Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Bear is starting to miss her friends, pine trees, and sleeping in her own bed.
Daddy Shortbread misses the cats.
I miss being able to button my pants.
Bug doesn't miss a thing. She'd be happy to bask in the glow of her grandparents' adoration forever. But I'd like to think that she'd eventually miss us, so we're taking her with us.
I'd like to send up a small prayer to the Gods of Travel that our return trip involve easier driving weather than our trip out. Because THIS is what we drove through on the way here: I'd like to submit a formal request for clear-to-partly-cloudy-skies, a lack of significant precipitation, and a liberal dotting of Starbucks along our route. Thank you.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I'll be back to blogging next week. When I can fit in my pants again.
Friday, December 19, 2008
"Your hands are FILTHY," one little boy told me with a disapproving frown, as he came up to the table. Indeed, they were pretty much spackled with frosting from filling decorating bags, rescuing toppling walls, and general gingerbread house construction, but come on little dude, it's FROSTING not manure.
"Baking is a messy business," I told him seriously. The M&M and gumdrop-placing crew around me nodded in happy agreement.
Daddy Shortbread spoke to his group like they were actual contractors, discussing load-bearing walls, and icing/spackle-strength, and things like what kind of candy-load a real roof made of gingerbread could hold. They were delighted to hazard guesses while sneaking chocolate chips into their mouths.
After working on a house construction crew, they each took a cookie, frosting, and some candy to their desks to construct a personal snack. I watched one little boy laboriously place gumdrops, marshmallows, and gumdrops on his cookie, just so. When the teacher gave them permission to eat, he just as carefully removed every piece of candy before eating the cookie. "I don't like candy," he explained to me. Ah. Well then.
Tomorrow we leave for Day One of travel, heading to Rochester, NY en route to Ohio. I'll try to blog from the road and give you a glimpse of what the girls do to fill the long travel hours. Let me just say that what with the DVDs, iPods, Gameboys, and activity books they have loaded their backpacks with, I don't think they'll be bored.
I will just be happy to have the packing done and be on the interstate (preferably with a Three-Pump Nonfat Peppermint Mocha Latte in hand and Christmas music on the stereo). Until then, I will be continuing to pack, stopping occasionally to self-medicate with Lindt truffles. Mmmm.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Baking - DONE
Out-of-town gifts - WRAPPED & MAILED
Teacher gifts - WRAPPED & READY FOR DELIVERY
Suitcases - PACKED
Children - WIRED
Monday, December 15, 2008
From this I can only deduce that she is already suffering pre-trip separation anxiety and has been indulging in some emotional eating.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Bear has a nasty little addiction: snow eating. She loves nothing more than noshing on handful after handful of snow. I don't know if it's the crunch, the cold, the lack of taste...? She really can't seem to help herself. I think that I was probably the first one to show her that she could eat snow back when she was tiny and easily impressed. (Look! It's teeny pieces of ice, and you can eat it!) Or maybe she made the connection after catching snowflakes on her tongue. I really don't know because it's hard to remember a time when she wasn't eating snow like some half-starved lunatic who thinks the lawn is blanketed in marshmallow fluff.
I spent several winters trying to dissuade her from eating it, telling her it's dirty and things PEE in it, for God's sake. She'd nod solemnly, look properly abashed, and go right back to eating snow as soon I went back inside. We finally achieved The Great Snow-Eating Detente of 2002, when her kindergarten teacher melted a jar full of snow in the classroom and showed them the specks of dirt and crud that settled to the bottom. We managed to negotiate a deal wherein she would only eat freshly fallen snow. Once it's a day old, no deal. On that first day, though, she's pretty much dedicated to the task of eating as much damn snow as possible. She savors its bouquet, like a fine wine, before taking that first crunchy mouthful. Every picture of her I took this day is either her eating snow, about to eat snow, or just finishing a mouthful. Like here. Attractive, no? It reminds me of the tell-tale rings of white around the nostrils of cocaine-users. Just in a slightly more wholesome and less illegal way.She even multitasks, munching snow while sledding.Totally, unabashedly full-out eating snow. No shame at all. And, yes, she saw me taking pictures. That's how devoted she is to her craft.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Shockingly, the offender was not the cat you would expect. She was busy having a pedicure.
