Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Let The Sun Shine

Looking outside today, you'd never know that yesterday we were in the midst of a Tropical Storm and that every school in the city other than The Boy's was closed. It's bright, sunny and hot today. I wouldn't mind it feeling like fall was around the corner, but it only does if you know that the hot misery of August comes before fall. Random thoughts coming up next.

The images of New Orleans and Mississippi are impossible to fathom -- impossible to comprehend. I can't think of anyone I know who lives in that area, although many, many college friends were from there, and I suppose most of their parents are still down there. For the past few days, I've spent a lot of time wondering what's happened to them and praying for their safety and the relative well-being of their homes and possessions. I also ponder the fact that had Justin taken the full tuition scholarship he'd been offered to Tulane's law school instead of coming to Vanderbilt, we'd have known many people in New Orleans and instead of living in Nashville, we could have just as easily decided to stay in New Orleans ourselves. A simple choice of law schools years ago may have decided that we did not lose our home to a hurricane and flooding waters. It's a strange thought.

My little (but much taller than I am) brother flew in yesterday to Tennessee. He's been teaching English in Japan for a year, left there in a typhoon and after a few days in Colorado, arrived in Tennessee during a tropical storm. Poor kid must be getting used to being wet all the time. He'll be visiting around, working and then starting in January at Savannah College of Art and Design on a BFA in painting. I'm signing up to get some paintings before I can't afford his prices. He already has a BA in English and claims he'll be moving on to either a philosophy or sociology degree next. That part is a joke, but no doubt he'll be very desireable to all the highest caliber fast food restaurants with both art and English backgrounds.

On my way to the airport to pick up my brother, I noticed a gas station with gas for $2.49. It was on the wrong side of the street and I was late, so I decided I'd stop on the way back if they hadn't raised the price. They hadn't, I pulled in, put in my credit card and noticed they were changing the signs right then. I never thought I'd be happy to get gas for under (by 1/10th) $2.50, but there you have it. Every other station in town is up around $2.75 or more. I'm glad my car can run on 87 octane.

Robert Reich had a brilliant idea on Marketplace this morning though. Since gas companies have had windfall profits they weren't expecting, we should take them away and give them to people who weren't expecting higher gas prices. Right. That would make it all better. Share the wealth and all that. Riiiiiiiight.

So moving right along --

The Boy seems to be happier at school this week. He got a new bench partner and doesn't have to sit next to the girl he didn't like. He still doesn't like having to be quiet during snack time, but having one short time during the day when he actually has to stop talking is really not such a bad thing.

We still haven't gotten the window in our front gable, but it isn't for the window company's lack of trying. The window itself has been ready for several weeks. They called and told us when it came in and we agreed that the contractor would pick it up when he was ready to do the job. Then a week or so later, another person from window company called and wanted to know when they could deliver it. I told him who the contractor was and that it would be picked up when the installer was ready for it. They called and talked to the contractor who does a lot of work for them. I thought there was no problem, except that installation got delayed by the fact that the fiber cement shingles we originally had planned on using turned out to be $1000 per square. Today I ordered cedar shingles that I think will look fabulous and better than the fiber cement ones anyway. I also talked to our contractor and he thought he could do the installation in about 2 weeks -- the shingles will arrive in about 5 days.

Things are moving along. But -- today a man from the window company rang the doorbell and told me he had my window to deliver. As much as I am dying to see how it turned out and would have loved to get a peek, I wasn't about to take delivery of a large window and figure out where to store it for two or more weeks, so I sent him away and told him our contractor was supposed to pick it up. I know they want the other half of the money for the window and I know they are tired of holding onto it for us, but I don't have a place for it to just sit around.

And now the kidlets want attention. I'm reading The Great Brain series to The Boy. My mom read them to me when I was little and I've read them a number of times. Wonderful books and even more exciting -- I didn't know there were eight of them. Growing up, we'd only ever read the first four. Hooray for more books!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

At Least I don't Have to Water

That's right, after weeks and months with almost no rain at all, I finally do not have to water the garden. Actually, I'm lucky there still is a garden. It is a thoroughly wet and windy day, but I'm very glad to be this far inland and thinking about the people down in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana who had to face a really serious storm.

