Friday, November 26, 2010

The Week in Kids

This week...

We went to Grandma and Grandpa's for the week of Thanksgiving.

Samuel and Cate had their first experience with snow.

It wasn't all good.

"Ow!  It's in my eyes!"
"Look, Mommy.  I found my mittens."
"Now, what do I do with them?"

We weren't out there long, but we left tracks.

The snow has since melted, the rain has returned, and all of this beautiful land scape now looks like dirt soup.

Also this week...

Jonah found an old castle in the attic.  It used to be Daddy's.  It has not been under siege in awhile, but it proved worthy of conquests.

Also this week...

Samuel and both of his grandmothers (we brought one with us from California) built a gingerbread train.  It was a pre-packaged kit.  Sam is only four.  He doesn't have a whole lot of patience for making a Notre Dame of  gingerbread, like Jonah is planning.

Also this week...

Getting Cate to bed in a strange place was a bit of a challenge.  She shared a room in the attic with Daddy, Sam and me.  The first night, I had to hide out in the stairwell, watching to see if she tried to get out of bed.  Which she did, every time she stopped crying.  From there, I heard Sam whispering his form of comfort and encouragement.  "Go to sleep, Catie.  Go to sleep, Catie."  He is such a sweet big brother.

Also this week...

Jonah was a real live grown up boy.  He was helpful, and polite.  He played quietly alone.  He was nice to his little brother and sister.  He even joined the men, when they drove into Seattle to help my his aunt and uncle  move.  Oh, and he lost another tooth.  I feel like we will be visiting colleges soon.

Also this week...

We gave thanks.  We ate turkey.  And stuffing.  And potatoes.  And pie.  Sam had four pieces.  And, I gave thanks some more.  I am blessed, and so are you.  I hope you had the opportunity this week to be thankful.

See you next week!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

For These Things, I Am Thankful

Freedom from Want, by Norman Rockwell

This list is by no means exhaustive, or even thorough, but it is what I have to offer on this Thanksgiving Eve.  In no particular order...

I am thankful that we made it 1000 miles to visit Grandma and Grandpa, yet managed to just miss all the ice and snow.

I am thankful for the DVD player that straps to the back of my headrest, giving my children something to do for the fifteen hour, two day drive, besides ask, "Are we there yet?"

I am thankful that Jonah spent all day today on the farm "adventuring" and not once asked to play a video game.

I am thankful for Cate's laugh and playful personality.

I am thankful for Samuel's cuddles, saved just for me, and sometimes Daddy.

A cold attic room (shared with my smallest children, sleeping soundly) a warm, pre-heated bed (thank you, electric mattress pad), and my net-book.  Hubband has not flown in yet, so I am cuddled up with you folks, for whom I am thankful.

I am thankful for Nana and Grandma, and all of the other people who have my back and pick up my slack.

And Hubband and Jonah and Samuel and Cate, healthy and happy, all.

I am thankful for my salvation.  Thank you, Jesus.

I am thankful that, compared to many people in the world, I live this a queen.  Thank you, God. 

Hot running water, flushing toilet, a big cold box called a refrigerator.  Let's not take these things for granted people.

And, to quote the lyrics of the song Sam sang at his Friendship Feast...

I'm glad I'm not a turkey, a turkey, a turkey
I'm glad I'm not a turkey on Thanksgiving day.
They stuff you, and baste you, and then they want to taste you.
I'm glad I'm not a turkey on Thanksgiving day.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Week in Kids

This week...

Jonah and Samuel were both in shows.

On Thursday, Jonah sang in his class' Visual and Performing Arts Show.

This deer caught in headlight look was the best still photo I could get.

It was here that I realized, my camera stinks.

See what I mean?  And, yes, I read the manual.   Which is how I knew that it takes video.  

I must let you know that this was not exactly Jonah's finest hour.  He rehearsed his little heart out for this show, and he was home.  Then, when the big day came, and I was sitting there in the audience, it wasn't so good.  I began to wonder if he had stage fright.  When he came up to hug me after, I realized he had a raging fever.  Poor kid.  Keep that in mind, as you watch.  It's only 29 seconds, and he finishes strong.

On Friday, Sam's pre-school class had their annual Thanksgiving pageant, called the Friendship Feast.  Once again, my best pictures were moving.

Okay, this is one whole minute.  Only grandparents might be able to sit through sixty seconds of Sam's star quality.

Uh, never mind.  Stupid Blogger keeps telling me that there is an error with my video and encourages me to read the terms and conditions.  I am not going to read the terms and freaking conditions.  They don't apply to me anyway; I'm a lawyer.  Sorry, grandparents and people who might care.  I will have to load Sam's adorableness some other time.

