Thursday, November 30, 2006

As I listen to the sleet pounding the house...

while I have three sick kids coughing through naptime upstairs, I'm reminded of the great blizzard of '83. I was 9 and had some awful sickness with 104F fever. We lived in a 500 sq ft two-bedroom home on a gravel road, five miles outside of our little town and our electricity had gone out...and it stayed out for four days.

The severe winds had snow piled higher than I've ever seen it in my life and I still remember the chest-high tunnel someone dug to reach the cars. We still have old Super 8 film, converted to VCR tape now, of the dog trying to find his way through like a rat in a maze. We had no fireplace and were stuck trying to keep warm with extra clothes and blankets. My mother used a saucepan over a candle to warm canned soup for us. My brother was sent outside to dig holes in the ice covered swimming pool so we could flush the toilet (septic system). My oldest brother was off at college in another part of the state. We used candles for light and, as I recall, spent most of the time reading to each other, huddled under blankets. With my high fever, I don't think I was quite as cold as the others but they did seem to want to snuggle close to my internal heater.

I remember my father and brother taking off to town to look for a kerosene room heater on the 2nd or 3rd day. The story he came back with was that he had to pound on the door and beg some shopkeeper to open up and sell him a kerosene heater, using the ol' "my daughter is very sick and needs it desperately" line. It worked and as scared as my mother was of the thing, it did help warm us up.

So as I sit and listen to the sleet pelting the house today (and forecasting 6-10 inches of snow tonight), and worry about Hubby making it home from work in one piece, I smile to myself, recalling my mother reading a story to my brother and I by candlelight, huddled under a blanket so many years ago. We'll survive this winter storm too and maybe even have a good story to share about it down the road.

A little over an hour ago conditions (the white is a teeny bit of snow but mostly all ice):

Current conditions (yes, still almost all ice):

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Matthew has been working on mastering the art of tying his shoes, off and on, for a while now. He has a few books with shoelaces on them and instructions. He has shoes with laces. And every once in a while, the notion strikes him to work on that skill. A few weeks ago, we were rushing out the door to the grocery store so that we'd make it back before lunch (I hate getting caught out at lunchtime with starving children) and naptime. In that moment, when I was getting Jade ready, issuing instructions on "no, Rose, it's REALLY cold outside and you need to wear long pants instead of your capris", he decided to wear his lace shoes. I could tell the determined look in his eye that he was going to "do it himself" and this could take a long time and ruin my plans for shopping. But alas, I took a deep breath and watched.

He talked himself through it like every other time. "Over, under. Bunny ear. Bunny ear. Loop again and pull through." This time though, something went incredibly right and he had DONE it...on the very first try. I'm not sure who was more surprised - him or me. He was so incredibly proud of himself!! He'd worked hard at it and had been frustrated many times before. I wonder if he would have been as proud of himself if he'd been forced to learn it in a pre-K class? I'll never know. What I *do* know is that I'm so glad that I chose to wait for him that day instead of rushing him through the door. Watching the lightbulb click is just an amazing sight and I'm so glad I didn't miss it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

If you were a wall in our house today...

you would have heard the following conversations:

1.I was asking Rose what she wanted for Cmas. She named, among other things, a cat tree. I don’t think we’ve ever discussed a cat tree and I didn’t know how she would know what one was. Then I got worried that Matthew figured out what is in the garage, waiting to be painted (an animal 'tree' to hold all her stuffed cats), and told her. I let it go but it kinda weirded me out.

Later, I was writing down the list of things she told me and Matthew reminded me that she wanted a cat tree. I asked him where she got the idea for a tree? “I mean, cats don’t live in trees!” He said, “From the Catwings book!” I should have known. ;)

2. Hubby, Matthew and I were talking just before bedtime tonight. Matthew had said he wanted some Lego Mindstorm sets for Cmas and we discussed that he would need to know how to program and that they're very very expensive. Hubby said that another expensive gift he'd like to get one day are two microscopes...a high powered and a low powered one. Matthew exclaims, "You're the best dad!! I'd LOVE a microscope!"

3. Matthew is quickly coming around to the idea of being the only boy. We told him his cousin's viewpoint (he is also an only brother to three sisters), "The best thing is that on boys night out, you don't have to share Daddy with anyone!" That conversation quickly led to scheduling a boys night out for this coming weekend.