Just as a precaution, we put the kids to bed downstairs last night, figuring correctly that if we did that nothing would happen. Although I guess there are plenty of trees down and power outages around Nashville, our lights never flickered and the trees we just had trimmed up a few months ago stayed intact.

This morning my son's school was about the only one in town open, but I suspect despite their "play outside rain or shine policy" that this will be an indoor day.

After dropping him off at school, the rest of us went down to our insurance agents office, where he tried to talk us out of a lot more money. We were unconvinced by his advice to further increase our life insurance and other policies. I think I feel pretty confident that we are currently insured enough for where we currently are in life.

Now the girls and I are hanging out at home dreading the time when we'll have to schlep out in the rain to pick up The Boy.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Someone to do Business With

Too many times, I'm ready to complain about someone or talk about only the things that make me grumpy. But here's a good experience.

I don't buy on eBay that much. I try not to shop any more than necessary, because shopping tends to lead to spending money and spending money leads to diminishing supplies of the stuff in my bank account. The Boy needs rainboots for school though and he likes goofy ones with stuff on them. He's going to outgrow that soon, I suspect, but I try to indulge his desire for funky rainboots and eBay is a great place to find them.

Looking around at the choices, we settled on some T-Rex boots that he wanted, because "Tyrannosaurus is the KING!" I ordered them and was really impressed that the seller shipped them out the next morning. They arrived by priority mail a few days later and my son was thrilled, although the books looked smallish to me, he put them on and started running around in them immediately.

The next morning, I picked them up and realized they weren't a size 13 as we had ordered, the label on the bottom said 10. I e-mailed the seller and she said she'd get a new pair into the mail immediately and would pay my shipping costs to return the others.

We got the new pair today. Inside the boots said 13 and a sticker on the bottom said size 13, but under the sticker was the imprinted label and it said 10. I measured the boots against my son's shoes and they are definitely a 10, not a 13. I e-mailed the seller again and proposed several options. She wrote back immediately and proposed something even more generous to me than what I had proposed.

I've never had a bad eBay experience, but all the others have been straightforward and had no problems. When a problem arises, you can really see the difference between someone you want to do business with and someone you don't. Although the whole boot thing is still not totally resolved, I can confidently say that I would like to do business with this particular seller again. She clearly cares to maintain a good reputation and goes beyond the minimum to do a good job.

If I need anything from her inventory, I will be doing business with Mele's Boutique again.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Post-Grocery Shopping Thoughts

To the girl parked next to me when I pulled in: You are young. You are pregnant. Maybe you don't realize that when that baby emerges, you will be largely in charge of shaping its future. The music you started blasting as I was getting my children out of the car, with three F-words, the N-word, and the female dog word within the space of 30 seconds is not perhaps the best music to expose small innocents to. You have many choices in music, I would like to submit you could find something better.

To Kroger: You are remodelling and I understand that. I can understand why you might need to block off an enterance and re-route customers. When you tell them to enter through check-out lane 3 and have a big sign at the end of check-out lane 3 directing people to enter that way, it might be a good idea not to open check-out lane 3 for people to check out. Especially when almost no one is in the store and almost every other lane is closed and those lanes are blocked so that no one can enter the store through them. And when I have to shove my way through the self-check lanes to get into the store, I would appreciate not getting funny looks from your clerks.

That is all.

Happy Dance Friday

Although, I still have my maternal worries about The Boy (what parent doesn't worry about their kids 24/7?) at least right now at 9:30 in the morning, I'm having a pretty good day.

