Monday, January 31, 2005

Things Only A Parent Would Say

Frequently I hear words coming out of my mouth in combinations I never thought I would use. My children have a unique ability to get me to say the oddest things -- especially when I'm the phone. A few recent examples:

"Don't bite the sofa."
"No, you can't play doll hockey."
"Get your feet out of the silverware."
"Don't suck your sister's nose."
"It's only an arm. It can be put back."
"No, I won't kiss your tongue to make it better."


So what have your children inspired you to say?

My Husband Compared Me to Michael Moore

I admit it. I'm anti-American -- cheese, that is. Some people from church gave us a bunch of processed cheese foods. The children liked them and my husband wasn't above spreading them on Wheat Thins and wolfing a few down, but one was more than enough for me. I love cheese -- real cheese, but that sort of stuff is just gross.

After I turned down the offer of processed spreadable cheese on a cracker, my husband declared my aversion to the stuff un-American and proclaimed me to be a cohort of Michael Moore and his ilk. I countered -- pointing out that one had only to look at Moore to see that he clearly was a fan of American cheese and other such foodstuffs, even if the rest of American culture leaves him cold.

The Manly Carnival of the Recipes

Kin's Kouch has the Men's Digest version of the Carnival of the Recipes this week.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

All Creatures Great and Small

The Thursday Three takes on the subject of animals, both the eating and pet kinds, this week.

1) Of all animals, what is your absolute favorite one to eat?
While I probably eat chicken the most and love a good salmon filet or tuna steak, nothing beats a good medium-rare steak. Mmmm...yummy cow.

2) What is the most number of pets/livestock you have ever had at one time?
I think we had two parakeets and a rabbit all at the same time once. All of them boring pets. The rabbit died of heat stroke and the parakeets' cage got knocked over and they escaped to freedom.

3) Which of your pets is, or has been, your very most favorite?
Nana the Old English Sheepdog (pictured here with me and my brother's dog Aja) my parents had for 14 years was by far the best dog ever. Hobbes, our current canine floor mat, is decent, but doesn't compare to my childhood doggy love.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Smile

kids bw small.jpg


Salmon Chowder

I like chowder and I like salmon. In Alaska we lived down the street from a great little restaurant called The Chowder House that had a great salmon chowder on the menu. I ate it a lot up there, but had never made my own. The other night I had some salmon I needed to cook and decided to take my favorite corn chowder recipe, change it around a bit, add the salmon and see what happened. This is the result. It turned out so well that my five year old went through 4 bowls of it and he's not even usually a big fan of salmon.

Jordana's Salmon Chowder


Any leftover salmon would do and I suppose you could use canned salmon, though I wouldn't recommend it. Starting with fresh salmon though, this is the recipe.

Salmon filet (about 3-4 inches long)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove skin from salmon. Brush both sides heavily with olive oil and sprinkle the top with salt and pepper. Heat a oven proof (I used cast iron) skillet on high on the stove. When the skillet is hot, put the salmon face down on the pan and cook it for 2 minutes without moving it. Then flip it over, put the skillet in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Flake into small pieces to use in the soup. (The salmon is delicious and moist cooked this way, so it works great just for eating, not simply for soup-making.)

Cooking spray
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, cut into �-inch rings
4 medium red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into �-inch chunks
1 cup water
2 cups chicken broth
� teaspoon dried dill
� teaspoon salt
Course ground black pepper
2 cups frozen corn, thawed or fresh corn cut from 4 ears
flaked salmon
1 cup half-and-half

Spray a large soup pot with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Add potatoes, chicken broth, dill, salt, pepper, and water. Heat to boiling; boil 10 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender.

When potatoes are ready, add corn and salmon to the pot and cook 5 minutes. Stir in half-and-half; heat through, but do not boil. Serve.



Tuesday, January 25, 2005

It's M-A-R-T-I-N

Ever since posting that my son was a bit confused about Martin Luther King Jr.'s name, I've been getting multiple hits every day from people searching for Marther Luther King. Who knew that his name was such a problem for so many people?

