Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
It snowed last night.
It's early for snow. The leaves were still on the trees. They hold more snow than naked braches. Add a few strong gusts of wind, and the branches have no chance.
Our power went out at about 8pm last night. Currently almost 200,000 PSNH customers are without power in Southern NH. This means we will probably be without power for today and most of tomorrow, as we are not in a city or near a hospital. Church was cancelled. Last night a huge crack woke me up, and I don't know if it was from the branch breaking off in the front of the house, a branch breaking off in the back of the house, or something completely different.
We're going exploring soon. In the yard. I figure it will be goo practice since we'll be trick-or-treating tomorrow in snowpants and boots.
I took these pictures this morning. On is of the neighbor's yard, which we don't usually see because the bushes usually screen it from us. The snow has weighted them down, though, letting us see what we usually don't.
The other picture is from our new deck. There is a snow covered bush-type thing, but I don't think we have a bush there. I'm not sure if it's a branch that's fallen, or one just weighted down with snow.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Remember when Halloween was just a really fun night of costumes and trick-or-treating?
Well, now that going door-to door is considered dangerous and risky, everyone in the world is trying to come up with an "alternative" to it. I swear, people are trying to abolish the practice. Not that we stop trick-or-treating. Oh, no! Instead, we also have to go to 97 other events in the last week of October, all involving costumes, all proclaiming to be a "fun and safe alternative," and all of them really fun.
But the boys may as well dress up in their costumes all week long.
First there was the Town Harvest Festival last week. Then the party during Library Story Hour. We skipped the huge party the Lion's Club threw at the school on Wednesday. Yesterday Nick had his school Party. Today is the Karate dress-up day. Monday is actually Halloween, and Andy and Nate will have their Halloween parties, and after school we will drive down to Lillian so we can trick-or-treat in a neighborhood where people actually trick-or-treat, and the houses are much closer together.
Friday, October 28, 2011
It's just past 8pm. It is cold in this house, and I am already in my pajamas, snuggled under the covers with my computer and a random Vosges Chocolate catalogue I got a couple of weeks ago (I don't know why) and refuse to throw out because I like looking at the pictures and pretending I'm going to eat the chocolates.
It's snowing outside. Which doesn't make me happy. I'm procrastinating making tomorrow's shopping list. I don't want to go grocery shopping. I don't want to get up and run tomorrow. I don't even want to get out of bed to get my planner, which I need to do before making my weekly menu. I don't want to think about food and cooking at all, actually. I just want to sit here with my warm duvet and my exotic caramels.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
A few days ago I woke and looked outside my window to find the lawn crusty with white. No, it wasn't snow. It was the Frost. It had come, bringing winter with it.
And overnight, literally, the house went from dusty-but-comfortable to chilled-to-the-bone.
"Steve!" I yelled down the stairs. "I'm turning on the heat!"
"Put on a sweater!" he shouted back up at me.
And he's got a point. Once you turn the heat on, there is no turning back. And heat has simply gotten more and more expensive. We're paying four dollars a gallon for oil which is delivered every few weeks in the winter, and it costs over $400 a pop. Sometimes, when it's really cold, I've paid as mich as $700.
Our electricity goes up, too, of course.
I put on a sweater. I also went around the house making sure the storm windows were down, and in rooms we use often turning the heat up to as high as 60 degrees. Which is still pretty cold, when you think about it. But we like to be responsible and thoughtful about these things, at least until we can't stand it anymore sometime in December or January.
Today it is raining. It is currently 43 degrees, and will get as warm as 46. Tonight will be a low of 29 degrees, with a forecast of rain and snow. I need to get into the garage and move the bikes aside so I can pull in my car.
Hello, Winter. We didn't miss you a bit.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I got a new camera!
It's an Elph. I don't know what that means interms of quality, actually. All I know is that it was less expensive than my last camera, which had 300 different settings to take photographs with, of which I used exactly three. It is also less than half the size of my last camera, more the size of a smart phone. I won't get it confused with my cell phone, though, because it is also RED! I don't know why this makes me giggle, but it does.