That is, of course, subject to change at any moment, but my husband returned from that city out West last night, I'm wearing one of the new t-shirts I found for almost nothing on clearance at Dillards (a store I never shop at) and it's even long enough to cover my abdomen when I move my arms, I'm about to go ship an order for notecards to Francesca, the lady I ordered rainboots for The Boy from on Ebay and who sent me the wrong size is going to make it right and pay shipping to exchange them, and besides all this it is Friday. We have a few days to stay around home before everything starts all over again. Yay!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

So How Was Today?

The Boy says he doesn't want to talk about it, but that he wishes he could have all the new kids in his class, but have his preschool teachers from last year.

Of note to me, of the other parents I talked to while hanging out during the drop off and pick up times, all the girls gave their parents good reports and the boys did not. This teacher has two sons, so it isn't like she isn't used to boys. I wonder if it is more related to the fact that she seems to like quiet and have a lot of rules. In my somewhat limited experience, and there are no doubt a million counter-examples, five and six year old girls seem to handle rules and being quiet better than five and six year old boys.

I love the hippie German school ideal and last year we were very happy. I just want The Boy to think school is a neat place. I don't want Kindergarten to be a place he's forced to go. He's got plenty of years to get jaded.

School

Yesterday was The Boy's first day of Kindergarten. I'm still not entirely sure if it was good or bad. I think The Boy and I are still processing everything.

This week has been a crazy one here. Justin has been in Elvis-ville at a trial since Saturday. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law came to visit. The Middle Girl chose to regress in her toilet skills one day and other things just seemed to crop up right and left.

But back to yesterday -- as crafty and artsy as I may like to pretend to be, the craft award for yesterday goes to my aunt. Few of you may be aware that there is a German tradition that when a child starts school they get a cone (scroll to the article a "History of Schultüten") filled with school supplies and goodies. My ethnic background is mostly German and my aunt lived in Germany for almost thirty years. She picked up a lot of traditions living there including sending children a school cone when they start Kindergarten. My brothers and I got cones when we went to school -- I still have mine up in the attic. Now my aunt is starting on the next generation. She made The Boy a big cone and two small ones for his sisters.

The Boy didn't need many school supplies, because of the nature of a Waldorf Kindergarten, but we filled it with things he loves like paints, paper, stickers and I threw in a wooden pop gun rifle, just because it would appall the people at his school. Not that they'll know about it, but it pleased me none-the-less. I got The Middle Girl a little wooden ray gun for her cone. She'll have to wait until she starts Kindergarten to get a big gun.

Opening the cones was fun for the kids and started the morning nicely, but it meant we didn't have a lot of time to eat and straighten up the house. Because my husband is out of town, people from church have offered to help a lot. One of the elder's wives came over yesterday morning and watched the girls so I could take The Boy to school -- just the two of us.

The Boy and I went off to the opening ceremony for the school, where the teachers and the curriculum for the year are introduced and where all the first graders get a rose for passing from the young child program to the grades.

Parents then walked their kids down the hall to the Kindergarten, where the teacher met us at the door, took the kids in and closed the parents out. And that was that. I had expected a chance to give hugs, take pictures and all. The Boy was fine without me, but I had a little separation anxiety.

When the girls and I came back a few hours later to pick him up, he didn't say much. With some questioning on my part, it came out that he wasn't too happy. They had to play quietly, not converse during snack time and he has to share a bench with a girl he doesn't like very much. I'm not sure how all this will play out in the end and I hope he starts to like it better. If I'm going to send him to school, I want it to be a place he loves.

Maybe today will be better.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

It's Alive!

Woohoo! We're back! Thank you Pixy Misa!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Say A Little Prayer For Me

My older two children have found a new way to get on each other's nerves. When we say prayers at dinner time, they pray for each other.

Sounds great, right? Sweet, loving, kind? Well, it should be. They aren't praying for the other one to get sick, injured or otherwise disappear. They say nice things like, "Please help my sister get better." Somehow it has the same effect on the sibling as if they had prayed, "Make my sister fall in a vat of boiling oil." The other child objects and prayers end noisily.