This one, on the other hand, was a Class A Nuisance. She padded across the gift shirts, which had been neatly folded, ready for boxes. Back and forth. Short break to sit in the gift box. Back to back and forth.She discovered an empty tube from a roll of wrapping paper.
And proceeded to happily gnaw the crap out of it while battering it with her hind claws. At least she was out of the way.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Christmas morning, while my two are opening their presents from Santa and all their loving relatives, I'll take a moment to think of the two little boys opening these carefully chosen and wrapped gifts, never knowing that their angels are my angels, too.
Friday, December 5, 2008
This one below is a female goldfinch. I know that because I emailed the picture to a friend who's an avid birder and said, "Hey, can you tell me the name of this bird, so I don't look like an idiot on my blog?" The males turn an all-over intense highlighter-yellow color in the summer, which is why some people, who are way less well-educated about things like proper bird names, call them wild canaries. They would be wrong. Don't be one of them.
Chickadee, here. I love these chipper little guys, and I think this one was deliberately taunting my cat, Maisy, who was standing on her hind legs on a kitchen chair talking smack to him the whole time I was taking pictures. Doesn't he look cheeky?
Another female goldfinch. I've decided that an excellent weight loss plan would be to hang by my feet while using only my mouth (no hands), like the birds. I plan to get right on that after the holidays. It seems to work for them.
Lest anyone be erroneously impressed by my skill as an avian photographer, I would like to point out that I got about four decent, in-focus pictures with actual birds in them. I got about eighty of just my bird feeder. The rest looked like this:
I should also mention that if, while you're photographing birds through the window, you decide the window is too dirty and open the window, shove up the screen and hang your shoulder and arm outside to squirt Windex and wipe off the panes, while restraining your cat with your left knee... The birdies? They will not come back for a looooong time. File that away for future information.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
"TORNADO!" I hollered in disbelief, and we all sprang from our seats and ran for the basement. I could hear the trademark locomotive sound of the tornado getting closer as we all pounded down the steps. Downstairs, I watched through the casement windows as the inky black swirling cloud moved with slow precision along our neighbors trees. Each one exploded with a deafening bang, leaving behind a splintered stump. I began to fear for the giant spruce beside our house. When I turned to glance out the window nearest the spruce, I realized that Bug was gone.
I dashed up the stairs, hearing the living room windows explode and rain begin to blow in as I frantically searched for her. I found her in the garage casually selecting a juicebox from our spare refrigerator. She was puzzled as to why I was so panicked. I had just grabbed her arm to pull her back downstairs when I woke up with a pounding heart.
I knew immediately why I had dreamt that. Last night I had one of those scary mothering moments where time seems to stand still and you feel your brain scrambling like a rat in a cage as you take action.
The girls were watching "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" in the living room, while they ate their dinners on a picnic cloth. They were excited to get to watch TV while eating dinner, an almost-never occurrence in our house. But it was the first Christmas special of the season, and they had both worked so hard on homework that afternoon that I felt they deserved a treat.
I was putting away laundry while they ate, and had just happened to glance into the living room, when I noticed a strange look on Bear's face, who had turned to look at her sister instead of the TV.
"Mom, I think she's choking!" Bear said urgently.
"I CAN'T BREATHE," Bug mouthed to me, struggling to try to cough. In what must have been three seconds, but what felt like twenty minutes, I ran to her and jerked her to her feet. I thumped her back and was just about to turn her around to do the Heimlich Maneuver when she managed to cough up the offending bite - a long, particularly fibrous piece of broccoli.
It scared me to death. All night long I kept dreaming different hair-raising scenarios where I was desperately trying to save her.
Postscript: I asked Bear what she would have done if I hadn't been there. "The Heimlich," she said promptly. Thank God for that, but we'll be reviewing it after school to make sure that they BOTH know how to perform it.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Bear initally agreed only to go out and watch Bug sled and "maybe walk around a bit." I think she feels sledding is somehow beneath her newfound maturity.
Didn't you realize that sledding is a full-contact sport?