I Guess I'm a Little Immature





You Are 27 Years Old



27





Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.





But I won't be thirty for three more months, so I can cling to my twenties until then.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Wine? Caterer? Musicians? This is a kid's birthday party?

My son goes to a private school. Granted it's a hippy German school, not a hoity-toity, get your kid ready for Harvard while he's still in diapers kind of school, but it is a private school. There will always be some rich kids at any private school, but at The Boy's school I've never found it too obvious who they are.

Let me just state for the record that I am not particularly envious of those with a whole lot more money than I have. We are blessed beyond measure. I am at times surprised, by the style in which others do things, because it sure isn't what middle class me is used to.

We've had several invitations to birthday parties for kids from school, but we didn't get to the ones at the beginning of the year because I was too pregnant and tired. Yesterday -- as a side note, who in the Bible Belt throws a Sunday afternoon birthday party? -- we went to the first party for kids from school. I've never been to anything like it for children and I can't think of any adult birthday parties I've been invited to like it either. I run with quite a different set.

It was catered by a fancy bakery/deli in town, with several wines/beers/fancy juices, roast beef, a variety of breads, stewed pears and fancy cheeses, and a few other things like that. There was a violinist and a mandolin player. An actor played Merlin and did a big show. For each child guest (of which there were about 20) there was a nice felt tunic and a wooden sword to take home.

I felt distinctly guilty, because the presents we had brought -- homemade felt crowns (I didn't have any time to shop, remember?) -- weren't as nice as the tunics and expensive swords the guests were given. It's certainly a world apart from what I'm used to, and I think I'll now stop fretting and stick with the world of pizza and cake for the kiddie parties. I'm more comfortable there.

Birthdays Galore

We had a family birthday and a children's birthday party for kids from The Boy's school this weekend. First the family birthday...

Yesterday was Justin's birthday. He's as old as I am for the next few months. Marry younger than you are, I always say. Well, actually, I don't really say anything of the sort, but I did snag a younger man for myself -- though only by nine months. The grade difference was more pronounced. I was a college senior and he a freshman when we started dating. My friends were scandalized. Not really.

I am rotten at party planning. I'm happy to cook for parties, but just don't ask me to plan them. So I made a nice raspberry cheesecake for Justin, but forgot to put candles on it or even sing. I stink. I did invite people over after church last night for dinner and cheesecake though, so we did celebrate a little.

Of course, this year I also stunk at presents. I didn't get one at all. I just didn't get out shopping, because The Boy was sick. I think I'll get a babysitter and we can go out to dinner next weekend. It is a wonderful thing about husbands -- they tolerate things that wives would not -- like not getting presents from their spouse on their birthday. I do need to do better though.

He did get nifty presents from his family though -- a four foot level, a portable table saw and some new safety goggles. Fun stuff.

In the next installment, I shall tell you about the fanciest children's birthday party I have ever been to.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Thursday Three Housework

The questions this week are on household chores.

1. What household chore are you best at/don’t mind doing?

I'm not really cut out for housewifery. I'm much less of a slob than I used to be, but I can't say there are many household chores that I do well or enjoy doing. Cooking is probably my favorite task and I think I'm generally pretty good at it. I don't mind putting laundry in the washer (folding it and putting it away are another matter).

2. Which household chore are you worst at/dislike/ and/or are dangerous at attempting?

I really don't like cleaning bathrooms, putting away laundry or dishes, vacuuming, or...well you name it and I probably don't really like it all that much.

3. What project has been waiting the longest for a real solution?

Generally, I suggest projects and sometimes buy the materials, but then let Justin do the actual work. Before the baby was born we went through a period where we finished off a ton of things on our to do list. I think the only one still remaining is to finish changing the hardware on our bathroom cabinets. You'd think even a trained monkey could do that one, but we ran into a few complications and so a few knobs are on, a few are attached but spin around, and the other knobs just sit on Justin's dresser and mock us.