And I haven't taken a lot of pictures with it yet (give me a break, I got it last night as the kids were already to bed!) but today I'm bringing it with me everywhere. And maybe I'll even remember to use it.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Remember how I went to NY a few weeks back? I had the best time, caught a cold, and lost my voice.
When I came back home, I was shocked at how messy the house was. And after making a few half-hearted attempts to clean up, I took a few pictures with my camera. (the broken camera, so I wasn't sure what I was taking pictures of.)
Here they are. I am actually posting photographs of my home at it's messiest to the internet.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
This weekend is jam packed with activities, and right now, at before 7am on Saturday morning, I am simply not sure how I am supposed to get it all done.
This morning at 9:30 the boys have karate classes back to back until 11am. After this we will join the karate class demonstration at the Town Harvest Festival at 2pm in the park. The demonstration will probably not last longer than 15 minutes, but the festival will go until 3pm.
Then Sunday we have church. I have to show up at 8:45 to practice some songs I am singing in a trio, but have not looked at at all since practice Wednesday night. choir is at 9am. Church is at 10. Youth choir rehearses at 11:15 until noon. Nick has a birthday party at 1pm in a town on the other side of our home.
At some point between now and then I must buy that girl a birthday present. I don't even know what first grade girls like.
I also have to make sure the boys have fitting winter jackets and snowpants and boots. Ugh.
And as I'm writing this the karate gis are in the dryer so they will be nice and clean for the demonstration. And I forgot to take them out of the washer last night.
My house is a mess of dust and flies. My kitchen table needs to be wiped down before I put anything on it at all. I'm tired of the work, already, and I'm bitter because this weekend is anything but relaxing. Bitter! Bitter I say! Which isn't attractive, and it just makes me more grumpy.
I'll get it all done. I just need to take deep breaths, resign myself to many cups of coffee, and be on the lookout for opportunities. Maybe we can go out to lunch near a store that sells girl toys. Maybe the Harvest Festival will be really fun! Maybe this will be the best weekend ever!
Friday, October 21, 2011
We are having work done on the house.
We are having work done on the house because we needed a new deck. The old one was so splintery it wouldn't hold paint. The wood was so warped that the bannister didn't even touch the lower railing, it just hug in mid-air, long, rusty nails sticking out of the bottom. There were rotting holes on the stairs that were only going to get bigger.
So we needed a new deck.
Bu it was impossible to talk to Steve about a new deck without three hundred other things coming. up. He'd want to screen in half of it, and then we could knock down that wall in the living room, and the we could get a new front porch, blah blah blah etc. And I couldn't picture what he wanted. When he described it to me I couldn't picture it. Or I pictured something... kind of ugly.
Well, the guys started work a couple of weeks ago. At first, things went kind of quickly. That's how these things go. But then they moved from the deck to the indoors. Without the deck being quite finished. They are waiting on delivery of some stuff, so they are doing what they can.
So they started tearing down this wall. Apparently it isn't just taking a huge hammer and whacking away with it. No, it's more knives and knocking on walls to see if there is anything behind it, and then accidentally dropping tools or wires into the gap you've left behind, and then trying to get those back so you can use them...
And after a day of wall-removal, they started in on the doors to the deck.
Yesterday I barricaded myself in our bedroom, since there was no place to go where I wasn't in the way, and the banging seemed worse everywhere else. And I went downstairs to make myself a cup of tea to find that not only was I missing a wall, but that there was a huge hole in the side of my house. Sure, a door is supposed to go there, eventually, but still.
And this is when I remembered that the first few steps are always the most drastic, and after that there is a long time where nothing looks any different, and you just have a dusty, practically unusable area while they make things functionable.
On the plus side, when it's done, it's going to look fabulous!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Earlier I had a lot to say. I was sifting through all these different ideas for posts, topics I could expound on.
But now that I am finally here, fingers on the keyboard, I can't think of anything to say. It's all just a blur and a jumble of random thoughts that will keep me from sleeping well.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Last week I didn't run. I took the week off because I had such a bad cold I lost my voice.
I'm still not at 100%, but I am feeling much better.
