically trying to use his cookie cutters to cut the pile of sand into pumpkin cookies. After much coaxing of both boys and dough, I finally manage to roll something out, and the boys start using their cookie cutters. Only Nicholas doesn't understand that you can't overlap the cookies, and Nathan eats each dough shape as soon as it's cut unless I am watching and take it away. By this time Andrew has climbed up the stairs three times, has splashed the dog's water all over the place and is soaking wet, and is howling loudly.

We somehow manage to cut out a bunch of cookies and put them in the oven. The boys then get to decorate, which they do by dumping as many sprinkles on a cookie as they can. I try to outline the cookies in orange icing, but the result is spectacularly runny, since I had to heat it in the microwave but left it in there too long because Andy was crying and the next batch of cookies was ready and Nicholas was screaming at Nathan because he was eating all his special cookies for school.

We have a plate with a number of strangely decorated, dry tasting cookies. It is what we are bringing for snack. Next time we have to bring snack, I'm bringing Chips Ahoy. And for Christmas this year we shall use the premade ones, with the Christmas Trees already painted on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Head

Today I finally cleaned out my car from our trip to Tennessee.

Today Nicholas went on a class trip to pick out pumpkins. I remembered to pay the $6, and I remembered to pack a brown bag lunch and to pack a drink. I forgot to leave his booster seat, and when we got home I found out the pumpkin Nick was holding had the name "AJ" written on it. Nick had been telling me he had AJ's pumpkin, but I hadn't realized he had been talking about a pumpkin that belonged to another child.

Today I vacuumed the basement.

Today I clipped the hedges in front of our house so that they no longer look spiky. But I neglected to rake up the branches and pine needles.

Today I ran four miles of the treadmill.

Today I did one load of laundry.

Today I made roast chicken and potatoes for dinner.

The End

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Supper

One of the perks of belonging to a church is that we actually get to interact with other people. Sometimes in an organized way.

Yesterday we attended a supper organized by the church. A few people sign up and take turns hosting these meals, and everyone brings something.

I hadn't met any of the people at the supper before - a total of four couples, including us. And I was a bit nervous because I wasn't sure what these people were going to BE like. I am uncomfortable in situations like these. What does one TALK about?

Well, the night began with a conversation about cats. Everyone had a cat story, including us, but as you may know, some people - GOOD people - can have a few more cat stories than one might want to listen to. And this cat conversation went on not exceedingly long, but long enough for me to start thinking that perhaps all we had in common - besides attending the same church - was that we had cats. But I didn't mind too much, because I also had a glass of wine, and after a few moments considering the evening ahead, I decided that I could deal with cat conversation as long as I had wine.

Of course my fears were unfounded. We all love our cats, but there is life beyond that, and we had a fantastic supper with grown up conversation beyond pets, beyond children even, and I had a wonderful time.