Then there are all the things we haven't even started yet, like regrouting around the bathtub, cleaning and painting our kitchen cabinets, figuring out what we want to do to put in a cabinet where we ripped out a non-functioning ice machine, insulating all the pipes under the house, putting in a window in our gable which we planned to do the first year we moved in, caulking and painting the new backdoor/trim/walls that have sat unfinished since we had to replace our backdoor.

Did I say we'd finished a lot of our to do list? I guess I'd managed to "forget" a lot of the big projects that we just don't really want to do.

Sick Blogging, Again

Just as Justin and I were finishing up folding the mountain of laundry on our bed so that we could go to sleep last night -- already later than we'd hoped at 11:30, The Boy came in crying and covered in vomit. Justin started cleaning him off and I went upstairs, to find he'd hit everything on his bed including the dust ruffle. He'd also gotten a lot on the rug, the floor and his dresser. So I stripped the bed and started cleaning everything else. We threw a load of laundry in the washer and made a pallet on the floor in our room for The Boy. Not that anyone got much sleep, all night long he threw up about every 45 minutes, even long after there was nothing left to throw up.

The school secretary says its going around, which means we'll probably all get it.

Although I'm inclined to feel whiny, especially after the diarrhea all over the floor incident this morning and pulling a muscle in my shoulders while washing my hair, I really feel more sorry for my husband who despite lack of sleep still had to put on a suit and be in court at 8:15 this morning.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I Wonder If I Picked Out My Own Clothes Too

dididressmyselftoo.jpg


This is a picture of me at about the same age as The Girl is. I wonder whether I picked out this outfit.

When Daddy Lets The Girl Select Her Own Outfit

idressedmyself.jpg


Fighting over clothes is usually more trouble than it is worth.

By the way, she starting singing her own birthday song. It runs, "Happy Birthday to YOU! Happy Birthday to YOU! 'Mell like a monkey. And a Happy New Year." I think we should try to sell it to some restaurant out looking for their unique birthday song, don't you?

What Was That Holiday?

I explained to The Boy yesterday that he didn't have school because it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A few minutes later he asked me what this "Dragon King Luther day" was all about. So I explained a bit about the Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King. Then Justin came into the room and The Boy said, "Dad! Did you know it was King Luther Day?" I'm not sure he's gotten the name right yet.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Best Friends

Thirteen years ago, I started college and met two of my best friends. We weren't immediately inseparable, in fact we've never been that type, but we've been buddies all this time. They were my two bridesmaids seven years ago. One lives a few miles from me now and the other a few states away. We don't see each other often, in fact, we've gotten bad about e-mailing and calling lately (at least I have), but I still think of them as two of my best friends.

This past weekend, the out-of-stater came down and stayed with my in-town friend. We spent a long time hanging out on Saturday and most of Sunday afternoon together. Although we aren't as close as we once were, it was marvelous to get together with old friends and catch up.

For me it was especially nice to go out without children and just hang out with friends. I never seem to do that any more. My two college friends are single and busy with careers and all that stuff. Not that they wouldn't be married and have children if the opportunity presented itself, but so far their lives have followed a totally different path from mine. We still think alike on many things, vote alike, read many similar books, but my life is different.

There are trade offs with both our lifestyles. I envy them for the trips they have taken over the years -- heading off to Europe when they felt like it and the two of them got to hang out in California together last Fall. Having small children and a husband, not to mention a house and a lot more expenses, means I can't join them on their adventures. Also, both of them have stayed super skinny while I have packed on many, many, many pounds since college.

But I have a house and a family. I don't come home to an empty house and I always have family around to keep me company. Sure, I come home to a messy house and all that family is loud, distracting and often too much company, but it is my path. My choice and one that I hope they will some day take too.

Whether or not our lives continue to head in different directions or head back towards more similar paths, I hope that we continue in our slackardly ways to be friends. Friends are can be hard to come by and I love the ones I have.

I'd love to be skinny like they are though.