So this week, I started running again. I'm no longer sleeping in. I'm sneaking down to the treadmill when it's still dark, and when I sneak back up the stairs... it's still dark.
I'm also not eating donuts and cookies and whole entire pies. Instead, I'm trying to find excuses to give people pies. I really want to see that pie shop do well!
There's a certain satisfaction I get from running and not gorging myself on baked goods. It's almost the same feeling I get when I change the sheets on my bed or organize my closet. Everything seems cleaner and neater. I can breathe better. I am pleased with myself.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Andrew has been going through a phase.
At least I have been calling it a phase. How long does something have to last before it morphs from a phase into just the way things are?
When Andrew wakes up from nap, he cries. He's grumpy waking up. He doesn't want to get up and move around. I get that. I know that it's hard. But Andy cries for more than a few seconds. He cries for more than a few minutes. In fact, he will spend more than half an hour screaming his discontent at the world.
I have tried everything I can think of over the past few weeks. I have tried holding him, but he just cries in my ear. "Go Away!" he cries. I've tried leaving him be, but he screams for attention and follows me around. "MOM!" He screams. I've tried sending him back to bed, but he will not go, and when I physically carry him back to bed he screams louder and then follows be back down. I've placed him outside (in good weather) telling him he can't scream indoors and I don't want to hear his screaming, but it doesn't help and someone going to call child services.
I've tried yelling back, too. But then we're just both screaming. I don't feel better, and he still doesn't shut up!
Because that's what I want to tell him to do. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I know that's horrible. I know that kids are supposed to cry for a reason, and I should just find out what that is so we can just fix the problem. But seriously, if there is a problem, Andy won't tell me what it is. He doesn't even KNOW what it is. Today he told me he was crying because Nathan messed up the blankets on his bed, something he discovered twenty minutes into his tantrum, and it wasn't Nathan, it was me, because I placed a laundry basket full of clean laundry on his bed. And Andy was following me from room to room, screaming and crying big fat tears.
I'm just at my wits end. I can't figure out how to get Andy to wake up without taking forty minutes out to let him cry. Advice, anyone?
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Someone made me breakfast in bed this morning.
He made toast all by himself and buttered it, and wrote a note that said "From Nick To Mom." And he crept into my room at 6:20 while I was still sleeping, and placed it on my nightstand.
It kind of melts my heart.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
My mother always said she hated grocery shopping. I never understood why.
I know understand why.
It takes so long. Even though I try and make things easier with lists, I always end up wandering the aisles looking for one last thing (pancake mix! Where can I find pancake mix?) And forgetting either something basic (bread) or that someone specifically asked for (toothpaste.) Then it all costs more than I wanted it to, and then, after I finally get home I have to unload the stuff from the car and put it all away, and it becomes very obvious that I didn't actually need butter after all.
My real problem is pickles.
First of all, the pickles are always stacked differently. Somtimes they are sorted by size and nothing else. Sometimes by brand, sometimes by taste, and sometimes by the way they are cut. Each time, it;s a sure thing that I'll be searching for what it is I want.
Next, who are all these strange people who eat bread and butter pickles? They're just gross. The pickles, not the people. A pickle should be sour, not sweet. I understand that there are a few odd folk out there who might choose the B&B pickle over the dill or "normal" kind, but all of the places I've been easily lets the Bread and Butter pickle jars take up more than half the pickle shelf space. It's SO irritating. I end up scanning the shelves for dill pickles, or anything with a little zing. I prefer anything called "zesty."
As if that's not enough, the pickles are all cut up differently. We eat pickles on sandwiches and burgers, and so we prefer pickles cut flat. I like the round ones, like the ones they have on fast food burgers, not the ones cut lengthwise, which I end up having to cut up and sometimes are seedy.
They don't HAVE the pickles I like cut this way. So I either have to step down a notch and get something called "hamberger dill" which I don't love because I don't want them telling me what the pickles are for, or I have to get them cut lengthwise. Or in spears, which is just not useful at all.