I sometimes have to implement a "no praying for your sibling rule." Brothers and sisters often find interesting ways to torment each other, but this is one I would never had thought of.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Recipes, Year Two

Beth starts of the second year of The Carnival of the Recipes with some yummy sounding ones, and I'm not just saying that because mine comes first on the list.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

I'm Gettin' Real Annoyed

Of all my many pet peeves about grammar, and I have many, though they might not be readily discernible with my penchant for hitting the "save" button before proofreading, one common occurance that bothers me the most is the dropping of the "-ly" suffix on words.

A few years ago, Tennessee put signs all over the place that said "Drive Careful." They grated on my nerves every time I drove past one. Would it have been so difficult to say "Drive Safely?" It even would have saved a whole letter.

The magazine Real Simple drives me up the wall. Although I've enjoyed every issue I've ever looked at, I will never subscribe just on principle.

All around me, people are dropping "-ly" and I just hate hearing it. To add insult to injury, as far as I'm concerned, they are seducing my son to the dark side. He hears a constant barrage of phrases like "real easy" and "do it quick" outside the home and he's starting to imitate it. Not only that, but already at the tender age of five completely convinced of his own mental superiority to mom and dad, he refuses to believe us when we correct him. He hears and sees it everywhere. How could he possibly be wrong?

Other than blindfolding him, stuffing his ears with cotton and locking him in the house, I'm not sure how to prevent the "-ly" dropping from seeping in, but I'm going to keep correcting it, because to do otherwise is unthinkable. Bring back the "-ly" and save my son from barbarism.

Suspicion

One often hears about children looking with suspicion upon any food that is green. Thus far, with my children this has not been too much of a problem. That's not to say that they eat all green things. They'd rather not be within 10 feet of zucchini or okra. They'll only eat spinach when it isn't cooked and asparagus when it is prepared certain ways. Still, the fact that they'll eat spinach, asparagus, broccoli, green beans and edamame, has always satisfied my motherly, "Are they getting some healthy foods?" worry.

No, my children don't suspect evil lurking in the green corners of their plates. Over here it is the red things. Tomatoes are the specific object of distain, fear and loathing, but anything red is suspect. They both used to like red peppers, but now they often push them to the side of their plate, or on to the table or hand me anything red -- just out of the fear that it might actually be a tomato I'm trying to sneak past them.

Things reached new heights the other night when I was preparing dinner and my five year old peeked into the casserole dish and announced, "Oh no. We're all doomed. There are tomatoes in there."

I think next year I'll grow green and yellow tomatoes just to see what happens.

Making A Fruit Tart

Earthgirl wanted my recipe for a berry tart. It's not a quick, easy recipe and it has several steps, but I consider all the effort totally worth it. Fruit tarts are one of my favorite desserts.

The first step is making the pastry cream. This needs to cool for a long time in the refrigerator, so it's best to start here.

Pastry Cream

6 large egg yolks at room temperature (put eggs in a bowl of hot tap water while you get the rest of the ingredients out and they'll be room temperature-ish enough.)
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat egg yolks and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, until the mixture is smooth and yellow -- about 3 minutes. Reduce speed on mixer and add cornstarch. Heat milk to boiling, either in the microwave or on the stovetop. With mixer on low, pour hot milk slowly into egg mixture. When mixed, pour into a large saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thick, between 5 and 10 minutes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat, mix in the butter, vanilla, and cream. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and chill.

NOTE: This makes enough pastry cream for two tarts, or you can eat half of it with berries on top as a lovely vanilla pudding.

Tart Shell

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (heat in the microwave at 20% power until butter warms up to room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together with electric mixer. Add vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter mixture. Mix on a low speed until the dough starts to form. Form into a ball as much as possible in the bowl and then dump directly into a false bottom tart pan and press into place, making sure the edge is flat. Chill for 10 minutes.

Butter one side of a piece of aluminum foil and place it buttered side down, on the tart. Fill with beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights, prick the tart all over with a fork and bake for 15-20 more minutes, until lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.

Spread with pastry cream and fresh fruit and berries.