A New Episode of Barney

I don't actually hate Barney, mainly because I don't let my children watch the show. Without familiarity, I haven't been able to breed contempt. However, I do think I like Robert's Llama Butcher enhanced Barney better than the original.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I swear it isn't <i>always</i> chaos

How come whenever my single, childless friends call there is a child screaming around here? Yesterday I had to lock myself in the bathroom to talk on the phone.

Carseats and Booster Seats

Even with a mini-van, having three children in some sort of child seat makes for a very full car. Since the law here requires kids to ride in some sort of seat through the age of eight, it will be a long, long time before we're done with carseats. So picking one seems like an important job.

When we first got an infant seat before The Boy was born, I picked one out that I thought was cute. I didn't do any research other than to know I wanted one with a five-point harness. Cute wasn't exactly the best criteria for a carseat. The straps could only be adjusted from behind and it was hard to carry and hard to buckle a baby into. When The Boy outgrew that carseat at 5 or 6 months, I asked a lot more questions of friends about carseats that they recommended.

The general consensus was that the Britax Roundabout was the way to go. That was back in the days when stores on the internet were doing everything they could to get your business. Although it still wasn't cheap, I found a wonderful bargain on the carseat, which was good since I wasn't working and Justin was in law school.

That carseat has been all over the country -- from Tennessee to Arizona, from Arizona to Alaska and back to Tennessee. It has also flown to Oregon and taken a few other jaunts. It is a great carseat.

It was so much better than our old cute infant carseat that when The Girl was born we stood the cute carseat for about a week before buying one with a better design. We knew what things mattered and the fabric print really wasn't one of them.

When The Boy started to outgrow the Roundabout and we needed to put The Girl in it, I started looking into booster seats. I was thinking we'd get something small, lightweight and easy to transfer from one car to another. Then I went to the store and tested The Boy in the few I'd narrowed it down to. He kept popping his head around the seatbelt and wiggling out. Clearly, he wasn't ready for a booster seat that only used the car's belts. There is only one seat that uses a five-point harness up to 80 pounds -- the Britax Husky. It isn't small or lightweight and is nearly impossible to transfer from one car to another, but The Boy finds it comfortable and I liked knowing he couldn't slip out of the harness at will.

Now he's bigger and older, knows how to buckle and unbuckle his seat and would do just fine with a plain old booster. Pretty soon our Roundabout will be getting it's third occupant. In fact, I just ordered a new set of straps and a new cover, because the old one is pretty worn and the orange highlighter The Girl dropped on it hasn't made it look any better. The Girl will be moving into the Husky and we have to get a new seat for The Boy.

Finally, now we can get that lightweight seat! Or maybe not. As I've looked around and read reviews, even of booster seats that sound wonderful, I can't quite see choosing the car's seatbelt system over a five-point harness. Sure a seat I can throw in any car would be nice, but it isn't like I actually need to do that very much.

After all my looking, I think we may just get a second Husky. Sure they are huge, not to mention expensive, but I like the seat and I like feeling like the kids are fastened in tightly.

Have I mentioned I'm a bit of a carseat nut?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

No One Is Going to Be Very Surprised

square1
You are a Square. What a weirdo.

from The Llama Butchers

Lights! Camera! Action!

The Thursday Three goes to the movies.

1) Name three movies you could not live without on a desert island.

I never know whether to answer this kind of question with favorites or to think strategically and plan to bring movies that are long and rerquire a lot of analysis to get, so that I'd be occupied with them longer. I chose the former this time. At present the movies that come to mind that I'd want to take along are The Princess Bride, Indiana Jones, and Breakfast at Tiffany's. I seriously would consider Ben Hur, but I'd rather stare at Harrison Ford than Charleton Heston.

2) What movie have you fallen asleep in the middle of/asked for your money back/thrown up while watching?

I've never done any of the above although I've watched many stinkers. Just recently I checked out The Prince and Me, which as my husband has repeatedly reminded me was a completely stupid movie without even the redeeming quality of being funny. At least checking it out from the library was free though.

3) Who would play you and your significant other in the movie of your life?