Jade and Rose were running after Matthew this afternoon and Matthew was play-screaming, 'help!' I told him that was something he'd have to get used to - his three sisters will give him lots of attention and want to play with him lots because he will be their only brother. He liked that idea a lot. Nah, he's not an attention monger. ;)

4. While watching one of his favorite shows, Good Eats with Alton Brown, Matthew kept pausing the TIVO. I wandered over to see what he was doing and he was copying the cooking instructions that appeared on the screen. He spent a large part of today writing.

Monday, November 27, 2006

We hoped for a boy, I 'felt' girl...

the kids were positive it was a boy and it's a...GIRL! LOL Always go with mom's gut instinct. :) Happy and healthy and no sign of previa again - YAY!

Matthew is disappointed. He really wanted a baby brother ("I ALREADY have two sisters!"). But he really does have so much fun with his sisters, I think he'll come around in no time. Besides, there are definite advantages to being the only boy (I should know, I was the only girl..teehee). ;) Rose doesn't seem to mind either way so she's happy.

Today, today, today is the day!!

We're headed out to the big halfway mark ultrasound. Hopefully in a few hours, I can tell you if we're having a boy or a girl in April. :)

And as much as we're all pulling for a boy to "even things out", we're just praying for a healthy baby. Matthew, on the other hand, is *really* pulling for a boy...heavily. I was again preparing him last night that he might get another sister but that's ok because he has so much fun with his sisters. He thinks about that for a minute and says, "But I don't know that I can watch three sisters for you when you need me to." :-P Apparently he takes his big brother duties very seriously. I told him that Rose will be 4 by the time the baby arrives and she's big enough to help him watch the other two. His eyes lit up as he asked, "So she can watch Jade and I can watch the baby??" I replied, "Yes, she should be able to do that." He was much happier about that.

Hopefully I'll be posting soon! Stay tuned! :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Everyone have a great turkey day! :) And I'll post pics soon!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Early readers

Sometimes there are downsides to having an early reader. This morning, Matthew read the wrapper to his oatmeal breakfast bar and it said, "It's great warm too! Remove From Wrapper. Microwave on HIGH for approx. 10 seconds." So as Hubby is leaving for work, he informs me that Matthew told him that we need to discuss Matthew's use of the microwave. Apparently Matthew warmed up his bar this morning all by himself before we woke up. Thank goodness he followed the directions to the letter!

On the other hand, sometimes we get very silly things out of him because he can read complex words and usually can tell me their meaning but the pronunciation is way off. Especially words that sound nothing like they 'should', phonetically speaking. But yesterday we got a very good laugh. So we were running to grab a load of mulch so Hubby can winterize the garden. And Rose is in the back of the van quietly singing a song by doing the "duh duh duuuuhhhh duh duuuhhh duh.." version. She's so quiet that we can't hear her. Matthew says, "Daddy, can you sing the Cocker Spaniel song so Rose will stop doing the duh duuuuhhh's?" Hubby and I look at each other. "Cocker Spaniel song??? I don't know any cocker spaniel song. Do you mean a song from Lady and the Tramp?" Matthew says, "No...YOU know!" "We're really not sure. Can you sing a little bit of it?" He starts humming the tune to the Star Spangled Banner. The background: Rose is a little song hound. Every night, she requests song after song when being put to bed. And every night, Hubby obliges. Her favorite all-time song is The Star Spangled Banner. So almost every night, he sings that one to her. Through her closed door, Matthew is on the other side of the wall in his room, waiting for Hubby to tuck him in and listening to the songs. He's not much of a singer himself so he only occasionally will request something like the Spiderman or Larryboy theme songs. So Hubby and I start full in on "Oh say does that Cocker Spaniel baaaaaaaaaay...." It does fit pretty well. ;)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mini vacation

Hubby is sending me away from the house for 24 hours this weekend. Tomorrow morning, I'm to leave as soon as possible and not come home until Sunday. He booked me a room at a hotel in the city and I'm not allowed to call home (and vice versa) unless it's an emergency. I've already made plans with my mom for breakfast Sat and my best friend for Sat night dinner and gabbing until all hours (or until her breasts implode and she has to rush home to feed her baby, whichever comes first). He's also said it'd be nice if I did this once a quarter. I'm really looking forward to the time to myself. I'm going to savor completing full thoughts, not being interupted in the middle of sentences, not having to pick up after anyone but little ol' me and just having some quiet for a whole entire day.

