Saturday, 30 December 2006

tail envy

(for the lone grey squirrel)

I grew up in Northern Michigan. There were always squirrels around.
Mostly fat grey happy fellows,



but a great number of these sassy guys:

(litter mates of the grey ones!)

Now I live in Eastern Canada, and what they call squirrel around here is this:



I think I'm homesick for real squirrels, darn it.

blog-in-review

These are the first sentences for the first posts of each month of 2006.


January: (it's a new year, baby) Someone said that to me last night and my first thought, bizarrely, was those Virgina Slims ads "You've come a long way, baby" with the women all sultry and sleek, smoking their cigarettes with the silent adoration of the men with them... Yup, long way from that, baby.

February: In the last two days, I have:

March: (To distinguish between the spellings of principal and principle) The principal is your pal.

April: Mama? Did you know that my big brother is big enough to get stuff off the counters now?

May: The Boy gets gum from his grandfather.

June: I came home from work today and the house was sparkling clean.

July: There are moments with your kids where you're pretty sure your heart has stopped.

August: It's hot. Hot hot hot hot hot hot.

September: So! We tossed Mo and Curly into the car, and we were off!

October: We sent Cass to bed early tonight.

November: We took a long drive this morning after breakfast, through the woods and around the river.

December: November's over and it's the weekend and WHERE ARE ALL THE POSTS?

Happy 2007, everyone!


stolen from I Do All My Own Stunts (and hers are much better than mine!)

Friday, 29 December 2006

where did we put the tylenol?

Last night I went merrily to the manse - both kids asleep, hubby studying - why ever not, right?

An hour later I got the call. R was throwing up again. And now the flu had really hit. Poor baby. Poor Bear, who was stuck tending to both her ends (and the means!) while I sat a few miles away. For someone who doesn't like vomit and poop, B is getting quite the initiation with Miss Rosemary.

Today, of course, she seems better, but I think we'll give her a few days of nothing heavier than applesauce (whoops, forgot she lifted half of B's bagel at supper - well, it stayed down, anyway) before we give the all-clear to visitors.

The kids' big present from their Nana and PapaR (my mother and stepfather) was a V-Smile. Mom sent me the money, and I went out and bought the thing.* Cass is enchanted, and he does seem to be learning - it is educational, and does require them to do a great deal with the alphabet, it's not just a level of game and then three letters - but there's this little voice in the back of my head that is incredulous that I (willingly!) brought a video game system into the house. I'm not above hiding the thing if after a few days he doesn't want to play with anything else (and so far that hasn't happened) - I'm just uneasy about it. He seems so young.

Rosey has a speech assessment the eleventh - which we expect her to blow through. That is, of course, assuming she talks to the therapist. The last few weeks she's really turned a corner and is now repeating and using everything she hears. Three and four word sentences!

And now we know what we had suspected and been blaming on poor speech ability - my daughter, my beautiful, funny, precocious, smiling, precious daughter?

Has a stubborn streak as wide as the Erie Canal.

God help us when she hits her teen years.


*Just the machine and the cartridge that comes with it - does anyone have any knowledge of any of the other games? I know there's quite the assortment.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

reprieve

Last night R alternated throwing up and crying for hours. We figured it was the flu (we've been lucky so far (knock head) at avoiding it, but like all viruses, we knew it would catch up sometime) and dosed her accordingly, but then when that came back up we resorted to the heavy artillery.*

When that didn't seem to help, B climbed into the big recliner and rocked her for hours while I flitted around like a mama bird with cold cloths and flat seven-up on a spoon. Pinky was running a high fever and we just tried to make her comfortable - B looked like he was marooned on Littlegirl Island, surrounded by her bunny and her blankie and her special pillow and two or three of her baby dolls - and thought we'd ride it out. We talked about who would take her when - how we could move things around so she sould stay home with us, which appointments we'd have to move, etc.

She went into her bed at about midnight, and was back in our bed at two.