Terry didn't say there had to be much resemblence, so I think I'd like a young Lauren Bacall or Katherine Hepburn to play me. Winona Ryder, despite her shoplifting tendencies, might work. Probably the chubby, Bridget Jones style Renee Zellweger would be more accurate though.

To play Justin, one really needs to find a really cute young actor who never seems to age past about 16. Leonardo DiCaprio never seems to age, but he's not cute, just icky. When I first met Justin he looked a bit like Daniel Radcliffe, but he's gotten past the young punk phase. I think I'd go with Tom Cruise. Short, dark and handsome fits my husband pretty well.


To Sleep Lying Down

Who would have thought that the ability to sleep in a prone position was such a luxury, but after two nights sitting up on the sofa holding the baby so that she could breathe, last night felt quite lovely as we lay down and snuggled up at bedtime. She still had one choking, coughing spell at 4 in the morning, but the worst seems to be behind us.

There is nothing like having a sick baby to remind one that things like birth marks aren't really such a huge deal. I may worry about her looks and all, but that's so minor when she's fighting for a breath and feverish.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Being Mom and Teaching Your Kids to Fend For Themselves

Mercy Over Mayhem is back and as she'll soon be sending her oldest off to college she's pondering her job as mom and thinking about how her daughter will fend for herself.

My kids are little enough that their main chores consist of clearing their spots at the table, helping me put stuff in the dryer and picking up toys. It is always easier to do things myself and I'd lose fewer dishes if I did. I try to let go though and take the time to teach them things. I've already been showing the five year old how the washing machine works and getting him to help me cook on occassion.

Although I'm sure when my children are getting ready to leave home for college, I'll be like Mercy and wondering what's left and what have I forgotten? I'm not quite ready to think that far ahead though. I still need to get the oldest one to stop wetting the bed at night, the middle on potty-trained and the baby to sleep an hour or two in her own bed before spending the rest of the night in mine. It will be a while before I need to think about shoving them out of the nest, but it is all a process. We start teaching them little things here and there and pray that the sum will be enough to prepare them for the world.

My Bed

The bed I sleep on, when I'm not spending the night on the sofa holding a coughing baby upright, is really nifty. It holds no special family history per se, but is an old, heavy iron thing. My mom bought it at Goodwill for $12, because although she had no need for it, she's never one to pass up a bargain like that.

It sat rusting away in the garage for a long while and periodically I'd spot it and remind my mom that one day I wanted that bed. It had been there long enough that she'd almost forgotten about it and thought she didn't have rails for it -- and old iron beds take unusual rails. Still I'd tell her I wanted it, whenever I'd see it stuck in that back corner.

When I was due to head down to Tuscaloosa for graduate school, I decided that the time had come for me to take that bed with me. We hauled it out from behind all the other piles of junk antiques and discovered that there were indeed rails with it. An iron bed after years in a damp garage is not a beautiful sight. We had three days to take off all the peeling paint and all the rust and repaint the bed before I left for Alabama. We stripped and sanded and my dad used a wire brush attached to his drill and somehow we got that thing down to beautiful bare non-rusty metal. It was gorgeous and I was almost ready to leave it that way.

It had been painted white and I had thought to repaint it the same, but after talking it over, we decided to give it a faux verdigris paint job. Not using one of the kits you can buy at the hardware store, but making up our style as we went along. After a rust-killing primer, we painted the whole thing copper and then used three colors of green daubed on with paper towels and sponges for the effect. A little more drying time would have been good, though, because I felt one or two wet spots when we loaded it on to the truck.

But it was my bed. A double bed that was all my own, special because I'd worked hard on it with my parents -- one of my first furniture refinishing jobs.

Justin and I got married about 5 months after I refinished the bed. So it became our bed. Though most people want more room than that, a double bed has always been spacious enough for the two of us. We fit quite well on it and for ourselves don't need anything larger. However, on mornings when we have three children trying to squeeze in and around us and I find myself clinging to an inch of the mattress and hoping that I don't land unceremoniously on my tush, I wonder whether we might be better off with a bigger bed.