Also this week...

Cate said her first complete sentence.  "Mommy, I have poopies."  It was accompanied by the cutest point at her bottom.  But I have no pictures, sorry.

How about these?

Cate has been following Sam around since she was old enough to move, but lately he has been letting her.  Even taking her hand and running/dragging her from room to room.  She loves this.  It is fun to watch their relationship develop. 

See you next week...Maybe.  We are going to be in Washington over the whole week of Thanksgiving, but I will have my computer, and I may be able to fit this in.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning?

Sleeping Beauty by Thomas Spence

The clock said 6:14am.  I was avoiding getting out a bed, because I had a migraine.  Hubband was avoiding getting out of bed, because he is lazy.  He may have had some legitimate excuse, but as he offered none, I will go with my assessment.

All three of the children were awake.  They had come to see us several times: first in turn, and then en mass. We had finally managed to get them out of our room, when we heard this:

The refrigerator opened.  A drawer in the refrigerator opened.  A plastic bag rustled.  I recognized it as a bag of cheese sticks.  (Yes, I recognized it.  I have mom-hearing.  It should be studied by the NSA.)  The drawer closed.  The refrigerator door closed, with a couple of hard thumps, because the drawer did not get closed all the way.

Sam:  What's that Catie?
Cate:  My cheese, my cheese.
Sam:  Catie...
Cate:  No, no.  My cheese, my cheese.
Jonah:  No, Sam.  Catie, do you need me to open your cheese?
Cate:  Uh-huh.  My cheese.

A kitchen drawer opened.  Utensils were jostled.

Sam:  No, Jonah.
Cate:  My cheese. my cheese.
Jonah:  Hang on, Catie.  I'm trying to open it for you.
Sam:  Jonah, give me that.
Jonah:  No, Sam.
Sam:  Jonah, I want it, I want.
Jonah: No, Sam.
Cate:  My cheese, my cheese.
Sam:  No, Jonah.  That's sharp.  No, Jonah.  That's sharp.  That's sharp.
Jonah:  Sam, be quiet.  I'm just trying to open the cheese.
Cate:  My cheese, my cheese.
Sam:  No, Jonah.  That's sharp.

Hm.  One of us had to get out of bed, or spend the morning answering uncomfortable questions in the emergency room.  But, it did not have to be me.

I rolled toward Hubband and whispered, "Jonah has a knife."  With that, he lept out of bed, like the super hero that he is.

I take back what I said.  Hubband is not lazy.  He just needs sufficient motivation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friendship in a Cup

I have a friend, whom I have known longer than all my other friends.  At least the ones I still speak to regularly.  She has long legs, an exotic name, a unique cadence to her speech.  Long hair, which I have heard her describe as, a sign of good breeding.  (I don't know about this, but she is my friend, so I say nothing.)  She rides a motorcycle, and her idea of a family dog is a Great Dane.  When we met, we were from the same bland town, with the same government job.  But since then, she has lived in several different cities and on a Virgin Island.  She has visited countries that I don't even have a desire to see, such is her taste for adventure.   

In short, she is prone to flights of fancy, like only a beautiful woman can be.  Fancy becoming reality more often than not.  I don't begrudge her this.  She is my friend.

Why, I do not know, as we have always been so different.  But she is my friend.

This beautiful, exotic friend of mine, recently left her sea side cottage (It may be a tract home, twenty minutes from the ocean.  I don't know.  I don't want to know.  I like my version better.) to return to this bland town for a visit.  While she was here, she rubbed some of the beige off the place, revealing a bit color that is there, if you care to look.  We drank overpriced coffee, while our kids scattered banana bread crumbs all over the carpet.  We swapped recipes.  We watched dumb television.  We went out to dinner and ate only appetizers.  We saw a movie; a documentary we knew our husbands would never go see.  And, she was a great help with my kids, when I really needed it.

And then she was gone.  A month is so short, really.

A week, or so, later, a small envelope arrived in my mail box.  Ooo.  Real mail.  What a treat!  It was a card, thanking me for everything.  I loaned her a car seat and a couple of un-missed toys.  Worthy of a card?  Maybe, maybe not.  But it gets better.  The card contained a Starbucks gift card.  Wooohooo!

You have to understand.  Starbucks is a luxury around here.  It may not even be that good, but it's scarceness makes it seem so.  A Starbucks gift card is like plastic gold.  Especially this close to the holidays.  Have you ever had a peppermint mocha?  It is like Christmas in a cup.