Next I need to find the right size jar. They have these huge jars of pickles, but these are usually whole pickles. The boys LOVE looking at these things. In fact, Nathan once asked for a jar of huge whole pickles for his birthday. But they are not very practical for everyday use. I am always unable to find a large jar of the kind I like. Oh, they have bread and butter pickles cut flat in large jars. I imagine huge families with no taste buds huddling around a kitchen table and eating pickles... or ending up hating pickles because they don't realize that this is NOT the way real pickles are supposed to taste.
So I end up getting a small jar of pickles that we settle for instead of a large jar of pickles that we like.
I've just spent 10 minutes choosing a jar of pickles. Now I have to do the rest of my shopping and get the other 46 things on my list.
Friday, October 14, 2011
The day I got back from New York was Tuesday, the Busiest Day Of The Week!
As soon as Nick gets home a 3:30, I give the kids snack, get Nate to change into his gi (karate clothes), drive to Nate's karate class. While Nate is in class I pick up the CSA stuff, return the glass bottles I have, stop at the dry cleaners, and sometimes pick up a pizza.
Once nate's class is over I cram the kids back in the car, stop home long enough to put the new milk in the fridge, then drive the 20 minutes to piano class.
I sit in the piano lessons so I can help the boys practice.
After piano I had to drive back home, drop the kids off, grab a slice of pizza, then turn around and drive back to church, which is around the corner from the piano lesson place, for a Board meeting that goes from 7 to 9pm. I am always late.
This week was different because Steve had taken my car to a work meeting, so I had to take his car to Karate. We met up at the shopping place, to divvy up the errands and the kids, and I was dizzy with being sick and all the stuff I had to do, and I had no voice.
So when I got out of my car and saw a guy waving a sign that said "FREE PIE!" I kind of just stood there with my mouth open wide for a few seconds. Wait I thought. Am I dreaming?
But no, I wasn't dreaming. A new store opened up in the little strip of stores, and this one sells PIES!
Wonderful pies. Steve had already gotten me a free pie. It was a berry pie. It was small, but deep, and the crust was wonderful and beautiful. I want to go back and buy a pie for everyone I know.
I ate the whole thing myself.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Because I got sick in New York, I did not run, even though the weather was perfect and I had kind of been looking forward to a long run in Central Park.
Now that I am home, I am still not running. I am sleeping in until past 6am.
I also have stopped paying attention to what I am eating because I am too tired to remember how to use my self control, and I have also reasoned that I need my strength.
Instead, I feel kind of puffy and bloated. I should not have eaten that whole pie.
I hope I get better soon. I may just write this week off and start again on Monday of next week.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
No, I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth.
Two things happened. The first is that I took a trip to New York City and had a lovely visit with my family with NO KIDS! The second thing is that I got sick and lost my voice completely.
When I got home (yesterday) the house was in chaos - I told Linda it looked as though Steve had hired people to make a mess while I was gone. Not only was laundry done (that was a given), but the boys bedroom was a disaster and so was the living room. There were wet towels and clothing on the floor of the bathroom. The only thing that HAD been done were the dishes, because Lillian had come to sit the boys and had done them.
So this morning I have two hours to put order back into the house. Without using my voice. I'm not sure it can be done.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
I have been tracking my running for over a year now. When I write everything down I feel more accountable, and I'm less likely to sleep in.
Recently, I was invited to participate in a running challenge using a different online community. It's called dailymile, and what's good about it is that you can not only track your running, but your walking, your swimming, your biking, etc. If you walk to work, you can put that down.
It also emphasizes interaction between members. You can invite a group of people to run races, to complete a certain number of miles in the least time, or to just run a certain number of miles. I was invited to run 250 miles by 2012. (That was September 1st, and I'm already over 100 miles, so I think I'll be fine.)
But it also has a page where you can see how your run translates into other things. Since I've started using this page, I have run 134.38 miles. That's kind of cool! I have spent 76.05 hours running. That's kind of depressing. I have had 24 total workouts. That's confusing - how can I have had more hours that workouts. Were some runs not counted as complete? I have run around the world .01 times. It's a big planet. I have powered 925.5 TV's, and saved 7.07 gallons of gas. This would mean more if I were running TO something and not just using the treadmill.