I personally think this makes the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

It's Raining, It's Pouring

As far as I know it hasn't rained more than a few drops since the beginning of July, several times the skies have gotten dark, the wind has started to blow, thunder rumbled, and...nothing. No rain at all.

But today, it really came. It's not going to resurrect all the brown, crispy grass, but it will make everything else feel a lot happier and I'm thrilled. Who would have thought grey skies and raindrops could make me so happy?

Two Years In the Growing

In the spring of 2004, my husband dug a bed along the side of the house for raspberries. I did some research and decided on a variety of berries that I wanted and one day my husband showed up with three plants that he'd picked up at the best nursery in town.

We got a few berries last summer, but the location of the bed was wrong. It was a bit too shady and in a spot where I could conveniently forget to water it. Most of the berries it tried to set out, simply dried up.

The plants survived though and sent out a million little babies, which we gave away to a lot of excited neighbors this spring. We took the original three and transplanted them to a new raised bed closer to our raised vegetable bed. They are now thriving. Finally, yesterday I went out to pick berries and found what I've been hoping for. Enough berries to make this:
berrytart.jpg


The blueberries were grown by my grandfather-in-law, but those raspberries all came from the backyard. And the tart is delicious.

Motherhood

It's about sacrifice.

Out with the Old, In with the New

We spent the morning at home waiting for the upholsterors to come pick up our sofa. They took it away a few minutes ago and it will be gone for three to four weeks. When it returns it will feel like a brand new sofa, with new fabric and retied springs. Many furniture refinishing jobs are ones which my husband and I can and will undertake, but finer upholstery than putting a new cover on a dining room chair is something I prefer to outsource.

I've been thinking, talking and occasionally getting fabric samples to have the sofa recovered one and off for the past five years. I wouldn't want to rush into anything, of course, but the time had finally come.

My mother bought this sofa in Arizona at a rummage sale in the mid-1980s. It was in our family room. Then it moved to Ohio with my family and spent time in the family room, the enclosed front porch, the dining room and finally was living in the master bedroom when I took it to Tuscaloosa with me to furnish my apartment during library school. It then moved around Nashville with us and went to spend a year in Kentucky while we moved to Alaska without us, after we deemed it too big and too heavy to make a move that paid for by the government only up to a certain amount of weight. After it's one year in exile, it returned to us in our new house. We had to take the living room door off the hinges and do some fancy manuevering down the hall to get it in, but it's been sitting there, getting dirtier, and more hole filled as it ages. The cording has long since started poking out too, of course.

Still, as I said, it is a solid, heavy, down-filled sofa and despite the sad condition of its upholstery, it is pretty good shape. We couldn't replace it with anything comparable for the price of recovering it.

We went through about a million swatches of fabric and trips to multiple fabric stores and finally decided on a gold, floral brocade. It's going to be more formal then the old fabric, but also darker and stronger to hold up to dirty feet and children who jump on sofas when they think no one is looking. I loved the old fabric, but I think eventually, I'll really like the new one too.

Farewell to this:


And hello, in a month, to something like this:



Monday, August 15, 2005

Notecards

Janis mentions that she got some cards from me recently. It was really nifty to get a chance to sell things with my paintings on them. As I told Janis, it was also the kick in the pants that I needed to start painting again. I finished one painting a few days ago, that I'm fairly pleased with though it isn't my best work, and I have some ideas for better things to come.

Doing something creative and being able to say I do something creative besides caring for a house, kids, and a garden seems to be good for my mental health, no matter how important I think the house, kids and garden are.

If you all want to see some of my watercolors, here's the link.

Free Time

LittleA might have some freetime. Though I fear he might just be teasing us. I miss daily Aardvark fixes.

Don't Catch Like John Kerry

My husband and son have been playing ball a lot lately. Since it is so hot outside, these have mostly been indoor games, making me fear for the continued intactness of my ceiling fan and dishes. At five, I can already look at The Boy and predict with decent certainty that he will never be a great athlete. Which is fine. Neither are his parents.