Even so,  I waited a few days.  I had to go when I didn't have the kids with me, because they, somehow, have come to view Starbucks a Scone Hut, and I was not willing to share.  Sorry.  I just wasn't.  Besides, I didn't know how much was on the card.  How much is the loan of an old car seat worth?  Not much, right?

So, almost giddy with excitement,  I walked into my neighborhood Strabucks, and I ordered the giganti-ventiest cup of espresso infused milk, sugar, and chocolate I have ever dared order.

"Would you like whipped cream on that?" asked the friendly barista.

"Yes.  Yes, I would."

Why, you ask?

Two reason.  One, it was free.  I figured there had to be at least five bucks on that card, or she would not have bothered to send it, and I wanted to spend every penny.  Two, I had recently lost a little weight, and I wanted to treat myself.

What, you ask?  Aren't you worried you will undo all of your hard work, you ask?

Well, yes, and no.  You see, I have to be careful.  I have, over the years, put an embarrassing amount energy into the idea that my life would be perfect, if only I were thinner.  I would hate to go to all the trouble of actually getting thin, only to be disillusioned.  As long as I am not thin, there is always hope for that perfect life.  You understand, right?

"Would you like a receipt?" asked my barista.

"Yes, please," I say.

"Here you go.  The remaining balance on your card in $20.25"

Twenty five dollars!  Seriously?  Woo-double-hoo!

Can I send a thank card for a thank you card?  I suppose I could.  Or, I could write a nice little story about my beautiful friend, letting the world know how beautiful she is.  (I used the word four times, if you want a tally.)

[The painting is Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, a watercolor by Warwick Goble and I found it here.]

Monday, November 15, 2010

You Know You're Married to a Lawyer...

You know you're married to a lawyer when you have a conversations like this...

Hubband: I love you. You know that right.
Me: Yeah. That's what you're always telling me.
Hubband: Do you doubt it?
Me: Well, talk is cheap.
Hubband: Not at my hourly rate.

Also from the Hubband department...

Me (from the other room): Hubband, are you busy?
Hubband: Yes.
Me: What are you doing?
Hubband:  Jobs American women won't do.

I come into the room to find him taking out the garbage.

Here's hoping that you, too can share a smile with your spouse this week!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Week in Kids

This week...

Cate turned two.  Yay, Cate!

This is a birthday card I found.  The little girl is not Cate, but she looks just like her.

See?  They are identical.  Except that the parents of the child on the right, had the foresight to make their little girl start earning money for college early.  Why didn't we think of that?

There was little fan fare, as most of the family had been sick.  That is why she is still in her pajamas in the pictures.  But there was a small pumpkin spice cake, with two candles.

So small, Cate thought it was all hers.


But, wait.  If you let me cut you piece, there is whipped  cream.

In honor of the big occasion, she got her own potty.  She seems very interested in the whole toileting process, so we think we might train her soon, much younger (and smaller) than we did the boys.  That will require a much smaller commode.  Two birds, one stone; she got a pink frog potty as a birthday present.

But now, I am having second thoughts.  Knowing my girl the way I do, I fear the potty, and her demands to use it, may just become one more way to manipulate me.  Am I ready to drop everything on the whims of my two year old and her bladder?  We'll see.

Also this week...

Jonah lost his first tooth.  Yay, Jonah!

I tried several times to get a good picture, that showed his face, and his gap-toothed smile, and wasn't blurry because he wiggles too much.

Until finally, he had had enough.

That is his genuine grumpy face.  When I see it, I know he has been pushed to the brink; it's serious.  But, he is just so darned cute, I can barely stop myself from grinning.

Also this week...

Samuel found my old guitar. 

He loves to see and hear people play the guitar.  Why don't I ever play any more?

See you next week!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

C'I Go To Halloween?

This year's Halloween story is a little late.  Sorry about that.  We've been busy recovering from old, and getting new, illnesses.

Last Halloween, Jonah was a boy obsessed.  He had poured so much energy into his anticipation, that when the candy bowl was empty, the last trick-or-treater had left, and I turned out the porch light, he was completely devastated.

This Halloween, it was Samuel who became fixated.  "C'I go to Halloween?  C'I go to Halloween?"  He started obsessing asking shortly after the Fourth of July.  "C'I go to Halloween?"  When the day came, and the answer was finally "yes," he seemed a bit taken aback.  I guess that's why he kept asking.

"C'I go to Halloween?"

"Yes, Sam.  You are in your costume."

"C'I go to Halloween?"

"Yes, Sam.  We are trick-or-treating."

"C'I go to Halloween?"

"Yes, Sam.  This is Halloween."