The last two stats are the most confusing.
According to whatever program they use, I have burned 68.49 donuts. That's a lot of donuts. In fact, reading that makes me want to go out and eat a dozen powdered donuts all at once. But wait! What's this last statistic? It says, quite clearly "Lbs. burned." And above it? A lonely "3."
Three pounds. I have run over seventy hours and over a hundred miles, and I have burned three pounds. Is this even possible? HOW DOES THIS WORK? I'm guessing that you have to run a certain length of time for the pound to count, or it erases itself, or cancels itself out? I'm not sure if this is how it works in real life, or if it just works out that way in crazy computer math. But, seriously, 68.49 donuts does not equal 3 pounds. Or maybe it does. Maybe if I ate almost seventy donuts I would only gain three pounds. Perhaps I would only rupture my stomach and go into a coma. I'm not sure how this works.
To be honest with you, I have actually gained weight since I started using this online thing. It has nothing to do with the community. Well, maybe the reminder of how many donuts I've burned... but more likely I just have a weakness for cake and pie. And cookies and homemade bread. I mean, the pounds burned is more than offset by the pounds consumed, in this case. That's not the point. The point is that the math is off. And also that we cannot believe everything our little online folks tell us. We have to use common sense at some point. Right?
Friday, October 07, 2011
We'll take three of everything, please.
When Nick was born I found the number of little outfits he had laughable. Hundreds of little onesies and footie PJ's... I would have had to change him three times a day for him to wear everything once. Lucky for us, this almost happened. Infants, you know.
I still decided that it might make more sense to limit the number of clothes we got the boys. After all, they would grow out of them so quickly.
Eight years later, we have reached the point where I have changed my mind. It might be true about infants and even toddlers, but my kids are not growing fast enough for me to worry about growing out of clothes. In fact, as I know I've mentioned, I worry more about clothing making it through the week, because my kids tend to rip them and make holes in them and spill stuff of them... (thought - if it stains clothing so badly, do I really want them eating it? Hmmm.)
And so I think it might be time to do what I have put off for years and.... actually, I have never really done this: A Clothes Shopping Trip for The Boys! Usually I buy one or two things at most, but I may need to grit my teeth and just stock up, buying each child more than one outfit. In fact, I might buy each child five additional outfits, just so we can make it to Christmas.
On the other hand, that might be a good way to ensure growth spurts in all three.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
My kids love the library and the Children's Librarians that work there. In fact, they run right up to them and start yapping away, interrupting whatever quiet work the poor ladies happen to be working on. But they are wonderful people, and they even go so far as to set new books and movies aside for the boys so they can get them first.
Today one of the librarians told me she and Nate had been talking about Halloween. It was a usual conversation - what Nate was going to dress up as being the main topic. But then it drifted off to the more scary parts.
"If you want to see something scary," Nate told her, completely serious, "you should see inside my mind! There's a lot of scary stuff in there! Sometimes I can't even sleep at night."
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
I don't always pay close attention to Steve. I mean, when I'm making dinner and I'm trying to get everything cooked and on the table, and I'm also trying to watch an episode of Arrested Development... well, I may nod and smile and say "uh-huh!" or "Mmmm!" without truly understanding what it is he's saying. I may hear the words, but without understanding them.
I take full responsibility for this.
This morning was the morning we had to take the car in for a fabric treatment. We paid for it because the interior of the car is light grey, and we have three boys and a dog. But it takes four hours for them to do, and I simply don't have four hours of time I can spend in a car service waiting room.
I rescheduled this appointment three times because Steve's work schedule kept needing him to travel.
Finally the day was today! It was here! And while I was in the shower Steve banged on the door and told me he was going on ahead, like we'd talked about. Because he had a call. I remembered that part. "OK!" I shouted, rinsing soap out of my hair.
See, I figured we'd have lots of time to get the car seat and everything out of the car while we were waiting for the school bus.
But when I got downstairs, I realized Steve had taken my car. THE car. The one I usually drive that we were going to get treated.
Which had the car seats in it.