Her Daddy was the only thing she wanted. She was quiet when I held her and sang, but her eyes would dart around until she found Bear, and she really only seemed to settle with him.

All this to say: we expected the rest of this week to be a blur of temperatures, mopping up, and loads of laundry.


This morning, I was woken by a finger tapping me on the arm. Silently protesting the break of day (and can someone please tell me why kids are so attuned to that? Is it the magnetic pull of the sun or something?) I rolled over to see...

The bright-eyed and happily smiling face of my daughter. 'Tass toot.' she said, and grinned.**

She's fine. A little tired (she's in with B right now, having a long early nap) but sunshine-y and chattering and her usual bouncy self.

We talked about taking her to outpatients last night. We were both worried. She was burning up, racked with nausea, and clearly in distress.

And today, she's cracking jokes and carrying the cat around.


We have had a reprieve. And we're so grateful.




*I think it's sufficient to say there was a rubber glove and vaseline involved, and a very indignant two year old.

**Her biggest baby joke so far. R likes to blame her brother for all...uh...bodily odors. Last week it was the cat.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

we may fly big planes, but we're all just kids at heart

I know many of you have small ones at home - my son (and his father, frankly) are getting a kick out of this site.

The weather channel here had a small blurb on NORAD as well, talking with the Canadian pilots who get to take the jets up and 'escort' Santa on his route. Some consider it the highlight of their service years. Cass was amazed, listening with wide-open eyes and a'goggle mouth - big people! in fast planes! With Santa! Poor goy, he's having having trouble believing the Christmas is! finally! here!


I wish each of you the most amazing holiday of all.

ain't we got fun?

Sort of done!

I have wrapped, tagged, and boxed. I have sorted and folded and put away. Thanks to my sister in law, I am (for a few hours) childless. Thank you.

And, distressingly, I cannot remember writing my husband's name on any tags. So either the kids are giving him everything I bought, or there's a gift hiding somewhere.

How many more Christmas hidey-holes can I squeeze into a house with two nosey children? The gianticus Christmas plushes are out hidden near the dryer, the Santa gifts are in the pantry. regular gifts (ie from Mommy and Daddy)are in a laundry basket tucked in a corner behind the tree. (I really, really, really don't like wrapping presents. So protecting them from the possibly wandering fast fingers of the girl is key.)

Our Christmas is two days long - Bear works a 24 on Christmas Day, so the kids will do stockings with him early tomorrow am, then he'll go to work and we'll go for the Giant Unwrapping Of Loot, part One at my father-in-laws. When B gets home early in the morning Boxing Day (that's December 26th*) we'll open all the presents that my side of the family has sent and the family gifts.

So - I feel one last trip into town coming on. I still need to check and see if Rosey has enough to fill her stocking, and make the strata for tomorrow morning.
In honor of some of my newly-svelte relatives, I will also be bringing a fruit salad.

I'll check in later.


* Boxing Day was traditionally the day people would box up their leftovers for the poor. Now I think it's celebrated more as a day to get the best bargains.

Friday, 22 December 2006

gettin' crafty

I raced around after work tonight with the kids, looking for foam wreaths and gumdrops. Kiddley had a terrific craft idea, and C was hot to try it. (This has been happening a lot lately. He's either getting more creative or he should stop looking at the computer when I check my blogs.)

But there were no wreaths, and precious few gumdrops. I finally bought some sparkly pipe cleaners, round foam balls, and two bags of spice drops.

When we got home, we discovered that one of the bags had bigger gumdrops than the other, but no matter.

R snitched sweeties here and there while Cass helped me get the toothpicks ready and wrap the pipe cleaners around the styrofoam balls. Then we were off!



Cass picked up all the funny shaped gumdrops he could for his 'martian' ball - it's on the bottom. He really enjoyed doing this and it kept him occupied for almost an hour.

Aren't they pretty?