But this is my special bed. The one I always wanted and worked hard to refinish. The one and only bed that my husband have used in our home since we got married. I'm very attached to it.

The time has come for us to get a new mattress. The mattress I took off to grad school over seven years ago was from my parents' guest room. Who knows how old it was then and it is certainly seven years older now.

But what to do? Do we get a new double mattress and keep clinging to a corner of the bed when the children invade, have extensions put on this bed to make it a queen, which would look a bit funny, or do we put the whole thing in the attic and get a bigger bed and mattress? I just don't know. I can't imagine not walking into my room and seeing my bed.

bed.JPG


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

RSV and Bronchiolitis

Yep, loads of snot, coughing, sleepless nights and fun at our house right now.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Old Houses

I love old houses and I love our old neighborhood, but after reading various house renovation blogs and imagining our kids living in a lead paint filled house, I'm so glad that someone else did most of the hard stuff before we bought this place. Our house still has plenty to redo and make ours, things that weren't remodelled all that nicely and that we'd like to improve upon eventually, but we don't have to worry about lead dust in the meantime.

I am constantly impressed by what doing their own renovations are able to do by themselves, but I cannot imagine doing half of it with three little ones tearing around. Even painting becomes a huge chore with the kids on hand.

Some day we'd like to put an addition on the back of our house. In the near future though, our dreams are less substantial. This year I really hope to get a window and fishscale shingles put in our front gable, build a brick path along the side of the house, and paint our burgundy kitchen cabinets some other color. That's not dreaming too big, I hope, but then again, we might have done some of those things this year if other projects and expenses hadn't cropped up.

I'm just glad we have the luxury of time with most of this stuff. Many things like our kitchen cabinets and our bathrooms are kind of ugly, but one can live with many ugly things for a long time as long as they are fundamentally ok.

Get Any Sleep Last Night?

To steal from Miss Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that when parents go to bed later than planned, one or more of their children will wake up in the middle of the night and cause them to get even less sleep. At least that's how it works around here.

The middle girl is still a snotwad, but feeling much better. She's shared her germs with everyone else in the family, except her big brother. While I had a 12-hour unpleasant fever and chills, Justin and the baby have been laid low for a few days. The baby's fever hasn't risen past to the point where we must call the doctor, but she looks pretty pathetic with drippy eyes and nose.

The night before last, she could only sleep if I propped her head up on my arm. Last night she just couldn't sleep for very long at all and then only if you held her upright. I spent many dark and restless hours wishing that I owned a recliner, which is not a wish that has ever passed through my head before.

I long for the end of snot-covered faces.

Friday, January 07, 2005

No ER trips yet today

The middle child is pathetically sick. Her nose is dripping and she obviously feels awful. Although she's still asking to go bye-bye, even she has been forced to slow down some. Not enough to stop her from tripping over her feet, falling face first into the floor and badly splitting her lip though.

Naturally, I was out of the room, but ran when I heard her wailing. I grabbed her and cuddled her close. Then I noticed the blood on her hand, my shirt, and her mouth. I had to rinse her mouth before I could even figure out what was bleeding, but after rinsing and having her suck on a cold washcloth the bleeding stopped.

The pediatrician thought she might need stitches from my description, but since the doctor's office is in the same complex with the Children's Hospital they told me to bring her by the office before going to the ER. That turned out to be the right thing to do, since, although sniffling pathetically and sucking on her swollen lip, The Girl wasn't really so bad. It's a nasty split, but not in need of stitches.

So we can wait on the first ER visit of 2005 for a little while longer. In the meantime, The Girl fell asleep while I was holding her in my lap about an hour ago and I hope she takes a good long nap. She needs it.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Book Meme

Via Tulipgirl. Copy the list, then remove from it the names of any authors not in your home library, replacing them with names of a few authors you do have. Boldface the ones you’ve added.