We want him to be comfortable playing sports for fun, catching balls and just enjoy running around. We are teaching him how to throw and how to catch. The statement heard around here most often?

"Open your eyes. Don't turn your head. Don't catch like John Kerry."

footballflinch.jpg


Friday, August 12, 2005

Boogery Goodness

There is nothing quite like cutting your child's fingernails and halfway through a hand, finding a still fresh booger stuck to a finger. Either the child was saving it for later or it was one that just wouldn't wipe off. Either way, my hands got a good scrubbing after that job.

A Year's Worth Of Recipes

The fifty-second Carnival of the Recipes is up. And speaking of yummy sounding foods, from Morning Coffee and Afternoon Tea, I just discovered a previously unknown one, but one I am going to be searching for and trying soon -- Chocolate Pasta. It sounds bizarre and delicious.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Kiddie Music? Maybe Not...

I won't say we're exactly a musical family. I took four or five years of violin and never learned enough to even be classed as competent. My husband never took lessons on an instrument, but has taught himself a lot about music and with the help of the shape notes in our hymnals can read it pretty well.

We do sing a lot. We sing in church. We sing at home. We have several song books we get out of an evening and just cuddle the kids and sing with them. I can carry a tune decently, although it would be more helpful if I had any skill at singing harmony, because I should be an alto. My husband can sing well, sings tenor or bass and leads singing at church. The older two like to sing and hum and of course listen to music.

In the car, we have a wide variety of cds. Things like Wee Sing and The Wiggles are mixed in with both cooler kid's music and things like bluegrass and rock that we, the parents, owned pre-child.

Most of the pre-kiddie music isn't too bad and can be played for them. We weren't nearly as sensitive to some of the words and themes before we had children though. More and more, I notice things that never appeared to me before. I never paid attention to what the Beatles song Daytripper was saying, until my son decided he wanted to listen to the Beatles all the time.

We were listening to Rattle and Hum a while back, and it seemed fine until a few days later when I hear my five year old singing Helter Skelter to himself.

Then again last week, we were listening to Johnny Cash in the car and my husband was really enjoying Folsom Prison Blues. I think we heard it two or three times while driving around. Hearing my son singing, "I shot a man in Reno..." while building with his Legos, wasn't quite so pleasant.

Parenting is a continually evolving job. I don't think we've failed or even screwed up too badly by letting the kids hear grown up music, even that with certain grown up themes. On the other hand, I think my son is far too young to be thinking much about these things and I'm not really ready to hear him singing some of these songs though.

I'll start paying closer attention to the lyrics, skip past more songs on various CDs and when these moments arise, we'll keep doing what we've been doing and talk to the kids about what the songs mean and what's wrong with them.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Time To Hang Up The Keys

Coming back from the grocery store this morning, I saw one of those sights that does not instill a feeling of safety and confidence in one's fellow drivers. A lovely white Volvo 850 sedan caught my eye. As I passed it I noticed the driver -- a tiny old lady peering over the steering wheel, with her one eye. She'll probably be safe enough in her Swedish tank, but I fear for the rest of us.

Don't Spread It Around

There are many reasons not to tell your kids everything. You don't want them to worry. They might not understand, et cetera. However, the main reason not to tell your kids everything is that they can't keep their mouths shut.

Last week I had a urinary tract infection. It went from nothing to peeing blood in an hour or two, while I waited for a nurse to call me back. Once she called me back and got her to concede that bringing three children, the younger two of whom needed naps and the oldest bickering with the middle one, would not be good for business in an OB/GYN's office just so I could pee blood in a cup so they could tell me what I already knew -- that I had a UTI, she called in a prescription.

I could have waited for my husband to pick up the stuff on the way home, but as you can imagine, I was a bit antsy to get the analgesic and antibiotic. I collected the children, got them clothed and shod, and told them we were going to "the medicine store." Which naturally elicited questions of why.

I foolishly told them.