Thursday, 21 December 2006

maybe flying isn't such a good idea



Dean Martin and Foster Brooks, everyone. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 19 December 2006

five songs of christmas

Tagged by Erin

FIVE FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONGS
(in no particular order)

I had a hard time with this meme, probably because I worked in retail for many years and am so.muzaked.out.

1. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear - This gives me chills and throws me right back into memories of candlelight services at my church back when I was young enough to have being at chapel at night feel holy and still slightly spooky. My grandmothers clear sweet singing, my mothers slightly lower tones, and the feel and scent of the wax candle in my hand.

2. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Sinatra, baby.

3. Carillon of the Bells. Magical.

4. Arrival of The Queen Of Sheba, Handel. Okay, not technically a Christmas song. I usually only get to hear it at Christmas, though, since the CD I have also has the Messiah on it. Listen to this one. Really. It's a lovely, sunny, cheerful, joyous song, and makes me smile every time I hear it. I wanted to have this one at my wedding for the recessional (My, a long time ago!) but it wouldn't have been possible for the organist to do it by herself.

5. Merry Christmas Baby - Etta James. Bluesy, fooly piano, and Etta. Oh, Etta.

This was fun! I tag Squirrel, Molly, and that furry penguin lady.

And, you know, steal! Take! Make your own!

Monday, 18 December 2006

up on the rooftop

We drove around looking at the lights tonight.

Plenty to ooh and aah over - the kids were quiet, Rosey piping up now and then with 'More?' when we went around a dark curve. It was a night to think good warm thoughts about my little family and squeeze Bear's hand now and again.

B remembered a house from last year where they go all out - reindeer and a sleigh on the roof, lights everywhere, Christmas music playing. We came 'round a corner and saw:



this jolly old elf. WHO IS BIGGER THAN A HOT AIR BALLOON.

See the building he's tied down to? It's a two-car* garage/workshop.

We goggled for a bit and then R whimpered (probably wondering if GIANT SANTA was going to come down and flatten the car with her in it 'HAVE YOU BEEN GOOOOOOD, LITTLE GIRL?? HAVE YOU??') and we left.

We swung out onto the highway and while the trees are too tall to catch another glimpse of Santa's lair, you could definately see a bright spot in the night sky where he lives. Kind of like a beacon to the gods of holiday lighting.





*Actually, they keep old fire trucks in there. So jets can probably see him as they whoosh by. HE'S THAT BIG.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

need a snow day?

Need a Snow Day?

Go. Be creative. It's fun, and it's for a good cause.


lifted from stay-at-home-mommy

Saturday, 16 December 2006

i think i ate too much air today

My cupboards are beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Last night R and I went and bought all sorts of baking supplies (even tho' I still haven't decided what to make) and a box of clementines.

I didn't know the kids were going to love them so much. Last year C ate three and R would put them in her mouth, make a face and be done, but this year? This year they've both figured out how to peel them and have started stuffing them in their cheeks like chipmunks.

So tomorrow I may have to go buy more.

R has started feeding her baby dolls. She taps the spoon against the bowl before she lifts it to the dolls lips, which makes me grin, but she's deadly serious about it. This morning after busily feeding them and then wiping their faces and bundling them all in a blanket on the sofa (nap time?) she turned to...us.

All day long she's been shadowing either Bear or myself, asking hopefully 'Supper?'* and then spooning up pretend food to us. This has been simultaneously cute and irritating - it's very hard to do (well, anything) laundry or dishes or type on the computer while stopping to mmmmm and yummy every few minutes.

At snack time this afternoon I grabbed her bowl and pretended to dish some up for her. Tinking the spoon against the bowl, I asked "Would you like some supper, Rosey?"
all set to have her open up like a baby bird.

She shook her head and opened her hand, showing me what she had been carrying in her pocket.
"No, Mama. Norange. Rosey eat norange."


Later on, as she and her brother did the chipmunk routine again, I thought about hiding the box of clementines. But really, I was too full from all that air to move for awhile. Better just let them play.