1. C. S. Lewis
2. Franz Kafka
3. Henry James
4. Jane Austen
5. Sir Walter Scott
6. Florence King
7. Dr. Seuss
8. Douglas Adams
9. Geoffrey Chaucer
10. William Shakespeare

On this list, we don't have much overlap, although I suspect we'd have more of the same authors than this list shows. Since my computer sits between two overflowing 7 foot tall bookcases, I had my choice of a lot of authors. I chose the ones that caught my eyes first.

<a href="http://possumblog.blogspot.com/2005/01/finally-sorry-about-that-but-you-know.html">The Thursday Three</a> Survives Into the New Year

1) What are three things you wish you had been able to get done in 2004, but didn’t?

I wanted to get a window and scalloped fish scale shingles put in our front gable, but we had to get a new back door, a new range and a minivan instead. I would have liked to end the year with a net weight loss, but having a baby prevented that one from happening. I wanted to go away for the weekend without the kids before the baby was born, but we ran out of time, energy and the moolah to make it happen


2) What are three things you have always wished to do, but still haven’t done?


I'd like to have an art show, even if it is only at the local coffeeshop where the art usually is wretched. I'd like to visit Scotland. I'd love to write a children's book.

3)Where were you on 17-16? What were Shug's and Bear's real names? Why would anyone go to Alabama when a good school costs about the same?

3a.) I wasn't even a gleam in my father's eye in 1972.
3b.) Terry's already answered this one, but I will admit that before going to Alabama for grad school, I'd never heard of Bear Bryant and had no idea why half of Tuscaloosa was named after him. That ignorance, by the way, is not a good thing to admit in front of your classmates.
3c.) Because they happen to offer a program in library science and pay you to go there, of course.

Homebody

Although I always feel better when I get out of the house, entropy often keeps me home. It is so much easier not to get three kids ready to leave the house and then deal with them while we're out and about. I try to plan a lot of stuff for the hours when The Boy is in preschool, because even though I am still left with the two high maintenance girls at least there are only two of them to deal with. Even then I don't get out enough to suit the two year old.

As soon as we finish breakfast, she strips off her pjs, demands "Play plothes" and then asks to "go bye-bye." She never wants to just hang around and play. She gets really excited when she sees me putting on my shoes and asks, "Where we going?"

I guess I need to find some more things to do with her out of the house, huh? We have story time, when I can get the troops marshalled fast enough to get there and a there is a free music hour once a week at one of the local grocery stores, but I suppose I should find more play groups and things of that nature.

Not today, of course...she has a runny nose and last night had a fever of 101.4. First time she's been sick in a long time though, so I can't complain too much -- until she passes it on to me. Then I'll complain.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Imperfections

Every grown-up has scars, blemishes, marks and other imperfections (and those are only the ones on the outside) but we don't expect to see those on our children. When my son had to get stitches on his cheek, it nearly killed me to think about him being scarred. A little over a year later, the scar is there, but it has faded a lot and probably wouldn't even be noticed by a casual observer.

If the worry over that scar made me fret, I had no idea what I'd be in for later. Each baby has required me to learn about new illnesses, injuries and diseases. I had to deal with stitches with my son and a skull fracture. I learned all about molar pregnancies when I miscarried. My two year old daughter managed to get pertussis at the age of three months, got dehydrated from a vomit bug and seemed to catch every illness under the sun for the first 18 month of her life.

But to look at those two, they are healthy and beautiful. As perfect and unblemished as any mom could hope for her children to be. When my baby was born, she arrived equally beautiful with a perfect round head, big bright eyes and long lashes. She's grown roly-poly and has a wonderful smile. However, she also arrived with a faint spot on her forehead, another a bit higher up and another on the back of her neck. The two in less obvious places are still faint, but the one in the middle of her forehead has become bright red and started growing, looking at first like a caste mark and now like a unicorn horn about to sprout. My daughter has hemangiomas, something I'd never heard of until she came along.