Later that night at dinner, The Girl wanted to say a prayer. It went something like this, "Holy Father, thankyouforourfood. Thank you for Mommy and Daddy, and The Baby and Hobbes and...[grudgingly] The Boy. Please help Mommy's girl parts get better. InJesus'nameAmen."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Nine Months And Counting

The Baby has now been out of the belly approximatelyas long as she was in it, as she turned nine months old on the first of the month. Although the time while pregnant sometimes seems to drag on and on, especially the last month or so, the time she was born has flown by. With the first child, you have a bit of time to watch them and alternately marvel at each stage or wonder if they will ever get out of whatever bad habit they've developed.

By the third child you have little time to wonder, marvel or worry. You know they'll eventually learn to sleep, stop biting, etc. with a bit of time and patience training, but you also don't get to pay as much attention to each interesting thing. Time flies past. The days are filled.

I still take some time to look at this third tiny little person in our house and wonder at how remarkable she is. She's a bundle of energy and curiousity. We call her explorer girl. Under close supervision, she's climbed straight up our flight of 21 steps (and her siblings know on pain of torture that the gate to those stairs is to be kept shut at all times). Sometimes I'll be in one part of the house and discover that she has crawled out of the room, down a hall, around a corner and to the other end of the downstairs, just to check out the variety of dog hair and toilet paper we're keeping over there.

Her paper eating skills and book ripping skills are legendary, but so is her grin and the smiles are enough to forgive almost every gnawed on book or soggy unrolled strip of shredded toilet paper.

She's pulling up and cruising. Sometimes holding only lightly with one hand. A few weeks ago, she let go of a chair and tried to step over to me. I couldn't quite contain the giggle when she fell flat on her face, and yet letting go and falling really is a step towards actually stepping out and walking. I don't fear walking though. It's talking and the constant barrage of "MOM" that scares me. Recently she's begun babbling in an almost meaningful way. I'm not exactly ready to call in talking, though when people grin at her or enter a room, she'll look at them and softly say, "Hi." Sometimes she raises her arms, grins and yells, "Yay!" Those "words" are sweet. If only she'd stop there.

Right now she seems more content and less inclined, by a little, to insist on doing everything by herself than her sister was at this age. I wonder though, when watching her in action, if we might be seeing another high spirited monkey. The Middle Girl is wonderful, but I'd really be happy to only have one of them.

Today we went to The Baby's nine month check-up. She's right on target develomentally and her hemangioma seems to have stopped growing and based on the coloring might actually already be involuting. I am waiting, not very patiently for it to disappear. For all she seems oversized in activity and personality, she's a tiny little thing reaching only the 15th percentile for height and somewhere between the 25th and 50th percentiles for weight. Although I am slightly taller than average for a woman, I seem to be growing itty bitty girls.

Since I don't always get to sit around and watch all the activity and take in every new milestone as I would like, I do enjoy taking pictures. Maybe in twenty years or so, I'll get a chance to look back and see all the changes I missed in the thick of things.

bea9months.jpg


Do You Think It Will Be The New McDonald's?

Last week, we were away visiting in my hometown in the middle of Amish country. When we first moved to the area many years ago, the hitching areas at the grocery stores and public library seemed quaint and a bit amusing to one unused to such things. Later, I didn't even blink an eye.

Last week though the sight of this --

Amish fast food.jpg


-- an "Amish" fast food restaurant, made me giggle. We especially laughed at the other side of the sign, which mentions their mocha latte special.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Semantics

The Boy: So why, when Briar Rose fell asleep, did everyone else fall asleep? The fairy didn't mention that in the enchantment. She just said Briar Rose would sleep for 100 years.

Me: Well, I guess that was just part of the enchantment that we didn't hear about. The whole castle fell asleep together so that they would all still be the same age when the spell ended.

The Boy: Castles do not fall asleep. You should have said "court" instead.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Upside Down and Backwards

I came into the room the other day to find The Boy reading.
boyreading.jpg


My mother-in-law says my husband used to do this too.

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