Steve's car did not have any car seats in it.
I figured out I could just use a booster for Andy instead, and then drive carefully.
Very carefully. Because my glasses were in MY car.
And so was, it turned out, my bag with my cash and credit cars and my license.
It was better and better.
Add to this the fact that it was pouring rain, like, pouring pouring pouring. I could hardly see anything. Especially since I was wearing sunglasses. (I have no extra pair of glasses! I know! I know!)
I called Steve and left a message on his cell phone. But my messages sometimes take up to three hours to reach his phone. So I was a little frazzled.
But it all worked out in the end. I was just very wet from stomping through puddles and being half out-the-door while installing Andy's Car Seat.
When I got there, Steve had a coffee for me. I SO should have listened!
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
The Kindergarten had a field trip to Apple Acres the other day.
It wasn't free, mind you. The school sent home a notice asking for cash to cover the cost of apple picking. It also mentioned that parents could chaperone, if they wanted, but that each chaperone had to pay as well.
I wasn't sure how this chaperone thing worked, but I know Nick was sad when I didn't go for his Kindergarten class trip (I couldn't, I had Andy at home with me) so I signed up.
It turned out there was no limit to the number of chaperones that could go. Almost half the kids had a parent there. No wonder Nick was sad I wasn't there. So many parents were there that the kids without parents were bound to feel left out.
Anyway, it was a fun trip. We got to tour apple cider making machinery, and then everyone got to pick one apple - and that was it for the fruit picking part. But the kids liked eating what they picked. Then they got to go an a hay ride - a scary, tractor pulled flat thing covered in hay. The grown-ups sat on the outside. And then we got to go on a nature walk through the trees!
It was fun. But, it was pouring rain. Instead of gradually clearing up, it gradually got worse and worse. The kids were soaked. The grown-ups were soaked. So instead of having a donut and cider at the farm, the kids got back on the bus and headed back to school. Parents, cheated from sharing the donuts, lined up and purchased apples and donuts to take home.
Now, most of the donuts they had on hand had gone to the classrooms. So the donuts the parents got were the ones right out of the... fryer, or whatever it is they use to make the donuts. They were warm and fluffy and it was by far the best donut I have ever had.
I ate it on the front porch of the store, waiting for the rain to clear. It didn't. So I dashed back to the car and just drove to the school, thinking I would read until Nathan was dismissed at 11:15.
By the time Kindergarten was over, the sun was shining and the day was drying out. Meanwhile, my socks are still wet. How unfair is that?
Also, Andrew misunderstood and thought HE was going to go Apple Picking, too. When we picked him up and found out Nate had already gone, he sobbed and demanded we go RIGHT BACK! RIGHT NOW! Of course we didn't, but it was still a sad thing for Andy.
Monday, October 03, 2011
Usually I sit down and write a bunch of posts for the week. But here it is, the start of the week, and I have already run out of ideas.
I think it's because I have a cold. My head hurts and my throat hurts and I can't sleep unless I take an Afrin so I can breathe.
So this week is going to be a little patched together. We'll have to play it by ear.
Sunday, October 02, 2011
We went to the Pompeii exhibit yesterday at the Museum of Science.
The boys were fine. No one freaked out, and we managed to drag them away from the body casts before thy realized that the skeletal remains were in fact skeletal remains and not a Halloween display.
I really love the Museum of Science. There is really so much to do, and a lot of it has a hands-on part so that the kids can really get involved. There's also a whole section for younger kids, and we spent a lot of time there.
My issue with museums is that there is usually so much pressure to see everything. It's so expensive to take a family there. Usually we're either dragging the boys into something they don't want to see or dragging them from somewhere they want to stay.
But last year we went and became members of the museum. Aside from giving us discounted tickets to the exhibits (instead of $27 a ticket we paid $4 a ticket) we also get in to the museum free. Meaning we can go back whenever we want to play with the water table, the magnets, the display of the planets to scale.
Suddenly I didn't care if we moved on, or if we stayed and played in the kid-sized bird's nest all morning. It made the visit so much more enjoyable because I could just be happy where I was, in the moment.
What this means