*And it does still sound like hopper

Friday, 15 December 2006

two things I wonder about

The statue. What are the things wrapped around his waist like huge fingers? And why is he doffing his hat? Is he really saying 'Goodnight, folks?' Is this the famed statue of the Unknown Polite Canadian?




And now I KNOW I live in Canada....


Can you tell what this is?
That's right, folks,
it's an
illuminated,
animated
HOCKEY PLAYER Christmas decoration!
How could your yard be seasonally festive without at least two?

You can keep your ho-hum deer, or your yawn snowmen,
WE HAVE HOCKEY PLAYERS.
Brandishing moving hockey sticks to terrify carolers and visiting relatives alike.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

being a good elf

Earlier today I wrote about re-stringing Cass's tree with lights.

Because:
"There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side.
So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring it back here."*

First, the only strand I could find that wasn't missing a ton of bulbs or blown completely was for the outdoors. The wire was bright white, (although the bulbs are colorful enough) and the strand was about twenty feet long.

This did not go well on his three feet tall, shiny blue tree. (Hers is gold. It's a tradition, darn it, noone said it was in good taste. Besides, blue is his favorite color.)

Wrapping the twenty-foot strand of lights around the spindly tree wasn't going to do it. Or rather, it would fit, but I'd be teaching the kids new cuss words and there we go with the good taste thing again.

So I folded it. Twice. And with my thick (but now only five foot long!) rope of lights, I whipped the tree into submission.

With the lights off you can see the cord. The tree looks as if it's a victim of foul play. Is there tree bondage?



But when his room-lights are out, and the tree is turned on, it's a real tree, and a dandy thing to fall asleep and dream Christmas dreams to.



And tomorrow they wake up to find funny headthings in their rooms - C has red antlers that light up and sing and R has snowflakes on springs. If I'm awake enough tomorrow I'll take pictures!

*Have you been Seuss-ified this holiday?

catching everyone up

Rosemary is better today - a little logy this morning, but I haven't heard a word from the babysitter, so I think she'll be fine.
B is still embarrassed. I'm still snickering at him.

***
Neither child woke up when I put the trees in their rooms. Rosey stirred once, leaving me breathless and fumbling for the door, but then she turned over and went back to dreaming. I will snitch C's back out tonight and restring the lights, (so he can wake up to twinkles) and then tomorrow morning begins the 'twelve days of elf-giving' - the kids get funny little presents that will show up under their trees in the morning each day.

Yes, I'm good at tip-toe.

***

Cass LOVED the museum - they have a huge Christmas tree loaded with old-fashioned ornaments, and they made....magical reindeer food? Reindeer dust? I'm not sure what the name of it is, (I think it's oatmeal and glitter) but Cassidy assures me that if we sprinkle it on the ground on Christmas Eve, the reindeer will come.

Why does that remind me of the washcloth story? Must be the sprinkles.

***
The snow has all melted, and we're due for rain. It seems so un-Christmassy, doesn't it? Nevertheless, I'll take it!

***
Nothing much new today - must bring my camera to work Thursday, as I just noticed the statue across the street looks like a man with a cowboy hat being grabbed from behind by some huge unknown thing (King Kong?) I think it's a Memorial statue of Canadian servicemen [do the Canadians have cowboys?] but will research and let you know.

Monday, 11 December 2006

the cadbury bunny has competition

Rosey threw up yesterday.

As soon as we got home from my father-in-law's, R turned pale and urped over Bear's coat, tossing up several times afterwards. She spent the rest of the night drinking Gatorade, keeping down a few tablespoons of applesauce and being petted like the princess she is. She went off to sleep after a (gulp) suppository of Gravol and some Kids Tylenol, and seemed cheery when she woke up.

We were a little concerned, because there's a flu-like thing going around, but she ate and drank like a champ this morning. She even managed to con my FIL out of some (contraband) candy he keeps in his pocket at lunch.

Which is why I was surprised to hear B shout for me a little later.

'She's got the diarrhea! She's in a mess! Oh, God...it's all up her back!'