As the night wore on, he indulged his sweet tooth, pleasantly surprised that candy was part of the deal.  Even though he was fixated with the idea of Halloween, I don't think he knew exactly what that meant.  But, he soon found out, and he liked it!

Then came the moment I was dreading.  How would Samuel take the end of his new favorite holiday?  As badly as Jonah had?  I braced myself for tears, wailing, and heart-wrenching disappointment.  Just like last year.

"Samuel,"  I started calmly.  "We are about to run out of candy for the trick-or-treaters.  I am going to turn out the porch light.  When I do, that will be the end of Halloween."  Then I held my breath.

Samuel did not miss a beat.  "C'I go to Christmas?  C'I go to Christmas?"

We have since explained that Thanksgiving comes next, prompting the question, "C'I go to turkey, gobble, gobble?  C'I go to turkey, gobble, gobble?"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Torch is Passed

Last year, a little before Christmas, Samuel gave up his place in our house as the Toddler Menace, passing that title onto his little sister Catherine.  By January, he was promoted from Menace to Assassin.  The Assassin of Sleep, specifically.  Having moved into a "big boy bed," he got out of bed, and then got me out of bed, on some pretense or other, every night for ten months.  If he did not, he was up by 5:30.  This, as you might imagine, was exhausting.

Last month, many things came together to improve this situation.  He stopped taking a nap.  The days started getting shorter; the mornings started getting darker.  For one whole week, he went to bed without incident, slept soundly through the night, and did not get out of bed until at least six, sometimes half past, and one glorious day, 7:30.  It seems my little Assassin has overcome his ways.  He is ready to get promoted again.  To what, I do not yet know.  I'll admit, I am a little anxious to see what comes next, but right now I have another problem.


After only one week -- one, glorious, sleep filled week -- of Samuel's new routine, Catherine learned how to climb out of her crib.  Climb out, stay out, cry to let me know she was out.  One morning at five, she came, like her brothers before her, to the side of the bed (Why is it always my side of the bed?), and said, "C'mon, Mommy.  Get up now."  Repeatedly.  "C'mon, Mommy.  Get up now.  C'mon, Mommy.  Get up now."  Then, she began pulling off the bed covers.  She grabbed the top corner and just peeled them back, leaving me no choice but to "C'mon, Mommy.  Get up now." 

This would not do.

In an effort to begin teaching her proper "big girl bed" behavior, I just embraced it.  Her crib is now converted into a toddler bed, with new bedding (an early birthday present) which she helped pick out (from the clearance rack).

So, to sum up:  The Assassin of Sleep torch has passed. Another Menace has been promoted.  And, Cate has a new bed.

Here it is, all made up, pretty and inviting.

She helped make it.

She showed Dolly how to use it.  This is a good sign, I thought.

She was thrilled to pieces to get in it.  Though it was not bed time.

She was even able to show me how she was going to "sleep" in it.

The first night, something got lost in translation.

The second night was a little better.  But, it took some work to get her to stay in there before this blissful picture could be taken.

The third night, she regressed a little.

We have quit trying to get her to stay in the bed.  All we require is that she stay in the room.  And, since she can't turn door knobs (yet) that has been pretty easy.  Most nights, she cries at her door for five minutes and then falls asleep there.  Before we go to bed, we have to squeeze our way in, scoop her up, and put her back where she belongs.  It has only been a week.  I am sure she is going to get the hang of it soon.  She is going to get the hang of it soon, right?

My next concern is what to do with her if she gets up too early in the morning, or worse, in the middle of the night.  Her father insists on opening her door before we go to bed so that "she can get out if she needs us."  Us?  Ha!  I can hear her if she needs me.  I can hear her even when she hopes I can't.  Like last night, when she got up, came into our room to look around a bit, and finding us still asleep, stole away to the kitchen, where I caught her, sitting in front of an open refrigerator, eating sour cream out of the container with a serving spoon.

Her brothers never did this and still don't.  If they get up in the middle of the night, they come to see me, no matter what.  There has never been any free range night time adventure.  Tonight, I'm keeping her door closed, before she figures out how to order pay-per-view and a pizza at two in the morning.

Meanwhile, we have to be careful not to get too distracted, lest we fail to notice what Samuel might be up to next.
Here's wishing you, and yours, an uninterrupted night of sleep.

The View From My Kitchen Sink

Who wants a banana?

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Week in Kids

This week...