Today we have our MOPS group (Mothers Of PreSchoolers). We meet twice a month at a local church and the kids go into their own classes and do crafts, storytime, maybe play on the playground if it's nice enough, have snack, etc. I get to go into my class and each week, a different group of us brings breakfast items - home cooked stuff, donuts, bagels, coffee, juice, fruit, etc. We eat for about 20 minutes, then we have our 'class'. During one of the two weeks we meet per month, we have a speaker. Last month we had a lady from our library talk to us about getting our children ready and excited about reading. During the other meeting, we do a craft of some kind. We've made bookbags for ourselves, no-sew blankets for a local crisis nursery, bookbags for kids in South America (there's a mission trip heading there in January) and today we'll be creating Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Rose adores her class as they usually let her do all the coloring and cutting and pasting and stickers that she wants to do. They were especially surprised at her concentration a few weeks ago when they had little foam animal stickers set out and she worked on her page for more than an hour. She is my little artist. ;)

Matthew doesn't do so well at MOPS. But he's getting better. He doesn't seem to like classes at all - Sunday School is tolerated but he always tries to get out of it. He always has a very hard time when he has to move up a level and change rooms. One of his High Spirited traits is slow-to-change. I learned very early on to try to let him know what's coming up but also to emphasize that things can change - friends get sick and cancel playdates sometimes, sometimes places we plan to visit are closed when we get there, and so on. It's a never-ending challenge around here but he's getting more adaptable as he gets older.

What can I say about Jade? She's happy no matter where we go or what we do. All that's required for a smile on her face are her shoes. Yes, Jade loves her shoes. She will go get them from the closet as soon as breakfast is over and she's still in her sleeper. She sits on our shoe rack and 'rearranges' our shoes every single day for at least 20 minutes or longer. She loves shoes. I feel I know where most of Hubby's money will be going when she turns into a teen. ;)

Well, speaking of MOPS, we'd better get going! After, if we don't get rained out, we're meeting up with our best friends to hit the zoo this afternoon! :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm actually watching non-local stations...

simply due to the fact that EVERY commercial is voting related. WHY, someone please answer this - WHY do they get into mud-slinging wars so badly? All they end up doing is force the voters to pick the lesser of the two evils and we're not happy with either one that ends up in office. I rarely use this word outloud but I think they all just end up looking like total idiots. So I'm currently watching stations (until the election) that don't have political FoodNetwork and DIY and HGTV and TBS and Science Channel. I refuse to watch the others. 'Course my favorite programs are recorded on TIVO so I can zap through the crazy politital junk. And do they still think they make money on commercials? With so many homes having TIVO these days, who actually watches commercials?

OK, off my bandwagon. This is a topic that really drives me insane, as you can tell.

Just as the kids thought it was over, we're having a Halloween party day this weekend. Grandma and her parents (now living with her & her hubby) are begging to see grandkids in full costumage. So we're heading over this weekend to trick-or-treat them and back home to carve the pumpkins and watch Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1958) (great film if you haven't seen it! It's a tradition around here). Yes you read that right - we have yet to carve pumpkins. What can I say? It's been crazy busy and Hubby was gone at the last minute last weekend and I didn't want him to miss the tradition, especially since he's the carver around here.

So after a week of making costumes and worrying and sizing and resizing and trying on and figuring out how to attach a tail and trying on again and making accessories to go with the costume and trying on AGAIN, I took the day off yesterday. I admit - I didn't do anything. Well, I loaded the dishwasher and laundry washer but that was it. I played around making a cute sweater for Jade. It's not perfect and looks more like an off-the-shoulder look but I'm pretty proud of it for my first ever garment. Please pardon her expression. She's had a cold for a week and going out on Halloween made it more like Niagara Falls now so she's on meds and stuffy and runny and not in a very good mood (hence the not-so-matching red pants). ;)

Today is a day of catching up. Things screaming my name the loudest:
1. Bathrooms
2. gobs of laundry (mostly clean, just needs to be sorted and put away)
3. costume left-overs need to be put away because they're about to take over the entire downstairs between fabrics and fur and hot glue guns and sewing machines...I'm telling ya! I also need to find a 'home' for all the yarn I have around here. Grandma sent me her extra yarn she hasn't used in years and while I'm incredibly grateful, I'm also quite overwhelmed with yarn at the moment and need to figure out where to stash it.
4. floors

Those are the major obstacles for today. Wish me luck! :) Oh and CONGRATS to my friend Andrea on the birth of her first baby, Zoe, on Halloween! :) WTG girl!