I zoomed upstairs, where B was hopping up and down like a little girl agitated and making chokey noises.
(My husband, the ham. Sometimes I just call him Pork Butt.)

Right. I grabbed up the nonplussed R, swept her into the bathroom, carefully peeled her shirt over her head, yanked down her pants, and stopped. I took a peek.

'B, she doesn't have diarrhea. There's no poop in there.'

B took a look. 'But it was all up her back! It's all over her shirt....'

I grabbed Rosey's t-shirt and inspected. Sure enough, there was a dark patch above her waistband. A dark patch....with small bright-blue bits imbedded in. What the hell?

I looked up at B.

'It's chocolate.'

Sunday, 10 December 2006

somebody else's christmas tree

Cass was worried the other night that Santa would miss Papa's house because Papa doesn't have Christmas lights up - and that would be a tragedy!

So today we went down to my father-in-law's, and put up his Christmas tree.

Cass, after all his fretting, was more interested in playing with other things than helping, so B and I put up the tree and began to unpack the ornaments.

I love the history that goes along with them, how a box full of old glass ornaments must be hung high in the tree, because those were from the first few Christmases that the newlyweds had all those years ago, and the cheeriness of the ceramic ornaments hand-painted by Bear's sister.

Rosey fell in love with a small statue of Mrs. Claus (I think painted by the same SIL?) and talked to it and patted it for awhile - it's about the same size as one of her dolls and if we had let her, she would have lugged it around happily.

There are always ornaments missing from year to year, and these are always in another box, one that noone brought downstairs. But the ones left are wonderful.

Last year was the first year the old angel that had been their mothers' was deemed too old and broken to be put up - now there is a star. Sweet, but without tradition, and I think everyone missed the old topper. This year B and I nixed the star (it was too tall and hitting the ceiling!) and instead strapped an ornament (another star) made out of jingle bells to the top, where it glitters in the lights.

A few pieces of silver garland, and we were done. We cleaned up the boxes and stepped back.


'She's a beautiful tree', said my father in law.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

whee!

I must be impressing them at my one day a week job.

Because

drum roll

they called and offered me a one day a week position
until September!

It sounds ridiculous, getting excited about this, but I love it, I do it well, the pay is good, and they are hopeful that this will lead to more time and more days.

I feel like C - for the cat, who has got all the cream.

(alphabet books tonight)

Tonight is the night I have to sneak the decorated trees into the kids rooms.
Cass should not be a problem, but Miss Thang can hear the cats breathing, so this will be interesting.



...and it's raining. All the lovely snow (the first snow is probably the ONLY time you will ever hear me refer to snow as lovely) is just about gone. Christmas lights are just not as impressive without snow.

How is your weekend?

Friday, 8 December 2006

where are they hiding the dinosaurs?

Cass goes to the local museum today for a school trip.

And of course, this morning Curious Georges' adventure involved George going to a museum. I'm not sure where George lives, but his museum? Is much bigger than the one here. George's museum has huge things, like dinosaur bones and fossilized tracks.

The museum here locally has antique toys, displays of things from the Mi'kMaq, and bits and pieces of local flora, fauna, and history - I find it fascinating, but I worry that a five year old may...well, not.

And that would be a shame.

I tried to prepare him this morning, talking about the different things he would see, how they will have a giganticus Christmas tree there, how they'll do a craft and sing some songs, but he was fixated. (My son is very clear-headed. He likes to cut through to the bare bones of a situation. Groan. Sorry, couldn't resist.)

I know they'll take good care of him over there and that he'll have a terrific time, but I'm toying with the idea of calling to see if they have any skeletons (raccoon? bear? deer?) that they could flash in front of him.

Just to flesh out the presentation. (Okay, okay, I'll stop.)

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

gingerbread trees**








**better get a brandy, Joke

yummy with ketchup

We have two cats. The gigantic one, Chumba, is a fine yellow-coated lazy fellow. He mostly lays on the bed and purrs.
Kate, the small and stripy girl, is busier - she likes to get on everyones laps and inspect things, and she plays with the kids.
But they're both very nice cats.