...should be called the week in vomit.  But, I shall spare you.  While it is true that I am blessed/cursed with the ability to see the amusing side of almost anything, even half-digested puddles of my son's dinner, you may not be interested in reading about it.  You probably don't want to hear the story that starts whith Hubband scurrying out of the bathroom with a wet baby, hitching his thumb over his shoulder toward the bathtub, and saying, by way of explanation, "Poop soup."  I get that.  So, I'll move on.

And, since I missed last week's The Week in Kids, what you are about to read may have happened last week.  I don't want to mislead anyone.  I'll keep moving on.

Also, this week (or maybe last)...

Cate got her first pig tails.

Also, this week...

There were costumes (that's their Nana with them)...

...and candy...

...and very happy children.

Also, this week...

Cate moved into a toddler bed, even before the age of two.  Just one of the differences I have found between boys and girls.  I kept my boys in their cribs until they were well past three.  Since they did not climb out, or use the "potty" in the middle of the night, I saw no reason to give up that control over them.  Sometimes, I just needed a safe place to put them.  Cate, on the other hand, is a little Houdini.  On Halloween night, I caught her in her bed (when we thought she was sleeping) with a lolly pop in her mouth, pawing through her bag of candy.  And, we have no idea how she got the bag.  She's not even TWO people.  We, her parents, are doomed.

Also, this week...

My children surprised me with their knowledge...

ME:  Cate, what do you have?
CATE (waving a shiny, silver disk at me): CD, CD.
SAM (not the be outdone):  And, EFG, too!

..and, their sense of humor.

While I was in the kitchen, doing the dishes, Samuel stood at one of the gates I use to keep his kind out while I do the dishes, and started to rant at me, an impish grin on his face the whole time.

"Got damage!  [Something inaudible] tell you twice.  [Something inaudible] tell you again.  Stop it!  I mean it!  No, no, no!  Got damage!"

Then Hubband pipes up from his place on the couch.  "Hey, I think he's doing you."

Gee, you think.  The little stinker.  Got damage, indeed.

Also, this week...

There was some nice "boy" play, involving no bloodshed, real or imagined.

Also, this week...

On election day, to be exact, my friend Marissa came over to watch the boys so I could vote and sleep, after a particularly difficult night with sick children -- who, by the way, were only sick at night.  During the day, when I was completely wiped out, they were full of their usual healthy vigor.  Brats.  But, I digress.  Marissa came by, and showed off one of her hidden talents.  Face painting.

You rock, Miss Marissa!

See you next week!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Fool and Her Husband's Money

In September, Target came out with a Fall line of home decor.  Included was an off white, cable knit throw blanket.  It was beautiful.  And, reasonably priced for such an item.  Only twenty dollars.  "Only," I say, as if I have money to squander.  Don't misunderstand.  I am not claiming poverty here.   We are blessed that Hubband has a good income.  But, we only have the one.  I am expected to stick to a tight budget.  And, we are saving everything else so we can relocate soon.  In light of that, I could not bring myself to spend twenty dollars on a beautiful blanket.

Then, in early October, Sam's class at pre-school was requesting donations to go into a raffle basket for the Fall Festival.  One of the items requested was a throw blanket.  Well, I may not be willing to spend twenty dollars on a beautiful blanket for myself, but there is no reason I should be uncharitable.  So, I went and bought the blanket, and donated it to the school to put in one of the raffle baskets.

The Fall Festival was in late October.  The kids had great fun.  And, the raffle baskets looked fabulous.  Many with awesome (and expensive) prizes.  I could not help myself.  I really wanted to win the basket with that blanket.  Or the basket full of twenty dollar gift cards.  Or the week's free tuition.  The more tickets I had, the better my odds of winning.  This is just a statement of fact.  So, I bought twenty dollars worth of tickets to win a twenty dollar blanket.  And I did not win anything. 

You think I would just cut my losses.  But, no.  I was so disappointed that I had already spent forty dollars and had no blanket to show for it, that the next time I was in Target, I bought that blanket.  Yes.  Yes, I did.  I spent sixty dollars for a twenty dollar blanket.  I love that blanket.  I cuddle up with that blanket every night before bed, in my little corner of the couch, where I sit and drink a cup of chamomile tea and read my Bible, searching for proverbs on wisdom and frugality, warm in my shame and my blanket, which I love.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little Vacation

I was hoping to come here today with amusing Halloween stories.  And there are some.  But, I don't have the time today.  In fact, I may need to take a brief vacation from you, dear readers, as I have been busy with my mom chores, like cleaning up vomit and diarrhea.  On the bright side, they are all so sick, this means more candy for me.

Unless, I get sick too.

Oh, no.  I had not thought of that.  Surely, I won't get sick.  Mom's never do, right?

Hope to see you all in a few days!