I think she's beautiful, but every time we go out, we get asked what happened to her or what that thing on her head is. People aren't unkind, just curious, but I worry. Children are unkind at times. If her hemangioma hasn't faded in a few years, what will it be like for her on the playground. Also, because she has several marks, there is the chance that she has internal -- more dangerous -- ones as well. And so I fret and pray and worry some more. But I still think she's beautiful.

We go to the doctor next week and I hope to learn more and find out what options we have. They can do a lot with steriods and lasers when appropriate.

And to think only a year ago I thought a little scar was a big deal.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Take Him Home. He's Yours.

One of the most terrifying things in the world is when the nurses hand your your baby and tell you to take them home. How can you alone be in charge of such a tiny person? It is an awesome responsibility, but well worth the effort. And so I'm happy to report that Josef got to go home and now the fun really begins.

How Were the Holidays?

I know all of you are dying to hear about all the tabloid-quality events that happen around the Adams household on a regular basis, but since those are purely fictional, you're just stuck hearing about the boring and mundane stuff instead.

As for the above question, our holidays were quite lovely. Justin's office was closed on Thursday and Friday before Christmas, he took off the first three days of the next week, worked a half day on Thursday and was home on Friday. If only half-day work weeks came around more often...

On Christmas Eve we had dinner with some friends from church. A true American melting pot family -- the husband is Haitian and went to medical school in Panama, the wife is ethinically Indian but grew up in Malaysia, they met in Boston and have three really nice, very American teenage daughters, who dote on my children. The kids fell asleep on the way home, so getting them into bed wasn't an trouble at all.

Christmas morning they woke at their usual time. I would love to believe that they'll keep doing that and not try to roust us out of bed at 4 some Christmas morning, but I suspect that is a vain hope. However, try as they might some day -- they will not be rousting us that early. I have duct tape and know how to use it. :)

Although I never really wanted to get into the Santa myth, my son is absolutely convinced that he is real. Nothing can talk him out of that belief, so I play along. He'll stop believing soon enough. Santa brought the kids a tricycle, a couple of stuffed snowmen and two jingle bells from his sleigh. Wasn't that nice of him?

Most of the kids' presents went over pretty well and were just what we wanted for them. The Girl got some cute sparkly shoes and The Boy got an especially cool helmet. The Baby didn't get much, but then what could she possibly need? SOMEONE wasn't thinking when she bought her son a croquet set. In the hands of his two year old sister, a croquet mallet and ball are dangerous weapons. That particular item has since been removed to the attic where it will reside until some sunny Spring day when The Girl is taking a nap.

I entered the modern age and got a cell phone for Christmas. I decided it would be good extra insurance to have and so broke down and asked for one of the pay-as-you-go ones from Virgin. I really intend to use it only rarely, so I'm not giving anyone other than Justin and The Boy's school the number. I didn't even give the number to my in-laws who bought it for me.

I also got a fancy new nine-speed handmixer, a huge mixing bowl and two new cookbooks, one of which looks to have the definitive banana pudding recipe. I'll report back on that later.

After Christmas came our seventh anniversary. My in-laws were in town for the night, so they babysat and we went out to a really neat restaurant that we'd never tried before.

The next day we piled in the car and went to Kentucky to visit more of my husband's relatives. We basically had a second Christmas up there with more presents, which seemed a bit overwhelming, but it was nice to visit with everyone.

I remember a time when I couldn't wait to be old enough to stay up until midnight to welcome in the new year. I've gotten over that now. As soon as The Baby fell asleep, I was out on New Year's Eve. I think I made it until 10:45. Not the most exciting way to ring in the new year, but it worked.

And now things are more or less back to normal. The Boy returned to school yesterday and Justin started a regular work week. I didn't make any resolutions, but I'm hoping to have cleaner floors this year and so bought an industrial size dust mop to aid in that venture. We'll see how long I remember to use it.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Who Needs the Quickie Mop?

As I ran my Swiffer WetJet over the floor tonight, I wondered -- am I the only one in the world who sings Who Loves the Quickie Mop? while using this thing? I think The Simpsons may just have been a corrupting influence on me.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

May 2005 be a happy and healthy year for all of you out there.

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