Except when the kitty bowls are empty.

I woke this morning to a 'rowr!' and a baleful glare from Chumba, who was perched on my chest like the ghost from Dickens. He was not happy. There were only crumbs in the bowl.

Luckily, there was a spare can of soft food in the cupboard, (although I knew that would not appease them for long) so I escaped unscathed.

However, Bear slept in this morning. He just 'phoned - apparently the cats have both been pawing at him while he was in bed and conversing in hushed cat undertones. He has the distinct impression they're deciding which part of him would be tenderest.

He called to see if we needed anything else, as he's headed for the store.
His Momma raised no fools.

Monday, 4 December 2006

living in pompeii

It snowed.

BIG fat flakes that appeared out of nowhere, floating down out of the grey skies, looking all the world like left-over ash. Traffic stopped, and people came out of the shops to marvel at the whiteness and to laugh and shiver a bit at the sudden onset of winter.

Now everything is white and cloudy and cold. The snowplows are out, spraying salt on the slush, and even the funny little machine that clears the sidewalks has zipped around town twice now.

I think I'll make soup tonight. Split pea or pasta e fagioli, something hot and rich and comforting that I can drink out of my favorite cup, clinking my spoon against it while the snow comes down and the christmas lights glisten.

Sunday, 3 December 2006

holiday readiness

Cass put all his toys out on the sunporch and cleared away everything to make room for the tree.

He was fairly levitating when I brought the big box down the stairs. After we snipped open the tape, he yanked open the panels and froze.

"Mommy? That's not a tree."

Why no, son, you're right. It was originally plastic pellets, (or some other material never found in nature) forced and extruded into shape at some huge factory, cobbled together by the quick fingers of (probably underpaid) workers, strung with lights by other hands. And now it's a tangled flattened lump from twelve months of sitting in an attic. But look! If we attach this long part with this part, and find the tree stand, and where the hell is the plug?, and beat and bend these branches into submission....why.....voila!


"Oh" he said softly, amazed by its beauty as it lit up, "oh".

i, er, did it



What is that, the Merry Sunshine Elf?

This absolutely begs for some sort of smartass 'thirty days in a row? Aren't I sore?' comment, but I'll refrain......

Saturday, 2 December 2006

and I think I'm going out of my head....

November's over and it's the weekend and WHERE ARE ALL THE POSTS?

NaBloPoMo - wow. An experience. But now I think I'm going through withdrawal.

Before, I could click on Bloglines (a useful tool, I recommend it) and there would be 20 or 30 freshly minted posts there for my perusal....now there are 4.
FOUR.

Only in weight loss could it be considered a good thing to go from a 20 to a 4.

Pens up, people! I miss you!

night sounds

The wind is rustling around the house tonight.

The autumn we were first married, the wind used to wake me up at night. Not because it was so strong, but because it sounded different - we have mainly spruce and cherry here close to the house (besides the giant oak I keep taking pictures of - look! It's the daysgoby mascot!) and the wind creaks softly through their branches and sounds not at all like the pine and willow (and the birds and owls) that were near my window where I used to live.

The place I lived before that had a night freight express that would send a lonely call...it was so hard to get used to it, and even seven (eight?) years later, I still miss it. That and the occasional yip of a stray dog or scream from territorial stray cats would be the only noises against the never-ending swoosh of cars on the highway nearby.

When the windows are open in the summer here we can hear deer snort and blow to each other, spreading the word, giving the all-clear (Which can really make you jump) ...and we see and hear skunks, beaver, and the occasional porcupine crashing through the trees. Every once in awhile we'll hear the far-off call of a coyote, and there's a family of foxes that live up the road in the cemetery.

It's kind of like living in Wild Kingdom, minus the investment banker commercials and the voice-overs by the host.*



*I'm not the only one who remembers that show, am I?